CoreOS Tectonic 1.8 makes it easy to plug external services into Kubernetes

CoreOS Tectonic 1.8 makes it easy to plug external services into Kubernetes

CoreOS announced Tectonic 1.8, its latest update of the popular Kubernetes container orchestration tool. It features a new open services catalog that enables DevOps personnel to plug in external services into Kubernetes with ease.

As Rob Szumski, Tectonic product manager at CoreOS pointed out in a company blog post announcing the new version, public clouds offer lots of benefits around ease of use, but they can end up locking you in, in some cases to a proprietary set of tools.

This is precisely what the new Open Cloud Services catalog is designed to resolve. Instead of using those proprietary tools, you get more open choices and that should make it easier to move between clouds or a hybrid environment.

“New for Tectonic 1.8, CoreOS Open Cloud Services offer the same near-effortless operations customers have come to expect from managed cloud offerings with a difference. Unlike proprietary cloud services, Open Cloud Services are first-class, fully automated Kubernetes resources running on the CoreOS Tectonic platform,” Szumski wrote in the blog post.

CoreOS is aiming to keep the whole process as open and portable as possible, so that customers can choose where and how they want to deploy their applications. What’s more, the Open Cloud Catalog is built right into the Tectonic console, making it simple to enable the external services (or disable them as you choose).

Among the earliest additions to the Open Cloud Services offering are etcd, Prometheus and Vault.

The Open Cloud Service Catalog was only part of the Tectonic 1.8 release, which puts it in line with the open source version released at the end of September. As CoreOS points out, this is a pure upstream version of Kubernetes, meaning it’s not a fork, something the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the organization that manages the Kubernetes open source project has been striving for from members.

It will also automatically update the Docker container engine, which developers use to create the containers that make up an application. Operations uses Kubernetes to manage and deploy the containers. That means, it’s taking care of both sides of the container DevOps equation for you.

The latest version will be shipping towards the end of the year and the company says it will be a smooth and automatic update from Tectonic 1.7 for existing CoreOS customers.

Featured Image: Stan Olszewski/SOSKIphoto/Flickr UNDER A Copyright LICENSE

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/05/coreos-tectonic-1-8-makes-it-easy-to-plug-external-services-into-kubernetes/?ncid=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+techcrunchIt+%28TechCrunch+IT%29

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Light L16 Review: This Is What Your Phone’s Future Looks Like

Light L16 Review: This Is What Your Phone’s Future Looks Like

If you don’t enjoy the semi-concerned glances of total strangers, clearly worried that the thing you just yanked from your bag is not a camera but a futuristic Men in Black sort of weapon, do not use the Light L16. At least not yet. With 16 lenses peeking out from the camera’s front like an unblinking insect, the L16 looks ready to lunge forward and deliver a needling death blow at any moment.

After using the L16 for several weeks, I can state confidently that it will not come to life and kill anyone. I can also say confidently that this is unlike any camera I’ve ever tested before. The L16 is full of contradictions: It’s about the size of a super-thick Amazon Kindle, yet captures more image data than almost any high-end DSLR. All of its lenses are fixed, but you get a huge range of zoom options. You shoot with it like a smartphone, but need a powerful PC to edit your photos. It’s capable of delivering astounding images, like I never thought possible, but it can also suck pretty spectacularly.

Light

Light (the company behind the L16) is developing an extremely powerful, feature-rich take on photography, one that bets more on computer science than hyper-precision optics. At $1,950, the L16 itself is mostly a curiosity, a plaything for people with closets full of DSLRs and a permanent hankering for the next new thing. Light built it as a concept car, proof that its tech really does work. The L16 offers an early, decidedly imperfect look at how algorithms will dictate the future of photography. Something like the tech in the L16 will power your next smartphone, or maybe the one after that.

One Camera, 16 Cameras

There’s an immense amount of complicated software and engineering behind the L16, which we’ve explained thoroughly before. Here’s the absolute basics: whenever you take a photo with the L16, 10 of its 16 individual sensors fire. They capture different perspectives and focal lengths (from 28 to 150mm), which the L16’s software processes into a single, super-high-resolution image. Since the camera captures all this data, you can do things like adjust your focus after you’ve taken the shot, or crop a photo without losing any discernible fidelity. All from a camera about the size of a paperback book.

The “how it works” may be complicated, but actually using the L16 feels pretty familiar. The device runs Android, and doesn’t try to disguise it. When you turn the camera on by pressing the power button, it boots up and automatically opens a camera app. In that app, you swipe up and down to control zoom levels, then either tap on the screen or half-press the shutter button to focus, and then fully press the shutter to fire.

I almost wish the L16 was more complicated. Years of shooting with high-end cameras has made me comfortable twisting and prodding their many buttons and knobs, and I missed some of that manual control with the L16. (There is a small touch panel on the right side, above the grip, that will someday be enabled as a zoom control, but nothing yet.) Light’s thinking is that most people are comfortable with the way their phone cameras work, and that there’s no reason to introduce more complexity. Whatever, I still want a couple of buttons.

Right now, the only thing you can do on the L16 itself is “Develop” your photo, which quickly sharpens and cleans up your photo, as you captured it, so you can look at it on the viewfinder. The only way to really dig into your photos is to connect them to a computer, wait an interminably long time as the enormous files (they’re 100-plus MB apiece) import from the L16, and futz with them in Light’s Lumen app. The Lumen software is at least reasonably fast and simple to use, and you can quickly export RAW files to Photoshop and do more powerful work there.

Eventually, Light has plans to make better use of its Android software. Think of the possibilities: you could run your favorite editing software right there on the 5-inch, 1080p touchscreen, then share your pro-looking shots to Instagram without ever needing another device. This camera is basically a phone minus a carrier contract. But that’s all still a work in progress. As are the photos themselves.

