Ranking All The Telltale Games

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If you grew up in a certain era of personal computing, you probably have a soft spot for adventure games. As innovated by developers like Sierra On-Line, they dropped us into worlds filled with quirky characters, devious puzzles and detail-filled scenes to explore. Sure, they could also be insanely frustrating and full of obnoxious unsolvable problems, but you can’t have everything.

Telltale Games is far and away the modern master of adventure gaming, as they’ve discovered a way to streamline the game flow and remove a lot of the aggravation. In addition, their trademark memory system makes it very clear when you take an action that can affect the story, opening their games up for multiple playthroughs. If you’re looking to jump into their catalog, take a second and grind through this list first. In it, we rank every single Telltale game from worst to best so you don’t waste valuable gaming time. Click on, old friend.

Minecraft Story Mode

Minecraft: Story Mode

That special brand of Telltale magic comes from the feeling of dropping into a fictional universe and thrilling to the familiar personalities and locations. The thing about Minecraft, though, is that those “personalities” are as low-res as the blocks they’re stamped on. We can’t fault Telltale for wanting to cash in on the gravy train, but Story Mode is easily the worst game they’ve made. A weak script sinks games like this, and tacking on three more bits with the “Adventure Pass” didn’t help.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park: The Game

We’re going to see a lot of Telltale’s early efforts in this chunk of the list. The company was still finding its footing in 2011, getting some licenses that weren’t hot at the moment and building games around them. Jurassic Park is a completely competent adventure that just doesn’t stand out in any real way, with paper-thin characters and dull puzzles. Even worse, it feels like you’re not really in control of the narrative, which is unusual for Telltale.

CSI

CSI

We’re going to lump all four of Telltale’s CSI games into one spot on this list because, frankly, they’re just not all that good. The hyper-realistic art style is unpleasant and each “case” is too short and simple. If you’re a big fan of the show they might be worth playing but otherwise feel free to skip them.

Law & Order

Law & Order: Legacies

See the entry for CSI above. This one maybe looks better in hindsight because you can’t even buy this game anymore – Telltale let the license lapse, so it’s lost to the mists of time. This one at least looked better thanks to a more stylized visual approach.

Poker Night

Poker Night At The Inventory

This game (and the sequel) deserve a spot on the list for Telltale ably blending fictional universes including the worlds of webcomic Penny Arcade, TV show The Venture Brothers and more, but let’s be frank: there are better poker games out there, and once you’ve heard all of the funny dialogue at the table there’s not much else here. It’s fun and charming but definitely outside of the must-buy zone.

Back To The Future

Back To The Future: The Game

This was definitely a sort of transitional game for Telltale, as they had the license but weren’t 100% sure of how to make the best possible experience out of it. Christopher Lloyd even went into the studio to record new lines as Doc Brown, which gave the game a little more connection to the source material. The storyline is good and feels appropriate, the puzzles are there and this is where conversations start to get more interesting and meaningful.

Wallace And Gromit's Grand Adventures

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures

Sort of the epitome of mid-tier Telltale, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures does a serviceable job of aping the Claymation world of Aardman’s odd dog and man couple, but doesn’t bring anything particularly spectacular or novel to the tale. Some good laughs, some solid puzzles, but nothing you can’t live without.

Bone

Bone

In their early days, Telltale made a pair of games based on Jeff Smith’s hit all-ages comic series Bone. They’re perfectly competent but the first one came out twelve years ago so they’re more than a little dated. Fun for fans of the series and younger players, but easily skipped.

Game Of Thrones

Game Of Thrones

This one suffers from the gap between expectations and delivery. When it was announced that Telltale would take on the Game of Thrones universe, we salivated at the idea of being a part of the conflict for the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, the same sprawl that’s affected the HBO show hurt the game as well, as players were relegated to the sidelines to wait for cameo appearances from characters like Dany and Jon Snow. Throw in a staggering number of graphical glitches and weird slowdown and you got an experience that just didn’t hang together.

Sam and Max

Sam & Max

Based on Steve Purcell’s indie comic darlings, the Sam & Max trilogy are all worth playing, especially if you have a high tolerance for capital W wackiness. The titular detectives are a bipedal dog and some sort of rabbit creature, and they get up to all sorts of shenanigans. The Sam & Max games get better as they go, and definitely were the fire in which many modern Telltale tropes were forged.

Strong Bad's Cool Game For Awesome People

Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People

Games based on webcomics and other online culture detritus usually don’t work out so well, but Telltale managed to get something pretty solid out of the Homestar Runner universe with Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People. If you’re not a Homestar fan, some of the random access humor in this one can fall a little flat, but it’s definitely a solid recreation of what made it a “thing” in the early days of Flash animation.

