H1B Visa Changes: India Lobbies Trump Administration to Avert Threat

India has stepped up its lobbying effort against moves in the US Congress to impose curbs on visas for skilled workers that threaten the South Asian nation’s tech sector, which employs more than 3.5 million people.

H1B Visa Changes: India Lobbies Trump Administration to Avert Threat

Speaking to Reuters, Trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said New Delhi had reached out to the administration of President Donald Trump to stress the importance of India’s $150-billion IT services industry to US citizens.

“India’s investments in the United States have provided jobs to US citizens,” she said in an interview. “That has to be brought to the notice of the US administration.”

The comments come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Washington to keep an open mind on admitting skilled Indian workers.

Indian software companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro shot to prominence in the 1990s by helping Western firms stamp out the “Y2K” bug.

Trump’s “America First” rhetoric on jobs, however, has put their biggest market under threat.

A bill was introduced in the US Congress last month to more than double the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders, which could significantly boost costs for IT companies, whose margins are already being squeezed.

New Delhi has backed a move by Nasscom, India’s high-tech industry association, to lobby US lawmakers and companies to urge the administration not to crack down on allowing its skilled workers into the United States.

A Nasscom delegation is now in the United States to make its case to officials on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

“We will have to engage with the new administration,” Sitharaman said. “Our engagement at every level is intact and continuing.”

The United States is India’s biggest trading partner, but trade in goods between the two countries has been stagnant, at around $67 billion (roughly Rs. 446,454 crores), for the last three years. Indian software exports to the US rose more than 10 percent, to $37 billion, in the last fiscal year from a year earlier.

Indian nationals are by far the largest group of recipients of the 65,000 H-1B visas issued annually to new applicants under a cap mandated by Congress. More than 60 percent of the US employees of Infosys hold H-1B visas.

A global pact on services trade would go a long way towards settling disputes over professional visas, Sitharaman said.

“If only there is a framework…you will know how movement can happen and how certain restrictions can or cannot come,” she said. “It’s time for countries to sit together and look at it.”

NASA Asked by Trump Administration to Explore Placing Crew on SLS Rocket's Debut Flight

The Trump administration has directed NASA to study whether it is feasible to fly astronauts on the debut flight of the agency’s heavy-lift rocket, a mission currently planned to be unmanned and targeted to launch in late 2018, officials said on Friday.

The study marks President Donald Trump’s first step in shaping a vision for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NASA Asked by Trump Administration to Explore Placing Crew on SLS Rocket's Debut Flight

Under former President Barack Obama, the US space agency was working on the heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion deep-space capsule with the aim of sending astronauts to rendezvous with an asteroid in the mid-2020s, followed by a human expedition to Mars in the 2030s.

The request for the study from the new Republican president’s administration tweaks that plan by exploring whether to add a crew to an earlier test flight and perhaps setting the stage for a human return to the moon.

NASA officials said they do not feel compelled to fly the test mission with crew aboard, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s head of human space flight, told reporters on a conference call.

“There’s not pressure to go do this,” Gerstenmaier said. “I find it encouraging that we were asked to go do this feasibility study.”

The study is expected to take about a month. Engineers are assessing hardware changes, schedule delays, additional costs and increased risks of flying a two-member crew on the first flight of the Space Launch System rocket, which is about four times bigger and more powerful than any current US booster.

A NASA safety oversight panel on Thursday cautioned that the agency should have compelling reasons for adding crew to justify the extra cost, risk to human life and schedule delays.

“If the benefits warrant assumption of additional risk, we expect NASA to clearly and openly articulate their decision-processing rationale,” Patricia Sanders, head of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, said at a meeting at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

If approved, the astronauts would fly aboard an Orion capsule, under development by Lockheed Martin Corp , and swing around the moon during an eight- to nine-day mission, similar to what the Apollo 8 crew accomplished in 1968.

Gerstenmaier said adding crew to the mission would not be worthwhile if it forced the flight to be delayed more than about a year.

The rocket’s second flight, which is to include crew, is targeted for August 2021. The study will explore what would be gained technically by having a crew aboard sooner.

15 best PC gaming headsets 2017

Having a great set of gaming headphones can revolutionise your gaming experience. Not does high quality sound quality make you feel like you’re part of the action, 7.1 surround sound can fully immerse you and make you feel like you’re really in the game.

Surround sound can also help improve your scores, as you’ll be able to hear enemies sneak up behind you.

Without the best gaming headset, you’re depriving yourself of full-on immersion from every angle – after all, who says you need VR for 360-degree fun? Pick the right pair of headphones outfitted with a clear quality mic and you’ll immediately notice a difference in the way you experience games.

