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11 Apps to Enhance Your Phone Entertainment

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Thanks to an endless supply of engaging apps, there’s no excuse for being bored as long as you’ve got your phone in your pocket. With apps like these, you can maximize your phone’s entertainment value, find music you love, and even get a little smarter. 

1. Wayfare

Wayfare makes it easy to make new friends regardless of geography. This app provides international pen pals you can swap stories and photos with. It’s a great way to explore other cultures and lifestyles without ever leaving your home.  

2. Dots 

The charm of this game lies in its simplicity— just connect the dots. Beautifully designed and highly addictive, this is the perfect game to play while waiting in line or sitting on a train. 

3. Songza 

Songza works as a helpful DJ that plays music for you based on the mood or event. The tunes are unlimited and absolutely free, so you can listen all day. 

4. Blendoku 

This game is an interesting twist on Sudoku. Players are given a grid with some colors filled in. The missing spaces must be filled in such a way that it makes a smooth gradient both vertically and horizontally. It’s the perfect game to learn how to distinguish subtle variations in colors and great for all ages.

5. Thomas Was Alone

Originally a flash game, Thomas Was Alone has expanded onto your smartphone. The player controls a variety of colored shapes that have their own personalities and abilities. The goal is to lead the shapes to checkpoints or exit zones on each level while overcoming obstacles and avoiding hazards. 

6. Flipboard 

This app is “your own personal magazine.” Compile all your favorite news sources in one place. You can follow general interests, topics, and specific people to get an aggregated look at what’s going on in the world. 

7. Disco Zoo 

Live out your dreams of owning a zoo and/or dance club with this adorable game. Collect animals and expand your zoo to rake in the big virtual bucks. You can throw dance parties for your animals and customers whenever you’re feeling groovy. 

8. Aldiko Book Reader

Aldiko organizes all your e-books in one handy place. It also provides the user with thousands of free classic and modern books— like a virtual library. 

9. Toast Time 

This delightfully punny game features a toaster that shoots English breakfast food at enemies in a retro arcade style game. There are 45 delicious missions to go on, all jam-packed with food-themed jokes.

10. Beamly

Beamly keeps you in the loop with the gossip on all your favorite shows. It also brings you together with friends, family, and like-minded television watchers. This social networking app enhances your television watching by putting you in touch with others watching the same thing at the same time, so you’ll already know the answer when you ask, “Did you see that?!”

11. Comics

This unassumingly named comic reader provides over 50,000 comics to peruse right on your phone. If you’re a comics fan, the app has all the big names like DC, Marvel, and Disney.

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Purchased a PlayStation 3 Between 2006 and 2010? You May Be Entitled to $65
Clemens Bilan, AFP/Getty Images
Clemens Bilan, AFP/Getty Images

All that time you spent playing video games in the late aughts could finally pay off: According to Polygon, if you purchased an original-style "fat" PlayStation 3 between November 1, 2006 and April 1, 2010, you're eligible to receive a $65 check. You have until April 15 to file your claim.

PS3 owners first qualified to receive compensation from Sony following the settlement of a lawsuit in 2016. That case dealt with the "OtherOS" feature that came with the console when it debuted. With OtherOS, Sony promised a new PlayStation that would operate like a computer, allowing users to partition their hard drive and install third-party operating systems like the open-source Linux software.

OtherOS was included in the PlayStation 3 until April 2010, when Sony removed the feature due to security concerns. This angered enough PS3 owners to fuel a lawsuit, and Sony, facing accusations of false advertisement and breach of warranty, agreed to settle in October 2016.

PlayStation 3 owners were initially told they'd be receiving $55 each from the settlement, but that number has since grown to $65. To claim your piece of the $3.75 million settlement, you must first confirm that you're qualified to receive it. The PlayStation 3 you purchased needs to be a 20 GB, 40 GB, 60 GB or 80 GB model. If that checks out, visit this website and submit either your "fat" PS3 serial number or the PlayStation network sign-in ID or online ID associated with the console.

