Sonos One review: A better sounding smart speaker

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Enlarge (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Sonos is finally girding itself for the smart speaker wars. With Amazon’s Echo line of speakers proving a surprise hit and the usage of digital assistants growing generally, wireless speaker pioneer Sonos has launched its first voice-enabled speaker, the Sonos One. This $ 199 device taps in to the same Alexa assistant that Amazon plants in its own hardware; at some point in 2018, Sonos says it will add support for the rival Google Assistant as well.

It is generally accepted that current smart speakers like the Echo and Google Home, the devices for which such assistants are mainly designed, are mediocre when used as speakers. Given Sonos’ reputation for delivering above-average audio quality, the hope is that the One provides the smarts of an Echo (and, eventually, a Home) without skimping on sound.

In many ways, that’s exactly what the Sonos One does. It runs circles around the Echo and Home in the audio department, and it does nearly all of the same “Alexa things” you can do with an Amazon-made device. The One makes sense for someone who has a set of Sonos speakers already and is curious to see how an Echo-like machine would fit into their lifestyle.

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Fall Update for Xbox One aims to look better, be more customizable, and faster

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The Fall Update for the Xbox One system software is now rolling out. It brings a redesigned and more customizable Home tab, a quicker and more convenient Guide, and new Community features that make keeping tabs on what your friends are up to easier.


The Home tab is built around a new concept called a “block.” Each block—which can be a game, friend, Xbox Live Gold, or Xbox Game Pass—gives access to a range of related content. Friend blocks, for example, show recent achievements or Game DVR captures from your friends; Game blocks will give you info about game updates, your GameDVR captures, and so on. Regular pinned games and apps are still there, too, with up to 40 pins.

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Twilight Imperium v4 review: All-day sci-fi gaming just got better

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Enlarge / Mid-game: Blue’s bold rush to Mecatol Rex in the center basically sees its territory carved between rival powers (so, just like real life). (credit: Tom Mendelsohn)

Ever since its first edition was released almost 20 years ago, Twilight Imperium has been one of the most massive propositions in tabletop gaming. Over the years, it has only grown bigger with expansions and revisions. A flawed work of folly and genius, its absolutely titanic third edition (known as TI3) is loved and feared in equal amounts, a base game that comes in a box that’s two feet long and nearly a foot across. Confused beginners need 10 or more hours to play.

The game’s proposition is simple, but the execution is fearsomely complex. Between four and eight players—but ideally six—build a galaxy and lead alien races who want to conquer it. Along the way, you research military technologies, colonize planets, subvert the galactic senate, and smash dozens of small plastic space ships together in generally futile attempts at becoming EMPEROR of SPACE. Think of it as the cardboard version of classic video games like Master Of Orion or Homeworld. When it’s good—with six people who know what they’re doing—Twilight Imperium is one of the best games there is. When it’s bad—after seven hours with only two people left who can possibly win and everyone else going through the motions out of politeness—it’s horrid.

Including the many options introduced in two expansion packs, which are each the price and size of most other premium standalone games, TI3 had begun to teeter under the weight of its ambition. It is after all quite hard to gather six or eight people around a table when players can be knocked from contention a couple of hours into a game that lasts all day. Combine that with roughly 80 pages of rules and hundreds of cards that break them—sometimes in ill-defined ways—and you have a game in which players are battling against each other’s mental and physical stamina as much as against any attack ships off the shoulder of Orion. It was always designed to be too much, but it quickly got, like, too too much.

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Pumping liquid metal at 1,400°C opens the door for better solar thermal systems

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Christopher Moore, Georgia Tech

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford, and Purdue University have built a ceramic mechanical pump that can move liquid metal as hot as 1,673K (that is, about 1,400 degrees Celsius). Usually, the temperature of liquid metals that you can pump tends to cap out at 1,300K (1,027 degrees Celsius) because there are few pump-building materials that will stay solid and chemically stable beyond that. Those materials that exist tend to crack or break quickly under the stress of such heat.

But this new pump, made of carefully engineered ceramic, could be good news for concentrated solar power, as well as accompanying thermal energy storage.

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دانلود Better File Rename 6.03 – نرم افزار تغییر نام گروهی فایل ها

  دانلود Better File Rename | نرم افزار تغییر نام گروهی فایل ها |   Better File Rename 6.03 نام یکی از بهترین نرم افزارهای موجود در مارکت، به منظور تغییر نام گروهی فایل‌ها و فولدرها است. توسط این نرم افزار، شما می‌توانید با راهکاری بسیار سریع و انعطاف‌پذیر، فایل‌های خود را تغییر نام دهید و […]

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