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The Morning After: Friday December 23, 2016

Before you take off for the holiday, we’re looking back at this year’s best games and gadgets, and fearing the worst when it comes to next year’s weather.

Play this. Also: Don’t play this.
The best (and worst) games of 2016

Because of this year’s never-ending cycle of unease, video games have been more important to a lot of us at Engadget this year. Of course, they’re always a form of escapism, but in the last 12 months they’ve had to function as a kind of digital cocoon. Here’s our pick of 2016’s top forms of gaming escape — as well as those best avoided.

Because everyone has an old ThinkPad laying around
Now Raspberry Pi’s Pixel OS can run on regular PCs

A Linux-based operating system that can run on a cheap Raspberry Pi computer could also breathe life into some old laptops. At least, it can now that the Pixel OS is ready to run on both Windows and OS X computers. It’s still in the experimental stages, but interested users can grab a bootable image and try it out right away.

Less is more when it comes to microtransactions
‘RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic’ rides again on Android and iOS

Atari’s new game for mobile is actually a mashup of two old ones, as RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic pulls from RCT 1 and 2. Overall it’s a simpler take on ride design and park management than later games in the series, and unlike previous mobile releases, it’s very light on the in-app purchases. The game costs $6, there are two expansion packs, and the ability to import/export saved parks costs extra, but that’s it.

Including every VR headset
The best gadgets of 2016

The year is almost over, so now it’s time to run down some of the most impressive electronics we’ve seen. VR hardware topped the list, but that’s not all. Dell and HP delivered impressive laptops (even when Apple didn’t) and the best phones were the ones that didn’t explode.

No Pixel watch, for nowAndroid Wear 2.0 will launch on third-party smartwatches

Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang confirmed in an interview with The Verge that version 2.0 of the platform will arrive first on a pair of flagship smartwatches. The surprising news, however, is that despite Google’s push to build more hardware of its own, its name won’t be on either of them.

It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this… graph paper.
Peek at the drawings used to design the original ‘Zelda’

To celebrate The Legend of Zelda‘s 30th anniversary, Nintendo has released a handful of drawings that were used to design the first game in the franchise. They’re essentially graph paper, with shaded boxes to represent walls and bottomless pits. Greatness often starts small and simple.

Storm’s coming.
What can we expect in 2017? More volatile weather

Due to our slow progress in addressing climate change, there’s going to be a lot less ice in the Arctic next year. Scientists are observing peak high temperatures in the Arctic circle that’s likely to lead to record low levels of ice coverage in 2017. Long story short, we’re currently melting the wall that’s helped stop the seas boiling for all of these years. The knock-on effect is that when summer rolls around next, there’ll be less of the frozen stuff to reflect the solar energy back, further warming the planet beyond its capacity to cope

But wait, there’s more…

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About Ms. A. C. Kennedy

Ms. A. C. Kennedy
My name is Ms A C Kennedy and I am a Health practitioner and Consultant by day and a serial blogger by night. I luv family, life and learning new things. I especially luv learning how to improve my business. I also luv helping and sharing my information with others. Don't forget to ask me anything!

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Microsoft’s Seeing AI app for the blind now reads handwriting

Artificial intelligence took center stage at Microsoft's AI Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday. Aside from announcing AI smarts for a range of software -- from Bing to Office 365 -- the tech titan is also ramping up its Seeing AI app for iOS, which uses computer vision to audibly help blind and visually impaired people to see the world around them. According to Microsoft, it's nabbed 100,000 downloads since its launch in the US earlier this year, which convinced the tech titan to bring it to 35 countries in total, including the EU.

It's also getting a bunch of new features. The app now boasts more currency recognition, adding British pounds, US dollars, Canadian dollars, and Euros to its tally. Going beyond the color in a scene, it can also spot the color of specific objects, like clothes. Plus, it's no longer restricted to just short printed text, with handwriting recognition now part of its skill set. You can also customize the voice that it uses to speak its observations out loud, and set how fast it talks.

Finally, a musical light detector alerts you to the light in an environment with an audible tone -- Microsoft claims the tool will save users from having to touch a hot bulb or LED battery to check if it's on. Despite the big update, there's still no word on an Android launch.

Source: Microsoft