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Apple Announces Apple Arcade for Gaming Across Devices

Apple has announced Apple Arcade, a new gaming subscription service for iOS, macOS, and tvOS. While details are currently thin on the ground, once Apple Arcade launches, it will let paying subscribers play over 100 titles across their Apple devices.

Mobile gaming is big business, and Apple has clearly noted how many people are willing to pay to play games on its devices. But why let developers make all of the money? Apple’s answer is Apple Arcade, a subscription service filled with exclusive titles.

Apple Arcade Kills Ads and In-App Purchases

Apple is billing Apple Arcade as “the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room”. Because unlike existing services such as PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass, Apple Arcade will work across multiple platforms.

Apple Arcade will be filled with new games from well-known names and companies. All of which will be exclusive to Apple Arcade. Subscribers will be able to download the games from the App Store, and play across their devices without ads or in-app purchases.

As if that wasn’t enough, all Apple Arcade games will be available to play offline, and many will offer support for controllers. You can also pick up where you left off in a game when switching between your iPhone or iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.

Apple’s Phil Schiller said, “The App Store is the world’s biggest and most successful game platform. Now we are going to take games even further with Apple Arcade, the first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room.”

Apple Arcade Offers New and Exclusive Games

Apple Arcade will be launching in 150 countries in fall 2019. It will be available on iOS, macOS, and tvOS, and accessed via the App Store. Apple is currently working with developers on “100 new and exclusive games”. However, there’s no word yet on the price.

In case you missed it, Apple Arcade is just one of three new subscription services Apple has launched. The other two are Apple News+, which buys you access to hundreds of newspapers and magazines, and Apple TV+, which will be filled with original programming.

Read the full article: Apple Announces Apple Arcade for Gaming Across Devices

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 5:30 am(NZT)

How to Spot and Avoid an Online Dating Scammer: 8 Red Flags

Online dating scams continue to rise, costing unsuspecting victims millions of dollars each year. Rather than simply sending phishing emails, cybercriminals are playing the long game to cheat people out of their money.

If you are using an online dating platform, make sure to look out for these signs that the person you’re talking to is actually a scammer—and how to avoid online dating scams in general.

Who Do Dating Site Scams Target?

Scammers target people across different demographics on every dating platform possible. This means that regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, or preferred platform; no one is off-bounds to a scammer.

However, they tend to target older people more often. Meanwhile, the biggest targets for long-term catfishing scams are people who are vulnerable or isolated.

Plenty of Fish (POF) scams are particularly prevalent due to the large nature of the network. However, scams exist on sites like Ashley Madison, Match.com, and the majority of other dating sites.

With the rise of dating apps, scammers cast an even wider net for potential targets and automate much of the process—using bots to lure victims into scams.

Ways to Spot an Online Dating Scammer

1. Profile Warning Signs

There are a few signs you should look out for when looking at a potential match’s online dating profile.

A few typical traits of a scammer’s profile include:

On dating apps, scammers and bots will have very limited profile information. They also tend to only have one or two photos and do not link their profile to their Instagram or other accounts.

2. They Try to Take the Conversation Elsewhere

Online dating scammers, especially those catfishing victims, will quickly ask you to move to another form of messaging outside the platform where you met.

Often, scammers will want to communicate via written messages on Skype or Facebook. However, they may also choose to message you over SMS or an app like Whatsapp.

Be wary of anyone you haven’t met that wants to move the conversation to another platform.

3. Your Match Professes Love Early On

Online dating scammers tend to move very quickly in terms of professing an emotional connection. Within a short period, they may say they love you and that they feel a very deep connection to you.

This is all part of the emotional manipulation involved in catfishing while using online dating. It’s also why people who are vulnerable and isolated are such desirable targets—since they’re yearning for a connection.

You should look out for any matches that are overly flattering and overly devoted early on in your communication when you haven’t even met.

4. They Want To Meet You, But Something Always Comes Up

A common line among online dating scammers is that they want to meet you, but when the time comes, there is always some unexpected issue.

Since the scammer is not the person they claim to be, they don’t want to meet in person. This is also the reason why so many scammers claim to work in another country or be on military deployment since it provides them with an excuse for not being able to meet up. In fact, many scammers use photos of military personnel and soldiers on their profiles.

The inability to meet you may even be the supposed reason they first try to solicit money from a victim. They may claim to need money to buy a ticket to travel to meet you. Sometimes, they’ll say that border officials detained them and that they need money for their release.

5. They Avoid Video Chat Completely

According to the Better Business Bureau, the majority of romance scams trace back to people living in Nigeria. So, if a scammer is a foreigner from a country like Nigeria, Ghana, or Malaysia, they may avoid phonecalls or voice chat on programs like Skype, since their accent may give them away.

However, scammers are able to fake accents for victims that back up their claimed country of origin.

No matter what, a catfish will not appear in video chat since they use fake profile images. Be wary if your match is never willing to appear in video chat or always makes excuses about their camera being broken.

Most smartphones now have built-in selfie cameras, which makes video chatting relatively easy. Some people may initially hesitate to appear on video chat out of shyness. But it’s a red flag if someone professes love, yet won’t let you talk to them over video after weeks of communication.

6. They Request Money From You

Inevitably, a catfish will request money from you, as this is the ultimate goal of most scammers. There are a variety of scenarios that they may invent—from family emergencies, health issues, or travel problems.

Particularly inventive scammers may even trick you into sending them money by purportedly sending you a package that requires customs fees. Scammers don’t necessarily work alone, so you may receive a phone call or documents from someone posing as third-party to request fees.

Some scammers even request financial help or financial investment related to their fictional business.

If any kind of financial request comes from your suitor, or from something related to them (such as a package or business), this is the biggest sign that you are the target of a scam.

7. They Ask for Your Help With Financial Transactions

One of the newer online dating scams doesn’t request money from victims, but turns them into “money mules”. Rather than trying to get money from the victim, these scammers make you an accomplice in money laundering.

One example includes the scammer sending money to the victim, who then sends them an Amazon card or another kind of gift card. Other times they might send you money and ask you to send it to another account for them.

Sometimes, scammers may ask a victim to open a bank account for them.

If your online suitor asks you to get involved in these types of financial transactions and exchanges, it’s likely that they’re a scammer trying to lure you into illegal activities.

8. They Send You a Link to Another Service or Website

Some scammers don’t bother with catfishing, rather using more efficient ways to exploit victims. This is especially true on online dating apps, where bot profiles are prevalent.

If a match sends you a link to an app, game, service, or website they say they want you to try out; this is often a ploy to get you to supply financial information or download malware.

It is essentially the online dating version of phishing and is a very popular tactic for scammers on dating apps like Tinder.

How to Avoid Online Dating Scams

Besides spotting a potential scammer, there are a few precautions you can take to avoid online dating scams.

Firstly, use reverse image searches and tools like socialcatfish.com to verify a person’s online identity. You should check that the same image isn’t appearing across a variety of profiles under different names.

You should also keep up-to-date on the different types of dating scams emerging, especially those related to the platform you’re using. Not all dating scams involve prolonged catfishing, and certain mobile dating app scams differ from dating website scams.

