Best gifts for gamers

A lot of people who own smartphones and tablets use them for more than surfing the internet, texting, and socializing. They also use them a lot to play games. In a recent survey from Statista, 56 percent, or over half of the entire population of the US, are currently playing mobile games. That amount is expected to expand to 63.7 percent by 2020. But what sort of gifts are the right kind for hardcore gamers?

In this feature, we offer our picks for the best smartphones and tablets that are currently on the market for gaming, along with suggestions for a few accessories that could be great gifts for gamers. Finally, we don’t want to ignore the game consoles that you hook up to your big screen TV; we will offer our recommendation on which of the three current generation game consoles you should buy, and the answer may actually surprise you.

A jack of all trades — ZTE Axon M

Today’s smartphones make great portable gaming devices, while tablets are great for those times when we need a bit more screen real estate from our mobile gaming experience. But what about a wild card of a device that can serve as both your phone and your tablet? The ZTE Axon M is a unique device that is perfect for those that want to take their  gaming to the next level. 

The ZTE Axon M uses two 5.2-inch IPS Full HD panels that are connected to a hinge that, when it is folded out, it essentially turns the device into a 6.75-inch tablet. This is great for running two apps side by side, extending apps and games across both displays, and much more. In addition to the potential for gaming and media, the Axon M also makes for one heck of a multi-tasking device.

As you can imagine, this phone also stands out in a crowd, perfect for those who like to rock phones that are different from the endless sea of Samsung and iPhone devices.Without a doubt, this is one of the most unique phones you can buy right now. You can get it via AT&T for $724.99 without a contract, or for $24.17 a month for 24 months. 

Get it at AT&T

Best gaming phone — Razer Phone

If you want to get a smartphone that’s dedicated to offering the best mobile gaming experience, it’s really impossible to beat the Razer Phone at the moment. This is the first smartphone from Razer, who has been highly successful in releasing PC accessories for hardcore gamers, and more recently has launched critically acclaimed Windows-based gaming laptops. For their first, but likely not last, entry in the smartphone industry, Razer put in a bunch of high-end hardware, including a couple of features that are not in any other smartphone.

Editor’s Pick

The biggest feature for gamers is the Razer Phone’s big IGZO 5.7-inch 2,560 x 1,440p display, which can run at up to 120 Hz. The higher refresh rate, compared to the normal 60 Hz on other smartphones, should allow games, especially high-end titles with advanced graphics, to play and look smoother on the Razer Phone. The display also uses what Razer calls Ultra Motion technology, which is similar to NVIDIA’s G-Sync tech that is supported by many PC desktop monitors. Ultra Motion allows the Razer Phone’s display refresh rate to sync up to the output of its GPU. This is supposed to get rid of any screen tearing and, again, make games played on the phone look and run better compared to other handsets.

In addition to the high-end visuals, the Razer Phone has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor inside, which, at the moment, is the fastest chip you can get on a phone. It also has 8 GB of LPDRR4 RAM, which again should help graphically intensive games perform better. There’s 64 GB of onboard storage, and you can add more with its microSD card slot. In terms of audio, Razer claims it has the loudest phone on the market, with two front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos technology. There’s no 3.5 mm headphone jack in the Razer Phone, but it does include a dongle for its USB-C port that includes support for 24-bit DAC audio that is THX-certified. Finally, it has a large 4,000 mAh battery that Razer says should allow for up to 8 hours of gaming on one charge, which should be plenty if you are on a long trip.

Simply put, mobile gamers won’t be able to get a phone quite as good as the Razer Phone for a while, and it’s actually a great first effort from a company that has never launched a smartphone before. The price is also right at $699.99 unlocked, which is very reasonable when you consider the high-end hardware inside. If you can ignore its non-gaming issues, the Razer Phone is one of the best gifts for gamers you can buy.

Get it at Razerzone

Alternate gaming phone — Samsung Galaxy Note 8 

 
Bigger is definitely better when it comes to mobile gaming. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, with its 6.3-inch Super AMOLED 2,960 x 1,440 display in an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, offers up the biggest and best screen you can get in the US on an Android smartphone. It helps that the phone also comes with a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 6 GB of RAM. You even get an old-fashioned headphone jack with the Note 8. While it doesn’t have a 120 Hz screen refresh rate or the advanced sound features that the Razer phone does, gamers should get a lot out of its huge screen combined with a fast processor. It’s not cheap, but at least you can pay for the Galaxy Note 8 over time if you get it from a wireless carrier.
 