Tales Of Monkey Island

Tales Of Monkey Island

The most notable bridge between the golden era of adventure gaming and the modern day, Telltale’s take on Monkey Island delivers some of the company’s best puzzle-centric adventure over five solid episodes. The graphics look more than a little dated, but if you’re into the genre these are worth playing.

Puzzle Agent

Puzzle Agent</h2<

The utmost of rarities – a Telltale game with an original universe that didn’t come from another media property. With art by cartoonist Graham Annable, the duo of Puzzle Agent games are quirky experiments that meld adventure game style dialogue and exploration with a variety of brain-teasers. It’s definitely charming and will give your noggin something to chew on.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Before Telltale dropped the first installment of their Walking Dead game, the general market consensus was that adventure games were a niche genre. This blew that out of the water, demonstrating that a tight narrative experience with real moral and ethical choices could carry a game. The anything-can-happen world of the zombie apocalypse lent real tension to every choice the player made, and adding young girl Clementine to the mix – and then making her the POV character – was a potent spin. Sadly, the Michonne spin-off didn’t keep the streak alive, as it was just too short.

The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us

The company’s first new property after The Walking Dead hit big didn’t start off on the right foot, but once completed The Wolf Among Us showed the value of an episodic structure for adventure games. Set in the world of comic book series Fable, where storybook characters live among us, the player controls detective Bigby Wolf as he tries to get to the bottom of a grisly mystery. A sequel is on the way in 2018.

Tales From The Borderlands

Tales From The Borderlands

The frantic shooting action of the Borderlands series often felt like it was just an excuse for the writers at Gearbox to let loose with the comedy, so it made sense for Telltale to jump in with both feet and go wild. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as profitable a project as some of the other franchises, so it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any more of it soon.

Batman

Batman

For our money, this series is the apotheosis of Telltale design. It perfectly recreates one of our favorite fictional universes – the dark alleys and society galas of Gotham City – and then makes us feel like everything we do there matters. While other Batman games position him as the ultimate badass, taking down crooks with ease, Telltale focuses on the detective part of Detective Comics, requiring you to navigate Gotham as both Batman and Bruce Wayne to solve the mystery. It’s an exceptional game.

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Nokia 9 and Nokia 6 (2018) both get 3C certifications, could launch in January

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The Nokia 6 went through TENAA but it wasn’t alone – Nokia 9 may have been there as well. The Nokia 6 (2018) has a model number TA-1054, the other phone is TA-1042.

Nokia 9 and Nokia 6 (2018) both get 3C certifications, could launch in January

And it’s just this model number that matches the Nokia 9 in the image below, also TA-1005 and TA-1009 (though those are still MIA on TENAA).

Anyway, there’s a Nokia event on January 19 and the Nokia 9 will allegedly be the star. Other rumored participants include the Nokia 6 (2018) and Nokia 8 (2018). The original Nokia 6 launched in China on January 19 this year. We might get some action at CES too (January 9-12).z

Source (removed) | Via

Google’s new photography apps for iOS and Android use AI to do things other apps can’t

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It’s difficult for some people to imagine at this point, but dedicated point and shoot cameras used to be a big part of our lives. Anytime people went out to celebrate, traveled somewhere on vacation, or went to a family gathering, they would bring cameras with them to capture those memories. These days, the concept of a dedicated camera is completely foreign to just about anyone who isn’t an amateur or professional photographer.

Point and shoot cameras have been completely replaced by smartphones, of course, and that’s a great thing for so many reasons. Having one less gadget to carry and charge is never a bad thing, but it’s the capabilities of smartphones that make them better personal cameras than old dedicated digital cameras. The possibilities are endless when it comes to filters and other photo effects on mobile phones, and Google just released three new photography apps that remind us how fun photography can be on a smartphone.

Google Interaction Researcher Alex Kauffmann took to the Google Research Blog to unveil three new photography apps. Well actually, Google is calling them “appsperiments,” or experimental apps that Google is releasing out into the wild.

The first is an Android-only photography app called Storyboard. Unfortunately for iOS users, it’s probably the most fun of the three new apps. In a nutshell, it takes a video clip and uses artificial intelligence to transform it into a comic-style storyboard. Don’t like the comic that was created? Simply pull down on the screen and it’ll make a new one.

Next up is Selfissimo, which is available for iOS and Android. As illustrated in the GIF above, the apps automatically snaps a selfie every time you pose. It then creates a contact sheet that you can save, and you can save individual shots as well. For the time being, it only shoots in black and white.

Last up is an iPhone-only app called Scrubbies. This app plays to the video loop trend that has been popular for years now. It lets users scrub video in either direction at varying speeds and captures the action as they scrub. The resulting video can then be looped and saved, or of course shared.

