Thursday, 23 March 2017

How To Use Blue Light Filter In Windows 10 And Save Your Eyes From Strain

Ever felt the problem of watery eyes when you wake up from sleep to work on your laptop screen? We’ve already told you about a widely popular app named f.lux, which works on Windows, Linux, and mac OS. Recently, Google and Apple also launched Night Mode feature in Android and iOS, respectively.
Now, Microsoft has decided to add an inbuilt feature in Windows 10. But, before going ahead and discussing it further, let me tell you the need for options/programs to decrease the blue light. Can’t I just decrease the brightness and reduce the strain?
Even after decreasing the brightness, blue light emissions from screen are still high enough to swell your eyes with water. There’s a receptor cell named Melanopsin beside rods and cones in our retina. Melanopsin is blue light sensitive. Well, I think that’s enough biology, let’s tell you about the newly introduced Blue Light Settings in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Creators Update: Blue Light Filter

Recently, Microsoft launched Windows 10 Insider Build 15002. It’s a massive release that brings along many new features like Blue Light reduction mode, Dynamic Lock, Microsoft Edge improvements, Start and Shell improvements, etc.

How to use Windows 10 Blue Light filter?

Note: Please make sure that you’re running the latest Windows 10 Insider Build 15002. If you’re not running it, to do so, you need to read How to join Windows 10 Fast Ring from this tutorial and grab the latest build.
Windows 10 Blue Light Filter setting is very easy to set up and use. This means that it comes with a cleaner and fewer configuration options. You get the option to adjust the screen’s color temperature automatically, toggling it on and off, and set personalized hours.
To enable the Blue Light mode in Windows 10, you need to follow these steps:
  • Simply open the Settings app on your Windows 10 PC. Now, look for the display option and click on it.
  • Near the top, you’ll find a toggle below Lower blue light automatically. Now, turn this toggle to On.
  • After enabling Windows 10 Blue Light Filter, you need to click on Blue light settings for further options.settings-display-windows 10 creators update
  • The Blue light settings page tells you that displays emit blue light and Windows 10 can show warmer color to make it easier to sleep at night. Here, click on the Turn on now button to enable it light settings windows 10
  • From the other options, you can disable the automatic option and configure the options manually. There’s a slider for changing the Color temperature at night.
  • You also have the option to manually set the hours for lowering blue light.

Super Mario Run hits Android, rolls out version two on iOS

Super Mario Run hit Android a day early. Originally expected today, March 23, per Nintendo’s earlier announcement, the game arrived on the Google Play Store yesterday instead, along with an update on iOS. The iOS exclusive ran for three months, and brought the app over 78 million downloads, the gaming company said during its earnings in January.
Of those players, more than five percent purchased the game, bringing in $53 million in revenue for the title. That dollar amount is fairly high, given the $10 purchase price in order to unlock the full version. And it performed better than analysts had expected given its top dollar price point – many games that only charge a dollar or two for in-game items convert less than 5 percent of their users.
But Nintendo had hoped for conversions in the double digits, Chief Executive Tatsumi Kimishima had said.

Now on Android, it’s interesting to note that Nintendo didn’t try to tweak the game’s revenue model. It’s still a free download which requires a one time in-app purchase of $10 to unlock the levels beyond worlds 1-4.
However, the most notable part of the update to version 2.0 on iOS is that Nintendo has made more of the game free to play, the App Store description says. Now, if users complete one of Bowser’s challenges, they can unlock the previously locked course 1-4. Plus, if you clear the courses 1-4, you’ll get more courses to play in Toad Rally.
Version 2.0 was simultaneously released to the Apple App Store when it hit Android. The update also brings new playable characters, including different colors of Yoshi. Plus, you can play Toad Rally with a Yoshi of a particular color to get more Toads of that color. And the game is adding new buildings, making it easier to get Rally Tickets in the Bonus Game House, and adjusted the ease of play in some areas, among other tweaks.
But it will be interesting to see how Super Mario Run’s Android release affects Nintendo’s revenues – especially given that iOS users tend to spend more money on games and in-app purchases than those on Android.
At the time of its launch, there was pent-up demand for Super Mario on mobile, which is what allowed the app to surge to the top of the App Store after its release, earning 5 million downloads on its first day live. That demand in the market has been at least partially satiated now, and many regular gamers found they completed Mario in a matter of days.
But with the update, Mario has again gotten a little pop on iOS. The app is now the #9 free overall app on the App Store as of this morning, up from #49 over the weekend.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Google releases Android O to developers, promising better battery life and notifications

