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Gaming News

Trend for Female Geeks: “Painful” Anime Bags 

September 27, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

In Japanese, they’re called “ita-bag” (痛バッグ) or, rather, “painful bag.” And for the country’s female geeks, they’re one surefire way to express their fandom.

For years now, geeky car owners have shown their love for anime, manga, and video games with “ itasha” (painmobiles). It’s been said that “ita” refers to the pain inflicted on the cars as well as the owner’s wallet.

Likewise, these badges and buttons inflict a certain amount of pain on the bag and their owner’s wallet, with some geeky young women spending a large amount of cash to decorate their bags with characters from Yowamushi Pedal, Uta no Prince-sama, or any other anime or video games popular with female fans like The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays.

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The trend isn’t brand-new (it started a while back), and it’s even been portrayed in the anime Shonen Hollywood. However, in late 2015, it started getting national news coverage in Japan.

This article was originally published in April 2015, but has since been updated after Sega gave out ita-bags at this year’s Tokyo Game Show.

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These bags.

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There is even an ita-bag idea book!

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Below are photos from when the trend first hit nationwide morning TV in Japan a few years back.

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This woman says that ita-bag are a way for you to show just how much you love a particular character.

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Many of the buttons are limited edition and only on sale at special events. So some fans, like the one interviewed here, pay a premium for them, making it expensive to decorate these bags.

The woman says she’s spent about 80,000 yen—or US$668—on bag decoration.

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Here are fans who have spent between a couple hundred dollars on their bags up to around a thousand dollars—or more.

A thread popped up on 2ch, Japan’s biggest web forum, showing pics of the trend, which somewhat resembles the male geeks called Love Livers who cover their bags with Love Live merch.

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Below, you can see some more ita-bags from Twitter:

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And the most impressive one of all.

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*applause*


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

PC News and Reviews

Shadow Impressions – The Cloud-Based Replacement For Your Gaming PC?

September 18, 2018 — by Wccftech.com0

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One thing is certain, if you want to build a PC from scratch it’s going to cost you a fair amount. Particularly one that’s capable of running all of your game collection at the very best level with no hiccups. Shadow by Paris-based company Blade, looks to do this as one set monthly price with using what seems to be the first truly working cloud-based PC gaming service.

Imagine a huge ‘but’ at the side of that statement. During Gamescom, I got to see Shadow in action and I’ve been able to perform a few tests with the service on my home rig and Galaxy S8+ in what could be described as ideal conditions. Fortunately, I’m travelling quite a bit over the coming weeks. This will allow me to test it in more challenging conditions on my Samsung Galaxy S8 and an Asus Vivobook that I’m going to buy for the test (and to watch films/shows).

activision_logoRelated Activision Believes Cloud-Based Streaming to Be a Very Strong Positive for Games, but Not in the near Term

For now, here are my thoughts from a more than impressive display and hands-on during Gamescom, as well as my time at home.

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What Is Shadow?

As mentioned, Shadow is a cloud service that allows you to stream a PC direct. Not just a game, but a full PC dedicated solely to you and all you’re doing is streaming it. What matters most is what’s in and with the PC that you’re streaming from. There are limitations, which I’ll cover a little later.

At the moment Shadow is available in a limited number of countries. In Continental Europe, it is available in France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. For the four countries using the Euro (not Switzerland), the price stands at €44.95 per month with no commitment, €34.95 per month with a three-month commitment and €29.95 per month on a twelve-month commitment. Switzerland also follows the idea of a commitment plan, with prices standing at 63.95, 46.95 and 39.95 CHF respectively.

wccfgeforcenow1Related GeForce Now on SHIELD Impressions: NVIDIA Brings Full-Featured Game Streaming to Your TV

Outside of Continental Europe, Shadow is available both in the UK and US, neither require a monthly commitment in the hopes that it will draw people in, if only for a month to test the system for themselves. Pricing is £26.95 and $34.95. The price may seem steep when you first look at it. However, the more you think about it, the less accurate that thought may be. I was also told that due to the significantly lower power consumption of the Shadow Box, you also have the potential to save a good amount of money on your energy bills.