Get it at Amazon

Best gaming tablet — Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

 
Samsung’s recent high-end Android tablet is the best among gifts for gamers. It has a 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, with support for high dynamic range (HDR) features that should allow games to look and play well. While the Tab S3 doesn’t have as much in the RAM and processor department as some smartphones, it uses the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip and 4 GB of RAM. However, the well-designed display, combined with four speakers, makes the Tab S3 the best, at least for now, for Android gaming, although perhaps not as good of an overall choice compared to many high-end Android phones.
 
Editor’s Pick
 
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 was launched earlier this year at $599, but you can snap it up now on Amazon and save over $100, at $498.
Get it at Amazon

Alternate — Amazon Fire HD 10 

 
If you are looking for a solid but inexpensive gaming tablet, you really should look no further than the Amazon Fire HD 10. The 10.1 inch 1080p (1,920 x 1,200) display can handle any game, and it has a decent 1.8 GHz quad-core processor and 2 GB RAM. While it’s not as powerful as the Galaxy Tab S3, those folks looking to save some money will still get a good gaming experience with Amazon’s highest-end tablet. You can get it for as low as $149.99 (with 32 GB and with “special offers” on its lock screen).
 
Get it at Amazon

Gamer accessory gifts 

Chromecast Ultra
 
 
Want to play thousands of Android games on your big 4K TV? You can. if you connect the Chromecast Ultra HDMI dongle to one of your spare HDMI ports. Just cast your games onto the screen with this $69 accessory, and play like you would on a game console.
 
Get it at Google

POWER A MOGA Hero Power Game Controller

 

No matter how powerful your gaming smartphone may be, it can still be hard to control games with its touchscreen, especially for games like racing and shooter titles. The POWER A MOGA Hero Power Game Controller allows you to connect your smartphone to a Bluetooth-based console gamepad, and you can even attach any smartphone up to 6-inches to the controller, letting you play for hours without having to worry about holding your phone on its own. It also comes with its own rechargeable 1,800 mAh battery. If you want a portable console experience for your smartphone, this controller will fit the bill nicely.

Get it at Amazon

Samsung Gear VR — 2017 edition

The current 2017 version of the Samsung Gear VR mobile headset (co-developed by Oculus) lets you play VR games, many of which are exclusive to the Gear VR. Owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, along with the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, and even the Galaxy Note 5 can all use the headset, which comes with its own controller. If you happen to own one of these phones, it’s perhaps the best way to experience high-end VR gaming.

Get it at Amazon

 Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 mAh Battery Charger

The simple fact is that even if you have a big batter on your smartphone, like the 4,000 mAh battery on the Razer Phone, it will still run out in less than a day if you play on it constantly. That’s why it’s great to have an external battery charger like the Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 mAh model. It can charge up your Razer Phone twice on its own, giving you more time to play on your high end handset. It’s also available for just $29 at Amazon.

Get it at Amazon

Best Game Console – Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is perhaps the best game console you can buy for a gamer on the go. Simply put, the Switch can turn quickly from a high-end game console that you hook up to your TV over to a portable handheld console, where you can play for up to six hours on its own battery. You can play it with two of the console’s Joy-Con controllers, one on each side, or you and a friend can play games on the portable screen, each with a Joy-Con in your hands. You can even put a pair of these new controllers in a Joy-Con grip accessory, if you want a more old-fashioned console experience.

Plus there’s the fact that the Nintendo Switch is the exclusive way to play some of the most acclaimed games of 2017, including Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and many more. Finally, it’s likely that the hardcore gamer that you want to spend your money on already has a PlayStation 4/4 Pro, or an Xbox One S/X. He or she might think that the Nintendo Switch is for kids or families, but the purchase of Nintendo’s latest — and possibly best — game console in years might convert them into fans.

Get it at Amazon
 
Those are just some of the best gifts you can get for gamers. We want to hear from you about which gifts for gamers you would pick out for fans. Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
Disclosure: E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

This Visionary Sci-Fi Author Sees the Destruction of Human Civilization: Predatory Capitalism

Ted Chiang examines how Silicon Valley has become its own worst nightmare.

