As promised, Netflix’s user reviews are no more

Netflix user reviews are no more. Sure, chances are pretty decent you didn’t realize Netflix still had reviews at this point, but the video streaming giant has delivered on its promise to do away with the one-time mainstay of the service. Last month, it informed recent users that reviews would be sunset soon. Netflix dropped the […]

Netflix user reviews are no more. Sure, chances are pretty decent you didn’t realize Netflix still had reviews at this point, but the video streaming giant has delivered on its promise to do away with the one-time mainstay of the service.

Last month, it informed recent users that reviews would be sunset soon. Netflix dropped the feature this week with little fanfare, simply updating the “How do I post reviews on Netflix” section of its help page to read, “You can no longer post reviews on Netflix.” Fair enough, I guess.

The service has slowly evolved its recommendation engine over the year, putting plenty of effort into one of its primary drivers of user engagement. Review were slowly moved into the background to make way for new features, including the current thumbs up/thumbs down offering.

As Variety notes, while some continued to use reviews up until the end, the loss of reviews hasn’t exactly been met with a widespread backlash from users. Not a thumbs up, nor a thumbs down, so much as a collective indifference to the end of once key feature. 

Original Content podcast: ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ is a charming high school romance

While Hollywood’s interest in romantic comedies seems to be fading, Netflix has been picking up some of the slack. Just a few months ago, it released the tremendously fun Set It Up. And now we’ve got To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, a high school romance based on the young adult novel by Jenny Han. […]

While Hollywood’s interest in romantic comedies seems to be fading, Netflix has been picking up some of the slack. Just a few months ago, it released the tremendously fun Set It Up. And now we’ve got To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, a high school romance based on the young adult novel by Jenny Han.

To All The Boys tells the story of Lara Jean Covey (played by Lana Condor), a teenager who’s written love letters to all of her crushes, but never sent them — until the beginning of the movie, when they mysteriously end up in the hands of the titular boys.

Naturally, this leads to intense mortification and embarrassment, particularly when Lara Jean is so desperate to hide her feelings on her sister’s ex Josh (Israel Broussard) that she agrees to pretend to date her former (?) crush Peter (Noah Centineo).

On the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we’re joined by our colleague Taylor Nakagawa to review the film. Taylor wasn’t entirely won over — after all, you can probably guess most of what happens next based on the bare bones plot description above. But your regular hosts Anthony and Jordan enjoyed it anyway, particularly the movie’s tremendously charming leads.

We also discuss Crazy Rich Asians, one of the rare Hollywood rom coms to make it onto the big screen, and how the filmmakers turned down an offer from Netflix. And we cover the week’s streaming news, including Netflix’s exclusive deal with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and the reports that Amazon is in talks to buy a theater chain.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You also can send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player

vlc-features

A few months back, VLC Media Player got Chromecast support and 360-degree video views. It’s just another tiny notch on the popularity of the open source player which can handle anything that you throw at it (as long as it’s a media file!). The Windows version of the player is closing in on 50 million downloads, and that’s discounting all the other platforms it can be installed on. Perhaps the secret to its longevity is the modular design which gives it a rich set of features. Today, let’s focus on the few “secret” features under the hood which you can use…

Read the full article: 7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player

vlc-features

A few months back, VLC Media Player got Chromecast support and 360-degree video views. It’s just another tiny notch on the popularity of the open source player which can handle anything that you throw at it (as long as it’s a media file!).

The Windows version of the player is closing in on 50 million downloads, and that’s discounting all the other platforms it can be installed on. Perhaps the secret to its longevity is the modular design which gives it a rich set of features. Today, let’s focus on the few “secret” features under the hood which you can use every day.

1. Use VLC as a Video Downloader for YouTube

There are several capable free downloaders available for YouTube. But, VLC has this feature built in. Though it’s not a one-click downloader and you will have to take the help of your browser.

  1. Click on Media > Open Network stream.
    Capture YouTube URL
  2. Paste the YouTube URL and click the Play button in the player.
    Stream YouTube
  3. VLC Media Player starts streaming the video.  Now, click Tools > Codec Information and at the bottom of the window you will see a Location box.
    Copy-paste YouTube location information.
  4. Copy the long URL in the box and paste this into your browser’s address bar. The browser will now start playing the video file. You can download the video file to your desktop by doing a Save video as with a right-click on the video. Or you can choose to record the video.

2. Convert Videos to Any Format

Downloading a video is often the first part. Converting that video so you can play it on a device of your choice is the second part. The VLC Player can do this too.

  1. From the toolbar, click on Media > Convert / Save.
    VLC Convert Video
  2. In the Open Media dialog box, click on the Add button and choose the media file for conversion. Then, click on the Convert / Save dropdown > Convert.
    VLC - Convert Video-Choose File
  3. Open the dropdown menu for Profile and select the file format that you would like to convert your file to. You can also click on the gear icon next to it and edit the chosen profile.
    Pick a profile and start conversion.
  4. Click on Browse and select a location to save the converted file. Then, click on Start to begin the conversion and monitor its progress in the bar below.

