‘Whoa, Whoa’: Fox Panel Goes off the Rails After Guest Suggests FBI Plotted to Assassinate Trump

The right-wing media has lost its mind.

Fox News contributor on Tuesday said that it was possible that the FBI had plotted to assassinate President Donald Trump — although he quickly backed off when “Outnumbered” host Harris Faulkner expressed alarm at his baseless speculation.

Appearing on “Outnumbered,” guest Kevin Jackson said that Congressional Republicans need to get to the bottom of what FBI agent Peter Strzok meant when he said that there needed to be an “insurance policy” in the event that Trump got elected.

Even though the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Strzok’s “insurance policy” quote referred to his sincere belief in the need to investigate Trump because he was possibly compromised by Russian intelligence services, Jackson immediately went off the deep end and suggested much darker motives.

“What was his intent, right?” Jackson asked. “Because that’s exactly what FBI Director, former FBI Director [James] Comey said when he was letting Hillary Clinton off the hook. And his intent, regardless of whether it was an assassination attempt or whatever, it was definitely something…”

At this point, a surprised Faulkner interjected and said, “Whoa, whoa!” Jackson then responded by toning his rhetoric down a notch.

“Well, I’m just saying, we don’t know what it was,” Jackson said. “When you say, ‘we’ve got to make sure that this guy doesn’t get in at all cost,’ what does that mean? So I’m saying there’s a spectrum of what does it mean, but one thing that we know for sure, is that he was plotting in an election against a candidate, and there’s FBI fingerprints all over this.”

Later in the segment, Jackson admitted that everything he has heard about FBI plots to kill Trump has come from social media accounts that were “nothing credible.”

Watch the video, via Media Matters, below.

 

Related Stories

  • How Fox News Is Waging ‘Psychological Warfare’ on the American People
  • Intelligence Analyst Malcolm Nance Compares Fox News Rhetoric to ‘Psychological Warfare’
  • Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro Delivers Her Most Disturbing Monologue of Trump’s Presidency

The T-Mobile HTC U11 Life is getting Android 8.0 Oreo (updated)

Update (12/18/17): Just about three weeks ago, the unlocked HTC U11 Life was upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo. Now, the T-Mobile variant is receiving the update as well. T-Mobile is the only carrier in the United States to carry the HTC U11 Life so between it and the unlocked versions, pretty much everyone should be updated to Oreo at this point.

HTC warns that this is a pretty large download so you’ll need to connect to Wi-Fi before you start. As a reminder, Oreo brings background limits on apps that help to save power, smart text selection, grouped notifications, and picture-in-picture mode, among other features. To read more about Oreo, check out our review here.

Original article (11/30/17): The HTC U11 Life was introduced earlier this month, arriving on the Android One program in global markets (with almost stock Android), while those in the US received a variant with HTC’s Sense UI. The device launched with Android Oreo outside of the US, meaning those residing in the States were left waiting for the latest Google software, but HTC assured that it wouldn’t be far off.

Today, I bring good news as the US unlocked U11 Life is now said to be receiving Oreo. HTC Vice President of Product Manager Mo Versi delivered the news via a Tweet published a couple of hours ago. Versi said that the update would be available “starting today,” but we don’t know how long it could take to hit individual devices.

HTC has been on a roll with its rollouts this week, having upgraded the regular HTC U11 flagship to Oreo just a couple of days ago. Here’s hoping the speedy updates continue for the rest of its smartphone lineup.

Check out our full HTC U11 Life review at the link and visit our dedicated Android 8.0 Oreo update page to find out more about HTC’s schedule.

Quitting early

I still play a lot of Magic Duels, still nearly exclusively against the AI. It is in the nature of that game that there is a certain randomness which is independent of your skill in building decks or playing the game. Sometimes you don’t draw enough land, or draw the wrong color of land, and sometimes you draw too many lands and no spells to cast. Sometimes you draw exactly the right mana and spells of the right cost to play with that mana and start the game perfectly. The same is true for your AI opponent. Thus sometimes you get in a situation where your AI opponent had a perfect hand and is playing creature after creature, while either don’t have the mana or the spells to do anything much to stop him. After a few turns you already know that you will lose. Knowing that the AI opponent won’t be offended, I frequently quit in situations like that.