Finally, never reveal too much information about yourself to someone you’ve never met. A catfish will use your financial situation and whether you’re vulnerable to determine whether you’re an ideal target.

If you receive overly flattering introduction emails or messages on an online dating site, simply don’t respond. On mobile dating apps, don’t match with profiles that seem suspicious.

Furthermore, never send intimate images of yourself to an online acquaintance—scammers are now using these types of pictures for blackmail and extortion schemes.

Finally, if warning signs pop up and you are unable to verify the person’s identity, cut off communication immediately.

Protect Yourself While Dating Online

One of the most important measures to date when dating online is to protect your privacy. This not only helps you avoid scams, but can also protect you from creeps and cyberstalkers.

From making sure you don’t share too much, to blocking linking between social media apps, check out our guide on protecting your privacy while using online dating.

Read the full article: How to Spot and Avoid an Online Dating Scammer: 8 Red Flags

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 5:00 am(NZT)

The 10 Best Wireless All-in-One Keyboards for Mac and PC

All-in-one keyboards integrate a wireless keyboard with a touchpad, combining two devices into one. They’re the ideal solution for anyone with a living room media center or someone who wants to lean back and use their computer from a distance.

There aren’t too many of these wireless all-in-one keyboards though, and it’s not always clear which one would suit your needs. Let’s take a look at the best all-in-one keyboards available.

1. Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard

Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard Buy Now On Amazon $31.77

The Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard is a well-spaced keyboard with a large touchpad where the number pad usually is. The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures for Windows 10, so you’ll be able to swipe and scroll with ease. There are two customizable media keys above the touchpad, and there are volume keys on the far left of the keyboard.

You’ll need two standard AAA batteries to power it, and one set of batteries will last you a month on average. Connect the USB receiver to your computer, and you’re ready to start using it.

2. Logitech K600 TV

Logitech K600 TV Logitech K600 TV Buy Now On Amazon $58.40

The Logitech K600 TV is designed for use with smart TVs. You’ll find the familiar, rounded chicklet keys from the current range of Logitech keyboards on the K600 TV. On the left are four buttons for quick access to the home screen, app switcher, search, and the back button.

On the right of the keyboard, there’s a circular touchpad, and above it, a d-pad for navigation. You can connect with three devices at the same time, and switch between them with ease. The K600 TV is one of the few wireless keyboards with 15 meters range, as the standard is around 10 meters.

3. Gosin Ultrathin All-in-One Keyboard

Gosin Ultrathin All-in-One Keyboard Gosin Ultrathin All-in-One Keyboard Buy Now On Amazon $49.99

Gosin’s Ultrathin All-in-One Keyboard is made out of metal and is sleek to boot, making it seem premium and sturdy. You can connect it via a USB dongle, but the Bluetooth connection helps you save a port. While you can connect it to any Bluetooth device, the touchpad is only compatible with Windows or Android systems.

The keyboard runs on a pair of AAA batteries, and comes with a Low Power Consumption mode. In this mode, the keyboard should last up to three months on one set of batteries, based on two hours usage per day.

4. Logitech K830

Logitech K830 Logitech K830 Buy Now On Amazon $59.99

The Logitech K830 is one of the best wireless all-in-one keyboard on the market right now. One of its most notable features is the backlight. A light sensor on the keyboard automatically adjusts the backlight based on the lighting conditions around you.

The backlight does require power, so the K830 comes equipped with a lithium-ion battery which can be charged via a micro-USB cable. A simple switch lets you flip the keyboard on and off as needed.

5. ThinkPad Compact Keyboard

ThinkPad Compact Keyboard ThinkPad Compact Keyboard Buy Now On Amazon $60.46

Lenovo’s ThinkPad series of laptops has fans all across the world. The ThinkPad Compact Keyboard brings the ThinkPad’s laptop experience to the desktop.

You’ll get the same well-spaced keys, complete with the brilliant scissor-key mechanism. The trackpad is replaced by the TrackPoint, the little red button that acts as a mouse. It does take a little getting used to, but once you master it, you may even prefer it to a touchpad.

While this is a Bluetooth keyboard, Lenovo has simplified connecting to it by adding NFC support. Tap the keyboard to any other NFC-equipped device, like a smartphone, and it’ll connect in a flash.

6. 1byone Ultra-Slim Keyboard

1byone Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard 1byone Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard Buy Now On Amazon $22.99

Many all-in-one keyboards put the touchpad to the right of the keyboard. That can be a little strange when most laptops have the touchpad below the keyboard. The 1byone Ultra-Slim Keyboard follows the more traditional laptop layout.

It is a thin keyboard that doesn’t offer a lot of travel for the keys when you press them. However, after repeated use, you’ll get used to it. The touchpad supports multi-finger actions and gestures. The device is rechargeable and gives up to 90 hours of use on a four hour charge.

7. Aerb D8 Pro

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The Aerb D8 Pro is optimized for use with media devices. It comes equipped with a large 4.4-inch touchpad and a mini keyboard. A single click works as a left mouse button, a double-click as a right mouse button. You can drag with two fingers to scroll the screen.

Below the touchpad is a row of multifunction keys. The traditional function keys double as media controls for playback and volume. Below the function keys lies a full QWERTY keyboard, with arrow keys. The keyboard is even backlit so you can easily use it in your dark entertainment center.

8. Rii i8+

Rii i8+ Rii i8+ Buy Now On Amazon $29.95

If you’re looking for a mini keyboard the size of a gamepad, take a look at the Rii i8+. It comes with a 92 key QWERTY keyboard, a d-pad, and a small touchpad at the top. The touchpad controls are one click for a left button press, two clicks for right, and two fingers for scrolling.

The i8+ is available in half a dozen different colors to suit your preferences. It comes with a rechargeable internal battery, and enters a power saving mode after three minutes of inactivity.

9. iClever BoostType BK08

iClever BoostType BK08 iClever BoostType BK08 Buy Now On Amazon $45.98

If you’re looking for a space-saving, compact all-in-one keyboard, then look no further than the iClever BoostType BK08. The keyboard can connect to up to three devices at once, making it perfect for on-the-go productivity.

iClever has designed this keyboard with portability in mind, so when folded closed it is roughly the same size as an iPhone 7 Plus, and weighs about the same too. When unfolded, the small Bluetooth device is compatible with most operating systems. Its long battery life is also a plus, offering 60 hours on just a two hour charge.

10. Rii K18

Rii K18 Rii K18 Buy Now On Amazon $26.99

The Rii K18 is a full-sized light-weight keyboard with a large touchpad on the right-hand side. It is equipped with an LED backlight that can switch between red, green, and blue.

The keyboard comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and it connects to your device via a USB dongle. This is a good option if you’re looking for a full-size keyboard with a large touchpad that is light enough to use on the couch.

The Best All-in-One Keyboard for You

There are many different all-in-one keyboard options out there, combining a wireless keyboard with a touchpad. Which you choose will depend on your preferences and requirements. Some of these keyboards are suited to particular applications, like the Logitech K600 TV, which is optimized for use with smart TVs.

