If you’re on the lookout for a new hobby you’ve probably considered exploring the world of printable board games and printable card games. And it turns out that it’s both easy and free to make your own games.
There are lots of games available to download and print out at home. And all you need are dice, counters, and poker chips. Here are some great free printable board games and printable card games to get you started.
Set in Lucky Mansion, the aim of the game is to find and kill Doctor Lucky. He’s appropriately named, so it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Furthermore, you have competition from your opponents.
This free printable game is based on the 2002 “Director’s Cut” of Kill Doctor Lucky and includes five PDF files for you to download. You’ll also need some player pieces; chess pawns and checkers pieces should do the trick.
Take-Back Toe looks easy and is simple to learn. Better still, you can play it again and again without it getting boring.
Requiring 40 poker chips (or checkers), a 4 x 3 grid and a six-sided die, Take-Back Toe has its roots in traditional games mancala and backgammon. It’s a game of strategy that you can print, with the game board designed to fit a standard mouse mat.
This means that if you want to print it to a 9 x 7.5-inch mouse mat, you can.
This solitary adventure game based on British TV series Doctor Who was created by Simon Cogan. It’s a booklet-based adventure game in which you play as the Doctor, essentially writing your own Doctor Who adventure.
“Evil events have overtaken the Universe! The Timelords and your home planet of Gallifrey have been destroyed in the Time War. You managed to escape, and now in a new regeneration, are standing at the console of your TARDIS as it flies through the Time Vortex.”
The game requires four downloadable booklets: Rules, Adventures, Enemies, and Events. You’ll also need two six-sided dice. Cards help you to gain allies, fight enemies, and take part in events and adventures. Various expansions are also available, including a story book based on the Doctor Who spin off, Torchwood.
And if you’re new to Doctor Who, here are the best Doctor Who episodes of all time.
You’ve probably heard of Cards Against Humanity. Described as “a party game for horrible people” it is available to download under Creative Commons license (what is Creative Commons?).
The download for this printable card game is around 9MB, which means you’ll need quite a bit of ink. Indeed, while this is a downloadable game, the designers advise you head to a print shop. They estimate that printing will cost around $10.
As card games go, Cards Against Humanity is memorable. But it isn’t for children.
If you really like it, you can buy Cards Against Humanity instead.Cards Against Humanity Cards Against Humanity Buy Now On Amazon $25.00
Another game with a time travel theme, TimeLine challenges you to find important artifacts from across history. With the items retrieved, you must then travel to the end of time to sell them.
TimeLine is basically a card-laying game, with three PDF files to download. You’ll also need pawns for each player and 20 colored chips. Simple, fun, and comparatively lightweight, TimeLine is suitable for playing while traveling.
Licensed under Creative Commons, Zombie In My Pocket is a fun solo game in which you fight zombies. The modular board and development cards mean that you get a different game every time you play. Downloaded over 72,000 times, it’s worth taking a few moments to download and print.
What’s more, the visual design of this printable card game is stunning, perhaps the best in this list.
This print-and-play solo game is small enough to fit in your pocket. Which is just as well as it means you can play Zombie In My Pocket while sat on a train, waiting in an airport lounge, or anywhere else you can think of.
Inspired by Carcassonne, this tile-laying game lets you play as a pirate on the high seas. Explore islands, establish trade routes, and beat your opponents.
Pirates and Plunder requires the use of printable ship pieces, or anything that resembles a boat that you already have. The tiles can be downloaded (at just 179KB) and printed, but you’ll need a color printer and something to add weight. Card, plastic, or cork should do.
This is a great game, particularly suitable for family play. After all, kids love being pirates.
Here’s a great way to refresh your old boxed Guess Who? game, with a LEGO flavor. If you find the original game getting a little repetitive, Mom Blogger Keri Houchin has the answer.
With her printables, you can replace the original Guess Who? cards and create a brand-new, LEGO-themed game. Better still, you could potentially do this yourself. As Keri notes: “I just photographed a bunch of minifigures and edited the pictures in Photoshop. I gave all the characters names for the sake of the game.”
Like LEGO Guess Who? there’s an official LEGO What Am I? game, complete with 16 minifigs.LEGO What Am I? LEGO What Am I? Buy Now On Amazon $43.20
Possibly the most famous board game in the world, Monopoly comes in many different flavors. From Star Wars to Fortnite, via many major cities of the world, and even the Cheater’s Edition, it remains popular.
But what if you wanted to print your own Monopoly board game?
Blogger Shauna1934 has created a completely blank version of Monopoly, including the board, money, and property cards. You’ll need to arrange your own Chance and Community Chest cards, but this is a pretty bulky download. It’s a smart idea to have the colored paper ready for the Monopoly money.
You’ll need nine pieces of card or paper (to glue to card) for the board. Instructions show how to print the board image over the multiple sheets, but you’ll need to do a bit of cutting, too. By the end, you’ll have your own custom version of Monopoly to play with your family and friends.
If you’re printing your own board games, you’re saving money on polished presentation, transport or shipping, and time. But is it really worth it?
While printable games can be like having an instant boxed game pop out of your printer, it’s not a perfect process. After all, like real games, cards, sheets, and boards can become worn. As such, it’s a good idea to take the time to laminate your printouts to help them last.
You might also buy some generic game pieces and dice, keeping them safe in a plastic tub.Universal Game Pieces Universal Game Pieces Buy Now On Amazon $21.99
The games featured above are just a few of the awesome free printable games that you can download today. Looking for more games to print? Then try these sites:
By now you should have found all of the printable board games you can shake your dice at. Want something different? Then try these awesome board games based on video games instead.