One of the reasons why I don’t like playing Magic Duels in PvP mode is that some people think that this behavior is also okay if you play against a human opponent. And I disagree with that. Imagine a sports event where one team decides to give up at half time and not to play the second half of the game, because the first half makes it near certain that they lost anyway. That would be completely unacceptable behavior is sports. Because winning is not the only thing a match is about, it is also about playing. In Magic a human opponent who has set up a great attack doesn’t just want to get a quick and easy win by the other guy conceding, he wants to play out the game until that win. Quitting early is impolite towards that other guy, provided that he isn’t an AI who doesn’t really mind.

A lot of games these days have no penalties at all for quitting. To some extent that is due to the problem that half of all players lose in a PvP game, so games have tried to hide that fact by rewarding the loser a bit and the winner a bit more. And you don’t want a disconnect being interpreted by the game as toxic player behavior and punishing that player by a lot. However that does end up in a situation where quitting early in a game which you aren’t clearly winning might actually be the best strategy. Because games are frequently set up in a way where you can immediately start the next game, and staying until the end of a game when the rewards for losing slowly and quitting early are the same is a waste of time you could have spent winning the next game.

I remember a lot of people in the early days of internet gaming enthusing about the internet bringing people from all over the world together. But somehow that ended up with dehumanizing our human opponents: Many people don’t think of their human opponents as real people any more, but consider them to be more or less equal to an AI opponent. People who would never cheat in a board game with friends around a table do cheat in multiplayer video games. They don’t even consider whether their opponent might quite like to play a game until the actual win condition, but quit early in order to earn rewards in the next game faster. And game design frequently encourages that sort of behavior. Players end up being content in a game for which the devs were too lazy to program an AI. And somehow between all these developments we lost a bit of humanity.

The Chilling Trump Propaganda Airing Across Local News, Courtesy of Sinclair Broadcast Group

Americans are being told there was no collusion, and the president did a bang-up job in Puerto Rico.

As it closes in on a significant expansion into major cities and battleground states across the country, conservative local news behemoth Sinclair Broadcast Group has gone into overdrive with its pro-Trump and anti-media propaganda.

Sinclair is known for its history of injecting right-wing spin into local newscasts, most notably with its nationally produced “must-run” commentary segments. The segments, which all Sinclair-owned and operated news stations are required to air, have included (sometimes embarrassing) pro-Trump propaganda missivesfrom former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn since the spring.

Last week (one day after reportedly partying at Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.), Epshteyn produced a new must-run segment essentially arguing that media are being too mean to the Trump administration:

Epshteyn’s latest video is yet another effort by Sinclair to adopt the Fox News model: By arguing that media at large is not to be trusted, it’s attempting to isolate local news audiences, suggesting to communities across the country that the only news they can trust is coming from Sinclair. (Not to be outdone, Sinclair’s other must-run personality Mark Hyman released a new segment the same day asserting full-blown anti-Trump “media collusion.”)

This segment is far from Epshteyn’s first defense of Trump from what he views as unfair attacks by the press, nor is it the first to suggest mainstream media are hopelessly biased and untrustworthy. It’s also not alone in looking like straight-up Trump propaganda.

In recent months, Epshteyn segments have also told viewers that:

All Americans should be more like actor Bryan Cranston, who remarked  during an interview that people ought to hope Trump succeeds for the good of the country. (Yes, this warranted an entire must-run segment.)

The FBI just might be targeting Trump because of his political leanings.

Deregulation under the Trump administration has led to a spectacularly growing economy.

The Colin Kaepernick-led NFL protests are really about how Trump gets genuinely upset when the flag is “disrespected,” as Epshteyn can personally attest.

The Trump administration’s response to devastation in Puerto Rico deserved a little criticism, but only polite criticism.

These are just (perhaps) the most egregiously propagandistic of Epshteyn’s must-run segments since Media Matters last documented his worst videos in August, and unfortunately there are plenty more to choose from. Epshteyn’s segments have also defended Trump and the GOP on the following: Jared Kushner’s Middle East diplomacy, ending the DACA program with a grace period, another revised Muslim travel ban, North Korea strategy, repealing the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

As it stands, Sinclair is broadcasting segments like these on stations across 34 states and the District of Columbia, particularly in local media markets for suburbs and mid-sized cities from Maine to California — and they could be coming to a station near you.

The local news giant is now awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice of its acquisition of Tribune Media, which would allow Sinclair to further spread its propaganda in the country’s top media markets, reaching nearly three-quarters of U.S. households. If this week’s deeply unpopular move to repeal net neutrality rules is any indication of the five FCC commissioners’ adherence to party lines, the FCC seal of approval for this deal is pretty much a sure thing thanks to its current Republican majority.