The political theorist Frederic Jameson once observed that “it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” But what if predatory capitalism finally destroys life on earth? That’s the question posed by science fiction writer Ted Chiang, who argues that in “superintelligent AI,” Silicon Valley capitalists have “unconsciously created a devil in their own image, a boogeyman whose excesses are precisely their own.”

In a new essay for Buzzfeed, part of a series about the forces shaping our lives in 2017, the acclaimed author of “Arrival” (Stories of Your Life and Others) deconstructs our fear of artificial intelligence; specifically, that of tech titans like Tesla founder Elon Musk. For Musk, the real threat is not a malevolent computer program rising up against its creator like Skynet in the Terminator films as much as AI destroying humanity by accident. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Musk imagines a mechanized strawberry picker wiping out the species simply as a means of maximizing its production.

“This scenario sounds absurd to most people, yet there are a surprising number of technologists who think it illustrates a real danger. Why?” Chiang wonders. “Perhaps it’s because they’re already accustomed to entities that operate this way: Silicon Valley tech companies.”

In Musk’s hypothetical, the destruction of human civilization follows the logic of the free market.

“Consider: Who pursues their goals with monomaniacal focus, oblivious to the possibility of negative consequences? Who adopts a scorched-earth approach to increasing market share?” Chiang continues. “[The] strawberry-picking AI does what every tech startup wishes it could do—grows at an exponential rate and destroys its competitors until it’s achieved an absolute monopoly.”

Ultimately, the catastrophe Musk and others foretell has already arrived in the form of “no-holds-barred capitalism.”

“We are already surrounded by machines that demonstrate a complete lack of insight, we just call them corporations,” Chiang continues. “Corporations don’t operate autonomously, of course, and the humans in charge of them are presumably capable of insight, but capitalism doesn’t reward them for using it. On the contrary, capitalism actively erodes this capacity in people by demanding that they replace their own judgment of what ‘good’ means with ‘whatever the market decides.'”

For Chiang, the operative word is insight. Our capacity for self-reflection, or the “recognition of one’s own condition,” is what separates humans from the Googles, Facebooks and Amazons. And it is this deficiency that makes these monopolies so uniquely dangerous.

“We need for the machines to wake up, not in the sense of computers becoming self-aware, but in the sense of corporations recognizing the consequences of their behavior,” he concludes. “Just as a superintelligent AI ought to realize that covering the planet in strawberry fields isn’t actually in its or anyone else’s best interests, companies in Silicon Valley need to realize that increasing market share isn’t a good reason to ignore all other considerations.”

Read Chiang’s essay at Buzzfeed.

 

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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.

Wondering what comes next

The liberal world order has been defined as standing for “greater individual freedom, greater choice, support for democratic forms of government, a fundamental faith in free-market capitalism and private enterprise, a belief in constitutional forms of government with divided powers, an independent judiciary, separation of church and state, a strong support for free trade and an aversion to protectionism, among other things”. Obviously there is a lot to like about these values. Most economists believe that this system is the one that is best suited to the creation of wealth. However the predominance of the liberal world order in the last 30 years has also demonstrated that while the system is good for the creation of wealth overall, it isn’t all that good in the distribution of that wealth. That not only leads to a lot of opposition, but is also somewhat self-defeating in the long run: Concentrated wealth is less good at further powering the economy than distributed wealth.

In the USA and a lot of other places the current main opposition against the liberal world order comes from the right, from nationalism, protectionism, populism, and ethnocentrism. However if you look at those right-wing forces enacting policies like the current US tax reform or the Brexit from the UK, it is likely that the right will not solve the problem of wealth distribution any better than the liberal world order (and will presumably create less wealth in the first place). Blaming foreigners and the media will only get right-wing politicians so far until the people realize that they aren’t in fact “better off than they were four years ago”. It is that, and not the whole lot of unrelated shouting about various values, that ultimately will bring change. The liberal world order failed the people, but the conservative version isn’t doing any better. So I’m wondering what will come next.

One likely answer is in the form of people like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. The economic left might one day look like a good answer to people whose main concern is wealth distribution, because the economic left has always stood for redistribution of wealth. However the economic left also has some policies in their book that hinders wealth creation more than necessary for a fair distribution. And they have a long history of ending up with “more equal than others” policies that aren’t in fact much closer to a fair distribution of wealth than the conservative version.