Read the full article: 9 Awesome Free Printable Board Games
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 5:00 am(NZT)
Windows 10 opens different file types using a particular program. It does this through file associations, where a program or app has been set as the default for that file type.
If you want to set default programs and change file associations in Windows 10, we’ll show you all the methods to do this.
Every file on your system is stored in a particular format, like JPG image files and DOC Word files.
Certain programs can only open certain files. For example, an image file like JPG can’t be opened in a word processor like Word. Instead, you’d open the image in something like the Windows 10 Photos app.
Rather than having to specify which program you want to use to open a file every time you access it, Windows assigns each file type a default program. These defaults can be changed by the user, or a program could set its own when installed.
That’s why it sometimes becomes necessary to adjust your file type associations. Happily, it’s easy to do this.
Let’s find out how you can see what type your files are and then the different methods to change the Windows 10 file associations.
Before you can change file associations, you need to know what file types you are storing.
First, open File Explorer and navigate to the folder which contains your file. Then, right click the file and select Properties.
A new window with details about that file will open. Type of file will tell you what the file extension of the file is. Opens with will tell you what program it’ll open in.
You can set it so that the file extension appears with the file name in File Explorer. To do this, open File Explorer and click the View tab. Then tick the box for File name extensions.
There are three quick and easy methods within Windows to change the file type associations.
You can change the file type associations direct from the File Explorer. To do so, right click the file and then hover Open with.
You’ll see a list of programs, which you can use to open the file, but this will just be a one-off and won’t change your settings permanently. To make a permanent change, select Choose another app.
Now select the application from the list that you want to use to open the file type of the file you’ve chosen. If you don’t see the program you need, scroll down and select More apps for a wider selection.
If it’s still not there, select Look for another app on this PC. You can then go through your Program Files and locate the executable for the program you want.
When selected, tick Always use this app to open .X files at the bottom of the window. This will permanently change the file type association. Then click OK.
The best place to comprehensively change file associations and set default apps is through Settings.
To begin, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Apps > Default apps.
Here you can set and use default apps for things like email, maps, music, and so on. Click the application to select a different one from the list.
You can click Reset to put everything back to “Microsoft recommended defaults.” As you might expect, this means Microsoft-created Windows 10 default programs like Groove Music for music and Edge for web browsing.
Scroll down and you will see three options to have refined control over file associations:
Choosing by file type lets you set specific programs for JPG, DOC, and so on. This is the option you most likely need.
Choosing by protocol is for actions or links. For example, when encountering a URL:calculator link, you can set which program is used. The vast majority of these will be pretty application specific anyway, so it’s rare that you’ll need to change them.
Finally, setting by app lets you manage an entire program and its associated file types and protocols from one place.
It isn’t possible to reset file associations through Settings. For that, you need to use Command Prompt.
Press Start, type cmd and it’ll find Command Prompt. Right click the entry and click Run as administrator.
Type assoc, press Enter, and it’ll bring up all file types and their associations.
To quickly check a specific file type, input:
Replace ext with the file type. For example, input assoc .jpg and you will see what program opens JPG files.
To remove the association from the program, type:
Again, replace ext. You can type the first command to double check it’s worked, as you should see a “file association not found” error.
Windows 10 has been known to reset default apps by changing file type associations after every update. The best thing you can do to fix this is back up your file type associations and restore them once you discover that a Windows 10 update has messed with them.
The easiest method to back up and restore file type associations is by using a third-party utility called Default Programs Editor.
Once downloaded and installed, launch it and click Create or restore a backup of registry settings.
Click Create a backup. It will process and add an entry to the table with the date and time.
When it’s time to restore, return to this screen, click the entry, and click Restore selected backup. Finally, restart your computer.
You can also go directly into the registry to back up file type associations. However, this is a bit more complicated, and it can sometimes result in a permission error when restoring certain associations. As such, use it as a last resort.
Press Windows key + R to open Run. Enter regedit and hit Enter to launch the Registry Editor. Now browse to the following key:
Right-click FileExts (or the sub-folder you want), select Export, and choose a destination and file name for your .reg file backup.
Once you need to restore this backup, right-click the respective .reg file that you saved previously and select Merge. This will overwrite the current settings in your registry and restore your previously backed up preferences.
With these methods you’ll have full control over your file type associations, ensuring that all your files open in the most suitable program by default. Be wary when installing a new program as some of them will request to become the default program for a set of file types, and you might not want that.
If you want to know more about file types, check out how to know when to use which file format.
Read the full article: How to Change Windows 10 File Associations and Default Programs
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 4:00 am(NZT)
Disney+ is now available in North America, having launched in the US and Canada on November 12th. Disney+ is also available in The Netherlands, with Disney having used it as a test ground for its new streaming service. But when is Disney+ coming to your country?
After several years of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon prime leading the way when it comes to streaming, more streaming services are now launching. There’s Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, and niche services such as BritBox and Acorn TV for fans of British TV shows.
The problem is, most of these streaming services are being rolled out gradually, generally starting in the US. Which leaves those of us in the rest of the world wondering when we’ll be able to subscribe. Thankfully, Disney isn’t wasting any time.
Disney+ is launching in Australia and New Zealand on November 19th. Then, Disney plans to expand further into Europe in 2020. According to a tweet from Disney, Disney+ will launch in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain on March 31st, 2020.
Just announced: #DisneyPlus will be available in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain (and more to be announced soon) starting on March 31st. Please note: Titles may vary by territory. pic.twitter.com/lE6nzBeaXy
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) November 7, 2019
As Disney states, it will be announcing more countries soon. So it shouldn’t be long before Disney+ also launches in Asia, South America, and the other territories where viewers are likely to lap up the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies and shows available.