Whether you need a USB or 3.5mm headset, a surround sound or stereo pair, or simply one to communicate with friends online, we’ve picked out the very best PC gaming headsets for your needs.

Though we haven’t had the chance to fully review every headset on this list, rest assured that each has been tested comprehensively prior to its consideration.

We called the original Astro A50 a “game-changing, experience-enhancing headset”, and thankfully its wireless successor follows the “ain’t broke, don’t fix” rule. Astro’s latest headset does what it says on the tin and adds wireless connectivity to an already stellar package. Though not the cheapest headset on the block, the Astro A50 Wireless has transferred amp controls from its predecessor’s cable right into the headcups themselves, giving you the ability to balance in-game audio and voice chat on-the-fly.

Add to that the A50’s solid aluminum construction, effective noise-cancelling microphone, booming bass and impressive mid-range sounds, and you have one headset that’s ready to rock on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It’s also suitable for using with the HTC Vive and other VR headsets thanks to the accommodating shape of the headband. We’ve found that few headsets can rival the A50’s comfort’s plush ear cups, which are large enough to give you a realistic sense of sound coming from all directions.

Siberia 840

Sometimes you’re prepared to pay a premium for a PC gaming accessory that does the lot, and in the headset category that’s the Siberia 840. Following on from the already impressive Siberia 800 (and the H Wireless before that from 2014), the upgraded Sibera 840 now works with Bluetooth and is lag-free within games. It also supports SteelSeries Engine 3 – a gorgeous and user-friendly app that lets you manage and tweak every element of the Siberia 840 – from profiles to equalizer settings and what to show on the OLED display on the side of the accompanying base unit.

All of that is, of course, secondary to the Siberia 840’s sound qualities which are nothing less than sublime. Activating Dolby 7.1 surround sound is like dropping you into the game. Enemies’ footsteps can be picked out across a room including behind you, leading to some heart-in-mouth moments in shooters like DOOM.

Who cares about style when it comes to gaming headsets? Certainly not Asus. Neglecting all the unwritten rules of fashion, the ROG Centurion 7.1 is a spectacle to behold, both for its garish looks and unruly knack for omitting crystal clear sound waves. It may be a living hellscape to set up, requiring that a pair of USB cables be connected to an amplifier at all times, but that’s not to say it doesn’t offer plenty of room for expansion.

In fact, the Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 not only bolsters full-fledged surround sound passthrough for an external set of speakers, but the onboard amp controls grant you complete control over the audio profiles and channel volumes being outputted. You can even take advantage of Asus’s own Sonic Studio software package, which gives you even more dominance over the headset’s functions. There’s a steep learning curve, but for those who don’t mind, this headset is a mighty surround sound offering.

V-MODA

If you’re more interested in the sounds coming out of your gaming headset, rather than glowing LEDs, macro keys and other nonessential extras, then the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless is the headset for you. These stylish cans are a treat for the ears, emitting booming sound that’s bass-heavy with fantastically crisp treble at the other end. Whether you’re being rocked by explosions in Battlefield or can hear the roar of the crowd in Fifa, they bring games to life and are equally suited to listening to music; You’ll be able to pick out parts of your favorite tracks that you never previously thought existed.

Stepping out of the soundscape for a moment, the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless feature comfortable memory foam ear cups that don’t irritate the ears even after hours of use, and you’ll get around 12 hours out of its battery life when connected via Bluetooth. This headset’s rugged build quality, funky travel case and optional USB connectivity add up to make it one of the best headsets on the market.

With VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift making their way into PC gamers’ rooms, specially-designed audio headsets for virtual reality were bound to follow. The Turtle Beach 350 Stealth VR is one of the most flexible out there, featuring a generous amount of adjustability thanks to its sturdy headband which can fit over the top of VR headsets worn on even the biggest heads. Sure enough, the 350 Stealth is designed for practicality rather than sharp looks. Its black-and-white color scheme isn’t the most exciting design out there, but an abundance of features makes up for that. There’s mic monitoring, which allows you to hear your own voice inside the headset, bass boost for booming lows, a detachable noise-cancelling headphone mic, and a groove in the ear cups that lets you tuck the audio cable out of the way. While it’s perfectly suitable for owners of PC-based VR headsets, it’s quite literally a great fit for PSVR gamers too.

Unlike some of its competitors, SteelSeries stresses subtlety in its headset designs. The Arctis continues this trend by flaunting sound quality and comfort over gaudy appearances.

When you pop an Arctis on your head, the goal is for your audience to see a professional environment rather than, say, a Dorito stain on your chair. The customizable lighting, however, gives you plenty of wiggle room, though, if the monochrome look isn’t your thing.