Slow and Steady

When I picked up my L16 review unit, I asked Bradley Lautenback, Light’s senior VP of marketing and product design, what I should keep in mind. He told me to always make sure to focus the shot before firing the shutter, and to get as much light as possible. These are, he cautioned, short-term hangups. Light’s continually tweaking its software and algorithms, and actually ought to be better in bad lighting than most cameras simply by collecting and stitching all that data from all those sensors. And because Light is very good at processing image data, the software updates could even improve your old photos. Since I’ve had the camera, the company’s already released a couple of huge updates, both of which made the whole system faster and more reliable.

I’m not overwhelmingly impressed with what I’ve captured so far, though. Lots of my photos are blurry even in the exact spot where I tapped to focus, or lack the exact detail this camera’s supposed to offer. To be fair, I’ve taken a few shots I really love, like one from high up in the hills of Saratoga, California, overlooking all of Silicon Valley. With all those lenses and all that resolution, that photo’s like my own personal, zoomable map of Apple’s new campus and a bunch of super-rich people’s homes.

I’ve found that if I use a tripod or set the camera on a table to capture a non-moving subject in great light, the photos can come out gorgeous. But the kinds of photos I tend to take on my phone—friends, food, concerts, all my general Instagrammable nonsense—don’t really work on the L16. It’s too slow to zoom, focus, and fire, and just doesn’t seem to produce great shots. And it really does suck in low light.

Most of those problems are precisely the things Light says it can solve with software. Light’s already working on updates to solve everything from low-light capability to enabling video, which you currently can’t shoot at all on the L16. And all the things it can’t fix with an update, it got pretty right already: the battery lasts about 400 shots, there’s room for more than 1,000 frames on the device, and the one-pound body feels good. It charges over USB-C, has a standard tripod screw-mount, and seems like the kind of camera that’ll still work great in a couple of years, once Light really nails the image processing.

Mo’ Lenses, Mo’ Options

Should you, a normal person, of normal budget and sanity, buy the L16 right now? Probably not. But you should definitely root for the team behind it to get this stuff right. Because Light’s ultimate plan is to be in every device that takes pictures, taking off-the-shelf parts and making them incredible. “It’s a very flexible platform, beyond just this product,” Lautenback says. “It could go do other consumer photography applications.” He rattles off a few, clearly not at random: dashcams in cars, home security cameras, drones. “Anybody who has flown a drone with a DSLR on it knows that if you wanted to move the lens, it’d throw the drone off balance,” he explains. “And so this doesn’t have the moving parts that change the weight or mass distribution.”

Then, of course, there’s the smartphone. That’s where Light’s going next. Not with 16 sensors and lenses, but maybe with five or so. Light’s working with Qualcomm and others to integrate its tech into cutting-edge processors, and hopes to be able to provide the whole mobile ecosystem with futuristic camera features. Think about what Apple’s been able to do with two lenses on the iPhone X, or Google with one on the Pixel 2. With Light’s software and camera array, it could provide a completely new level of detail and control. Lautenback says one manufacturer is already at work on a Light-enabled phone, and more are in the works. I say something about how I bet Snap’s going to call, wanting to use Light to improve the augmented-reality capabilities of whatever new cameras Snap’s cooking up, and Lautenback just smiles and glances down at my voice recorder.

Light could go the other way, too. “We could make, in the size of an iPad, a 600mm zoom lens,” Lautenback says. Right now, that lens would cost you 12 grand and require a backpack to lug around. This is apparently the device Rajiv Laroia, Light’s co-founder and CTO, lusts after most. He wants it for bird watching.

Lots of other companies are working on similar tech, re-orienting the photography experience around the software and machine learning. Rylo’s video camera comes from a similar way of thinking, as does all the tech in the Pixel and iPhone. So while you might not quite be ready to ditch your DSLR for an L16, the rapid advance of software means a camera this small could be at least that good sooner than you think. Though it’ll definitely still look a little creepy.

Source: https://www.wired.com/review/light-l16-review/

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LA Auto Show Report: 9 Futuristic Features Hitting the Road

LA Auto Show Report: 9 Futuristic Features Hitting the Road

Each car show has its own personality. Geneva is all about supercars and speed. Paris is about quirk and French flair. Tokyo’s auto unveils are cute and smart, and Detroit still has American muscle covered.

Los Angeles is a city that runs on rubber, so the auto show here is especially relevant to its residents—they want to see how car makers can make their commutes less sucky. Or at least more flashy. And as we start the transition from a world dominated by individually owned vehicles and enter a brave new business model of Mobility as a Service, driving isn’t all about being behind the wheel any more: We’re more likely to be rear-seat passengers in ride-share cars, or even recline in robo taxis. So our favorite features to debut at the LA Auto Show this year are less about horsepower and handling and more about things your car can do for you to make your life better.

01

Cars You Don’t Really Own

The way you buy a car in the future is going to change. Long term, you may choose to just hail a passing autonomous taxi when you need one. Shorter term, car companies are trying to make it easier to sign on the dotted line. Volvo used the introduction of its 2019 XC40 smaller SUV as a chance to also debut Care by Volvo. The idea is that you’d make just one monthly payment (of around $600) to the company to cover the car, your insurance, maintenance, service, and just about anything else except gas. Isn’t that caring? Also, a startup called Fair is talking up its leasing app, which allows drivers to terminate their agreement at any time, instead of committing to 36 months.

newspress

The way you buy a car in the future is going to change. Long term, you may choose to just hail a passing autonomous taxi when you need one. Shorter term, car companies are trying to make it easier to sign on the dotted line. Volvo used the introduction of its 2019 XC40 smaller SUV as a chance to also debut Care by Volvo. The idea is that you’d make just one monthly payment (of around $600) to the company to cover the car, your insurance, maintenance, service, and just about anything else except gas. Isn’t that caring? Also, a startup called Fair is talking up its leasing app, which allows drivers to terminate their agreement at any time, instead of committing to 36 months.

