The Best Smartphones Ranking in the World

Best SmartphonesEveryone may be talking about smartwatches this month, but they’re pretty useless unless you have a good phone too.

Here’s our ranking of the best phones you can buy right now.

We update this list approximately once a month. The best smartphones rankings are based on a variety of factors including design, software and hardware features, content selection, carrier availability, and price. We only consider phones that are available in the U.S. at the time of publication. We list approximate prices for what phones cost without a contract. Prices vary from carrier to carrier and retailer to retailer.

BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry has gone back to the basics. Its latest phone, the Classic, looks a lot like the BlackBerry Bold from a few years ago. It has a physical keyboard, trackpad, and larger screen. If you want a phone with a keyboard, the Classic is the best phone to buy.

Nokia Lumia 830

The Nokia Lumia 830 is one of the newest phones from Microsoft. It runs the Windows Phone 8 operating system and has a sharp 5-inch screen.

HTC One M8 For Windows

The HTC One M8 For Windows is the best phone you can buy running the Windows Phone operating system. It has a gorgeous metal body and the new version of Windows Phone, 8.1, which includes the excellent digital assistant Cortana.

LG G3

LG’s current flagship, the G3, has one of the sharpest displays ever put on a smartphone. It’s also massive thanks to its 5.5-inch display. That makes the G3 more like a phablet than a standard smartphone.

It’s a good Android phone, but LG put the power and volume keys on the back of the device, which is pretty awkward.

Warning: The LG G4 is coming in May or June, so you may want to wait.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

The Note Edge is similar to the Galaxy Note 4, but it has a secondary screen on the side that changes depending on what app you’re using. The “edge” screen can also display information like news updates and other notifications when the rest of the screen is switched off.

iPhone 5S

Apple’s iPhone 5S may be well over a year old, but it’s still a really good phone, especially if you don’t want a bigger screen. If you want a great iPhone experience at a discount, get the iPhone 5S. However, if you want the best experience, you’re better off spending the extra $100 on an iPhone 6.

8 Awesome 3D Printing Trends to Watch

3D PrintingThe words “3D printing” may bring up a wide range of images, from DIY-looking boxes churning out lumpy plastic figurines to miracle machines printing new organs to extend patients’ lives. Rarely do people picture the middle ground: smaller, prettier printers for around the house, or real-life objects made a little better or cooler thanks to the technology.

But those changes are coming. This year sees the emergence of tiny 3D printers smaller than the proverbial breadbox, silent and stink-free 3D printers and — especially handy — printers with 24/7tech support. These home printers, and far fancier ones in factories, are turning out toys, tools and clothes that weren’t possible before, including scale models of users themselves made from 3D scans.

Mini Printers for Mini Prices

While phones are getting bigger, 3D printers are often getting smaller — much smaller. M3D’s Micro looks like a toy replica of the real thing, but it can print objects nearly as big as itself, up to about 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches. That matches the output of many larger printers.

Simplicity is the secret. The Micro uses PLA (polylactic acid) plastic, which melts at a lower temperature than others and doesn’t require a heated print bed to stick to. After shipping models to Kickstarter backers, M3D will start selling the Micro to the public in the summer for $349. The Micro is one of the smallest printers, but it’s not the only one. Makers of traditional big machines, such as Robo and Lulzbot, are releasing models with “mini” in the name, including the excellent Lulzbot Mini.

Whisper-Quiet Printers

The trend isn’t always toward small. 3D printer-maker Up, known for its Up Mini line of petite printers, has gone in the other direction with the new Up Box. Close to the size of a mini fridge, it can make objects with dimensions of up to 8 x 10 x 8 inches. Despite its size, the Up Box is meant to keep a low profile by being extremely quiet — I heard little more than a hum standing next to it — and odor-free thanks to an enclosed design and a HEPA air filter.

The Up Box goes on sale shortly for $1,899, which includes one year of free parts replacement and 24/7 tech support to deal with annoyances that inevitably arise. “Customer service is going to be the name of the game,” said Brian Quan of Up’s parent company Tiertime.

