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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Brave browser doubles down on privacy with DuckDuckGo search option

Brave, the browser that blocks ads and trackers so you can surf the web faster and with more privacy, announced today that it has partnered with privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo to make browsing even more anonymous. DuckDuckGo now appears as one of 19 search engines available in the browser, along with Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

It may sound redundant to have an anonymous search option in a browser that already promises to keep your data private. But the company explains that, even on Brave, “search engines such as Google record what the user enters in the search bar.”

DuckDuckGo has conducted studies that revealed Google search results were still being tailored to specific users even when those users were in incognito mode. “We take that to mean that they were being tailored based on their IP address or other fingerprinting techniques using search history from before that session,” DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg explained. “Within private browsing mode, we find that many people expect their searches to not be tracked, and this new integration with Brave enables them to get the privacy they expect and deserve in that mode.”

The new option is available beginning today on Brave’s 0.19.x desktop browser release. Brave’s Android and iOS apps will include the DuckDuckGo feature in the first quarter of 2018.

Google has been the default search engine on Brave, but beginning today DuckDuckGo is the suggested option for private tabs.

Brave, which launched in January 2016, says it currently has close to a million monthly active users. The company, founded by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, is currently making a push to expand its reach. It launched its own crypto token in June in a $35 million token sale and conducted the first of several planned token giveaways last week to attract new users. Since Brave blocks all ads, it has promised to help publishers replace lost revenue with tokens gifted from users who enjoy their content.

The DuckDuckGo announcement could entice some users to give Brave’s browser another look.

The two companies have promised there will be more to their collaboration than was revealed in today’s announcement, calling it “only the beginning of a long-term partnership.”

“DuckDuckGo and Brave intend to collaborate on co-branded privacy awareness initiatives and experimental pilots,” the companies said in a statement.

Posted By: Xyber Galaxy on Thursday, 14 December 2017

Pad & Quill introduces the first all-leather bumper case for iPhone X

Three years ago, Brian at Pad & Quill found his father’s old leather coin purse.  He was intrigued by the walled leather construction of the purse, and he set about incorporating that design into an iPhone case.  It took three years to develop their propriety tension method of containing the phone in the all-leather case, but they are finally ready to launch the Traveler Leather iPhone X Bumper Case.

This bumper is made only of full-grain leather – no plastic, metal, or silicone.  All ports and cameras are left uncovered, and all buttons are easily operated through the leather.  This handmade bumper case has UV-resistant nylon stitching.  Your iPhone X snaps into the protective leather case, and after a couple of days to break in, the Traveler will fit your iPhone X like a glove, and it will fit comfortably in your hand.  The Traveler Leather iPhone X Bumper Case is $59.95 at Pad & Quill.

Posted By: Xyber Galaxy on

RHA T20i in-ear headphone review

A couple of years ago, I reviewed the RHA (Reid Heath Audio) T10i earphones.  I liked them for their sound quality, but mostly I like them because I could swap filters to make the earphones sound more bright, bassy or neutral, depending on what I was listening to or even my mood. It was like having 3 earphones for the price of one, which was a novelty then. Now, that’s not so unusual anymore as many earphones have replaceable audio filters. RHA has since canceled the T10 earphone and now offer the T20 and T20i. Is it worth it to upgrade from the T10?

When the T10 and T10i earphones were released, they were a departure from what RHA had previously done. The T10s were different in design and manufacturing. A new injection-molded stainless steel process used to manufacture the T10i was revolutionary and RHA has continued this process for the T20 and T20i earphones. Injection molding allows the T20i to have a more organic shape. Combine that shape with a black color and you get something that looks like it came from another world—in a good way. Plus, this organic shape fits into the ear quite comfortably. Many metal earphones sold today can be less than natural-feeling. Not these.

Note: The difference between the T20 and T20i is that the “i” model has a built-in Apple specific microphone with music controls. Also, the T20 is silver and the T20i is black. The T20i costs $10 more. Otherwise, they are identical. For simplicities’ sake, this review will use the term T20 instead of T20i. Using these controls is easy and intuitive. The mic also works quite well for phone calls. Truthfully though, I don’t use wired mics or controls all that much with earphones.

The wires from the T20 wraps around the back of the ear. This can reduce microphonics—that sound you hear when tapping on the cord. The wire has a memory when curved to fit behind the ear. It holds its shape which can help keep the T20s in place. It feels like RHA also improved on this memory wire over the T10 earphones. Its smoother feeling and holds its shape better. The T20s are not noise canceling, but they do isolate quite well.


