What’s on TV: ‘Voltron,’ ‘Sharknado 5’ and ‘Wet Hot American Summer’

Blu-ray & Games & Streaming

  • Alien: Covenant (VOD)
  • The Circle
  • The Fog
  • Slither
  • They Live
  • Going in Style
  • The Machinist
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun (PS4, Xbox One)
  • White Day: A Labyrinth Named Schoo (PS4)
  • Dino Frontier (PSVR)
  • The Long Dark (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
  • CastleStorm VR (PSVR)
  • Tacoma (PC, Xbox One)
  • Slime Rancher (Xbox One, PC)
  • Slime-san (Switch)
  • Aven Colony (PS4)
  • Drawfighters (PS4)
  • Frisky Business (PS4)
  • Patapon Remasters (PS4)
  • Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator (Xbox One)

Monday

  • American Ninja Warrior, NBC, 8PM
  • So You Think You Can Dance, Fox, 8PM
  • WWE Raw, USA, 8PM
  • Preacher, AMC, 9PM
  • Will, TNT, 9PM
  • Stitchers, Freeform, 9PM
  • Superhuman (season finale), Fox, 9PM
  • CBSN: On assignment (series premiere), CBS, 10PM
  • Carspotting (series premiere), Discovery, 10PM
  • American Dad, TBS, 10PM
  • Midnight, Texas, NBC, 10PM
  • To Tell the Truth, ABC, 10PM
  • American Greed, CNBC, 10PM
  • Siesta Key (series premiere), MTV, 10PM
  • Midnight, Texas, NBC, 10PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11PM

Tuesday

  • Maz Jobrani: Immigrant, Netflix, 3AM
  • Surviving Escobar: Alias JJ (S1), Netflix, 3AM
  • Casual (season finale), Hulu, 3AM
  • WWE Smackdown, USA, 8PM
  • America’s Got Talent, NBC, 8PM
  • The Fosters, Freeform, 8PM
  • The Challenge MTV, 9PM
  • Animal Kingdom, TNT, 9PM
  • The Bold Type, Freeform, 9PM
  • Face Off, Syfy, 9PM
  • Fantomworks, Velocity, 9PM
  • Somewhere Between, ABC, 10PM
  • Shooter, USA, 10PM
  • American Ripper, History, 10PM
  • Fear Factor, MTV, 10PM
  • Adam Ruins Everything, TruTV, 10PM
  • The Profit, CNBC, 10PM
  • Tosh.0, Comedy Central, 10PM
  • World of Dance, NBC, 10PM
  • Wrecked, TBS, 10:30PM
  • The Jim Jefferies Show, Comedy Central, 10:30PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11PM

Wednesday

  • Big Brother, CBS, 8PM
  • Kingdom (series finale), DirecTV Audience, 8PM
  • Lucha Underground, El Rey, 8PM
  • Suits, USA, 9PM
  • Salvation, CBS, 9PM
  • Hood Adjacent with James Davis, Comedy Central, 9PM
  • The Carmichael Show, NBC, 9PM
  • Catfish, MTV, 9PM
  • Queen Sugar (summer finale), OWN, 10PM
  • Sinner (series premiere), USA, 10PM
  • I’m Sorry, TruTV, 10PM
  • Snowfall FX, 10PM
  • The Auto Firm with Alex Vega, Velocity, 10PM
  • Blood Drive, Syfy, 10PM
  • Younger, TV Land, 10PM
  • Cleverman (season finale), Sundance, 10PM
  • Broadchurch, BBC America, 10PM
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TBS, 10:30PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11PM