Cooler, Custom-Made Toys

Many 3D-printed toys are just shabbier, more-expensive versions of what you could get at Toys “R” Us or online. Mark Trageser of 3D-printed toy company InsaniTOY is using the technology to churn out original concepts based on any whacky idea that comes to mind — almost instantly. For example, he had an idea for a lamp in the shape of a spider, with the light bulb mounted in the critter’s body. “That spider, between concept to being on sale on Amazon — seven hours,” said Trageser.

He also pointed to the ability to experiment with materials, such as a toy car printed in semi-flexible nylon on an SLS (selective laser sintering) printer. It came out fully assembled with the wheels on and the axel mounted to functioning shock absorbers. 3D printing and online selling allow Trageser to produce niche, made-to-order products without worrying about getting shelf space for them at a retail store, and his toys stay on sale indefinitely. “I don’t have to take my products off the shelf,” he said.

Full-Body 3D Scans

People aren’t cloning themselves yet, but they can make extremely accurate replicas that rival Madame Tussauds’ handiwork. And you don’t have to go to a special facility to do it. Artec, which makes 3D scanners, recently started selling a full-body scanner called Shapify — a rotating drum of cameras and lights the size of a small bedroom — to locations including malls and supermarkets.

“Anyplace where people are ready to spend money on cute things,” said Artec’s director of sales Julia Bulakh. The device captures a full scan in about 12 seconds, allowing people to hold some creative poses, like freezing midstride. The 3D models are cleaned up automatically and sent off to a printer if the customer decides to order a mini-me keepsake. Want your own scanner? It costs $99,000, with 3,000 scans included.

The Rise of Resin Printing

Traditional FDM (fused deposition modeling) 3D printers are typically limited to a plastic layer resolution of 0.1 millimeters. That may sound very fine, but the resulting ridges are often easy to see and feel. Instead of squeezing out plastic, resin printers use light to turn a photosensitive liquid into a solid, one layer at a time, and with layers at least five times smaller than with FDM, at 0.02 mm. That’s fine enough to make tiny figurines (that can then be painted) or molds for casting intricate jewelry.

Resin printing isn’t new, but it’s becoming more affordable. Formlabs Form +1 printer, which excelled in our review, sells for $3,299. A company called SprintRay is launching a Kickstarter project for its MoonRay resin printer, priced at $2,499. That’s in line with higher-end FDM printers, like the $2,899 MakerBot Replicator. SprintRay aims to cut costs, in part, by using fewer parts. It’s also different because it uses a projector with an ultraviolet LED instead of lasers, as the Form +1 does. See it in action in the stunning video below.

Superstrong Carbon-Fiber Prints

Carbon fiber is a dream material due to its combination of strength and lightness. But it’s a nightmare for 3D printing, as it won’t stick to itself. MarkForged has found a fix by layering carbon-fiber filaments with Kevlar in a traditional FDM printing process. The company’s Mark One printer makes objects strong enough to use in place of metal, for example in specialized tools that would cost a fortune to produce in limited quantities with traditional forged manufacturing. The Mark One starts at $5,500, but it’s not intended for your desktop. The company is targeting clients like aerospace firms and the military.

Metallic, Rubbery and Other Exotic Materials

Carbon fiber isn’t the only new 3D printing material, and many of the others don’t require a special printer — just a typical FDM model that can handle high temperatures. Among the new substances are nylon, metal-infused filaments and a rubbery substance called NinjaFlex. Objects, or even parts of objects, made from NinjaFlex can have more or less give depending on how you print the object. For example, it can be very stiff if printed as a solid object versus more flexible with an internal honeycomb structure. Aside from making fun rubbery toys or tchotchkes, NinjaFlex has the potential to be used in practical objects like shoes.

3D Clothing You Could Actually Wear

Printed fashion is still an experimental area, often used more to simply show what can be done. But clothes you could almost imagine wearing are starting to appear. Design firm N Topology recently showed a one-piece dress printed in an intricate, multilayer weave of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) — a stretchy material that hugged the model’s body but flexed to let her move easily.

Going up a notch, designer Melinda Looi and printing company Materialise created an Oscar-party-worthy dress made from thousands of interlocking white pieces of polyamide, a slightly flexible material with a grainy finish. No assembly was required: The dress came out of the SLS printer in final form, folded in thirds. It cost “thousands of Euros” to make the dress, said a representative ofMaterilise, and that was before affixing thousands of Swarovski crystals.

