Thanks in no small part to T-Mobile’s free global data initiative, US carriers have begun to lighten the fee load when it comes time to roam. But you’ll still pay an arm and a leg in many countries, and discounted plans from AT&T and Verizon, while more reasonable than they once were, require a monthly subscription that can be a hassle to add and remove. If you’re expecting to use gobs of data abroad, KeepGo’s disposable-SIM program is probably your best bet, but an intriguing alternative from KnowRoaming will keep leisure travelers and other casual users connected in 220 countries without the need to worry about coming home to an enormous bill. That solution, an incredibly thin card with passthrough leads and an adhesive back, simply sits atop your existing SIM, springing into action whenever you arrive in a foreign country. Join me as I travel to Europe and beyond to see how well this sticker works.
If you’re of the sort that likes to plan those otherwise impromptu encounters, Facebook has just announced a optional new feature that will certainly help with that. Nearby Friends will show you if your friends are close by, so you can reach out about meeting up. This isn’t automatically turn on inside Facebook’s apps though, as you’ll have to toggle it on and your friends will have to decide to share their location for it to work. However, there’s the ability to broadcast coordinates for a certain amount of time — the hour or two that you plan to be at your favorite bar, for example. You can also see when folks that have opted-in are traveling, giving you the opportunity to send any ramen or burrito recommendations their way. As you might expect, the feature will beam push notifications to your mobile device to alert you when your best mate is nearby. This news is certainly interesting in the context of the outfit’s push for its own location services, along with recent news of Instagram testing the in-house Places for tagging photos. While there’s no official arrival date, Nearby Friends is rolling out to both Android and iOS in the weeks to come.
The Insert Coin competition has been a highlight of our Engadget Expand live events; a ton of great products have been demoed on-stage, and a few even walked away with piles of cash to help with funding. And with Expand NY on the books for November 2014, we’re accepting product submissions today through September 26th.
We’re looking for the latest crop of innovative devices — past winners include an aquatic drone and a cube for growing food indoors. Whether your project’s up for funding on Kickstarter or you’re just starting to show off hardware, we want to hear from you. Head here to submit your project, but not before reviewing our eligibility requirements past the break. And for those of you who’d like to attend our two-day tech fest, head to our event page for more info.
Between 1896 and 1976, British Pathé documented the everyday lives of Britons and events around the world with its pioneering newsreels. After a National Lottery grant enabled it to digitise over 3,500 hours of footage in 2002, the company decided it was high time to move its entire archive of moving images over to YouTube, where it’s uploaded a total of 85,000 new videos. So what can you expect to find there? Well, there’s incredibly vast amount of footage from both World Wars for starters, as well as interviews with survivors of the Titanic and videos cataloguing when Beatlemania hit the US. Not only do the videos give you a taste of how news was presented in the early 20th century, you might also enjoy a little history lesson at the same time.
Go ahead and dust off your OUYAs, friends — it’s updatin’ time. The little Android game console that could wasn’t exactly the runaway hit its creators were hoping for, but some fresh features found in the new Chupacabra update help this thing stand a bit taller. As far as the team is concerned, the biggest draw is the addition of AC3, DTS and AAS audio passthrough support for the exceedingly popular XBMC media center app. The OUYA itself doesn’t have the proper licenses to play certain bits of audio (say, a movie’s surround sound audio track), but now it can pass them over to a user’s home theater receiver that does have the licenses. In short, those of you using your tiny Android consoles as media centers can finally play some of the trickier videos in your collection.
Also tucked away in the update: a cleaner view at game information, a download manager and the ability to set certain games as favorites for easy access. Alas, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here — OUYA said it would remove its free-to-try requirement, and that change has finally taken hold. Granted, the move basically neuters one of the most gamer-friendly parts about owning an OUYA (who doesn’t love free game demos?), but we suppose the company’s gotta do what it has to in order to keep those game developers happy.
Google’s little $35 dongle is like a fine wine: it just keeps getting better with age. Today, the Chromecast is adding support for MLB.tv, letting you push out live out-of-market games right to your TV from a smartphone or tablet. The only caveat is that you’ll need an MLB.tv Premium subscription to do so, but chances are most of you hardcore fans of America’s pastime already have one of those. If you do, the only thing left to do is grab the MLB At Bat app from Google Play or the App Store — an update that brings Chromecast support to these apps should be rolling out as we speak. And while you’re at it, perhaps you may want to download R.B.I. Baseball 14, so you can have an all-baseball day to yourself.
Today Yahoo is rolling our Flickr “3.0,” a completely redesigned approach to its photo-sharing apps on Android and iOS. In addition to offering improved sharing through Dropbox and Google+, Flickr on mobile now features Instagram-like filters and in-depth editing tools. We especially like the new option to view each photo’s metadata, including which camera an image was shot with, aperture setting and more.
It’s the natural order of things: NVIDIA releases a new line of mobile GPUs and suddenly the market is flooded with new gaming laptops. It is spring, after all. Most notebooks in the category follow a standard form, but every now and then someone breaks the oversized, hulking mold. This year, it’s MSI. Until now, the company’s lightweight series consisted of one machine, the GS70 Stealth. It was praised for being thin, light and having a more premium feel than most gaming laptops, but its 17-inch screen still made it unwieldy. Enter the GS60 Ghost: everything you loved about the Stealth, but with a 15-inch display and — wouldn’t you know it — NVIDIA’s new GeForce GTX 800M series GPU. Let’s see how it stacks up.
MSI GS60 Ghost review
Though “fueling” an EV costs a pittance next to a gas-guzzler, hunting for that next compatible charging network can bring on cold sweats. Nissan Leaf buyers in 25 markets will soon be able to relax, though. A new “EZ-Charge” card will grant two years of free charging across four major networks: ChargePoint, Blink, AeroVironment and NRG’s eVGO. The automaker may have been motivated by its free charging trials in Texas, which led to a three-fold Leaf sales increase at one dealership. The expanded program will roll out to owners in 10 markets this July, provided they bought their Leaf after April 1st. There are other restrictions too: just one hour max of free charging at a Level 2 station and a half hour on a fast charger. The latter option will give an 80 percent charge, but a Level 2 station will only dole out 20 miles’ worth of electrons in an hour — so plan accordingly.
Like any responsible New Yorker, I’ve entrusted a copy of my apartment keys to a close friend. This is done mostly to ensure that, should I die home alone, my body won’t be left to rot undiscovered for days. It’s also primarily done so that my mail is collected and my “children” (what you would call plants) are watered and sung to every other day when I’m travelling for work. And I travel often.
My apartment is also wired to the gills with SmartThings. These little, white, swappable sensors monitor temperature, motion, moisture, power and presence, and relay that data to me via an app — a crucial fact I’d neglected to tell my house-sitting friend many months ago. A small, yet ultimately fortunate, oversight that led me to uncover my house sitter’s true comings and goings. Or, should I say, the lack thereof.
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