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Pokémon Go: tips and tricks for starters

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Pokémon Go is all the rage right now — and even in places where it isn’t officially available. And why not? Niantic Labs’ wildly popular, free-to-play mobile game has rocketed to the top of app charts, brought in an estimated $14 million, generated billions for Nintendo’s market value, caused all sorts of trouble for many, and, perhaps more importantly, launched Pokémon into mainstream consciousness like never before.

If you haven’t caught Pokémon fever yet, don’t worry; there’s still time. There’s lots of time, actually. And for those who haven’t played the game yet, we’ve put together a few tips to get you on the right path to becoming the best Pokémon trainer that you can be.

PLAY LONGER

Pokémon Go isn’t too demanding on your phone’s processor and graphics chip, but it requires GPS location and an active data connection to work. And those, coupled with the game’s constant use of your phone’s screen and camera, are a recipe for battery-life disaster.

The easiest way to conserve battery (and data usage) while playing Go is to activate the in-game battery-saver mode by selecting Battery Saver from the menu.

And since the game makes use of Google’s Maps API, it may be a good idea to download the Google Maps data for your location for offline use. That way, your phone won’t have to work as hard to download your city’s map information data while going about your duties as a Pokémon trainer.

In order to download map areas for offline viewing, open the Google Maps app, then enter settings and select the option to use offline maps. Tap “Home” or add your location manually.

For good measure, bring a large battery pack and an extra-long USB cable as well.

CATCH ‘EM ALL THE EASY WAY

Pokémon Go uses your phone’s camera to overlay the game environment onto the real world and simulate the experience of tracking and catching Pokémon that appear at random as you move about. Sometimes that makes them even more difficult to capture.

You can, however, improve your chances of racking up your creature count by switching off the game’s augmented-reality (AR) interface, which then positions Pokémon at the center of your screen regardless of where you’re facing, making it easier to throw Pokéballs at them.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

In Pokémon Go, quantity makes for quality critters. Building an army of Rattata (a rat-like Pokémon that’s as common as its real-life counterpart) doesn’t sound like a winning strategy, but the logic behind it is.

Let me explain. Stardust and candy are in-game items that make your Pokémon stronger and more evolved. The former can be given to any creature, but the latter can only be given to one type of creature (e.g. a Pikachu candy to Pikachu).

You earn candy by catching Pokémon, and the amount and type of candy depend on which species you capture. Sending a Pokémon to Professor Willow will also get you a candy (based on the species of pokémon).

TRACK POKÉMON LIKE A POKÉBOSS

Can’t wrap your head around how the in-game tracking system works? You’re not alone. Thankfully, someone has figured out how to catch Pokémon that appear on the “nearby” menu.

Two things you should remember: first, the fewer footprints there are, the closer the Pokémon is; second, the animal shown on the upper-left corner of the screen is closest to you, while the one on the bottom-right corner is farthest. Forbes writer Paul Tassi has more if you want to explore the nitty-gritty of the topic.

PIKACHU, I CHOOSE YOU!

In true Pokémon fashion, Go gives you a choice between three Pokémon to pick as your starting companion. Balbasaur, Charmander, and the impossibly adorable Squirtle are your initial options.

But if you’d rather start off with Pikachu, all you need is a little patience. To catch Pokémon’s iconic electric rodent, simply walk away from the three Pokémon available to you until they disappear and reappear nearby. Do this four times, and Pikachu will eventually pop up as your fourth option.

At this point, we probably don’t need to tell you what to do next. Now, go and catch your next Pokémon!

[irp posts=”10698″ name=”Pokémon Generation 2 is out”]

Apps

Google turns Android into world’s largest earthquake detection system

Using technology to make a difference

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2020 is the epitome of chaos with a pandemic, fear of cyber warfare, and government incapability. Amid all the negativity, Google has some refreshing news. Android, the world’s most widely used mobile operating system, will now leverage its reach to help detect an earthquake.

