With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’

Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the 'smart plug' during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the ‘smart plug’ during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched a $25 smart plug that lets you control any outlet in your home by voice with an Amazon Echo. That means you can control any lamp, appliance or anything else that plugs into an outlet by speaking a phrase to Alexa like “turn on the living room lamp,” without having to find a switch. It even lets you add other smarts, like a schedule so the light turns on and off at certain times.

It’s a really easy way to turn a “dumb” home into a smart one that you can control with your phone or by voice. You don’t need to fiddle with complicated hubs or spend too much time trying to get something to connect to your WiFi network.

If you can plug in a lamp, you can get the smart plug working. I’m going to show you how to get the most out of it.

This is the smart plug

Amazon smart plug

Amazon smart plug

It’s very simple. Think of it as a sort of adapter that adds the brains to anything you want to plug into an outlet. It will let you schedule an appliance to turn on and off at a certain time, enable you to turn it on or off even when you’re away from home and let you activate it by speaking to Alexa.

All you need to do is take the smart plug, plug in the appliance to one end —it makes the most sense with a lamp because it’s a simple on/off appliance, but you can use anything from a humidifier to a fan — and then plug it into the wall.


Is the most expensive Royal Enfield worth the money? Our review of the 500X

Image result for Is the most expensive Royal Enfield worth the money? Our review of the 500X

Royal Enfield is moving fast with the changing times and does not shy away from experimenting. The Continental GT, for example, was a step in the right direction and another such move comes in the form of the new Urban X twins based on the Thunderbird models. Called the 350x and the 500x, these new bikes promise to up your fashion quotient. We rode the 500x for a week in and around Delhi and here is what I have to say about the bigger 500x.

As discussed above, the X models are based on the Thunderbird 350 and 500 but there are a lot of changes. The shift to alloy wheels, with tubeless tyres, is a big change and also makes the riding experience safer. For the uninitiated, the leakage of air during a puncture is far slower in a tubeless tyre than in one with a tube. The alloy wheels also get a color coded rim tape that gels well with color coded seat stitching as well. In fact, the only contrasting color on the bike is the tank paint; everything else is finished in black.

The next big change is the flatter and shorter handlebar that is geared towards providing a better city experience. It also makes the posture a lot more sportier though I would have preferred the pegs to be set backwards as the current set-up puts a lot more pressure on your lower back. The seat on the 500x is also different, being a single unit than twin on the conventional Thunderbird. And lastly, this model misses out on a back-rest for the pillion and instead you get two grab rails by the side of the rear seat.

All in all, the 500x looks good and did manage to turn a few heads. Shows how minimal changes can make a bike look so much better. It continues to get a single-disc brake up front and rear, a twin-pod speedometer console and retro looking round rear view mirrors, which though offer a decent view, do vibrate a lot at higher rpms.

The 500x carries forward the same engine that powers the Thunderbird and this means you get a single cylinder 499-cc engine that puts out 27.2 bhp of power and 41.3 Nm of torque. While I agree the power output is nothing to boast of, 41 Nm of torque is way higher than other bikes, such as the Duke 390 and the BMW 310 offerings. And this comes handy while pottering around in city traffic. Even with a load of a pillion, the 500x picks up speed effortlessly and though anything under 1500 rpm makes the engine and chain protest, once you are above that the 500x rewards you with a great experience.

At 85-90 km/h in top gear, the vibes also cease to exist (almost completely) and this is the sweet spot for this bike. Don’t get me wrong, given the road, the 500x will hit 130 on the speedometer but this is not its forte. The sheer joy of pinning the throttle and making use of the strong mid-range is what leaves a smile on your face. And in the process, the bike delivers over 25-30 kmpl easily, giving a real world range of almost 600 km, something none of the other bikes in the price band can match.

The 500x uses the same underpinnings as the T’bird, which means that the ride quality is comfortable. And with the shorter/flatter handlebars, weaving through traffic is a lot easier. That said, the protruding foot pegs do foul with your legs in rush hour traffic and take time getting used to. Talking of which, the dual horn set-up is LOUD and helps keep other motorists at bay.