This $23 gadget lets you stream 1080p video from any iPhone or Android to your TV

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OK, this is just awesome. While some households go all-in on either iOS or Android, others are split. In fact, there are plenty of people who use both platforms themselves, like an Android smartphone and an iPad for browsing the web on the couch. If both major mobile platforms are represented in your house, you definitely need to check out the Toneseas 1080P HDMI Adapter Wireless Display Dongle. With this one adapter, you can wirelessly stream content to your TV from iOS and Android devices alike. How cool is that!?

Here are some key details from the product page:

  • Powerful multi-compatibility: Our Mira cast dongle supports Mira cast, dlna, airplay modes
  • Unique wireless display: Absolutely casted/mirrored with photos, video, radio, music, office document, etc.
  • Compact pocket size: Try to imagine that portable mini size enables important business conference
  • Beneficial for eyes: Stare at the little screen long time definitely will cause eyes uncomfortable
  • Easy-to-use operation: Only 3 steps to start amazing visual journey, plug it into specific jack on TV or monitor

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First phone with under-screen fingerprint scanner to arrive at CES 2018

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Synaptics announced optical fingerprint sensor back at the end of 2016. An updated version was unveiled today that in theory reads the fingerprint when placed under the OLED. The company also shared that a “Tier 1” manufacturer will introduce the first phone with the tech at CES 2018.

Clear ID FS9500 fingerprint scanner

The Clear ID FS9500 sensor works only with OLED displays. When activated, it uses the panel to illuminate the fingerprint and then processes the beams of light. Synaptics claims the sensor can work under a sandwich of components up to 1.5 mm thick, including a screen protector, the cover glass and the actual OLED screen.

The company promises the same security protection as its current FS9100 fingerprint scanner, seen in numerous flagships, including the Galaxy S8 duo. It will also be more durable to dirt and moisture since it will be sealed between the motherboard and the OLED.

Many expect Samsung to unveil the Galaxy S9, but vivo and Qualcomm already gave a sneak peek to their working prototype back in June, so a new vivo might be the big surprise next month in Las Vegas. Plus the Galaxy S9 is not going to be present at the show, so the star will clearly be different.

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Smart Urinal Dispenses Digital Ads While You Pee

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Dutch toilet startup Mr. Friendly is not taking the piss with its new smart urinal.

This is not your grandfather’s latrine: Mr. Friendly (as the actual toilet bowl appears to be called) features a built-in display for easy advertising.

“[We] understand the importance of finding a way to communicate when a person is most open to receiving information,” the company website said. “The best moment to do this is when a person cannot escape to do something else, and can only focus on your message.”

Like, for instance, while they are relieving themselves.

Guaranteed to “capture 40 seconds of a gentleman’s attention” (if it really takes that long, consider consulting a doctor), the Mr. Friendly urinal lets businesses remotely manage media—”with no need for USB sticks.” Which is probably for the best, in this case…

This is not your grandfather’s latrine (via Mr. Friendly)

The invention boasts built-in sensors, which, according to The Next Web, launch digital ads once your contribution has been detected. It’s a bit like those carnival squirt-gun races, except instead of a prize, you win a 30-second commercial.

Mr. Friendly, as its name sort of suggests, is also kind to the environment: Its waterless, flushless design can help save tens of thousands of gallons of water each year (not to mention cut down on the bills).

There is no mention online of privacy or security measures; Mr. Friendly did not immediately respond to Geek’s request for comment.

Ironically, TNW was tipped off about the high-tech toilet from a colleague who “spotted one … in the wild.”

“In signature Internet of Things fashion, the advertising component—which is Mr. Friendly’s unique selling point—wasn’t working,” the blog reported.

The smart urinal costs €22.50 ($26.49) each; add the necessary filters, pumps, cleaners, and tools, though, and that number jumps to €118.75 ($139.81)—still oddly cheap for a digitally enhanced device.

Currently available to purchase in the Netherlands and the US, Mr. Friendly does not appear to have debuted in any of the 50 states … yet.

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Warner Bros. is making its own Harry Potter mobile game

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Warner Brothers

Hogwarts is officially going mobile. From next year, Potterheads — and muggles, should they wish — will be able to create their own characters and experience life as a Hogwarts student in officially-licensed game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. As a witch or wizard you’ll progress through school years just like Harry et al, participating in the magical classes such as Defence Against the Dark Arts and Potions, with Hogwarts’ iconic professors at the helm.