02

Car Companies That Are Energy Companies

Car companies don’t want to be called that any more. They’re “mobility” or “energy” companies. Tesla in particular has always been big on pushing green energy, and is using its stand at the LA Auto Show to showcase its solar panels and home energy storage batteries as well as its electric cars. Mercedes is also showing a shiny plastic-wrapped home battery about the size of a large microwave. It soaks up energy while the sun shines, so you can see at night. 

tesla

Car companies don’t want to be called that any more. They’re “mobility” or “energy” companies. Tesla in particular has always been big on pushing green energy, and is using its stand at the LA Auto Show to showcase its solar panels and home energy storage batteries as well as its electric cars. Mercedes is also showing a shiny plastic-wrapped home battery about the size of a large microwave. It soaks up energy while the sun shines, so you can see at night. 

03

A Very Electric Future

Electric cars are very much a thing, and most of the big manufacturers showed a battery-powered concept or production car. VW now has three funky, retro, electric vehicles: the I.D, the I.D Buzz, and now the I.D Crozz SUV. Jaguar showed its I-Pace all-electric concept, due for production soon. And Silicon Valley startup Lucid gave rides in a prototype of its Tesla challenger, the Air, on the streets around the Los Angeles Convention Center.

LUCID AIR

Electric cars are very much a thing, and most of the big manufacturers showed a battery-powered concept or production car. VW now has three funky, retro, electric vehicles: the I.D, the I.D Buzz, and now the I.D Crozz SUV. Jaguar showed its I-Pace all-electric concept, due for production soon. And Silicon Valley startup Lucid gave rides in a prototype of its Tesla challenger, the Air, on the streets around the Los Angeles Convention Center.

04

Virtual Reality Is Very Real

Experiencing strange visions and seeing floating objects that aren’t really there may not sound ideal when you’re driving, but virtual and augmented reality are making their way into cars and garages. Honda is using, wait for it, HondaLens to walk potential buyers through the features of its new Accord, by making the controls and even the engine float midair in bright colors. Meanwhile, Swiss company WayRay was named the winner of the Automobility LA (the tech trade show attached to the auto show) Automotive Startups Competition for its holographic displays for navigation systems.

NEWSPRESS

Experiencing strange visions and seeing floating objects that aren’t really there may not sound ideal when you’re driving, but virtual and augmented reality are making their way into cars and garages. Honda is using, wait for it, HondaLens to walk potential buyers through the features of its new Accord, by making the controls and even the engine float midair in bright colors. Meanwhile, Swiss company WayRay was named the winner of the Automobility LA (the tech trade show attached to the auto show) Automotive Startups Competition for its holographic displays for navigation systems.

05

The Money’s in the Merchandise

When you’re driven to work by a robot chauffeur, you’re going to have a lot more time to read the newspaper or learn a language. Or (more realistically) browse social media and consume advertisements. Brands are already figuring out ways to make you notice the businesses around you, with plans to flash up the nearest coffee shop or oil change center on the giant screens that will fill cars. But Nissan is taking crossover promotion to a whole new level with a display, and vehicles, themed around Star Wars ahead of The Last Jedi. Finding your autonomous taxi among all the others will certainly be a lot easier if it’s a TIE Fighter rather than a sedan.

newspress

When you’re driven to work by a robot chauffeur, you’re going to have a lot more time to read the newspaper or learn a language. Or (more realistically) browse social media and consume advertisements. Brands are already figuring out ways to make you notice the businesses around you, with plans to flash up the nearest coffee shop or oil change center on the giant screens that will fill cars. But Nissan is taking crossover promotion to a whole new level with a display, and vehicles, themed around Star Wars ahead of The Last Jedi. Finding your autonomous taxi among all the others will certainly be a lot easier if it’s a TIE Fighter rather than a sedan.

06

Take the Back Seat—Please!

When you no longer have to drive yourself, the back of the car becomes more important than the driver’s seat. This is already true for people who can afford chauffeurs, particularly in the Chinese market, but will become increasingly so for everyone else when driverless cars hit the streets. Range Rover is no stranger to luxury, but it pulled out all the stops for the 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography. For just $207,900 you too can have an extended body for more legroom, power rear doors, a fridge, and seats with calf warmers and a hot stone massage function. The adults will be fighting with the kids for a seat in the back.

Range rover

When you no longer have to drive yourself, the back of the car becomes more important than the driver’s seat. This is already true for people who can afford chauffeurs, particularly in the Chinese market, but will become increasingly so for everyone else when driverless cars hit the streets. Range Rover is no stranger to luxury, but it pulled out all the stops for the 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography. For just $207,900 you too can have an extended body for more legroom, power rear doors, a fridge, and seats with calf warmers and a hot stone massage function. The adults will be fighting with the kids for a seat in the back.

07

Apocalypse Survival Sells

At the other end of the scale from the Range Rover is the Jeep Wrangler and its utilitarian image. Sure, neither one is likely to leave the asphalt in the hands of most customers, but Jeep would like drivers to feel like they have the option. At the same time it has tweaked the suspension for better road manners and added sound insulation, as well as as much tech as could fit into the cabin—parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ability to head into the wilderness and escape an apocalypse is on display at Ford too, which has a “Baja-Forged Adventurer” version of its Expedition SUV, with high suspension, roof bars, and lots and lots of lights.

jeep

At the other end of the scale from the Range Rover is the Jeep Wrangler and its utilitarian image. Sure, neither one is likely to leave the asphalt in the hands of most customers, but Jeep would like drivers to feel like they have the option. At the same time it has tweaked the suspension for better road manners and added sound insulation, as well as as much tech as could fit into the cabin—parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ability to head into the wilderness and escape an apocalypse is on display at Ford too, which has a “Baja-Forged Adventurer” version of its Expedition SUV, with high suspension, roof bars, and lots and lots of lights.