You may find yourself using a keyboard heavily throughout the day, so you’ll want to make sure the experience is as comfortable as possible. Ergonomic keyboards are designed to compliment your body and help you take care of your wrists. If this is a concern to you, then you’ll want to check out these ergonomic keyboards to improve computer comfort.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Wireless All-in-One Keyboards for Mac and PC

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 4:00 am(NZT)

4 Cool Fake Virus Pranks to Freak Out Your Friends

Pranking your friends and family is the best sort of fun. And there is nothing wrong with a harmless prank, especially if the victim is anyone but you.

These days, we’re constantly plugged into our laptops, tablets, or smartphones. So, what better way to one-up your partner or siblings than seemingly destroying their hard drive with a fake virus? Although the following fake viruses may seem malicious to the unsuspecting, they’re wholly sanitized: no harm will come to the system they’re deployed on.

With so many types of viruses, there’s plenty of inspiration to imitate. It is time to sit back, and watch someone squirm!

1. How to Make a Fake Virus Batch File

There are numerous variations of this prank. A batch file can be easily programmed to spit out a long stream of nonsensical or malicious-sounding commands, displayed on screen for the victim to see. In that, it makes for one of the most effective pranks because it looks somewhat like serious system changes are taking place, delivered in the Command Prompt.

Start by downloading our pre-prepared code. When prompted, head to File > Save As. Set the Save as type to All Files. Then, give your file a nifty, intriguing name—remember, you want your potential victim to execute the file—and add the .bat extension. This extension turns your standard text document into a batch file whose commands will run when the victim opens the file.

Fake virus batch file

The batch file will display the messages in sequence, then start an automatic shutdown sequence.

You can stop the automatic shutdown by hitting Windows Key + R, then typing shutdown /a.

Fake Blue Screen of Death

A fake virus might upset your victim, or confuse them. Another handy prank file is the fake Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). A fake BSOD simulates a full system crash, down to the final blue screen.

We’ve also prepared this code for you. Download bsod.txt, and rename the file, adding the .bat file extension.

Change Your File Icon

To add realism to your fake files, I would suggest changing the default file icon for the batch file. The “cog” icon is intriguing, but a sensible person will leave the unknown file well alone.

You can change the file icon to the Chrome browser icon—an altogether more trustworthy proposition.

Right-click the fake virus batch file and select Send to > Desktop (create shortcut). Now, head to your desktop, right-click the newly created shortcut and select Properties > Change Icon. Browse to your Google Chrome directory (mine is C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome), select Application, then Chrome.exe. Press OK.

Change a Windows app icon

You’ll now spot several Chrome icons. Use the “standard” Chrome icon, press OK > Apply > OK.

The next time the victim selects Chrome from their Desktop, the fake BSOD program will run… and hilarity will ensue.

2. EICAR Test File

This test file, while completely harmless, will trigger most antivirus suites and prompt the user to take evasive action.

Antivirus detects EICAR test files

The EICAR test file is an internationally recognized antivirus test. As such, your antivirus will act quickly to rid your system of the “threat.” Unfortunately, it will also immediately notify the victim that the virus signature matches “EICAR Test Signature,” somewhat removing the fun.

3. Fake Update

Windows 10 has taken some time to move past the bad press surrounding its enforced update system. Previous to Windows 10, users could choose the time and place of their update. Windows 10 changed all that and, in the early days of the new operating system, many users found their system updating without warning.

A Windows 10 fake update screen

FakeUpdate preys on that background fear, allowing you to switch the victim’s browser to a slow-moving Windows 10 update. Head to the linked site, select the update screen you’d like (consider what their operating system is), then press F11 to enter full-screen mode.

Want an extra devious bonus? As you’ll be delivering this prank in person, when your victim exclaims that “the update is taking a long time,” you can helpfully suggest that pressing Enter usually speeds the process—only for that to trigger a fake BSOD!

The site includes old versions of Windows, as well as some common ransomware screens, too.

4. Create a Personalized Error Message Prank

Finally, you can create a personalized error message prank sequence for your victim. First, open Notepad.

Now, type the following:

x=msgbox("YOUR MESSAGE HERE", Button+Icon, "YOUR TITLE HERE")

Type your prank/scary/humorous message in the first section, and add a title for the dialog box in the second.

Fake error script for Windows

I’ll explain the buttons and icons now. In the code snippet above, the error message button and icon are represented by “o+48.” Buttons are the options available to the victim.

Select from the following:

Also, you can choose the icon that appears alongside the error messages:

In the example “fake error sequence” above, the button option is “0” for OK, and “48” to add the Warning icon.

A fake virus script

When you’re all set, head to File > Save As and choose a filename. Replace the .txt file extension with .vbs. Then, change the Save as type to All Files, and press Save. You can follow the icon change tutorial detailed earlier to complete your deceit.

Now, if you’d like to add another error message in sequence, add another line to your Notepad file, altering the message and dialog box title if required. In the image below you can see a new error message, using “0” to display the OK button, and “64” to display the Information icon. Play around with your favorite combinations, then save the file (as above) when you’re done.

Save a fake error as VBS file

Note: Here’s how you spot fake malware warnings.

Now, Execute Your Fake Virus Prank

When you execute the prank, I think it would be considerate to keep an eye on your victim (if you can). It’s all fun and games until someone has a panic attack and throws their computer through a window.

Curious about real viruses that left their mark in history?

Read the full article: 4 Cool Fake Virus Pranks to Freak Out Your Friends

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 3:00 am(NZT)

How to Scrobble Your Spotify Music With Last.FM

If you listen to a lot of music, you should be using Last.FM. It can help you discover new music and build your collection, as well as offer fascinating insights on your musical tastes.

Luckily, Spotify and Last.FM are compatible, which means you can scrobble Spotify directly to your Last.FM profile. In this article we’ll explain how to scrobble your Spotify music using Last.FM.

What Is Scrobbling?

Scrobbling is the process of tracking the music that you listen via a third-party app. The term is most commonly associated with sending your listening history to Last.FM, though there are a couple of alternative apps that perform the same function.

https://t.co/lvmHxNqp2O still exists. They still call it scrobbling. Wild.

— Ed Macovaz (@edmacovaz) March 15, 2019

Last.FM works across your entire music collection. You can scrobble from your desktop music app, Spotify, YouTube, Google Play Music, Deezer, SoundCloud, Sonos, Tidal, and more. There’s also an Android app and an iOS app that can scrobble local music on your mobile devices.

The most significant missing app in the Last.FM line-up is Apple Music. If you dig around on the web, you can find some Apple Music scrobbling workarounds, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.

In order to scrobble, you need to give Last.FM access to your listening history. Sometimes that entails installing an app; alternatively, you may need to provide access from within a third-party app or from the Last.FM website.

How to Scrobble Spotify

There used to be different ways to scrobble Spotify to Last.FM, depending on the device you were using. In each case, you had to go into Spotify’s settings menu and enter your Last.FM credentials.

In June 2018, however, Last.FM and Spotify unveiled a new way to connect the two services. Now you need to set up Spotify scrobbling through Last.FM.