Media Matters has mapped out more than 15 communities that will be hit hard by the Sinclair-Tribune merger. You can also find a full list of stations owned or operated by Sinclair on its website, and here is the full list of stations it is set to acquire with its purchase of Tribune Media.

 

Related Stories

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  • Rupert Murdoch Seems to Have Forgotten That He Fired Bill O’Reilly
  • 12 Most Insane Rules From the Biggest Neo-Nazi Website on the Internet

JSON – PHP : work BeaUtifuLLy




JSON or JavaScript Object Notation is a lightweight text-based open standard designed for human-readable data interchange. Conventions used by JSON are known to programmers, which include C, C++, Java, Python, Perl, etc.

  • JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation.
  • The format was specified by Douglas Crockford.
  • It was designed for human-readable data interchange.
  • It has been extended from the JavaScript scripting language.
  • The filename extension is .json.
  • JSON Internet Media type is application/json.
  • The Uniform Type Identifier is public.json.

Uses of JSON

  • It is used while writing JavaScript based applications that includes browser extensions and websites.
  • JSON format is used for serializing and transmitting structured data over network connection.
  • It is primarily used to transmit data between a server and web applications.
  • Web services and APIs use JSON format to provide public data.
  • It can be used with modern programming languages.

Characteristics of JSON

  • JSON is easy to read and write.
  • It is a lightweight text-based interchange format.
  • JSON is language independent.

Why use JSON?

Since the JSON format is text only, it can easily be sent to and from a server, and used as a data format by any programming language.
JavaScript has a built in function to convert a string, written in JSON format, into native JavaScript objects:
JSON.parse()
So, if you receive data from a server, in JSON format, you can use it like any other JavaScript object.

JSON Syntax:

JSON syntax is derived from JavaScript object notation syntax:
  • Data is in name/value pairs
  • Data is separated by commas
  • Curly braces hold objects
  • Square brackets hold arrays
Below is a simple example −
{
"book": [

{
"language": "Java",
"creator": "James Gosling"
},

{
"language": "PHP",
"creatoR": "Rasmus Lerdorf"
}
]
}


JSON with PHP

Let’s see how to encode and decode JSON objects using PHP programming language.

JSON Functions

PHP has some built-in functions to handle JSON.

Encoding JSON in PHP (json_encode)

PHP json_encode() function is used for encoding JSON in PHP. This function returns the JSON representation of a value on success or FALSE on failure.
Syntax:
string json_encode ( $value [, $options = 0 ] )
Parameters
value − The value being encoded. This function only works with UTF-8 encoded data.
options − This optional value is a bitmask consisting of JSON_HEX_QUOT, JSON_HEX_TAG,         JSON_HEX_AMP, JSON_HEX_APOS, JSON_NUMERIC_CHECK, JSON_PRETTY_PRINT, JSON_UNESCAPED_SLASHES, JSON_FORCE_OBJECT.
Example

The following example shows how to convert an array into JSON with PHP −
php
$myObj->course = "Rocky Jagtiani";
$myObj->age = 39;
$myObj->city = "Chembur";

$Suven = json_encode($myObj);

echo $Suven;

?>
While executing, this will produce the following result −

{"name":"Rocky Jagtiani","age":39,"city":"Chembur"}

PHP Array:
Arrays in PHP will also be converted into JSON when using the PHP function json_encode():
php
$myArr = array("Java", "Web Technology", "Android", "Digital Marketing");

$myJSON = json_encode($myArr);

echo $myJSON;

?>
this will produce the following result −

["Java","Web Technology","Android","Digital Marketing"]

Decoding JSON in PHP (json_decode)
PHP json_decode() function is used for decoding JSON in PHP. This function returns the value decoded from json to appropriate PHP type.
Syntax
mixed json_decode ($json [,$assoc = false [, $depth = 512 [, $options = 0 ]]])

Paramaters
json_string − It is an encoded string which must be UTF-8 encoded data.
assoc − It is a boolean type parameter, when set to TRUE, returned objects will be converted into associative arrays.
depth − It is an integer type parameter which specifies recursion depth
options − It is an integer type bitmask of JSON decode, JSON_BIGINT_AS_STRING is supported.
Example:
The following example shows how PHP can be used to decode JSON objects −
php
$json = '{"a":1,"b":2,"c":3,"d":4,"e":5}';

var_dump(json_decode($json));
var_dump(json_decode($json, true));