[h/t Polygon]

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10 Tips for Setting Up Your Home Theater
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It doesn't take much effort to turn a typical room into a home theater—just add a television. But considering how many movies and TV shows most of us actually watch at home, why not go the distance and create a domestic space that rivals the movie theater experience? Here are some simple (for the most part) steps for creating a home theater that's worthy of all the time you'll spend in it.

1. Find Your Visual Sweet Spot

Engineers and scientists have toiled long and hard to come up with the optimal viewing distance for watching HDTVs. The math is relatively simple—take the display's diagonal screen size and multiply it by 1.5 to 2.5. That's how far your couch, chairs, or other prime seating choices should be placed relative to the front of the television.

2. For Small Rooms, Try A Soundbar

Most modern HDTVs can pump out decent sound, but nothing delivers that cinematic experience quite like dedicated speakers. For small rooms, consider getting a soundbar, which packs multiple speakers into a single low-profile, horizontal package. Some of the sleeker models can fit right below the screen, while others act as a kind of reinforced base, with the TV sitting directly on top.

3. Clear Space For Wall-Shaking Bass

Another simple audio upgrade comes from a subwoofer, a bass-only class of speaker that's designed to literally vibrate the room. Don't mount these boxy behemoths in a cabinet (where their vibrations will generate more of an unsettling rattle than a satisfying rumble), but on the floor. The key here is to make sure there's enough space right against one of your home theater's walls, and preferably in a corner.

4. Stow Speakers In Bookshelves

One of the hallmarks of next-level home theater audio is separation—setting up speakers so that sound effects, dialogue, and other audio seem to come from different directions, such as left, right and center. Though you could pull this off with a pair of massive floor-standing speakers, the subtler approach (for non-cavernous spaces) is to place smaller speakers on bookshelves, positioned to the left and right of the TV. This stealthier setup also helps to hide obtrusive cables.

5. Mount Up For Surround Sound

The best, but most complex, audio setup is full surround sound, which usually entails six total audio channels, or speakers—one for the center, the right and the left, two for the rear, and one subwoofer. The biggest challenge, however, is generally rear-channel placement. Though you might stumble across the perfect pair of shelves or other furniture to set those speakers on, expect to go the distance and mount the rear channels in the wall (the upper back corners of most rooms work fine).

6. Sit Up Straight For 3D

If you plan on watching a lot of 3D content, get yourself a seat with a stiff back. Why? Because tilting your head to one side or the other can garble the 3D effect—meaning the sort of sprawling position typical to couch-based viewing is no good. So make sure your chair or couch faces forward, in a way that discourages slouching and lounging.

7. Check Your Angles

Some HDTVs can be viewed from relatively extreme angles (to the left, right, or even from above and below), while others require more of a dead-center position. Before you drill any holes or buy any new furniture, stick the TV roughly where it's going to go, turn it on, and make sure none of the room's seating options are getting completely short-changed.

8. Turn Away From Glare

While checking for bad angles, consider how much light is hitting the screen from your windows at various times of the day. The same goes for unnatural light (lamps, track lighting, etc.). Even the brightest image can't compete with intense glare, so try to position the TV in as much round-the-clock shadow as possible.

9. Kill Two Birds With One Curve

Those last two issues—bad angles and screen glare—can be largely dealt with by opting for a curved HDTV. The subtle bend in these displays actually increases the total viewing angle to either side of the TV, while also limiting total glare. Prioritizing this feature can take some of the fuss out of the overall home theater setup.

10. Put on Headphones, And Sit Wherever You Want

Until very recently, headphones and TVs were an awkward fit, requiring that you either sit uncomfortably close to the screen (since most earphone cords aren't more than a few feet long), or figure out where to put the bulky, interference-prone radio-frequency transmitters that work with wireless headphones. But a handful of newer products let you plug standard headphones directly into a remote control, giving you access to perfectly synced, perfectly private audio, from essentially any seat in the room. Only a handful of products currently offer this feature, the most recent of which is the PlayStation 4, which has an audio jack built into the game controller.

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