Posted: 2017-10-12 12:06
Brainscape was intended just for flashcards: there aren’t fancy features like quizzes or games, but Brainscape focuses on strategies that help you learn the information on your flashcards in the shortest amount of time. The app claims to be able to double your learning speed by adjusting the timing of each flashcard based on how well you know the topic. It also has collaborated with educators and publishers to create flashcards for different topics and suggests new information on each topic.
I’ve only used it for a few days, but its cushioned scissor switches are damn near whisper silent, which is a big plus for people who works next to inconsiderate assholes using keyboards with clackety Cherry Blue switches.(I’m kidding, kind of.) The keys also have a comforting indent and chiclet style layout which makes switching between laptop and desktop keyboards a cinch, even if you’re a MacBook user. And the backlighting has a special party trick thanks to its proximity sensor, which makes the keyboard light up whenever you get close.
Cortana and Alexa’s competitors, Google Assistant and Siri, won’t be integrating any time soon. As Gizmodo notes, Google and Apple have far more users locked into their ecosystems, so they have far less incentive to cooperate with competing systems. By combining forces, Microsoft and Amazon are admitting they’ve lost the war for mobile, (the dominant user interface now), and holding onto their own core competencies: Microsoft for business communication, Amazon for consumption.
StudyShack gamifies your flashcard experience. With the app, you can learn by playing crossword puzzles, hangman, matching games, hungry bug (a game similar to snake), unscramble, and others. When you play the games, you get pieces of a pie indicating your progress. Like other apps, you can search for other flashcard sets, quiz yourself, and interact with the flashcards. But, unlike other apps, you can have more than two sides for each flashcard.
This is just the latest example of apps containing malware making their way into the Google Play Store. Earlier this month, Google booted several apps that contained hidden surveillance software. Just last week, researchers found banking malware in the Play Store. With all these apps sneaking into Play, it’s up to you to protect yourself and your Android device. If you’re ever in doubt about whether an app is safe, do some research on the developer and check out what permissions the app wants on your phone.
But before the fawning goes too far, I must mention that the Craft isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have adjustable legs in back, so people who like a little angle to their keyboard dangle are out of luck. And if you choose to keep the backlighting on, in wireless mode, Logitech says the Craft will only last about a week, which is far less than some of its past wireless keyboard like the DiNovo Edge. (Turning the backlighting off extends longevity to about a month, but who is going to do that?) However, I do have to give Logitech props for fitting the Craft with a USB-C port for recharging instead of micro USB. It’s helpful nod to the future that a lot of other accessory makers seem to be ignoring.
Historically, these ecosystems tend to open up, making way for the next battle. Macs and PCs didn’t always run so many of the same apps. Internet Explorer and Netscape were much more mutually exclusive than Chrome and Safari. And for a while, your Internet came in flavors of AOL, Prodigy, or CompuServe. Even Android and iOS used to have zero apps in common. But each time, interoperability won out, bringing (most of) each platform’s strengths to everyone.
Another nice feature on the Craft is the big dial on the top left. It can do normal stuff like adjust the volume of your computer, but it also works with Microsoft and Adobe software. Now you can use the dial to adjust settings in apps like Photoshop and Powerpoint. It’s the same idea behind the Surface Dial, and it gives you precise, granular control when you want to adjust things like contrast or opacity. The main drawback is that only seven apps are fully supported right now (four from Adobe and three in MS Office), though Logitech says more are on their way. And while important apps like Chrome don’t have any pre-installed controls either, you can create your own dial shortcuts on a somewhat limited basis.
Because we wanted to focus on utility - apps that make life easier, not just more fun - the panel omitted most games, apart from the juggernauts Words With Friends and Angry Birds. As for sport, most of the major sporting associations (such as the AFL, English Premier League and Cricket Australia) have good official apps, so, for the sake of space, we''ve omitted those but pointed you to some others that also do it well.
The TV ecosystem is just as bad, largely thanks to Amazon’s own selfish decisions. Amazon still hasn’t released its promised Apple TV app , so Prime customers have to stream Transparent and Curb Your Enthusiasm from their phones. There are no plans for an Amazon app on the Chromecast, or for Spotify on Apple TV. You can retreat to a third-party media player like Roku, but then you can’t play videos purchased through iTunes without a wonky file conversion.
Meanwhile, though Google Assistant runs on iOS, it’s very limited and can’t be activated without opening an app. Siri won’t run at all on Android. And even on its native platform, Siri won’t control best-in-class apps like Spotify, Gmail, or Google Maps. Google Assistant is more flexible, but it can’t order things on Amazon the way Alexa can. (You can run Alexa on Android, but only through Amazon’s app , and again with limitations.)