Wise Owl Shopper Discounts

design

Queer Eye on Netflix: The new reality show everyone’s talking about

You may have noticed absolutely everyone’s talking about Queer Eye, Netflix’s newest reality TV show which sees a group of gay men use their expertise in areas like fashion, interior design and culture to transform the lives of men in need of a little help.

In case you haven’t watched any episodes yet, here’s what you need to know about the reality TV show Queer Eye

Queer Eye – What’s it about?

The show is a re-vamp of a previous incarnation that aired in the early 2000s. Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was first created in 2003, won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Programme in 2004 and continued for five series until the show finally ended in 2007.

Fast forward 11 years and Netflix has brought back Queer Eye for an eight-episode run, with an all new ‘Fab Five’ on hand to help the men of Georgia, USA.

The Fab Five is the name for the group of men who lead the show, appearing in each episode offering up their expertise. The group is made up of Karamo (an expert in culture), Tan (an expert in fashion), Jonathan (an expert in grooming), Bobby (an expert in interior design) and Antoni (an expert in cooking.)

MORE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CROWN SEASON 3 Antoni giving a cooking lesson. (Image: Netflix)

The Fab Five travel around Georgia, visiting men who’ve been nominated by friends and family to receive a little help getting their homes, fashion, grooming regime and other elements of their lives in order.

As well as helping with aesthetic elements, the Fab Five also offer emotional support and give the men a boost in self-confidence. Bobby reveals a home makeover. (Image: Netflix)

Queer Eye – Get to know the Fab Five

Jonathan Van Ness

Jonathan is a grooming expert who helps the men of Queer Eye to look after themselves on the outside in order to feel good about themselves on the inside.

Karamo Brown

Karamo is an expert in culture, who works with the men of Queer Eye to enhance their social and romantic lives. He also offers personal branding and career advice.

Tan France

Tan is a style expert who transforms the wardobes of the men taking part in the Queer Eye makeover process.

Bobby Berk

Bobby is an interior design expert and leads the process of making over homes to better reflect the personalities of the men taking part in Queer Eye.

Antoni Porowski

Antoni is a food expert who teaches the men he works with about how to follow healthy eating habits and entertain using food.

MORE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DOCTOR FOSTER SEASON 3

Queer Eye – Will it be back for another season?

At the minute, Netflix hasn’t announced any plans for another run of episodes, however the season that landed on the streaming site in February 2018 has been praised so much by fans that we imagine it’s only a matter of time before the Fab Five are back on the road changing lives.

(Image: Netflix) (Main image: Netflix) Like this?

Subscribe to the Good Housekeeping newsletter.

From horror fests to shoot-’em-ups, here are the 20 best Oculus Rift games

The Oculus Rift had a tough go of it out of the gate. Delayed shipments and a sparse library of games made its first six months on the market rocky, to say the least. Then, in late 2016, the delayed Oculus Touch controllers arrived, upping the impressiveness of most games by giving players full motion control with each hand.

Now, well into its second year of life, the Oculus Rift continues to impress with a steady stream of solid experiences. From first-person shooters to frightful psychological horror games to quirky puzzlers to co-op games, the platform has something for everyone. We’ve combed through its library to compile the best Oculus Rift games available on the VR headset today.

Lone Echo

[embedded content]

Numerous VR experiences have attempted to capture the feeling of floating in space, but the Oculus exclusive title Lone Echo is the only one to do it in a way that feels accurate.

In reality, most of your actions involve simple maintenance fixes to a space station, but through the excellent Oculus Touch controllers, all of your movements have an immersion to them that few VR games have been able to replicate thus far. With a strong sci-fi story and a wonderfully realized space setting, Lone Echo‘s several hours of play are the best way to visit space from your living room. Amazon

Wilson’s Heart

[embedded content]

One of the more ambitious Oculus Rift games to date, Wilson’s Heart serves up psychological horror through the immersive experience of VR.

Set in the 1940s, the game follows hospital patient Robert Wilson, who wakes up only to realize that his heart has been replaced by a perplexing device. You play as Wilson, but you’re not the only one with disturbing woes. As you make your way down spooky, tight corridors, you’ll meet an eccentric cast of characters, all of whom want to find out how and why they have been poked and prodded by the dastardly hospital staff.

