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Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service

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Samsung launched the Galaxy M31 earlier this year as the first phone in the series to feature 64MP quad-camera setup. It will be soon succeeded by Galaxy M31s, which will be the first device in the series to come with an in-display fingerprint sensor. Ahead of it, Samsung is rolling out July 2020 security patch for the Galaxy M31 with build number M31FXXU1ATG2. This update brings RCS support for Vodafone Idea and even adds Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service that promotes stories from the internet.

Galaxy M31 is considered to be an alternative for people who don’t want to invest in smartphones from Chinese brands in India. My dad bought this phone (6GB + 64GB) in March and since then, it has received multiple security patches including the one which bricked some units.

As months passed by, I began to notice slight lags here and there. Last week, while my dad was in a Zoom meeting, the device prompted overheating and exited the app. On top of that, the company has been adding new ways to monetize via system updates like the Discover feature in the app drawer and the newly added Glance, which is found on handsets from most Chinese OEMs. Thankfully, both of them can be disabled.

Anyway, though the Samsung Galaxy M31 is a good phone for casual users, it does have monetization issues (advertisements) like phones from Xiaomi and Realme. However, they can be turned off easily when compared to software on devices from other companies.

Having said that, the degradation of the performance of Exynos 9611 in just a few months is a big concern. It is worth noting that even Galaxy S20 Ultra with Exynos 990 has similar issues. The South Korean tech giant must really work on to improve its in-house silicon for smartphones.

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Source: – gizmochina

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AirPods 3: Apple's 2021 wireless headphones are missing a few big features – CNET

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The third-gen Apple AirPods.


Apple

Apple’s third-gen AirPods were a highlight of Apple’s October “Unleashed” event, which also saw the debut of a redesigned MacBook Pro line that brings back multiple ports and higher-end M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The $179 (£169, AU$279) AirPods 3 aims for the middle ground between the $129 second-gen AirPods, which will remain for sale, and the $249 AirPods Pro. It includes Spatial Audio support with head tracking, sweat- and water-resistance, a MagSafe-compatible wireless charging case and a six-hour battery life that outranks previous generations and the AirPods Pro.

Yet $179 is still a lot of money for wireless headphones, and when you look outside of Apple you can easily find headphones with comparable features — often for less money. While Apple’s AirPods connect seamlessly to Apple devices, you may want to consider alternatives if you’re splitting your headphone time between an iPhone and a non-Apple device such as a Windows PC or a Nintendo Switch. Other manufacturers can give you better support for those devices.

Let’s highlight some features you should keep in mind when trying to decide if you should buy the new AirPods 3.

Colors

The third-gen AirPods come in one color: white. It’s the same color that the second-gen AirPods and the AirPods Pro come in, but Apple lately has been pushing color throughout its product line. The $549 AirPods Max comes in five colors (space gray, silver, pink, green and sky blue), and the 2021 iMac line comes in seven colors depending on the version you want.

Apple made a big deal of releasing the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini in purple in the spring, and its Beats Studio Buds come in black, white and red.

As a result it’s a little strange that Apple isn’t following suit with its 2021 wireless headphones. Meanwhile if color is particularly important to you, Samsung’s various Galaxy Buds headphones seem to come in almost every color. Depending on the model, you can find them in shades of red, blue, purple, green, gray, black and white.

That said, it’s likely that this generation of AirPods will spend years on the market, and perhaps Apple could later offer them in shades like the iPhone 13’s pink, blue, midnight and Product Red.

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The AirPods Max come in several colors, but the new AirPods only come in white.

Lower price

While $179 is cheaper than the AirPods Pro, it’s actually more expensive than the $159 starting price of the second-gen AirPods. While that latter headphone has been knocked down to $129 and still includes core features like seamless pairing to Apple devices, the $50 difference throws in many technical improvements to the listening experience as well as the magnetic charging case.

However it’s when you look outside of Apple’s headphone realm that $179 starts to feel expensive for what these features bring. The $130 Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro includes many of the AirPods Pro’s highlight features, such as active noise canceling, transparency modes, water-resistance and a wireless charging case. Ditto for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, which costs $150.

When Apple first launched the AirPods back in 2017, it kickstarted a huge wireless headphone market, but that market is now filled with comparable competition. Apple can maintain a variety of exclusive software enhancements like fast pairing to Apple devices and head-tracking enhancements to Spatial Audio, but few of these features should be enough to stop you from considering a cheaper alternative.

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The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro are available now for $130.


David Carnoy/CNET

Multipoint Bluetooth connections to non-Apple devices

The AirPods line does let you seamlessly switch between an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook and nearly any other Apple device. But throw in a Windows PC or a Nintendo Switch, and suddenly you are back to navigating Bluetooth menus. Headphones that support multipoint Bluetooth pairing alleviate that, generally by always pairing to two (or more) devices at the same time, regardless of manufacturer.

I recently bought the Wyze headphones for around $60, following a recommendation from CNET’s Cheapskate Emeritus Rick Broida, and it made me realize that this feature was way more useful than I’d previously assumed. When I’m at work, my headphones are usually connected to a MacBook Pro, but when a call comes in, my computer’s music pauses while the headphones swap to the phone. Then after the call, it switches back to the computer. Then once I’m back home, I can sync my headphones to the Lenovo Chromebook Duet or any other device. 