Building your own Gaming PC with equivalent specs would cost significantly more. The Shadow PC my account links to has an Intel Xeon e5 2667 v3, accompanied by 12GB of RAM and a NVIDIA GTX 1080 with 16GB of VRAM. Sadly, storage space is limited. It comes with 256 GB as standard. Ten games averaging 20 GB will fill that with a little room left for regular applications. The company will allow you to pay for up to 1TB of extra storage, costing an extra £2.95 per month.

As for the internet connection, it’s said to have a 1Gbps download with 100Mbps upload speed. Using speedtest.net a few times, I managed to get a high of 846.55Mbps download with 105.32Mbps upload speed. For a real test, I used Steam to download F1 2018, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, CS:GO and a few indie games. It took a little under two hours to download 150GB, with the download speed being between 20MB/s and 27MB/s, considerably faster than my 40Mbps home connection would ever allow.

Hands-on at Home

One core issue with me testing it at home is that I don’t actually need to stream a gaming PC. I’ve got one sitting right in front of me, which limits the need to test it using my rig. Still, if I did get rid of my gaming rig it would be tested on the exact same connection, so Shadow had a test using home conditions using both my PC and a relative’s HP Pavilion 14.

This is a test that Shadow was more than happy to pass, though not without a few issues. The settings of Shadow let you either choose your bandwidth (5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 or 50 Mb/s) or you can choose auto-select. Auto-select doesn’t work, or at least not as intended. When I had auto-select on I had issues even browsing the desktop, where even the home screen would show compression artefacts.

This was quickly fixed by selecting bandwidth of 30Mb/s and sticking to that. That was via an Ethernet connection. Wireless, I found issues with that and even settling on 20Mb/s worked perfectly in all areas of my house, with 30 working fine near my powerline Wi-Fi extenders. One issue I ran into was the actual connection itself, though this seems to be limited to certain games. I simply couldn’t play F1 2018 at all. Input lag was horrendous, the game only picking my commands up four seconds (I counted) after I inputted them. It didn’t matter if I was on the desktop, laptop or phone. Altering settings made no difference either.

Strangely, I didn’t have this same problem with Shadow of the Tomb Raider or CS:GO. In fact, even on 20Mb/s, both looked and played fantastically. I attempted to go lower, but on a larger screen sub 20MB/s starts to show and I like things to look perfect. In addition to the games, I also downloaded the Final Fantasy XV benchmark and ran it to test out the system and its capabilities.

The system my account is linked to is more than adequate for running most games at a high, or better, level. What also works great with the system is you can drop one screen and immediately pick up from where you left off. Use a Shadow Box (or Ghost, the header image which is to be released later) at home. Pick up where you left off on your laptop when you reach your destination. Maybe you’ll even want to jump to your phone as you head out to lunch. This is something I was able to do with Shadow of the Tomb Raider – starting on my Desktop, then moving onto my laptop in the back garden before (foolishly) playing it while I laid in the bath – pictures not included.

Thoughts and More to Come: Shadow on the Go

It’s an idea that sounds fantastic and one that I’m more than happy to buy into. The question will be, does it work as advertised while you are on the go? I’ve only had the ability to test it in fairly easy environments, at home using my Ethernet or wireless connection and using 4G on my Galaxy S8, though I live in an area with a good connection.

In two days I’ll be travelling to EGX in Birmingham, which will give me the first opportunity to test Shadow in a more portable, mobile environment, using my 4G connection and hotel Wi-Fi. Soon after that, I’m travelling to Dubrovnik on a holiday, which I’ll also use as a means of testing just how portable Shadow really is.

I’ve tried multiple cloud-based gaming services so far, including OnLive, PlayStation Now, GameFly Streaming (now owned by EA), GeForce Now and the in-home streaming available with the Steam box. From what I’ve seen so far, Shadow looks like it can meet all that’s promised in ideal conditions. It’s not perfect, I encountered a few issues with audio, but nothing restarting the app couldn’t fix. Also, the auto-detect bandwidth is simply broken. The only other issue I was unable to work around was the utter inability to play F1 2018 – not a deal breaker for me, but if one game suffers, I can guarantee others also will.