?>
While executing, it will produce the following result −
object(stdClass)#1 (5) {
["a"] => int(1)
["b"] => int(2)
["c"] => int(3)
["d"] => int(4)
["e"] => int(5)
}

array(5) {
["a"] => int(1)
["b"] => int(2)
["c"] => int(3)
["d"] => int(4)
["e"] => int(5)
}

Error-Handling and Testing

If the JSON value could not be parsed or a nesting level deeper than the given (or default) depth is found, NULL is returned from json_decode. This means that no exception is raised by json_encode/json_deocde directly.
So how can we identify the cause of the error? The json_last_error function helps here. json_last_error returns an integer error code that can be one of the following constants (taken from here):
JSON_ERROR_NONE: No error has occurred.
JSON_ERROR_DEPTH: The maximum stack depth has been exceeded.
JSON_ERROR_STATE_MISMATCH: Invalid or malformed JSON.
JSON_ERROR_CTRL_CHAR: Control character error, possibly incorrectly encoded.
JSON_ERROR_SYNTAX: Syntax error.
JSON_ERROR_UTF8: Malformed UTF-8 characters, possibly incorrectly encoded (since PHP 5.3.3).

Want to Learn Web Technologies?

Masters and Servants

If you watch a film or TV series like Downton Abbey, you can learn about how the class structure of society worked a century ago. Many of those concepts of hereditary masters and servants are now completely outdated. But while class borders have become a lot more flexible today, classes still do exist. In today’s economy there are still masters, who are the customers paying for a service, and servants, who then get money for providing those services. Of course the guy who is a servant all day, for example an Uber driver, can come home and become the master by ordering a pizza delivered. But the rich are more likely to receive services, and the poor are more likely to provide those services; we aren’t really much more equal than back in the days of Downton Abbey.

This class divide has also reached games. If you can afford to buy $60 games or spend money in Free2Play games, you get services provided to you. If you play those Free2Play games for free, you end up being the content for other players. It is as if you were paid for providing a service as opponent for another player, only that you don’t get paid in cash but in access to the game.

I don’t like being a servant to a game company. Game companies, like most other companies, treat their customers like royalty, and their employees like garbage. So I don’t want to work for the game company, be the content, provide a service as a cheap replacement of an artificial intelligence. In particular I hate games where even if you pay money, you never can escape from that role as servant, because you always are content for other players.

I just can’t play the new Magic Arena, because it only has a PvP mode. Not only don’t I like serving as content for other players. I also don’t like the content that other players provide to me: Playing against random humans means total unpredictability, you can end up against a complete pushover or the guy who spent hundreds of dollars and hours on the game and is a complete pro. On the one side I feel bad if I play against a human and have to quit early because real life intervenes (which makes the game rather unsuitable for mobile platforms), but on the other side I hate it when my opponent quits early. I much prefer playing against an AI, where there is no social contract, and my opponent plays in a more predictable manner. Previous electronic versions of Magic the Gathering have proven that an AI can be created that plays the game reasonably well. So making a version of Magic without AI to me feels like simple exploitation of players as content, and I’m not willing to be exploited like that.

The best tech gifts for men

Yes, the holidays are almost here again, and so if you haven’t finished shopping yet, it’s time to start thinking about what to get those special people in your lives. Or the people you want to suck up to – could go either way. So this year, we have a roundup of some of the best gifts you can give that will apply to most guys… though many of them will honestly make sense for anyone regardless of age or gender. Or you can go regift that fondue set from last year. We won’t judge. Should you decide not to go that route, here are some things you can think about.

Looking for even more options? Check out the following guides:

  • 10 cheap tech gifts that only look expensive
  • Best tech gifts under $25
  • Best tech gifts under $50
  • 11 cheap secret Santa gifts
  • These gifts look like they come straight out of Star Trek
  • 6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore

Exercise tracker

Exercise trackers are a thing these days. They allow you to track your steps, heart rate, and a number of other vital statistics to keep you healthy and happy. The Fitbit Blaze is Fitbit’s first foray into smartwatch territory. The Fitbit Blaze uses Fitbit’s custom software to track your body’s stats, and deliver some smartwatch notifications as well. The design is a little on the chunky side, but it can average around four days of battery life.

See more

If Fitbit isn’t his style, maybe give the Garmin Vivosmart a look.