The Jabra Elite 75t wireless headphones, which can usually be found for around $150, include this feature. You’ll want it if you expect to jump between multiple devices. Otherwise, multipoint Bluetooth is more common in over-ear headphones such as the aforementioned Wyze up through the higher-end Sony WH-1000XM4 (it lists for $350 but sometimes gets a price drop by $100 to around $250). The Sony headphones were called “nearly flawless” by CNET Executive Editor David Carnoy, but if you’re shopping in the $250 range, you may be better off comparing them to the AirPods Pro than the new AirPods.

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The Jabra Elite 75t can connect to multiple devices at once, whether they are Apple devices or not.

What do you think about the third-gen AirPods? And are there features you wish they included? Let us know in the comments.

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U of A master's student examines the 'daddening' of video games – CBC.ca

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A master’s student from the University of Alberta looked into why many newer video games have a father as the protagonist of the storyline.

Gone are the days of the lone protagonist in video games, fighting his way toward glory or to save the love of his life.

Now, several video games centre around a rugged father figure whose sole mission in life is to protect his offspring. 

This new storyline is evident in video games like Red Dead Redemption, The Walking Dead and The Last of Us. The live-action series of The Last of Us is currently being filmed in Edmonton and Calgary.

Kaitlyn Ensley, a digital humanities student at the U of A, had this new storyline as a subject of interest for her master’s thesis.

Ensley said she believes what video-game journalist Stephen Totilo called the “daddening” of video games stems from developers’ own personal experiences. 

“A lot of game developers are of an age where they’re now also dads,” Ensley told CBC’s Edmonton AM.

“And I think that that was influencing a lot of them … and I think that it’s just kind of a compelling narrative for audiences as well.” 

Edmonton AM5:31The trend of leading father figures in video games

Video games with leading characters are using father figures as protagonists. We speak to a U of A student who just completed her master’s thesis on the “daddening” of video games. 5:31

Ensley said many developers have confessed in interviews how being a dad played a role in their inspiration for characters.

In several interviews, the creator of The Last of Us, Neil Druckmann, has mentioned how becoming a father influenced the stories he told in his video games.

Apocalyptic HBO TV series films in downtown Edmonton

16 days ago

The Last of Us is a popular video game-turned-TV series, filming in Edmonton. It will feature Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsay (Game of Thrones). Explore Edmonton’s Dan St. Pierre reflects on the show’s impact on his city. 1:13

Ensley said the role of the father is really baked into the story of the game.

“It’s not just kind of an incidental thing where they are the protagonist and they also kind of happen to be a dad on the side,” she said.

“It’s really important to their character development. It’s really important to the story and it’s actually baked into the gameplay itself.”

Kaitlyn Ensley, a digital humanities student at the University of Alberta, with her step-dad, John Hayes. (Submitted by Kaitlyn Ensley)

The fathers in all these video games share common features; straight, white, brawny men — a consequence, Ensley said, of game developer leads being straight, white men.

The dads often have traumatic pasts that stem from their careers in the army, police or other militia.

They seek redemption while putting their lives on the line for their only child in a dangerous post-apocalyptic or dystopian — or some sociopolitical-disaster — world. 

There is also a redemption arc where the dad figure is trying to redeem a past mistake, sometimes to do with his kids, Ensley said.

In The Last of Us, the protagonist takes on responsibility for a young girl after his own daughter dies. 

Mothers are almost always absent.

They are either dead or antagonistic or both — in the form of ghosts, Ensley said.

Meanwhile, the fathers are portrayed in a very narrow way from which the storylines do not deviate. 

“It tends to be associated with a lot of violence, which is obviously not kind of the most common narrative for fathers.”

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Hal-Con in-person format returns, focuses on local talent and vendors – Global News

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In 2019 Hal-Con hosted its biggest ever event with more than 16,000 people attending, but in 2020 the annual Halifax sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year the event was back to being held in person once again, and though it was much smaller than previous years, attendees were excited it returned.

READ MORE: COVID-19: N.S. entering Phase 5 ‘with cautious approach,’ keeping masks and mandating vaccination for some sectors

“There’s not a lot of opportunities to wear cosplay, so to put this part of your life on pause, it feels really good to be able to get back into it,” said Dolan Hill who has attended every Hal-Con since it began in 2010 at the Lord Nelson Hotel.

All attendees had to show proof of vaccination and wear masks, except in some designated areas.

Though scaled back, this year’s event had many of the fan favourites including the annual costume contest. There were still many guests, artists and vendors though the focus for 2021 was on local people.

“We always try to bring in some local creators,” said Floyd Blaikie, marketing director for Hal-Con.

“Being able to focus only on that this year I think has been really fantastic.”

For many of the vendors, Hal-Con is a great way to showcase their products and bring in new clients. Jessica Shields is the artist behind ‘Work of Shields’ and said having the emphasis on local has been a real help.

“I think it’s actually better,” said Shields.

“I know that people miss having the big stars come in, but not having them this year means more people are willing to pay local artists and local businesses, so that’s been really great all around.”

Read more:
The New Reality: N.S. food producers reaching new customers, but will interest wane after COVID-19?

‘Welcome to Halifax’ comic creator Tim Carpenter said, “it’s great for local artists as well as people looking around who may not have found these people previously.”

For others, it’s all about personal connection.

Konstantinos Manos is the cofounder of Vesuvius Media. which develops board games and online games. The company has found success online, but Manos says he always enjoys coming out to local conventions to talk with people, see everyone’s costumes and interact with the public.

“When you see the kids actually playing the games, it’s a different feeling than just making sales or presenting them online.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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