3. VLC as a Graphic Equalizer for Your Music

VLC Graphic Equalizer

You may be using VLC as a video player only, but VLC is a cross-platform standalone media player too and that brings full audio effects with playlist support. VLC not only displays cover art but also has a pretty good graphic equalizer tucked away inside it.

Display it with the shortcut keystrokes Ctrl + E (or go to Tools > Effects and Filters > Audio Effects). Adjust the sound quality with the available presets, or fine-tune it with the Equalizer, Compressor, and Spatializer tabs.

4. Activate Audio Normalization to Protect Your Ears

Normalize Volume

The general audio settings for the VideoLan Player are located under Preferences. One of the key features called Audio Normalization helps to optimize the volume of any media by a fixed amount and improve the sound quality.

Go to Tools > Preferences > Audio > Enable Normalize volume to. The value you set here will help to adjust the decibel levels of dialog, music, explosions, gunshots etc. in the movies you watch. Restart VLC after enabling the setting.

In fact, configure this immediately after you download and install the VLC player. It will make your audio sound better.

5. Play Internet Radio and Podcasts in VLC

One of VLC’s little used features could definitely be its ability to find and play internet radio. The VLC Player can fill all your audio needs as it can not only stream radio but also play podcasts.

  1. Launch VLC and open the Playlist sidebar.
  2. Under Internet, you can browse through the two radio servers—Jamendo and Icecast—and choose a station of your choice by clicking on it. Also, make sure the Playlist view mode is set to List (Go to View > Playlist View Mode > List).
    VLC - Internet Radio
  3. If your favorite internet radio station is not on the list, use the station’s URL to stream it via VLC. Go to Media > Open Network Stream… Enter the URL and press Play in order to begin listening.

And to play podcasts in VLC:

  1. You can manage your favorite podcasts via the same Playlist interface.
  2. Go to Playlist and under the Internet section, select Podcasts.
  3. As soon your cursor is over the Podcasts section, click the plus sign.
  4. Copy and paste the RSS feed URL of the podcast you wish to listen and click on OK. The podcast will be added to the sidebar and you can pick the episode you want to listen to.

6. Loop a Section of a Video or Audio File

Most media players can loop an entire video or a soundtrack. With VLC, you have the added bonus of looping any specific section of a media file.

  1. Open the video or audio file with VLC. Go to View > Advanced Controls.
  2. Now, a few more buttons will be displayed above the normal play and stop controls.
    VLC Advanced Controls
  3. To start the loop from a specific part of the video, move the playhead to the part where you want the loop to start (Point A).
  4. Click the loop button once. The “A” mark on the button will turn red. To finish the loop, take the video to the endpoint and click on the same button again. You will see both the A and B points of the button are red.
    Set VLC Loop
  5. Now play the video and the section will loop. Click the loop button once again if you want to switch it off.

This is a handy feature when you want to review a how-to video or hear an audio file over and over to get it right. I often use this feature to study Photoshop tutorial videos.

7. Add Features With VLC Add-Ons and Extensions

Install and View VLC Add-ons

For everyday use, VLC’s default package of features may be enough. But if you are looking for added functionality then there’s an entire catalog of add-ons you can install alongside. Remember, VLC has a huge open-source community behind it and they have helped create extensions, skins, playlist parsers, and other assorted tools.

These extensions will help you add more “secret” features to the player like tools which will help you search for subtitles from the player itself. Extensions may also work in macOS and Linux, so do doublecheck the instructions on the add-on’s page.

  1. Visit the VLC add-ons page and browse through the two views—Top or Latest.
  2. Click the Download button on the add-ons page and download the ZIP file. Extract the file. (VLC add-ons have the LUA extension.)
  3. On Windows, place the .lua files in this Windows directory:
    C:UsersNAMEAppDataRoamingvlcluaextensions folder.
  4. Restart VLC. You can access all your installed extensions from the View menu.

Some of the better extensions to consider include:

VLC Is Full of Cool Tricks

If you know about these features, then VLC hides few secrets from you. Now, flex your muscles and explore the more advanced possibilities of this fantastic player that has stood the test of time. Maybe create a streaming media server for your home or cast your media files from a Windows PC to your Android phone.

Read the full article: 7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player

How to Identify Music and Songs in YouTube Videos

youtube-streaming-music

It’s a common situation. You are happily watching a video on YouTube, perhaps a commercial or a movie trailer, and it has a catchy song playing in the background. You want to know what the music is, but how do you find out? Identifying some music and songs is easy, while others require a little more persistence. But thanks to this step-by-step walkthrough, you are (almost) guaranteed to identify any music or songs you hear online. All you need is a little time and patience. 1. Check the Video’s Description The first step is the easiest, but it’s one that…

Read the full article: How to Identify Music and Songs in YouTube Videos

youtube-streaming-music

It’s a common situation. You are happily watching a video on YouTube, perhaps a commercial or a movie trailer, and it has a catchy song playing in the background. You want to know what the music is, but how do you find out?