To begin the setup process, head to the Last.FM website and enter your login credentials. Once you’ve accessed your account, there are two ways to connect Last.FM to Spotify.

lastfm connect spotify method 1

For the first method, click on your profile picture in the upper-right hand corner of the screen, then select Settings and open the Applications tab. To start scrobbling, simply click on the Connect button next to the Spotify logo. If it is your first time making the connection, you will need to enter your Spotify username and password.

lastfm connect spotify method 2

The other way to connect the two services is to head to the Last.FM About page and click on the Track My Music tab at the top of the screen. Scroll down until you find the Spotify entry and hit Connect.

(Note: If you’re still using the old way to scrobble Spotify, make sure you fully disable the connection before setting up the new one. If you don’t, you run the risk of scrobbling the same track twice.)

The Benefits of Scrobbling Spotify to Last.FM

If you decide to scrobble Spotify using the Last.FM scrobbler, you’ll have access to a few unique benefits beyond the main features that Last.FM already provides:

Are There Any Downsides to Scrobbling Spotify?

Last.FM can seriously enrich your musical experience, but it’s not without its drawbacks.

The chief concern is the lack of privacy. Many people aren’t aware that Last.FM is owned by CBS Interactive; an entertainment company that already runs a massive network of brands including CBS News, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, and MetroLyrics.

Is it wise to provide your entire listening history so CBS can further refine its profile on you? Many would argue that the trade-off isn’t worth it.

Secondly, Last.FM has an element of permanence. Do you really want the music you were listening to five or 10 years ago staring back at you every time you open the app? This won’t necessarily be right for everyone, especially if you already use Spotify’s music discovery tools to find new music.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning security. Last.FM suffered a substantial data breach in 2012 in which 45 million accounts were compromised. The company did not make the details public until 2016.

Last.FM Alternatives for Scrobbling Spotify

Last.FM isn’t the only scrobbling service in the world. Here are three alternative ways to scrobble your Spotify music.

Universal Scrobbler

Universal Scrobbler helps to fill in the blanks that Last.FM leaves. It can scrobble music from sources that Last.FM doesn’t support. That includes the radio, your car stereo, and even vinyl records.

Open Scrobbler

Open Scrobbler is a manual scrobbler that lets you control which songs you add to your Last.FM profile. Like Universal Scrobbler, it can also act as a scrobbler for vinyl records.

Vinyl Scrobbler

Our final recommendation is Vinyl Scrobbler. It uses data from Last.FM and Discogs to let vinyl lovers record their listening history and amalgamate it with their Spotify listening history.

Learn How to Do More With Spotify

Using the Last.FM scrobbler to track what you listen to on Spotify is just one of the many ways to get the most out of the music streaming app.

If you’re interested in some of Spotify’s other great features, check out our list of essential Spotify keyboard shortcuts and learn how to set a Spotify playlist as an alarm on Android.

Read the full article: How to Scrobble Your Spotify Music With Last.FM

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 2:00 am(NZT)

3Doodler Start: Safe and Affordable 3D Printing Pen for Kids

3D printing has taken the world by storm, but it remains a largely rigid process, relying on computer-aided designs. While the output is very precise, it can often lack panache.

To combat this, we have the 3D printer pen, most notably from 3Doodler. But while these handheld 3D printers are straightforward to use, they can be unsuitable for children, and miss the childish creativity and flair. So, meet the 3Doodler Start, a 3D printing pen aimed at children of 8 years and older. But is it safe for children to use?

3D Printing, But in Your Hand

Let’s get this out of the way. 3D printers are big, bulky devices, not dissimilar to fish tanks, that carefully extrude plastic from a computer-controlled nozzle.

A 3D printer pen is quite different.

Instead of a rigid nozzle outputting plastic on two axes, the 3D printer pen is free form. You hold the device in your hand, feed a strand of plastic filament, and let your imagination go to work. In many ways, it is completely different from a 3D printer.

The pen itself can be powered by mains cable or a rechargeable battery. Typically, there are controls to feed or reverse the plastic strand, along with an option to stop extruding plastic.

Think of it like a thick felt tip pen that outputs plastic. Oh, and you can draw in three dimensions. Hence the name “3D printing pen”.

3Doodler Start 3D printing pen

3Doodler has released several 3D printing pens over the years. We’ve reviewed several in the past, but this is the first one aimed at children. But how suitable is it for young, creative minds?

To find out, I asked my daughter, Erin-rose, to help me out.

3Doodler Start Essentials 3Doodler Start Essentials Buy Now On Amazon $42.28

Is a 3D Printing Pen Safe for Children?

Standard 3Doodler devices are not safe for children. These 3D printing pens are designed to push melted plastic strands out of a nib, which you create art with by drawing. Meanwhile, the nib remains hot throughout the process, while the plastic takes a few seconds to cool.

In short, burning is a risk. I’ve burnt myself several times on the standard 3Doodler nib, and had plastic stuck to me, scalding my skin.

Totally unsuitable for kids.

With the 3Doodler Start, however, things are different.

To start off with, there is no hot nib. Instead, the nib is plastic and entirely safe to touch. Similarly, the plastic is extruded at a much lower temperature; more malleable than molten. It’s a little like chewing gum but cools relatively quickly to harden. Also like chewing gum, it can get a bit messy.

Messy nib on a 3Doodler Start

This isn’t the same plastic used in 3Doodler kits aimed at adults, however. Instead, this is BPA-free (a substance that can harm hormone development) plastic filament that can only be used with the 3Doodler Start pen. Note that this product is not suitable for children under 36 months.

Refill filament can be purchased from Amazon.

3Doodler Start Essentials 3Doodler Start Essentials Buy Now On Amazon $35.36

What You Get With a 3Doodler Start

As you’d expect with a kit for kids, the 3Doodler Start offers a simplified 3Doodler experience. In the box you’ll find two packets of plastic filaments, the 3Doodler Start pen, and a short USB charge cable. There’s also an instruction booklet and a book of templates.

Various template designs are included, enabling you to get started right away.

The box is compact, but you’ll find everything you need to start 3D printing by hand!

Loading Up on Plastic

Before starting, it’s a good idea to charge the 3Doodler Start. This can be done from a standard USB port.

ABS-free plastic strands are used in the 3Doodler Start

A small switch on the side is provided to turn the device on and off. Switching on warms up the 3Doodler Start; the amber light turns to green when it’s time to start feeding in the strands of plastic.

Simplified Controls

The 3Doodler Start’s simple one-button-does-all control is multifunctional. With this, the plastic is fed in or ejected; it is also used for extruding the heated strands.

While the simplified approach is of course ideal for children, it isn’t perfect. In our test device, the button wasn’t as responsive as it could have been, leaving Erin-rose to spend too long trying to feed in plastic.

Having said that, once the plastic is flowing, the stop control does a great job of ceasing extrusion immediately. This is important for creating a neater project.

What Can You Create?

With a 3Doodler pen in your hand, you’re limited only by your imagination. In theory, you could create anything.