Thursday

  • NFL Hall of Fame Game: Cowboys vs. Cardinals, NBC, 8PM
  • Penn & Teller: Fool Us, CW, 8PM
  • Boy Band, ABC, 8PM
  • Beat Shazam, Fox, 8PM
  • Battle of the Network Stars, ABC, 9PM
  • Whose Line is it Anyway, CW, 9PM
  • Big Brother, CBS, 9PM
  • The Wall, NBC, 9PM
  • The Tunnel (season finale), PBS, 9PM
  • Date Night Live, Lifetime, 10PM
  • Akil the Fugitive Hunter, A&E, 10PM
  • Zoo, CBS, 10PM
  • The Mist, Spike TV, 10PM
  • The Night Shift, NBC, 10PM
  • The Gong Show, ABC, 10PM
  • Queen of the South, USA, 10PM
  • The Guest Book, TBS, 10PM
  • What Would Diplo Do? (series premiere), Viceland, 10PM
  • Nuts + Bolts (series premiere), Viceland, 10:30PM
  • The Chris Gethard Show (series premiere), TruTV, 11PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11PM

Friday

  • Voltron: Legendary Defender (S3), Netflix, 3AM
  • Wet Hot American Summer (S2), Netflix, 3AM
  • Lost in Oz (S1), Amazon Prime, 3AM
  • Comrade Detective (S1), Amazon Prime, 3AM
  • Icarus, Netflix, 3AM
  • We Day, CBS, 8PM
  • Killjoys, Syfy, 8PM
  • Masters of Illusion, CW, 8PM
  • Dark Matter, Syfy, 9PM
  • Road to the International Dota 2 Championships, TBS, 10PM
  • All Access: Mayweather vs. McGregor, Showtime 10PM
  • Wynonna Earp, Syfy, 10PM
  • Room 104, HBO, 11:30PM

Saturday

  • Doubt, CBS, 8PM
  • Turn, AMC, 9PM
  • Risk, Showtime 9PM
  • Orphan Black, BBC America, 10PM
  • George Lopez: The Wall, Live from Washington DC, HBO, 10PM

Sunday

  • Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, Syfy, 8PM
  • Twin Peaks, Showtime, 8PM
  • Teen Wolf, MTV, 8PM
  • American Grit (season finale), Fox, 8PM
  • Top Gear America, BBC America, 8PM
  • Big Brother, CBS, 8PM
  • Celebrity Family Feud, ABC, 8PM
  • Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN, 8PM
  • Ray Donovan (season premiere), Starz, 9PM
  • Game of Thrones, HBO, 9PM
  • Candy Crush, CBS, 9PM
  • Power, Starz, 9PM
  • Claws, TNT, 9PM
  • American Grit, Fox, 9PM
  • The Nineties, CNN, 9PM
  • Steve Harvey’s Funderdome, ABC, 9PM
  • Ballers, HBO, 10PM
  • $100,000 Pyramid, ABC, 10PM
  • The Strain, FX, 10PM
  • I’m Dying Up Here, Showtime, 10PM
  • Unsung, TV One, 10PM
  • Insecure, HBO, 10:30PM
  • Talking with Chris Hardwick, AMC, 11PM
  • Legends of Chamberlain Heights, Comedy Central, 11:30PM
  • Rick & Morty, Cartoon Network, 11:30PM

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/whats-on-tv-voltron-sharknado-5-and-wet-hot-american-sum/

Bloomberg: Spotify is planning another big podcast push

Podcasts will get their own dedicated tab in the platform’s “browse” section, too, at some point. The company’s investment remains experimental, but it will begin a new campaign to lure in more listeners to its limited podcast offerings. In exchange for promoting certain shows within the Spotify app and on bus ads, the hosts of “Reply All,” “Pod Save America” and “The Bill Simmons Podcast” will promote the streaming service during episodes.

The reasons are mostly financial: Podcast ad revenue is expected to increase 85 percent this year to $220 million. As Bloomberg points out, 15 percent of Americans listen to podcasts weekly, while a quarter listen to at least one a month. Podcasts, as longer-form media than songs, might keep users around for longer sessions (ergo, more ad money) than a three-minute song. Plus, the streaming titan could get non-music content for a lower price, given that royalties to record labels made up an astonishing 75 percent of Spotify’s costs last year.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/bloomberg-spotify-plan-another-podcast-push/

Google just made scheduling work meetings a little easier

G Suite admins can enable the new Calendar Interop management feature through the Settings for Calendar option in the admin console. Admins will also be able to easily pinpoint issues with the setup via a troubleshooting tool, which will also provide suggestions for resolving those issues, and can track interoperability successes and failures for each user through logs Google has made available.