Identifying some music and songs is easy, while others require a little more persistence. But thanks to this step-by-step walkthrough, you are (almost) guaranteed to identify any music or songs you hear online. All you need is a little time and patience.

1. Check the Video’s Description

youtube music description

The first step is the easiest, but it’s one that most people overlook. If a company or your favorite YouTuber is using a song in one of their videos, the chances are they will credit the original songwriter in the description. If they don’t, there’s a chance YouTube will take down the video.

So, the first thing to do is go to the video’s description box, and click Show More. Scroll down and you’ll find a section called Music in this video. This will have the song’s name and the artist. Click it to be taken to the song; on YouTube if it’s uploaded officially or the Play Store if not.

Videos that use multiple songs will list multiple titles in the description. However, they don’t always appear in the right order, so you will need listen to them all to figure out which one is which.

2. Search for the Lyrics on Google

youtube search lyrics

If the background track has lyrics, your job became a whole lot easier. Listen carefully for what the lyrics are and search for a line or two on Google.

Google might not give the best results every time, so if it didn’t work, try the same search on Find Music By Lyrics. It’s powered by Google too, but it tweaks Google’s settings to deliver better results.

The problem with this method, however, is it doesn’t account for covers. For example, the movie trailers of both Thor: Ragnarok and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo used Immigrant Song as the background music. However, while Thor used the original by Led Zeppelin, the latter used a cover by Trent Reznor. So if you were trying to find the song used in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by searching for the lyrics, you’d end up with the original Led Zeppelin piece, which is not what you wanted.

3. Check the Comments (or Ask)

youtube comments search

YouTube has become one of the best ways to discover new music. There’s a good chance that you aren’t the first viewer who is trying to track down the name of that song. So, read or search through the YouTube comments and you might just come across the question and its answer.

You can try the old-fashioned way first. Press Ctrl + F (or Command + F on Macs) to open the Find In Page box. Type song, and scroll through the comments that use the word. In my experience, this method doesn’t yield the best results, and only searches the comments that have loaded so far.

A better way is to get the Comments Search for YouTube extension on Google Chrome. It adds a Search option at the top of the comments. Type any keyword like song or music, and watch it bring all the results, complete with their comment thread, so the question and answer are both visible. It works better than any other sites and extensions that let you search in the comments.

Download: Comments Search for YouTube for Chrome (Free)

Of course, if you don’t find anything, you can hop in there yourself and leave a comment asking for help to identify the music. In case you didn’t know, you can also read comments while watching YouTube, you don’t need to choose between the two.

4. Use a Music Identification App

Music identification apps like Shazam and Soundhound have changed the game when it comes to helping you figure out what song is playing. There are also a couple of extensions that specialize in identifying songs used in YouTube videos.

AHA Music (Chrome)

aha music youtube

Once you play your video, click this Chrome extension’s icon. It will attempt to identify the song used in the video, as long as the song itself starts playing in the first minute. AHA Music also maintains a history log of all the songs it has identified, so you can easily look it up again. You can immediately stream the song on Spotify too. But that one-minute limitation is a bummer when you want to identify a song that starts much later.

Download: AHA Music for Chrome (Free)

Shazam (Android, iOS)

shazam youtube

Shazam is the best music identification app, and it works like a charm for YouTube videos. You’ll need to download the app on your mobile, but you can use it for desktop too.

When you’re watching a video on your computer, fire up Shazam on your phone. Hold the phone close to the speakers when the song starts playing, and Shazam will identify it in no time.

If you’re watching a YouTube video on your phone itself, use the Pop-Up mode. First, go to Shazam > My Shazam > Settings > Pop-up Shazam and enable it. Go back to your video and play it. When the song you want to identify is playing, tap and hold the floating Shazam button. Again, Shazam will identify the song and you’ll finally know what it is.

Download: Shazam for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Ask Experts on a Forum

youtube name that song

If the music identification apps all fail to identify your song, your only real option left is to ask someone else, hoping they know what it is. Lucky for you, the internet has a couple of forums and communities that focus on uncovering hard-to-identify songs.

There are three places you should look at:

You’ll need a Reddit or Facebook account to post to these groups.

Each of these forums assumes you have already tried the above options and failed, so don’t even think of posting before you Shazam the video. If the song starts later in the video, use the old YouTube URL trick to link to that part of the video. The clearer your question is, the better your chances are of getting a quick and accurate answer.

For YouTube Music Listeners

YouTube has really upped its game with its music offerings recently, but there is still a lot left to be desired. For now, if YouTube is your preferred music streaming service, it would be a good idea to check out these tools to make listening to music on YouTube better.

