Top 5 smart speakers 2019

With new smart home speakers coming out frequently, the public needs a guide to the pros and cons of the different brands. You’ve probably seen ads for these speakers (Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomePod, and many more), but which one is actually the best?

Coming in at 5th place is the Amazon Echo Plus. It has an attractive fabric design, and has good audio drivers. It also has a temperature sensor. This speaker does have some cons, like it sometimes doesn’t work with Fire TV commands, and it has a premium price of $150.

The next best smart speaker is the classic Google Home. This speaker is great for music lovers, with it being connected to YouTube’s massive song library. It also has a customizable base, along with an affordable price of $99. A few downsides to this speaker are it misses some of Google’s own services and it sometimes requires precise phrasing for the speaker to pick up what you’re saying.

In 3rd place, the Amazon Echo has a great new look and a cheap price. It also has some new Alexa features, but it is pretty close to the old generations. Customers also have said that the Alexa app could be better, with some features being slow or sometimes not working.

The 2nd best speaker is the Apple HomePod. It’s compact, has spectacular sound quality, and has built in Siri (which is very responsive). There are a few cons though, including no Bluetooth feature, no Apple Music support, and a high price tag of $350 (or more, depending on where you go to purchase it).

The first place spot goes to the Sonos One, with a clean look, fantastic sound quality, built in Alexa, and an affordable price tag of $150. The only con that I found was there’s no Google assistant support.

All pictures taken from: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-smart-speakers

PlayStation 5 – news, specs and pricing

It has been more than 6 years since Sony released the PlayStation 4, so many people are asking for details on a next-gen system. Last week, PS fans got their wish. The PlayStation 5 will be released sometime in 2019.

In a recent interview, Mark Cerny (architectect of the PS4) said that the architecture of the PS5 will be similar to the PS4, which means that the new system will be backwards compatible (works with games from previous PlayStation systems).

The new console will have some significant upgrades with graphics and speeds, including 8K visual support (this will rely on upgrades from TV companies). The graphics will be driven by Raedons Navi line. This new graphics chip will support ray tracing, a fairly new chip that’s beginning to be used in many new movies and video games.

The new Sony console will not be inexpensive, but not as pricey as some devices coming out these days. At a starting price of $499, the system will be $100 more than its predecessor, the PS4. Hopefully, there will be significant upgrades and new specs that will make up for the $500 starting price tag. The system will probably also have more storage upgrade options, which will raise the price for consumers who want more storage for entertainment.

The Instagram “Nasty List” hack

In the past few weeks, many Instagram users have seen strange messages on their accounts and sent to them by friends. If you have seen any of these messages, you are not the only one. The messages are spread from person to person, by clicking one link and entering a password.

The messages that people have been seeing all refer to something called the Instagram “Nasty List.” The messages vary slightly, but they all tell you that you are on the “Nasty List.”

Below the intriguing message, there is a live link. Many people unknowingly click the link hoping to discover where they are on the list and why. After clicking on the link, users are brought to a login page, where they are asked to enter their username and password. Although the page looks very similar to the real Instagram login page, it is really just a convincing fake.

Shortly after giving your information to this website, the same message you received will be sent to many of your followers. By clicking the link and entering your information, you are giving the hackers full access to your Instagram account. It is unknown what the hackers will do with the stolen accounts, but it is always better to avoid finding out.

The best way to avoid getting hacked in this case, is simply to not click the link. If you’ve already clicked the link, change your account password as soon as possible. This will make it so that the password you gave the hackers is invalid; however, they may have already changed your password. In that case, there unfortunately isn’t anything you can do.

If you are ever worried about your Instagram account getting hacked, the best thing you can do is set up two-factor authentication and never enter your information anywhere except for the official website or app.

AT&T releases fake “5G E” – slower than other 4G networks

With the roll-out of new smart devices coming soon from various companies (such as Samsung’s foldable phone), there is a need for a faster network connection. The idea of 5G has already started at Verizon, where they claim their 5G broadband will be 20 times faster than current 4G LTE speeds.