The SteelSeries Arctis comes in three distinct flavors: Arctis 3, Arctis 5 and Arctis 7, each one more expensive than the last. The Arctis 3 is pretty analog protocol while the 5 ships with an external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and the Arctis 7 is wireless with 2.4GHz connectivity. Each model comes with digital audio control built-in, with an app available for those looking to take this one step further.

The only drawback, then, is a less-than-attractive suspension headband.

Razer ManO'War

Quick and easy to setup using an inconspicuous wireless USB receiver that stores inside the headset for transportation, the Razer ManO’War is a user-friendly unit that’s primed for surround-sound gaming. Sure, it’s a little chunkier than most other headsets, but two soft leatherette ear cups make it comfortable to wear for extended periods. They’re easy on the eye too thanks to customizable Chroma RGB backlighting configured through Razer’s Synapse software.

Though delivered through software, the ManO’War’s 7.1 channel virtual surround sound does a fine job of ramping up immersion in-game. Doom’s Imps are no longer somewhere around you – they’re breathing down your neck. The ManO’War’s range can reach up to 14 meters using the supplied USB extender, and its battery life is capable of stretching to just as many hours.

As a more affordable alternative, Razer has launched the ManO’War 7.1 Wired Gaming Headset. It comes with a USB digital-to-analog convertor (CAV) that provides superb surround sound and the same eye-catching design as the wireless edition (only without the RGB lighting).

Arguably one of the most affordable gaming headsets available today, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is designed to give players eSports quality audio at a bargain. While there isn’t much to write home about with the red on black plastic design of the headset, the stereo sound is superb. It also feels comfortable to wear for extended play sessions thanks to a set of memory foam earcups. Although this isn’t the ultimate gaming headset, it’s a great starting point if you’re trying to game on a budget.

More affordable than Sennheiser’s flagship PC 373D while still packing an audible punch, the GSP 350 carries over that headset’s stellar 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound and closed ear-cup design. It’s equally a suitable for marathon  gaming sessions thanks to its huge comfortable ear cups, with the right cup once again featuring a volume dial. The headset uses a closed-back design with an adjustable split headband, rather than the PC 373D’s more solid and thicker continuous band. The GSP 350’s noise-cancelling microphone is equally as good and once again mutes when lifted up while blocking out breathing sounds, much to the relief of your in-game team-mates. If you like the look of Sennheiser’s flagship gaming headset but can’t quite stomach its price tag, this one is a little lighter and slightly less solid, but still superior to many of its rivals.

G33 Artemis Spectrum

Logitech’s flagship gaming headset packs in plenty of bells and whistles, the most useful being its cup-mounted G-keys that provide handy shortcuts to performing actions in-game. In terms of design, The G933 is certainly one of the snazziest headsets around and oozes gamer appeal, and if you’re fed up of round ear-cups on headsets then you’ll appreciate its large and comfortable ear-shaped ones. Logitech has ran a multi-colored lighting strip all the way down the cup, rather than placing a flashing logo on the side, which in our eyes is more appealing than the small glowing areas on Corsair’s and Razer’s flagship headsets. On the negative side, this cuts down battery life to around 10 hours. Turning off the flashing goodness will help you eke out a few more,
Corsair Void RGB

If you’re looking for a pair of 7.1 surround sound cans with RGB lighting that won’t break the bank, Corsair’s latest entry should be high up your list. Its excellent 40-meter wireless range means you can go for a wander without your team-mates’ chatter cutting off, and the Void is capable of emitting fist-pumping bass that’s powerful without muddying the mix. You can configure its lighting colors using Corsair’s intuitive software and even make it dance in tandem with the company’s K65 or K70 mechanical keyboards. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way for adjusting the fold-down mic so its clarity often suffers, but it doesn’t put us off what is a solid and affordable option for surround sound gaming.
Cloud Revolver

Here we have a no-frills headset that offers build quality that comes close to pairs that cost almost twice the price. You may have already come across Kingston’s HyperX Cloud Revolver headset. Used by a number of eSports teams, its large interchangeable over-the-ear memory foam cups help block out unwanted noise, and the retractable mic allows clear and distortion-free communication with team-mates.

Despite its affordable nature, the Cloud Revolver is ready to rock. Its 53mm drivers have been tweaked to blast out punchy mid-range tones and pounding bass that’s best described as in-your-face. Subtle they ain’t. There’s no surround sound support or RGB lighting to be found here, and you’ll have to reach for the Cloud Revolver’s braided cable to get to its in-line volume and mic controls. If those factors don’t bother you then this value-focused headset comes highly recommended.