The new feature is available on Android, iOS and web versions of Google Calendar as well as desktop, mobile and web clients for Outlook 2010+, for admins who choose to enable it. Google says the full rollout should be completed within three days.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/google-scheduling-work-meetings-easier/

Android apps can find nearby devices even when they’re offline

The kit supports both mesh networks, where devices form an independent network on the spot, as well as a centralized connection where one device rules the roost. That’s particularly helpful in classrooms or meetings, where you’d want one device to take priority — say, a Jackbox-style party game where a host hands out trivia questions.

It’ll take a while for the new Nearby Connections to wend its way into the apps you use, but there are already companies who’ve had a head start. The Weather Channel is installing mesh networks in areas with poor internet access to help send weather warnings, Hotstar is offering offline media sharing and GameInsight will help you find and play people offline. And of course, Google has its own — an upcoming Android TV remote app will use Nearby Connections to get you started and turn on second-screen experiences while you’re watching shows. If more developers like the idea, this could quietly become one of Android’s more important assets, especially as smart homes take off.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/android-nearby-connections-2-arrives/

Samsung hints how the Galaxy Note 8’s dual camera will work

There’s a depth-of-field effect, as you might guess, so it’s entirely possible that you’ll see an iPhone-style portrait mode as well as after-the-shot refocusing. However, Samsung is also promising that the module will improve image quality even in regular shots. The dual cameras enable brighter low-light shots when used in tandem, and “dual fusion” can expand the dynamic range of a photo to preserve details in highlights and shadows. There are a couple of more novelty-oriented features, too, such as a “background effect” (to blur the all but the center of a shot) and a “perspective view” (which tilts the image based on how you rotate your phone).

It’s possible that some of these software tricks won’t show up when Samsung unveils the Note 8 on August 23rd, but Samsung has a history of previewing components and features that are clearly destined for its next major smartphone. It would be more surprising these features didn’t appear. Either way, it’s likely that photography will be the Note 8’s biggest feature after its namesake pen.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/samsung-hints-at-galaxy-note-8-dual-camera/

‘Titanfall 2’ arrives on EA’s PC and Xbox One subscription services

Titanfall 2, the criminally underrated man-vs.-mech multiplayer game that reliably releases new free content nearly every month, is now available for subscribers of EA’s subscription services. Users on both EA Access on Xbox One and Origin Access on PC can play the game at no cost — which is perfect timing, since the game’s latest DLC introduced a new players-vs-computer horde mode that has likely reeled in a bunch of lapsed fans. Seriously, it’s a game where wallrunning players try to dodge enemies in gun-toting mechs — go play it already if you’ve already ponied up for EA’s unlimited gaming services.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/titanfall-2-arrives-on-ea-s-pc-and-xbox-one-subscription-servi/

Tech CEOs haven’t yet agreed to attend House net neutrality hearing

But as Recode reports, none of those companies have agreed to show up at the hearing. The committee initially placed a July 31st deadline on the companies’ attendance decisions, but has decided to extend that indefinitely in hopes of getting the CEOs to agree to appear. “The committee has been engaging in productive conversations with all parties and will extend the deadline for response in order to allow for those discussions to continue,” a spokesperson told Recode.

This spotlight on tech CEOs is making some of them look like they’re all talk and no action. Many of their companies participated in the Day of Action earlier this month and in a statement Verizon released that day it said, “We respectfully suggest that real action will involve people coming together to urge Congress to pass net neutrality legislation once and for all.” But none of them seem to want to get their hands dirty in the fight for or against net neutrality regulations when it comes to testifying before Congress.

Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn told Recode, “I think it would be appropriate, I think it is expected, for the tech companies to choose to show up — to have the discussion — and I don’t think it’s a discussion they want to be absent from.”