The issue is, AT&T released “5GE” (5G Evolution), which is reportedly slower than Verizon and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE speeds. AT&T claims that 5GE runs on an “advanced” LTE network, but Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all currently run 4G on that network, making AT&T’s claim false and misleading.

Sprint took this false claim seriously, and filed a lawsuit against AT&T. They say that what AT&T is doing to customers is completely unethical and wrong. This is because what they claim is their 5GE network, is literally the same as Sprint’s advanced 4G speeds.

The fact that AT&T was able to release this network and call it 5G is concerning. This is because as technology develops, consumers need to be able to purchase reliable speeds for their devices, and not be lied to by powerful corporations. AT&T needs to accept what they did wrong, and actually work on a future connection with real 5G speeds.

Video games for spring 2019

This spring is sort of boring when it comes to most video games. Because there are not a lot of big holidays around the springtime, developers don’t always put out the big and interesting games. Plus, many of the “new games” aren’t actually new but are old games being ported to the new systems. Some of these games include: Resident Evil 1 and 4, Assassin’s Creed III, and Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. But, there are some new games coming out, and here are a few of the most interesting.

Mortal Kombat 11

The Mortal Kombat series has been a long running series of fighting games. They’re known for their very bloody fights that occur in the game. And because of this, most of the games are rated M. Mortal Kombat 11 was developed by Netherrealm Studios, and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The game is coming out for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. The current release date is set for April 23, 2019.

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission

The Dragon Ball Heroes franchise up to this point has exclusively been in Japan. This is the first to be localized to the rest of the world. It is an action card game that creates what if characters and situations that aren’t originally used in the Dragon Ball manga or anime. So far, it is only being released on Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows, and is developed by Bandai Namco. It has recently been released on April 5, 2019.

Super Meat Boy Forever

Originally, this game was made for iOS but was changed to an actual sequel to the original Super Meat Boy game. Super Meat Boy is a single player platforming game that is known for how difficult of a game it can be. The new game will now have new controls and randomly generated levels based upon the players skills in the game. The game is being developed by Team Meat, for iOS, Android, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and the Nintendo Switch. It is set to release on the 29th of April, 2019.

Impacts on teens through social media.

By Delaney Sis and Na’Riyah Johnson

Woman with negative surprised face looking something in smartphone. Sad teenager with mobile phone, scared of threatening, mobile abuse. Front view of a sad teen checking phone sitting on the floor in the living room at home with a dark background. Image taken from: https://www.freepik.com/premium-photo/front-view-sad-teen-checking-phone_1868534.htm

Today, so many teens are using social media everyday. According to the West Virginia Teachers Association website, the average teenager spends about 9 hours a day on social media/technology. Even if you are using it in increments, the amount of time adds up over time. 

Social media has both positive and negative impacts on people. There are a few more negative impacts instead of positive ones (for a more detailed list, please visit the Independent’s website). Many people believe even if they don’t have a phone, or they don’t have social media, they are still exposed to technology and the media.

Teenagers who use social media can use it to cyber bully other teenagers. Teenagers believe that if you are doing it through the phone, then teenagers won’t have to tell them face to face. Cyber bullying can get so bad, to where the one who is being bullied doesn’t know what to do, that they turn to hurting themselves; some even to the point of wanting to not live anymore. The bully doesn’t realize what they have done until it’s too late.

Teenagers who use social media can gain low self-esteem. You may be wondering: How does social media make you gain low self-esteem? Well, when you compare your pictures to others, you start to feel self doubt. Sure, many people have self doubt, but constantly scrolling through you social media feed isn’t healthy.

Aside from teenagers gaining low self-esteem, they can also gain a feeling of depression. If you don’t know what depression is, according to WebMD, it is a disorder that leads to many different emotions. Having depression can affect the immune system. 

Teens need to talk more with others. Talking to others is a key thing to expand who you are as a individual. Communication with others can also start to get harder because of how long time has been spent on social media, or just our devices in general.

Social media can also affect how your see you body. Looking through someone’s feed can only make things worse if you already see you body as poor, which could lead to unsafe diets. An unsafe diet can also lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to an imbalance in the lack of nutritions in the body. Malnutrition affects 45% of children, which is about 3.1 million children each year. Those are just numbers from children who are under the age of 5. For more information on the effets of malnutrition, please visit: https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/growing-hungry-quick-facts-about-malnutrition

Why are battle royale games popular?

