It has emerged that the latest Nintendo Switch system update has a little trick up its sleeve. If you value your privacy, then you might want to check your Nintendo eShop preferences.
Nintendo eShop Connects to Google Analytics
Nintendo's latest firmware update for the immeasurably popular Switch console is perhaps not as privacy friendly as it first seems.
While you can secure your Switch account easily, few Switch owners will have banked on the update automatically connecting your eShop account with Google Analytics. This isn't the first time Nintendo has pulled this stunt, either.
In a Reddit post, Redditor u/coors alerts fellow Nintendo Switch owners that the update links their eShop account to Google Analytics.
Can You Turn Off Nintendo eShop Data Sharing?
Thankfully, you have the option to turn off Google Analytics data sharing. It is a pretty simple process. If you don't want Google knowing your Nintendo Switch business, you should turn the setting off.
To do so, simply head to the Nintendo site, then log in to your profile. Once you're there, you'll see settings for Google Analytics at the bottom of the Profile menu, with the option to turn it off.
Be aware, though, that if you have multiple Nintendo accounts, then you will need to turn this setting off for all of them.
Keep Your Nintendo Switch Activity Private
You can keep your privacy under control if you check settings like Google Analytics after every Switch system update. Especially if Nintendo kindly agree to Google Analytics harvesting your data on your behalf.
Don't forget, your online safety, security, and privacy are important. So, no matter who is playing on the Switch, ensure that they are doing so in a way that doesn't compromise any of the above.
Microsoft Edge is finally getting a lot of publicity, which means that hackers and scammers are flocking to the browser to spread their dangerous wares. Recent reports have pulled back the curtain on malicious extensions that masquerade as official VPN apps.
The New Wave of Attacks on Microsoft Edge
The report of this new wave of attacks came in from Tech Radar. This new wave of malware infiltrated the Edge app store using a legitimate app as its cover; however, they typically achieved this using one of two methods.
The first camp of malware was a malicious extension designed to look like a legitimate service. This camp typically used VPN services for their disguise, impersonating popular services such as TunnelBear and NordVPN.
However, there were a handful of extensions that didn't impersonate VPNs. This includes a fake Ublock Adblock and Greasemonkey addon, both of which are extensions that people install on a new browser without a second thought.
The second camp of malware did things a little differently. Instead of building an app that looks like the real thing, the malware developer actually stole legitimate extensions from the Chrome app store. They then injected malicious code into the app, then published it onto the Microsoft Edge app store.
Some of these real-but-malicious apps include the following:
The Great Suspender, Floating Player - Picture-in-Picture Mode, GoBack with Backspace, friGate CDN - smooth access to websites, Full Page Screenshot, One Click URL Shortener, Guru Cleaner - cache and history cleaner, Grammar and Spelling Checker, Enable Right Click, FNAF, Night Shift Redux, Old Layout for Facebook
As such, if you downloaded an extension on Edge recently, it's a good idea to do a quick virus scan to ensure it didn't carry something nasty with it. Also, keep your eye out for any suspicious occurrences, such as adverts appearing in search results en-masse.
A Major Issue for Microsoft
This is a huge hurdle for the company if it wants to get Microsoft Edge into the spotlight. Both Chrome and Firefox have spent a lot of time in the public eye, and both have seen their fair share of malicious extensions and hacker attacks.
Now that Microsoft Edge is making a mark on the browser world (and even overtaking Firefox for second place), malware developers are taking note. To them, Microsoft Edge is a new, insecure service with a huge userbase; in short, it's ripe for abuse.
As such, if Microsoft wants to truly win over the public, it needs to enforce tighter regulations on its third-party extensions. Failure to do so may give Microsoft Edge the reputation of an unsafe browser, which will drive people away as it did with Internet Explorer.
Microsoft's Next Challenge for Edge
With malware distributors taking note of Edge's refound popularity, Microsoft needs to secure its users as fast as possible. Can the software giant put the stop to malicious extensions, or will it become a hub for viruses and malware?
That's not to say that the other big browsers have a spotless track record. In fact, a recent report showed that malicious Chrome extensions could spy on businesses and extract sensitive information from them.
Image Credit: JMiks / Shutterstock.com
If you know where to look, the internet is loaded with websites that offer a wide range of goods for free. While some of these items are free samples offered directly from manufacturers, others are secondhand goods that are still in great condition.
The following sites have a wide variety of freebies, ranging from software, coupons, and samples, to full-sized goods, furniture, and even electronics. So, save your money and start shopping without having to pay!
When it comes to scoring free stuff online, Craigslist is an excellent resource. This online classified advertisements website is one of many great places to buy and sell used stuff online.
In its Free Stuff section, it has loads of freebies offered from users in different locales worldwide. The only catch is that you’ll have to be close enough to the seller to pick the freebies up in person.