There’s been no shortage of Potter-themed games on the market (including Niantic’s augmented reality take) but this is the first that comes with Warner Bros’ official seal of approval. It’ll launch under the company’s Portkey Games label, which is dedicated to games inspired by JK Rowling’s magical wizarding world. The game no doubt comes as a result of huge, sustained demand from the fandom, which makes no secret of its stickler for canon, so the game creators have got their work cut out for them. It’ll be available next year (date TBC) on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore.

 

 

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition: Overlay, App & More for 2017

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A few weeks ago, AMD took the courtesy of revealing the name (and nothing else) of their upcoming 2017 major feature update for Radeon Software. But today, the totality of AMD’s Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition is finally upon us. Succeeding Crimson and Crimson ReLive Editions, Adrenalin continues AMD’s yearly cadence of driver software features pushing, among other things, the user experience (UX) angle.

For the headliners, Adrenalin introduces the new Radeon Overlay and the AMD Link mobile app. Beyond that, this update is quite reminiscent of Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.7.2, bringing a number of widespread improvements and expanded support for current features. Among the highlights is Enhanced Sync ‘E-Sync’ for all GCN GPUs, a generic Radeon Chill profile, WattMan profile saving/loading, a slew of new ReLive streamer features, and streamer-oriented social media integration.

Radeon Software in 2017: What’s Old is New and What’s New is New

To start, Adrenalin is in a curious spot considering that July’s wide-ranging 17.7.2 already brought a variety of enhancements and features. So as a yearly feature update, there’s less build-up than Crimson or Crimson ReLive. And in some ways, Adrenalin is less flashy than Crimson ReLive, which included so many hardware-dependent features that tables were necessary to make sense of it all.

While this might make Adrenalin seem less extensive, today’s release is simply more UX and streaming/social focused, building off of what has already been established in previous versions. For Adrenalin’s marquee features, Radeon Overlay and AMD Link, they are more about the different ways of presenting Radeon Settings features to the user, rather than features in and of itself.

As a set, AMD is pushing Enhanced Sync, ReLive, Radeon Chill, and WattMan together, and to a lesser extent Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC), most of which get wrapped up into Radeon Overlay (and AMD Link). We won’t be going too much in depth with the details of these technologies, but our earlier Crimson Edition and Crimson ReLive Edition coverage is worth reading if these terms are unfamiliar.

As for AMD’s promise of a minimum six annual WHQL drivers, they remain faithful. Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 is intended to be WHQL certified at launch, and would mark the 8th WHQL release of the year (after 17.7.2, 17.9.3, and 17.11.1). Though to be clear, not all of these releases were WHQL certified at launch-day, but were updated later with WHQL certification. However, as we have mentioned in the past, WHQL certification does not cover game-specific bugs. So 17.11.1 WHQL has no bearing on whether Overwatch crashes or not.

But What About Vega?

A good amount of readers, and not just ours, are strongly under the impression that Adrenalin is an RX Vega super driver. This is not the case. Adrenalin is explicitly focused on the broader Radeon user base; it does not bring any Vega-specific performance enhancements or documented changes to the behavior of Vega-specific hardware features. As for game-dependent enhancements to pre-existing games – features like Wolfenstein II’s Rapid Packed Math (RPM) support and to a lesser extent GPU Culling and Deferred Rendering – Adrenalin is not bringing any of those either. On that note, AMD commented that “any functionality or enhancements would have been made available with our day-0 game drivers and not held back for Adrenalin Edition.” This follows AMD’s previous committment to immediate day-0 driver updates over larger update packages for performance.

Given the nature of Vega’s forward-looking hardware features, this might be seen as surprising. But since Omega, these major annual updates were never intended to be all-in-one wonder drivers. And as AMD has reiterated over the past couple years, their driver release methodology has shifted to immediate release for bug-fixes and launch-day drivers, while major annual releases focused on quality assurance, user experience, and software feature updates. Even at the time of last year’s Crimson ReLive, AMD stated that the days of 40%+ performance increase drivers were set to disappear.

So in short, Adrenalin details nothing Vega-specific and there was no information disclosed on what Vega optimizations are coming when. The focus is on interaction and availability of the features within.

When Enhanced Sync was introduced in the mid-year Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2, AMD finally had an equivalent to NVIDIA’s Fast Sync and Adaptive V-Sync, a combination of technologies that aim to reduce the drawbacks of enabling V-Sync. At framerates above a monitors refresh rate, Enhanced Sync keeps the keeps the frame rate unlocked and displays the most recently completed frame to reduce V-Sync’s latency, or input lag. At framerates below the refresh rate Enhanced Sync simply disables V-Sync to reduce V-Sync stuttering.

With Adrenalin, Enhanced Sync is now supported for all GCN GPUs, as opposed to only Polaris and Vega based GPUs. And beyond that, Enhanced Sync now supports Vulkan applications, notebooks with dGPU-driven displays, multi-GPU (mGPU), and AMD Eyefinity. 

