HBO Go finally adds an automated binge mode to its iOS and Android apps

HBO Go is still one of the best ways to watch HBO content if you (or a family member) happen to have a cable subscription. Unfortunately, it hasn’t ever been the best app to navigate, forcing you to dig through its library just to get to the next episode of Game of Thrones. Thankfully, that’s changing today. With the latest update, the app finally makes it easier to pick up where you last left off or keep watching your favorite show without needing to touch your smartphone.

HBO Go’s new continuous binge mode is essentially what users have grown to expect from Netflix and Hulu. After finding the show you want to watch, the app will surface you the next episode you need to see, or prompt you to pick back up on the episode you paused earlier. And after the credits roll, the next episode will play automatically.

HBO Go has slowly improved over the years, making it a reasonable alternative for those not still unwilling to paying the $15 per month for HBO Now. However, it still needs some work in the UI department. With all that in mind, this one little addition is more than welcome.

UberRush will soon be no more, as service cannabalized business

Why it matters to you

Despite Uber’s enormous popularity, that hasn’t translated into profitability. Cannibalizing services like UberRush may be to blame.

Remember UberRush? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in saying, “Not really.” And now, it looks as though Uber wants to forget about UberRush, too. On May 8, Quartz reports, Uber plans to more or less shut down the courier service, or at the very least, reposition the service.

UberRush first came about in October of 2015, making its debut in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. When the service launched, Uber promised that business owners could use Uber to “get customers pretty much anything in minutes.”

But now, anything is quickly becoming, well, nothing. Last week, the embattled transportation giant sent Rush clients an email informing them that restaurants won’t be able to use the platform as of May 8.

Instead, food services are being pushed over to UberEats, an Uber spinoff dedicated to getting customers their restaurant orders. And given that restaurant delivers have generally been the bulk of Rush orders, it seems as though with the departure of restaurants, Rush will cease to exist as we know it.

“We built UberEats to specifically meet the needs and support the growth of our individual restaurant partners,” a spokeswoman for Uber said in an email. “Moving forward, we will focus UberRush on powering backend delivery logistics for merchants and enterprises such as grocery stores and florists.”

Moreover, Rush pricing will also see a bit of a shift in May. It’s unclear what that shift will look like, but perhaps they’ll depart from the current plan of a higher rate for the first mile, and a lower standard rate for each subsequent mile.

Why the shift in strategy? As one former employee told Quartz, the company found that some of these services were cannibalizing business. “We got into a situation where dinner rush would mean a lot of people were taking food deliveries, but then they weren’t driving for UberX, so it was causing surge pricing,” the person said. “We were attacking our own business.”

Uber is still reeling from multiple internal shakeups including sexual harassment allegations, the departure of several company leaders, and a rather disturbing video of CEO Travis Kalanick berating an Uber driver.

So goodbye, UberRush. We hardly knew you.

The Rodie 2 can tune your guitar automatically

The Roadie Tuner is one of those feel-good Kickstarter success stories that makes the whole experiment worth it. It’s a quirky solution to a common problem, and it actually shipped to its backers! The tuner works by pairing with a smartphone to listen to the string you’re plucking, and then robotically rotating your instrument’s tuning peg until the string is in tune. It didn’t change the world, but it worked well and removed some of the stress of the tuning process.

Now Roadie is back for round two, and this time it’s leaving the smartphone behind. There’s a built-in screen on the Roadie 2, which lets you select the tuning you’re going for, and there’s also a built-in microphone. Roadie 2 can additionally read the vibrations of your instrument to help you tune in a noisy environment. The smartphone app still works for some more in-depth features, but now it’s optional, reducing the number of things you need to juggle to get to EADGBE.

Roadie 2 will retail for more than the original, at $129, but it’s available to Kickstarter backers for $89. There’s also a Roadie Bass version for people like myself who have given up on the more difficult stringed instruments but still want to join the jam.

Roadie 2 is supposed to ship in November of this year, and it’s already met its funding goal.

Change Agent is a terrible book that will make a great movie

Last month, The Hollywood Reporter announced a movie deal for a novel called Change Agent, a sci-fi thriller about genetic engineering that was released today. If everything goes right, Change Agent could be a must-see sci-fi blockbuster along the lines of Minority Report, blending clever philosophizing with non-stop action. It’s about an Interpol agent who’s given the face and body of a wanted criminal, through rogue gene editing that could make the very concept of individual identity obsolete. There’s a weird-yet-plausible near-future setting, a twisty plot, and a genuinely creepy villain. But as a novel, I would only touch it again under threat of bodily harm.