On Craigslist, users offer loads of items they no longer need and are looking to have someone take off their hands. These items can range from complete junk to stuff that still has years of use.
While furniture and appliances are probably the most common things available, it’s also possible to find clothing, electronics, firewood, office supplies, construction materials, and a range of other goodies.
Freebies has loads of offers from many diverse brands, all free of charge. On the site, you can enter a contest to receive a prize, find free samples, and get coupons for a variety of products.
In order to enter a contest or receive samples and coupons, you’ll have to visit a third-party site and provide additional information.
Additionally, Freebies has exclusive giveaways that are only offered to its members. To receive one of these items, you’ll need to earn ballots. Just for signing up to the site, you’ll earn 26 ballots. You can get even more ballots by answering polls, taking quizzes, or visiting the site daily.
Freecycle is the official website for The Freecycle Network, a nonprofit organization with the mission of keeping potentially useful items out of landfills. The Freecycle Network is spread across more than 110 countries and has millions of members.
The site has helped keep thousands of tons out of landfills by offering free goods to people who can put them to good use. To use the website, you need to sign up to become a free member and join your local Freecycle groups.
Now, you can browse the free items others are offering. You can also see the items people are looking to receive, and respond to the individual posts to arrange a pickup. Everything listed on the site is legal, free, and appropriate for all ages.
TheFreeSite is the largest freebie site on the web, offering a wide variety of free products and digital goods. All of the offers on TheFreeSite have been thoroughly inspected to ensure that they’re legitimate, and don’t have any hidden fees or shipping costs.
Most of the things available on this website are digital goods and software. This includes ebooks, games, fonts, and services.
However, TheFreeSite also has quite a few physical items that can be shipped to your door for free. Most of these items are samples, and may include health items, food, books, magazines, stickers, and coupons.
Facebook Marketplace is similar to Craigslist, as it allows Facebook users to post online classified ads for free. While most of the listings on Facebook Marketplace are for sale, they also have a section for items that users are giving away for free.
Most of the freebies that users list are larger items, as it saves them the hassle of getting it hauled away. This includes furniture, mattresses, barbeques, fill dirt, fridges, stones, and firewood. However, it’s also a great resource for finding free clothing, electronics, appliances, and moving boxes, all of which are 100 percent free.`
BzzAgent is slightly different than the other sites on this list. On BzzAgent, you can receive a variety of products from major brands in exchange for talking about them.
These are high quality, full-sized items from companies like L’Oréal, Gilette, Samsonite, and Nestle. In exchange for the items, you’re expected to talk about them through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
The idea behind BzzAgent is to give you free items in exchange for your honest review to help create buzz for the product you’ve tested.
As you review more items, you’ll start getting better offers for larger quantities of products. While it may require a bit more work than other freebie sites, the items you get here will be new and generally of a higher quality. That alone makes it worth the effort.
Freeflys has a wide range of free products, including samples, full-sized products, and special promotional items. The website reviews each freebie offer before adding it to its directory, so you can ensure its offerings are legit.
To get your products on Freefly, you need to browse its directory and figure out which item appeals to you. Once you’ve chosen your goods, click the link, and you’ll be taken to a manufacturer or retailer website where you’ll need to give some basic information.
The available items will either be shipped straight to your door, or you’ll be given a coupon that you can redeem at a store. Some of the goods on Freeflys will require you to answer a few questions or download an app before they can be redeemed.
Where Will You Get Your Freebies?
For home goods like furniture, clothing, construction supplies, appliances, and electronics, you should look to Craigslist, Freecycle, or Facebook Marketplace. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to actually pick these items up yourself, so they have to be located within your area.
Freebies and Freeflys are good places to find a wide variety of coupons, sample items, and even some full-size products. TheFreeSite also offers samples and coupons, as well as loads of digital goods, such as free software and ebooks.
And while BzzAgent takes a little more effort, it’s a great place to find lots of quality name brand items in exchange for your honest review.
The Innovator 16 is an incredible graphics tablet with specs that outdo any competition at a similar price point. The sheer size of the display makes it a joy to use, and you'll quickly be absorbed in the creative process.
- Brand: XP-Pen
- Active Area: 15.6"
- Multi-Touch Support: Not touch sensitive
- Pressure Sensitivity Levels: 8192
- Connection: HDMI and USB
- Responsive 8192 levels of pressure-sensitivity
- Full copy of Artrage 5 if you register
- Massive 15.6" drawing area
- Anti-glare layer too easily removed with screen protector when unboxing
- Physical dial offers no tactile feedback or resistance
- 15-step install process on Mac OS
- Requires full-size HDMI and USB port; Macbook users will need an adaptor
- Stylus only, cannot function as a touchscreen
You've probably never heard of XP-Pen, but they've been making graphics tablets for 15 years now. At this point, it wouldn't be fair to say it's the one you buy if you can't afford a Wacom. In fact, XP Pen makes comparable hardware that just happens to be significantly cheaper than the market leaders.