For the second year in a row, Google is making a developer preview for the next version of Android available in March, well ahead of its presumed consumer release in the fall. This one is codenamed “O,” and your guess is as good as mine as to what dessert the final version will be named after. It isn’t yet available for regular users to try out. Although developers can begin testing it right away, it’s best for most people to let things stabilize a bit more before they try it out. Developers can download it today.
Google isn’t yet telling us everything that’s coming in O, but the marquee feature is meant to address a perennial smartphone problem that has seen equally perennial attempts at fixing it: battery life.
For O, Google is continuing its trend toward aggressively managing what apps can do in the background (as iOS has long done) to ensure that runaway processes don’t destroy your battery. As Android VP of engineering, Dave Burke, puts it: “We've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.”
It’s possible that these “automatic limits” could wreak some havoc on existing apps that assume a more liberal stance toward what they’re allowed to do in the background, so developers will want to check up on how it works with their particular apps.
Improvements to battery life is a hard thing to judge — especially with early versions of software. So we won’t know whether Google’s strategy here will be effective on most phones for quite some time.
Easier to judge: changes in the notification system in Android. It seems like notifications get tweaked with every iteration of smartphone software, but Android’s approach has generally been better than the competition’s. For O, the big change is that apps can “group” their notifications into categories called “channels.”
 Image: Google
 Image: Google
That’s pretty vague, but what it sounds like is that you’ll be able to set what kind of notifications you want from each app from within Android’s main notification settings pane. So if an app offers “high-priority alerts” and “marketing,” you can turn them off directly in Android’s settings rather than digging through the app’s interface.
And speaking of “vague,” Burke also says O has “new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what's going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade.” We’ll need a bit more clarity before we can know exactly what this all means — or if it’s just random new options for developers that will get used rarely. For something as essential as notifications, it behooves Google not to mess around with the interface too much, unless there’s something genuinely great here.
Here’s one great addition we just found in Google’s developer documents: you can snooze notifications so they appear at a later time, just like you do with email. That’s pretty great.
 Image: Google
Battery and notifications are the biggest changes announced today, but there’s a grab bag of other stuff which may appeal to you. For example, Google is aiming to improve sound quality with wireless headphones with “high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs,” as well as Sony’s LDAC codec.
Google is also letting app developers create “adaptive icons,” which will change their look and shape depending on what home screen theme the user has opted for. That’s either a sign that theming is going to be a bigger deal than it used to be on Android, or it’s a sign that all those Android icon packs are getting popular but are still too confusing to set up for most users. Let’s go with both.
GIF: Google
GIF: Google
Here are a few more additions that hang together thematically, related to how stuff gets displayed or navigated on the screen:
  • A genuine picture-in-picture mode for videos
  • A new pop-up window that apps can use instead of the system alert window (actually that sounds terrible)
  • “Multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display,” which could refer to something like a PowerPoint presentation mode or a Continuum-style Android-on-the-desktop mode. Either way it sounds weird.
  • New ways to support keyboard navigation, including especially arrow and tab button navigation
Take that grouping together, and you begin to see signs that Google is pretty serious about making Android work better on Chromebooks. Of course, the current version of Android Nougat is still not available on Chrome OS. I’ve been told that the plan is not to allow Android on Chrome OS to stay a generation behind, but that after it exits beta this spring, it will be kept at parity with the current phone release.
However it shakes out, it seems clear to me that Chrome OS with Android apps is Google’s strategy for big screens going forward. If there’s another Google-made flagship Android tablet, I’ll be mildly surprised.
Lastly, there’s a mix of stuff that’s clearly filling out cases developers have asked for to ensure their apps feel either more professional or less of a hassle to use (or both):
  • Autofill APIs, which will make it easier for password managers to register themselves as the official autofill app for punching in your oft-entered yet still-sensitive information into other apps
  • Support for fonts as full Android resources, so they can be used and defined more simply in XML layouts.
  • “Wide-gamut color for apps,” so that they can take full advantage of the stupid-good screens on flagship phones
  • A “telecom framework” so third-party VOIP apps can act like first-class phone apps as far as the OS is concerned
  • WebView (the thing that lets apps use the Chrome rendering engine to display web content) is going to work a little more smoothly because apps will have “multiprocess mode” enabled by default and handle crashes themselves. They can also use Google’s Safe Browsing verification to ensure users aren’t caught on phishing sites.
  • New Java stuff, including “Java 8 APIs and runtime optimizations” and “the new java.time API.” Google also claims the “Android Runtime,” the code behind the code that runs your apps, will be “faster than ever before, with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.”
  • Something called “Network Aware Networking,” which should allow Android devices to communicate directly with each other over Wi-Fi, even if the network isn’t connected to the internet
Developers will be able to test Android O in a desktop emulator or on one of the following devices: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C. If you want to try it, you will have to manually download and flash it yourself, rather than sign up for an over-the-air update. That’s for the best, probably: last year the first few developer previews were very much not the sort of thing you’d want to use on your primary phone, and chances are good the same is true this time around.
I asked if there would be a beta this year and Google’s not saying yet — but last year it waited until Google I/O in May to release a truly public beta that made it easy for regular people to try it. Perhaps the same will happen again this year — we’ll be at Google I/O May 17th–19th to let you know if it does.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Latest Chrome 57 Restricts Background Tabs to 1% CPU Usage