ROG STRIX WIRELESS

Looking like something straight out of Quake 2, Asus’ Strix 7.1 wireless gaming headset immediately caught our eye thanks to its large black-and-orange ear cups that are decked in a circular pattern resembling an owl’s eye. Those oversized ear cups makes them comfortable to wear for extended periods but there’s no RGB lighting on them, which on the plus side provides up to 10 hours of continuous gameplay using 2.4GHz wireless to connect.

Asus claims that it provides lower latency than Bluetooth, and while it’s difficult to verify that, bullets whizzing past our head in-game synched up pretty well thanks to virtual 7.1 surround sound being blasted into our ears from all directions. Asus’ Sonic Studio software provides an easy method of tweaking sound settings, and we found cranking up the (already sufficient) bass in the app’s equalizer particularly satisfying for both gaming and listening to music.

Turtle Beach

Aimed at PC and console gamers, using Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro feels like sitting down at a command station and gearing up for war. This headset oozes gaming appeal, right down to the subtle orange ruler-type markings on the headset’s automatically adjusting headband. It’s a funky piece of kit that’s reassuringly chunky while remaining supremely comfortable at all times thanks to its gel-infused Aerofit ear cushions. Most importantly, they sound great in the heat of battle. That’s down to Turtle Beach’s 50mm NanoClear drivers, which do an especially great job of bringing you into the heart of the action in shooters.

If you’re particularly hardcore, you might want to shell out for the Tactical Audio Controller. At $199 (around £149) it’s not cheap, but it grants an intuitive and fun of adjusting settings such as the game/chat mix, your own microphone level, in-game sounds, and there’s also a mute button to cut game sound out completely. It also lets you chop and change between four surround modes (Game, Music, Movie and off), which is a lot easier than fiddling around with controls on the headset itself.

There are an increasing number of PC gaming headsets impressing at the lower end of the price spectrum, including the new Cougar Immersa. Decked in the company’s trademark orange-and-black color scheme, this gaming headset is big, bright and bold. Its massive earcups envelop the ears and are comfortable when worn over long periods. The Immersa’s mid-range and bass tones are punchy and bright, though treble is a little lacking. The retractable microphone is convenient, and online gamers had no trouble hearing what we were saying in Counter Strike: GO. HyperX Cloud Stinger aside, there are few gaming headsets in this price bracket that have impressed us like the Immersa.

Threats to Online Privacy: What a Trump Administration May Do to Cyberspace

President Trump has been vocal about his fondness for mass online surveillance ; “I want surveillance of these people,” he announced in reference to Muslim Americans during his campaign. According to Edgar, it may not be as difficult to implement such surveillance as one might think. In his essay, Edgar explains: “If Trump decides to build a great firewall, he may not need Congress. Section 606 of the Communications Act of 1934 provides emergency powers to seize control of communications facilities if the president declares there is a ‘war or threat of war’ or ‘a state of public peril.’”

In 2010, a Senate report concluded that Section 606 ‘gives the President the authority to take over wire communications in the United States and, if the President so chooses, shut a network down.’ With a signature, the former reality television star could invoke it. Section 606 has never been applied to the internet before, but there is no law stating that it cannot be. Edgar adds, “If Trump wants to ‘close that internet up,’ all he will need is an opinion from his Attorney General that Section 606 gives him authority to do so, and that the threat of terrorism is compelling enough to override any First Amendment concerns.”

Online Freedom

While on the surface it may seem that Trump champions protecting the people with cybersecurity, he doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of online freedom. “We have to talk … about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some way,” he stated at a rally in South Carolina during his campaign. He also warned that “certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country,” such as policies that “were frankly unthinkable a year ago.” It is this kind of minatory rhetoric that seems to show Trump’s true colours, and frighten those who believe that the right to personal privacy from the government should not be limited to the physical.

At least Donald Trump’s stance on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and net neutrality are crystal clear, though it still comes with glaring discrepancies. Net neutrality — the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should not restrict access to, favour, or block certain content or services delivered online — was brought about in the early 2000s by Columbia University media law professor, Tim Wu. Issues concerning net neutrality had been practically nonexistent until 2014 when FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, proposed a plan that would have allowed internet giants like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast to create “pay-to-play” fast lanes. But Americans spoke out, causing Wheeler to throw out his original proposal and release new net neutrality rules based on Title II of the Communications Act, which would regulate broadband as a public utility and put internet users’ protection as the number one priority. Still, net neutrality has not come without backlash from Congress, the courts, and now the incoming President.