08

There’s Not Always a Need for Speed …

REDS is a new design from famed former BMW designer Chris Bangle. The upright, boxy vehicle with tiny wheels will be made by Chinese company Redspace. Instead of being sleek and aerodynamic for high-speed travel, the car is designed for stop-start (mostly stop) city driving, with a focus on interior space. Its design looks radical, but it makes sense in congested Chinese metropolises, and it hints at future car design where priorities shift from a spirited driving dynamics to a relaxed passenger experience.

newspress

REDS is a new design from famed former BMW designer Chris Bangle. The upright, boxy vehicle with tiny wheels will be made by Chinese company Redspace. Instead of being sleek and aerodynamic for high-speed travel, the car is designed for stop-start (mostly stop) city driving, with a focus on interior space. Its design looks radical, but it makes sense in congested Chinese metropolises, and it hints at future car design where priorities shift from a spirited driving dynamics to a relaxed passenger experience.

09

… But There’s Always a Need for Better Gas Engines

Despite the focus on electrics, the majority of cars at the LA Auto Show are still gas powered, and manufacturers showcased their latest cunning tricks for making them more efficient. Infiniti’s QX50 crossover SUV features the world’s first variable compression ratio engine. It’s incredibly complex, but offers a 27 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. Expect to see more innovation in internal combustion engines, as auto makers fight to keep them relevant and emission-restriction-meeting before they’re ready for the electric switchover. 

infiniti

Despite the focus on electrics, the majority of cars at the LA Auto Show are still gas powered, and manufacturers showcased their latest cunning tricks for making them more efficient. Infiniti’s QX50 crossover SUV features the world’s first variable compression ratio engine. It’s incredibly complex, but offers a 27 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. Expect to see more innovation in internal combustion engines, as auto makers fight to keep them relevant and emission-restriction-meeting before they’re ready for the electric switchover. 

Source: https://www.wired.com/2017/12/la-auto-show-report-futuristic-features-coming-to-cars-asap/

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IBM’s new Power9 chip was built for AI and machine learning

IBM’s new Power9 chip was built for AI and machine learning

In a world that requires increasing amounts of compute power to handle the resource-intensive demands of workloads like artificial intelligence and machine learning, IBM enters the fray with its latest generation Power chip, the Power9.

The company intends to sell the chips to third-party manufacturers and to cloud vendors including Google. Meanwhile, it’s releasing a new computer powered by the Power9 chip, the AC922 and it intends to offer the chips in a service on the IBM cloud. “We generally take our technology to market as a complete solution,” Brad McCredie, IBM fellow and vice president of cognitive systems  explained.

The company has designed the new chip specifically to improve performance on common AI frameworks like Chainer, TensorFlow and Caffe, and claims an increase for workloads running on these frameworks by up to almost 4x.

If it works as described this should give data scientists building models and running them on a Power9-powered machine increased speed, which should allow them to run these jobs faster and complete model creation more quickly.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy believes IBM has really differentiated itself from the competition with this chip. “Power9 is a chip which has a new systems architecture that is optimized for accelerators used in machine learning. Intel makes Xeon CPUs and Nervana accelerators and NVIDIA makes Tesla accelerators. IBM’s Power9 is literally the Swiss Army knife of ML acceleration as it supports an astronomical amount of IO and bandwidth, 10X of anything that’s out there today,” Moorhead said.

Photo: IBM

If you’re thinking that Nvidia seems to have grabbed a good deal of the AI/machine learning workloads, it didn’t escape IBM’s notice either and they have been working closely with the GPU chip maker. In fact, McCredie says that IBM built a system bus that moves workloads between the two chip types much faster than competitive systems.

“Modern workloads are becoming accelerated and the Nvidia GPU is a common accelerator. We have seen this trend coming. We built a deep relationship with them and a partnership between the Power system and the GPU. We have a unique bus that runs between the processor and the GPU and has 10x peak bandwidth over competitive systems,” McCredie explained.

The new chips are going to power a supercomputer called Summit being built by Lawrence Livermore and Oakridge national laboratories. He says the supercomputer will be built on top of  thousands and thousands of the Power9 computers at a cost of $325 million, a nice little burst of business for the new chip right out of the gate.

Chirag Dekate, who is research director for HPC, machine learning and emerging compute technologies at Gartner says this release is a continuation of IBM’s aggressive approach to capture high-growth market segments like artificial intelligence. “By aligning their strategy across segments like AI (specifically machine learning and deep learning), it enables IBM to better compete in hyperscale datacenter and broader market datacenter initiatives. This has a potential to drive direct revenue impact for IBM and enable new larger scale datacenter deployments,” Dekate explained.

The Power9 chip is generally available starting today.

Featured Image: IBM

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/05/ibms-new-power9-chip-architected-for-ai-and-machine-learning/?ncid=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+techcrunchIt+%28TechCrunch+IT%29

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20 Gifts for Every Kind of PC Gamer

20 Gifts for Every Kind of PC Gamer

8Bitdo

SN30 Pro (SNES-Style) Bluetooth Controller

Price$50

8Bitdo makes some awesome retro-style controllers, and we’re excited to try this Super Nintendo-style Bluetooth PC controller. Despite its old-school looks you’ll get a new-school array of inputs including two analog sticks, extra shoulder buttons, rumble, and motion controls. You can also wire it up with USB-C. It works with Nintendo Switch, Mac, Android devices, and any Windows PC.

Source: https://www.wired.com/gallery/20-gifts-for-every-kind-of-pc-gamer/

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Downloads advent calendar: get Steganos Online Shield VPN free today

Downloads advent calendar: get Steganos Online Shield VPN free today

The holidays are an expensive time, so we’re bringing you a special treat: a full, free Windows program to download every day until Christmas.

Behind the fifth door on our downloads advent calendar you’ll find a special edition of Steganos Online Shield VPN with 2GB data transfer per month. The license is valid for one year, and you can use it on up to three devices.

VPNs (virtual private networks) work by re-routing internet traffic via a remote server, hiding your real IP address and location. The connection is encrypted to prevent your data being intercepted. This has two main benefits: protecting your privacy and helping circumvent censorship.