To help you (or your child) get started, the 3Doodler Start kit comes with a set of stencils. These can be used to create a smartphone case, decorative glasses, a miniature Eiffel Tower, and much more.

You see, the 3Doodler’s plastic is designed so that it can be applied to paper but is easy to remove once set. This makes paper templates ideal, giving you the option to create your own designs with just a pen and paper.

A flip through the templates reveals that some templates need to be reused within the same project. For example, the Eiffel Tower components need to be created four times each. Once you’re done, each part can be “glued” together with a dab of warm plastic.

3D Print Directly onto Your Tablet’s Display—No, Really

Meanwhile, more designs are can be found in the 3Doodler app, available for iOS and Android.

Draw on your iPad with a 3Doodler Start pen

Along with videos and ordering tools for new filament, the app features stencils to create more designs. But you don’t print these out—instead, you “write” with the 3Doodler Start directly onto your tablet or phone’s display.

Now, this feature might surprise you as much as it did us. We spoke to a representative from 3Doodler, who told us: “our 3Doodler Start pen extrudes plastic at about 110 degrees, so slightly warmer than the human body. This makes it a non-issue with our most popular product.”

To try this out, Erin-rose spent a few minutes looking for an attractive template before settling on a CND emblem, and a set of lips. The end results were indistinguishable from using a paper template, although the underside was a bit smoother than paper.

It was around this time that Erin-rose noticed that the flat side of a 3Doodler model might look more attractive. As such, she’s started constructing everything “back to front”, with the smooth side showing. Although it looks tidier, it’s an approach that does lose some of the individuality of the 3Doodler Start experience.

Not keen on printing onto an expensive tablet? Don’t worry—everything in the app can be sent to your local printer instead.

STEM Benefits of 3Doodler Start

Many parents these days are looking for toys that bring an educational dimension into their children’s lives. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) toys are becoming increasingly prominent. It helps that toy manufacturers are identifying their products’ STEM strengths.

3Doodler notes that “As a tactile learning toy, the 3Doodler Start inspires creativity, design, planning, building and spatial understanding.”

Certainly, there is a certain amount of engineering that is required in building something like a 3D plastic Eiffel Tower. However, the strengths of the 3Doodler Start seem to be more in the STEAM area (the same abbreviation, but with art), with stencils for masks, stamps, gift tags, and more.

It is worth noting that other items in the 3Doodler Start range are more STEM than STEAM, however. For example, there is a 3Doodler Start Robotics kit, as well as one focusing on architecture.

Is 3D Printing Suitable for Kids?

Easy to hold, the 3Doodler Start makes 3D printing safe for children. The possibilities are exciting, but the experience isn’t wholly perfect.

What can you make with a 3Doodler 3D printing pen?

The softer plastic is frustrating to use at times and certainly makes more of a mess than the adult variety. One impact of this is that 3D printing becomes a more tactile experience, as thumbs and fingers start pressing the plastic into shapes rather than waiting for it to set.

However, this soft plastic does make the 3Doodler Start’s nib particularly difficult to keep clean.

Additionally, the single button controlling the feed (both directions) and the stop/start of extrusion can be confusing for children.

Having said all of that, Erin-rose assures me that it’s fun to use. She doesn’t mind that it gets a bit messy. Why would she?

Get Your Kids 3D Printing with 3Doodler Start

3Doodler Start Essentials 3Doodler Start Essentials Buy Now On Amazon $42.28

Both a 3D printer and a 3D printing pen rely on the extrusion of lines of plastic to build something.

However, this is really all they have in common. You’re no more going to make a perfect plastic box with a 3D printer pen than create a work of individual art in a machine.

Surprisingly affordable, the 3Doodler Start can help to encourage creative endeavor and keep your child occupied at weekends, on holidays, and during bouts of bad weather. While the mobile app might seem a little insane, the plastic residue can be safely and easily removed from your device display. We’d understand if you preferred to use the printed templates, though!

Enter the Competition!

3Doodler Start Essentials Kit 3D Printing Pen Giveaway

Read the full article: 3Doodler Start: Safe and Affordable 3D Printing Pen for Kids

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 1:30 am(NZT)

9 Troubleshooting Tips to Fix Multiple Monitors on Your Mac

For some people, one monitor—maybe even the built-in screen of your MacBook—is enough. Other people need all the screen real estate they can get.

This extra working space for your Mac doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Most of the time, multiple monitors work just fine, but when you encounter trouble, sorting it out can be tricky. When you’re not sure what your problem is, there are some basic steps you should try.

1. Double-Check Your Connections

MacBook Pro USB-C port

This may sound obvious, but it really can’t hurt to check. HDMI connections are notoriously finicky, so double-checking that everything is seated properly is one of the first troubleshooting steps you should do. This isn’t the only reason to check your connections though.

If, for example, you’re using an HDMI to Thunderbolt 3 cable, the order in which you plug them in is important. Make sure you plug the cable into the monitor, then plug the Thunderbolt 3 port in. Plugging in the other way around can lead to problems.

2. Check Your Cables

Speaking of connections, checking your cables is also a good idea. You may have everything plugged in properly, but that won’t matter if one of your cables has failed. If you’re using bargain-bin cables, this is especially worth checking.

A malfunctioning cable isn’t your only worry here either. Perhaps you have a functioning HDMI cable, but it could be too old to support the resolution you’re aiming for. This isn’t too common, but trying over again with a known good cable is a good way to rule this out.

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend much on a new cable. Have a look at the best HDMI cables if you need a replacement.

3. Don’t Use a Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Thunderbolt 3 docks can be handy if you have a recent MacBook model. Instead of plugging in two or three dongles alongside your power supply when you want to hook up your external monitors, you simply plug in one connection. This is especially handy if you like to use a wired mouse and keyboard at your desk.

When you leave your MacBook open and use one external monitor, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you prefer to run your MacBook in clamshell mode though, this can be a problem. It’s not ideal, but you’ll get the best results plugging directly into a Thunderbolt 3 port for each monitor you’re connecting.

4. Check Your Adapters

Apple Digital AV Multiport Adapter

Along the same lines, if you’re using adapters, you’ll want to make sure everything is compatible. If you’re chaining multiple adapters, it’s possible that this is where your problem stems from.

Running a USB-C to HDMI adapter and then plugging in an HDMI cable to run to your monitor should work just fine. Running a USB-C to DVI adapter then a DVI to HDMI connector won’t work. Ideally, you want to make the signal path from computer to monitor as simple as possible.

5. Make Sure You’re Powered Up

This is another MacBook-centric tip. Depending on your computer model and the monitor you’re using, the computer may not have enough juice to power the connection to the monitor from the battery.

Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Plug your laptop in whenever you’re using it with your external monitor or monitors. Yes, it’s one more item to plug in, but it will help keep trouble at bay.

6. Check the Display With Another Computer

Once you’re sure that the signal path from your computer is properly set up, you want to rule out problems with the monitor. This is as simple as plugging the monitor into another computer, assuming you have a different machine handy.

If you don’t have another computer, you might be able to try with an Apple TV or other streaming box. Barring that, it’s time to get in touch with friends or family and see if you can get them to stop by with their laptop. At least you’ll know that your monitor is working properly.

