Category Archives: Tech

Customize Amazon Music With Alexa

Alexa has long been able to respond to requests for specific music genres, moods, and playlists. Now, she can also help you curate and personalize said playlists and remember your preferences for the future.

Amazon is launching new features for Amazon Music users that allow for more natural back-and-forth conversations with Alexa. Where you were previously limited to basic commands (“Alexa, play holiday music”), you can now use Alexa to help you narrow down your selections.

Also Read : OnePlus 5G Phone under $1000

For example, if you say, “Alexa, help me find a holiday playlist,” she may respond with, “We’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree. Any vibe in particular? Mellow? Or maybe upbeat?”

From there, Alexa can respond to your natural language. So you can say, “Mellow,” and she’ll pick a playlist and ask you something like, “Will that work?” If you say no, she’ll try again.

For now, users have to start these conversations with “Alexa, help me find…” but Amazon expects to add “Alexa, recommend…” and “Alexa, what should I play?” to her repertoire.

Once you’ve landed on a playlist, you can also curate based on songs you do and don’t like. Phrases like “Alexa, I like this song” and “Alexa, I don’t like this” act like Pandora’s thumbs up/thumbs down feature. Alexa will remember previously liked, often listened-to, and favorited songs and pull from them when you say, “Alexa, play music I like.”

These new features only work with Amazon Music—Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited—so if you prefer Spotify or another subscription music service, you’ll have to stick with more targeted commands. You must be a U.S. customer on an Echo device or Amazon Music app.

Alexa does have another almost-human quality when it comes to music: She may put on her “mom” hat and push back on your requests. For example, if you ask her to launch an NSFW playlist, she may say, “This playlist may contain explicit lyrics. Prefer not to hear explicit lyrics?” To which you can respond, “Alexa, block explicit lyrics.” Or not.

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How to customize Amazon Music with Alexa ?

Get the most out of a VPN – put it on your router

The internet seems to be inevitably sliding toward a more censored, geo-blocked, and surveilled space. If you’re using a Virtual Private Network or a VPN, you’re already acutely aware of these issues and have taken a step towards reclaiming your internet privacy and security. Great! However, you may be missing out on reaping the biggest boost to your VPN experience: installing it onto your home router.

What is a VPN useful for?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) acts as an encrypted tunnel between your device and the site you want to access. By encrypting your data, you can surf the internet without your Internet service provider (ISP), government, or hackers knowing what you’re doing online.

VPNs are incredibly useful in allowing internet users access to content they would not otherwise be able to. If for instance, you live in a country that blocks Google, Facebook, or Twitter, a VPN would help you access all of those sites because your ISP would not be able to see which site you’re trying to reach.

Whether you’re completely new to VPNs or already use one, here are three more ways a VPN makes surfing the internet a little easier.

1.   Bypass geo-blocked content

Many streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer block visitors outside the U.S. and U.K. from accessing their content, even if they have an account. Several YouTube channels also restrict certain regions from watching their content.

With a VPN you can change your location to one that allows you to watch your favorite movies and tv shows. A good VPN will do all that without any significant buffering and give you crystal-clear HD viewing of whatever you feel like watching. You normally do have pay for the better VPNs, and free VPNs may be shadier than they would try and have you believe.

2.   Protect your security on public Wi-Fi

When you connect to a public wifi connection, you are always putting your online security at risk, with potential malware, snoops, and hackers all waiting to exploit your internet connection.

Everything from where you are and the websites you visit the people you’re communicating with and your login credentials are up for grabs once you start using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. A VPN encrypts all the data you’re sending through your Wi-Fi connection, so no-one else can see what information you’re sending to the site you’re on.

3.   Have throttle-free internet

With the repeal of Net Neutrality regulations this year, you can expect ISPs to take greater advantage of throttling your connections to sites that they don’t want you to access easily. That could mean paying more money to your ISP for ‘fast lanes’ to gain faster access to the website you want.

When you’re connected to a VPN however, the ISP can’t figure out what you’re using the internet for, and therefore won’t be able to throttle your connection. In this case, your internet speed actually becomes faster when you connect to a VPN.

One small problem

As useful as VPN providers are in giving users the ability to browse the internet privately and securely, most VPNs limit how many simultaneous connections you can have.

When you live in a home with many smart devices it can become a huge hassle having to disconnect and reconnect every time you want to use another device. Not to mention all the Internet of Things that come with barely any online security and need constant patching.

Solution: Install a VPN onto your router

To avoid having to connect and disconnect your multiple devices, or squabbling with family and friends over who needs to use the VPN or not, simply install the VPN onto your router at home and every single device connected to your Wi-Fi is protected.

How does a home VPN router give you an advantage?

There are several ways in which a VPN on your router could make your online life a lot more secure much more easily.

1.   Get all the benefits of a VPN on all your devices

This one is a no-brainer. Every device you connect to your home router will have their traffic encrypted and masked from view from the prying eyes of anyone tapping in. Once you install a VPN and connect to a location of your choice, every device that’s connected to your router’s Wi-Fi will have its data encrypted. Bonus: your router’s VPN app connection only counts as one simultaneous device, so you can use your remaining connections with your mobile devices for when you’re not at home.