It’s important to note, however, that Disney has stated that “titles may vary by territory”. So, while Disney+ exclusives such as The Mandalorian will be available everywhere, some of the classic Disney movies available in the US may not be available elsewhere.
While we know that Disney plans to roll Disney+ out to more countries in 2020, we don’t yet know anything about the pricing. In the US, Disney+ costs $6.99/month or $69.99/year, so that should work as a guide price when it comes to other countries.
If you’re based in the US and considering subscribing to Disney+, here’s everything coming to Disney+. Be warned though, that for every Toy Story and Avengers title, there are films called The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes and Justin Morgan Had a Horse.
Read the full article: Disney+ Will Launch in Europe in March 2020
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 3:30 am(NZT)
Digital Rights Management—better known as DRM—is a scourge for anyone who’s bought music online. By preventing the buyer from copying or sharing music, DRM limits what the owner can do with the track they’ve purchased.
Thankfully, there are a few tools that can remove the DRM from the music you’ve downloaded. This frees it from the virtual shackles and lets you use it in any way you please. Here are several different ways to remove DRM from your music files.
In the old days, any music you bought from iTunes used to have DRM attached to it. The DRM was so restrictive that you could only play the music on Apple devices.
Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Today, all songs listed in the iTunes Store are categorized as “iTunes Plus.” That means they’re in the AAC format and don’t have any DRM attached. But what about all of those old songs you downloaded in years gone by?
In theory, Apple will let you redownload a non-DRM version. However, if you’ve long since lost access to the original account, that’s a non-starter. You need a DRM removal app.
One solution is to use AppleMacSoft DRM Converter for Mac. It integrates directly with iTunes and can remove DRM in bulk. You can save your new audio file as an MP3, M4A, M4R, AAC, AC3, AIFF, AU, FLAC, or MKA file, and can even use the tool to remove DRM from your Apple audiobooks.
Download: AppleMacSoft DRM Converter for Mac ($40, free trial available)
Many of the tools that can remove DRM from music take advantage of the “analog hole.” For those who don’t know, the analog hole is the term given to the phenomenon whereby any digital audio or video file can be recaptured in a fairly straightforward way once it becomes perceptible to humans.
But this approach has a downside. By using your system’s soundcard, you can experience a significant loss in quality. MuvAudio is different. It uses a digital conversion process, thus allowing you to retain the audio quality of the original file.
MuvAudio can convert DRM protected file formats that are only readable on certain devices into files that are device-agnostic. The app can read the major formats, as well as some more niche ones like SPX, MPC, APE, OFR, OFS, TTA, and MPE. The seven supported output formats are MP3, M4A, WMA, OGG, FLAC, WV, and WAV.
Some of the app’s other features include the ability to split long audio tracks into shorter files, a way to edit a DRM-protected file’s metadata data before you create the DRM-free version, and a search tool for missing album artwork.
The trial version of the app lets you remove the DRM from 60 songs. If you have more tracks to fix up, you’ll have to pay for the full version.
Download: MuvAudio ($19, free trial available)
If you’d prefer to save some money and take the “analog hole” approach to removing DRM from your music files, you only need a simple audio recording app. Both Windows and macOS come with such an app as a native part of the respective operating systems.
However, we’d recommend going one step further and downloading a more powerful tool such as Audacity.
To use Audacity to remove DRM on Windows, follow these steps:
If you’re using a macOS device, the situation is slightly more complex. Macs do not have a native way to record a computer’s audio output. As such, you’ll need to download and install another third-party app—Soundflower—before you begin.
When you’re ready, use the following step-by-step guide:
The downside of using Audacity to remove music DRM is two-fold. Firstly, you need to play each DRM-protected track in full. If you have thousands of DRM-protected songs that you’re trying to work through, that might not be practical.
Secondly, you’re making an entirely new file. As such, you’ll lose any metadata from the original file. Again, if you’re working with hundreds of songs, that’s a significant extra workload that you’ll have to take on.
To learn more about using the app, check out our article detailing how to remove ambient noise using Audacity.
You can also burn DRM-protected music files onto a CD. So, a simple way to bypass DRM is to create a CD of the tracks you want to free up, then immediately rip the CD back into your computer’s music player.
The only requirement is that you use a music player on Windows or Mac that has CD burning capabilities. Most of the best music managers on both platforms have this functionality.
Naturally, your computer also needs to have a CD drive. If it doesn’t, check out the Rioddas External CD Drive on Amazon.
And remember, if you use this technique, you don’t even need to burn a physical CD. You could download an app like TuneClone to create virtual CDs—AKA ISO files—then rip them back onto your machine.
Download: TuneClone ($35, free trial available)
Music isn’t the only type of media that’s afflicted by DRM protection. Some audiobooks, movies, TV series, and ebooks are locked behind Digital Rights Management.
But don’t worry. Just like audio files, you can remove the DRM from those types of media too. If you’d like to learn more, check out our article explaining how to remove the DRM on every ebook you own.
Read the full article: How to Free Up Your DRM Protected Music
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 3:00 am(NZT)
Snapchat can be intimidating. The social media platform has a language all of its own, with various Snapchat terms meaning users can struggle to understand what’s going on.
Whether you need help getting started with Snapchat or you’re a longtime user who has encountered a new phrase, here are the common Snapchat terms you need to know.
This is the start of your journey.
A Snapcode is simply a QR code linked to a particular user. Every user has a unique Snapcode, making it easy to add friends. Find your own Snapcode by clicking on your profile, found in the top-left of the screen.