Written by Daemon author Daniel Suarez, Change Agent is supposed to be a workmanlike beach read that presents big ideas through a fast-paced plot. It’s set in 2045, in a world where gene therapy and designer babies are commonplace. Protagonist Kenneth Durand is one of the people in charge of shutting down black market clinics that offer unauthorized improvements like super-strength or intelligence, instead of fixes for genetic diseases. After Durand agrees to look for a gene therapy criminal kingpin named Marcus Wyckes, he’s attacked by an unknown, syringe-wielding assailant. When he wakes from a coma five weeks later, he learns that Wyckes can change living humans as well as embryos, and he’s turned Durand into his doppelgänger — hoping to fake his own death by getting Durand killed.

But Suarez isn’t just taking on one big idea, he’s meticulously building a world, complete with new cryptocurrencies, crowdsourced surveillance methods, and other moderately interesting extrapolations of present-day technology. This often means dragging the action to a standstill to prove he’s done his homework. Change Agent fixates on the minutiae of payment processing, security authentication, and display technology with more verve than action sequences or character development. If Daniel Suarez had written Marathon Man, it would be a novel about choosing the best long-distance running attire. Meanwhile, the book’s anemic, redundant prose ruins tense moments. When a character names a villain while quaking in terror, the narrative assures us that “the man was greatly feared” a paragraph later.


Sci-fi novels and techno-thrillers often go heavy on exposition. But it works best when used to describe something that’s difficult to imagine, like a far-flung space station, or thematically important, like Tom Clancy’s fetishized military tech. Beyond the extreme genetic modification, Change Agent is future-by-numbers, although it offers a few evocative ideas — like drug dealers who 3D-print custom narcotics from formulae tattooed on junkies’ arms, or a biomechanical shark used for international smuggling. I know this sounds cool, but you’ll only reach it after reading about characters taking endless minor actions on their “LFP glasses,” which is as irritating as an author appending “with a smartphone” to every digital interaction in a contemporary novel.

Change Agent starts to hit its stride in the last third of the book, when advanced genetic engineering comes to the forefront. Its vision of the future is never mind-blowing, but it’s chilling and tragic when Durand sees a sociopathic endpoint for designer babies: children with uncanny adult intelligence on one hand, malformed experiments and pitiless child soldiers on the other. The book’s strangest technical leap also gives us its most effective antagonist, a lonely killer with apocalyptic ambitions and genes that are literally hostile to human life. He’s the kind of over-the-top character that a good actor could ham to perfection, even if Suarez’s prose doesn’t do him justice.

Likewise, a good screenwriter could make more of the novel’s philosophical dilemmas. Is there really an ideal, “natural” baseline that people can genetically enhance themselves to meet, without sliding into post-humanism? What would individual identity mean if people could change their DNA (and, alongside it, nearly every aspect of their bodies) at will? It’s a twist on Gattaca’s vision of genetic perfection, with less pathos but more mecha-sharks.

Change Agent isn’t frustrating in spite of its good ideas, but because of them. It’s an interesting novel that gets in its own way far too often, and at a time when so many books deliver good ideas alongside good writing, there’s no excuse for its shortcomings. Reading it feels like hearing a pedantic high schooler describe a movie: you can get a sense of why it’s cool, but you should probably just wait to see the film yourself.

Facebook Workplace adds file-sharing, bots, and more to stick it to Slack

Why it matters to you

With these updates, Facebook’s productivity solution is growing into a compelling alternative to Slack and other competitors.

Facebook has made a big push into the corporate space with Workplace, its business-oriented social and productivity platform that looks and feels an awful lot like regular Facebook, but is geared toward productivity. The social networking pioneer announced a variety of new features for Workplace, including support for various file-sharing services, task automation “bots,” and more, at its annual F8 developer conference.

Box, Microsoft, and Salesforce, which owns productivity software creator Quip, are all supported by Workplace from this point forward — a boon to businesses that already rely on those services, and could benefit from Facebook’s up-and-coming Slack competitor. Deeper integration means you’ll now be able to seamlessly move from Workplace into these third-party apps, with the help of rich, detailed thumbnails in messages and posts.

