Amazon has announced that Amazon Prime members can download select movies and TV episodes for offline viewing, at no additional charge. This works on all Apple iPhones, iPads, and Android-based devices. You may need to update your apps to the most recent version to enable this feature (iOS / Android). Here is their announcement page and the official press release.
Most people agree that Amazon’s catalog is not as good as Netflix, but this is a perfect backup for all those times you don’t have access to WiFi or want to use up mobile data. This would include commutes on public transportation, airplane trips, car rides, or international travel. I always keep a bunch of videos for the kids on our phones and on their iPads.
Here are some sample movies that are eligible for download:
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Captive, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and The Wolf of Wall Street, in addition to exclusives such as Life After Beth, Palo Alto, Starred Up, The Bling Ring, If I Stay, and The Spectacular Now
I am an Amazon Prime member and was happy to see that Sesame Street was eligible for download. This is much easier and cheaper than buying an episode on DVD and ripping it. I downloaded an episode and confirmed that it would play offline in Airplane mode. For the curious, a 1 hour episode at “Better” quality (the middle option) took up 600 mb of space. Here are some screenshots (click to enlarge):
One minor concern is that the videos that you download aren’t there “forever”. I can’t find the specific documentation, but you must reconnect the app to WiFi within a certain time period or you will eventually lose the ability to watch the videos offline. I’m guessing this is to check that you are still a paying member of Amazon Prime.
Update: Thanks to commenters below for sharing this link and this link. Combining the information from both:
The time period you have to view a downloaded video while your compatible mobile device is offline varies by title.
You’ll typically have 15 to 30 days to begin watching the video and once you start watching it, you’ll typically have 48 hours to finish watching it. We’ll usually notify you when the viewing period for a title is close to expiring.
Amazon Prime: Download Shows and Movies, View Offline For Free from My Money Blog.
© MyMoneyBlog.com, 2015.
Nextbit, a company founded by former Android engineers from Google, HTC, and others, has unveiled its first smartphone. The Robin has a pretty unique and fun design, but the major selling point - they claim - is that the phone intelligently manages its limited storage by offloading lesser-used or unused stuff (content and applications) to the internet. An interesting strategy in the current climate of privacy wariness - especially since these more boutique Android phones tend to be for technologically inclined users, who will be more aware of these issues. One also has to wonder how well this will work and how reliable it'll be, considering the company's young age.
As for specifications:
Speaking of hardware, the Robin is a uniquely designed mid-range Android phone. Nextbit tapped former HTC designer Scott Croyle as its head of design in 2014, and set out to make a phone that stands out among the sea of similar looking phones. The result is a device that's starkly rectangular, but with circular details throughout. The Robin's all-plastic chassis houses a 5.2-inch, 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 2,680mAh battery, and 13-megapixel camera. Unique additions include a USB Type-C charging port and fingerprint scanner embedded into the side-mounted power button. The Robin is completely carrier and bootloader unlocked and is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile LTE.
Decidedly midrange for a phone that's on Kickstarter right now and will (supposedly) ship in January.
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Reading The Open Organization was exciting because author Jim Whitehurst catalyzed many ideas that I've had swimming in my consciousness. Jim says that his role at Red Hat is more of a catalyst than a CEO in the traditional sense of how we use the word. The open organization is less about CEOs and more about community building and empowerment. His approach reminds me of ancient wisdom found in the Tao te Ching:
The web and tech journalists were all afire yesterday. A major new innovation? A brand new software release? Nope - Google has a new logo. Yeah. That's the hard-hitting tech news deserving of totally unbiased and very unpredictable hot takes.
There was actually real Google news too - the company made some changes to how search is displayed on mobile.
With mobile devices in mind, we've also made some changes to our search results page to help you more easily find what you need and dive into diverse content such as images, videos, news stories and more - by simply swiping and tapping.
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Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Cisco, Intel, Netflix, and Amazon today launched a new consortium, the Alliance for Open Media. The group plans to develop next-generation media formats - including audio and still images, but with video as the top priority - and deliver them as royalty-free open source, suitable for both commercial and noncommercial content.
The problem is that the supposed next-generation codec, HVEC, is going to be a lot more expensive, whereas other initiatives, such as Google's VP9/VP10, would surely face patent trolling from the other major players. By coming together like this, all these players can have a say, without fear of them suing each other. That being said, smaller players will still want to sue, but at least the united front should make that a little harder.
And, unsurprisingly, one major player is not part of this new initiative. I guess they didn't like the open and royalty-free part.
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An anonymous reader writes: Gizmodo's Annalee Newitz looked through the source code contained in the recent Ashley Madison data dump and found evidence that the company created tens of thousands of bot accounts designed to spur their male users into action by sending them messages. "The code tells the story of a company trying to weave the illusion that women on the site were plentiful and eager." The evidence suggests bots sent over 20 million messages on the website, and chatted with people over 11 million times. The vast majority of fake accounts — 70,529 to 43 — pretended to be female, and the users targeted were almost entirely men. Comments left in the code indicate some of the issues Ashley Madison's engineers had to solve: "randomizing start time so engagers don't all pop up at the same time" and "for every single state that has guest males, we want to have a chat engager." The AI was unsophisticated, though one type of bot would try to convince men to pay and then pass them to a real person.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
softpedia: Ubuntu Make 15.09 is now available for download on all supported 64-bit Ubuntu OSes
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MojoKid writes: Intel is following up on its Skylake launch bonanza by opening the floodgates on at least two dozen SKUs mostly covering the mobile sector. The company is divvying up the range into four distinct series. There's the Y-Series, which is dedicated to 2-in-1 convertibles, tablets, and Intel's new Compute Stick venture. Then there's the U-Series, which is aimed at thin and light notebooks and "portable" all-in-one machines. The H-Series is built for gaming notebooks and mobile workstations, while the S-Series is designated for desktops, all-in-one machines, and mini PCs. Also, the Y-Series that was previously known as simply the Core M, (the chip found in products like the 12-inch Apple MacBook and Asus Transformer Book Chi T300) is now expanding into a whole family of processors. There will be Core m3, Core m5, and Core m7 processors, similar to Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPU models in other desktop and notebook chips.