The circular button at the bottom of the main Snapchat interface is known as the Capture button. Click it once to take a photo. Hold it down to record a video.
Images and videos are both known as Snaps.
This is a series of Snaps or videos that you can share either with a limited Friends list (My Story) or with the public (Our Story). It means you’re not sending a particular image to one person; you want numerous people to see it.
Everyone knows what a Snap is, but newbies might not realize the app also boasts a standard Chat function. Think of it like iMessage or Facebook Messenger.
You can view your conversation lists by swiping left from the camera interface.
Swiping right lets you view other people’s Stories, including those from publications Snapchat thinks you’ll like.
Your friends’ Stories are listed at the top. Websites, celebrities, and advertisers will feature below this, including any you’ve subscribed to.
Snapchat will occasionally send you messages. They’re mainly about updates or holidays like Easter. These aren’t particularly common, but expect to see Team Snapchat listed in your Chats.
We’re constantly judged in every aspect of our lives, and even Snapchat judges you with a Snapchat Score. This is a numerical score based on how active you are on the platform. Find yours in your Profile. Several factors determine this, but it’s primarily based on how many Snaps you send.
Some people’s Score will consist of six figures. They’re successful Snapchatters. Others’ will be minimal, showing a lack of interaction on the app. Who are the real losers? We’ll leave you to decide.
A Snap Streak is when you send Snaps on consecutive days to a friend and that user similarly responds with Snaps. You have to each send Snaps every 24 hours to maintain the Streak. A Snapchat Streak is established after three days of consecutive Snaps, and you can’t merely use Chats.
When you’re on a Streak with a friend, a flame emoji will appear next to a friend’s name. If you lose a Snapchat Streak, here’s how to get a lost Snapchat Streak back.
A Bitmoji is a cartoon avatar of yourself. Your Bitmoji is a fun bit of personalization which displays when typing in real-time or in your profile if you’ve not added a Story.
It also shows in friend suggestions, so others can easily identify the right user to add.
Lenses are Augmented Reality (AR) interfaces that let you add illustrative elements to Snaps. They focus on your face in a video as you record it then overlays cartoons. The most famous Lens is a long tongue and dog ears.
Face and World Lenses are to the right of the Capture button.
Snappable are a variation of Lenses that invite others to get involved too.
Some are multiplayer games, while others offer “experiences”—a loose term which merely means another type of AR. Snappables can be sent to a Friend, and they can sometimes further the fun by forwarding on their contribution to the Lens.
You can find the Snappables to the left of the Capture button.
These are another form of customization like Lenses, albeit added after a Snap is taken. Filters can include location services, color effects, and your Bitmoji.
Just take a Snap then swipe either left or right. Activate Filters first or click Enable Filters after swiping.
— Harry Potter and the Cursed Child NYC (@CursedChildNYC) September 6, 2019
As with Filters, Stickers overlay a Snap after it’s been taken.
They’re graphic designs often related to specific days, i.e. “Happy Humpday” on a Wednesday or a Christmas tree during the festivities. Some are GIFs, while others are plain drawings. You can change their size by pinching the screen with your fingers.
When previewing a Snap, you’ll see a menu of options in the top-right. One of these is Scissors.
Scissors let you trace around an object in a Snap and save it to use again as a Sticker.
Snapchat used to solely allow self-destructing Snaps. Now, you can choose a time limit or create an infinity loop, so the video carries on playing until the recipient closes it. Bounce is part of the latter.
It loops a certain portion of a video, meaning you can focus on a particularly fun bit. You can record a video of someone scoring a goal, then loop the football actually hitting the net.
By exploring the world, you can get more Snapchat filters, lenses, and stickers. Geofilters are determined by where you are. It means Snapchat needs access to your location.
As with other Filters, Geofilters are applied after a Snap is taken, so appear on the preview page. Geofilters become available when you’re near a landmark. These generally include an emoji version of the attraction and a flashy sign to show off where you’ve been.
These are a series of Snaps curated by the Snapchat team and typically feature a range of celebrities and the general public. They generally happen around major events or locations.
Don’t worry, Snapchat doesn’t collate your Stories without your permission. When sending a Snap, a Live Story option may appear, so it’s up to you whether you contribute. And then it’s up to the Snapchat Team to decide what makes the cut.
A Snapsterpiece is a fusion of “Snap” and “Masterpiece”, and it’s an effort to give extra importance to your photos and scribblings.
Snapchat uses the term typically when you attempt to abandon a Snap. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an image you’re deleting because it’s blurred or if you’ve spent ages drawing and adding Filters. Snapchat still thinks it’s a masterpiece. How sweet/gullible/cringey.
Snap Camera is Snapchat’s expansion into the world of desktop and laptop computing. They relay AR elements like Filters and Lenses over video chats and streaming services like Twitch through your webcam.
We recognize Snapchat as an app that doesn’t store content, but you can instruct it to. If you have a Snap that you love, save it to Memories. You could previously save everything to your Camera Roll; this is another in-app option. Snapchat will remind you of certain milestones too, telling you what you were up to a year or two ago.
Learning these common Snapchat terms can help you to understand Snapchat. Which is key if you want to use the social media platform to its full potential. And don’t worry if Snapchat still sounds intimidating; it gets easier once you’re used to the interface.
And if you spend time on the app and aren’t enamoured by it, that’s fine. Snapchat isn’t for everyone.