At the moment, US and UK customers have the luxury of not being forced into a commitment and still keeping lower prices. Shadow isn’t perfectly tuned and certainly has its niggles, but if you’re interested in the ability to play the best games, on top settings, on a cheap laptop, your tablet or phone, now’s your chance to try it out. Check out the site for an on-the-road review of Shadow in the near future.

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Gaming News

Thank Gundam For This Photo Meme

August 21, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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The key art for the upcoming animated film Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative features a ridiculous pose which is spawning meme photos.

Here, have a look at what people have been coming up with, posting their photos under the tag #ナラティブチャレンジ (or “Narrative Challenge”).

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Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative will open on November 30 in Japan.

Gaming News

The 10 Best Ways to Boost Your Home Wifi

August 15, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Wifi is one of the most important developments in the evolution of the internet—no one wants to be chained to a desktop—but it’s also one of the most frustrating. If you’re plagued by slow speeds, bad reception, and other wifi issues, here are 10 ways you can power up the wifi in your home.

This story ran in August of 2012, with original reporting by Whitson Gordon. It was updated in August of 2017 with additional reporting by Patrick Austin, and updated in August of 2018 with additional reporting by David Murphy. 

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#1. Switch to an 802.11ac router

If you’re still using an older 802.11g or 802.11n router—“Wireless G” or “Wireless N,” as they’re commonly known—it’s time to upgrade to something new. One of the best ways to make sure your network is as fast and reliable as possible is to use up-to-date hardware. Buying a new router might be confusing, given all the different wireless classifications, prices, and features. So, here’s a quick overview of the basics:

  • If you’re buying a newer router, you have no reason to not go 802.11ac. Odds are good you have a Wireless AC device if you’ve purchased a new smartphone, tablet, or laptop at some point over the past few years.
  • Even if you don’t have a Wireless AC device, think about how likely you are to upgrade your router again at any point over the next few years. If the answer is “zero,” then get the best 802.11ac router you can get right now. Your future devices will thank you, and you’ll probably see some kind of improvement in speed and range compared to a much-older 802.11n router. Or, if you’re really old-school, a 802.11g router. (Ew.)
  • By purchasing a new router, you’ll likely have a longer lifeline of support (firmware updates) to help prevent against exploits and other unpleasant issues. Your old 802.11n router probably isn’t being updated by its manufacturer anymore, and that’s not good.
  • An 802.11ac router might not give you more range than a 802.11n router, depending on how badass your previous router was, but it will give you stronger performance for 802.11ac devices farther out. Where you were once hobbling by at 10 Mbps, you might find that you’re able to download files at 40 or 50 Mbps (for example). More on that in a bit.
  • 802.11ac routers that can do all kinds of crazy things nowadays. You can pick up a tri-band router that automatically manages how devices connect, to give each the best chance at great speeds. You can ride at the front of the technological wave and pick up 4×4, 802.11ad, or MU-MIMO routers that zero devices you own can take full advantage of just yet. You can buy routers that integrate with IFTTT and flip your lights on and off as you bounce on and off your network. Et cetera.
  • For most people looking to cover a reasonably sized home or apartment, a strong AC1200 or AC1750 router is probably sufficient—definitely the latter if you own newer MacBook Pros, for example, which support AC1750’s full speeds.

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That’s a lot. And in case you’re still on the fence, let’s examine just how much faster 802.11ac really is. I ran some quick benchmarks on a brand-new MacBook Pro (15″ Touch Bar) with 3×3 connectivity—wireless AC1750 speeds. I connected it to an Amplifi HD router (just the base station), an AC1750-class router that supports 802.11ac speeds of up to 1300 Mbps. I also connected a desktop PC to the router via Gigabit Ethernet, or 1000 Mbps.

I placed the router in my room, located in the corner of my house, and dragged my laptop out to the kitchen a few rooms away. This is roughly at the halfway point of the router’s range, based on lots of other testing I did when I was the networking expert at Wirecutter.