Full of jump scares and eerie realizations, Wilson’s Heart makes great use of the Touch controllers to get you into the thick of its mind-altering horrors. Amazon

Superhot VR

[embedded content]

Conceived as an alternate expression of experimental first-person shooter Superhot, Superhot VR adapts the stop-motion mechanic to your arms as you wield Oculus Touch controllers. When you move your hands around, the bullets rain in from enemies, but if you stop to consider your next move, you’ll receive a welcome bullet remission.

The goal remains the same — to advance to the exit in each room — but in VR, the intensity is amplified. Dismembering foes in VR will get your blood pumping. You must move your hands methodically to succeed, but Superhot VR‘s ingenious design makes it a constant delight.

Amazon

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives

[embedded content]

A testament to how VR excels at turning menial tasks into engaging, even sometimes transformative experiences, Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives pretty much plays as advertised. Yet, the mundane becomes fascinating in VR. Who would have thought?

The year is 2050, and humans have automated every job. To spice up your unburdened human life, you can now use a VR headset to simulate what “honest work” was all about. You can ring up chips and drinks as a convenience store clerk, fix cars as a mechanic, man the griddle as a short-order cook, or process paperwork as a run-of-the-mill 9-to-5 office worker.

Of course, this is what robots thought work was like, so it may be different and much funnier than you remember. Amazon

The Unspoken

[embedded content]

This is the closest you can get to being a wizard at home. Oculus exclusive The Unspoken from heralded developer Insomniac Games does an exceedingly impressive job of making you feel like you’re doing a lot of wizarding work without demanding much of you. The Unspoken is an urban fantasy filled with customizable wizards and spell casters, and you just happen to be one of them.

The wide array of spells deployed via Oculus Touch controllers almost feel as if they are truly being guided from your fingertips. There’s some exploration here and a dreary game world, but the meat of the experience comes from the duels that help you advance through the ranks of a wizard fight club. Unlike the fight club you’re thinking of, it’s okay to talk about this one.

We recommend you play it, too. Amazon

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

[embedded content]

Quite possibly the best multiplayer VR experience to date, Star Trek: Bridge Crew lets users play out their childhood fantasies of joining the likes of James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, and Pavel Chekov as a member of a Starfleet crew.

Players work in teams of four, with each person in one of four roles — pilot, engineer, tactician, or captain. Each job — best acted out with an Oculus Touch controller, but playable with an Xbox One controller — asks players to tinker with a computer panel. Bridge Crew excels as a cooperative game due to the need to work together to find success. It really does feel like you’re living inside an episode of Star Trek.

Simply put, if you have a group to play with, Bridge Crew should be at the top of your wish list. Amazon

Robo Recall

[embedded content]

Originally designed as a pack-in game for the Oculus Touch controllers, Robo Recall is a frantic shoot-em-up designed to make it easy for you to look cool while blowing robots to bits. You play as Agent 34 of the robot manufacturing company RoboReady.

Your job at the company is to remove defective units from the production line, but a virus has turned the robots against their creators, and now you must take them out. While Robo Recall boils down to a series of timed shooting galleries, it’s much more interesting than your average on rails FPS. You can pick up enemies and fling them into other robots with a swipe of your hand, and you can even catch bullets in the air and whirl them back to turn the infected robots into nothing more than a pile of parts. Robo Recall shows off the brilliance of the Oculus Touch controllers.

Best of all, it’s free-to-play. Oculus

Arizona Sunshine

[embedded content]

One of the only full-fledged first person shooters available in VR, Arizona Sunshine drops you into the smoldering heat of an American Southwest that is currently littered with zombies. Using the Oculus Touch, you can aim, shoot, and reload dozens of weapons.

More open than other shooters in VR, Arizona Sunshine has a campaign mode that lets players explore the deserts and caves in search of an escape. After the campaign is finished, there are both single- and multiplayer horde modes, which force you to fight off hordes of the undead. Arizona Sunshine is a fast-paced gore-fest filled with bloodied, hungry zombies. It’s slick and demonstrates how the Oculus Rift can deliver complete packages with multiple game modes.

Amazon

Chronos

For people used to playing traditional video games and looking to ease into the world of VR, Chronos is a great option. An easy comparison is Dark Souls. It’s a game full of pitched sword duels in which you have to carefully land blows and defend against the attacks of your foes to stay alive. Chronos eschews the usual VR approach of the first-person viewpoint — in which you see the game through the eyes of the character you’re playing as — in favor of the third-person view, where you watch and control the action from a separate perspective, much like a camera recording an event. Oculus

Edge of Nowhere

Insomniac Games took a stab at doing horror in virtual reality in a way that’s different from nearly every other game of that genre on the platform.