Get Fitbit Blaze at Amazon
Get Garmin Vivosmart at Amazon
 

Home Assistant

Home assistants are one of those items that, once you have them, you can’t live without them. From checking on weather, appointments, or traffic to controlling your smarthome, a home assistant is one of the more futuristic technologies available today. But they can be a little pricey and it seems like something one wouldn’t buy for oneself, which is what makes it a perfect gift!

Google Home is a great product, and it even allows you to make phone calls and play movies and YouTube videos on your Chromecast-connected TVs. Google Home is a jack-of-all-trades kind of product, while other home assistants are a little more focused in one area or another. So, The home is definitely our recommendation in this gift guide. Check it out in the links below.

If your recipient is more Amazon-focused, then the second-generation Echo is also a great buy. Don’t forget both Google Home and the Amazon Echo have “mini” counterparts – you know, if you don’t love them THAT much.

See more
Get Google Home at Google
Get Amazon Echo at Amazon

VR Headset

In the world of VR, Oculus is by far the best known brand out there. While devices like the HTC Vive offer an outstanding experience the Oculus Rift headset is one of the go-to models in the world of VR. It offers a great array of games, plus support from a multi-billion dollar company which is always helpful. The Oculus Rift requires a pretty hefty computer to hook up to, much like the Vive, but the price is a bit lower – around $100 dollars lower.

Truth be told, the HTC Vive is a great experience too – you won’t really go wrong with either one. But Oculus has the name recognition and has a much stronger source of cash, tipping the scales in its favor.

Of course, if your recipient has a Playstation, the Sony Playstation VR is a great headset as well.

Get Oculus Rift at Amazon
Get HTC Vive at Amazon
Get PlayStation VR at Amazon

Headphones

In case you haven’t noticed, wired headphones are a dying breed. At least, those with a 3.5mm jack are. It remains to be seen what will happen with USB Type-C connectors or lightning connectors (hashtag #courage). For now, it’s best to adapt or die, so let’s talk about some bluetooth headphones.

The Jaybird X3 bluetooth in-ear headphones are sleek and stylish with great connectivity. These headphones come with a nice carrying case as well, making them a nice little package. That being said, these are in-ear monitors, which isn’t for everyone. The sound coming from them tends to be good, but not great, so if sound quality is of the utmost importance, or you’re not a fan of in-ear headphones, you may want to look at the Grado SR60e instead.

Get Jaybird X3 at Amazon
Get Grado SR60E at Amazon

Media Streaming

More and more of our content is coming from the internet these days. With the somewhat recent introductions of cable replacement services, like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and others, cord-cutting is becoming a real possibility for many folks out there. Of the wide variety of set top boxes that are out there, Roku stands above the rest. First and foremost, Roku has been doing this for a long time – long before the cord cutting phenomenon began. The Roku Express is an inexpensive, but not underpowered little box that can load up all of your cord-cutting apps without breaking a sweat, and without breaking the bank.

Roku’s UI is also very nice and very streamlined. Oddly enough, Amazon’s Instant video app works much better on the Roku than it does on the Fire Stick. Go figure. Speaking of the Fire Stick, that’s not a bad alternative to a Roku, if you happen to like Amazon’s interface and ecosystem.

See more
Get Roku Express at Amazon
Get Amazon Fire TV Stick at Amazon

Tablet

The future of tablets doesn’t really look all that bright if we’re going to be totally honest. But, there are still some solid use-cases for tablets today. The aforementioned cord-cutting/media streaming is a big one. Gaming is a solid number two. Whatever the case, tablets are still here, and they’re still fun to play with. And in the tablet space, the industry leader is far and away the iPad. From its inception the iPad has handled the transition from small phone screen to large tablet screen the best. Apps are designed exclusively for the iPad, and not just scaled up.

Sure, the iOS interface is about as exciting as watching paint dry in a cornfield in Iowa after 8 hours of fishing having caught no fish. I may be overstating, but the point is, even though the interface is not exciting, the apps make the ecosystem, and iPad app development is not going anywhere any time soon. However, if you’re a fan of thumbing your nose at industry trends, the runner up in the tablet market – the Amazon Fire also sports a solid lineup of devices to choose from with its own app ecosystem – assuming you can live without Google services.

