Watch Everything, All The Time: Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System Review

Watch Everything, All The Time: Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System Review

Our verdict of the Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System:
Zero set up, floodlights on the cameras, and an included touchscreen monitor make this a budget-friendly small CCTV system for those looking for simplicity. It’s let down by a terrible app and underpowered Wi-Fi though.
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Setting up a CCTV system can be hard, and you want to monitor the feeds all the time, you’re liable to pay more for professional Network Video Recorders with an HDMI out. The Yeskamo Wireless CCTV system costs less than $ 250 for two cameras, and includes a 7″ touchscreen to watch on. With zero set up required, the cameras uniquely have a floodlight built-in to act as a deterrent too.

Join us as we take a closer look, and at the end of this review, we have a complete set to give away to one lucky reader. Keep reading to find out how to win, and be sure to check out the video for some bonus entries in the competition.

What’s in the Box?

  • 7″ touchscreen base unit.
  • Two 1080p floodlight security cameras.
  • Three power adaptors: two 12v for the cameras, one 5v for the monitor.
  • Mounting bits, and two mini screwdrivers.
  • Quickstart guide and warning stickers.

Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System Buy Now On Amazon $ 219.00

The only thing not included is a microSD card for storing footage. Files are small, so even a small one should be fine, but this is an essential extra to buy.

yeskamo cctv contents

Floodlight Cameras

The cameras are a bullet design, and the only option for mounting them is using three screws. You can’t simply place these on top of a desk or cupboard, they will actually need to be mounted. This is in contrast to the EufyCam E, which came with a couple of mounting options, as well as a rubber foot enabling it to be placed safely on a table top or shelf.

The cameras appear to be a generic model used across the Yeskamo range, and they include an Ethernet port. This isn’t used for connecting to the touchscreen monitor, and it isn’t clear from the manual if these can be repurposed elsewhere. Nor should you unscrew the microSD slot on the cameras themselves. The footage is instead stored on the touchscreen’s microSD. It’s not elegant to have an unused port lying around, but reducing the number of product variations is how costs are kept low.

On the front of the cameras, you’ll find 8 superbright LEDs. While these aren’t comparable to your average halogen floodlight, they are still quite bright and more than capable of lighting up a small area. They’ll do the job to let any intruder aware they’re being watched, for sure.

Touchscreen Monitor

The 7″ touchscreen monitor includes a kickstand and two antennas. You’ll find a USB port, DC in, microSD slot, and power switch. The power switch actually does nothing when the unit is plugged into the adaptor.

ports on the yeskamo cctv system

Instead, you have the option of running the touchscreen off battery power, at which point the switch is functional. You’ll need to use two 18650 batteries if you wish to use this feature, which aren’t supplied. It’s nice to have this option, but I’d be worried about a potential loss of Wi-Fi transmission power when running off batteries.

yeskamo cctv can be battery powered

Range Limitations and Zero Setup

The Yeskamo CCTV touchscreen acts as its own Wi-Fi router for the included cameras. They’re already paired out of the box, so all you need to do is mount them and plug in the power. They’ll then appear on your home screen. By default, you’ll get a piercing alarm from the cameras when they detect motion, so you may wish to mute that or set up a schedule immediately.

Thanks to a domed PIR sensor, motion detection is reliable. These only activate when a warm body enters the field of view. Like any alarm system, they can be fooled if you move slowly enough, and the manual provides tips on how to angle them for greatest effect.

Unfortunately, even outdoors with a relatively clear line of sight, I had serious issues with range and connectivity. With the touchscreen sitting on our windowsill, and the camera mounted no more than 20 meters away on the front of the garage, the base station reported a single bar of reception. That was with only a double-glazed window in between. Visuals were delayed a few seconds, sometimes freezing completely, though the talkback features were instant. We placed another camera around the back of garage—another 4 meters away, and through a brick wall or two. This worked intermittently, with zero bars. Nothing was recorded from it. Moving the base station to my office downstairs resulted in a complete loss of reception to both cameras.

mounting a yeskamo camera

Despite zero set up, figuring out where to place the cameras in order to get best (or any reception) will take you a long time. If you’re going to use them internally, and have only drywall or wooden house, you may have better results.