Read the full article: How to Identify Music and Songs in YouTube Videos

Coming to a theater near you: Amazon?

It looks like Amazon may be gearing up to make more moves in the brick-and-mortar world. Bloomberg reports that the e-commerce behemoth is putting itself in the running to acquire Landmark Theatres, which claims to be the United States’ largest chain of movie theaters focused on art house (indie and foreign) movies, with a network of […]

It looks like Amazon may be gearing up to make more moves in the brick-and-mortar world. Bloomberg reports that the e-commerce behemoth is putting itself in the running to acquire Landmark Theatres, which claims to be the United States’ largest chain of movie theaters focused on art house (indie and foreign) movies, with a network of 56 cinemas, covering 268 screens in 27 markets.

Bloomberg’s sources say that Amazon is going up against other potential acquirers in purchasing the business from Wagner/Cuban Cos., but that no final decisions have been made.

The companies aren’t publicly commenting on the reports, but it’s an interesting scenario to consider because of all the ways that it seems to fit into Amazon’s wider strategy. 

The company has done an incredible job of making it easy (and cheap) to buy virtually anything you want from it in the digital world, whether it’s necessities like toiletries, books, groceries, clothes and electronics, or digital products like movies, music and cloud storage space for your app or game, in as little as one click. Through its marketplace model — where it is both a middleman between consumers and sellers, and the seller itself of different goods and services — Amazon wants to be wherever people want to spend money.

But there are certain forms of retail that may never translate to the online world. Experiential retail — dining out at restaurants, going to a bar or event, picking a melon that you can smell before you pay for it, and of course going to the movies — requires that you get up and go somewhere to do it.

Amazon knows this, and so it’s slowly, quietly amassing selective assets that will let people engage in the more physical side of commerce. These have included book stores, and its own futuristic, checkout-free food shops. And of course it spent $13.7 billon to gobble up the natural food leviathan Whole Foods.

The latter of these is very instructive when you consider how a movie theater chain might fit into the Amazon pantheon. Amazon’s Prime Fresh grocery delivery service gives busy users the convenience of skipping the grocery store, but Whole Foods also gives Amazon a way of capturing buyers who might prefer to make trips to a grocery store.

But that’s not all it does. It’s added Whole Foods discounts as yet another sweetener for Prime subscribers; it’s extending its formidable logistics muscle to Whole Foods ordering and delivery (first for Prime subscribers, naturally); and of course it has put in pop-up shops selling its other products, like the Kindle and the Echo, in prime spots when you enter a store.

Amazon owning a chain of theatres spells out a lot of opportunities for it in terms of expanding its interests in film; in experiential, physical commerce; and in leveraging the rest of the pieces in its commercial empire.

The world of movie theaters has been hobbling for years, with droves of consumers these days foregoing increasingly expensive tickets and snacks and opting to watch a slightly smaller screen in the comfort of their own home. But to the disruptive eye, that ageing business model is catnip, and so unsurprisingly, MoviePass has come along, seeing that there was an opportunity to try to revive the cinema experience by offering subscriptions for a flat rate to get more bums on those seats.

Yes, MoviePass is bleeding money, and it looks like a mess for many other reasons, but it’s had an impact, so much so that AMC has taken notice and launched its own competitor.

The world’s largest theater chain almost certainly won’t experience the same sort of pains that MoviePass has, because it both controls the means of distribution and has a sizeable support infrastructure, and of course owns the cinemas.

But if AMC has a safety net, then Amazon — one of the world’s most valuable companies — has airbags, collision sensors, seatbelts, automatic braking and maybe even an Alexa-powered predictive voice to tell you what to do next. If Amazon ran a loss-making chain of cinemas, it would be but a little drop in the bucket for it.

Amazon already has one of the biggest digital subscription businesses in the world, with more than 100 million Prime members, as of April 2018. Tacking a subscription to cinemas on to that, which either made going free or discounted, is a no-brainer.

But wait! You get more for the price of the Landmark Theatres! Amazon, as we know, also has a budding media business, offering movies, TV and music to Prime users. Included in that is its own original content machine, Amazon Studios, responsible for shows like Transparent and movies like Manchester by the Sea.

A theater chain acquisition would further open the distribution channels for Amazon’s own films, and give Amazon a much tighter grip on the costs for that distribution. And with a position covering theatrical, DVD and digital distribution windows, you can bet that will give Amazon more leverage when negotiating screen rights to films that it hasn’t produced itself.

Controlling distribution could also prove useful during awards season — the timing of a film’s release goes a long ways toward determining nominees. (And yes, those screens also become one more place where Amazon can run ads, too, in its budding advertising empire.)

And don’t forget the fact that theatres are, at the end of the day, also retail real estate.