Google has released the latest version of their famous browser with a few tweaks which help you get more juice out of your laptop battery even with multiple tabs open.
In September of last year, the team Chromium said changes are coming to Chrome’s handling of the background tabs, but these changes have landed in stable branch of Chrome a little sooner than we expected. Basically, from now, all the background tabs will be limited to an average CPU load of only 1 percent on a single core.
The actual mechanism in Chrome 57 for the background tab throttling is more complex. After 10 seconds of being into the background, each tab will get a budget (in seconds) for how much CPU wall time it can have. Here, Wall time is the actual real-world time it takes for a normal process to complete from starting. A background tab is only allowed to use CPU if it has not consumed its entire budget. Here’s the thing: the budget is constantly regenerated, but only at a rate of very small 0.01 seconds per second.
As of now, there are a few caveats, too. Some of the background tabs are exempt from the throttling, this includes the tabs which are playing music and tabs which have a real time connection to the remote server using a WebSockets or a WebRTC. Google also says this regeneration rate can be tweaked as more data is gathered about how these throttled apps behave.
The Chromium team says it is seeing “A 25 percent fewer busy background tabs” with this new throttling mechanism in place. Anecdotally, after updating to Chrome 57 and with about 20 tabs open, my laptop feels a lot more responsive. Switching between tabs feels a little quicker, and there seems to be less input lag when typing or otherwise interacting with the browser.

Some of Android O’s most important new features may have just leaked

We have no idea what Google’s next major Android update will be called, but a new report appears to reveal some of the most important new features coming to Android O (Android 8.0).

According to 9to5Google’s sources, Android O will be a “substantial update” that will bring over a bunch of new features.
Android 8.0 will have new notifications, the report says, although it’s not clear what that means. The site notes that an earlier rumor said Android 8.0 would merge Android and Andromeda notifications — the latter is supposedly an unannounced Google operating system that incorporates Android and Chrome elements. The new notifications would display across a variety of devices owned by the user and would show on whichever Android gadget is currently in use, according to that rumor.
Android O will also come with app icon badges for notifications that will display how many notifications an app has. The icons will be adaptive, which means their images might change depending on certain parameters, as is the case with the Calendar icon that always shows the date in Android Nougat.
Picture-in-picture mode is supposedly coming to Android O, as is an AI-based “smart text selection floating toolbar” that should make copy-and-paste jobs easier. Expect the Google Assistant to be included in this new tool, according to the report.
Another exciting new Android O features concerns battery life. Apparently, Google will do with apps what it did with Chrome 57, reducing power consumption for background activity so that more battery life is saved. Android 8.0 supposedly features “lots” of improvements to the MediaRecorder API and “tons of enterprise stuff.”
It’s unclear at this point when Android 8.0 will be unveiled or released. Last year, Google launched the first Android N beta much sooner than expected in March 2016, well ahead of the last Google I/O conference. This year, Android O might not be previewed until May, which is when Google I/O 2017 is set to take place.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

How to Control your PC from your Android Device with Tasker

Control your PC with Tasker: Part 2 – Volume Control


We are going to start by setting up a new folder for volume controls in EventGhost. These work in a similar way to the power menu we made in Part 1, but will be changing the volume levels on our PC instead of triggering power events. Just as before, an AutoRemote message will be received by EventGhost when we tap on a notification on our phone. A reply message is sent back and the volume is set to the desired value.
Feel free to modify the steps and values. Each message sent to the mobile starts with pc=:= so it could be intercepted by the previously created AutoRemote profile. Values are entered after v, simply because I’m lazy. Feel free to split the variable to get the correct format for the volume (more on that below).
The only unique task in EventGhost (as compared to the previous tutorial) is intercepting the volume change. Use the system volume trigger and this will store the message inside the {eg.eventpayload}. Then send this message to Tasker via AutoRemote with the pc=:=v prefix (p=:=v{eg.event.payload}).