Pretty much every Android phone today sports an accelerometer, a sensor that can help detect seismographic movement. When this sensor is clubbed along with the user’s GPS data, researchers can use the phone as a live seismometer.

The University of California-Berkeley, along with funding from the state of California has launched a new app called MyShake. The app can use the phone’s onboard sensors to feed data in a massive network of devices that are constantly monitoring seismographic movement across the globe.

Using this same technology, Google is taking a step forward. Instead of relying on an app, it’s incorporating Android Earthquake Alerts System on every phone running on Google Play Services. The system is being touted as “the world’s largest earthquake detection network.”

The company studied historical accelerometer readings during earthquakes and found they could give some users up to a minute of notice. Since the feature is being rolled out via Play Services, the alerting system will be available on all active phones within a few weeks. The user won’t have to depend on the software update roll-out.

“We are on a path to delivering earthquake alerts wherever there are smartphones,” said Richard Allen, director of the University of California-Berkeley’s seismological lab and visiting faculty at Google over the last year.

Proactive alerts shall be limited to California for now. Google added that “over the coming year, you can expect to see the earthquake alerts coming to more states and countries using Android’s phone-based earthquake detection.”

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Google launches virtual visiting profile called People Cards

Time to google yourself!

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Have you ever googled yourself? If not, this new feature on Google search will surely prompt you to give it a shot. The search engine wants to make it easier to find new people and has unveiled a new feature in India called People Cards.

People Cards act like your virtual visiting card. If someone’s looking for you on Google, they’ll usually come across a few social media profile links or any other online content you’re associated with. Thanks to the new card, you can directly control how much information you want to keep up front.

The feature is limited to the mobile app for now. To set up your own card, all you need is an active mobile number and a Google account. It’s also limited to India for the time being and only supports English.

To create your own card, just:

  • Open the Google app on your phone.
  • Search for “add me to Search.”
  • You’ll immediately see a prompt to set up your card and after mobile number authentication, you’re all set.

You can enter brief details about yourself, add a bio, link social media profiles, and even make it easier to connect with you by publishing your email, website, or mobile number.

While the feature makes discovering people easy, it also opens a floodgate of privacy concerns. Spammers can easily collect information from the partially open system. We advise our readers to proceed with caution and ensure they’re not divulging any personal details.

Individuals who have already created their cards can opt-out of the experience anytime. In the case of people who share the same name, Google Search will show multiple modules.

The search giant says it has a number of mechanisms to fight spam and abuse. Only one card can be created by an account and you can flag a card in case of false information or an imposter.

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Google announced new directives for online learning

Including a Homework filter for Google Lens

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With the pandemic still ravaging the world, online learning is ramping up twice over. Tech companies are developing new ways to help students learn and attend classes online. Today, Google announced new directives for online learning. For one, Google Lens’ new Homework filter can solve math homework.

In a post written by Jennifer Holland, Google’s Director of Program Management for Education, the new Homework filter can take photos of a math formula and provide a host of new options including transcribing it and actually solving it. The solution will also include a step-by-step explanation for the formula.

Besides the new filter, Google’s Read Along will gamify text-to-speech technology for learning readers. When students get words right, the program will reward them with stars.

Speaking of text-to-speech, Google Meet now has advanced speech recognition to provide live captions which are particularly helpful for online classes. In the same vein, Holland also hypes up a better noise cancellation feature for Google Meet.

For class time, Google’s Family Link can limit a student’s online time, optimizing learning time even while studying at home.

Right now, we’re already at the tail end of summer. The next school year is fast approaching. Because of the ongoing pandemic, classes are still online for the time being. That said, online learning tools will prove their usefulness very soon. Today, students are already getting used to Zoom and other collaboration tools, stemming from the previous school year.

But, don’t tell the students; we’re borrowing the new filter for every time we have to split the bill somewhere.

SEE ALSO: Acer and Smart team-up for online learning tools

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