The CEOs could be concerned about having a net neutrality conversation with Congress or they could be worried about what other questions might come up. But regardless of what’s causing their hesitation, the hearing is scheduled for September 7th. If they want their opinions on the table, they might want to choose to attend, because decisions could be made without them. “We’re very likely to see something with net neutrality take place this Congress,” Blackburn told Recode. “Congress needs to act, so therefore we’re going to do something about it.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/tech-ceos-haven-t-agreed-net-neutrality-hearing/

HP brought a trippy tech museum to a music fest

Most of the installations at The Lab were visually arresting and interactive structures that presented excellent selfie ops. But after a series of those works, walking into the dark, blacked-out room that housed Right Passage was disorienting. I felt apprehensive but excited, like I had walked into a haunted house. Moments later, rays of light shot out of a distant crevice, and I got slightly worried I had been abducted by aliens. Those of us in the area were drawn to it. But it was quickly obscured, and I noticed a stoic, expressionless woman standing in front of me. Without a word, she walked over to the side and pushed a large wall-like structure into the middle of the room.

Behind her, two other people did the same thing, splitting the room up into four smaller and almost claustrophobic sections. Lights continued to flash, the “walls” kept rearranging, synced to the throbbing music overhead. It was confusing, chaotic, and yet fascinating. After awhile, the people moving the panels started to dance in a slow, trance-like state; it was like interactive theatre meeting modern dance in a futuristic art museum. My fellow festival goers were just as absorbed, ooh-ing and ahh-ing aloud. Not once did I see an HP logo or feel like this was an orchestrated marketing stunt (even though, let’s be real, that’s exactly what it was).

HP brought a trippy tech museum to a music fest

At The Lab, branding is kept to a minimal. “We want to power the experiences; We don’t have to be the experience,” HP’s PR manager Conor Driscoll said. You’ll still see placards at each exhibit’s entrance, explaining what HP products were used to create it, but otherwise the pieces are left to speak for themselves. That’s a smart move on HP’s part, and the whole event itself is a clever marketing tactic. Although the company is far from being a “cool” brand the way Snapchat and Instagram are, it is so far one of the few PC makers to reach out to the ever-important millennial audience on their turf. You don’t see rivals like ASUS, Lenovo, Acer and Dell going to music festivals and engaging people the way HP has.

This isn’t the first time HP has used an unconventional, millennial-friendly event to reach a younger, savvier audience, either. The company also sponsored Panorama last year, and launched new laptops at Coachella this year. At both those festivals, HP also hosted similar exhibits to showcase works that blended art and technology.

As is usually the case when artists create with tech, the strongest works are the ones that don’t focus on the gadgets behind the product. Some of the displays at Panorama managed to do that, delivering transportational experiences with technological subtlety, including Right Passage and short film The Ark. The latter is presented in a dome-shaped theater, projected on the walls and ceilings for an audience that reclines on beanbag chairs. While Right Passage had me wondering if I had been kidnapped by aliens, The Ark straight up took me on an intergalactic adventure.

HP brought a trippy tech museum to a music fest

The film is an immersive, almost-360-degree animated ride through some very strange worlds — basically a trippy acid dream. Some people cheered, some whooped, and many gasped as we “fell” into a chasm that turned into a tube entering a spaceship. I was amused when I noticed some folks make beelines for the best seats in the house (in the middle of the room). It’s as if they knew what to expect, perhaps from attending a previous HP-hosted screening.

I was most surprised by the immense number of people lining up for one of HP’s demos — the “bandana inking station.” There, attendees could design and print their own free bandanas using one of HP’s recently launched laptops. This shows just how well HP understands what people at these events want — air-conditioning, picture-perfect staging and free swag.