Most buyers of 3D-printd fashion will wear simpler, but also more useful products, such as sneakers with well-tuned levels of strength or flex. “The first consumer-facing [3D-printed] products will most likely come from sports-apparel makers,” said Greg Schroy of N Topology.

High-Tech Sensors are Helping Kids Keep an Eye

High-tech sensorsEach time 81-year-old Bill Dworsky or his 80-year-old wife Dorothy opens the refrigerator, closes the bathroom door or lifts the lid on a pill container, tiny sensors in their San Francisco home make notes on a digital logbook.

The couple’s 53-year-old son, Phil, checks it daily on his smartphone. If there’s no activity during a designated time, the younger Dworsky gets an automated email, so he can decide whether to call or stop by. “This is peace of mind, really,” he says of the system he installed last year.

The Silicon Valley tech executive lives just across town, but the sensors help him keep an eye on his aging parents while also raising a teenage daughter and frequently traveling for work. While his parents don’t need a lot of assistance, they have stopped driving and his father uses a cane.

“I want to be in the position where I will know when I need to step in,” he says.

Advances in low-cost sensors and wireless networks are fueling a boom in the so-called “smart” home. And companies are looking beyond home security and temperature control to creating products for Baby Boomers trying to balance caring for aging parents and respecting their independence.

It’s a new twist on the notion of personal alarms, such as the Life Alert system that gained popularity with “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up” advertisements.

These systems often use simple, inexpensive components such as accelerometers that know when an object is moved. Others use small power sensors to track electricity use or contact circuits that tell when a door is open or closed. Companies like Lively, Evermind and BeClose charge $50 to $300 for a set of sensors and $30 to $70 a month for wireless monitoring. Each promises to safeguard clients’ personal information.

A set of motion sensors from San Francisco-based Lively seemed right for the Dworskys, whose son calls them “fiercely independent.” Before hearing about Lively, Phil had raised the idea of a webcam in their home. “They immediately didn’t want it. It was a privacy violation,” he said. But they agreed to sensors that collect “a more limited set of information.”

Dorothy doesn’t think much about the system tracking her daily routine. “It’s un-intrusive. That’s what we like about it,” she said. “We want to be able to stay in our home, and this is one way that makes it possible.”

Electronic tracking does raise issues around dignity and privacy, says Dr. Christine Ritchie, a geriatrics professor at the University of California, San Francisco. She believes some concerns will diminish as more people get used to using fitness bands, “smart” thermostats and other gadgets that track their daily lives, though. And independence is attractive.

“Many of my older patients would be totally unenthusiastic about having anyone monitor any part of their life,” says Ritchie. “But some would be grateful for the prospect of continuing to live in their own home, rather than an institution where they have less control.”

Michigan resident Vicki White, 62, was taken aback when her daughter, who lives in Florida, suggested an ever mind system that uses power sensors to track how often appliances such as coffee makers, lamps or televisions are used. White’s health is good, but she lives in a rural area without close neighbors. White’s own mother had lived alone and struggled with Alzheimer’s disease that wasn’t detected right away.

“I thought maybe she thought I was flipping out,” White says of her daughter, 42-year-old Melanie Champion. “She explained that she just wanted to know I was OK and my routine was as it should be. It’s actually very comforting because I know she’s concerned.”

An app on Champion’s smartphone shows when her mother starts her coffee pot in the morning and when she turns off the TV before going to bed at night.

“It’s really nice, except she wants to lecture me about how late I stay up at night,” White laughs. “I have to reassure her that I fell asleep on the couch.”

Before installing sensors, seniors and their families should have a frank talk about privacy and how much help they need, say experts.

“This type of technology can help, but it’s not the only answer or solution,” says Lynn Friss Feinberg of the American Association of Retired Persons. “Older adults need conversation, social engagement and access to a range of supportive services. And hugs.”

The Most Expensive Apple Products Ever Made

Apple Watch EditionBeyoncé has one. Katy Perry has one. Even the emotional Drake has one. I’m talking, of course, about the Apple Watch “Edition” model.