Tasker PC Control Volume Menu

The idea is rather simple. I’m creating a notification that will allow me to set a predefined system volume, or mute the sounds all together. While a slider would be nice to allow for continuous volume levels, due to how EventGhost handles things, it’s more trouble than it should be to implement this.
If you followed the previous tutorial, you will see that this step is fairly easy. The good news is other menus will be easy to add as well. This is the main benefit of going through the framework set up in Part 1. Once you know where things should be added, it becomes really fast to keep building on this.
You can still use the same template notification to add new Sub-Menus, but you still have to modify it.  The default notification that we always retreat to will be the one from the previous tutorial as well.

Open Sub-Menu Profile/ SubMenu Open

Create a new notification and link it to the IF %ancomm ~ openvolume. If the volume icon from the first row is pressed  – this action will be called.
Notification is configured as follows:
  • Buttons – as per your liking, make sure the first row is consistent.
  • Actions – the first row starts with open (see template) but the volume menu icon should have openclose action assigned instead. The second row has actions ending with ‘‘…pc”. I used mutepc,lowvpc,medvpc,highvpc.
  • Color –  only a second color should be different.
  • Prefix for actions – buttontwo

SubMenu Actions/Send AR

Since the framework is already done, we don’t need to add anything else. All that hard work from the part one finally paid off.

PC Feedback/Notification

EventGhost will issue a reply when the volume is changed from the PC or through our volume menu. To simplify the process (you can go nuts) the AutoRemote message is sent in this form: pc=:=v(value). This means that we have to intercept all the messages starting with (regex)v.*
In a similar way to the power menu, I’m creating a variable %PcVolume and simply setting the value of it to %arcomm. The value will get assigned to the default notification. At this stage go and update the default notifications (the ones that have only 4 icons) with this variable. Each notification should have %PcPowerontime and%PcVolume in the text field.

Download and Import

As always, I am providing a download link to the Tasker project file you can download and import. Download the below .prj.xml file and save it anywhere on your internal storage. Open Tasker and disable Beginner Mode in Preferences. Then, back at the main screen, long-press on the home icon in the bottom left corner. You should see a pop-up with an “import” option. Select that and look for the project file you just saved and select it to import. If successful, you should now see a new tab/icon at the bottom that contains all of the Profiles and Tasks that we mentioned in this article.
In addition, you will need the Material Design Icons that I used in this project. Simply download the below zip file and unzip the folder to the root directory of your internal storage.
Finally, here is the configuration file for EventGhost that you can import.
Please note that I’ve removed my AutoRemote API key from the configuration file. You’ll need to enter your own to make this work.
Thanks for being so patient, and I hope you found this tutorial useful. In the next tutorial, we will focus on a bookmark/favorite application menu and in part 4 some screen controls. I will also add a few more case uses for the notification to get you started on your own project.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Rip Original PlayStation Games to Play on Your Android with a DualShock Controller

The '90s were a great decade to be alive. Before the internet became a high-availability service, we were untethered from the bombardment of media present in today's culture. Children ran through the streets with levels of physical exertion beyond what's required to capture fictional creatures found in Pokémon GO. However, there were some video game consoles that kept kids indoors, such as the Game BoySNES, and more importantly—the first ever PlayStation.
Today, we don't have to pull out our clunky ol' PlayStations to play our favorite SquareSoft games. We can easily relive our earlier years using emulators on our Android phones.
Even though many PS1 games are currently available on the PlayStation Store at decent prices, it's possible to play titles you already own right on your Android phone using a DualShock controller. I'll show you how to rip your old media to your computer, install the ClassicBoy emulator, and connect a controller with an OTG USB dongle—all for less than $20.

What You'll Need

  • Windows PC with CD-ROM drive
  • PlayStation (PS1) games
  • DualShock controller
  • USB OTG cable (for some phone models)

Step 1Install ImgBurn

There are several free applications available to create image files out of your existing PS1 games. I typically prefer UltraISO, but it had issues with some of the PlayStation games in my personal library, so I would recommend ImgBurn instead, which you can download from the following link.
Make sure to download the setup file from the mirror provided by ImgBurn and not the other hosts, as some are packaged with unnecessary software. The only thing you'll have to circumvent in the ImgBurn mirror is garbage from McAfee.
Throughout the installation process, you can leave most settings at default and simply click "Next" when prompted, but there's one exception to this. As you work through the prompts, pay attention to what you're installing and terms you're accepting. Nobody needs the McAffee WebAdvisor, so uncheck the box when the screen appears.