7. Try Adjusting Your Resolution

Even after you’re able to get your monitor working, you can run into other problems. The most common is blurry-looking fonts. Your Mac does its best to determine the proper resolution to set, but it’s not right 100 percent of the time.

To manually set your resolution, open System Preferences and go to Displays on the second row. Hold the Option key while selecting the Scaled option, and you’ll see a full list of resolutions to try. It might take a few tries, but you could end up with a much sharper-looking display.

8. Calibrate Your Display

Calibrating the display on a MacBook

If your fonts aren’t blurry but something seems off about the colors, there are a few fixes you can try. First, you can look at some of the color profiles in the Color tab of the Display settings in System Preferences.

After trying that, if colors still don’t seem right, you can manually calibrate your monitor. Apple’s support documentation for calibrating your display is slightly out of date, but can still help. We also have a rundown of online tools to help you calibrate your monitor.

9. Reset Your SMC and/or NVRAM

When all else fails, there’s one step left to do. Resetting your Mac’s SMC is one of those catch-all options that can fix a lot of problems. If something is wrong with your Mac but you’re not sure exactly what, this is always an option to consider.

This extends to issues with your monitor as well. Resetting your SMC can fix issues with display management and ports not functioning as they should. Your NVRAM stores a lot of different settings, including resolution. If manually setting resolution didn’t fix your issues, this could help.

If you’re not sure how to do this, we have a step-by-step guide to resetting your SMC and other settings.

Don’t Want to Buy Another Monitor? No Problem

After reading this, you might be put off on the idea of running more than one monitor. Don’t let this discourage you. Most of the time, running multiple monitors is as easy as plugging them in.

If you don’t want to run multiple monitors but are feeling cramped on your current display, you have another option. Instead of multiple monitors, you can run multiple desktops. Interested? Find out everything you need to know about multiple desktops on macOS.

Read the full article: 9 Troubleshooting Tips to Fix Multiple Monitors on Your Mac

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 1:00 am(NZT)

How to Spot a Fake MicroSD Card and Avoid Being Scammed

Wish.com is an e-commerce site offering fantastic deals on a mind-blowing range of items. You can grab anything from night-vision goggles and underwear to Bluetooth adapters and dog seatbelts for your car.

The site, founded by former Google and Yahoo programmers, has caught the eye of keen deal seekers.

Something else caught my eye: microSD cards. MicroSD cards with massive volume sold exceptionally cheap. As it turns out, the vast majority of these cards are fake. They work in your device but show a fake volume. Sellers are scamming buyers.

Here’s how you avoid fake microSD cards.

What Does a Fake MicroSD Card Look Like?

The following image is an advert on Wish.com for a Huawei 512GB Class 10 MicroSD card. (Class 10 means it is really fast.) Now, there are a few problems with the image. Can you figure them out?

wish huawei microsd card fake

Huawei doesn’t make microSD cards.

That’s it; that is the issue with the image. Chinese tech giant, Huawei, don’t make microSD cards for general sale. They do make proprietary Nano-Memory Cards that work with their devices, but they’re a different beast altogether (and don’t come in this size, as far as I know).

Want another example? The next example is a Verbatim 512GB Class 10 MicroSD card. Why is this one difficult?

wish verbatim fake microsd card

Verbatim does not make 512GB microSD cards (at least, they don’t at the time of writing).

The Verbatim 512GB microSD card is trickier because Verbatim does make memory cards. You can find their products on the internet, lending the fake advert some credibility.

Here’s your final example.

wish samsung fake microsd card

On offer is an “Original MicroSD Card.” The memory card doesn’t even carry a specific brand. However, the microSD card has been very carefully designed to mimic the design of another technology giant. See how the Wish.com Original MicroSD Card listing steals the design of the official Samsung EVO Plus memory card?

wish samsung evo real versio

You should note that Wish.com is far from the only site selling microSD cards with fake memory. eBay is awash with counterfeit microSD cards. Even Amazon has sold (and occasionally still does sell) fake microSD cards through its third-party seller scheme.

If you want to shop on Wish.com, check out these tips on how to do so safely.

How Do They Fake the MicroSD Card Volume?

Spotting a fake microSD isn’t always easy. Manufacturers are adept at copying designs. It isn’t just the design copy you have to worry about.

The advertised volume is also a complete fabrication.

The scammers modify the microSD card controller to falsify the card volume. When you plug the microSD card into your system it appears as a 512GB microSD. But once you start writing data to the drive, you’ll find:

Simply put, these cards are dangerous for your data.

How to Check a Fake MicroSD Card

All in all, it sounds pretty bad. However, if you have already bought a microSD card from Wish.com, you can run through a few checks to figure out the true capacity of the drive in your hands. Here are three tools to help you out.

1. FakeFlashTest

fakeflashtest fake microsd scan

FakeFlashTest is a utility that checks the true capacity of a flash drive. The same team develops FakeFlashTest as USB multiboot tool, RMPrepUSB. There are many fake microSD testing tools out there, but FakeFlashTest is easily one of the fastest around. It offers a couple of different tests, too.

You can use the Quick Size Test to quickly ascertain if a drive is fake or not. The Quick Size Test writes and reads 512 bytes at random segments across the drive. If the write/read process fails, it displays in the log. If you prefer an in-depth analysis, the Test Empty Space option writes and reads to all available space on the drive, then compares the difference.

As mentioned, FakeFlashTest is newer than most other similar tools and therefore is optimized for the job.

Download: FakeFlashTest for Windows (Free)

2. H2testw

h2testw fake microsd scan

H2testw is the go-to tool for most people when checking the status of a microSD. However, it was developed years ago, and with the increase in drive capacity, the primary test can take quite a while to complete. That doesn’t mean it is a bad tool. Far from it. H2testw remains one of the best options available for testing a fake microSD card.

Like FakeFlashTest, H2testw checks the free space on the drive by writing files to all available space on the device, then reading them back.

Download: H2testw for Windows (Free)

3. ChipGenius

chipgenius microsd fake scan

Chip Genius is different from the other tools. Instead of writing data to your device and reading it back, ChipGenius reads information directly from the flash memory inside the card. In that, ChipGenius is by and large the fastest option of all.

After you run ChipGenius, scroll down to the detailed information. Somewhere in the information, it will state “Total Capacity = 16GB” or whatever the real capacity of your microSD card.

Download: ChipGenius for Windows (Free)

Are Fake MicroSD Cards Worthless?

If you bought a 512GB microSD card on Wish.com and paid $10, you might want to ask for your money back. Chances are they’ll offer a refund, and you can keep the fake microSD card. After all, they’re being sold in the knowledge they’re fake.

The fake microSD card isn’t worthless though. Once you figure out the real size of the memory using one of the tools above, you can set to work making that memory usable. After all, you have paid for it, and maybe even received the money back.

Fix Fake MicroSD Card Using DiskPart

DiskPart is an integrated Windows disk partition utility. You can run it using the Command Prompt, and it is an easy way to make the fake microSD usable.