It’s a long-known fact that cinemas make most of their money on concessions, and they have accordingly built out large lobby areas where people can mill about and spend money before and after sitting down in the darkened screening rooms. In addition to selling all the usual concessions (both made by Amazon and its marketplace partners) Amazon could use those spaces as they have with Whole Foods, creating retail experiences for products that might have nothing at all to do with what you came to the cinema for in the first place, but then suddenly seem like interesting places to try out something new.

Is it any wonder that even without Amazon or Landmark responding to Bloomberg’s report, theater chain stocks dropped on word of the news?

Netflix signs exclusive deal with ‘Black-ish’ creator Kenya Barris

Netflix just announced a multi-year deal with Kenya Barris, creator of Black-ish and its spinoff Grown-ish. While Barris will remain an executive producer on those shows (and on the upcoming Besties), he will be exclusively developing new series for Netflix. The deal only covers TV, as Barris (who was one of the writers of Girls […]

Netflix just announced a multi-year deal with Kenya Barris, creator of Black-ish and its spinoff Grown-ish.

While Barris will remain an executive producer on those shows (and on the upcoming Besties), he will be exclusively developing new series for Netflix.

The deal only covers TV, as Barris (who was one of the writers of Girls Trip) has a first-look movie deal at Fox. That’s according to The Hollywood Reporter, which also cites sources who say the deal is for three years and is in the “high-eight-figure range.”

“When my agents reached out to me about this little garage start-up called Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to think,” Barris said in a statement. “But after I talked to [Netflix executives Ted Sarandos and Cindy Holland], I started to believe that maybe this mom-and-pop shop with only 130 million subscribers might just be something… so I decided to take a swing… a leap of faith if you will, and take a chance with the new kids on the block.”

In the past year, Netflix shook up the television industry by signing big deals with Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy — Rhimes’ deal was reportedly worth $100 million, while Murphy’s was for $300 million.

In each case, Netflix isn’t just betting on one big show. Rhimes and her production company Shondaland, for example, recently announced seven projects in development for the streaming service.

How to Safely Install Fortnite on Android: A Quick Sideloading Guide

fortnite-battle-royale-mobile

The world’s most popular 100-player PVP battle royale is coming to Android at long last. That’s right: you can finally play Fortnite on your Android device. Time to rejoice, grab your mats, and get ready to ride the storm. That is until you realize that Fortnite isn’t available on the official Google Play Store. Fortnite developer, Epic Games, wants you to use a specialized launcher, but that means turning off third-party download restrictions and sideloading the app—and this can come with risks. Here’s how to safely install Fortnite on Android, and what precautions you should take. Why Isn’t Fortnite on…

Read the full article: How to Safely Install Fortnite on Android: A Quick Sideloading Guide

The world’s most popular 100-player PVP battle royale is coming to Android at long last. That’s right: you can finally play Fortnite on your Android device. Time to rejoice, grab your mats, and get ready to ride the storm.

That is until you realize that Fortnite isn’t available on the official Google Play Store. Fortnite developer, Epic Games, wants you to use a specialized launcher, but that means turning off third-party download restrictions and sideloading the app—and this can come with risks.

Here’s how to safely install Fortnite on Android, and what precautions you should take.

Why Isn’t Fortnite on the Google Play Store?

Epic Games recently confirmed that their insanely popular Fortnite battle royale would finally make its way onto Android devices.

However, at the same time, Epic Games also confirmed rumors that Fortnite would use an individual launcher downloaded straight from the developer, rather than the long-established and potentially more secure Google Play Store.

The decision appears to boil down to two main reasons:

  1. Epic Games doesn’t want Google to take their customary 30 percent cut for using the Google Play Store.
  2. Epic Games founder, Tim Sweeney, believes “competition among services gives consumers lots of great choices and enables the best to succeed based on merit.” Sweeney also said that the same choice would have been made if the option was available to iOS devices.

The first point is massive, especially when you consider the phenomenal revenue Fortnite already rakes in on Windows and macOS. Want an idea of how much? Fortnite players spent $318 million in May 2018 alone and allegedly over $1 billion in total on in-app purchases.

statista twitch streaming figures

It stands to reason, as battle royale games are currently the most popular by far, and free-to-play Fortnite is the most popular within the genre.

In July 2018, Fortnite had over 820,000 concurrent viewers on video game streaming platform Twitch, streaming over 151 million hours of content. Remember, that’s just for July 2018. Over the same period, direct competitor PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) brought in over 580,000 concurrent viewers, for a total of 44.1 million hours of streaming content.

Mind-blowing figures, but it illustrates just how popular Fortnite is as well as why Epic Games decision to cut Google out of the loop is financially imperative.

How to Install the Fortnite Launcher on Android

At the time of writing, the Android version of Fornite is in beta testing. If you already have an Epic Games account, there is a strong chance you will have beta access. Check out the video below for a short tutorial on how to install the Fortnite launcher on your Android device. I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S8, but your experience may vary.