What an optimist could hope for would be a reformed liberal world order, the same values as above but with a priority for wealth distribution and against too much wealth concentration. A vision like in Robert Reich’s Saving Capitalism. However if you look at how the world previously solved excesses of wealth creation, there are only few examples of peaceful solutions (e.g. Theodore Roosevelt) and lots of examples of the wealth ending up destroyed or redistributed through war and revolution. A pessimist would buy gold coins instead of bitcoins.

Elemental Evil: Sessions 16

In the previous session the group had after much hesitation entered Scarlet Moon Hall, the last of the four haunted keeps. They had killed the guards on the middle floor where they had come in and thrown the bodies down the big hole in the middle of the floor into a pile of rubbish burning there. But there were still two floors above them, and they suspected the leader of the fire cult to be on the top floor.

So they fought their way up to the next level. However that level was a trap: The floor appeared solid, but the middle was weakened and ready to break. With the druid in bear form and the cleric both standing on that part on the floor, it broke after 3 rounds of combat. That landed the druid and the cleric downstairs in the burning rubbish, where 5 magmins attacked them. Meanwhile the others had killed all the guards and progressed to the top floor. There Elizar, the keep leader, had cast a wall of fire across the room, which gave him time for an incantation to wake up the fire elemental outside the tower in the burning wicker giant. The elemental then came into the tower at the bottom, where the druid and cleric were. Between the boss and the elemental and already weakened from the fight against the guards, this was a rather tough fight. But the group won, looted the boss, and escaped the way they came before the rest of the camp arrived.

As this had been their strategy in the previous towers, kill the boss, grab his key, and escape, they never got the chance to interrogate any cultists on what all this was about. That was a bit of a problem, as they now had the 4 elemental keys to open the magical portals to the temple of elemental evil, but no clue what was in there or even why they should go there. So this time I had put a letter on the boss explaining the situation. Sometimes you just can’t be subtle as a DM. The letter told them that the 4 prophets of elemental evil were in competition, each trying to be the first to summon his prince of elemental evil. For that they needed to sow elemental chaos, which gave them the energy for the summoning. According to the letter the prophetess of elemental air was ahead in that game (I made that up because the air temple is the lowest level one).

Then in another not-so-subtle move I reminded the group that they had a friendly NPC junior cultist in the air keep. So they went there and got more information about the layout of the temple of elemental evil: A square of 4 elemental temples at the first level below ground, then the fane of the eye connecting everything, and then on the lowest level the 4 elemental nodes from which the princes would be summoned. Well, they got the message and now went into the air temple, but not before the group cleric cut the friendly NPCs throat and turned her into a zombie with his animate dead spell. From the entry point there was a long tunnel leading to a big cave with an old dwarven city, with a step pyramid in the middle. That was now the Temple of Howling Hatred.

While the sorceress didn’t have much opportunity to use her new fireball spell against the fire-resistant or immune fire cultists previously, she now could use that spell. So the first three rooms went: Door open, fireball, cultists mostly dead, wipe up the rest. As the third of the rooms was smaller than the other two, I used an old rule which I had in mind from previous editions, that the fireball had a fixed volume and would blow beyond his 20 feet radius sphere when cast into a too small room. That burned two of the group members. My bad, that rule doesn’t exist any more in 5th edition, so I had to apologize later and say that in future that wouldn’t happen any more. Oh, and lightning bolts don’t bounce of wall any more either.

Reaching the pyramid they noticed a mage on a wyvern on top, who promptly attacked them. That ended up being the second ultra-hard fight of the session. The mage used a lightning bolt to good effect, then turned invisible, and then used another lightning bolt on several group members. They managed to kill both the mage and the wyvern but then retreated due to being heavily wounded and out of resources. At that point we ended the session.

We will play more sessions, but probably not until the end of the campaign book. I told my players that I would like to stop being the DM later this year, and that somebody else should take over. I had somewhat run out of enthusiasm for this campaign, and after over 6 years as DM of that group I think I deserve a break. The next DM will take some months to prepare his campaign, and he is planning to let everybody keep their characters. So I’ll make a character of their level and join the group.