Yeskamo App

Adding your Wi-Fi details to the Yeskamo monitor will enable you to use the Yeskamo mobile app to live view and see past recordings. But I’d suggest you not bother. The one redeeming feature of the app is that you’re not required to register just to view your camera feeds, unlike some manufacturers which force you into using a verified account before you’re even allowed in.

Adding your system is simple enough. Everything was autodetected and within minutes we could remotely view the screen and tap through for a fullscreen HD image. But that’s about all you can do. Curiously, the app present pan and tilt controls, despite the cameras not supporting that. You can’t adjust schedules or any other settings.

But more importantly, the interface for view past events is just atrocious. Even when it wasn’t buggy and hanging, trying to scroll through the timeline to find a vague red line that supposedly indicates an event wasn’t easy. And when I did find one, I kept getting random errors. There’s no way to just jump back or forward to the next event, and there’s no generic list view of all recorded events (which you can get on the monitor).

It’s so bad. But do you really need it? You’re buying the Yeskamo system because you want the simple touchscreen, not a fancy mobile app.

Video Quality

As you can see from the screen captures below, the video quality isn’t fantastic, but nor is it terrible. Night mode fared worse, with a grainy image. This may have been the fault of bad reception to the base station, but I couldn’t place it any closer, so this reflects real-world output.

Yeskamo camera daytime capture sample

I should note that I had a difficult time trying to get the recorded footage into Final Cut Pro for inclusion in the video review. The microSD is formatted in a non-standard way, and was unreadable by my Mac. Not a problem, the system provides a USB export function precisely for that purpose, so you can just plug in a thumb drive. The drive will need to be formatted as FAT, not FAT32.

Once I got that sorted and successfully exported a few clips, I found Final Cut couldn’t use any of the files anyway. They played fine in VLC, so clearly there was something there. I ended up having to use an online tool to convert them to something readable, and even then, some of the files I exported failed to convert.

You can make out the rabbit caught in headlights

Should You Buy the Yeskamo Floodlight Security Camera System?

Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System Buy Now On Amazon $ 219.00

The Yeskamo Wireless CCTV isn’t going to be the all-in-one solution for everyone, given the range limitations and unintuitive app. But if you only have a very small area to cover and want the floodlight deterrent, as well as the ability to watch those feeds when you’re at your desk, then yes, it is worth considering. The zero setup is nice, and it’s a very budget-friendly price point at less than $ 250 for two cameras and monitor.

It’s always better to deter a potential thief than have to deal with the aftermath.

Grabbing the footage if something does happen is easy using the monitor’s touchscreen features, and you can copy it straight to a USB stick. I’ve criticized the app, but in reality, it’s much easy to work directly on this touchscreen than the intermediate steps a mobile app would require. So yes, the app is terrible, but really, you don’t need it.

For anyone with a larger property, or internal brick and stone walls, don’t bother. The Wi-Fi signal from the monitor proved to be underpowered in my testing, despite the presence of external antennas. If you were hoping to offload a camera system to its own private Wi-Fi network because your home Wi-Fi is spotty anyway, this won’t fare any better. Fix your own Wi-Fi first, then invest in a camera system that runs directly off that.

Enter the Competition!

Yeskamo Floodlight and Touchscreen Wireless CCTV System

Read the full article: Watch Everything, All The Time: Yeskamo Wireless CCTV Floodlight Camera System Review

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The Windows 10 Settings Guide: How to Do Anything and Everything

windows-10-control-guide

Windows 10 is a feature packed operating system. You have you a whole host of settings and tools to manage everything from updates to volume, and everything in between.

In fact, Windows 10 is the most feature-packed version of Microsoft’s operating system. Happily, you can most of the features via the settings screen. Let’s look at what settings you can find, where, and how they can help you manage Windows 10.