At Rs. 2.25 lakh, on-road Delhi, the 500x is expensive but offers you an opportunity to stand out among the crowd of other Rs. 2-lakh bikes. If you want a bike for Sunday morning thrills, the occasional office commute and one that others take notice of, this one ain’t a bad deal. True it won’t set sales charts on fire but the 500x (and the cheaper 350x) widens the target audience for Royal Enfield and every bit counts in my opinion.


Reigns Game of Thrones – HBO licensed Mobile and PC game releasing this October

Reigns Game of Thrones - HBO licensed Mobile and PC game releasing this October

Reigns Game of Thrones – HBO licensed Mobile and PC game releasing this October
Game of Thrones fans might still have a long wait until the next book or TV Season, but there’s some good news to fill the gap while you wait.

Nerial, Devolver Digital HBO has today unveiled Reigns: Game of Thrones, a new entry in the smash-hit swipe ‘em up series based on the award-winning HBO TV series.

The new Reigns: Game of Thrones release will launch on the App Store, Google Play, and Steam from just £2.99 in October and is available for pre-order now where available.

The original Reigns game released back in August 2016 and became even more wildly popular will the release of the sequel Reigns: Her Majesty last December.

And for a game which largely focuses on the player acting as the all-powerful monarch who accepts or rejects suggestions based on your swipe of a finger on the screen, it couldn’t be more perfect for a Game of Thrones-themed reskin.

Keep reading for everything we know about the game so far ahead of release.

Reigns Game of Thrones – Overview

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Nerial
Format: PC, Mobile (iOS and Android)
Release date: October 2018
Price  $3.99 | £2.99 | €3.99

Reigns Game of Thrones – What is it?

Here’s what we’ve learned from today’s announcement press release:

Reigns: Game of Thrones extends beyond the HBO® series and explores possible futures for key characters as seen through the fiery visions of Red Priestess, Melisandre.  Players can choose to rule as Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, and more while changing between each king and queen to face challenges and mysteries unique to their story.

Melisandre’s flames have proven hard to decipher and less than reliable, so players may encounter stories they do not expect. Peer into the flames and you may see Cersei rebuild the Great Sept of Baelor or discover what could happen to the Seven Kingdoms if Sansa Stark married Jaime Lannister.

Players will choose characters to claim the Iron Throne while carefully navigating the complex relationships and hostile factions of the Seven Kingdoms. Employ ruthless tactics to outwit political rivals, wield impervious charm on your fickle bannerman, and maintain the balance and favor of the people to extend your reign to maybe, one day, survive the horrors of a winter in Westeros. Decide the fate of Seven Kingdoms and those that reside in your land to the soaring score of the HBO series.


Misuse Of Mobile Phones Leading To Criminal Tendencies: Chandrababu Naidu

Misuse Of Mobile Phones Leading To Criminal Tendencies: Chandrababu Naidu

Indiscriminate use of mobile phones was leading to growth in criminal tendencies among the youth, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said on Friday, appealing to women to restrict the time spent by their children on the communication gadget.

“Use of mobile phones is turning into a bad habit among children and the youths are misusing the smart phones. This is leading to an increase in criminal tendencies, which is a dangerous consequence,” he said.

Addressing a meeting of resource persons of women self-help groups, he said purchase of smart phones had increased along with advancement in technology.

Excessive use of anything would turn it into an addiction and cause negative results, he said.

“Women have to curb this trend by restricting usage of mobile phones by their children. You have to control their bad habits,” Mr Naidu said.

The Chief Minister said his government was striving to reduce economic inequalities in the society by taking up programmes that enhance women’s income.


He said loans to the tune of Rs. 14,000 crore had been arranged for the women SHGs in the state this year for their economic empowerment.


He’s Head Of Japan’s Cybersecurity But Has “Never Used A Computer”

He's Head Of Japan's Cybersecurity But Has 'Never Used A Computer'

Japan’s recently appointed cybersecurity and Olympics minister has told parliament he has never used a computer in his life, though he is responsible for overseeing cybersecurity preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, was named to the two posts last month by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, having never held a cabinet position before during his 18 years in parliament.