Bots will be another major part of Workplace in the future, as they can be summoned in direct or group conversations to quickly solve issues. For example, an employee could notify a repair bot of an equipment failure, which would in turn create an IT ticket or immediately attempt to find someone who could fix the issue.

Simon Cross, Workplace’s product manager, said that bots will “help people weave Workplace into their daily workflow,” and that developers have already created hundreds of powerful custom bots built to handle a wide variety of tasks, from streamlining tech support to organizing a food run.

Facebook Live is also making its way to Workplace — allowing colleagues to communicate from anywhere at anytime — and the company has doubled down on live-streaming by adding compatibility for professional audio and video equipment.

Finally, Facebook says it is shoring up Workplace’s cooperation with compliance and regulatory systems already in place at many businesses. These efforts should aid in securely exporting documents, especially in cases relating to legal proceedings, and ensuring that only the relevant parties receive pertinent information.

Many enterprises would scoff at new or unfamiliar productivity solutions that weren’t developed with these serious concerns in mind, and in recognizing that, Facebook has lent Workplace some much-needed credibility among professional clients.

According to Facebook, Workplace has already been put to use at more than 14,000 companies, including such Fortune 500 names as Starbucks, and currently boasts a combined 400,000 users.

Build your own DIY video game console

Have you ever wanted to build your own retro gaming device from scratch?

Eighteen-year-old Albert Gajšak is making that possible for you with his MAKERbuino kit.

The standard kit includes everything you’ll need, except for a few basic tools.

A detailed build guide is also available for those without electronics experience.

A preloaded SD card includes open-source versions of classic games like Tetris, or you can program your own games and share them in the MAKERbuino games gallery.

The standard kit is available for $35 via a Kickstarter campaign and is estimated to ship in May.


This high-tech workout bag cleans itself

The car of the future debuts at SXSW

There’s now an indoor potty for small dogs

Get out of your next traffic jam with this flying car

A self-driving car that can do your errands for you

Robot teaches kids as young as 3 to code

This food recycler will turn your food scraps into fertilizer

Industrial robot technology may soon be in your home

Wristband monitors your blood alcohol content while you drink

Breast-pumping moms can now go wireless

The world’s first 3-screen gaming laptop is mind-blowing

Netflix has just helped improve your commute

Apple’s plan to beat Google in the maps game

Your next food delivery order could come from a robot

You can now add cooking to the list of things Alexa can help you do

This anti-drone gun looks like it can do some serious damage

You could soon be using your smartphone to get cash from the ATM

Instagram offers disappearing photos and live broadcasting

You may soon be able to use a drone to catch fish

Amazon offers special deals through Alexa

WhatsApp video calling is finally here

Sold-out Snapchat sunglasses already on eBay

You can now cast Harry Potter spells from your phone

Apple reveals new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

This smart crib will help your baby sleep safely through the night

New hybrid console takes Nintendo on the go

Self-driving cars have hit Great Britain

Following Kong: Skull Island, a TV show called King Kong Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island, the second entry in Warner Bros.’ “MonsterVerse,” which also includes 2014’s Godzilla, as well as the upcoming film Godzilla: King of Monsters (2019), and the inevitable Godzilla vs. Kong (2020), hit theaters just over a month ago.

Now, as reported by Deadline, there will be a not-totally-related King Kong TV show called King Kong Skull Island. It will reportedly feature “a female-led, multicultural ensemble that delves into the wonders and horrors of Skull Island and its origins.”

The live-action series will be written by The Bye Bye Man’s Jonathan Penner and Stacy Title, adapted from the novelization of Merian C. Cooper’s original 1932 film King Kong and DeVito Artworks’ Skull Island comics. IM Global is co-producing the series (it does not yet have a network attached), and president Mark Stern explained the choice to Deadline saying “There’s clearly a deep and abiding interest in this timeless story.” A timeless story about a really big animal that exists in the same universe as a different really big animal. Coming to a small screen near you.

The first two films in the “MonsterVerse” have together raked in over $1 billion for Warner Bros. at the box office, so it’s clear why TV producers would want in. And it is, I suppose, worth noting that both those films have Rotten Tomatoes scores about three times those of the studio’s recent superhero films, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (28 percent) and the Academy Award-winning Suicide Squad (25 percent).

What would movie monsters actually sound like?

Game over, man! The NES Classic is discontinued planet-wide

Well, it was fun while it lasted. The NES Classic Edition (it went by several names, but you know what I mean) was the must-have item of the holidays and pretty much ever since, owing to short supply of the compact retro gaming console. And Nintendo just confirmed that it was indeed ending production of the device in Europe, the last region they were still officially available.