Obama Legacy

Trump is seeking to reverse the Obama administration’s policies concerning net neutrality and loosen the regulations that govern ISPs and data. He advocates for reclassifying broadband from a public utility like electricity or water to an information service, and charging it as such. Supporters of the previous administration want to prohibit paid prioritisation and blocking because it would be bad for consumers, whereas supporters of the incoming administration believe that this kind of broadly-offered service would benefit business. Trump plans to expedite this process as soon as he takes office, which means we could be witnessing a widely discriminatory internet very soon.

Some of the most pressing items on the conservative President’s to-do list are to replace FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and to end the FCC’s involvement in the telecommunications market. This decision to replace Wheeler has been supported by The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a nonprofit public policy think tank in Washington D.C., who believe that the FCC overstepped its boundaries when it changed broadband regulations. “A Trump-appointed FCC chair has a chance to fix that mistake,” stated Robert Atkinson, ITIF President.

But by cutting the FCC out of internet regulation altogether, privacy oversight of ISPs would fall to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and instead of having the FCC regulate the behaviour of users or determine what is unfair or deceptive, the responsibility falls on trade groups in different industries.  The FCC released rules in October of 2016 that allowed broadband users “increased choice, transparency, and security over their personal data.” These rules would automatically be nullified if the 2015 FCC’s TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order is thrown out. So, with laxer regulations and an FCC that does not oversee internet regulation, results will likely include higher internet and cable bills, worse customer service, and fewer, less varied choices for service. With laxer regulations, it will also easier for cable and phone companies to mine the browsing habits of and other information relating to customers in order to target ads. Many companies have already expressed excitement over Trump’s reduced regulation plan, like Verizon, who has been attempting to build a digital ad-business to compete with Google and Facebook but has been met with recent privacy rules that require them to ask for customers’ permission before using their data.

What’s next

While it remains unseen whether Donald Trump will actually put an end to net neutrality as we know it, the threat still looms over us. Without net neutrality, access to certain web services may be manipulated by local cable and phone companies. Matt Wood, policy director for the public-interest group Free Press, stated that “Internet providers could use subtle tactics and behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to change people’s behaviour and make more money,” and many consumers could see a decline in the number and variety of services offered, and an increase in prices. While these kinds of alterations could lead to a censored internet where information is not so free, network encryption apps provide the best way to combat this.

While Trump does not seem to have a very firm grasp on modern technology, he has promised tech leaders that his administration will continue to support the furthering of new technologies and support their innovations every step of the way. As President-elect, Trump met with various tech leaders to discuss job creation, innovation, free trade, and cybersecurity. Representatives from Google, Apple , Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, and Cisco were in attendance, however, one innovator was notably missing. Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, did not receive an invitation to meet with Trump, a snub which struck many as odd considering the conservative’s frequent and controversial use of the micro-blogging platform.

Despite the threats to online privacy and internet freedom that have been made apparent in Donald Trump’s rhetoric, it’s been proven time and time again that he cannot always be held at his word. We can only hope that the new administration puts the right policies and practices in place that will protect the integrity of our online environment and put an end to privacy threats before they even begin. Even with hope, it is imperative that the American people do not take the issues of online privacy lightly.  What matters most now, is that President Donald J. Trump’s powers to survey and control the internet do exist. The people of America must prepare themselves for “turnkey tyranny,” as Edward Snowden put it in his first interview — and the fact that some new leader, someday, may “find the switch.”

LG G6: Everything you need to know about LG's latest flagship

Latest LG G6 rumours: Release date, specs, design and price

Update: Serial leaker Evan Blass has shared images (above) of the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8, seemingly sourced from a phone case manufacturer. These images reinforce what we expected the G6 to look like, it shows off the thin bezels, 18×9 display, and dual camera.

Original feature continued below…

A press release from LG’s display manufacturing arm says that a 1440 x 2880 resolution display will be used in LG’s flagship phone this year. It will have a whopping 564 pixels per inch compared to the iPhone 7’s 326ppi.

The phone is supposedly going to feature excellent touch responses thanks to LG’s new TOUCH technology that eliminates the need for Touch Cover Glass, meaning the phone can be thinner.

LG G6 release date

The LG G6 will be unveiled on the 26th February 2017 at 12PM CET – kicking off Mobile World Congress. As you’d expect, T3.com will be there on hand to detail all the big announcements as they happen.

A YouTube video showcases customers detailing what they want to see from their next smartphones, the features: a bigger screen, smaller body and waterproof are some of the notable highlights. The tease seems to highlight that LG has all these boxes checked.

Bye bye bezels

It seems as though the next flagship is going to look visually similar to the Xiaomi Mi Mix, a phone that boasts a 91.3% screen to body ratio.

This is presumably something LG is looking to do with the G6, in order to make a smaller phone that feels good in the hand, but also keeps a 5.7-inch screen size, the bezels of the new flagship are going to be significantly smaller than other phones on the market.

