Apps

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 wants to assists users without depending on the Internet

And Google Pay just got more exciting!

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Google is by definition an “internet” company. Every part of its business depends on connectivity, whether its Google Search or AdSense. The company has penetrated every developed market and now intends to grab the untapped markets of India and other Southeast Asian countries.

Google Assistant

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

At its Google for India 2019 event, the company announced the launch of a special helpline that users can call to have their questions answered. We usually use Google Assitant on the go via any Android phone, but it depends on internet connectivity. How do you reach out to a feature-phone user who barely has a 2G connection?


A 24×7 healpline. Teaming up with Vodafone India, users will be able to dial 000-800-9191-000 and they won’t be charged for the call or the service. Early this year, Google also worked with KaiOS to integrate Google Assistant on entry-level 4G phones like the JioPhone.

Google Assistant was launched in India a couple of years back and Hindi is now the second-largest language globally. You can also switch languages by a simple voice command now.

Google Pay

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

Usually, you can use payment solutions like these in the US via NFC. Your cards are saved on the app and a gentle tap to a PoS machine will initiate the transaction. However, in India the app leverages the countries universal UPI protocol to transfer money. Up till now, you had to add your bank account in the app and scan a QR code to send money.

Google has now announced support for NFC cards. This will make the experience much simpler and streamlined. Though your phone needs to have an NFC reader and only HDFC, Axis, Kotak, and Standard Chartered bank are supported for tokenization at the moment.

The company went on to share a few interesting stats about its position in the country. The app handled 918 million transactions a month in the country.

New AI Lab

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

A new artificial intelligence research lab is being set up in Bengaluru to create India-specific products. Google has tied up with state-run BSNL for expanding Wi-Fi hotspots in villages in Gujarat, Bihar, and Maharashtra. They’ve already deployed more than 5,000 WiFi hotspots in partnership with Indian Railways.

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Apps

SIM card vulnerability puts your sensitive information at risk

It’s called the SIMjacker

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SIM cards are very important. However, a new SIM card vulnerability found out by AdaptiveMobile Security might be putting our information at risk. The Simjacker exploit, which was recently found out and still being investigated on, allows malicious hackers to steal sensitive information from your phone through a SIM card.

Mechanism of attack

Infographic explaining the attack using Simjacker vulnerability | Photo by Simjacker.com

How does the Simjacker vulnerability work?


First, a hacker sends a malicious code to your phone through SMS. Then, the malicious code is read directly by your SIM card. The code then causes the [email protected] browser to send sensitive information to an accomplice device through SMS.

According to the report pulished by AdaptiveMobile Security regarding the vulnerability, the [email protected] browser is found on most SIM cards even though its development was abandoned many years ago. [email protected] browser was never updated, so it carries the risk of sending sensitive information to hackers when exploited successfully.

Sensitive information retrieved and transmitted by the [email protected] browser include location and the IMEI of an exploited device. The IMEI is a shorthand for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which is a 15 digit number unique to your smartphone that has some information about your device including its brand and model. As such, hackers can determine your exact location if you have a compromised SIM card, regardless of what device you have.

And the worst part of the attack is that you have no way of knowing that it has already been done since it all happens within the SIM card.

Origin and scope of the attack

The purpose for carrying an attack varies. However, the report traces the origin to an unspecified private company that works with governments to monitor individuals. So, there is a real possibility that it has been used to spy on us. And rightly so, since specific individuals were targeted in a certain country.

The report also warned that over one billion smartphones across all continents could be at risk to the vulnerability — and you could be one of them.

Response to the attack

In response to the discovered vulnerability, industry association SIMalliance has already put up recommendations for network providers to secure their networks. At this point in time, you can’t do anything to secure yourself from the vulnerability, unless you decided to go SIM-free.

But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t just give your smartphone number like a free lunch. It also pays to update your smartphone once in a while, since some updates are designed to secure your phone from these kind of vulnerabilities and attacks.

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Apple TV+ launches with ridiculously low pricing

It’ll be free for a year for some users

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Apple has announced that it will begin streaming some of its original content for Apple TV+ starting November 1 for US$ 4.99. The subscription price is extremely affordable and meant to undercut rivals like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney.

It will additionally be available through tv.apple.com on the web, select 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future.


Apple TV+ is expected to launch in over 100 countries, with up to six members to share one subscription at no extra cost. To lure more users, purchasing a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV in the coming weeks will get you a one year of subscription for free.

The service is launching with a panoply of star-filled titles, including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show and Hailee Steinfeld’s drama series Dickinson.

Apple named nine total titles that would be available at launch on Apple TV+. “All of these incredible shows for the price of a single movie rental,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday on stage.

Though, critics say Apple’s offering isn’t actually comparable to the competition because they also have tonnes of licensed TV shows and movies. Focusing on original production is just a part of it and brands like Netflix have invested heavily in getting exclusive rights to many blockbuster creations.

Apple TV+ is in-line with the company’s attempt to monetize its virtual offerings. Instead of completely relying on hardware for revenue, Apple is slowly amping up its subscriptions models. Right now, other products include Apple Music, Apple News+, iCloud, and Apple Arcade.

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