Moving onto Radeon Chill, a power saving feature that modulates framerates based on in-game movement, this now supports “countless” games, including ones powered by Vulkan. As far as “countless” goes, the only details disclosed were that this was accomplished via a generic Chill profile.

Radeon WattMan also received custom profile capability. Profiles can be saved, loaded, and shared.

These past three developments are arguably some of the most desired updates, at least according to AMD’s feature voting page: these changes were #1, #2, and #3 respectively of what users voted on most.

Lastly, FRTC now supports Vulkan as well, rounding out this first batch of ‘short and sweet’ Adrenalin improvements.

The next set of Adrenalin updates has even shorter descriptions. Among them, FreeSync can be toggled per game, while the Radeon Settings UI has three new themes, though not user customizable.

AMD also mentioned their “GPU Workload” Radeon Settings toggle between graphics and compute, intended for improved cryptocurrency mining performance, which was introduced in October’s 17.10.2. In this case, AMD explicitly stated that the ‘compute workload’ mode was designed for Ethereum.

Borderless windowed mode is now supported on Multi-GPU configurations. And like 17.7.2, AMD has worked on reducing latency in DX11 games.

AMD gave a Linux update as well, mentioning the Radeon Software for Linux mixed-open/closed-source stack. As for the AMD Vulkan Open-Source Driver, the slide footnote simply says “Coming Soon: Full Source code access”. No other information was provided.

While Radeon ReLive launched a year ago with Crimson ReLive Edition, 17.7.2 brought additional capabilities and features. Today, Adrenalin Edition brings even more, honing in on the needs of video game streaming. For one, ReLive now has an in-game overlay for chat on Twitch, Facebook, Youtube, and Mixer, as it is always nice for streamers to see in real-time all the silly things their viewers might say.

Continuing the Vulkan theme, ReLive now supports recording Vulkan-powered games. Eyefinity support is also featured with Adrenalin, matching well with a new borderless region capture option, allowing streamers to capture specific regions of the screen.

ReLive Adrenalin also comes with Chroma Key support, a feature that streamers use to create transparent webcam backgrounds. Once enabled, there are options for Chroma Key Color Preset, Chroma Key Color, and Chroma Key Strength. Using the strength presets, transparency can be increased or decreased.

Adrenalin adds editing-related functionality to ReLive as well. There is a new option to record game audio separately from microphone audio.

For more fully featured editing and organizing, ReLive now includes support for Stage TEN, which allows streamers to assemble and distribute live shows using a web browser interface. While integrated, a Stage TEN account does require a fee for users with over 10,000 subscribers or followers.

Otherwise, AMD has continued to work on reducing ReLive FPS overhead. [40]

For Adrenalin, the streamer focus is very clear not only in direct enhancements for ReLive but also in how ReLive can be accessed through the new Radeon Settings ‘Connect Tab’, Radeon Overlay, and the AMD Link mobile app. The Connect Tab in particular allows users to upload and share ReLive captures on their desired social media account directly from Radeon Settings. Opening up the Connect Tab brings up three other tabs: Gallery, Accounts, and Resource Center.

For Gallery, users can manage and view their video captures, and can trim length as needed. When uploading, users can queue captures to multiple social media accounts.

The Accounts tab brings up the account connections, where users can enable and connect the accounts they need.

Lastly is the Resource Center, which is not directly related to ReLive or streaming capabilities. The page lists a number of articles and how-to videos, as well as any Radeon Software or related updates.

As one of the main features of Adrenalin, Radeon Overlay is a little difficult to sum up neatly. It’s essentially an in-game/desktop overlay of certain Radeon Settings options and tools, combined with OSD and performance logging/monitoring functionality. While an overlay, AMD noted that the overhead was very small and that Radeon Overlay would not interfere with Steam in-game overlay and others. Radeon Overlay hooks into particular hardware in GPUs, and while AMD mentioned that it supports a wide range of products, a full compatibility list was not disclosed.

By default, Radeon Overlay is enabled by ALT+R. While Radeon Overlay works in windowed, borderless fullscreen, and exclusive fullscreen mode, performance monitoring only works in fullscreen. The monitoring and logging is confined to Radeon Overlay and separate from the WattMan monitoring, which has no logging capability.

The performance monitor OSD can be anchored to different parts of the screen.

The list of performance monitoring metrics is as follows: FPS, GPU Utilization, GPU Engine Clock, GPU Memory Clock, GPU Temperature, GPU Power, GPU Fan Speed, CPU Utilization, System RAM Utilization.