Deal: Razer throws in a free Leviathan Mini if you buy the Razer Phone

Available since November, Razer doesn’t appear ready to discount its flagship Razer Phone just yet. What the company is ready to do, however, is throw in one of its Bluetooth speakers for free if you buy its smartphone.

For 48 hours, if you pick up the $700 Razer Phone through the company’s website, you can get its Leviathan Mini Bluetooth speaker for free. Reported by PhoneArena, just make sure to use the promo code PHLVLUP (get it?) at checkout and you won’t pay a dime for the speaker.

I can’t personally attest to the quality of the Leviathan Mini. What I can say, however, is that it originally goes for $180 and was recently discounted to $100 for the holidays. The speaker also sports NFC for quick pairing and is roughly the same size as the popular UE Boom 2, though the Leviathan Mini doesn’t share the latter’s rugged protection. In other words, Razer’s speaker was not built to withstand water, dust, and drops — it’s a speaker meant for the table, not for the outside.

As for the Razer Phone itself, we thought it was a great first effort from Razer. It may not have adopted the near bezel-less design of some of its contemporaries, but the Razer Phone manages to still look unique, thanks to its dark aluminum build and dual speakers that crank out great sound.

Editor’s Pick

Also, we can’t talk about the Razer Phone without talking about its Quad HD display, which is capable of up to a 120 Hz refresh rate. This gives the phone a sense of fluidity and smoothness that only Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL can rival.

The Razer Phone isn’t without its hiccups, however. The display might lend the software a great amount of fluidity, but we found it a bit too dim for our liking. Also, even though our terrible photography experience has improved a bit with software updates, the images still aren’t that great. Finally, even though a dongle is included in the box, you will not find a headphone jack.

With that being said, we would not blame you if you pick up the Razer Phone, so why not do so while getting a Bluetooth speaker for free. You have until the end of tomorrow, December 19 to take advantage of the promotion at the link below.

Get the Razer Phone

An alternative explanation for Harvey

As a scientist I do believe in man-made global warming. So do the governments and the majority of citizens of every country in the world, except for Syria, Nicaragua, and the USA. The science says that global warming is likely to increase the occurrence and effect of catastrophic weather events. In particular an increase in the power of hurricanes and the amount of rain they carry has been predicted by the models years ago. Nobody is saying that hurricane Harvey is man-made, as hurricanes already existed long before man burning fossil fuel. But the fact that Harvey brought more rain than ever before observed on the American continent (the National Weather Service needed to add new colors to an expanded rain scale to map it) fits rather well with the predictions. So of course the US climate change deniers, first and foremost the Trump administration, react somewhat miffed if asked about climate change right now.

So I was thinking that one should keep an open mind and respect the believes of those who do not trust science. And I came up with an alternative explanation for Harvey which doesn’t rely on science or an assumption of man-made climate change: Hurricane Harvey was an act of God, or more precisely the wrath of God. God sent Harvey to express his displeasure with the vain and godless Trump administration. Which is why he sent the hurricane to deeply Republican Texas, and not to Democratic California. In his mercy, God intended Harvey as a stern warning. If the USA doesn’t get rid of Trump he will send further punishment, like heavenly fire (in the form of North Korean nukes). Repent now and kick Trump out, before it is too late!

I hope this inclusive multi-cultural approach makes my less scientific and more religious readers happy. 🙂

SoMe-Things YoU sHould knOw about “PhoneGap”: Android – LeaVe my baThRoom at-least !

PhoneGap Framework

phonegap

Building applications for each platform–iPhone, Android, Windows and more–requires different frameworks and languages. PhoneGap solves this by using standards-based web technologies to bridge web applications and mobile devices. Since PhoneGap apps are standards compliant, they’re future-proofed to work with browsers as they evolve.


The PhoneGap framework was contributed by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under the name Apache Cordova and graduated to top-level project status in October 2012. Through the ASF, future PhoneGap development will ensure open stewardship of the project. It will always remain free and open source under the Apache License, Version 2.0.
To develop apps using Phonegap, the developer does not require top have knowledge of mobile programming language but should know languages like, HTML, CSS, JScript.
PhoneGap takes care of rest of the work, such as look and feel of the app and portability among various mobile operating systems and also allows its users to upload the data contents on website and it automatically converts it to various App files.