How to Access Settings and Control Panel

Windows 10 Settings screen

Getting to grips with Windows means accessing the Settings screen, which you can access in several ways.

  • In desktop mode, click Start, and you’ll see Settings in the lower left corner of the menu.
  • If you prefer keyboard shortcutsWindows key + I will open Settings.
  • Should you happen to be in Windows Explorer, select This PC/Computer, and you’ll notice that Settings appears in the ribbon menu.
  • In tablet mode, tap the hamburger icon to expand the left-hand menu, and you’ll find Settings in the lower-left corner.
  • In either mode, you can open the Action Center (by clicking the icon or swiping in from the right) and tap All Settings.

Once you know where to find the Windows 10 settings, you’ll be able to make tweaks and customizations to improve how you use the operating system.

Manage Your Windows 10 System

Managing Windows 10 means knowing where to find the settings that directly access your hardware. The System menu provides tools for your Display, Storage, Sound card, and Battery (where appropriate). Options to tweak the resolution, free up storage space, adjust volume and audio device, and manage Battery saver are available. Also, you can tweak the Icon tiles in the Action Center from here.

Windows 10 display settings

When you set up Windows 10 remember to configure regional and language settings. If you haven’t, you can adjust them in the Windows 10 settings screen.

In the Time & Language screen, you’ll find settings for the Date & time, as well as Region & language. Setting these options correctly will improve the timeliness of notifications. It might also help solve problems with VPN software.

Manage Devices and Phones

When you hook up other devices to Windows 10, they can be managed via the Devices and Phone screens.

Bluetooth settings Windows 10

Bluetooth devices, wireless displays, printers, and Xbox controllers can be connected to Windows 10 using the Devices menu. Here, you’ll also find settings for laptop touchpads, input via stylus, typing, your mouse, and even Autoplay settings. This enables you to specify an action when a device is connected.

For example, connecting a phone can automatically import images from the device to your OneDrive cloud storage account.

Phones have more specific Settings menu options available. Windows 10 has support for Android devices and iPhones. Use the Add a phone button under Settings > Phone to control the relationship between your PC and Android or iPhones.

Windows 10 Is About You

Personalization options in Windows 10 are myriad, with Settings for creating and managing Accounts (for email and apps, as well as the operating system), as well as Windows 10 themes.

Choose your Windows 10 theme

The Personalization screen features tools to change the background, tweak the theme colors, change the lock screen image, set a new theme (or create your own), manage fonts, and tweak the Start menu and Windows taskbar.

Struggle to read text on a normal display? Have sight, hearing, or other accessibility requirements? Windows 10 features a comprehensive Ease of Access menu, offering settings for visual tweaks, closed caption, and audio alert tweaks.

Windows 10 has built-in speech recognition/talk to type service. You can also configure how Windows 10 will behave on a tablet computer from here.

Finally, Cortana is at your beck and call to service your every information need, while it builds a profile of your interests and appointments. Options to tweak Cortana are available, from toggling the wake phrase (“Hey Cortana”) to setting access to the lock screen and giving access to your calendar, email, and other messages.

Apps and Gaming in Windows 10

With Windows 10 suited to the way you work, it’s time to install apps and maybe even some games. Some manufacturers preinstall games on Windows 10.

Set default apps in Windows 10

The Apps settings screen puts you in control of your apps, initially with the Apps & feature screen listing apps that are available for uninstalling. Default apps can also be changed, along with those that can be launched by clicking a URL. (For instance, map URLs  launched by the Microsoft Maps tool.)

Windows 10 is the first version of Windows to be truly geared for gaming. As such, it features a Gaming settings screen, where you can configure the Game Bar and set shortcuts for recording and broadcasting your game sessions.

If your computer is compatible with Game Mode, this will be enabled by default. Game Mode optimizes games over other open applications and running services.