The 18:9 aspect ratio that LG is talking about means the screen is going to be taller than the standard 16:9 displays we’re all used to.

A invitation released from LG confirms the smartphone will have very small bezels. It states, “Big Screen, That Fits”.

The LG G6 is going to feature a 5.7-inch Quad HD+ panel with a 18:9 aspect ratio.

Until anything is officially announced, you can watch the teaser for yourself below:

Dual camera

 LG said the dual camera setup will feature two 13-megapixel rear-facing snappers as well as a front-facing camera.
 The front-facing snapper tops out at an angle of 100-degrees while the back two actually manage a wider 125-degree field of view to stop distortion at the edges of the shot. Crucially these also shoot in a ratio of 1:1, yup that magic ratio that Instagram loves so much.
 The dual camera fun doesn’t stop there. LG has also said that you’ll be able to take a photograph with one camera and have it on the screen while you line up the shot from the other camera. This is described as what sounds like an overlay “film on the shooting screen side”.

Other modes mentioned on the site include 360 panorama mode, food mode, match shots, grid shots and snapshots. There will also be an 18:9 mode which should help to maximise the use of the phone’s screen which is of the same ratio. There is also an ability to take multiple photos to create your own GIFs right there from the camera’s gallery.

Download of the day: 4K YouTube to MP3

4K YouTube to MP3

As you’ve probably noticed, there are lots and lots of apps offering to download YouTube clips and turn them into audio tracks. Provided you have the copyright holder’s permission (eg free remixes released into the public domain by the artists, not the latest Beyoncé album uploaded by some random) it’s a great way to get good music for free.

One of the simplest tools for managing downloads is 4K YouTube to MP3 – 4K being the name of the developer rather than anything to do with video resolution. But don’t let the name put you off, because it’s a really useful and user-friendly app.

Why you need it

Downloading from YouTube can be a little arcane, fairly frustrating and occasionally quite time consuming. 4K YouTube to MP3 does all the work for you. You can download files using multiple threads, set the quality levels you want to download at, and output to MP3, M4A or OGG. The app works with other sites too including SoundCloud, Vimeo, Flickr and DailyMotion.

It can download entire playlists and channels, although the free edition stops after 25 videos.

4K YouTube to MP3 is simple, straightforward and good looking, and it’s as useful for absolute beginners as it is for more demanding downloaders.

The best free download manager 2017

Free download managers

If you enjoy music and movies, a great download manager is essential. The best tools can speed up downloads by breaking files into manageable blocks, let you pause and resume whenever you want, and compensate for flaky internet connections.

Some download managers will even convert file formats automatically once they’ve finished grabbing videos, making the experience as hassle-free as possible. Once you’ve tried one, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without.

Here’s our pick of the very best free download managers for Windows. Have we missed your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

Ninja Internet Download Manager

1. Ninja Download Manager

Powerful and well designed – the best download manager for saving and converting media files

Ninja Internet Download Manager is a relative newcomer to the downloading party, and it looks considerably more contemporary than its, er, contemporaries.

The interface is simple and modern, and the download accelerator is capable of grabbing files 10 times faster. It does this by splitting each file into chunks, then downloading each one using a different server connection, making downloads not only faster, but also more reliable. If you’re into music and movies you’ll be delighted by its sequential setting, which lets you begin playing a file while it’s still downloading.

There’s also a built-in video downloader with support for YouTube and Vimeo, and a video converter that changes the file format automatically once it’s finished downloading.

There are lots of fantastic options around, but if you love music, films and TV then Ninja is the best free download manager.

 

Free Download Manager

2. Free Download Manager

An open source download manager that’s packed with media tools for music and movie lovers

Free Download Manager aims to be all things to all people. It’s a download accelerator, a BitTorrent client, an audio and video previewer and a traffic management tool, and because it’s open source, it’s completely free and receives regular updates from its community of developers.

It includes powerful scheduling features and a very handy remote control that means you can leave your downloads running and check on their progress from any internet-connected device.

It can spider sites to download specific kinds of files, and you can choose to download only the bits of a ZIP file you actually want. It’s an exceptional program, and it was tough to choose between this and Ninja Internet Download Manager for the top spot.

 

Download Accelerator Plus

3. Download Accelerator Plus

A stripped-down version of a premium download manager that’s superb in its own right

The free version of Download Accelerator Plus is a pared-back version of the premium edition , but it’s much more than just a demo and contains all the essential features you need for quick, reliable downloads.

The free version lacks the DAP Premium’s privacy protection, but it does include a link checker, video previewing, file conversion, safe downloading and multiple connections to boost the speed of your downloads.