When I connected to the router’s 5GHz network—to get those sweet 802.11ac speeds—and ran a quick benchmark using LAN Speed Test, here were my speeds:

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Screenshot: David Murphy

Not bad. Just for the heck of it, here are the speeds tested from the same location but using my house’s 802.11n network, which has an access point directly over where my laptop was sitting:

Screenshot: David Murphy

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And here are the speeds I saw when I switched to using the router’s 2.4GHz network—no 802.11ac, but a good simulation of the speeds a 802.11n user would encounter on a wifi network set up with a typical 20MHz channel width.

Screenshot: David Murphy

In other words, my 802.11ac connection was faster at its halfway point than an 802.11n connection from mere feet away, and using 5GHz 802.11ac gave me around double the speeds of my router’s 2.4GHz connection—802.11n speeds.

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So, yes, if you have Wireless AC devices, you should pair them with a 802.11ac router. Having faster speeds as you approach the limits of your router’s range is a good thing.

#2. Buy a wifi adapter for your older laptop

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If you have a laptop you just can’t part with, or you don’t have the funds to plunk down for a brand-new alternative (that has 802.11ac), you can always buy an 802.11ac adapter that plugs into your laptop’s USB port. Although they look dorky, add a bit of bulk to your system, and can sometimes act up in your OS, they’re an easy way to get faster wifi speeds when paired with a 802.11ac router that has similar capabilities. (In other words, don’t cheap out and buy a crappy AC600 adapter; get AC1200 at minimum.)

#3. Consider a wifi mesh system

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If you’re having trouble getting a strong wifi signal across your home, you have a few options: Add in more access points, extend your primary router’s signal, string Ethernet cables around your house and go wired as much as possible, et cetera.

You can also pick up a wireless mesh network system, which is an almost foolproof way to extend your coverage. They’re usually easy to set up and manage via a smartphone app—thank god. And while they might trade away some speed, especially if you’re connecting to an access point that is itself connected to your primary “hub” via the same wireless radio, for example, they make up it for in simplicity and range. The best mesh systems have a dedicated backhaul that their access points use to talk to one another, ensuring you get the best speeds possible for your faraway devices.

Someday, you might even be able to use different mesh devices with each another, too. (And if you’re lucky, you can already take your existing 802.11ac router and convert it into a mesh access point.)

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#4. Don’t stuff your router in a cupboard

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Routers may be ugly, but that doesn’t mean you should hide them behind the TV cabinet. If you want the best signal, you’ll need it out in the open, free of any walls and obstructions. If your router’s optimal location is a space without a table or flat surface, check to see if you can wall mount it either using its pre-installed mounting holes or a third-party mounting bracket. Point the antennas perpendicularly (if you can), and elevate the router if you can (one reader found that his attic was the perfect spot). Lastly, make sure it’s in the center of your house, so you have the best coverage possible throughout your home.

How much does this matter? A lot. Using the same wireless test setup as before, here’s what my 802.11ac speeds looked like when I put my router into a home entertainment center cabinet and shut the door:

Screenshot: David Murphy

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Yuck. I’ve just lost all the advantages of 802.11ac by foolishly trying to hide my router in my room. And, no, opening the door to the entertainment center didn’t help:

Screenshot: David Murphy

And here’s what happened when I took the router out of the entertainment center (which sits on the floor of my room) and placed it on top—a difference of less than a foot, but without IKEA-wood walls or a door blocking the way:

Screenshot: David Murphy

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All better! Speeds (and sanity) restored.

#5. Place your router in a central location

It almost goes without saying, but you want to make sure you’re placing a wifi router in as central a location in your house or apartment as possible. A router’s signal extends out from its antennas. Place it in the corner of your house, like I did in my testing example, and you’re only shortchanging yourself.

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You might feel like you’re limited because the cable (or fiber!) modem you’ve purchased (or foolishly rented) from your ISP is stuck in a particular spot of your house or apartment. That might be true, but you can always string Ethernet cables through your house to ensure that your primary wifi router is right in the center. You might even be able to use a powerline networking adapter to get a connection from your cable modem to your router sans cables, but it can be a lot fussier than tried-and-true Ethernet cables.

And just look how much fun this is!

If you don’t want to (or can’t) get behind your walls, you can always just run Ethernet cable along the ground or ceiling. Secure it to the wall with some handy cable clips to keep it out of the way.

