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

TikTok can detect what you type on screen

Through its in-app browser

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No one ever really thinks about in-app browsers. Though it’s one of the most unseen features of an app, the in-app browser allows for a moment of convenience when you need to open a link. However, a new cautionary tale is sharing the risks of using the feature. Particularly, TikTok and its in-app browser are reportedly capable of logging your keystrokes.

TikTok just can’t get out of its privacy-infused hole of controversy. For years, the platform has faced an unending barrage of controversies linked to whether the app leaks information to China. As a change, the latest issue isn’t exactly geopolitically charged. However, it won’t do the company any favors, either.

Recently, security researcher Felix Krause created a tool to analyze whether an app’s browser can potentially scrape data and change information for the user. The researcher also tested the tool with the world’s top apps. And, unfortunately for the platform, TikTok found itself on the top of the risky list.

According to the tool, TikTok can inject JavaScript, modify a page, and fetch metadata. It’s essentially a keylogger. To its credit, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook all have the same capabilities.

However, the video-sharing platform has one key element that puts it above the rest: It doesn’t allow users to open links using the device’s default browser. You’re forced to use TikTok’s own browser when you open a link on the app.

Of course, there are a few caveats. For one, apps can bypass the tool, blocking users from seeing what in-app browsers are capable of. Secondly, the tool’s findings don’t necessarily mean that the app itself is malicious; it only indicates what it’s capable of. To reflect that, TikTok has said that it has not used the data for any malicious purposes.

SEE ALSO: TikTok might launch TikTok Music, its own music service

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Spotify will soon sell you tickets to concerts

It’s experimental for now

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Decades into the information era, buying tickets is still a harrowing experience for the modern-day fan. If you’re not lucky enough to nab great tickets through the usual ticketing sites, you’ll have to try your luck with the ferocious gray market of scalpers. In an experimental feature, Spotify has a new way for fans to see their favorite artists live: by selling tickets directly.

Over the years, Spotify has grown beyond the scope of music streaming. The platform now has sections dedicated to podcasts and talk shows. Now, if you know where to look, there’s also a section for selling tickets.

Notably, this isn’t Spotify’s first incursion into the world of live events. If you go through the list of categories, a Live Events section will take you to a page of concerts happening near you. However, clicking an event will only take you to the normal ways to get tickets, such as through Ticketmaster.

In contrast, the new Tickets page, spotted by Chris Messina (via TechCrunch), will sell you tickets directly through Spotify. Currently, the experiment is limited to a handful of artists like Crows, TOKiMONSTA, and Annie DiRusso. Additionally, each entry will only host pre-sale tickets. After that, sales will take place in the usual sources.

Spotify’s price will also incorporate booking fees going into the company’s revenue. However, unlike other sources, Spotify’s tickets promise to be transparent about pricing.

As the page indicates, the final Tickets page will merge with the current Live Events page. However, it’s still an experiment, even if you can already buy tickets now. Spotify has yet to announce when the feature will come to the general public (and to more artists).

SEE ALSO: Spotify launches new recommendation feature, Enhance

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WhatsApp will finally block screenshots for View Once photos

Update coming soon

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WhatsApp’s View Once feature was a massive step towards user privacy. The feature allows users to thaw out the fiery risk of the other person leaking sensitive information and media elsewhere. Well, sort of. Despite the feature’s disappearing nature, users can easily take a snapshot without fear of repercussions. Finally, WhatsApp is doing something about this critical flaw in an upcoming update.

WhatsApp is a constantly evolving product. Throughout the past few months, the app’s developers have experimented and shipped various updates to make everyone’s life easier. Now, compared to the previous accessibility-oriented updates, the upcoming one focuses more on privacy.

It’s not a set of brand new updates, though. At least one of the three updates — the ability to control who sees you online — was reported way back in June. Another one is relatively new: the ability to leave groups silently so as not to alert everyone that a user is leaving. Both of these are rolling out sometime this month.

Given what it fixes, the final update is more crucial. It will block users from taking screenshots of View Once messages. Once the update rolls out, WhatsApp will natively alert View Once viewers that screenshots are blocked for added privacy. Unfortunately, there is no timeline for the update. The announcement only has a “soon” placeholder for a release.

With social media the way that it is, privacy is an ever-growing concern that all users should prioritize. While platforms are still imperfect, small updates like these can surely help people protect their data.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp officially launches emoji reactions, 2GB file sharing

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