Steganos Online Shield VPN is incredibly easy to use – just download and install the client software, enter your free serial number and adjust the simple set of sliders to choose your level of protection.

In addition to an excellent VPN, Steganos Online Shield also includes an ad-blocker, protection from tracking by social networks, and automatic cookie detection. It also displays devices on your network that might pose a threat to your security.

This special edition of Steganos Online Shield will protect up to three devices for a whole year, so grab it today and stay protected until next December without paying a penny.

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/downloads-advent-calendar-get-steganos-online-shield-vpn-free-today

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The best cheap PlayStation VR bundles and deals for Christmas 2017

The best cheap PlayStation VR bundles and deals for Christmas 2017

PlayStation VR bundles are out now and we can’t wait to help you stick your faces in it, especially as we’re starting to see some really good discounts now. We have all the latest PlayStation VR prices below, along with some tempting offers on the camera, Move controllers and games. Sony’s PS4 virtual reality headset is coming in cheaper than the likes of Oculus Rift or HTC’s Vive, with a starting price of around £350/$399. We’re starting to see some decent bundles now though that are going way below those prices.

Below you’ll find our guide to the best PlayStation VR bundles out there for the headset. Bundle options often include the camera or games, we’ll let you know which ones are the best value for money.

This PlayStation VR bundle deals page can also help you prepare by picking up the other kit you’ll need to enjoy the best PlayStation VR experience. You’ll want to pick up the PS4 camera as you need it for the PlayStation VR headset to work. You could also grab a couple of PS Move motion controllers, as some VR games support them. You can also use these items with a small number of Move-based PS4 games like SportsFriends or Just Dance. If you’re looking for the ultimate upgrade, check out our PS4 Pro deals.

cheap playstation vr deals

PlayStation VR headset deals

The grid below will be regularly updated with the latest PlayStation VR headset prices headset from different retailers. After seemingly endless stock shortages, units seem to be back in stock at most stores. Which is fantastic news with 2017 seeing some great PlayStation VR games to enjoy like Resident Evil 7 and Farpoint.

PlayStation VR bundles (USA)

PlayStation VR | PS4 camera | Doom VFR | $399.99 @ Amazon
We seriously can’t wait to play Doom VFR (
find out why with our preview) as it’s one of the most promising shooters yet for VR. This bundle releases December 1, but this week there are cheaper bundles available above this one and you’ll still save money by buying Doom VFR on its own. Keep an eye on this one though as it might get a discount at any moment.

View PlayStation VR bundle: PSVR, camera, Doom VFR $399.99View Deal

PlayStation VR bundles (UK)

cheap ps4 camera

PS4 camera deals

It’s crucial you buy a PS4 camera along with your VR headset, otherwise, it will not work. Don’t pay more than the standard £40/$60 for the camera though.  Sony released an updated, rounder (see image above) model with a built-in TV-mount and there are deals included in the chart below, usually priced around £40-£45, which isn’t bad considering the new clip. The older PS4 camera is also compatible with PlayStation VR. If there’s nothing tempting below, maybe try for a new/preowned unit via eBay?

cheap playstation vr deals

cheap ps move motion controllers

PlayStation Move controller deals

The PlayStation Move motion controllers are very much an optional purchase as not every game supports them. Many that do, also have options to use the standard DualShock 4 PS4 controller instead.

Move wands aren’t as readily available as the cameras at the moment, but there are deals to be found if you shop around -or let us do it via that magical box below. some of the more expensive results are actually for twin packs. We’d advise a little caution if you’re considering preowned units, as the lack of use in recent years may have dulled the charge capacity of the battery compared to new controllers. If you want to try your luck (and probably save a fair amount), here are some handy links for eBay.

cheap playstation vr deals

We’ll update these prices on a regular basis and add any bundles that may appear featuring the headset, camera, controllers or games. 

Need an extra standard controller? Check out the best DualShock 4 deals.

PlayStation VR game deals

Keep an eye on this handy chart below as we’ll update it with the latest prices for a wide range of PlayStation VR games. To compare prices on individual titles, click the ‘View all deals’ button at the bottom of the chart.

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/consoles/playstation-vr-deals-1323002

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The best Apple Watch docking stations

The best Apple Watch docking stations

Update: New docks are launching all the time and we’ve added two of them to this list.

Apple took eight months to release a charging stand for the Apple Watch after launching the device back in April 2015, but that didn’t stop accessory manufacturers from stepping in with their own dock offerings in the meantime.

And you’ll be glad they did. Apple’s Magnetic Charging Dock is a stylish enough option to have made our list, but it only comes in white, so if you’ve personalized your watch with a strap, why not go the whole hog and choose a stand that fits your style too?

We’ve compiled some of the best Apple Watch, Apple Watch 2 and Apple Watch 3 docks below, ranging from handcrafted wooden designs to docks machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. So read on to check out the finest stands available for your bedside table. Just remember to bring your charging cable.

Note: we’ve ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.

1. Bavier Apple Watch Stand

A stand for everything Apple

Colors: Bamboo | Material: Wood

Holds your iPad and phone
Attractive design
No cable routing for phone or iPad
Only comes in one color

If you’ve got an Apple Watch chances are you’ve also got an iPhone, and quite possibly an iPad too, and the Bavier Apple Watch Stand lets you store them (or show them off) all in the same place. There’s even a hole for your Apple Pencil, and the whole thing is made of bamboo too, giving it a premium look.

The slots, while designed for iPhones and iPads, could probably house most other brands of phone and tablet, and if you want to keep the Apple Watch Dock separate – perhaps because the rest of the stand takes up too much space on your bedside table – that part is detachable.

Note however that while this acts as a stand for various electronics, it only has cable routing for the Apple Watch – so if you plan to actually charge anything else from the stand your cables will be visible and potentially give it a messy look.