We've looked at XP-Pen's budget offerings before, but today we're shifting to one of their more premium devices: the Innovator 16. Featuring a massive 15.6" pressure-sensitive drawing area with a built-in 1080p screen and a bevy of shortcut keys, we're pretty sure this is what every digital artist dreams of having on their desk.
Join us as we take a closer look at the XP-Pen Innovator 16, and see if it's right for you. Thanks to XP-Pen, we also have one Innovator 16 to give away to one lucky reader! Find the entry form at the end of this review.
Grab a Bargain!
If you're quick, the Innovator 16 may still be on sale for Black Friday when bought direct from your local store:
XP-Pen Innovator 16 Design and Specifications
Inside the package, you'll find:
- The Innovator 16 tablet
- Desktop stand
- 3-in-1 cable
- USB extension cable
- USB power adaptor
- Stylus (P05D)
- Eight replacement nibs
- Stylus and nib storage case
- Drawing glove, and a cleaning cloth
With a large amount of bezel around the drawing area and the shortcut keys to one side, the Innovator 16 is quite bulky, measuring 17.5 inches wide by 10 inches tall. It's surprisingly thin at just one-third of an inch, but still, you'd have trouble transporting this in a standard size laptop bag.
On the one side of the display are eight configurable keys, as well as a physical dial, and a capacitive dial inside of that. The only minor complaint I have with the hardware is that the dial is all too easy to brush past, and offers no resistance or tactile feedback (such as the slight clicks you feel when you scroll a mouse wheel). This makes it all too easy to brush your hand past it and accidentally zoom or rotate the canvas.
To prevent damage in transport, the screen ships with a screen protector which should be removed before use. But be careful, because there's also an anti-glare plastic layer underneath that. This wasn't obvious, so we ended up peeling off both before realizing our error. Of course, attempting to put the anti-glare sheet back again resulted in unsightly bits of dust and air bubbles underneath, which you can see in the top left of the photos throughout this review. Functionality doesn't appear to have been affected, it's just a bit nasty looking.
You'll need to use the tablet on the desktop stand, which sits at a fixed 20-degree angle. The tablet itself has no rubber feet, so may slide around if you were to use it flat on a desktop. That said, even after prolonged use at full brightness, we found the underside didn't get warm at all, so you could probably use this flat on an anti-slip mat without overheating concerns.
The 15.6" 16:9 ratio IPS display covers 92% of the Adobe RGB spec, and 125% of SRGB, with a 16.4ms response time. Offering up to 250 nits of brightness, it's not quite usable in bright direct sunlight, but this is unlikely to be your use case anyway given it must be tethered to a computer. The digitizer layer offers both tilt sensitivity up to 60-degrees, and 8192 levels of pressure. At this size, the 1080p display is not "retina" quality, and if you move your head close enough and stare, you'll see some pixels. Does it matter? Not really.
Note that this is not a touch-sensitive screen—it will only work in conjunction with the stylus. This has the benefit of offering automatic palm-rejection, so you can draw however is most comfortable to you without worrying about erroneous input. Although 8 replacement nibs are included in the package, the whole stylus is inexpensive and easily replaced if you were to misplace it.
Installing the XP-Pen Innovator 16
Unfortunately, before you can actually use the Innovator 16, you'll need to jump through a few hoops. And by "a few", I mean fifteen.
First: plug it in. While one end of the 3-in-1 cable for the Innovator 16 is a neat USB-C plug, the other consists of a full-size HDMI and two USB-A plugs. One of the USB plugs should be connected to the included power adaptor; use the USB extension cable if required. This assortment of plugs is an annoyance for those us living the Apple #donglelife. If you're planning on using this with a Macbook, be sure to add a suitable adaptor to your cart as well. It's a shame the display and digitizer data can't be sent over a single USB-C plug, but it is what is. Desktop users should also ensure they have a graphic card capable of dual-monitor output or be prepared to swap over plugs.
Then, you'll need to install drivers. While this is simple on Windows, Mac users will need to follow the 15-step process outlined here. It involves changing settings that you've probably never touched before and delving into folders that are normally hidden away.
In fairness, this complex install process isn't really XP-Pen's fault. Mac OS isn't designed with this type of peripheral in mind, and Apple prefers to hide the more sensitive parts of the system away from the user.
The good news is that once it's installed, the generically named Pen Tablet Setting software is easy to use (and I can confirm it does work fine in the latest OS update, Mac OS 11.0 Big Sur). You can customize the behavior of the eight shortcut keys, as well as the physical outer dial and capacitive inner dial, and the two buttons on the stylus. These can be assigned to user-defined shortcuts, applications, or even web URLs to open. The shortcut keys can even have a custom profile for different apps.