2.   Save yourself from buying additional VPN licenses

With a VPN on your router encrypting all your devices, you save money from having to buy more licenses to cover more devices. If you have already invested in a good quality (read: pricey) VPN, then adding your VPN to a router is a great way to save money from additional licenses.

3.   Keep your security and privacy all in one place

Having a VPN on your router should give you peace of mind. If you’re having to manually install and configure it, then the mechanics of changing between VPN locations can get a little clunky, not to mention added security concerns of manually updating the app afterward.

Thankfully, there are VPNs like ExpressVPN that have an app specifically for the router, which make it more convenient to change locations and customize which devices you actually want to protect with a VPN.

How do I get a home VPN router?

If you want some extra online security at home adding a VPN to your router is the best way you can make that happen. When you’re looking for a VPN you want to start with a strong foundation first—is the VPN fast, private, and secure?

If it ticks all three boxes you’ll want to then check their options for installing a VPN onto your router. A few of them have apps that you can install easily onto your router, with options to also configure the VPN manually. Make sure to double-check the model of your router; if you don’t have a compatible router for your VPN you may need to configure manually (which is a little less secure) or buy a router that is compatible with the VPN you want to use.

OnePlus 5G Phone Under $1000

The Snapdragon 855 mobile processor may have just been announced, but it’s already gotten at least one phone maker to reveal its plans for the new chipset. OnePlus, which specializes in affordably priced flagship phones, says it will have the first phone to be powered by the Snapdragon 855.

Snapdragon 855 with 5G and AI will be the 2019 flagship Qualcomm chipset to power Android smartphones. OnePlus built something of a minor smartphone empire by building cheap flagship phones, and that trend just might continue as it ventures into 5G territory.

In an interview with Engadget, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said he would do his best to make sure the company’s first 5G phone available to customers for under $1,000. If true, that means OnePlus would be able to offer access to ultra-fast data speeds for less than the price of a standard, 2018 flagship smartphone.

That’s a big deal any way you look at it, but the reality of the situation might even be easier on your wallet than that. While the company isn’t quite ready to talk final prices yet, Lau mentioned (with the help of an interpreter) that he personally wants to keep the 5G premium to around $2-300 — that would mean that 5G device could cost between $750 and $850 when it launches.

To be clear, that’s relatively pricey for a OnePlus phone, but still plenty competitive for a flagship device. And for now, at least, Lau’s comments provide one of the first glimpses into smartphone pricing as we begin to step into the 5G era. The new components needed to make phones compatible with 5G are (perhaps obviously) more expensive than the bits you’ll currently find in smartphones, though it has been difficult to tell exactly how much more expensive.

Samsung, the company producing the first 5G smartphones for Verizon and AT&T, hasn’t talked about price yet, and neither have the carriers involved. Needless to say, it still feels a bit like we’re in the Wild West of the 5G era — not that the laconic Lau is particularly worried.

That’s made more interesting by the fact that OnePlus — and by extension, Lau — have made almost startlingly big steps forward in recent months. With the launch of the OnePlus 6T, the upstart hardware maker landed its first US carrier deal with T-Mobile, gained a crucial certification from Verizon, finagled a deal to become the first smartphone maker to produce a Snapdragon 855-based phone and partnered with UK carrier EE to launch the first 5G phone in Europe next year.

Just like that, OnePlus isn’t just a company that makes cheap flagship phones — these announcements give it a level of clout it never had before. As far as Lau is concerned, though, the impact on the team and its underlying priorities has essentially been nil.

“First and foremost, we’re centered on getting the product right and focusing on our users,” Lau said, before adding that the company would continue its flagship-only focus. As it happens, “getting the product right” has some very specific connotations inside OnePlus — Lau pledged that the future 5G OnePlus phone would feature a design that was as sleek as existing devices like the 6T, mostly because the company didn’t want to alienate its long-time fans.

Of course, that’s not to say Lau will necessarily stick to business as usual while navigating the company into these new waters. He’s fascinated by the idea that these devices are becoming “smarter,” and with that boost in intelligence comes a potentially game-changing shift in how we actually interact with our phones.

“You should be able to feel that you can use [your phone] in a traditional sense less,” he said. “The device should be capable of doing more things for you their behalf without needing to necessarily interact with it.” That process of heightening a device’s intelligence comes as a result of persistent, high-speed 5G data connections and the hardware-level machine learning improvements found in the Snapdragon 855, and Lau said that a more pronounced focus on AI was the “larger direction” OnePlus was moving in.

While OnePlus has largely stuck to an understandable formula since launch — sell high-end components for a mid-range price — the company seems to be on the verge of even greater performance. Not bad for a company that only released its first phone four years ago. And thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long to take the world’s first Snapdragon 855 phone out for a spin.

Publicly, Lau has said that the company is broadly targeting the first half of 2019 for an official launch. That said, when asked whether OnePlus would push out its 5G phone around Mobile World Congress, Lau and his translator said that the time period I was guessed was “close to on-point.

Further, there are some interesting updates on electronics and technological products which are briefed in BESTSATNAV.


World’s First Snapdragon 855 Phone To be Released

OnePlus 5G Phone under $1000