Grab a Spare Set of Bluetooth Earbuds For $16, Complete With Nine Hours of Battery Life

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It’s 2019, which means you almost definitely already own a pair of Bluetooth earbuds. But I submit that you should actually have a second, spare pair that can live in your luggage or gym bag, for when you inevitably forget your favorites at home.

This pair from TaoTronics is sweatproof, magnetic, and most importantly of all, runs for nine hours on a charge, which is about as good as it gets for wireless earbuds. Not bad for $16 (with code KINJA26V).


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In the First Trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, Vacation Looks Far From Fun 

Trailer FrenzyA special place to find the newest trailers for movies and TV shows you’re craving.  

It’s off to Europe and a date with Mysterio in the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, which has arrived at last!

The film, which is out July 5, is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to come out after Avengers: Endgame but, while Peter Parker (Tom Holland) may have made a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in that epic trailer, we’ll get to see a lot more of him in this sequel to Spider-Man Homecoming, which probably takes place after Endgame…but we don’t really know.

Peter and his friends are in Europe on a trip and, well, it looks like the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is needed pretty far from the neighborhood. He’s trying to get away from his Spider-Man stuff though, teaming up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)—and a certain iconic Spidey villain who’s seemingly turned good—to stop rampages by elemental monsters.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home, directed by Jon Watts, stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Cobie Smulders, and Samuel L. Jackson. It opens July 5, 2019.


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If You're Missing a Colossal Disk of Ice, This City in Maine Definitely Found It

A giant circle of ice on the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine, on Jan. 14, 2019.
Photo: Tina Radel (City of Westbrook)

This week in the city of Westbrook, Maine, a huge, rotating circle of ice formed on the Presumpscot River. While it seems like it could be an omen of the impending apocalypse or a particularly low-effort attempt at a crop circle by extraterrestrials, in reality it appears to be another example of a natural yet rare phenomenon resulting from some simple physics.

Photo: Tina Radel (City of Westbrook)

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Photo: Tina Radel (City of Westbrook)

Photos taken by and the city of Westbrook’s marketing & communications manager, Tina Radel, show the gigantic disk of ice appearing to have a surface area larger than a nearby, multi-story parking garage. True to municipal form, the city also published a video of the ice disk with a dramatic soundtrack:

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“It does not appear to be going up or down stream at this time,” Radel told Earther late Monday night. “It continues to spin in a counter clockwise direction. My guess is it could get bigger as more ice forms. We have snow coming in at the end of the week.​”

Curiosity about giant, rotating ice disks dates to at least the late 1800s. Research on prior instances of the phenomenon, published in Physical Review E in 2016, found that as melting ice sinks off disks it “goes downwards and also rotates horizontally, so that a vertical vortex is generated under the ice disk.” Speaking with the the Press Herald, Bowdoin College in Brunswick associate physics professor Mark Battle suggested the Westbrook ice disk’s rotation could also be the result of thick ice moving with the river current, getting trapped, and grinding against the shoreline.

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According to the Press Herald, Ethos Marketing web developer Doug Bertlesman estimated the size of the disk to be at least 100 yards (91 meters). If true, that would make it larger than examples of similar ice discs observed in Sweden in 1987 and 1994 and described in a 1997 study as particularly large (another in 1941 received a rough size estimate that places it at slightly larger than Westbrook’s). Rob Mitchell, owner of the Ash Street office building where Bertlesman’s company is based, told the paper he had notified the city of the disk at approximately 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday. He added, “There were ducks sitting on it. The ducks were rotating on this big Lazy Susan. It was a big duck-go-round.”

Like Radel, Mitchell’s best guess is that the disk will only continue to grow in size.

“It’s stuck right there,” Mitchell told the Press Herald. “It’s not going anywhere… I think it will continue to gain in thickness as long as it keeps spinning.”

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In any case, if you lost this thing, the city of Westbrook has it. Just be sure to get there before it melts, and also bring help, because it almost assuredly weighs several hundred tons.

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All 4 cameras on the Samsung Galaxy A9 are disappointing

2018 was an interesting year for smartphones: we saw numerous brands try different approaches to making their products more compelling and diverse than before, including Vivo’s dual-display Nex 2, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition that charges lightning-fast, and the slider-equipped Oppo Find X.

Samsung has a reputation for sticking with what works well – case in point, its Galaxy S flagship series and Galaxy Note series, which have only iterated on successful designs and features over the past couple of years. It tried to do something vastly different with the Galaxy A9: it’s a mid-range phone with four rear cameras for increased flexibility for photography, and was the world’s first of its kind. Too bad all four cameras suck.

The A9 includes a 24-megapixel primary shooter, a 5-megapixel camera for depth, and two additional lenses for wide shots and optical zoom
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The A9 includes a 24-megapixel primary shooter, a 5-megapixel camera for depth, and two additional lenses for wide shots and optical zoom

Unlike most of our in-depth reviews, I’m just going to dive into the camera performance on this device. Here we go.