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#6. Use a less-crowded wireless channel

Screenshot: David Murphy

If you have neighbors, their routers and access points may be interfering with yours and causing the signal to degrade. Wireless routers can operate on a number of different channels, and you want yours on a channel with as little interference as possible. Though your router can probably pick the best channel for you, you want to make sure that it’s evaluating the situation correctly. Use a tool like Network Analyzer Lite or WiFi Analyzer to see where your wifi network falls in relation to everybody else’s, and switch channels manually if your router picked poorly.

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Also, don’t be a jerk and use 40MHz-wide wifi networks on 2.4GHz if there are other wireless networks nearby. Your router shouldn’t do this if it obeys wireless coexistence mechanisms, but it might not. (And if you’re setting up a wifi network in a wifi-free location, feel free to force your router to run 40MHz channels if it isn’t already—and you have the option to do so.)

#7. Thwart hackers by using the right wireless security

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We’ve covered this before, but proper wifi security is always worth a good reminder. Here are the basics you need to know:

  • Keep your router’s firmware up to date
  • Use WPA2 encryption for your wifi networks’ passwords
  • Change your router’s default login and password (no more “admin”/”admin” or “admin”/”password”)
  • Turn off WPS unless you can configure your router to only use a push-button method (physically hitting buttons on devices you want to connect via WPS)
  • Use a different DNS service than your ISP’s
  • Disable any “remote management” services your router offers

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#8. Increase your wifi range with DIY tricks

If your router still won’t reach far enough, you can extend its range with simple DIY tricks. Our favorite is the Windsurfer tin foil hack, though you can also use an old beer can or a cooking strainer to extend your router’s range. The results won’t necessarily be mind blowing, but you should be able to eke a bit more distance out of your WiFi network with minimal effort. (Yes, it can work.)

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You can spend a little money to boost your network range without breaking the bank. Nearly all routers and PC network cards, usually those with adjustable antennae, use twist-off antennae with RP-SMA connectors. You can buy RP-SMA antenna extension cables, or even a directional antenna to boost your WiFi’s performance.

#9. Boost your router’s signal with third-party firmware

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Another great way to extend your range is to hack your router and install third-party firmware like DD-WRT or OpenWrt. Not only will you get a ton of great security features and other enhancements to play with, but you might be able to boost your router’s transmitting power (if it doesn’t let you via its default firmware). This can be dangerous for your router, but most routers can handle an increase up to 70 mW without causing any issues, and you’ll (hopefully) get a little performance boost in the process.

#10. Turn an old router into a new, dumb access point

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Great routers come with some kind of setting that allows you to quickly transform them into access points: disabling the hardware firewall and DHCP feature so you can use them as simple signal blasters in your home or apartment. Otherwise, you’ll have to set this up manually, but it can be a great way to get more use out of older equipment, especially if you just need some kind of connection for a faraway spot that doesn’t have anything.

You might also be able to use DD-WRT or OpenWRT to transform your old wireless into a wifi extender—which connects to your primary router via a wireless connection, rather than wired. For the best speeds, however, you’ll want to string Ethernet cable between the two instead.

Gaming News

Yes, You Should Still Change Your DNS Settings for Better Internet

August 10, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Image: Cloudflare

The DNS (Domain Name System) server settings on your laptop, phone, or router are your gateway to the web—converting easy-to-remember domain names into actual internet IP addresses, just like your contacts app converts names into actual phone numbers. You can change which DNS server your devices use though, and perhaps get yourself a faster, more secure internet connection along the way.

The DNS servers (domain-name-to-IP-lookups) your gadgets connect to at the moment are probably set by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), as servers that are stable and trusted by whichever company supplies your internet.

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If you want to switch to something else, you can change the settings on devices individually, or on your router—which obviously supplies wifi to everything else in your home. Those of you happy to go all-in with an alternative DNS can take the router approach, while the device-specific option lets you test the waters.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

Changing DNS settings over cellular networks is a bit more complicated. iOS won’t let you do it natively, and Android only lets you do this in Android 9 Pie, which might not arrive on your phone for a while.

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You could use a third-party app like DNS Override for iOS or DNS Changer for Android, which essentially create a VPN layer so you’re going through a separate server before connecting to the DNS provider of your choice. These work as advertised, but your phone will have yet another step to go through before getting to the web, and you’d be putting your trust in yet another developer.