A Nintendo representative told Eurogamer that the company is “no longer manufacturing the Nintendo Classic Mini.” This was previously confirmed for the U.S. and Japan, but there was a glimmer of hope that it might, for some strange reason, live on in Europe. It was not to be.

If you’re anything like the other 7 billion people on this planet, you’re probably wondering why Nintendo would voluntarily stop printing money. This thing, after all, was a cheap Linux box running games that came out 30 years ago, and people were paying multiples of the reasonable $60 retail price.

It’s kind of hard to say — Nintendo has done some very strange things in its time, and has made some very questionable decisions, so there’s no guarantee this one is any different. But if you think about it, they got everything they wanted out of this, and more.

The NES Classic was arguably always meant to be nothing more than a snack. Nintendo couldn’t push the launch of the Switch to before the holidays (even March was a stretch given the lack of games and features), but the idea of having the walking-dead Wii U as its only offering for this major buying season was unthinkable.

So to bridge the gap — and keep people excited about Mario, Link and everyone else — Nintendo put out the Classic. It would tide people over until the Switch launch, and whet their appetite for the NES titles that would be offered later on the inevitable Virtual Console.

They seem to not have predicted two things: the popularity of the device and the speed at which it would be hacked. The latter, it must be said, largely depended on the former.

But the NES Classic was good — very good — and it struck a chord with consumers. You couldn’t find one for love or money, unless you wanted to pay five times the sticker price. Hackers also soon found it was also relatively easy to add games to, making it a target not just for nostalgia-seekers but also serious retro gamers.

Nintendo likely didn’t plan on this level of demand, but in the end, perhaps wisely, decided to “leave them wanting more,” as the saying goes. They could have made and sold five or 10 million of the things, but decided not to. They proved that people still love Nintendo and want to buy Nintendo products, and that was enough.

Not only that, but the ball is still in their court. Could we see another version of the Classic appear later this year packed with sports games or RPGs? Or perhaps, as many earnestly hope, an SNES classic? It’s up to Nintendo, and they are, as always, infuriatingly uncommunicative.

We may have to be satisfied with the fact that the NES Classic happened at all. Nintendo has us wrapped around its finger — again — and that’s just where it wants us.

Facebook to developers: Help us destroy Snapchat

Mark Zuckerberg cares about a few things: his family (including his dog Beast), live video and VR, and destroying Snapchat. 

The 32-year-old billionaire CEO made that clear in his keynote during Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference. When most of the world was seeing flashing headlines on CNN about a man who leveraged Facebook to show off and confess to a murder, Zuckerberg talked about a future where augmented reality — a fake reality, you could say — is everything. 

Splashed across a giant screen and repeated multiple times, the tagline of the morning rang: “We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform.”

Snapchat, which calls themselves a camera company, has been making that same pitch for two years, even since they introduced Lenses (animated filters) to the platform and the public. They were planning toward a world with Pokemon Go before Niantic ever released it. 

For Zuckerberg, the camera and augmented reality is something that Facebook will now own with the help of a few friends.

He has nearly 2 billion people on his platform and a room full of thousands of developers who are thirsty to build for a man with so much power and so much reach. Where Snapchat had been making their own in house (which had its own issues), Zuckerberg and company are inviting everyone to make their own. Facebook released a new system today: an open augmented reality platform.

So while Snapchat is pushing AR, as well, they are keeping themselves closed. Zuckerberg is, in a sense, calling out developers to help him. 

There were too many burns to count regarding Snapchat from the mouth of Zuckerberg. Never was the name referenced, but the shade was a reality. 

Repeatedly, he shaded Spectacles, Snapchat’s video-camera glasses: 

Perhaps Snapchat had a heads up on Zuckerberg’s announcement. They updated their world lenses Tuesday, with an embargoed release scheduled to go live four hours before Zuckerberg took the stage. That release included nearly identical features to what Facebook ended up announcing. If anything, Facebook had been playing catchup to Snapchat on lenses. Tuesday looked like Facebook had taken the lead. 

Nevertheless, the war between Facebook and Snapchat continues.

To be sure, Zuckerberg talked about things other than augmented reality. He also began his keynote — after a string of cringeworthy jokes about the other F8 (Fate of the Furious) — with a discussion on Community, referencing his 6,000-word manifesto on the subject published earlier this year. 