Battle royale games have gained a lot of popularity in the past couple of years. Games such as Fortnite and Pubg have been some of the most played games in the past year. But why are battle royale games so popular?

Battle royale style games are pretty recent. The first iteration, that people consider battle royale, is the “Hunger Games” mini game in Minecraft servers, which was styled after the movie and book series The Hunger Games.

Today, according to digitaltrends.com, battle royale games have 6 defining characteristics:

  • giant maps for the player to explore
  • that you start of with nothing
  • caches and chests from which you get items from
  • a storm or barrier that forces players to get closer together
  • the last player or group standing wins the game
  • something that makes the specific battle royale game unique (or every game would be extremely similar)

Which brings me to the first point on why they are popular, which is their aspect of being unique. Games such as Fortnite are widely played because they are unique. In Fortnites’ case, it’s building system is what makes it unique, and so fun to play, because you don’t have to sit in specific areas for cover, you can build your own.

But uniqueness is not the only reason battle royale games are popular. They are also popular because its system is very easy to apply to many games. Like how recently, they released a game called Tetris 99 which uses an old and very popular popular game, Tetris, and then they made it so you had to play against 98 other people, effectively making a battle royale Tetris game.

But, not only that, battle royale games are also super popular today because many of the biggest battle royale games are free. Games like Fortnite and Apex Legends can now be played by pretty much anyone because people aren’t blocked by a hefty price for the game. So, everyone can try them, and why wouldn’t you, it’s free.

The first foldable smartphone coming in 2019

Next month, Samsung is expected to release two new phones: the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy F. The F is the first foldable smartphone that will be on the market. Samsung is currently working on the physical and UI features at the Samsung Design Innovation Center (SDIC). The SDIC is responsible for the design of Samsung’s new products, services, and the report notes for new devices.

Just like many new smartphones these days, this one will be just as expensive, if not more, because of its new, unique design. The phone will have three screens when unfolded, including the primary panel that’s placed on the inside of the phone, as well as a smaller display on the outer shell.

“Our group here is working to reinvent and reimagine how we can create new experiences based on this new platform,” the Samsung executive said. “And of course we are very well situated here because the Android system has not been designed for that (foldable). We need to explore new ways to do so.”

Since Google is helping Samsung with the Android powered software for this new foldable phone, customers will probably see foldable Android phones from various companies in the not too distant future. This includes Huawei, Microsoft, LG, Xiaomi, and Oppo.

Apple is also rumored to be trying out some new design ideas for foldable smartphones, but there will for sure not be an Apple foldable phone in 2019.

Video games to be released before the end of 2018

The latest big video games released were Pokemon Lets Go Pikachu and Eevee on November 16, 2018. As it is soon to be the end of the year, there are few video games still to be released. So, here are the last few of them.

Darksiders lll

Darksiders lll is a hack and slash action adventure style game. It is part of the Darksiders franchise which began in 2010, with the first Darksiders. It is being developed by Gunfire Games for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Microsoft Windows. It is based upon Fury, one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. Darksiders lll is set to be released on November 27, 2018.

Just Cause 4

This is an action adventure game and is a sequel to Just Cause 3, in the Just Cause franchise. The game is being developed by Avalanche Studios. The game is set in an open world environment following the protagonist Rico Rodriguez. Just Cause 4 is being released for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Microsoft Windows. Just Cause 4 is set to be released December 4, 2018.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The last big video game to be released this year, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, is the successor to Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS. It is the 5th installment to the series that debuted on the N64. It is fighting game that does not rely specifically on trying to deplete an opponent’s health, instead it is based more upon doing more damage to knock an opponent off the edge. This game is the biggest of the franchise, including not only new fighters, but every fighter that has ever been in a Super Smash Bros. game. The game includes mostly Nintendo characters but also includes some others like Sega’s Sonic, and Pac-Man. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is only being released on the Nintendo Switch, and is set to be released on December 7, 2018.