Unsurprisingly, ReLive is a large aspect of Radeon Overlay, which replaces the older ReLive toolbar. OSD metrics can be hidden from ReLive capture as needed. With the record/stream region, a specific window or application can be captured while in windowed or borderless fullscreen mode.

AMD mentioned that enabling FRTC or Chill (both exclusive fullscreen only) will require a restart, but adjusting them once enabled will not. Provided that it is already enabled on the monitor, FreeSync can be enabled in-game. Like the rest of the options, Color Settings will apply instantly, and can be applied per display for multi-monitor configurations.

The last piece of Adrenalin is bringing some of these features into your smartphone or tablet. Available for Android 5.0 or later and iOS 10 or later, the new AMD Link App launches today, offering ReLive, performance monitoring, software update notifications, and an AMD news feed.

Adrenalin Edition features a new AMD Link button on the bottom bar. After the AMD Link Server is enabled, Radeon Settings displays a QR code that can be scanned by AMD Link to form the connection. There is also a manual input option with a server PIN, but with either method the authentication code or PIN will update every 15 seconds or so. Multiple devices can connect and control the Radeon Software, and can be managed on this AMD Link Configuration menu.

With the performance monitoring feature, the monitor can track average, minimum, and maximum FPS for exclusive fullscreen games, with the screen background colored red below 30 FPS, orange between 31-60 FPS, and green above 60 FPS.

Once again, ReLive integration shows up with one-touch capture, streaming, and instant replay functionality. The ReLive gallery shows all gameplay videos and images, where long pressing a file will bring up share options to social media.

AMD Link ReLive can also function as a remote control, in the sense that users can control recording, streaming, screenshots, and instant replay from the app.

As for the more minor functions, the notifications keep track of driver and AMD Link updates. The newsfeed brings up AMD news from their social media and RSS.

To preface, a list of resolved issues was not provided before today’s launch. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is recommended for Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1, which fully supports that build, while 17.11.1 is the most recent WHQL certified driver for the Fall Creators Update. Adrenalin Edition supports consumer APUs, except the newly launched Ryzen Mobile processors.

As for Adrenalin Edition proper, the streaming focus tends to take center stage with Radeon Overlay, AMD Link, and the ‘Connect Tab’. The community angle is more of an accessory to the streaming attributes.

The core features updates and Vulkan emphasis does make Adrenalin useful for general users, but the increased social focus and streaming/sharing integration brings GeForce Experience and ShadowPlay to mind. For streamers, the combination of AMD Link on a tablet/smartphone, Radeon Overlay, and ReLive Adrenalin seems like it could positively impact workflow, particularly if they are doing it casually.

In gauging AMD Link especially, there seems to be some reasonable use cases beyond streaming. For social gamers who want to send screenshots or instant replays of everything to everyone, AMD Link provides that quick option during a respawn timer or end-of-round. It also provides an easy way to post in-game videos or pictures to social media.

In most cases, users will have their phone nearby when on a desktop or laptop, and AMD Link can turn that into a ‘free screen’ for performance monitoring if desired. For laptops and similar situations where screen space is at a premium, this would be a good alternative to an OSD that would show up too small anyway. In all of those scenarios, though, the newsfeed seems superfluous.

Offhand, considering a Radeon Pro Software ReLive and hypothetical AMD Pro Link might have some interesting business functionality. But at the very least, AMD has come very far since even Raptr and Gaming Evolved, and at the same time cut down a few excess syllables to their display driver name.

For both Crimson ReLive and 17.7.2, we reiterated the importance of execution. With Adrenalin, AMD has made the UX much more consistent across different products and configurations. From last year, ReLive is continuing to accumulate better features and find a stronger niche with Radeon Overlay and AMD Link; though in practice this mostly depends on how streamers and social gamers take to it.

On the feature side, Adrenalin is another solid entry for AMD and RTG’s annual major updates. But for AMD’s first high-end card launch in two years, and one featuring a new forward-looking microarchitecture, is not irrelevant to even feature updates, and graphics software is not totally divorced from the hardware; a good UX at the least complements the hardware. Users are still inquiring about the RX Vega hardware features, which has affected their expectations of Adrenalin Edition and presumably their present response to it. Consumers still recognize that Adrenalin Edition is a driver that includes performance improvements.

The new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 drivers are available through the Radeon Settings tab or online at the AMD driver download page. More information on this update and further issues can be found in the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 release notes.

This might be the creepiest viewership statistic Netflix has ever shared

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There’s no denying that Netflix is one of the greatest tech companies of our time. It provides a simple to use and affordable service, it has a steady stream of new releases, and it has a pretty good track record defending net neutrality.

But the following tweet easily qualifies as the creepiest thing Netflix ever said.