  1. First, open This PC. Make a note of the microSD card drive letter.
  2. Input command into your Start menu search bar, select the best match, then right-click and select Run as administrator.
  3. Now, type diskpart, then list volume.
  4. Input select volume [your drive letter]. You’re now going to shrink the drive to the real memory size. Please note the following command works in megabytes. For instance, if you want to decrease the drive size by 1GB, you would type “1000.”
  5. Input shrink desired [number of megabytes], and press Enter. For instance, if you bought a 512GB drive but its capacity is actually 8GB, you could type “shrink desired 504000.” The command will decrease the capacity by 504,000MB (504GB), leaving the 8GB of working memory.

Reduce the drive to just below the volume of working memory. So, if you have an 8GB drive, use the shrink desired command to reduce to 7.9GB. Even though the drive volume is now within its working range, the microSD card controller remains the same. Thus, if you hit the 8GB limit, your data could well begin overwriting the drive.

Once you have settled on a size, head back to This PC. Right-click the microSD card and select Format. Wait for it to complete. Voila, you have a working microSD card. Not quite the 512GB you thought, but better than nothing.

Avoid Deals That Are Too Good to Be True

If a deal seems too good to be true, there’s a solid chance it is.

As you have seen, there are hundreds of thousands of fake microSD cards on the market. It is easy to find them, too. It isn’t that people are clicking on dodgy adverts or using a shady online retailer. Fake microSD cards end up in the listings of global retailers, too.

Do you still need a microSD card? Here are mistakes you can avoid when buying your next microSD card.

Image Credit: nanaplus/Depositphotos

Read the full article: How to Spot a Fake MicroSD Card and Avoid Being Scammed

Source: MakeUseOf | 27 Mar 2019 | 12:00 am(NZT)

The 10 Best Free Google Fonts for Professional Presentations

Typography can make or break a presentation. You can work for hours on templates and colors but if you choose illegible or funky fonts, it can hurt your presentation.

In a professional setting, it’s important to choose fonts that convey a sense of seriousness while still being playful. This balance is tough to achieve. However, the following free Google Fonts are perfect for professional presentations.

Serif Fonts vs. Sans-Serif Fonts

Fonts (or typefaces) are mainly divided into two categories: serifs and sans-serifs. Serif means tail in Latin. A serif font is one which has strokes at the ends of the letters. Times New Roman is the best example of a popular serif font.

Sans stands for without. So, sans-serif font is a font without strokes at the ends of the letter (think Helvetica or Arial).

For a professional office presentation, it’s best to go with a sans-serif font. But some new-age serif fonts can also work quite well for title slides. They perfectly complement modern sans-serifs. If you’re curious, read our guide to typography terms to understand them better.

1. Playfair Display

Playfair Display Professional Google Font

Playfair Display is a serif font with a bit of flair. It can be traced back to the Age of Enlightenment in Europe during the late 18th century when broad nibs were replaced by sharp steel pens. This gives Playfair a graceful, feminine twist. A stark contrast from boring serif fonts like Times New Roman.

Playfair Display makes for an elegant header text for presentation; especially when paired with pastel color backgrounds.

Pairs well with: Open Sans

2. Arvo

Arvo Professional Google Font

Arvo is a slab-serif font designed for perfection. It’s a geometric typeface that’s a mix between classic and modern. Arvo Regular is a thin, modern version of the slab serif, While Arvo Bold has a thicker stroke and sharp corners.

Arvo Bold works best in bigger font sizes, as a title for business or corporate related presentations. When paired with the right colors, Arvo can be quite powerful.

Pairs well with: Lato

3. Crimson

Crimson Professional Google Font

You can’t say this about many fonts but the Crimson font is quite simply beautiful. If you’re trying to dazzle your audience with a classy-yet-fun presentation, consider using Crimson for titles and subtitles.

Crimson is a sans-serif font inspired by the Garamond font, but it goes beyond that. It is a modern take on the traditional old style fonts and is designed from the ground up to look good on screens and websites. If you’re tired of using Times New Roman in a presentation, switch to Crimson.

Pairs well with: Montserrat

4. Open Sans

Open Sans Professional Google Font

When preparing to make a professional presentation the first rule is to avoid a wall of text. Even a list of bullet points can be a little too much. But if you need a couple of lines to explain something, or if you’ve got a long quote in the form of a slide, try using Open Sans.

Open Sans is an open-source humanist sans-serif font. It is the typical workhorse of a font and will work well in almost any circumstance when paragraph text is used. It is a comfortably legible font, even at small sizes. The semibold version of the font works just as well as a title font.

Pairs well with: Raleway

5. Lato

Lato Heavy Professional Google Font

Lato means Summer in Polish and this font truly feels like a draft of the early Summer breeze. When you look at the font closely, it’s astonishing that a font with such attention to detail is available for free under the open-source license.

Lato was commissioned as a font by a large corporation which later decided to go in another direction. Lato was then turned into a free font. And you can see its corporate roots here. The font is playful with its semi-rounded details, but in a way that’s still professional. Lato font family is quite varied, starting from the Hairline version all the way to Heavy and Black.

Since Lato was designed to be a versatile font, it can be used as paragraph text and as title font as well.

Pairs well with: Open Sans, Raleway

6. Montserrat

Montserrat Professional Google Font

Montserrat set in Extra Bold is the perfect way to convey youth and forward-thinking in a professional presentation. Montserrat is a font you’ll often find in the landing pages of technology startups. The font is inspired by old posters and signs from the Montserrat neighborhood in Buenos Aires.

Thanks to its geometric shapes, Montserrat is one of those fonts that pairs very well with other sans-serif fonts. For example, Montserrat in Bold will work well with Open Sans and Lato.

Pairs well with: Open Sans

7. Merriweather

Meriweather Professional Google Font

Merriweather is a serif font that was designed for reading on screens. It’s a traditional serif font but it has more room to breathe. The letterforms themselves are condensed, with a higher x-height, leaving more room between letters.

Pairs well with: Open Sans, Roboto

8. Abril Fatface

Abril Fatface Professional Google Font

Abril Fatface is part of the larger Abril family which has 18 different typefaces ranging from Display to Text versions. The Fatface version is not for everyone. In fact, it’s more of a stylistic choice.

It has thick, swooping strokes coupled with thin serifs. This gives the font a unique personality and a powerful presence on the screen. Its serif roots give it gravitas while the tilting stokes give it a sense of playfulness. If you want your text to stand out while still maintaining a professional look, try using Abril Fatface as the title font.

Pairs well with: Raleway, Open Sans

9. Ubuntu

Ubuntu Professional Google Font

Think of Ubuntu as the stylistic version of Open Sans. It’s also an open-source humanist sans-serif font. Its development was funded by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux (which is one of our favorite distros).

While Open Sans has symmetrically rounded edges, Ubuntu curves strokes from a single edge. This is most evident in letters like “u” and “n”.

Pairs well with: Open Sans, Raleway

10. Raleway

Raleway Professional Google Font

Raleway brings the elegance of a serif font to a sans-serif font. It’s a thin font designed to be used for headings, making it the perfect font for title slides.