Editor’s Pick
Get iPad Pro at Amazon
Get Fire tablets at Amazon

Phones

Of course if you really want to blow away a man during the holidays, who doesn’t love a new phone to play with. And recently, the Google Pixel 2 XL is one of the most solid phones you can buy today. It’s true, there may or may not be some screen issues, and until those can be addressed it’s hard to throw a lot of weight behind this recommendation. But, by the time you procrastinators out there are looking to shop for the holidays, perhaps we might have more clarity.

That being said, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is also a great phone to pick up for the holidays. Samsung has been absolutely killing it in the hardware department, and the Note 8 takes real advantage of that stylus. For a powerful phone that will last and last, the Note 8 might just be your phone of choice this holiday season – especially when it comes to snapping photos and sending them to friends and family.

See more
Get Google Pixel 2 XL at Verizon
Get Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at Amazon

Laptop

But since we’re talking about computing power, why settling for a phone or tablet when a full-blown laptop might be just what the doctor ordered. And in that area, the Dell XPS 13 is a beautiful line of laptops that absolutely kills it in the hardware department. The Dell XP 13 laptop can be just as powerful as you need it to be – it’s a very versatile line of laptops and comes in a number of configurations. But all of them come in the same gorgeous package.

If you’re not a Windows fan, give a long hard look at the ASUS Chromebook Flip. With a full touchscreen, tablet mode, USB-C ports and more, this is a solid contender in the Chromebook space.

Get Dell XPS 13 at Amazon
Get Asus Chromebook Flip at Amazon

Robot vacuum

When you think of robot vacuums, you think of Roomba. Sometimes you think of a puppy on a Roomba, but that’s a different conversation. Having a robot vacuum wandering around the house, doing what you hate to do is one of those wonderful things that you don’t think you need, until you have it. Giving this as a gift to someone is another one of those “you won’t buy it for yourself, so here” gift ideas. The Roomba 690 is one of the midrange options which gets you a lot of bang for your buck. It has WiFi connectivity and can be controlled using an app, plus there’s a host of other bonuses and add-ons that are pretty huge.

If the Roomba doesn’t float your boat, you can also take a look at the iLife A4. We also have a breakdown of a number of different robot vacuums over on DGiT.

Get Roomba at Amazon
Get iLife A4 at Amazon

Smart Coffee Pot

Coffee is arguably one of the most important parts of waking up in the morning. Millions of customers standing in line at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and more every day can’t be wrong. But this is the future, and the future of coffee is in the smart Coffee Pot. Not to mention, we all like to drink coffee while we watch radar; everyone knows that. Enter the Mr. Coffee Smart WeMo Coffee Maker. This app-controlled coffee pot lets you automate much of the coffee making process – check the status of the coffee pot, set daily schedules for brewing, etc.

Alternatively, you could also take a look at the Behmor Connected Coffee Pot. We also wrote up a comprehensive look at smart coffee pots over a DGiT. Take a look!

Get WeMo Coffee Maker at Mr. Coffee
Get Belmor Coffee Maker at Amazon

TV

Vizio.com

Nothing says love during the holidays like a new TV, but getting the best new TV, without busting your budget can be a pretty big ask. The Vizio M Series 55-inch TV offers a lot of bang for your buck, and comes with an Android tablet to boot. The downside is, you use this android tablet as a remote which can be less than ideal. But to wrap up a TV and a tablet for the holidays, is a pretty big win in our opinion, so this would be a good way to go.

If you’re looking for a TV for gamers, the TCL P607 is a solid buy as well. Both TV’s are full array backlit instead of edge lit resulting in better black levels.

Get Visio TV at Amazon
Get TCL TV at Amazon

Drone

What man doesn’t want a drone? For the money, the DJI Spark is one of the best out there. Remarkably slim and stable, you can even fly the DJI spark using gestures, rather than a remote. Sure, it’s mostly a parlor trick at the moment, but it’s still pretty awesome tech and fun to brag about at parties. The DJI Spark is a great, “Grab and go” type of drone which will get you some great shots, and has a fair bit of range as well.

But it you want to really blow their doors off, take a look at the Phantom 4, also by DJI. The Phantom 4 is the Cadillac of drone flying with a range of two miles and more. Learn even more about your drone options over at DroneRush.

Get DJI Spark at Amazon
Get DJI Phantom 4 at Amazon

Home Game Console

At the beginning of the year, Nintendo came out with its new gaming console, the Nintendo Switch. At first, the console was tough to get hands on. Now the system can be had at most retail outlets without much hassle. The Nintendo Switch is one of the most versatile gaming systems out there. The tablet-like console has controllers on either side that slide off, the tablet itself has a kickstand, plus there’s an included dock to hook the console up to a TV. It is very close to an optimal gaming solution.