Read the full article: 20 Common Snapchat Terms You Need to Know
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 2:00 am(NZT)
Learning how to program has come a long way since I was a child. At age 7, I was learning BASIC on the Amstrad. The most fun I could have was changing the color of the screen. Nowadays, kids are spoilt for choice. The Robo Wunderkind kits introduce programming using a unique graphical interface and customizable robotics toy. It’s easy to use, simple to build, and masterfully engaging for kids of 6 years and up.
Available now as a Starter or Education kit, Robo Wunderkind is also currently Kickstarting their next-generation model, with shipping due next year. If this review piques your interest, head on over to back their newest Kickstarter.
There are two kits available: Starter and Educational, retailing at $179 and $249 respectively.
Inside the Starter Kit, you’ll find:
The Educational Kit takes things a step further, adding:
The included blanking plates allow you to both protect exposed connectors and customize your robot endlessly. Bricks, minifigs, or technical LEGO pieces can be attached in a variety of ways.
The only included printed instructions is a booklet listing all the different modules. Have a look through that so you know what each one is. They’re all color-coded.
You’ll need to download either the RoboLive or RoboCode app to get started. Each app includes a handful of robot designs.
Activate the main body module, pair it using the app, and you’re set. Once you’ve chosen a design, you’re shown an exploded view of the robot. As you click each module into place, a green check will appear to indicate it was successfully detected. My 5-year-old had no problem clicking the various bits together, mostly in the right place. The only tricky part is orienting the main body correctly; if you start with it facing the wrong direction, the panel with the on/off switch might prevent you from clicking things on.
From there, tap on “I’m done”, and you’ll be taken to either the remote control dashboard or the graphical coding view, depending on which app you chose.
The first app is RoboLive, which simply offers a remote control feature of all connected modules. This is probably the easiest place to start children and gives them immediate feedback of what a particular module can do. There are five or six included robot designs with a pre-built dashboard, though you’re also free to begin a new project from scratch. Control components can be dragged and dropped onto the dashboard, and some have parameters you can adjust.
I found RoboLive to be ultimately unfulfilling, though it was the easiest option for my son to pick up and play. Once the basic understanding of what each module does is out of the way, I’d suggest moving onto RoboCode.
This is where the real programming fun comes into play. After building your robot, you’re presented with a graphical state machine. First, just hit play to see what happens. You’ll be able to follow along as each step is highlighting in green as the robot progresses through the state machine. If a particular transition condition has been triggered, that’s also highlighted.
Of course, if you like a challenge, you can always start your machine programming entirely from scratch.
A single state can hold a number of actions to be performed simultaneously, and each state is connected to another via a simple one-way arrow (ie, move onto the next state when this one has finished). Conditions (shown in red) can also be attached to states, so a single state can have multiple outward paths depending on which condition is met. It shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to grasp the basics, and soon you’ll be modifying the programs. Be careful in delete mode though: everything you tap on will disappear immediately–there is no confirmation dialog!
Though I really love the graphical state machines of RoboCode, it’s worth noting that if your child is already learning a little programming at school, it’s likely that they’re using Scratch. The two concepts are profoundly different. Scratch is a modular graphical programming system where children drag around code blocks and fill in the blanks. It’s a lot closer to actual coding than the RoboCode system.
That said, I think both are incredibly useful to study. In fact, if you study for a Computer Science degree, you’ll likely study state machines at some point. They’re far more useful for examining how control flows around a system, and relate more directly to robotics than Scratch does.
You can, of course, achieve the same end results with either method, but I feel that the RoboCode state machine idea is a useful tool to complement the other.
Soon though, you won’t have to choose. The Robo Wunderkind team is working on a RoboBlockly app for next year; which is their implementation of Scratch for robotics. You can have the best of both worlds!
I must admit, I felt a bit lost initially, with no printed tutorial to be found in the box other than a very brief leaflet explaining which piece does what. Opening up the RoboCode interface for the first time is quite daunting, and the included help system is simply a long list of buttons. As a programmer, it was simple enough for me to understand, but I wasn’t sure of the best way to teach it to my son.
Then I discovered the extensive curriculum, freely available to download and suitable for all ages. It consists of teaching guidelines, full lesson plans, worksheets, and answers for both RoboLive and RoboCode. Keep your laptop handy so you don’t have to print everything and follow through it with your child. It explains everything in bite-sized chunks.
We’ve reviewed the current generation of RoboWunderkind kit, and while it’s a fantastic package, it’s not without its flaws. Thankfully, RoboWunderkind has taken a lot of the feedback on-board for their next-gen model, which it’s Kickstarting now.
As well as small improvements across all the current hardware modules, it’s introducing a set of new ones:
These open a huge range of new input opportunities for your programs.
RoboUniverse is the new app, which brings together the disparate RoboCode and RoboLive, and introduces a new RoboBlockly, a Scratch-like programming interface. In addition, there’s a new Arduino and Python API under development, for the older kids.
The truth is that today’s schools simply aren’t doing to prepare our children for the technological world they’re entering into (amongst other things they’re not teaching, like financial responsibility, but I digress). It’s up to us, as parents, to fill in those gaps. The Robo Wunderkind Education Kit is a great way to do that.
The state machine representation of RoboCode combined with the easy-to-build and customizable robot is a winning combination, the only downside being that it may confuse older children if they already study Scratch at school. Hopefully, the RoboBlockly Scratch app will be available soon to remedy that.
Thanks to Robo Wunderkind, we have a complete Education Kit to give away to one lucky reader. Enter below for your chance to win!
Read the full article: Robo Wunderkind: The Best Way to Teach Programming to Children
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 1:30 am(NZT)
Bluetooth earbuds sound great on paper. They’re tiny, there are no wires to contend with, and they look fab in your ear.