If you find the regular version to be a little too thin, then you can try out the semibold version.

Pairs well with: Roboto, Merriweather

Learn the Art of Font Pairing

The most important aspect of designing a presentation is not overdoing it. Just select one or two fonts and use them across the entire presentation. The same goes with color and the template as well. Keep things simple and consistent.

If you’re still coming to grips with the different types of typography, and you’re confused about serif and sans-serif fonts, just pick a simple sans-serif font like Open Sans and stick with it.

Once you’re comfortable playing around with type, you’re off to the races. Try different combinations of sans-serif and serif fonts. Pair Crimson with Lato or Playfair Display with Open Sans and see if it works.

Font pairing can be done quickly and easily online. You don’t even need to download all the fonts on your computer. Use websites like Google Fonts and Font Pair to find the perfect font pairing for a presentation.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Free Google Fonts for Professional Presentations

Source: MakeUseOf | 26 Mar 2019 | 11:00 pm(NZT)

The Fitbit Comparison: Which Model Is Best for You?

When it comes to fitness trackers, Fitbit is the first company that comes to most people’s minds. Fitbit has built a reputation for affordable, feature-packed devices. The company has even turned its hand to smartwatches, giving Apple a run for their money.

Their range has grown over the years from just a few devices to an eclectic assortment for every situation. With so many options out there, we’ve created this Fitbit comparison to help find the right device for you.

The Best Fitbit Smartwatch: Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa Fitbit Versa Buy Now On Amazon $193.14

The Fitbit Versa, the company’s third attempt at a smartwatch, is arguably the best Fitbit available today. The watch runs Fitbit OS, the company’s smartwatch operating system, and combines all the best features of a fitness tracker with smartwatch convenience.

The Versa has the multiple sensors found on most of Fitbit’s devices, including an always-on optical heart rate sensor. The battery life is around four days, with a full charge taking about two hours.

Although the Versa has in-built NFC, it is only used to operate Fitbit Pay, the company’s answer to Google Pay and Apple Pay. However, the service is currently limited to a select number of banks, and, as a result, may not be a useful feature for you.

Fitbit Versa smartwatch on a user's wrist

The watch is water resistant up to 50 meters and even includes swimming exercise tracking. That’s alongside automatic exercise tracking and manual tracking for up to 15 exercises. You’ll also be able to rest easy knowing that the Versa can track your sleep too.

If you like the Versa’s style but aren’t too keen on the price, the Versa Lite is a more affordable option. The Versa Lite is a slightly stripped back edition of the watch to bring the price down. So, there’s no onboard music storage, swimming tracking, tracking of floors climbed, or NFC.

If you’re in the market for a fitness-focused smartwatch, then you may check out our full Fitbit Versa review.

The Best Fitbit Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3 Fitbit Charge 3 Buy Now On Amazon $129.95

Despite the industry’s best efforts, not everyone wants a smartwatch. If you fall into that camp, then the Fitbit Charge 3 may be just the device for you. The Charge 3 is Fitbit’s most feature-packed fitness tracker, even importing some smartwatch-style notifications.

As with the Versa, the Charge 3 is water resistant up to 50 meters. However, the Charge 3 is designed to look more like a traditional fitness tracker. The device looks more like a wristband than a watch. The black and white screen supports tap and swipe actions and sits in line with the device’s strap.

Fitbit Charge 3 fitness tracker on a table

Fitbit is most well known for their pedometer feature, which is still given priority here too. They have taken cues from the Apple Watch though, with the step count on the standby screen replaced by a circular step goal tracker. That said, your detailed daily activity summary is only a swipe away.

The Charge 3 doesn’t have an in-built GPS tracker. However, when near your smartphone, it uses your phone’s GPS for tracking. Unlike Fitbit’s other fitness trackers, the Charge 3 supports Fitbit Pay thanks to the onboard NFC. The device has been designed to maximize battery life, lasting a week on average between charges.

When we reviewed the Fitbit Charge 3, we found that it was a worthy update to the now-discontinued Charge 2, and easily the company’s best fitness tracker to date.

The Best Fitbit Smartwatch for Exercise: Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic Fitbit Ionic Buy Now On Amazon $227.84

You can trace the origins of the Fitbit Ionic back to the company that turned the smartwatch into a mainstream item, Pebble. Fitbit acquired Pebble and then went about releasing the Ionic, their first smartwatch running Fitbit OS.

We reviewed the Fitbit Ionic when it was released and found it to be a promising but flawed device. It excelled at fitness tracking, but the buggy software let it down. However, cumulative updates since then have seen those initial problems ironed out.

Fibit Ionic smartwatch in a park

The Ionic and Versa both run the same edition of Fitbit OS, so the overall experience is the same between the two devices. Where they differ is in design. The Ionic stands out more. The Versa’s design is like the Apple Watch, but the Ionic is more uniquely distinctive.

One of the reasons for the larger design is the Ionic’s built-in GPS tracker. This means that you can utilize all of Fitbit’s fitness tracking features without the need for a companion smartphone. The Ionic is also water resistant to 50 meters, making it ideal for outdoor activities. The Gorilla Glass 3 screen means that the watch is durable too.

The Best Affordable Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Inspire HR

Fitbit Inspire HR Fitbit Inspire HR Buy Now On Amazon $98.99

The Fitbit Inspire HR is the latest addition to Fitbit’s fitness tracker range, replacing the Fitbit Alta 2. The Inspire HR stays with the rounded design first seen on the Charge 3, and the similarities don’t end there. The device is water resistant to 50 meters, has automatic exercise recognition, and hourly reminders to move.

At first glance, it can be hard to see what differences there really are between the Charge 3 and Inspire HR. The Inspire HR is the affordable, entry-level fitness tracker in Fitbit’s line-up. As a result, the Inspire HR has fewer features. There is no NFC, tracking of floors climbed, or support for on-device quick replies.

Fitbit Inspire HR product image

Launched at the same time, the Fitbit Inspire takes things a step further to reduce the cost. Sleep stage analysis, guided breathing sessions, heart rate monitoring, exercise tracking, and connected GPS have all been jettisoned to make the device affordable.

While that may sound like a lot of missing features, the Inspire and Inspire HR have all the hallmarks of a Fitbit device. The fitness and sleep tracking are the same as those found on Fitbit’s premium devices and accessed through the app in just the same way too.

If you’re after for an affordable fitness tracker, without the bells and whistles of a smartwatch, then the Inspire range may be just what you’re looking for.

Which Fitbit Is the Best for You?

Over the years, Fitbit has added features and incrementally improved their fitness trackers. Their smartwatches have even become firm favorites. The Versa Lite and Inspire HR promise to bring some of those premium features to devices at an affordable price point too.

Which Fitbit is best for you will ultimately depend on what you want to use it for, and which style suits you best. However, Fitbit isn’t your only choice. For an affordable fitness tracker, you could always invest in the Xiaomi Mi Band 3. When we reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, we thought it was the best budget fitness tracker around.

Read the full article: The Fitbit Comparison: Which Model Is Best for You?

Source: MakeUseOf | 26 Mar 2019 | 10:00 pm(NZT)











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