  1. On your Android device, head to the Fortnite homepage. Select the Epic Games link to begin the download, then hit Open when it finishes.
  2. When the “install unknown apps” warning appears, hit Settings. Then toggle Allow from this source and head back to the Fortnite Installer.
  3. Press Install. Wait for the installation to complete, then press Open.
  4. Let the Epic Games launcher initialize.
  5. Select Continue to accept the “Game Storage Required” prompt, then Allow the Fortnite Launcher access to your media and storage.
  6. The download and installation process launches automatically. Let it complete; then you can launch the Fortnite for Android beta.
  7. Remember to turn off installation access for unknown sources. Head to Settings > Lock Screen and Security > Install unknown apps > Chrome > Allow from this source.

The menu structure and names may vary depending on your Android device.

What Devices are Compatible with Fortnite on Android?

Epic Games are running an exclusive beta period deal for Samsung devices. So those readers with a Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+, S9, S9+, Note 8, Note 9, Tab S3, or Tab S4 have immediate access, as well as a flashy exclusive outfit to strut your stuff in, too.

Other compatible Android devices include:

  • Google: Pixel | Pixel XL | Pixel 2 | Pixel 2 XL
  • Asus: ROG Phone | Zenfone 4 Pro | 5Z | V
  • Essential: PH-1
  • Huawei: Honor 10 | Honor Play | Mate 10 | Pro | Mate RS | Nova 3 | P20 | Pro | G5 | G6 | G7 ThinQ | V10 | V20 | V30 | V30+
  • Nokia: 8
  • OnePlus: 5 | 5T | 6
  • Razer: Phone
  • Xiaomi: Blackshark| Mi 5 | 5S | 5S Plus | 6 | 6 Plus | Mi 8 | 8 Explorer | 8SE | Mi Mix | Mi Mix 2 | Mi Mix 2S | Mi Note 2
  • ZTE: Axon 7 | 7s | Axon M | Nubia | Z17 | Z17s | Nubia Z11

When the full version launches, Epic Games will announce more compatible devices.

Security Considerations for Fortnite on Android

For many, the first thought to Epic Games’ Google Play Service refusal was security. Despite the potential for an admittedly massive 30 percent cut on Fortnite’s earnings, Google has drastically improved the Google Play Store in recent years.

And while malware, fraud, phishing, and security issues won’t ever disappear, the introduction of Google Play Protect has ramped up protection for the billions of Android users.

In fact, Google reports that it “took down more than 700,000 apps that violated the Google Play policies, 70 percent more than the apps taken down in 2016. Not only did we remove more bad apps, we were able to identify and action against them earlier. In fact, 99 percent of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them.”

However, the malware variants that did get through are savage, consisting of banking trojans, botnet malware, malicious crypto-mining apps, and other fraudulent and credential stealing campaigns.

The Fortnite for Android beta launcher is hosted solely on the Epic Games site and is the only place you will find the official download. Once you install the Fortnite launcher and app, it automatically updates to deliver both game and security patches without the Google Play Store.

Nonetheless, as with other popular games, there are always malicious imitators waiting in the sidelines. Fortnite will not be the exception to that rule. On the other hand, it hasn’t made a difference for other popular games that do use the Google Play Store.

Furthermore, Google isn’t going to allow Fortnite imitators take Epic Games place on the Google Play Store.

So, is there a risk? Yes, of course. A potential user could click through to a site mocked up to mimic the Epic Games site, download a malicious APK, and install malware on their device.

Is there more of a risk than with other games? On this, I’m not so sure. You only have to complete an internet search for “FIFA 18 APK” and scroll down a little to find some more nefarious looking installation folders.

So long as Epic Games continues their vocal approach to their Fortnite on Android launcher, the overwhelming majority of users should remain safe.

That’s not to say there won’t be a sudden explosion in Fortnite-related Android malware. Malicious Fortnite for Android links were found alongside videos on YouTube as early as June—so pay attention to what you are downloading, and where you’re downloading it from.

Read the full article: How to Safely Install Fortnite on Android: A Quick Sideloading Guide

MoviePass is limiting selection to ‘up to six films’ a day

One gets the distinct impression that nothing is ever permanent with MoviePass — including, of course, MoviePass itself. The troubled film subscription service has been through a number of different rule changes in recent months, as it’s worked to stem the financial bleeding. In an email, CEO Mitch Lowe outlined the latest updates to the […]

One gets the distinct impression that nothing is ever permanent with MoviePass — including, of course, MoviePass itself. The troubled film subscription service has been through a number of different rule changes in recent months, as it’s worked to stem the financial bleeding.

In an email, CEO Mitch Lowe outlined the latest updates to the once-unlimited subscription plan. Most notable among the changes is the limiting of selection to “up to six films to choose from daily, including a selection of major studio first-run films and independent releases.”

On top of that, there may be further limitations on showtime availability for the selected titles, based on “the popularity of those films on the app that particular day.” The company has already begun limiting access to specific films, starting with a barring of major blockbusters and moving toward limiting selection generally.