PhoneGap Environment Setup

Lets see how to setup basic PhoneGap Environment to develop apps easily. PhoneGap supports offline creation of apps using Cordova command line interface and Github, but we concentrate on online creation of apps. As PhoneGap supports only HTML, CSS and JavaScript, it is mandatory that the application should be created using these technologies only. 
An application package must contain following files:
  • Configuration File
  • Icons for App
  • Content (built using web technologies)
Configuration File
App require one configuration file named as “config.xml” that configure all its necessary settings. This file contains all the necessary information required to compile the app.
following is the content of config.xml file
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<widget xmlns = "http://www.w3.org/ns/widgets"
xmlns:gap = "http://phonegap.com/ns/1.0"
id = "com.phonegap.example"
versionCode = "10"
version = "1.0.0" >

<!-- versionCode is optional and Android only -->

<name>PhoneGap Example</name>

<description>
An example for phonegap build docs.
</description>

<author href="https://build.phonegap.com" email="[email protected]">
Hardeep Shoker
</author>

</widget>
The widget element must be the root of your XML document.When using PhoneGap Build, ensure you have the following attributes set on your widget element.
id – The unique identifier for your application. To support all supported platforms, this must be reverse-domain name style (e.g. com.yourcompany.yourapp)
version –  for best results, use a major/minor/patch style version, with three numbers, such as 0.0.1
versionCode – (optional) when building for Android, you can set the versionCode by specifying it in your config.xml.
<name> – The name of the application.
<description> – A description for your application.
<author> – The author of the application, either a company or individual (required for Windows 10 builds).
<platform> – You can have zero or more of these elements present in your config.xml. Set the name attribute to one of ios, android, or windows.If you specify none, all platforms will be built.
Icons
It is important to prepare icons of exact shapes and sizes as required by particular mobile operating system. Here we are using the folders res/icon/ios and res/icon/android/drawable-xxxx..To get this work done fast, you can create a logo of size 1024×1024 and log on to makeappicon.com. This website will help you instantly create logos of all sizes for both android and iOS platform.

PhoneGap App Contents

We can create two type of apps. Online app and Offline App. Following is the directory structure for the applications.
Online App
In online app entire information content is loaded from the Internet.
Online app directory structure
The index.html file contains actual links as it contains at the web server and all its links are either absolute or used with base href tag.
Offline App
Offline app will let you create a web application that is downloaded to its entirety to the mobile devices of a user who can access that offline.
offline app directory structure
The config.xml contains app configuration settings. The index.html file contains homepage of web contents. All the HTML files should contain only relative path not absolute path or base href tag.
Once selected your app type, organize files in above mentioned structure and zip it using any standard tool zip tool.

Sign Your App

Android requires that all APKs be digitally signed with a certificate before they can be installed. For this reason, you need to sign your app. You may need keytool which is a part of standard java distribution.Execute the following command in %JAVA_HOME% in your Windows command prompt or Linux Shell:-

keytool -genkey -v -keystore my_keystore.keystore 
   -alias TutorialsPoint -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000

It should generate one file.

PhoneGap App Compilation

Now we are ready to compile our first web API-based app. PhoneGap accepts user login created on GitHub or using AdobeID. GitHub is a online repository service where users can upload their contents and use them by providing their URL references.
Following steps are required to create Adobe Id and Compile the application.
Create Adobe ID
Got to https://build.phonegap.com/ and register after that login to your account it will display PhoneGap Console as shown in below
phonegap console

Click on ‘Upload a .zip file’ and upload the .zip file we created, which has the entire web content and configurations. You should see the following window after successful upload

Click on the Android icon and the following screen should appear


Click on drop-down option menu next to Android icon that reads No key selected, click on add a key and the following screen should appear
Provide the file created while signing the App. Then click on ‘Rebuild’ button next to it. The app built by this process can be directly uploaded to Google Play. Click on .apk file and you can download your first web-based free app.Before uploading, app should be tested on either virtual or real devices.

sign file submit form

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Xiaomi’s Mi A1 Special Edition in Red is coming to India (updated)

Update (12/19/17): The gorgeous Xiaomi Mi A1 Special Edition is officially coming to India. Beginning December 20, customers will have the chance to order the Red version of the Mi A1 from Mi.com and Flipkart’s online store. Additionally, the device will be available from Mi Home stores, Mi preferred partner stores, and other retail partners. The device will run customers Rs. 13,999.