Download Accelerator Plus is clearly designed for media fans, and can help you avoid irritations such as slow servers and internet congestion.

 

JDownloader 2

4. JDownloader 2

An advanced download manager, JDownloader 2 is optimized for power users

JDownloader 2 is a free, open source download manager with a massive developer community, and it’s available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

It’s really one for power users, with support for over 300 decryption plugins, automatic RAR extraction, password list searching and OCR to complete some of the CAPTCHA ‘I’m not a robot’ checks you encounter on download sites.

You’ll need the Java Runtime Environment to run it, and you’ll have to be careful when installing it: the installer contains adware, which will be bundled in with the download manager if you don’t specifically deselect it.

 

Free YouTube Downloader

5. Free YouTube Downloader

Manage video downloads with batch processing and support for resolutions up to 8K

Its installer is a little too keen on adding bundled software, but deselect the extras you don’t want and you’ll discover that Free YouTube Downloader is an excellent download manager.

Unlike some of the more powerful options it’s designed as a downloader first and foremost, so you get a good multi-stream download manager for grabbing several clips simultaneously, but few file conversion options.

Free YouTube Downloader can download files of up to 8K resolution (in MKV) and convert to AVI and MP4 format for playback in your media player of choice. Remember that you should only download videos from YouTube if you have the copyright owner’s permission.

 

Download DownThemAll free

6. DownThemAll

A free Firefox add-on that lets you download all the links and media from a web page at once

If Firefox is your preferred browser, try DownThemAll – a well-crafted extension that lets you download all the links or images in a webpage at once.

Downloads can be paused and resumed, and the integrated accelerator lets you grab files files four times faster through cunning use of multiple server connections.

It’s a superb addition to an already excellent browser, and unlike some free download managers there are no catches – there’s no unwanted advertising and all its features are yours to enjoy completely free of charge.

 

Download iGetter free

Download iGetter free
iGetter is a cross-platform download manager, with support for several Mac and Windows web browsers

7. iGetter

iGetter makes it easy to find and grab the files you need, whether you’re using a Mac or PC

Most download managers are for Windows, but iGetter also comes in a Mac OS X version. You can schedule downloads for specific times – handy if the servers you want to use get hammered during peak hours – and find server mirrors.

As with most download managers worth their salt, you can resume broken downloads and benefit from accelerated downloading.

iGetter also includes a site explorer that you can use to find content on web and FTP sites. It integrates with Safari, iCab and Firefox on Mac and Firefox and Internet Explorer on Windows.

Forget Planet of the Apps – Apple needs to rip off these TV shows instead

The iPhone is selling by the bucketload and iPads and MacBooks are essential tools for the sorts of attractive twenty-somethings who tend to appear in adverts… ButApple TV ? As far as we can tell, though Apple TV has sold pretty well, it hasn’t changed the living room, let alone the world.

So in a bid to gin up some interest Apple has decided to take a lesson from Netflixand Amazon Prime ’s playbook, and develop some original TV content.

Forget mega-budget Kevin Spacey political dramas though, and cast aside any thoughts of Jeremy Clarkson and his pals spending the big bucks making a travel show that pretends to be a car show. Apple has decided that the best vehicle with which to launch its ambitions is… a rip off of Dragon’s Den . That’s Shark Tan k, if you’re American.

Planet of the Apps – yes, that is really what it is called – will see budding entrepreneurs pitch their idea to an “expert panel” which includes Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and ubiquitous failed tech entrepreneur Will.I.Am .

We know what you’re thinking: we don’t know what secrets Will.I.Am knows about Tim Cook either. But we know what you’re also thinking: Why is Apple, the biggest company in the world, with one of the coolest brands in the world, deciding to cash in all of its brand equity on such an obviously tacky idea?

So we’ve decided to help Tim Cook. We can’t pinpoint the exact psychological reason why he’s decided to greenlight this, but we do watch a lot of TV. So here’s our suggestions for five other TV shows that Apple should have ripped off instead.

1. Bloomberg’s Hello World

Apple, like all tech companies, obviously wants to present itself at the forefront of innovation. So why not produce a show that explores technological innovation around the world? One format to rip-off that does this rather nicely is “ Hello World ” on Bloomberg.

 

In each episode Ashlee Vance visits a different country and meets local start-ups and tech firms. And for tech nerds, it makes for fascinating viewing as it shows what is going on not just in Silicon Valley, but elsewhere. For example, in one Russian city that was deliberately created for scientists in the Soviet era there is now a cutting edge drone company building devices that can compete with the rest of the world.

So why doesn’t Apple play to its’ strengths and send a filmmaker around the world to capture what’s going on? Hey, they might even discover some start-ups to buy along the way.