2. Mercase Apple Watch Stand

Cheap, small and stylish

Colors: Space Grey, Rose Gold | Material: Aluminum and TPU

Compact design
Doesn’t work with most cases
Can fall if used with heavy bands

The Mercase Apple Watch Stand is a cheap option, but you get quite a lot for your money. For one thing it’s partially clad in aluminum, giving it a more premium finish than even some pricier docks.

It also has a compact design, so it won’t take up your whole bedside table, and it can charge both your iPhone and your Apple Watch at the same time.

There are some reports of it toppling over when charging a watch with a heavy band, so that’s something to be aware of, though if you charge your iPhone at the same time it should help weigh the stand down. And if you have a light watch strap there’s nothing to worry about.

Bobine Watch

3. Fuse Chicken Bobine Watch

As flexible as it is affordable

Colors: Silver/White | Material: Metal

Only one color
Lack of cable routing

Most docks are rigid, inflexible things, but not the unique Bobine Watch from Fuse Chicken. The cable-like device can be twisted into all manner of shapes, meaning you can get the perfect angle for your desk or bedside table every time (to activate Nightstand mode, for example).

We managed to wrap this thing around pretty much anything – coiling it around a lamp, an iPhone stand, and even a bed post for some in-your-face screen interaction. Of course, flexibility is key to its adaptability, but crucially the stand holds position on its own and doesn’t droop under the weight of even the heaviest metal wrist straps.

The only drawback is the lack of cable routing beyond a small plastic clip tucked behind the charging disc holder – ideally you’d be able to channel it through the inside of the stand – but to be fair you can wrap the cable around the neck pretty easily instead. The Bobine also comes with stabilisation clips for mounting in your car.

Griffin WatchStand

4. Griffin WatchStand

A Watch and iPhone stand all in one

Colors: Black, White | Material: Plastic

Space for your iPhone
Affordable
Plastic construction

Your Apple Watch is a gorgeous thing to behold, so it’s no surprise Griffin has designed this totemic stand to help you show it off when it’s not on your wrist.

At the top of the plastic stand lies an angled cradle for your Watch’s charging connector and a hole for the cable to wind around the detachable rubber inner core and slip out the rear of the base. The Watch sits securely on top with the band either buckled round the back or open and hanging down the front (hint: not the best look).

The weighted, non-slip base provides confident footing to the display and has a thoughtful lip at the front to rest your iPhone against lengthways; there’s no power outlet for it, mind, but that’s where Griffin’s WatchStand Powered Charging Station (£41/US$60/AU$84) comes in – it takes care of your iPhone’s power needs too.

TwelveSouth HiRise

5. TwelveSouth HiRise for Apple Watch

A premium finish without the price tag

Colors: Black, White | Material: Brushed aluminum

Premium design
Only two color choices
Could be more compact

TwelveSouth has taken the same brushed aluminum of its mainstay HiRise for iPhone device and machined it into a wide-base stand that gives great stability if you like to interact with your watch when it’s not on your wrist.

The charging disk fits snugly into a silicone recess in the reclining stand and the cable runs down a rear channel and underneath the base’s band-friendly leather-lined platform, which raises for easy routing and storage.

Silicone padding on the cut-outs protects from any mishaps when placing and removing your watch, making for a solid, yet surprisingly lightweight, stand all round.

Just Mobile TimeStand

6. Just Mobile TimeStand

An artful option with a weighty feel

Colors: Black, Silver | Material: Aluminum

Reasonable price
Angle isn’t ideal for nightstand use
Cable channel is a bit ugly

If you’re not so taken by the idea of twinning your all-metal Watch with a plastic stand, take a look at this artful option from Just Mobile. Machined from a single block of aluminum, the cylindrical bar feels nice and weighty in the hand but stays kind to bedside cabinet surfaces thanks to its protective rubber-lined base.

The Apple Watch charger slots in to an angled recess in the top, which has a channel running out from the side and down to the base to route the cable neatly. And that sculpted cylindrical hole isn’t just for looks – your Watch’s buckled wristband tucks in here when you mount it on the stand (in portrait orientation at least). The price seems about right, too.

Mophie Watch Dock

7. Mophie Watch Dock

A simple yet stylish way to show off your Watch

Colors: Metallic silver | Material: Aluminum

Protects surfaces
Easy to use
Only one color

This aluminum stand keeps things simple from the moment you open the box. The included quick start guide explains how to place your Watch’s inductive charger into the circular cut-out and feed the cable down a rubber channel inside the vertical arm, through the base and out the back.

Faux leather padding on the angled cradle provides a safe buffer between the metal and the back of your watch, while a rubber pad on the base provides protection for your desk/table. At four ounces, it’s fairly light, but provides a stable mid-size mount for both sizes of watch. Some might find the price a bit steep though.

WatchKeeper

8. Proper WatchKeeper

A discreet, durable alternative to a conventional stand

Colors: Black, Tan | Material: Steel and leather

Protects your Watch
No good as a display case

Stand-based docks are great for showing off your luxurious timepiece, but if you’re after more discretion then check out this leather-lined protective steel case from Proper.

Your watch lies flat inside in a soft EVA foam tray. Leather band owners may find this a fiddle at first – and Milanese loops need to be detached at the clasp – but once your watch is in, it’s protected on top by more foam lining in the case lid. The charging disc lies in a cut-out in the tray, while the cable runs discreetly underneath and out of a side port for connecting to a power source.

The case also doubles up as a hidden stash for your cable when it’s not in use, making this case a fine travel accessory. It’s also compatible with both watch sizes.

Native Union Dock

9. Native Union Dock

Display your Watch your way

Colors: Slate/Space Gray, Midnight Blue/Gold, Stone/Rose Gold | Material: Graphite silicone, plastic and aluminum

Several color choices

Native Union’s minimalist dock comes in two parts: a heavy block base made of rubbery-soft matte graphite silicone, and a plastic/aluminum cylinder. The Apple Watch charging disk snaps into a moulded cradle on the cylinder, which has an elliptical groove inside where the cable feeds through and runs out of the bottom from a discreet well.