For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to concentrate on changing DNS settings for wifi networks, but if you want to make changes for cellular networks too, take a look at the apps we’ve mentioned. Or, get a device with Android 9 Pie on it. Then, head to Settings, Network & Internet, Advanced, and Private DNS to plug in your chosen DNS settings.

Why change DNS settings?

Screenshot: DNS Changer

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There’s more than one reason to shift DNS servers, and while we don’t know the exact configuration of your current connection—so a head-to-head comparison isn’t possible—most people decide to make the change for reasons of privacy, speed, security, reliability, customization, or all five.

In terms of privacy, switching DNS servers doesn’t really stop your ISP from seeing the sites you visit, though it may limit how much of a profile they can build up on you for advertisers, depending on their business practices. To really hide your browsing, you need a VPN or an encrypted DNS system, which is a whole load of extra technical work. If you’re interested, Ars Technica has a mammoth guide here. (Simpler encrypted DNS is on the way, but it’s not here yet.)

So avoiding your ISP’s DNS servers might have some privacy benefits, ISP depending, just don’t expect too much—and certainly not anonymous browsing. Alternative DNS providers might track your activity too, though providers like Cloudflare have promised to wipe all its logs every 24 hours to protect consumer privacy. In addition, many DNS providers automatically block phishing and malware sites, though your ISP may well do that as well.

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Image: Cloudflare

Speed and reliability can also be boosted by switching DNS servers, but that really depends on how well your ISP is looking after its DNS servers and how close they are to your current location. We can’t comment on response times for every ISP out there, but you could simply make the switch and see if you notice improved speeds.

Then there’s customization: You can unblock sites blocked by your ISP (or indeed your government), or block sites yourself at the domain name level (one of the OpenDNS packages shuts off access to adult sites, for example). If you’re prepared to put in the time, you can blacklist and whitelist sites for your whole wifi network, restrict online ads, and so on, all by switching to another DNS provider.

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When you’re connecting to public wifi networks, you’ll know even less about who’s running the show, and a switch to a DNS server you trust makes even more sense than it does at home. Speed, privacy, security, reliability, customization—you don’t really have much control at all over these on public wifi, but different DNS servers can help take it back.

Your options for alternative DNS

Image: Cloudflare

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Four of the most popular, reliable, and simple-to-use alternative DNS providers are Cloudflare, Google, Quad9, and OpenDNS. The benefits they provide are similar across the board, though there are some differences too. There’s nothing to stop you from trying them all out to see which works best for you.

Cloudflare is the newest arrival, promising DNS servers that are fast, secure, and private. The IP addresses you need to remember are 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1 (primary and secondary), which you’re unlikely to forget, and you can get started by visiting either of those addresses. Most testing seems to put this as the fastest of all the DNS providers, though sometimes not by much.

Then there’s Google’s public DNS, which you can find at the memorable 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 IP addresses. Like Cloudflare, it promises boosts in speed and security over your existing DNS server, and you would hope with Google’s know-how it’s going to be more robust than most. IP logs are deleted within 48 hours, though anonymized data is kept for longer.

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Image: Quad9

The big benefits of Quad9 are speed and security, using “threat intelligence from more than a dozen of the industry’s leading cybersecurity companies” to help you steer clear of malicious sites (IBM is one of those partners). It’s another of the newer DNS providers, and takes a strong stance on user privacy and security. You can get at it through the 9.9.9.9 and 149.112.112.112 IP addresses.

OpenDNS has more of a focus on filtering and kid safety, and throws some paid-for packages into the mix to tempt in small businesses. It’s one of the longest-running DNS providers, and got picked up by Cisco in 2015. The IP addresses for its free, no-sign-up Family Shield package are 208.67.222.222 (primary) and 208.67.220.220 (secondary), though for most packages (even the free ones) you need to register an account first, which might put you off.

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Which one is best for you really depends on where in the world you are and what you need. Old-timer OpenDNS has to some extent been usurped by newer, more privacy-focused options, but the Family Shield is still worth a look if you want family filtering that works instantly with no setup and no sign up required.