Step 2Rip Your Games

Now pop your favorite PS1 game into your computer's CD drive. From there, open ImgBurn on your computer and select the "Create image file from disc" option. On the next screen, select the drive where you have your game and pick an output destination. Make sure the file type is set to BIN, then simply follow the prompts to start ripping the game to an image file. Give it a few minutes to run and you should have a proper file to transfer to your Android device.
This and UltraISO are the quickest way to transform media into images.
I found it to be easiest to upload the file to Google Drive in order to download it later, but it's just as easy (not to mention faster) to physically connect your phone to your computer and move the files once the emulator is installed.
If you missed this game, you did 1998 all wrong.Image by Nick Epson/Gadget Hacks
Sometimes, ImgBurn will encounter issues. The weight of the discs is a bit different than modern media, and Blu-ray readers may have problems reading the discs from an optical standpoint. Ultimately, I had to resort to using an external LG DVD drive.

Step 3Connect a DualShock Controller to Your Android Device

Thanks to a paid app called SixAxis Enabler, you can connect a DualShock controller directly to your Android smartphone without rooting it. However, make sure to read the entire app description to see if your particular phone model is listed in the "Working" section. If it is, you can skip buying a USB OTG cable. Otherwise, you'll need both the app and a USB OTG cable.
If your device was listed in the "Working" section on SixAxis Enabler's Play Store page, simply open the app, then follow the prompts to pair your wireless DualShock controller with your Android phone. Once you're done there, you can skip ahead to Step 4.
Toddlers aren't the best decorators but they love to help.
However, if your phone was not listed in the "Working" section, you'll have to get a USB OTG cable to play your games with a DualShock controller on Android. If you're willing to wait a couple days, you can find an OTG cable on Amazon at low cost. Or if you feel the need to relive Final Fantasy VII on your phone immediately, head to a Best BuyTargetOffice DepotRadioShack, or whatever is closest. Most off-the-shelf products at national retailers seem to have a median price around $7.
Image by Nick Epson/Gadget Hacks
After acquiring both the hardware and software components, connect the dongle and open the SixAxis Enabler app. Connect the controller, and the message at the top should indicate that the Sixaxis is connected, at which point you will need to press the PS button on your controller. If all goes well, the "1" light on the top of the controller should light up, and the app will display "SIXAXIS ENABLED!"
(1) Pre connection. (2) Successful connection of a DualShock 3.
A couple things should be noted if the app doesn't recognize the device. It is recommended to only use a Sony brand controller, so if you try a third-party controller and it does not connect, this is likely the reason. In other cases, a smartphone's firmware may be incompatible with peripheral input devices without rooting (check out our Android rooting guides for instructions on how to do this with your phone).
If you browse Google Play for emulators, a plethora of different applications are available. As a fan of ePSXe for PlayStation emulation on a PC, I considered using this application, but instead opted for ClassicBoy since it's free to download and offers more systems beyond the PlayStation. Keep in mind, if you like it, you'll probably want to fork over the $3.99 for the full version of the app, as the free version won't allow you to save games with either a virtual memory card or with the save state feature.
Classic gaming bliss is imminent.
Once you've installed the app, open it up and take a look around under the "PlayStation 1" link. Take note of the following path.
  • /storage/emulated/o/classicboy/PlayStation/roms
This is where you'll need to move the BIN files you transferred from your computer. Move your games to this directory, then tap the "Advanced" button to configure the controller.
(1) It's pretty straightforward. (2) We'd all get lost without proper directions. Same holds true for your controller.
Tap the slider in the "Player 1" link to activate the physical controller, then tap the link itself to get into the configuration settings. You'll see that each portion of the controller needs to be mapped to the appropriate button, so make your way through all the items and press the corresponding button for each instance.
From here, you can exit the menu and run the game after selecting the appropriate ROM. The HUD for the integrated controller will appear by default, but this can be toggled from a menu accessible while a game is running. By hitting the back button on your phone (the R3 button seemed to work as well), a menu will appear where the 6th option will allow you to toggle the display on or off.
Image by Nick Epson/Gadget Hacks
You can play several other classic games from different video game consoles with this application, thanks to the other built-in emulators. Ripping cartridges is a bit more involved as it requires special equipment. There are several sites (and torrents) available to acquire ROMs as well. Just keep in mind that you're technically supposed to own the game and copy it yourself. More importantly, beware of malware lurking within torrents and the handful of emulator hosting sites still lingering on the web.