With the charger in place, the cylinder slots magnetically into the reversible base, where it can be rotated freely. Your Watch snaps onto it securely, buckled or not, while the base can be reversed and placed horizontally or vertically, depending on how you want to view and interact with the watch display. Nightstand mode works fine as well.

Apple’s Midnight Blue wristband color really looks the part with this design. The dock works with both watch sizes, too. The price is a bit steep for something so simple-looking, but at 450g, the sheer heft of the dock feels like money well spent – unless you’re packing it for travel, of course…

TwelveSouth

10. TwelveSouth Forté

A stylish dock that looks the part on any surface

Colors: Silver/Black | Material: Chrome and leather

Suits any surface
Only one color option

The second TwelveSouth stand to feature in our roundup, the Forté goes one better in the style department and genuinely looks great from any angle, on any surface. The chrome and leather combination helps, but it’s actually the open design of the curved stand that puts your watch’s band front and centre.

The clasp goes over or through the curve, which is where your charging cable routes through (it has a rubber-lined open back). The chrome mount has a metal ring that pops off, revealing the rubber enclosure for your charging disc.

The 45-degree angle of the mount activates Nightstand mode in sideways orientation and provides ample support for interacting with the screen. And the leather lining of the base provides a soft rest for open clasps, for when you just can’t be bothered to buckle up.

Pad and Quill

11. Pad & Quill Luxury Pocket Stand

A rustic wooden option that really stands out

Colors: American Cherry, Exotic Sapele, American Walnut | Material: Hardwood

Sculpted look
Choice of wood
Won’t suit a Sport band
Premium price

This all-natural hardwood stand has a signature handmade rustic feel that’s typical of most Pad & Quill products, and while an Apple Sport band might seem out of place on it, the sculpted look and smooth lacquer finish of the grain make a Hermès leather band look positively at home.

The adjustable-angle stand has a neat nook to house your Watch’s magnetic charging disc, with a channel for the cable which then loops behind and runs neatly down into an inlet and out the back from beneath the base.

The horizontal cut-out for the buckled strap provides a secure fit for both sizes of Apple Watch, and when the stand’s not in use it folds away into a compact, lightweight wooden block no thicker than a matchbox.

Boostcase BLOC

12. Boostcase BLOC Wireless Dock

A wireless charger in metal or wood

Colors: Silver Aluminum, Space Gray Aluminum, Bamboo Wood | Material: Aluminum or wood

Wireless charging
Choice of materials
Cable is tricky to get in and out

This is different. The BLOC is not only the most Apple-looking dock we’ve covered, it’s also the only one in our roundup that offers wireless charging, thanks to a 2000mAh battery inside.

It’s not ‘plug and play’ though and comes in six pieces: an almost 10-inch long piece of metal (wood also available), a battery with micro-USB cable for charging, two rubber inserts for two sizes of charging disc, and a guitar-like pick.

Once assembled, your Apple charging cable winds through a series of labyrinthine turns inside the dock and connects to the battery, which snaps in magnetically at one end and has enough juice for (in our tests) three full charges. Three LEDs along the same end let you know how much power is left at a tap.

It’s not too heavy, but it’s a bit of a wrangle getting the cable in and out, so you might want to buy an additional one just to avoid the hassle. Otherwise, this is a neat alternative for minimalist desktops that lives up to its claims and also comes in a variety of colors.

13. Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock

Elegant and official

Colors: White | Material: Polyurethane

Elegant design
Can charge Watch flat or on its side
Only comes in white

If you want a stylish charging solution for your Apple Watch who better to go to than Apple itself? This official dock is every bit as simple and elegant as you would expect from a company with Apple’s eye for design, and it’s a perfect companion to the Apple Watch.

The design allows you to charge the Watch flat, or on its side – the latter of which puts it into Nightstand mode, so you can use it as an alarm clock.

The only real downside to this dock is that – in typical Apple fashion – it’s expensive, but if you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem that’s something you’re probably used to.

14. Belkin PowerHouse

A pricey option that works with cases

Colors: White, Black | Material: TBC

Works even if your phone is in a case
Nightstand mode won’t work with it
Large plug could block other sockets

The Belkin Powerhouse isn’t cheap, but it is well thought through, letting you charge both your Apple Watch and your iPhone, with the latter working even if the phone is in a case thanks to an adjustable Lightning connector that can be moved forwards, backwards, up and down.

The PowerHouse looks sturdy too, yet it shouldn’t take up too much space, and it’s designed to charge both watch and phone quickly.

Disappointingly, the position it holds your Apple Watch in means Nightstand mode won’t work when using this dock, but if you can live without that – and live with the price – it’s a great two-in-one option that won’t force you to take your phone out of its case.

These are ordered by price at the time of writing – however, some variation may occur over time!

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/wearables/10-of-the-best-apple-watch-docks-1320648

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How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Let’s face it: the internet can be a nasty place. Between predators, malware, explicit content, and other bad actors, parents can find themselves in a never ending cycle of doom and gloom as they try to fend off every threat their kids might face online.

It’s a tricky situation without a perfect solution, and it can be tough to know where to start. There are parental blocks, antivirus software, kid friendly browsers, and the temptation to avoid the stress and ban the internet altogether. But Dave Lewis, a global security advocate at Akamai Technologies, says the most important thing actually has nothing to do with technology: it’s all about having an open conversation with your kids.

The framing of that conversation is key, Lewis says. When you’re talking with your children about the dangers of the internet, you should be engaging and non-confrontational. “Kids really are information sponges, so if you package it in a way that makes them feel like they’re learning something, you’ll get a better return on that investment,” he says.

Instead of throwing down all of the scary things that can happen once they log on, Lewis suggests parents act as positive guardians, putting the right tools in place to keep their kids safe while also teaching them how to do it themselves. That means being aware of where your children should be going at their age, which he says is important as kids become tech savvy earlier. “There’s no reason for a kid around seven to have a Facebook or Twitter account,” he says, “They don’t need that level of exposure to the world, they still need a chance to be kids.” (It’s also against Facebook’s Terms of Service.)