How to change your DNS settings

The good news is it’s not difficult to change your DNS settings, though you need to do it for every device for every network you connect to. As we’ve said, you can save yourself some work by configuring alternative DNS servers on your router at home: If that’s done, you don’t have to configure every other device independently, until you head out and connect to other wifi networks.

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If you want to take the router approach, the method will vary depending on your router. Log into your router’s settings through your browser (the setup documentation or a quick web search should give you the address), then find the DNS settings. It’s a good idea to have a read around online to find a guide for your particular router and ISP, if you can, but the process should be fairly simple—as long as your router supports the feature.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

You’ll need the IP addresses of your new DNS server (like the ones we’ve listed above), and it’s also a good idea to jot down your old DNS server addresses in case you want to go back to them at some point (or if you have trouble switching). A device reboot after changing these addresses should be enough to complete the switch.

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On Windows, open up Settings via the cog icon on the Start menu, then click Change adapter options. Right-click on your wifi connection, choose Properties, and then scroll down and select Internet Protocol Version 4. Click Properties, and you can then specify new addresses via Use the following DNS server addresses.

For macOS, open up System Preferences from the Apple menu and then click Network. Choose your wifi connection, select Advanced, and then switch to the DNS tab. Use the Plus buttons under DNS Servers to add both the primary and secondary servers from the options we’ve listed above, and you can then close down the dialogs.

If you’re using Android, you first need to change your device’s IP address to static, which requires some reconfiguring on your home router to specifically accept it—it’s a better idea to use the router method, if you can, or fall back on the DNS apps we mentioned up at the top. If you’re using Android 9 Pie, you can use the Private DNS feature as an alternative (scroll back up if you missed us mentioning it)—this fixes all these issues, if you have a compatible device.

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Screenshot: Gizmodo

If you are comfortable setting IP addresses on your router (How-To Geek has a guide here), open up Settings in Android, and tap Network & Internet. Tap Wi-Fi, then the cog icon next to your home network, then the pencil icon at the top to make changes. Tap Advanced options, change the IP settings to Static, and you can then get at the DNS server settings and modify them as required.

Finally, on iOS, you can find the relevant screen by opening Settings, then tapping Wi-Fi, and then tapping the network you’re connected to. Choose Configure DNS, tap Manual, and you can add the primary and secondary servers via the Add Server button. Use the red Minus buttons to delete the existing servers, and once you save out of the screen, you’re ready to start using your new DNS configuration.

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Gaming News

Hell Is Watching Smash Bros. Characters Dance Like They’re In Fortnite

July 30, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Our time on this planet is limited, but please spend a moment of it feasting on the internet’s latest abomination.

YouTuber Master0fHyrule has made a lot of videos about Super Smash Bros. Usually they’re just lists, like this one showing off every character’s taunt or this other one showing off every character’s taunt in reverse. For the latest video though, Master0fHyrule enlisted the help of 3D animator ishmael205 and a bunch of other people to show every Smash character doing Fortnite’s default emote dance. Captain Falcon’s character model was apparently used as the base for the dancing animation, with every other character then imported over top of it.

Some of them look more natural than others. Sheik looks completely at home shaking her hips and throwing wild elbows. Charizard much less so. But most haunting of all are the stretched out characters like Earthbound’s Ness and Animal Crossing’s Villager whose long, pale, bouncing legs just can’t be unseen.

For years Captain Falcon has been telling the other Smash fighters to show him their moves, but somehow I don’t think this is what he meant.

Tech News

Lyft's personal subscription locks in the cost of your favorite trip

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Lyft

Lyft has been trying out an All-Access subscription that lets you ride on a frequent basis for one flat fee, but it’s overkill for many people. What if you mainly tend to take one route every time? There’s now an option for you — Lyft has unveiled a Personal Plan that locks in your fare for a favorite route as long as it would normally cost $25 or less. If you sometimes need a ride to work or the gym, you won’t have to worry about Prime Time spikes (aka surge pricing) making it inordinately expensive.

The feature is available across the US starting today, and there’s no long-term commitment. You can invoke the Personal Plan only for busy months, in other words. The monthly rate varies — we saw an example of $8 per month, that’s not necessarily what you’ll pay.