December 20 is also the start of Xiaomi’s “No. 1 Fan Sale” in the country. Xiaomi is celebrating its fans with sales on phones like the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, Mi Max 2, Redmi 4, Redmi Note 4, and Redmi Y1 Lite. The Mi MIX 2 will see a price drop from Rs. 35,999 to Rs. 32,999, while the Mi Max 2 will drop from Rs. 14,999 to Rs. 12,999. The Redmi 4 gets a Rs. 1,000 discount, while pricing details for the Redmi Note 4 and Redmi Y1 Lite have yet to be released yet.

You can get check out all of the deals on Mi.com starting December 20.


Original article (12/14/17): It seems like red has caught on as a color of choice for smartphones, since OnePlus and Samsung have red versions of their flagship smartphones. Whether it’s because of that, or whether it’s because it’s the season for such a color, Xiaomi has joined the fray with the Mi A1 Special Edition.

Don’t let the name fool you; the only thing special about the Mi A1 Special Edition is the red color it comes in. That being said, the shade of red looks much less like Samsung’s Burgundy Red and more like OnePlus’ Lava Red, with the color choice meant to stand out than be more subtle.

Either way, it comes across as vibrant and stunning, with the added red color meaning that the Mi A1 is now available in four colors.

Elsewhere, the Mi A1 Special Edition remains identical to the normal Mi A1. In other words, you’ll find a 5.5-inch Full HD display, with a 5 MP camera up front and dual 12 MP cameras around back. Under the hood, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 chipset and 4 GB of RAM power the phone, and while the processor might be a bit long in the tooth at this point, it allows for greater battery efficiency.

Editor’s Pick

That efficiency is what helps give the Mi A1 very good battery life in our testing, regardless of the modest 3,080 mAh battery. If the 64 GB of internal storage is not enough for your needs, the microSD card slot allows for up to 128 GB of additional storage.

Finally, the Mi A1’s story revolves around its status as one of the handful of Android One devices out there, which means that the phone runs stock Android 7.1.2 Nougat. That makes the phone the only Xiaomi smartphone that runs stock Android out of the box, something that slightly disoriented us at first but that we eventually got used to.

According to GizmoChina, which spotted the phone, the Mi A1 Special Edition is currently available in Indonesia for 3.099.000 rupiahs, which translate to roughly $228. There is no word if the phone will be available in other markets, though we’ll keep an eye out if it does.

Albatross

There must be a rational way to manage buying and playing PC games. There must be an optimum of getting a maximum amount of fun out of a minimum amount of money spent, and getting the best out of each individual purchase. Unfortunately I must say that I am very far away from that optimum.

I have a large library of unplayed Steam games, which isn’t unusual. The rational thing to do would be whenever I have the time to install an unplayed game and play it to find out whether I want to spend more time with it or not. But somehow that second part causes me a problem. For example I recently installed Wolfenstein: The New Order, because I was in the mood to play a shooter game. I played the game for an hour or two, but didn’t really warm up to it. And now the game sits on my desktop and for psychological reasons I don’t really understand feels like an albatross around my neck. When I turn on my computer, seeing the icon of the game doesn’t make me want to play it. But somehow I feel that I *should* play it some more before uninstalling it and moving on. And I don’t want to install the next game before having done that decision. So in the end I end up not playing any PC game at all, but play something casual on my iPad or watch Netflix or do something D&D related.

The rational me realizes that this is pretty idiotic. If I don’t really like this game, I should just ditch it and try the next one. But the not-so-rational part of me has its doubts: Maybe I just wasn’t in a good mood when I tried the game. Maybe it gets better after a while. Maybe the $25 investment in the game necessitates a second try (which my rational self recognizes as a typical sunk cost fallacy).

I believe that a lot about our enjoyment of games isn’t really rational. We are perfectly capable of loving a game, then hating it, then loving it again. I always chuckle when I see Steam reviews of some player who has spend several hundred hours with a game and now tells you that the game sucks. The simple task of playing a game and deciding whether I like it or not turns out to be not simple at all. And then the default mode becomes procrastination until the game lingered so long on my computer that I finally uninstall it. Maybe I should try a service like Steam Advisor to find games I already own which I actually want to play.