It’s not without its drawbacks – it’s a little underpowered compared to most modern gaming consoles. But the versatility of gaming scenarios, from family game nights, to road trips is pretty much unparalleled by any other system. If you know a gamer who doesn’t have a Nintendo Switch, this would put a smile on their face. Of course you could also get an Xbox or PS4, but odds are the person in your life already has one if they are into games at all. 

Get Nintendo Switch at Amazon

Smartwatch

Smartwatches are one of those fun accessories to a smartphone that you need to use, in order to understand. Unlike many accessories of this nature, there’s a pretty high barrier of entry to get in on this trend. So, what better way to bring joy to a man’s heart than with the gift of a smartwatch. The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch is a stylish smartwatch that works great with his Android smartphone. The Tizen-based watch even add Samsung Pay ability through the watch, making contactless or magnetic stripe payments fun and easy. The days of cash are numbered and contactless payment opportunities are becoming more and more widespread. Best get on that wagon now.

Of course, if you need a watch for an iPhone user, look no further than the Apple Watch Series 3. No seriously, look no further, because that’s basically the only smartwatch that will work. The Apple Watch Series 3 adds LTE connectivity to the fold, which can be a great addition to the smartwatch family.

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our guide to the best smartwatches.

Get Samsung Gear S3 Frontier at Amazon
Get Apple Watch at Amazon

Power bank

You can’t anticipate what’s going to happen on a daily basis, especially when it comes to your smartphone battery. So many smartphones today boast “all day battery life” which frankly leaves little room for error if your day is going to be longer than planned. Sometimes, you’ve just had a heavy gaming day. Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to have some extra juice on you when you need to tether on the train ride home, or entertain the kid while in line at the DMV. Does that seem to specific? Because believe me, it happens.

In cases like those, the Anker Powercore+ 20,000 mAh power bank might be a little on the beefy side, but it is very slick looking and slips easily into a bag. Plus it gives you PowerIQ technology and even a USB Type-C port for charging. This will top you off at the end of a long day, or keep you going during an overnight camping trip.

If you need something a little more compact, take a look at the Eighty Plus 10,000 mAh power bank. It’s a lot more sleek and also more attractive. We have a full rundown of a number of other power banks here on Android Authority. If neither of these two are exciting – well, that’s because they’re power banks, but we also have a longer list to look at.

Get Eighty Plus 10,000 at Amazon
Get Anker External Battery at Amazon

Tracking Beacon

People lose stuff. Like always. Which is why there has been a recent surge in tracking tags that attach to your stuff, so you can locate it when you lose it. Use cases for these things extend from wallets and purses, to bikes, to keys – you name it. Many of these tracking tag systems rely on the crowd to throw a blanket of coverage over an entire area. Connectivity range is limited, so in order to track items beyond 30 feet away from your phone, Tile users can report items they come across to their owners. It’s an elegant solution that requires a ton of user adoption in order to saturate an area.

Tile, and similar competitor Trackr have both gotten the type of widespread adoption required to make this somewhat of a reality. There are still gaps, to be sure, but GPS enabled trackers have miserable battery life and cost a lot of money. If you know someone who tends to misplace items, Tile or Trackr might just be a good stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Get Tile at Amazon
Get Tracker at Amazon

So that’ll do it for our holiday gift guide for the men in your life. ‘Are any of these items on your shopping list? Think we left something out? Hit us up in the comments below and let us know what you’ll be camping out on Black Friday for.

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Is story important?

I am currently watching a series of YouTube videos (overview page on this blog) of a group currently playing Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, the official Storm King’s Thunder adventure. I watched some of their video on previous adventures, and must say that they are both better than average players and their videos have better than average production values. What I found particularly interesting in this series was that I have read Storm King’s Thunder and dismissed it as basically unplayable. But they are doing just fine playing it. Why?