“To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?” Netflix tweeted a few hours ago.

Yes, that’s somewhat hilarious if you don’t mind the bullying/shaming in there. “Who hurt you?” That’s not your business Netflix, even if it’s all a joke. The tweet in question got almost 400,000 likes and more than 100,000 retweets too, so mission achieved. So, at least, its advertising mission was accomplished. People are talking about that movie.

If you’re wondering what A Christmas Prince really is, I’ll tell you that it’s a brand new silly Christmas movie made by Netflix that I could not absolutely watch, no matter how hard I tried. But, clearly, some people really like it.

What’s creepy about this unusual statistic, from a company that never shares viewing data with anyone, is that it’s able to single out such stats about its users.


It makes you think about how much data Netflix is hoarding about each user. And that’s insanely creepy. It’s what you’d expect from Facebook and Google, whose product you happen to be. But not Netflix.

As long as Netflix doesn’t actually use that data to turn you into the product. Although it may very well decide to do so in the future. After all, there may be customers willing to trade in their privacy just so they can binge-watch their favorite shows for free. Well, that would be an ad-based free subscription, if Netflix ever launches one.

Huawei LDD-xx spotted on TENAA with two dual cameras, might be Honor 9 Lite

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As if the Honor family tree wasn’t complicated enough, there’s a new model incoming – the Huawei LDD-xxx, which some are saying is the Honor 9 Lite. TENAA hasn’t given names, but has photographed the device. To spice things up, there’s a leaked page from the manual, though no specs are given yet.

Huawei LDD-xxx (perhaps the Honor 9 Lite) Huawei LDD-xxx (perhaps the Honor 9 Lite) Huawei LDD-xxx (perhaps the Honor 9 Lite) Huawei LDD-xxx (perhaps the Honor 9 Lite)
Huawei LDD-xxx (perhaps the Honor 9 Lite)

The phone has dual front and rear cameras and a design fairly similar to the new nova 2s. There’s an 18:9 screen on the front and a fingerprint reader on the rear, once again an odd mix of design elements from other Huawei phones.

The manual page points to a 3.5mm headphone jack (woo) and a microUSB port (boo). Specs are scarce right now but rumors suggest a 5.65” 1080p+ screen, a Kirin 659 chipset (same as Honor 7X), a 13MP + 20MP camera and a 3,000mAh battery.

A page of the Honor 9 Lite's user manual
A page of the Honor 9 Lite’s user manual

Rumored prices are CNY 1,300 ($195/€165) for the 3GB/32GB model and CNY 1,600 ($240/€205) for the 4GB/64GB version.

Source 1 (in Chinese) | Via 1 | Source 2 (in Chinese)

You can now pre-order apps for Apple devices

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Engadget

Apple has launched a simple new feature that makes it even easier to get the apps you’ve been waiting for. The company announced a new pre-order function that lets developers make their future releases available on the App Store up to 90 days in the future and have them automatically download to devices when they launch.

Apple says that the feature is available for free and paid apps on all of its platforms, meaning that iOS, macOS and tvOS devices are all supported (as long as they’re running the most up-to-date software). Also, Apple won’t take your money until the day the app is released, similar to how Amazon handles hardware pre-orders via its online store.

If a developer decides to change the price of an app before it launches, Apple will always charge whatever is lower: the price it was pre-ordered at or the cost when it becomes available.

Although the App Store has largely remained the same since its launch in July 2008, Apple has made a number of changes over the past year and a half. In June 2016, the company finally introduced subscriptions and began allowing developers to inject paid App Store listings within search results. However, there’s still no option to test apps before you buy them.

Apple Pre-order Apps

 

 

Google Paints Street View Red With Annual Christmas Island Crab Migration

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Crabs for Christmas? Google Street View joins more than 45 million crustaceans for their annual trip from forest to sea on Christmas Island.

Not to be confused with the North Pole, Christmas Island is a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean—where endemic red crabs have begun their year-end migration.

Emerging from the shelter of local forests, where they spend most of the year, the divining arthropods march to sea to mate near coastal waters.

“These bright red residents wait patiently for a precise alignment of the rains, moon cycle, and tides to commence their journey,” according to Christmas Island crab advocate Camilla Ibrahim.

Christmas Island’s 45 million red crabs far exceed the 2,000 human residents (via Google)

And you can follow along.

Parks Australia’s Alasdair Grigg is carrying the Street View Trekker—a special camera-equipped backpack—along the migration route, collecting imagery of the crab-tivating process.

Breeding typically requires at least a week, with male crabs arriving before the females (probably to factor in getting lost at least six times, amirite?) (Actually, they need time to dig up romantic little retreats.) After copulation, the males are quick to return to the forest, leaving their counterparts to do the hatching.