If nothing else, at this plan spells out something more concrete that what’s appeared from the outside to be somewhat arbitrary choice in recent weeks. Now users can go to the “This Week’s Movies” page to see what’s available. Right now, there’s a semi-consistent, rotating selection. For example, you can get into BlacKkKlansman and The Meg today, but not tomorrow (weekend box office, you know). 

Which movies are chosen and when will likely be at least partially dependent on deals struck between MoviePass and studios/distributors. And, of course, “up to six films” leaves the door open for a lot of wiggle room on selection here. It will also likely severely limit the ability to go see films in repertory movie houses, not to mention those in areas outside of big cities, where selection is far more limited.

This latest change comes as the company marks the one-year anniversary of the $9.95 plan that helped get the company into this financial and customer service mess. Based on the current ratio of responses to a tweet celebrating the milestone, it seems safe to say the company’s got a lot of work to do if it hopes to win back one-time loyal users.

The 11 Best Sites for Finding What Books to Read Next

Trying to find good books to read during your commute or planning out your summer reading early? There is nothing more daunting than going to a bookstore without a shopping list. So, make sure that your next read is going to be a good one. There are plenty of sites you can use to look up books based on your personal taste, favorite authors and titles, or even based on a specific plot summary or character. Whether user-generated, based on recommendations, or using a book recommendation search engine, there are a variety of ways that these sites are going to…

Read the full article: The 11 Best Sites for Finding What Books to Read Next

Trying to find good books to read during your commute or planning out your summer reading early? There is nothing more daunting than going to a bookstore without a shopping list. So, make sure that your next read is going to be a good one. There are plenty of sites you can use to look up books based on your personal taste, favorite authors and titles, or even based on a specific plot summary or character.

Whether user-generated, based on recommendations, or using a book recommendation search engine, there are a variety of ways that these sites are going to answer the question: what should I read next?

1. Gnooks

Gnooks is probably the simplest of these sites to use. You can enter up to three author’s names, and Gnooks will recommend another author you might like.

The interface is clean and distraction-free, but if you want to find out more about the recommended authors, you’ll have to take your search elsewhere.

The only other feature on Gnooks is the option to make one of three selections: I like it, I don’t like it, and I don’t know. Making these selections probably helps Gnooks algorithm improve.

2. Goodreads

You should already be familiar with this book community. Goodreads is packed with features that go beyond book recommendations. You don’t actually have to even sign up for an account to use the site’s book recommendations.

With Goodreads, you can search for a title, and you’ll see a list of other titles Goodreads users also enjoyed.

If you sign up for a free Goodreads account and rate books that you’ve read, the site can also offer up recommendations based on your reading history.

In addition to these features, given that Goodreads is a social network, you can also scan the reading lists of other users and friends to find book recommendations.

Some users have also created themed lists which you can use to discover your next read. You can either search for titles you enjoyed and see which lists they appear on, and find other titles you might like.

For example, searching for The Alexandria Quartet is featured on a variety of lists such as best post World War II fiction, alongside other greats such as Catch 22. But then it also does wind up on a list of best books ever alongside Twilight.

Goodreads isn’t the only site that you can use to catalog your book collection and also benefit from the community’s wisdom on what to read next.  LibraryThing is another good example.

3. Riffle

Riffle, much like Goodreads, is more of a social network for readers, so you’ll first have to sign up for a free account to use the site. After telling Riffle a little about your reading taste and (if you’re so inclined) following some of their suggested users, you can jump into the recommendations. Riffle does follow a few accounts for you based on your selections, including the “editor” accounts of your favorite genres.

If you follow a lot of users, you’ll have an active feed full on potential gems you’ll want to read.

You can also find recommendations based on the books you’ve read, but unfortunately, this feature only appears to work with certain books. Many of the more recently released books did not seem to generate suggestions.

4. Litsy

Unlike other sites listed here, Litsy is actually an app available for iOS and Android users, and it also doesn’t rely on an algorithm. Instead, Litsy relies entirely on its userbase for this information.

To use Litsy, you’ll first have to sign up for a free account after which you can search for books, read reviews, and of course find your next read.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll get a list of users they recommend to follow. You can also search for other users to follow by searching for your favorite books and seeing who else has left reviews for them. When you want to recommend books for other users, you can’t just give the book a thumbs up; you have to leave a short review.

And that’s how you’re going to find your recommendations—by seeing what other Litsy users are reading. Users post photos of the book (or screenshots of the ebook), along with their reviews.

To find a good book to read, you’ll probably want to go directly to the profile of someone who has read other books you’ve enjoyed and also given them a ringing endorsement.

Download: Litsy for Android | iOS (Free)

5. AllReaders

AllReaders is another no-frills website without much of a UI to speak of, but it’s a great option for those of you who are fans of thrillers. With AllReaders’ advanced search function, you can search for books based on plot, setting or even details about the protagonists. Titles are also accompanied by a plot summary, as well as setting and character information.