But they have one glaring drawback—the battery. You don’t want to be halfway through a long journey only to discover that you’re out of juice. As such, you need to make sure you buy Bluetooth earbuds with long battery life.
But which are the best wireless earbuds with long battery life? Keep reading to learn more.
Battery Life: 9 hours of continuous playback
If you value high-quality sound, slick design, and earbuds with long battery life, the Powerbeats Pro should be near the top of your shopping list.
The buds offer approximately nine hours of continuous audio playback. If you also buy the charging case, you can enjoy more than 24 hours of playback. Better yet, if you find your batteries running low and in need of a quick top-up, just five minutes of charging will give you 1.5 hours of additional playback time.
A few other features help to justify the high cost of the Powerbeats Pro. For example, the buds are IPX4 sweat and water-resistant, thus making them ideal for a long workout. They also have adjustable ear hooks to keep them in place during vigorous exercise. The earbuds will even recognize when you place them in your ears and will start playback automatically.OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 Buy Now On Amazon $132.00
Battery Life: 14 hours of continuous playback
If you want Bluetooth earbuds with even longer battery life, check out the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. They provide listeners with 14 hours of continuous playback. And like the Powerbeats Pro, there’s also a quick charge feature; 10 minutes of charging will give you 10 hours of playback. Keep in mind, however, that if you like to listen to your music with the volume turned up to the maximum, you’ll see less battery life than advertised.
The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 headphones are a single unit, as they are joined with a behind-the-neck strap. They are also magnetic, allowing you to connect them together for easy storage. And when you do clip the buds together, playback will automatically stop. It’s a great way to ensure you don’t run the battery down accidentally.
The sound quality of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 is also excellent. Each earbud has a Knowles Balanced Armature Driver and a 10mm dynamic driver, thus letting them pick up the softest trebles and the lowest basses. And you can even jump between two simultaneously paired devices thanks to an in-line control button.Mifo 05 Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds Mifo 05 Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds Buy Now On Amazon $79.99
Battery Life: 7 hours of continuous playback
When you’re looking for Bluetooth earbuds with long battery life, the headline figure of seven hours for the Mifo 05 Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds might not immediately catch your attention. It’s a decent amount, but only half of what the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 provide. The earbuds come into their own, however, when you also consider the charging case.
The case comes with a 2600mAh battery that can provide a mammoth 100 hours of continuous playback. That’s way more than anything else on the market. For example, the charging case for the Sennheiser True Wireless earphones is 600mAh, while the Sony WF 1000X’s charging case is 850mAh. And incredibly, the charging case can recharge itself in just one hour.
Some of the other best features on the Mifo 05 Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds include smart pairing, a Bluetooth 5 chipset, compatibility with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, 3D stereo sound, and dynamic drivers in each bud.JLab Audio Epic Executive Earbuds JLab Audio Epic Executive Earbuds Buy Now On Amazon $98.99
Battery Life: 10 hours of continuous playback
The JLab Audio Epic Executive Earbuds are one of the few wireless earbuds with long battery life that also provide active noise cancellation (ANC). With the ANC turned on, they will last for seven hours. If you’re happy to stick with passive noise cancellation, you can expect to enjoy 11 hours of continuous playback. The headphones also ship with a 3.5mm headphone jack adaptor, so even if you’re caught short and run out of battery, you will still have a way to tune in and listen to your audio.
Like the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 headphones, the JLab Audio Epic Executive Earbuds use a neck strap to keep the earphones in place. They use Bluetooth 4.1 that has a range of 30 feet and have a water and dust-proof rating of IP54. You’ll also get a travel case, several different sized earbuds, and ear cushions in the box. The ear cushions are ideal for periods of prolonged listening.Senso Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Senso Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $24.96
Battery Life: 8 hours of continuous playback
If you are looking for the best budget wireless earbuds with long battery life, you should consider the Senso Bluetooth Wireless Headphones. They provide eight hours of continuous playback, and while some of the other earbuds on our list provide longer battery life, none of them can match the Senso model on price.
The earbuds have an IPX7 waterproof rating, ergonomically designed ear hooks, and a 30-foot Bluetooth 4.1 range. If we had one criticism of the Senso Bluetooth Headphones, it would be the design. Sadly, they look like a budget pair of earphones. We’ve seen enough cheap headphones to know that it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Still, if the design isn’t important to you, the Senso earbuds come highly recommended.
For some people, using wireless earbuds with long battery life is essential. If you know that you spend a lot of time on the road, you need to be able to use them for hours without fretting about how much juice is left.
However, if you don’t need long battery life, don’t let it be the main thing that drives your purchase decision. Make sure you also consider design, comfort, and sound quality.
To learn more about the options available to you, make sure you check out the best wireless earphones for all budgets.
Read the full article: The 5 Bluetooth Earbuds With Long Battery Life
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 1:00 am(NZT)
Want to learn how to update Google Play services? If Play Services doesn’t update, you probably can’t use many of your favorite apps. This means your phone is near useless, so you’ll want to run a Google Play services update as soon as possible.
Let’s look at what Google Play services is, how to update it properly, and why you can’t update it sometimes.
First, here’s a quick explanation of what Google Play services actually is.
Google Play services is a program that allows apps to interface with Google’s software, like Gmail, Google Search, and the Google Play Store. Without Google Play services running, you cannot use any of Google’s first-party apps.
Those who can’t update it can still use alternative Android app markets, like Amazon’s App Store, F-Droid, and others. If your phone won’t update to the latest version of Google Play, you can oftentimes get the apps you need through a process known as sideloading.
But before you give up on installing Google Play services, here’s how to get it running on most Android tablets, TV boxes, and smartphones (with a few exceptions).