The minister made the admission at a parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday when asked by an opposition lawmaker if he was computer literate.

“I’ve been independent since I was 25 and have always directed my staff and secretaries to do that kind of thing,” Sakurada replied. “I’ve never used a computer!”

Sakurada had said that he recognised that “firmly carrying out cybersecurity from a citizen’s standpoint” was part of his job.

When asked by the lawmaker how someone lacking computer skills could be in charge of cybersecurity, Sakurada said policy was decided broadly by a number of people in his office and the national government, and he was confident there would be no problems.



Only 3.5 Lakh Of 40 Lakh Excluded In Assam List Applied Again: Sources

Only 3.5 Lakh Of 40 Lakh Excluded In Assam List Applied Again: Sources

About 3.5 lakh people, out of the total 40 lakh, who were excluded in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), have claimed that they are Indian nationals, two months after the window opens for claims and objections in the Supreme Court-monitored exercise, sources said on Sunday.

Besides, less than 100 applications have been received by the authorities challenging the inclusion of the names of suspected illegal immigrants in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents.

So far, about 3.5 lakh people have submitted applications for inclusion of their names in the NRC and they have submitted relevant documents claiming that they are Indian citizens, a source privy to the development said.

The issue of low turnout in the claims and objections period was also discussed at Saturday’s high-level meeting in New Delhi attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajiv Jain, among others.

The Supreme Court has also finalised a set of standard operating procedure (SOP) for disposal of claims and objections in the updation of the NRC.

The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total applications of 3.29 crore.

There has been a huge controversy over exclusion of 40 lakh people from the draft NRC.

Following a directive of the Supreme Court, the process of filing claims and objections to the draft NRC began on September 25 and it will come to an end on December 15.

Initially, the top court had allowed the claimants to rely on any of the 10 documents — land documents, permanent residential certificate issued from outside the state, passport, Life Insurance Corporation of India policy, any license or certificate issued by any government authority.

Document showing service or employment under the government or public sector undertaking, bank or post office accounts, birth certificates issued by a competent authority, educational certificate issued by boards or universities and records or processes pertaining to court provided they are part of processing in a judicial or revenue court.

However, on November 1, the court allowed five additional documents to reply upon for inclusion of names in the NRC.

The additional papers are — 1951 NRC, electoral roll up to March 24, 1971, citizenship certificate, refugee registration certificate and ration card. For the claims and objections process, forms are available in 2,500 ‘Seva Kendras’ in Assam, where people can file their appeal in their respective areas, another source said.

People can file corrections to their names that are in the draft and also raise objections against suspected foreigners.

The update of the NRC, the massive exercise to identify genuine Indian nationals living in Assam, excluded over 40 lakh people from the draft list published on July 30, creating a huge political controversy.

The exercise is aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh was carried out only in Assam, which faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century.

When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.

As per the 2011 census, Assam’s total population is over 3.11 crore. The process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been widely debated and become a contentious issue in the state’s politics.

A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) in 1979.


Thugs Of Hindostan Box Office Collection Day 2: Despite A ‘Decline’ At The Ticket Window, Aamir Khan’s Film Earns Rs. 81.50 Crore

Thugs Of Hindostan Box Office Collection Day 2: Despite A 'Decline' At The Ticket Window, Aamir Khan's Film Earns Rs 81.50 Crore

Vijay Krishna Acharya’s Thugs Of Hindostan couldn’t have got a better start at the box office as the film has managed to collect a whopping sum of Rs. 81.50 crore (adding the business of Tamil and Telugu releases) within two days of its release, reports Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh. However, the film’s performance witnessed a dip in its performance on Friday as it managed to collect Rs. 28.25 crore. According to Mr Adarsh, the film needs to perform well on Saturday as well as Sunday in order to keep its performance at the box office intact. Mr Adarsh tweeted: “Thugs Of Hindostan has to show a positive upturn on Day 3 [today], else its sustainability from Day 5 [Mon] onwards will be extremely doubtful…One thing is crystal clear. Thugs Of Hindostan has not met the monumental expectations…The BO numbers are doing the talking now.”