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Most computer users I talk with don’t do backups. It’s too complicated, they don’t have spare disk drives, they’re complacent that their computer will never crash or fail, or they just have no idea that they could lose their data at any time with the crash of a program, failed restart or bad system update. But it happens, and it happens more often than you may realize.
Most people curse and recreate the lost data, or just write it off to bad computers, programs, or similar, but I don’t want to lose irreplaceable photos and videos from my children’s lives, work projects that take weeks to complete, or even archival files like digital copies of my books, ready for an update or new edition. In an ideal world, systems would never fail and all data would be permanent, but that’s just not how it works.
Smart computer users know this and have some sort of backup scheme. Not one where once a month they email themselves the latest documents and letters, not simply trusting that Flickr or Google Photos is the best place to archive everything forever, but a locally based solution that creates redundant copies of files on an hourly or daily basis. And then has a secondary strategy that offers yet another copy somewhere else.
Enter iDrive. The company offers an incredibly budget-minded 1TB hard drive that has built-in wifi support and a battery that can keep it running for up to 8 hours when the power’s out. It usually runs $100, but for readers of AskDaveTaylor, they’re offering a killer deal: For $59.50, you’ll get the 1TB drive and the quite slick iDrive software and — but wait! there’s more! — 1TB of space on the iDrive cloud server to have your redundant backup for a whole year. Between the two you can back up 2TB of data or redundantly backup 1TB in both places (what I recommend).
Learn more about this fantastic offer: http://idrive.com/askdavetaylor
Now, with that out of the way, let’s actually look at the iDrive software and hardware so you can see what a nice setup it is and how easy to use once you’ve got it configured.
To start, here’s the actual iDrive hardware:
Small, easy to carry around, and quite capable! It has the ability for you to plug it directly into the USB on your computer, which I actually recommend for the first backup because that’s usually quite a bear, tens or hundreds of gigabytes of data. And even plugged in, it can take overnight – or over a few nights – to complete. Once you’re done with the initial backup and have configured the wi-fi (which is easy), subsequent local backups can be done without the computer and drive being hooked up, or even in the same room!
The iDrive client program that manages backups both locally and to the cloud is available on all the major computing platforms:
In fact, it’s also available for Linux and Unix systems if you want to work with it from a home Web server, file server or similar. No stone unturned must be their developmental model.
Once installed, using the iDrive app is quite easy. Here’s the process of setting up a cloud backup from a Windows 10 system:
It’s a bit hard to see with everything so tiny, but in this instance the default backup is to the iDrive cloud. Choose what folders or subfolders you want backed up, click “Backup Now” and you’re done.
Want to do a local backup via the wifi-connected drive or even to the iDrive while it’s directly connected via USB? No problem, once it’s configured, all you need to do is pick the right drive:
Look closely at the buttons along the bottom too: “Schedule Backup”. Yes, the iDrive app includes a powerful scheduler that will let you schedule both local and cloud-based backups. Then again, if you try to backup too much via wifi, you might just see this message too:
This is why I suggest that the very first backup, the big one, you do with the iDrive plugged in. Then subsequent incremental backups work just fine via wi-fi.
One more pic: A glimpse at the scheduler, which, as I said earlier, lets you work with either cloud-based or local backups:
It’s really a slick solution and you can use it to back up multiple computers too, so if you have a Mac and your wife has a PC, that’ll work just fine too, even via wi-fi!
And a reminder, the deal we’re offering is a 1TB (1024GB) iDrive unit that includes wi-fi connectivity and an integrated battery to ensure that your backup finishes even if your power goes out. In addition, you get 1TB of storage space on the iDrive cloud system for an entire year. All for $59.50. Not bad at all!
Learn more and get your own iDrive: www.idrive.com/askdavetaylor
Disclaimer: This iDrive promotional campaign is a joint project between iDrive and AskDaveTaylor and we make a small commission on each transaction. But really, under $60 for a 1TB drive? How is that not a great deal?
The post Solve your backup hassles with iDrive appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.
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An anonymous reader sends news that three employees of Vice News were arrested in Turkey because one of them used an encryption system on his personal computer. That particular type of encryption has been used by the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State, so the men were charged with "engaging in terrorist activity." The head of a local lawyers association said, "I find it ridiculous that they were taken into custody. I don't believe there is any accuracy to what they are charged for. To me, it seems like an attempt by the government to get international journalists away from the area of conflict." The Turkish government denied these claims: "This is an unpleasant incident, but the judiciary is moving forward with the investigation independently and, contrary to claims, the government has no role in the proceedings."
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