The Android 8.0-powered A9 runs off a mid-range Snapdragon 660 chip at 2.2GHz, with your choice of 6GB or 8GB RAM (my test device came with 6GB). That should allow for reasonably quick performance, and indeed, the phone handles most apps without much lag or long load times.

The Galaxy A9 handles most apps without breaking a sweat, thanks to the nimble Snapdragon 660
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Galaxy A9 handles most apps without breaking a sweat, thanks to the nimble Snapdragon 660

Unfortunately, the camera app is awfully sluggish, to the point that I couldn’t get a single usable photo from a friend’s party outdoors during the day. That’s inexcusable when cheaper phones with lower-grade hardware can snap decent pictures without skipping a beat.

The primary 24-megapixel camera should ideally help you capture more detail than the usual 12-13-megapixel shooters, but the results really aren’t sharper or of much higher fidelity than other mid-range phones I tested last year, like the Honor Play or the Poco F1. That said, the colors are more neutral and allow for greater flexibility when you’re editing images. You can view some samples in our galleries below, and find full-size images in our Flickr gallery.

Samsung talked up the performance of this camera for low-light conditions, but again, it’s a let-down in that department because it’s not particularly fast, and can’t capture more light or color than most other mid-range phones. You’ll get much better shots using Night Sight on the Google Pixel 3, or heck, even the similar feature on the OnePlus 6T.

The wide angle lens is an 8-megapixel affair with an f/2.4 aperture, and is designed to expand your field of view from 78 degrees to 120 degrees. It’s certainly nice to have the option to capture a wider frame, but this shooter suffers from a range of issues, from low fidelity and detail, to inaccurate colors and all-too obvious distortion.

The 10-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens allows for 2x optical zoom, but it’s awful at capturing detail. Images turn out significantly softer than if you use any of the other lenses. Granted, it’s not a lot worse than the zoom feature on many other phones from 2018, but it’s a let-down when you consider that this phone is aimed at photography enthusiasts.

The A9 supports Live Focus, which is basically Portrait Mode with adjustable depth of field (you can tweak it after shooting). It was slow when i first tested it, but the feature seems to work a bit better since Samsung issued a software update to address camera performance. I’m not a huge fan of how it detects edges and separates the subject from its surroundings – Google’s Pixel lineup does a much better job – but it works fairly well and doesn’t take too long after focusing to capture a shot.

Except for the primary camera, the rest of the A9’s shooters deliver results with inaccurate colors, and handle contrast poorly. They tend to boost contrast unnecessarily, to the point that highlights are needlessly blown out and darker portions of your frame are a bit too dark. It also gets white balance wrong a lot of the time, leading to images looking too warm or too cold.

Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal

That’s a shame, because the A9 is otherwise a decent phone. Samsung’s worked hard to fine-tune its Android skin so it’s more helpful with navigating around Android’s vast feature set and customization options, the battery lasts more than a day on a single charge, and the color-shifting finish on the rear panel is gorgeous. I imagine it could find more than a few fans with those attributes.

But we’re talking about a ~$500 phone with a novel camera system, and sadly, it fails to make an impression on the imaging front. And its overly tall build and otherwise uninspired design makes the A9 hard to love, and even harder to recommend.

If you’re still into this, you can find the Galaxy A9 on Amazon India, Flipkart in India, and on Amazon US.


This post is not sponsored, but it includes affiliate links to products that you can buy online. If you purchase them through our links, we get a small cut of the revenue.

Published January 15, 2019 — 13:34 UTC

Price
$
486

ProductGalaxy A9 by Samsung

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How to land your first programming job with this $11 course

So, you’ve spent loads of hours building up your coding knowledge and you feel like you’re ready to get hired as a programmer. Even if you know your stuff, there’s still a critical factor you may not have considered: actually getting hired. An overwhelming number of companies are or will be looking for qualified coders, but how do you prove you’ve got the know-how to do the job right?

The Complete Career in Programming Course ($10.99, over 90 percent off from TNW Deals) is the guide new coders are looking for to shepherd them from being a job seeker to a job holder.

In all, this collection features 100 lectures and over 8 hours of content that fuse HD animation, video interviews, templates and interactive exercises into a learning experience that’s both helpful and practical.

This training walks prospective employees through assembling a resume and online presence that get noticed as well as tips for talking with often varied groups of employers, whether they’re engineering managers, human resource heads, or recruiters.

There’s also instruction in how to tackle those often grueling whiteboard coding interviews and even how to negotiate salary, benefits and equity. It’s vital real-world information you don’t usually think about until it’s happening, so be ready to answer those questions before you lock into a new career opportunity.

With this limited time deal, the $179.99 course is slashed all the way down to just $10.99, so grab it now before the offer expires.

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