 

History of home video game consoles

Video games started to slowly get more popular in the mid, and end of, the 1900’s. But originally they were played on computers, until 1972, when the world was introduced to the Odyssey, by Magnavox, the first home console video game system. Slowly though, the hype for the system died because of how basic it was.

Image taken from: http://www.classiccmp.org

The next big video game console to be released was the Atari 2600, from Atari, which began the second generation of video game consoles.

But then, in 1983, due to the competition against computers, and low quality over hyped games, the video game console market crashed in America leading to the bankruptcy of many video game companies.

The video game market in America recovered with the release of the Nintendo entertainment system (NES), and the robotic operating buddy (R.O.B). To get consumers to buy the original NES, it was marketed as a toy with the inclusion of R.O.B.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

With the release of the NES, they also released many important video game franchises such as Super Mario (originally from the Donkey Kong arcade game), and Legend of Zelda just to name a few.

Then, in 1989, Sega released the Genesis to compete with Nintendo after their last console, the Sega Master System, couldn’t compete with the NES. With the Genesis being a stronger system (being 16 bit over the NES being 8 bit), having good marketing, and releasing the game Sonic the Hedgehog, Nintendo and Sega began the first console war.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

Image taken from: https://www.dkoldies.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of violent video game series such as Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat Sega created the entertainment software rating board (ESRB) rating system which is still used today. Nintendo then released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). But the Genesis, having been released before, and for other reasons, had jump started ahead of the SNES.

With further advancements with technology the video game market was hit with the first true 3D games with the 5th generation of consoles. It began with Sega releasing its 32 bit console the Sega Saturn. It was the first video game console to use CDs instead of cartridges.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

Then there was the PlayStation which was the first console that Sony had made. It was created after a failed attempt of an add on to a Nintendo console for discs. It was cheaper than the Saturn and was the most popular console for the fifth generation.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

The last console for the 5th generation was the Nintendo 64, which hinted in its name that it was a 64 bit console. It still used cartridges, which were technologically inferior to CDs, but even so, it still had many critically acclaimed games. It wasn’t good enough to beat the PlayStation though.

During the sixth generation there were 4 big major consoles released. The PlayStation 2, the Xbox, the Nintendo Gamecube, and the Sega Dreamcast. The PlayStation 2, which was the first video game console to use dvds for games, still was on top. It was so popular it still is the best selling video game console of all time.

Image taken from: https://www.extremetech.com

Image taken from: https://comicbook.com

The Xbox, which came from Microsoft, had some good success starting a fan base that would widely expand itself to very large numbers today. However, originally the first Xbox couldn’t compete with the PlayStation 2.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

The Dreamcast was Sega’s last attempt at a console before becoming a third party video game creator. Sega attempted things ahead of its time, such as online gaming, which did very poorly when first introduced.

Image taken from: https://www.retrogamer.net

The Nintendo Gamecube was released in 2001. Though it released games loved by fans today, it couldn’t catch as much hype as its predecessors. So, the Gamecube couldn’t compete with the PlayStation 2 either.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

The seventh generation of consoles brought with it the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3. The PlayStation 3, which was able to read Blu-Ray discs, had finally found competition with the other consoles.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

The Xbox 360, had similar technical capabilities compared to the PlayStation 3. The Xbox 360 also had good internet capability, which was a score for Microsoft because they were finally catching up with Sony.

Image taken from: https://www.lifewire.com

The Nintendo Wii, being the most successful console of this generation, outsold the PlayStation and the Xbox by a pretty good amount. With its innovation with the motion controlled controllers, it appealed to a non hardcore, and family friendly, demographic. It also had video games more active then ever before

The current generation of consoles, the eighth, began with the Wii U, a successor to the Wii. From bad marketing and many other reasons the Wii U was a commercial failure.

It was followed by the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One. Both have been very successful in their own rights, and have been re-released as the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 Pro to support 4K resolution gameplay.

Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org

Image taken from: https://www.redbull.com

Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch, has been one of the most innovative thus far. Being a handheld and home console hybrid it also features a controller similar to the Wii controllers, and has been very successful due to its innovativeness. Its first party support, with multiple critically acclaimed games has also helped make it popular.

Image taken from: https://www.amazon.com