A lot has been made of the Apple Watch Edition’s hefty price tag, from $10,000 to $17,000. It is the most expensive mobile product Apple has ever made, by far. But Apple has experience selling high-end electronics. Very high end. Here are the most expensive products Apple has ever sold.

Apple Watch Edition

Let’s kick things off with the product that’s got everyone talking, the Apple Watch. Most Apple Watch buyers will likely opt for the 38 mm Apple Watch Sport or 42 mm Apple Watch Sport, which cost $350 and $400, respectively.

But if you’re a celebrity, tech mogul, or just really rich, you’ll probably snag an Apple Watch Edition. Pricing starts at a cool 10 grand for a 38 mm Apple Watch Edition with an 18-karat rose-gold case with a white Sport Band. Or you can splurge on the top configuration: $17,000 for a 38 mm watch with an 18-karat gold case and red Modern Buckle strap. You can’t get a 42 mm watch with the Modern Buckle.

Supercelebrities like Beyoncé, though, have been spotted wearing an Apple Watch Edition with a gold link band. Apple doesn’t advertise this configuration of the watch anywhere in its promotional materials, and you can’t buy it through the company’s website. The going theory is that the all-gold watch is a special version of the Apple Watch Edition made specifically for super-high-profile celebrities. Pricing starts in your dreams.

20th-Anniversary Macintosh

Built to commemorate Apple’s 20th anniversary in 1996, though released in 1997, the 20th Anniversary Macintosh was a special edition all-in-one desktop. The TAM, as it’s known in nerdier circles, sold for a wallet-eviscerating $7,499. That’s the equivalent of about $11,000 in today’s dollars.

The TAM lived a short life, though, as its performance didn’t match its price. You could have bought a similarly powerful Apple desktop for far less cash. The TAM did, however, get to spend some time in the limelight, serving as Jerry Seinfeld’s desktop computer on Seinfeld. A version of the TAM also made an appearance as Alfred’s computer in the cinematic abomination that was Batman and Robin.

Mac Pro

Let’s jump from the past back to the present with Apple’s current Mac Pro. The cylindrical desktop is a heavy hitter in terms of both performance and price tag. Used for things like hardcore video and photo editing, the Mac Pro starts at $3,000 with a Quad-Core processor, 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB of memory, and dual graphics cards. That’s quite a beastly machine.

But if you want to go all-out, you can stack the Mac Pro with a 12-Core processor, 64 GB of RAM, 1 TB of flash storage, and dual graphics cards for $9,600. If you buy every accessory, display, cable, and printer that Apple recommends for the Mac Pro, you’ll end up shelling out an incredible $22,000.

Of course, that price includes two displays, a variety of cables you’re unlikely ever to use, software, and Apple’s AppleCare Protection Plan, should you drop your Apple Watch on your Mac Pro and scratch it.

Apple Lisa

The Mac Pro with all the bells and whistles may cost $22,000, but it’s still not the most expensive computer Apple has ever sold. That honor goes to Apple’s Lisa. The business-centric desktop originally went on sale in 1983 for roughly $10,000, or $24,000 in 2015 dollars.

The Lisa wasn’t just some overpriced box. It was the first computer sold to the public with a mouse-based, graphical operating system, something we still use today. It was a pioneering system, to be sure, but at $10,000, it’s hard to believe that anyone bought it.

Apple LaserWriter

Released in 1985, Apple’s LaserWriter was a networked laser printer that, according to Macworld, could be used by up to 40 different Macs using Apple’s AppleTalk network. The LaserWriter led Apple to dominate the desktop publishing market by providing people with the ability to produce physical copies of the graphics and layouts they designed on their Macs.

The LaserWriter wasn’t cheap, though. With a starting price of $7,000 in 1985, the LaserWriter would cost a staggering $15,400 in 2015. That’s one pricey printer.

For now, it’s probably safe to say that Apple won’t be making any new computer products that cost more than $24,000 without options. Then again, if the rumors that Apple is working on its own car are true, $24,000 might seem like a pittance for a product with the Apple logo on it.