You can also calibrate the screen if needed, and change the response curve of the pressure sensitivity.
Another nice inclusion is that if you register your product, you can get a license key for a full copy of Artrage 5. This isn't a lite edition or time-limited trial. I've not used ArtRage before, but it's clearly been designed with Stylus input rather than mouse and keyboard, so this is where we did most of our testing. That said, the Innovator 16 is compatible with a wide array of popular art and design software packages, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, SAI, CDR, GIMP, Krita, Medibang, Fire Alpaca, and Blender 3D.
How Does the Innovator 16 Feel to Draw On?
When it comes to graphics tablets, more important than the fact it's an IPS panel, or that the colors are vibrant, is how it actually feels to draw on it.
I'm going to preface this section by saying I'm not an artist, and couldn't draw a pretty picture to save my life. I love to sketch out designs for DIY projects or a new area of the garden, but nothing that would even remotely resemble "art". So I apologize in advance if there's some aspect of drawing that I haven't covered. I can only evaluate the Innovator 16 from a technical perspective and offer an amateur opinion on how it actually feels. My wife volunteered for the photos and video so that my horrendous creations needn't be displayed.
The stylus feels good to hold. It's quite thick, with a pleasantly smooth but grippy surface. It's neither too heavy for prolonged use, nor too light to feel insubstantial. There's no dedicated eraser functionality on the other end, so you'll probably want to keep one of the two buttons assigned as an eraser. They're ever so slightly too easy to press, which might be an issue if you have particularly fat fingers.
In terms of responsiveness, as with any graphics tablet, there is a small delay between your stylus touching the screen and a line being drawn. This input lag will depend on the software you're using and the speed of your computer, as well as how fast you're moving the stylus. At normal drawing speeds, the lag was not significant in our testing.
The Innovator 16 tablet surface feels good to draw on, and the pressure sensitivity is responsive, with only a little jitter at slow speeds (which was probably due to shakey hands). Otherwise, straight lines were straight, and curves flowed nicely.
From a technical perspective then, it gets full marks.
Should You Buy the XP-Pen Innovator 16?
While the Innovator 16 is compact and light enough to carry back and forth between say, your workplace and home, it still needs to be tethered to a computer in order to use it. If you're a digital artist, the only reason not to buy the Innovator 16 is the existence of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, which offers pressure-sensitive drawing features in a portable, standalone package. Of course, you won't find anything nearly as big or in the same price range, but if it's portability you're after then you may ultimately get more utility from an iPad.
I don't know many artists, but those I do know tend to enjoy sketching whenever the mood takes them, which isn't necessarily at a desk.
Still, the Innovator 16 is an incredible graphics tablet with specs that outdo any competition at a similar price point. The sheer size of the display makes it a joy to use, and you'll quickly be absorbed in the creative process.
After only being available to some people during a test period, Hulu has officially launched its watch party feature to all subscribers. It means that you can watch any of Hulu's catalog with others remotely in real-time.
The History of Hulu's Watch Parties
Hulu first introduced its watch party feature in May 2020, during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it was the first large streaming provider to offer it as an inbuilt feature, rather than via an unofficial third-party extension.
With people unable to go to theaters or watch things in person with friends, virtual watch parties are the next best thing to viewing things collaboratively.
At first, the feature was only available to subscribers of Hulu's no-ads plan. It then became available to everyone for a limited ten-day period to coincide with the launch of season two of Hulu's original show Pen15 on September 18.
Hulu then tested the watch party feature with live streams during the November election news coverage.
Now, watch parties are available to everyone, whether you have an ad-supported plan or not.
How to Use Hulu's Watch Parties
You can use the new watch party feature across thousands of on-demand Hulu titles. This includes Hulu original content like The Happiest Season, to films and shows from other distributors like Golden Girls and Family Guy.
To start a watch party, look for the representative icon on each title's details page. You can then share this link with up to seven other Hulu subscribers (who must all be age 18 or older).
During a watch party, the content plays alongside a chat box. Here, you can talk in real-time with everyone else in the watch party. You can even use emojis!
You control the playback individually. That means if you need to pause for a bathroom break, or your internet is struggling to keep up, the content continues to play for everyone else. On your return, you can choose to watch from where you paused or catch up with everyone else.
That's a bit different to how most watch parties work, where you can control playback for everyone. Hulu's approach seems like a better and less invasive way of doing it.
Host Your Own Watch Party
While Hulu was the first, it's no longer the only streaming service to offer a watch party feature. Amazon Prime, Twitch, Plex, and Facebook are just some places that let you host official watch parties.