Plots or themes include a variety of thrillers, horror, and adventure—so this feature won’t be wildly useful if you’re looking for something a little more literary. You can also select the era in which the story is set, the characteristics of the protagonist and the antagonist, the setting, and the book’s writing style.

6. Amazon

Amazon should be an obvious option for searching book recommendations. You can find similar titles for any book since the search result is accompanied by a “Customers who bought this also bought” list.

While Amazon uses this feature primarily to get you to buy more stuff, you can also take a look at the recommendations for items that are frequently bought together:

And, don’t forget that Amazon is also home to the Kindle and its massive reading community too.

7. TasteDive

TasteDive (formerly TasteKid) is a great site for both book and author recommendations, along with other forms of entertainment. Just enter the title of your favorite book or your favorite author, and TasteDive will generate its recommendations.

TasteDive isn’t only about book recommendations. You can also use it for music, movies and TV shows. By the same token, you can find recommended books based on other books, as well as based on authors, TV shows, movies, music, and more.

While TasteDive’s recommendations are often pretty accurate, searching for recommendations based on newer titles or more obscure authors won’t yield any results.

8. Whichbook

Whichbook is another site that offers up suggestions based on specific characteristics rather than similar books – you can make your choices based on the mood of the book, using a series of sliders: Happy to Sad, Funny to Serious, Safe to Disturbing, and so forth. Drag up to four sliders around to make your selection for each characteristic of the book, and WhichBook will offer up a long list of recommendations.

You can also opt for making your selection based on specifics regarding character, plot, and setting.

9. BookBub

BookBub is worth a look for its handpicked recommendations.  You can also save yourself some money with discounts on books they think you’ll want to read.

When you first sign up, BookBub will ask you some questions on what kinds of recommendations you want (updates from authors you love, recommendations from people you trust, info on discounts etc.), and of course information on the genres of books you like. You can also follow your favorite authors, and in some cases (like Margaret Atwood for example), you’ll get recommendations straight from them.

In addition to recommendations for people you follow and autogenerated lists, the editors’ picks is a great way to discover new titles in your favorite genres.

10. Olmenta

Use Olmenta for random finds if you love to be surprised. The site is simple: you can select books based on nine genres including poetry, children’s books, and business.

There are no signups, no algorithms, and no real explanation as to how the books end up on the list, except for a link to recommend books via Twitter to the brains behind the operation.

11. Reddit

The subreddits /r/Books and /r/BookSuggestions are a good place to go to find other like-minded people on the hunt for a good read. You can search the previous threads, or create a post yourself asking for suggestions if you’re looking for something in particular.

/r/Books also has a book recommendations tab, where you’ll find a weekly recommendation thread where you can request suggestions and can help out other readers with suggestions of your own.

There are plenty more unique ways to find book recommendations including essential best books lists. And as the list begins to grow, you’ll probably want some tips on how to get your reading list under control.

Read the full article: The 11 Best Sites for Finding What Books to Read Next

MoviePass’ parent company had a really rough quarter

The company that owns MoviePass lost a ton of money last quarter. Unsurprising, I realize, but in context, it’s actually a bit of a mind boggling. The more austerely named Helios and Matheson Analytics had one heck of a tough quarter, posting a $126.6 million operating loss, as compared to a loss of $2.7 million […]

The company that owns MoviePass lost a ton of money last quarter. Unsurprising, I realize, but in context, it’s actually a bit of a mind boggling. The more austerely named Helios and Matheson Analytics had one heck of a tough quarter, posting a $126.6 million operating loss, as compared to a loss of $2.7 million a year prior.

If one chose to simply look at adoption rates, as MoviePass is no doubt hoping from its shareholders, things have been sunshine and lollipops over that same time period, with the movie subscription service growing to three million users. That, of course, ignores the on-going fiscal tire fire that has been the company last several months.

It’s probably not worth listing all of that right now, but suffice it say, the summer of MoviePass hasn’t gone as planned, instead being plagued by movie blocks, bugs, ever-changing pricing structures and some very irate customers. Late last month, the service borrowed $5 million to end one of multiple outages.

As The Hollywood Reporter notes, a shareholder has filed suit against the company, as its stock price has also felt the burn. Again, not particularly surprising. The suit claims, in part that the “defendants carried out a plan, scheme and course of conduct which was intended to and did, deceive the investing public and cause the plaintiff and other members of the class to purchase Helios common stock at artificially inflated prices.”

MoviePass, meanwhile, has continued to paint the picture of an an enthusiastic user base and a company working to leverage that into something resembling a profit. “Our community has shown an immense amount of enthusiasm over the past year,” CEO Mitch Lowe recently said in a statement, “and we trust that they will continue to share our vision to reinvigorate the movie industry.”