Rather than go the usual route, using a first-person perspective that has you playing as if you’re in the shoes (and seeing through the eyes) of the protagonist, it puts the camera behind the main character, just like in Chronos.

The result is a more psychological, stealthy take on horror. Edge of Nowhere is another of those VR games that feels like it could easily exist as a more traditional game, but it does some experimentation with the platform to find new ways to scare players.

Oculus

Watch this inflatable robot slither around Harvard using artificial snakeskin

[embedded content]

We’ve covered some cool crawling snake robots before here at Digital Trends, but most of these differ from real-life serpents in one crucial way: They don’t have scaly skin. While that might sound like a matter of aesthetics more than practicality, in fact, a snake’s skin plays a crucial role in helping them crawl about; enabling them to grip onto surfaces to gain the necessary friction to move forward. That is something that researchers at Harvard University are aiming to set straight and they are turning to the ancient Japanese paper cutting art of kirigami to help them.

The resulting laser-cut material is a low-cost textured skin, designed to help robots better maneuver on rough surfaces. “Although bio-inspired soft machines made of highly deformable materials are enabling a variety of innovative applications, their locomotion typically requires several actuators that are independently activated,” Katia Bertoldi, professor of Applied Mechanics at Harvard, told Digital Trends. “In this work, we harness kirigami principles to significantly enhance their ability to crawl. We [designed] highly stretchable kirigami surfaces comprising periodic arrays of cuts and exploit mechanical instabilities to induce a transformation from flat sheets to 3D-textured surfaces akin to the scaled snakeskin.”

By wrapping their artificial scaly skin around simple tube-like robots containing air-powered actuators, the researchers found that there was a dramatic change in their frictional properties, giving the robot-enhanced crawling capabilities. Inflating the actuator caused the snake robot to move forward by popping up the scales so that they gripped the ground. Deflating the actuator flattened the scales, which anchored the robot so that it didn’t slide backward.

By carrying out a continuous inflation and deflation, the snake robot was able to slither forward like … well, a snake. Interestingly, the team discovered that switching between different shapes of the scales — such as triangular, circular, trapezoidal or linear — changed the speed and the efficiency of the crawling action. “We believe that our kirigami-based strategy opens avenues for the design of a new class of soft crawlers that can travel across complex environments for search and rescue, exploration and inspection operations, environmental monitoring and medical procedures,” Bertoldi continued.

She said that there are no current plans for commercialization of the technology, although the team does plan to continue developing it.

Future steps will involve applying the principles to different types of soft actuators, such as those based on dielectric elastomers and shape memory alloys, as well as using kirigami skins to explore and enhance other types of motions.

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Science Robotics.

Editors’ Recommendations

Smartphone sales fall for first time ever, says Gartner

Apple’s iPhone X wasn’t enough to boost smartphone sales in the holiday quarter.

CNET

Uh oh. Smartphones finally took a nosedive. In the fourth quarter of 2017, smartphone sales fell for the first time ever, according to Gartner.

Handset makers sold nearly 408 million smartphones to customers in the quarter, down 5.6 percent from the same period a year ago, the research firm said Thursday. That marks the first annual decline since Gartner started tracking the smartphone market in 2004. Fewer people are switching their feature phones to smartphones “due to a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones” and instead are buying nicer feature phones, Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said Thursday.

And people who already own smartphones are upgrading to higher-end models and holding on to them longer, he added. “Moreover, while demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales,” Gupta noted.

The smartphone market has been slowing down of late. It’s become harder for handset vendors to make huge changes in their devices and differentiate from one another.

Prices for the latest and greatest phones have actually increased at the same time US carriers have gotten rid of subsidies. All of that’s meant people are waiting longer to upgrade. Even Apple has struggled.

It reported in April 2016 that its iPhone unit sales fell for the first time ever, and they ended up declining for that full year. Apple’s sales have largely rebounded, though they again slid in the December quarter despite the launch of the iPhone X. Samsung managed to hold on to the No.

1 position in the fourth quarter, even though its unit sales slid 3.6 percent to 74 million units, Gartner said. The company on Sunday will show off its newest phone, the Galaxy S9. The device is expected to feature tweaks but no major design overhaul.