Like other RHA earphones, the T20s come with an almost embarrassing array of extras. Are ten pairs of tips in many sizes and shapes enough for you? How about an aluminum tray to hold them all? Let’s not forget those three filters that can screw into a thick metal holder for safe keeping! Also included is a shirt clip and a roomy case to hold literally everything. The soft case is a zippered faux-leather material with elastic bands and a mesh pocket inside. I would have preferred a harder case at this price, but even so, it will help keep the T20s free of dust and moisture.

The tips all fit snuggly into individual slots punched out of the holding tray. As long as they stay on the tray, there is little chance of losing them. RHA improved the filter holder by simply bending it. This simple change keeps the threaded part of the small and delicate filters away from any surface reducing the chance of nicks which could make it difficult screwing them into the earphone. Ingenious.

As with the T10 earphones, the T20s come with three filters: Treble, Bass, and Reference (neutral). Each filter is self-explanatory. The filters are identical as on the T10s except that since the T20’s sound signature has changed a bit, its effect on how the filters behave is slightly different. For instance, when the bass filter is used on the T20, it is less bassy and a bit more accurate sounding than when used on the T10. The same differences are true on both the treble and reference filters, but less noticeable.

What is noticeable is the quality of the audio. The T10 earphones have a custom dynamic speaker driver that has a warm and inviting sound. This works well with modern recordings. The added accuracy of the T20s makes whatever song I’m listening to sound more refined and relaxed.

Silly audiophile terms, I know—but that’s the best way to describe it. Part of the reason for this improvement is what RHA calls a dual coil driver. RHA states that “The T20’s dual coil driver features two independent voice coils, each responsible for producing part of the frequency range for refined, high-resolution audio.” Basically, it means that the speaker can be more efficient by equally split the workload of delivering audio. Granted, the resulting difference between the older T10 and T20 is not as dramatic as one might think, but it is noticeable—especially when you listen to the T20s for a while and then go back to the T10.

The T20 requires more power to drive than the T10 earphones do. As a result, the T10s will sound a tiny bit louder than the T20s—all things being equal. However, the difference is slight and doesn’t matter much.

Boy George’s version of “The Crying Game” packs a surprising emotional punch. The bass undercurrent is just powerful enough to be felt without overpowering the mids or high frequencies. The T20s help give this song an ethereal aura that I don’t hear when compared to regular speakers. It’s an advantage good earphones can have over external audio speakers.

If the opening thunderclap from The 12” mix of Bryan Ferry’s “Slave to Love” doesn’t wake the dead, I don’t know what will. This aural assault demands that earphone speakers react quickly and then recover just as fast. It’s not an easy thing for speakers to do and usually requires expensive materials. The T20 earphones handle this pressure—letting the power of the thunder come in at full force without competing with the heavy backbeat that follows. Everything remains separate and clean sounding.

The Cars song, “Moving in Stereo” is always a fun headphone test simply because of its—well, stereo. Because this is a good test song, I can forgive the slightly tacky 80s style keyboards and electronic drums. There is both complete left/right separation as well as more subtle effects sprinkled throughout the song that the T20s bring out quite well.

“Magic Bus” from The Who’s album “Live at Leeds” rocks so hard that it’s almost a completely different song than the original from the album “Tommy.” Listening to this song on the T20 earphones makes you feel like you’re sitting in the audience right in front of the stage. Not only do the T20s let you hear every guitar string being plucked, you can also hear guitarist Pete Townsend’s mistakes as he plays, which makes this song even more fun to experience.


  • Excellent sounding
  • Three filters can tune sound
  • Improvement over T10
  • Same price as older T10 earphones
  • Well made


  • Hard case would be better at this price

Final thoughts

With the T20i earphones, RHA has produced a worthy successor to the T10i earphones. Sometimes the improvements are subtle, sometimes more noticeable. How much improvement is noticeable depends on the song or album. The build quality is as good or better than the T10i and the black color scheme of the T20i looks cooler and more bad-a** than the silver-colored regular T20. If you already have the T10 earphones and they are still in good shape, save your money. But if you are looking to replace older earphones and want to try what RHA has to offer, you can’t go wrong with the T20 or T20i earphones.

Price: $199.95
Where to buy: RHA and Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by RHA.