Literally 🔥 🔥🔥🔥 #selfie #queen #PanoramaHP

A post shared by Cherlynn Low (@cherlynnstagram) on

HP did two things right at the event this year. It gave people mementos — whether it was a free bandana or a cool selfie video — that they could share or take home from the festival. It also offered engaging experiences that managed to avoid coming off as aggressive PR stunts. Of course, the entire tents were covered in HP logos, but once you’re immersed in the actual art, the advertising melts away. It’s a shrewd move that puts the company ahead of its relatively old-fashioned competitors for now. HP could have simply thrown money at the festival’s organizers in exchange for a “Sponsored by” logo on the event’s website and banners, but it participated in a more meaningful way. Doing so may not generate immediate returns for HP, but if it continues to work on its image with the creative crowd, it may see immense benefits in future.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/hp-brought-a-trippy-tech-museum-to-a-music-fest/

Watchdog asks FTC to look into how Google collects shopping data

As written in its formal complaint to the FTC, the Electronic Privacy and Information Center (EPIC) is requesting the agency discover how Google’s tool connects online browsing with in-store shopping, which the search giant has kept secret. The company’s post introducing the tool back in May outlined its potential benefits to marketers, but not how it collects data; It did note that the tool’s methods “match transactions back to Google ads in a secure and privacy-safe way, and only report on aggregated and anonymized store sales to protect your customer data.”

But the complaint goes a step further. Google maintains that users can opt-out of the tool’s data collection by going to their account settings and toggling off “Web and App Activity.” But EPIC claims that’s a spurious assurance and outright deceptive trade practice because some users must also call their banking or credit institution, which might have its own third-party relationship feeding consumer purchasing data to Google. To that end, EPIC requests the FTC force Google to divulge all of its third-party partnerships, which the tech titan noted “capture approximately 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States” in the May blog post.

The FTC has its own FAQ page describing what rights users have when opting out.

Update: Google responded to our request for comment with this statement:

“We take privacy very seriously so it’s disappointing to see a number of inaccuracies in this complaint We invested in building industry-leading privacy protections before launching this solution. All data is encrypted and aggregated— we don’t share or receive any identifiable credit card data whatsoever.

Users have robust controls— we only use data that they’ve consented to have associated with their Web and App activity in their Google account, which users can opt-out of at any time. We are committed to constantly innovating and continuing to provide transparency to users on what data we collect and how we use it.”

Further, Google maintains that it doesn’t gather data on individual purchases, either product or amount, nor the specific identity of the buyer — just the aggregate value of several purchases. The company insists it doesn’t have any identifiable individual user’s credit card data from their partners, and since it’s encrypted when Google receives it from partners, cannot discern individual identities anyway. Germane to the complaint, the search giant says its tool doesn’t use location services nor does it use CryptDB — and it’s currently only operating in beta in the US>

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/watchdog-asks-ftc-to-look-into-how-google-collects-shopping-data/

What we’re using: The Razer Blade and switching back to Windows

Aside from a few months with the “lamp” iMac and a brief affair with Linux, I grew up exclusively using Windows. That changed in 2011, when I traded my aging Sony Z1 laptop for a MacBook Pro. After just a year with macOS, I became the type of person who uses a MacBook, iPad and iPhone, and never really considered anything else. And so I watched last fall’s MacBook Pro announcement with great interest.

I was hoping to upgrade from my mid-2015 15-inch Pro, which, even when I bought it, was a little long in the tooth. But what Apple offered up was far from what I wanted. The Touch Bar seemed, and still seems, less convenient than function keys for someone used to keyboard shortcuts; the dearth of ports bothered me a little too, but it was the marginal CPU and GPU improvements that really stung, and the sharp like-for-like price increases only compounded my decision: It was time to look beyond Apple, and back to Microsoft, for my next laptop.

This might sound strange if you’ve never been immersed in Apple’s hardware ecosystem, but buying a new Windows machine can be a little scary. There is so much choice, so many different factors to consider. Even among Microsoft’s hardware options, you find vastly different takes on what a PC even is. I began asking myself what I actually wanted from a laptop; I’d spent so long letting Apple dictate a narrow set of options, I wasn’t really sure.