Facebook is about Community, Zuckerberg said onstage. It’s about bringing people together. It’s no longer just for connecting friends and family, he said. 

But, when it comes to business, it’s clear he wants no part in a friendly relationship with Snapchat. He does, however, require the love of developers. 

Last year, Zuckerberg made headlines for criticizing then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. 

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls,” Zuckerberg said. “Instead of building walls, we can help people build bridges.”

But this year, there were no obvious digs at Trump or even the state of the politics. In case you missed it Zuckerberg, President Donald Trump is now on a warpath to destroy the H1B visa program, something that tech companies like your own rely on to hire workers. 

No words? 

I see a new wall. 

WATCH: This mini scuba gear just gave snorkeling a cool upgrade

Check out 25 of the best Android Wear apps for your smartwatch

Android Wear runs on a number of smartwatches now and there are loads of apps that add all sorts of handy capabilities. These apps do more than just bring notifications to your wrist — they can entertain you, track your fitness and health, and help you find fun things to do.

More: We tested all the most popular smartwatches to find the uncontested best

So with all that in mind, here are 25 of our favorite Android Wear apps, starting with a few that have been enhanced for Android Wear 2.0.  Most of these apps still rely on a partner app on your smartphone, but a few offer standalone functionality. Either way, they’re all must-haves for your watch.


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You can send voice or text messages, browse your chat history, or create group chats with this accessible instant messaging app that has been updated for Android Wear 2.0. It also supports emojis, stickers, and themes.

Google Play


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Here’s an app for the health-conscious, which tracks your food and water intake to help you achieve the right balance. Set your personal health goals and Lifesum will guide you to success with a personalized plan that includes exercise tips.

Google Play


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you want an alternative to Google Fit, then Strava is well worth a look. It’s available on Android Wear 2.0 as a standalone app that can track your runs and other sporty activities. If you’re cycling or running it’s great to be able to leave your phone at home, but still record your progress.

Google Play

Foursquare City Guide

Foursquare Android Wear app

With a fresh design for Android Wear 2.0, the Foursquare app is one of the easiest ways to find great places to eat, drink, and be merry in the city you’re in. It works without your phone, and you can filter by all sorts of different categories to find the exact spot you want.

Google Play


Uber Android Wear app

Missed the last train? No need to worry, you can now book an Uber directly from your smartwatch. This is a standalone app for your Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch that allows you to order a ride, check driver progress, and get time estimates for your journey all from your wrist. There’s no need to use your phone at all.

Google Play



Running out of space on your keychain due to the many little loyalty and membership cards you lug around? Stocard not only lets you digitize all those cards so they’re accessible in a single mobile app, it even works with your Android Wear watch to display them. This means you just need to let the cashier scan your watch, instead of physical cards or your smartphone, to collect your rewards or access your gym.

Amazon App Store Google Play

Google Slides

Google Slides

Here is a new incentive to use the latest version of Google Slides for your presentations: You can now use your Android Wear smartwatch to both timekeep and remotely control your slides. The only catch is that you need to first “cast” your slides to a Chromecast-enabled display, or present them in a video call, before your watch will transform into a slick presentation remote.

Google Play



Let’s be real, app developers aren’t mind readers who know exactly what functions you need, so why not create your own with IF by IFTTT? Short for the programming lingo “If This Then That,” this meta-app lets you create “recipes” that link two unrelated apps in order to create an action. For example, you can tell the app to send a copy of every photo you take with your phone to your Android Wear watch.

Amazon App Store Google Play


Tinder app

Start planning for your hot date tonight by swiping right or left through Tinder — on your wrist. With the dating app bringing its features to Android Wear, you’ll be able to check out potential dates in your area, see notifications on new matches, as well as respond to their messages, right on your watch. Just to make it extra easy to access the app, you can even use your voice to tell Google to open Tinder on your smartwatch.

Amazon App Store Google Play

Medisafe Meds & Pill Reminder

Medisafe Meds & Pill Reminder

Everyone can use a gentle reminder to take their medication, whether you’re taking vitamins or caring for someone with a strict pill schedule. You’ll need to spend a bit of time entering every pill — including its color and shape — into the mobile app the first time you open it, but it’ll be well worth it when your watch buzzes and notifies you of the exact pill and dosage you need to take. No more excuses for forgetting, or taking the wrong meds!

Amazon App Store Google Play