The whole thing ends only once the highest density of crabs lay their eggs in the sand—a finale forecasted for Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Keep an eye out for upcoming imagery from the 2017 breeding (via Google)

“The volume of red crabs presents unprecedented conditions for the Street View image capture,” Ibrahim, communications and public affairs manager at Google Australia & New Zealand, wrote in a blog post. “As crabs crown the roads, boardwalks, and beaches, each step must be taken with care.”

Christmas Island’s 2,000 human residents are far outpaced by its shellfish community.

“Fortunately, crabs have right of way on Christmas Island, and Parks Australia has built walls and fencing along roads to direct the crossers to safety,” Ibrahim added.

Keep an eye out for imagery from this collection on Google Street View in early 2018.

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Will the Galaxy S9 have a fingerprint sensor under its display after all?

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For a long time this year, it was believed that Apple’s iPhone X would have a Touch ID sensor embedded under the screen. As we got closer to the phone’s launch, it became clear that Apple replaced it with 3D face recognition technology. Then Apple told everyone that Touch ID wasn’t even in the cards for the iPhone X, no matter what all those rumors said.

Samsung was rumored to work on similar technology for its Galaxy phones, but reports said the tech wasn’t mature for this year’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 models. Other rumors claimed that only next year’s Samsung flagship may feature screens with built-in fingerprint sensors, and newer stories said that we’d have to wait for the Galaxy Note 9. The Galaxy S9 won’t get one, they said.

A new announcement from Synaptics, the company that revealed earlier that it’s working on fingerprint sensors for displays, may give Samsung fans some hope.

The press release says Synaptics is already mass-producing the component, called Clear ID™ FS9500, with a top five smartphone manufacturer.

Synaptics never named its partner, but it dropped several hints that it may be Samsung:

Designed for smartphones with infinity displays, Synaptics’ Clear ID in-display fingerprint sensors magically activate in the display only when needed.

Infinity Display is actually a Samsung trademark for the all-screen design used in the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. No other smartphones come with Infinity Displays other than Samsung’s. And Synaptics used it twice:

The new Synaptics Clear ID optical fingerprint sensors deliver one-touch high-resolution scanning through full cover glass and enable sleek, button-free, bezel-free infinity displays.

There’s also this gem, which mentions OLED Infinity Displays.

“Consumers prefer fingerprint authentication on the front of the phone, and with the industry quickly shifting to bezel-free OLED infinity displays, the natural placement of the fingerprint sensor is in the display itself,” said Kevin Barber, senior vice president and general manager, Mobile Division, Synaptics. “Synaptics’ Clear ID fingerprint sensors are faster, more convenient, and more secure than alternative biometrics, and this optical technology represents a major innovation shift and opportunity for the smartphone market.”

Again, only Samsung phones have Infinity Displays.

Synaptics may be referring to the Galaxy Note 9. That’s still a more likely possibility, considering that most Galaxy S9 design leaks suggest the phone has a fingerprint sensor on the back. But one can always hope Samsung somehow find a way to include the tech in the upcoming Galaxy S9 models.

Beta Oreo update for Nokia 5 now available, Nokia 6 coming next

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With the flagship update done, HMD has turned to the Nokia 5 and brought it to the beta labs. For now, you can sign up to test drive a closed version of Android 8.0 Oreo.

So the software isn’t ready yet but if you can live with a few bugs and want to help the devs squash them, you can join beta labs.

Chief Product Offers Juho Sarvikas also mentioned that the Nokia 6 will soon have an Oreo beta as well.

There’s no firm time frame, but beta testing for the Nokia 8 started on October 25, ended on November 10 and the finalized update started rolling out on November 24. So the Nokia 5 should have Oreo in about a month.

Source

Images of Nokia 6 (2018) added to listing

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Yesterday we told you the Nokia 6 successor arrived on TENAA, a required step before a device hits the Chinese market. At that point there was not much to the listing, but this morning the Chinese regulatory also uploaded images of the phone. It will have 18:9 screen, and since there is no room for a fingerprint scanner on the front, it will move on the back, below the camera.

Nokia 6 (2018) Nokia 6 (2018) Nokia 6 (2018) Nokia 6 (2018)
Nokia 6 (2018)

The phone will have one camera, with the actual setup looking a lot like the long one in the Nokia 5. There are also discreet antenna bands on the top and bottom and an orange accent around the camera.

The front is occupied mainly by the screen, but there is room for an earpiece, selfie camera and the Nokia logo on the top. The images also reveal some side bezels, most likely due to the taller display. Even though it is hard to get what surface will the phone have, it will most likely be the same aluminum unibody.

Source (in Chinese)