Kids also need to be aware of the dangers of responding to messages from strangers, and Lewis suggests parents ensure kids feel safe coming to their parents with concerns about those things, so they feel comfortable letting an authority navigate that situation in a safer manner. This is going to be even more important as more companies make products specifically for kids, like Facebook’s trying to do with its new Messenger Kids.

Once that part’s covered, there are some specific tools Lewis suggests parents take advantage of before handing the reins to their kiddos. First comes setting up parental controls and filters: You can use software like Net Nanny and Qustodio to block out the web’s nastiest sites, as well as control how much screen time the kiddos get each day. If you’re really concerned about what your kids are doing on the internet, you can even block certain domains at the router level. And if you’re not ready to spend some dough on more heavy software, iOS and Android both offer parental controls to keep kids safe on the go.

Basic security tools are important, too. Lewis suggests installing a firewall and antivirus software on computers, as well as ensuring that you’re up to date on software patches. The safer your computer is, the safer your kids will be. He also says keeping your computer in an open space can help ensure that your kids aren’t heading anywhere they shouldn’t be, and that you’re available for any questions they might have.

You can also turn on some cautionary settings in individual apps. In Snapchat, for example, you can set “Who Can Contact Me” to “My Friends” to block out strangers. In Facebook, lock down their account to control who can see their profile and all of their posts. On Instagram, turn on “Private Account” to keep prying eyes from seeing what your kids are up to.

Can parental controls protect your kids completely? Absolutely not. The nastiness of the internet will always try to find its way onto your kid’s screens. But if you follow Lewis’s advice, hopefully you’ll get a little closer to parental zen.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-keep-your-kids-safe-online/

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Facebook for 6-Year-Olds? Welcome to Messenger Kids

Facebook for 6-Year-Olds? Welcome to Messenger Kids

Facebook says it built Messenger Kids, a new version of its popular communications app with parental controls, to help safeguard pre-teens who may be using unauthorized and unsupervised social-media accounts. Critics think Facebook is targeting children as young as 6 to hook them on its services.

Facebook’s goal is to “push down the age” of when it’s acceptable for kids to be on social media, says Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Golin says 11-to-12-year-olds who already have a Facebook account, probably because they lied about their age, might find the animated emojis and GIFs of Messenger Kids “too babyish,” and are unlikely to convert to the new app.

Facebook launched Messenger Kids for 6-to-12-year olds in the US Monday, saying it took extraordinary care and precautions. The company said its 100-person team building apps for teens and kids consulted with parent groups, advocates, and childhood-development experts during the 18-month development process and the app reflects their concerns. Parents download Messenger Kids on their child’s account, after verifying their identity by logging into Facebook. Since kids cannot be found in search, parents must initiate and respond to friend requests.

Facebook says Messenger Kids will not display ads, nor collect data on kids for advertising purposes. Kids’ accounts will not automatically be rolled into Facebook accounts once they turn 13.

Nonetheless, advocates focused on marketing to children expressed concerns. The company will collect the content of children’s messages, photos they send, what features they use on the app, and information about the device they use. Facebook says it will use this information to improve the app and will share the information “within the family of companies that are part of Facebook,” and outside companies that provide customer support, analysis, and technical infrastructure.

“It’s all that squishy language that we normally see in privacy policies,” says Golin. “It seems to give Facebook a lot of wiggle room to share this information.” He says Facebook should be clearer about the outsiders with which it may share data.

In response to questions from WIRED, a spokesperson for Facebook said: “It’s important to remember that Messenger Kids does not have ads and we don’t use the data for advertising. This provision about sharing information with vendors from the privacy policy is for things like providing infrastructure to deliver messages.”

Kristen Strader, campaign coordinator for the nonprofit group Public Citizen, says Facebook has proven it cannot be trusted with youth data in the past, pointing to a leaked Facebook report from May that promised advertisers the ability to track teen emotions, such as insecurity, in real-time. “Their response was just that they will not do similar experiments in the future,” says Strader. At the time, advocacy groups asked for a copy of the report, but Facebook declined.

Tech companies have made a much more aggressive push into targeting younger users, a strategy that began in earnest in 2015 when Google launched YouTube Kids, which includes advertising. Parents create an account for their child through Google’s Family Link, a product to help parents monitor screentime. FamilyLink is also used for parents who want to start an account for their kid on Google Home, which gets matched to their child’s voice.

“There is no way a company can really close its doors to kids anymore,” says Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center of Digital Democracy. “By openly commercializing young children’s digital media use, Google has lowered the bar,” he says, pointing to what toy company Mattel described as “an eight-figure deal” that it signed with YouTube in August.

Chester says services such as YouTube Kids and Messenger Kids are designed to capture the attention, and affinity, of the youngest users. “If they are weaned on Google and Facebook, you have socialized them to use your service when they become an adult,” he says. “On the one hand it’s diabolical and on the other hand it’s how corporations work.”

In past years, tech companies avoided targeting younger users because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection ACT (COPPA), a law that requires parental permission in order to collect data on children under 13. But, “the weakness of COPPA is that you can do a lot of things if you get parental permission,” says Golin. In the past six months, new apps have launched marketed as parent helpers. “What they’re saying is this is great way for parents to have control, what they are getting is parental permission,” says Golin.

Several children-focused nonprofit groups endorsed Facebook’s approach, including ConnectSafely and Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). Both groups have received funding from Facebook.

A Facebook spokesperson says, “We have long-standing relationships with some of these groups and we’ve been transparent about those relationships.” The spokesperson says many backers of Facebook’s approach, including Kristelle Lavallee of the Center on Media and Child Health, and Dr. Kevin Clark of George Mason University’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity, do not receive support from Facebook.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-for-6-year-olds-welcome-to-messenger-kids/

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