The keyword here is suspension of disbelief. Storm King’s Thunder starts out in a very linear fashion with a series of events befalling a fortified village. Within one week the village gets bombarded from the air by giants in a floating castle, then the residents move out and find shelter in a bat cave where they get captured by goblins, the goblins start looting the village, the adventurers arrive and start killing the goblins, then the Zhentarim (a semi-evil political faction) try to take over the empty village, and then a horde of orcs attacks. (In the videos the DM replaced the orcs by more Zhentarim, but added an deus-ex-machina dragon saving the village). So the adventure for the group consists of searching through the abandoned village and killing the goblins, then beating back the Zhentarim, then beating back the orcs, and then finally going to the bat cave and freeing the kidnapped villagers. Then the villagers send them to another town very far away for rather flimsy reasons, and there the adventure loops backs to the giants. As far as stories in D&D adventures go, this is one of the less believable ones. But of course if you don’t care and just enjoy the ride, a lot of fun can be had.

It reminds me a bit of MMORPGs, where the story can also be rather weak, but is basically just an excuse to lead people to gameplay. In the D&D videos the story leads not just to gameplay in the form of combat, but also to fun situations where the DM describes a situation in more detail and the players come up with all sorts of plans and ideas instead of just rolling for initiative. A good group and a good DM are the ones where the players constantly fire off ideas, and the DM rolls with them. Then the actual story of the adventure becomes a less important backdrop, because the important story is the one that evolves from the players being in unusual situations. The art as a DM is to get people to play that way. I’m working on that.

Which phone manufacturer had the best year in 2017? [Poll of the Week]

Last week’s poll summary: Out of almost 23,800 total votes, 25.1% of our readers said the Galaxy Note 8 is the best Android smartphone of 2017. 18.9% voted for the OnePlus 5T, 18.2% voted Pixel 2 XL, and 11.3% said the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the top device of the year.

2017 brought us some of the best smartphones we’ve ever seen. It was also the year that we saw many Android OEMs come into their own.

Samsung had a particularly tough year, as it not only had to recover from the Galaxy Note 7 recall, it also had to win the trust back of consumers. Samsung worked hard to bring trust back to its brand, which resulted in the Galaxy S8 and Note 8— two of the best Android smartphones ever made.

OnePlus has also stepped things up this year, particularly with the launch of the OnePlus 5T. The OnePlus 5 felt a little stuck in the past, but the 5T brought an improved camera experience and a fantastic 18:9 OLED display. OnePlus continues to make improvements every year. It’s crazy to think this is the same company that had so many weird missteps a few years back.

See also

Huawei made some huge strides in 2017 with the launch of the Mate 10 Pro. Not only did that phone win our Best of Android 2017 competition, it feels like Huawei is becoming more original than ever before. Some might complain of Huawei’s software being too aggressive in some areas, but the improvements on the design/build front cannot be overstated.

I’d also like to mention HMD Global, the proud owners of the Nokia brand name. The Nokia 8, the company’s 2017 flagship, holds its own against the other competitors on the market. Android Authority actually named HMD Global as the best smartphone brand of 2017.

In your opinion, which smartphone manufacturer had the best year? Cast your vote in the poll below, and speak up in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to add.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Unsubscribed Humble Bundle Monthly

I recently subscribed to the Humble Bundle Monthly, because the $12 for the bundle included Civilization VI with two DLCs, which was way cheaper than any other way to pick up Civ VI. Now the rest of the bundle arrived, and I must say that I am disappointed. The idea of the Humble Bundle Monthly is that it is “curated”, giving you a bunch of good games. So I thought that in a curated bundle with Civilization VI I would find a few other nice strategy games. Unfortunately I was very wrong: The other games in the February bundle are all adventure games, and cheap ones at that.

To quote Steam when I open the page of one of those games: “Is this game relevant to you? This game doesn’t look like other things you’ve played in the past. As such we don’t have much information on whether or not you might be interested in it.”. Steam is right. Basically I haven’t played adventure games since way back when adventure games were still a thing, the days of Leisure Suit Larry or Monkey Island. I don’t really like the new generation of adventure games, which is often described as “walking simulators”. The only game in the Humble Bundle Monthly I might try is Snake Pass, because I’ve heard that it is somewhat unique with its controls, and not really an “adventure game”.

Another reason to unsubscribe was that the highlight of next month’s bundle is Dark Souls III plus one DLC. If you like the Dark Souls series, you might consider this, as $12 is an excellent price for something going for $75 on Steam. For me the unforgiving nature of the series has always turned me off. I don’t play games to get punished for my mistakes, I have a job for that!

What I did now is change my Humble Bundle e-mail settings to send me info on future Humble Bundle Monthly offers. (I had turned that off, which resulted in me not even getting informed that there was a bundle of games waiting for me.) Getting $60 games plus DLC for $12 is interesting. The rest of the bundles probably not so.