Most of the time, Google Play services should update on its own without issue. You’ll only need to look into a Google Play services app update if something get stuck.
Here’s how to install the latest version of Google Play services on your device manually.
A flaky internet connection is the number one cause for Play Services not updating. Make sure you’re connected to a stable Wi-Fi network when you try to update.
If you’re still having problems, restart your device to clear up any temporary issues. Failing that, you should reboot your router.
Wiping Google Play services’ temporary file storage location, or cache, is the best way to resolve update issues. To do this, perform the following steps (which may vary slightly depending on your version of Android and device).
First, go to Settings > Apps & notifications. Next, tap See all X apps (the screenshot below shows All 95 apps).
From the list, find and tap on Google Play services. Then choose Storage & cache from the list of options on its app page. Finally, hit Clear cache on the resulting menu.
Once you’ve done this, restart your device. If it doesn’t help, repeat the above steps but select Clear storage instead.
After restarting, you should try to force an update of Play Services. You shouldn’t need to do this in most cases, but it’s worth a try if you continue to experience issues.
To do this, visit the Google Play services entry in Settings as mentioned above. Expand the Advanced section and tap App details to open its page on the Play Store. If you’re on your phone, you can open the Google Play services Play Store page to jump right to it. The green button will show Deactivate if you’re up-to-date and Update if you can install a new version.
You also can do this by visiting Play Store in a web browser and signing in with your Google account. Open the above link to the Google Play services page on Google Play, and check for an update there.
The above should work in most situations. But if you’re desperate, installing a beta version (an experimental update that hasn’t been fully tested) of Google Play services may force an update.
We don’t recommend this option except as a last resort. At best, it might make your device functional again. But if this method works, it will not update you to the latest version of Google Play services. It will instead update to an experimental version of the software—which may break many of your apps.
The process is simple, and is best done on a desktop or laptop where you’re logged into the primary Google account associated with your device. First, navigate to the Google Play Services Public Beta Program page. On that page, follow the link under the Subscribe using the opt-in URL header and you’ll see the below. Click Become a tester to join.
Once you’ve signed up, Google will push beta versions of Play services to your device automatically. You can try to force them by following step three of the above process.
If you change your mind, you can leave the program at any time. Visit the Google Play services beta opt-out page to drop out. However, this may require that you uninstall Play Services before it functions normally again.
If you fall into one of these categories, your phone probably won’t be able to update Google Play services using the method outlined above.
As of 2018, Google no longer supports Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or below. That means if you own an Android device running one of those version, you can’t install or update Google Play services. These users can either install a custom ROM or try sideloading Google Play Store alternative as mentioned earlier.
If you purchased your device in India, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, or elsewhere in East or Southeast Asia, there is a chance it came with an unlicensed (or “uncertified”) version of Google Play services. Google recently blocked access to the Play Store for many of these users.
However, the company also left the door open to registration. However, the registration process requires jumping through a few hoops. Jump down to the Device Registration section below for info on how to do this.
If you’ve installed a custom version of Android or modified its system directory through rooting, there are too many variables to consider when something goes wrong. The instructions provider here won’t be of much help.
In order to use Google’s software, such as Google Play, Gmail, and Google Calendar, device manufacturers must obtain Google’s permission. Some manufacturers don’t bother with this, and instead install uncertified copies of Google’s software on their smartphones. Google began cracking down on this practice on devices some time ago.
Unlicensed versions of Android can still update Google Play services. However, you will need to first register your device with Google. The process is easy; it requires visiting Google’s Uncertified Device Registration page.
Once you’re here, you’ll need to acquire your device’s Framework Android ID. The easiest way to do this is using the Device ID app. Due to your issue, you probably don’t have access to Google Play. Thus, you’ll need to download the APK manually and sideload it to install.
After you’ve retrieved it from the app, input the Google Services Framework Android ID into the Uncertified Device Registration page. The process is not immediate; it may take several hours. Once registered with Google, you then should be able to manually install Google Framework Services, which will allow you to continue using (and updating) Google Play services.
Hopefully this helped you update Play Services without much hassle. If you need more info than just getting Google Play services to update, we have another guide that might help you.
Check out our detailed instructions for fixing Google Play issues. It also includes tips on legitimate websites that host the android installation files for Google Play services (as well as other essential Play Store software infrastructure). However, we don’t recommend manual installation in all cases. This comes with risks, such as getting a malware infection or destroying your device. Additionally, a manual install can take hours of your time. Sometimes upgrading your device is the only cost-effective option.
Read the full article: How to Update Google Play Services on Android
Source: MakeUseOf | 13 Nov 2019 | 12:00 am(NZT)
Recording and streaming games on Windows 10 has never been easier thanks to the build-in Xbox Game Bar. It features tools for recording game activity and it’s also a great way to share footage and upload your greatest gaming achievements with the webcam and mic.
But what if it stops working? The Xbox Game Bar is, unfortunately, a little buggy. Here’s how to deal with Xbox Game Bar errors and start recording and sharing game footage once again.
Press the Windows + G key to open the Xbox Game Bar on the desktop over your game.
The Xbox Game Bar in Windows 10 is part of the Xbox gaming experience on Microsoft’s desktop OS. It’s available alongside the Xbox Console Companion as a way to bring console-like gaming to Windows.
So, you get access to your Xbox gamertag, achievements (many of which are available in Windows games), and even the ability to stream games from your Xbox to Windows.
The Xbox Game Bar sits alongside this, bringing the ability to record your gameplay to Windows without third-party software. Unfortunately, however, the Xbox Game Bar occasionally fails to work correctly. So, what can you do about this?