Posted By: Xyber Galaxy on

Cubcoats: stuffed animals your kids can wear

You won’t have to worry your young child will lose her favorite lovey when she’s wearing it while out of the house.  Cubcoats are stuffed plush toys in the form of bears, foxes, puppies, whales, and other animals.  They are perfect playthings until it’s time to go, then you can open up the plush toy into a premium heather gray cotton-blend hoodie to keep your child warm – and his toy safely with him on your travels.  The hood will even have small animal ears to match the plush animal’s form; the whale will have a “blow hole” instead of ears, of course.  When you get back home, you can transform the jacket back into the plush toy.

No matter which animal you choose, it always opens into a heather-gray jacket.  The plush animal shell hides away inside a zipper compartment inside the hood.  If your child doesn’t like the little ears on the hood, they can also be hidden away inside the zippered hood compartment.

Cubcoats are available in a variety of animal shapes and colors and in unisex little kid sizes 2, 3, or 4-5.  They are $59.00 directly from the Cubcoats website.

Posted By: Xyber Galaxy on

$4500 buys you the most unique speaker I’ve ever seen

For $4500, you would hope that this speaker would be the most unique ever right? Well, the Lyric Speaker from COTODAMA is definitely unique. It features a unique (Ok, I’ll stop using that word now) see-thru panel that displays animated song lyrics in real time with the music.

The Lyric Speaker uses WiFi and a free app on your mobile device to use the speaker with your favorite audio streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play, SoundCloud, Youtube, and more.

As the music plays, the speaker uses Lync Sync to analyze the mood and structure of the song to pick specific fonts and animations to use when showing the lyrics.

Check out the video below and I’m sure that you’ll agree with me that the effect is ultra cool.

Now back to the price tag. If you want a COTODAMA Lyric Speaker, it’s going to cost you big time. The $4500 price tag is beyond insane. Is it worth it? I have no idea, but this has to be the most unique (sorry, there’s that word again) speaker that I’ve seen in forever.

Head over lyric-speaker.com for more info.

Posted By: Xyber Galaxy on

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Posted By: Xyber Galaxy on

Station: desktop workstation for Google Apps, Twitter, hundreds more

Station is a free desktop program for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X devices (Linux coming) that can best be described as a desktop workstation for web apps.

The application integrates hundreds of web services (apps) that you can all run from within the interface. While you are asked to get started by adding a Google Work account, you may then later on add apps from more than a dozen categories that include admin & back-office, marketing and analytics, and user support & survey.

You can bundle all your online activity in Station. Add Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger for social media and communication, Salesforce and LinkedIn, or Trello and Zendesk to Station with just a couple of clicks.



It appears that you need access to a Google Apps account to use Station. This is the only requirement however, and once you have linked your Google Account to Station, you can start adding other applications.

Station lists all apps you use on a small sidebar, and you can switch between them easily.

Before you start using the software, you may want to know more about the business model and resource usage of the application. According to the startup behind Station, Station will remain free as a regular version. The company plans to create a version for Teams, and this one will generate revenue for the company.

Station is quite large, at 130 Megabytes, and it is certainly not the lightest application when it comes to resource usage. It idled at around 120 Megabytes of RAM on a 64-bit Windows test system with only three Google Apps added to it.

The developers note however that they have added a resource saving feature to Station which will iddle applications that are not used for some time to reduce the impact of it.

Station supports multiple accounts for a single service. That's handy if you manage multiple accounts, e.g. multiple Twitter accounts as you may add them all to the application.

The adding of apps to Station works pretty much as you'd expect it to. Select one of the applications with a click on the plus icon when you hover over it using the application browser or search.

The next step depends on the application in question. WhatsApp for instance displays the QR code that you need to scan with the WhatsApp application on a smartphone to link the account to Station.

Once done, you get access to all your WhatsApp contacts and conversations, and can chat with any contact or group using the interface.

The switch from one application to another is instant if the application is not idle. It takes a second or so if the application is idle however.

Closing Words

Station bundles web services in a single interface. That's excellent for a number of professions. As a webmaster, it allows you to add messaging, social medial, analytics, revenue generation and support apps in a single interface for instance.

It can be used for accounting and sales, project management, and many other activities that require access to multiple web services on a regular basis.

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The post Station: desktop workstation for Google Apps, Twitter, hundreds more appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Posted By: Xyber Galaxy on

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