Computer Network Topology

Computer Network TopologyThe way how computer connects each other is called topology of network. Computer network topology refers to how physical layout of the network is organized. It is important to choose the right topology for how the network will be used. Each topology has its own characteristic. To choose the right topology we must see the factors that influenced it. The factors are the layout, cost installation, type of cable and troubleshooting techniques. These factors determine how network will be established and how much will it cost.

The most common topologies: Bus Physical Topology Best used in small area of network. Bus topology also known in Mac world as daisy-chaining. In the bus topology the cable runs from computer to computer making each computer a link of a chain. Different types of cable determine way of network can be connected. If your network using thick net coaxial cable, the bus network will have a central backbone cable. If you using smaller cable (Taps) it will have backbone to each PC in the network. The biggest problem with bus topology is that if it’s not terminated correctly then your network can’t transmit correctly.

Star Topology in the star topology, each server, and workstation connected into central hub that provides connection to another device connected to the hub and it shapes like a star. This type of topology is easy to work with and can pin point problem location also isolate problem if it occurs on workstation. A large number of wires needed to connect the network are its major drawback. Ring Topology a ring network is a topology of computer networks where each user is connected to two other users, so as to create a ring.

The most popular example is a token ring network. It is not widely used due to inefficient compared to other topology because the data have to travel through more nodes. The advantages of this topology is each node have equal access and capable of high speed data transfer also can span larger than other topology. The disadvantage is the ring topology is a very expensive technology and not efficient.

Besides this topology there are uncommon topology being used in public for example mesh and fully connected topology that are mostly used in military technology since they are very effective technology and yet very expensive.

Hilarious Dancing Cartoon Chinese App

The internet has been obsessed with a new Chinese app called Huanshi that turns you into a hilarious dancing cartoon character.

 Hilarious Dancing Cartoon

Huanshi is called MyIdol in the U.S. App Store, but that name is the only English thing about the app — the entire app is still in Chinese. This makes navigation a bit tricky, though many people are saying that the confusion is all part of the fun.

Curious to see what all the fuss was about, I downloaded MyIdol and took a selfie so that the app could scan my face and create a 3D avatar version of me. MyIdol starts everyone else with a default hairstyle and wardrobe, so don’t be surprised if your avatar doesn’t look too similar to yourself at the beginning.

By tapping on the clothing button, you can quickly customize your look by choosing a specific hairstyle, eye color, shirt, pants, shoes, and more — you can even make yourself appear to be crying or add a facial tattoo.

A lot of the styles and customization options are grayed out initially, but if you tap on the item you want and wait for 10 to 20 seconds, the new piece of clothing or pair of shoes will download and you’ll be able to select it.

You can even alter your avatar’s age to make you look younger or older. Once you’ve customized things to your liking, just tap the button in the top right corner to bring up the main menu.

The main menu is how you get to all the fun. The main draw of MyIdol is in creating crazy videos, GIFs, or pictures of your avatar performing, singing, or dancing.

The order of the menu buttons from left to right is as follows: customization, videos, selfies, and GIFs.

These are the GIFs, which are silent animations covering a range of different activities, some more peculiar than others. My favorite was the one that shows you crying and about to chop off your own arm (why is crying such a prevalent theme?).

Here’s a look at some of the selfies that you can download, each showing your avatar in a different still pose.

There’s no doubt that the videos are the best section of MyIdol, however, as each one hilariously animates your avatar in a series of increasingly strange video clips that include music and the ability to dub over the song with your own voice.

Once you’re in the video section of MyIdol, you can tap on a video clip and wait for the scene to download (which can take up to 30 seconds or so).

Here’s me singing and dancing provocatively to Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back.”

…here’s me descending from a rope to sing happy birthday.

…and, last but not least, here’s me pole dancing.

Of course, half the fun of MyIdol is sending these videos to your friends, which you can do once the video is done playing by tapping on the large green button and selecting the Photos icon, which saves the video to phone’s Photos app.

While I was certainly a bit skeptical of MyIdol, I can honestly say I haven’t laughed this hard from playing around with app in ages, and it’s surprisingly fun to see how eerily accurate the avatars can look if you take the time to fine-tune all the customization options.

People on Twitter have been freaking out over MyIdol, creating videos for celebrities and even scanning their cats and dogs with the app, leading to some weird results.