Problems you might encounter range from the Xbox Game Bar not opening when requested to video not being recorded.
Along the way, you might find that the app causes weird pop-up messages or won’t stream video.
Most issues with the Xbox Game Bar app are related to the app settings. As such, they can be resolved by disabling the app, resetting, repairing, or uninstalling, or simply tweaking the registry.
Note, however, that extreme Xbox Game Bar issues—those that refuse to be resolved in normal ways—require drastic action. Namely, a full system reset or repair.
Hopefully, it won’t get that far.
Trying to record videos of your gameplay, or take screenshots, and you find the Xbox Game Bar isn’t playing ball? You can encounter these four common Xbox Game Bar problems, to begin with:
One way to fix problems with the Xbox Game Bar is to restart Windows 10.
Click Start > Power > Restart and wait while your computer reboots. When you’ve logged back into Windows, the Xbox Game Bar should work.
Another way to fix this is to clean boot your computer. Not to be confused with booting into Safe Mode, a clean boot starts with a minimal set of drivers.
Unlike Safe Mode, you can use a clean boot to determine which app or service is causing a problem. A clean boot gives you more control over what software is running.
To perform a clean boot in Windows 10:
To finish, reboot the computer. Try the Xbox Game Bar and see if it works as intended. If it does, disable or remove any apps installed since the Game Bar last worked correctly.
Note that misusing System Configuration can cause problems with your computer. So stick to these instructions.
One particularly stupid Windows 10 error occurs thanks to the Xbox Game Bar. Either launching a game or the Game Bar itself results in the error message:
“You’ll need a new app to open this ms-gamingoverlay link”
This appears to be due to a problem with the Windows Store, but there is a simple fix.
Open Start and enter game bar then in the results, click App settings.
Look for the option that starts Record game clips at the top of the window and switch this to Off.
The “ms-gamingoverlay” error will no longer appear. Hurrah!
The downside, however, is that you can no longer use the Xbox Game Bar.
If you’re trying to stream from the Xbox Game Bar to Mixer, we’ve got bad news for you. As of October 2019, Mixer broadcasting is no longer available.
As there isn’t much information about this online beyond Microsoft’s own troubleshooting page, it’s difficult to say why.
However, with recent Xbox Game Bar issues following Windows Update 1903, it’s possible the broadcast feature is broken. Worse still, it might not be reinstated.
Unfortunately, the only solution to this is to broadcast to another service.
If you don’t have any issues listed above but the Xbox Game Bar has suddenly stopped working, try these fixes. Use them one at a time, in the order presented.
It’s easy to repair the Xbox Game Bar. Press Start and enter game bar to display the app, then choose App Settings.
Look for Repair and click the button. Wait while the Xbox Game Bar is repaired by Windows.
Similarly, you can reset the Game Bar. This is like a Windows reset, but based purely on the app. To do this, navigate to the App Settings screen for Xbox Game Bar, this time clicking Reset.
Again, wait while the app is reset, then try using it again.
Another option is to disable the Xbox Game Bar. This won’t repair it but will at least stop you using it. To do this…
(Should you need to re-enable, change the DWORD values back to 1.)
Now, this option is pretty extreme, intending that you uninstall then reinstall the Game Bar.
Begin by right-clicking Start then select Windows PowerShell (Admin). Next, copy and paste this command:
Get-AppxPackage *xboxapp* | Remove-AppxPackage
The Game Bar will be removed from Windows. Restart your computer to complete the action. With the system back up, open the Windows Store and reinstall Xbox Game Bar.
If this doesn’t work and your Xbox Game Bar is still unresponsive, consider drastic action. It’s time to learn how to reset and repair Windows 10.
Following a strong start, the Xbox Game Bar has become a fixture for many Windows 10 gamers. But sadly, it’s not perfect and it’s prone to bugs or unpredictable behavior. The good news is that the Xbox Game Bar can be fixed.
If you’re lucky.
To be honest, Microsoft shouldn’t be shipping an app that is so flakey. While most of these fixes will work most of the time, none are guaranteed. Indeed, you might end up abandoning the Xbox Game Bar altogether.
If you do, try these alternative Windows game record and broadcast apps.
Read the full article: Xbox Game Bar Not Working? Try These Troubleshooting Tips for Windows 10
Source: MakeUseOf | 12 Nov 2019 | 11:00 pm(NZT)
There are only two ways to get richer: earn more or spend less. Improving your salary is hard, but there are many ways to reduce your expenses. Truebill is a mobile app that helps you find the unnecessary spending. The app can also help you lower your bills and keep track of costly subscriptions. It is super secure, very smart and completely free to download.
When your schedule is packed, budgeting can slip pretty low on the priority list. However, the main reason why most of us overspend is because we simply don’t know what we can afford.
Truebill helps you take control of your financial life without spending hours hunched over a calculator. Available on iOS and Android, the free app connects to your bank and credit card accounts (using bank-level 256-bit SSL encryption) to track your income and expenses.
The data is presented in one simple dashboard, helping you gain an overview of your finances. Truebill automatically categorizes every transaction, so you can see where your money is going.
But that’s not all. Truebill lets you create savings goals, and the app will tell you how much you can spend. The app can also help you lower your bills by finding cheaper alternatives for your cell phone, cable and security. You can even monitor your subscriptions and cut the ones you don’t need.
Truebill is completely free to download on iOS and Android. Head over to the homepage now to get started.
Read the full article: Optimize Your Spending and Reduce Your Bills With Truebill
Source: MakeUseOf | 12 Nov 2019 | 6:30 pm(NZT)