This is only really a bargain if you’re a creature of habit who makes several trips to the same place each and every month, but can’t use a carpooling option like Lyft Line. It’s still more affordable than the $200 or more that some Lyft customers were seeing in the All-Access test, though. And it certainly makes sense for the company — this could give it a steadier source of income from passengers who might otherwise skip rides or look to alternative transportation options.

Tech News

Making a living scamming the scammers

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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“Well, my grandchildren were over and it’s something about a pornography virus,” says the soft voice of an elderly woman over the phone. “I unplugged my computer right away,” she continues, and after she explains her worries in a little more detail, a female voice on the other end of the line replies, “That’s all right. Don’t worry, let me assist you with this. And may I know, is that a desktop or a laptop?” The PC has apparently been hacked, as confirmed by allowing the support team remote access, but resolving this comes at a cost. Nearly two hours and 20 minutes — and several transfers between call center staff — later, Kitboga drops the vulnerable-old-lady act.

“Can I be honest with you a second. I’m not actually a grandma,” Kitboga says as he turns off his speech manipulator and begins talking in his normal, male voice. “I’m probably your age,” he admits to the woman currently on the call, “and I’ve known the whole time that this was a scam. And the lengths that you went through to try to take advantage of her are … it breaks my heart.” By “her,” of course, he’s talking about the elderly woman the call center workers think they’ve been passing around. “I’m angry, but I’m trying really hard to just be honest and nice with you,” he says. A few words into the next sentence, the scammer hangs up. And to think, 40 minutes earlier they were singing Sia’s song “Cheap Thrills” to each other over the phone.

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Scams come in many forms. Sometimes it’s a cold caller claiming to be a government employee. You owe the IRS money for unpaid taxes, they say, and will face criminal charges if you don’t pay immediately. Another, relatively new confidence trick preys on the allure of cheaper airfare. (For the record, a legitimate American Airlines agent won’t accept Google Play or Steam credit as payment.) Tech support scams are one of the easiest to stumble across. A pop-up will scare you into believing your computer has been hacked or infected, and provide a number for a Microsoft technical support center. There is no virus, of course, and the person on the other end of the line has no Microsoft affiliation. They will fix the entirely fabricated problem with your computer, though, for a fee.

It’s impossible to know exactly how much money tech support scams bring in. Microsoft estimated in 2015 that in America alone, 3.3 million people would be defrauded that year, to the tune of $1.5 billion. This April, the company said it had received 153,000 reports worldwide regarding support scams in 2017, up 24 percent from the previous year. Victims of these scams weren’t taken for insignificant amounts, either, often paying between $200 and $400 to peace-of-mind peddlers. You may think the call centers, the vast majority of which operate from India, prey primarily on elderly

Tech News

iHeartRadio adds Spotify-like personalized playlists

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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iHeartRadio announced today that it’s adding a new playlist for users to stream — a weekly updated selection of tunes based on what you listen to. Your Weekly Mixtape will be refreshed every Monday and will include 30 to 75 songs chosen for you based on the stations and artists you listen to and the tracks you give a thumbs up. It sounds an awful lot like Spotify’s Discover Weekly, even down to the day it’s released. But iHeartRadio’s chief product officer, Chris Williams, told CNET that there is a difference between the two.

Whereas Spotify’s weekly playlist is more about finding users new music they might enjoy, Williams notes, he says that iHeartRadio’s curated playlist is about giving users a selection of songs they know and love. “We want to make sure they’re getting a playlist they can sing along to,” he said. However, the company says the playlist will also include both new releases and trending music a user might like.

Earlier this year, iHeartRadio opened up its activity-, era- and genre-based playlists to all users. And it’s not the only streaming service to offer a Discover Weekly-like playlist. Pandora announced its version in March while Apple Music has a handful of personalized playlists for users to choose from as well. Spotify’s personalized lists also include its Daily Mixes, Your Time Capsule and Your Summer Rewind.

iHeartRadio’s Your Weekly Mixtape is rolling out to all users, paid and free, now. You can find yours through the “For You” tab on the iHeartRadio website or the “Your Library” section of the iOS and Android apps.