So I made a little checklist for what I needed. I travel a fair amount, so portability is quite important: I didn’t want anything heavier than my 4.5-pound MacBook. Battery life isn’t a huge concern for me — I only need enough juice to get me from outlet to outlet, and perhaps see me through the occasional live blog. In terms of ports, USB, USB-C, HDMI and an SD slot would be ideal. Performance is by far the most important factor for me: I have Photoshop running near-permanently, I like training neural networks to do stupid things and I also use InDesign, Premiere and Illustrator very regularly.

Then there’s gaming. The switch to Windows would grant me access to a giant library of games — should gaming performance be a consideration too?

I looked at tons of machines, but none of them were really a good fit. The front-runners were the Surface Book, which is immaculate but too small, and Dell’s XPS 15, which is super-portable but not quite powerful enough for my needs. It soon became clear that, at least in terms of performance, a gaming laptop was perfect for someone switching from a “Pro” Apple system to Windows.

I’ve got a strange affection for ASUS’ ROG lineup, but the models I like tend to weigh the same as me, and so I found myself looking at Razer’s laptops. I guess it makes sense: The Blade Stealth, Blade and Blade Pro essentially seem like ultra-powerful, matte black versions of the MacBook Air, the 15-inch Macbook Pro and the old 17-inch MacBook Pro. Sure, they’re a little gaudier — especially with the illuminated green snake logo and Chroma keyboard — but I was reassured that you can turn off all of the lights, should you wish.

After reading through countless reviews, I settled on a Razer. More specifically, a Razer Blade. It had almost everything I was looking for. The model I picked had an i7-6700HQ processor, a 6GB Nvidia GTX 1060, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The screen — a 14-inch 3,200 x 1,800 panel — was a little smaller than I wanted, and it doesn’t have an SD reader, but the next option up in Razer’s range is the Blade Pro, which, despite being impressively thin, wasn’t quite portable enough, thanks to its 17-inch display.

It’s now been six months since I picked up the Blade, and I’m happy. But it took me nearly all of that time to get there.

Life with Windows

What we're using: The Razer Blade and switching back to Windows

Switching over from macOS to Windows was simple enough. Almost all the apps that I use daily — Chrome, Creative Suite, Slack and Steam — offer the same or a better experience in Windows vs. macOS. But there are some I still miss on a daily basis. For the past few years, I’ve used Tweetbot for my personal Twitter and Notational Velocity to both write and take notes. If there’s a Windows app equal to Tweetbot, I’ve yet to find it, and I’ve tried using Simplenote (the note-taking service that Notational syncs with) for writing, but it lacks the streamlined interface and keyboard shortcuts of the app I’m used to.

Perhaps the hardest thing to come to grips with on the software side is Windows itself. It’s almost back to Windows 7 in terms of simplicity, but I still struggled for weeks with basic navigation. On macOS, I launch everything through Finder, and using the Start Menu for the same thing proved tricky. Running apps by pressing the Start key and typing works fine, but the rest of Finder’s functionality is sorely lacking in Microsoft’s implementation.

The main issues are that file searching through the Start Menu is very hit-and-miss, and that Windows 10 ignores your browser and search preferences, opening them in Edge and Bing, respectively. The former, as best I can tell, is because Windows’ file system isn’t journaled like macOS’s, while the latter seems like a desperate and user-hostile way of fighting Google’s dominance in those markets.

After a while struggling — and even installing third-party apps to divert Start Menu searches back to Google and Chrome — a friend recommended I try Wox, which is essentially a Finder/Alfred clone for Windows. It loads apps just as well as the Start Menu, opens web links and searches according to your preferences and also taps into the Everything disk-journaling app for near-instant file searches.

My remaining issue is one of troubleshooting. I can customize macOS with my eyes closed through System Preferences or Terminal, and diagnosing and fixing problems also comes naturally. In Windows, tweaking simple things often becomes a game of cat-and-mouse as I search through the inexplicably distinct Control Panel and Settings menus. This isn’t really a knock against Windows; it’s more that I’m still getting attuned to the way Microsoft has organized things.

Life with the Blade

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/31/gadgets-apps-irl-july-2017/