Apple ranked No.

2 in the period with iPhone sales down 5 percent to 73.2 million, followed by Chinese vendors Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. Huawei and Xiaomi (which doesn’t rank in the top five) were the only smartphone vendors to see their unit sales grow in the quarter, Gartner said.

Now Playing: Watch this: iPhone X is the top seller, but total iPhone sales take…

55:05

(Note, Apple earlier this month reported it sold 77.3 million iPhones in the December quarter, but Gartner calculates its figure differently. It tallies devices in the hands of actual users, while Apple and others also include phones that have not yet been purchased by end consumers and are still held by Verizon Wireless, Best Buy and other vendors.)

For the full year, smartphone sales increased 2.7 percent to 1.5 billion units, Gartner said. Samsung’s market share stayed about flat at 21 percent, while Apple’s remained at about 14 percent. Huawei’s grew to 9.8 percent from 8.9 percent in 2016.

For smartphone operating systems, Android’s lead grew by 1.1 percentage points to 86 percent.

Apple’s iOS remained at about 14 percent.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

Blockchain Decoded: CNET looks at the tech powering bitcoin — and soon, too, a myriad of services that will change your life.

Save $200 on an iPhone X from T-Mobile

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!

Stephen Beacham

Before I delve into today’s deal, a quick aside. Late yesterday I spotted this headline: “These £40 knockoffs look just like Apple’s £159 AirPods, and they sound almost as good.” Of course I was intrigued, so I checked it out. Guess what?

That story, which appeared on what I consider a pretty well-respected site, was straight-up linkbait. Not only did the author not test the product, she didn’t mention the 1-star review average from Amazon buyers. So those knockoffs “sound almost as good” according to whom?

All this is simply to say, I will never do that.

Whenever possible, I’ll test a product first so I can report on the pros and cons. When that’s not possible, I’ll try to point you to other reviews. And I’ll always draw on 30 years of tech-industry experience to provide context, caveats and so on.

My goal is, and has always been, to steer you to great deals while helping you make an informed purchase decision. Today, for example, there’s a deal to be had on an iPhone X — but with lots of catches. Take a look.

X marks the drop?

T-Mo is getting aggressive with iPhone deals.

But you gotta jump through a fair number of hoops.

T-Mobile

Starting tomorrow, Feb.

23, T-Mobile is offering a £200 rebate (in the form of a prepaid debit card) when you buy an iPhone X, trade in an eligible phone, finance the X for 24 months and get service while you’re at it. Never mind how weird it is that T-Mo announced this deal a day ahead (who in their right mind will buy an iPhone X from them today?). It’s a reflection of reportedly poor iPhone X sales and, I think, a sign that Apple will drop the iPhone X’s price in the coming months.

The deal itself is pretty standard fare for anyone who doesn’t mind getting into bed with a carrier for two years. Me, I continue to prefer buying a phone outright and then shopping for the cheapest service I can find — but T-Mo does have its perks. There’s also a BOGO deal: Buy any iPhone (including a 7 or 7 Plus, weirdly!) and you’ll get an iPhone 8 for free.

Again, there are trade-in and service requirements. But for anyone in the market for one or two iPhones, these are deals worth considering. My £.02: The iPhone X is not worth £1,000. (No phone is, and that includes whatever Samsung bakes into the S9 that’s coming this weekend.) Is it worth £800?

More in the ballpark, at least. I like the screen size, the bezel-free design and the cameras; I don’t like Face ID or the notch. Frankly, I want Apple to quit monkeying with hardware and fix the many, many terrible things about iOS.

Anyway, now you have the iPhone-deal news. Let’s hear what you think of it.

A tiny terabyte for just £41.

Toshiba

Bonus deal: Need a big hunk of portable storage? Most 256GB flash drives will run you at least £50.

How about four times the storage for £10 less? For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon is selling the Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1TB portable hard drive for £40.59, shipped free with Prime. It’s a compact, SB© USB 3.0 drive that’s both Windows- and Mac-compatible.

It comes with backup software and a 2-year warranty.

Assuming you don’t need something that’s actually flash drive-size, this offers incredible mobile-storage bang for the buck.

Oh, and it has a 4.3-star review average from over 2,500 buyers. (A brand like Toshiba, you probably don’t have to worry about fake reviews.)

1 2 3 56