2. W1A

W1A was a critical hit for the BBC when it aired in 2014. The satirical mockumentary brilliantly pierced the pomposity of the corporation that commissioned it as it followed the work of “Head of Values” Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) at BBC Broadcasting House itself. It showed that the BBC, despite its long and august history as an institution in British life, was not as po-faced as we might have expected.

 

Apple, meanwhile, is another massive organisation – wouldn’t it be nice if we knew it could laugh at itself too? There’s plenty to mock: The circus that is a keynote presentation, the way Jony Ive will earnestly discuss the shape of a button (not to mention the fact that Apple has become something of a religion amongst its most zealous customers). Paul O’Grady could be cast in the role of Tim Cook.

Perhaps it is time that Ian Fletcher got a new job in Cupertino?

3. Later… With Jools Holland

Before Planet of the Apps , the company’s only previous foray into original content has been with it’s Beats 1 online radio station. Sure, it doesn’t appear as though anyone is actually listening to it, but at least the station, under the sage guidance of former Radio 1 tastemaker Zane Lowe fits in with the brand values that Apple is trying to project: “Look at all of this achingly cool new music from credible artists that you can listen to on your Apple Device”, Apple’s marketing has shouted since the original iPod.

 

Arguably the closest analogue on TV is the BBC’s Later , in which Jools Holland manages to round up a bunch of credible musicians to play some music together. There’s few gimmicks, and it doesn’t need them – it’s for musos with eclectic tastes.

So what Apple should do is obvious: Super-charge this format. Use the iPhone’s money printing machine to book the biggest artists, mix it up with some cool obscure people and have inexplicably cool 43 year old Lowe present. Perhaps leave out the boogie-woogie piano. Make it credible, maybe throw in a few interviews focusing on musicianship and all of a sudden Apple is the producer of a global tastemaking music show.

4. The News

In the 20th century, the US government granted the TV networks the airwaves for free, on one condition: That every night, they broadcast the news. Perhaps it is time for Apple to step up as a responsible corporate citizen in the 21st century and do its duty to inform citizens too.

 

Let’s face it – it’s very hard to tell what’s true anymore and it’s partially Apple’s fault. “Fake news” is a much abused term, but the simple fact is that thanks to the proliferation of internet-capable devices, everyone is able to live in their bubble, hearing only facts and opinions that they want to hear. And while it might be pleasing to have everything you read reinforce your existing views, this is a terrible, terrible thing for democracy.

At the same time, the internet has destroyed many of the business models of journalism: Foreign bureaus have closed, court and local news reporting has virtually disappeared.

Why can’t Apple use its billions of dollars it has on hand to form a major news organisation? Produce a nightly bulletin that lives up to the values that Will McAvoy in The Newsroom would espouse.

5. Doctor Who

And finally, perhaps what Apple TV needs is something that caters towards a major demographic in its fanbase: They need a show about a geekster with lots of gadgets.

They need Doctor Who.

 

Simply drop the TARDIS and replace it with an Apple Time Machine and instead of a human companion, simply have The Doctor banter with Siri instead.

There’s lots of scope for varied villains too: A seemingly all knowing entity known as Google, and Samsung, a South Korean monster that causes explosions.

And if Apple wants it’s Doctor to remain totally on brand: Make the Sonic Screwdriver charge up with a proprietary connector too

The Switch should finally let you back up your Nintendo games online

A couple of days ago we were treated to a sneak preview of the Nintendo Switch after one lucky gamer got his hands on the console early – and now an eagle-eyed viewer has spotted something rather interesting in the resulting clip.

Hidden in the small print is a paragraph that says your gaming purchases will be tied to your online Nintendo account, rather than the device you’re playing them on. Previously, Nintendo games had been locked to specific hardware, which meant a costly upgrade every time a new machine came out.

“Your Nintendo Account contains your Nintendo eShop purchase history and current balance,” reads the text. “By re-linking your Nintendo Account after initializing the console, it will be possible to redownload any software or DLC purchased using that account. (Software that has been discontinued may not be available to redownload in some cases.)”

Switch perfect

Good news for gamers then and another sign that Nintendo is finally getting to grips with gaming in the modern day – alongside all those games for mobile devices it’s suddenly decided to start releasing.

Nintendo itself hasn’t made any comment on the revelation so we’ll probably have to wait until the Switch finally goes on sale (March 3) for confirmation of exactly how this is going to work – will you be able to register multiple Switches with the same account, for example? Nevertheless it’s a promising development though.

Another unanswered question is whether or not compatible games from the Wii Uand 3DS also be available to download through the new system, thus saving money on new copies… but we just have to wait and see. In the meantime here’s everything we know about the Nintendo Switch so far