Updates, Security, and Privacy in Windows 10

One of the most important aspects of running a home computer is managing security and privacy. Windows 10 has more options in this regard than any of its predecessors.

Schedule a Windows Update to install when you're away from your PC

Most immediate security issues can be addressed by changing your password. You can find this option in Accounts > Sign-in. Always keep Windows 10 updated for the best security. Microsoft offers major updates for Windows 10 twice a year, in spring and fall. There download and installation settings can be found in Update & Security > Windows Update.

Updates can take time to install, so use the Schedule the restart option to specify a date and time for installation.

Backup and Recovery system settings can also be found in Update & Security, as can settings for Windows Defender. The Windows 10 security software protects your account credentials, controls network access to your computer, and protects the PC from malware.

You’ll also find tools for built-in security (such as fingerprint readers), general system health, and parental controls. Click or tap Open Windows Defender Security Center in the Update & Security > Windows Security screen to use this.

Windows Defender can be accessed from Windows Settings

Both the operating system and installed apps require information about you and your PC that they need permission for. The Privacy screen deals with this, covering permissions specific to Windows 10. An example is allowing Windows to collect your activities and send the data to Microsoft.

For example, your Windows 10 PC or laptop probably has a camera connected or built-in. In Privacy > Camera, you can specify which apps can access the camera. Similar access can be granted or denied for your computer’s location, the microphone, contacts, calendar, even call history, or your media libraries.

Control Everything With Windows 10!

Ultimately, Windows 10 is the most powerful operating system available. Capable of running on thousands of different PCs and laptops, most Windows 10 features run the same, regardless of the PC’s hardware specification.

Of course, other operating systems are available, but whichever one you choose, it’s worth understanding your PC inside and out.

Read the full article: The Windows 10 Settings Guide: How to Do Anything and Everything

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What Is Amazon Prime Reading? Everything You Need to Know

amazon-prime-reading

Book lovers are stuck in a neverending quest to find more material. You could subscribe to a service like Kindle Unlimited—but it might be unnecessary, especially for casual readers.

Instead, why not check out Amazon Prime Reading? It has lots of benefits compared to other rival services.

But what exactly is Amazon Prime Reading? Who can use the service? Which books are available? And how much does Prime Reading cost? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

What Is Amazon Prime Reading?

Prime Reading is an online digital library from Amazon. It was created in October 2016 and provides access to a curated list of literature.

Users can “rent” up to 10 books at a time. If you hit the limit, you will need to return one book before you can download any more. Returning a book is as simple as clicking an on-screen button.

Unlike a regular library, you can keep a book for as long as you want; there’s no deadline and no late fees.

What Content Is Available on Prime Reading?

prime reading books list

At any given time, there are about 1,000 titles available on Amazon Prime Reading.

But even if you’re a fast reader, you don’t need to worry about running out of stuff to enjoy. The library is highly dynamic; Amazon’s editors are constantly updating the content available. New titles arrive every month.

Within the library itself, you will find a mix of books (both fiction and non-fiction), magazines, comics, children’s literature, and audiobooks.

The books aren’t all new releases or obscure titles. You will find a healthy mix of literary classics and modern bestsellers. The magazine catalog is extensive and provides many current issues across a range of topics.

How to Download Books From Prime Reading

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to own a Kindle device to use Amazon Prime Reading.

You can download and read the books using the Kindle app for Android and iOS. There’s also a Windows app. And if you have an Amazon Fire tablet, Prime Reading is already integrated with the operating system.

You can browse the Prime Reading library from any Kindle app or device, and also from the web. To see what is available, head to amazon.com/primereading and check it out.

Who Can Use Amazon Prime Reading?

Prime Reading is not yet available worldwide. At the time of writing, it is available in nine countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Australia, China, France, Italy, and Japan.

You also need to be an Amazon Prime subscriber to gain access. The cost of Amazon Prime varies between countries, but you can typically expect to pay the equivalent of about $ 10/month.

Prime Reading is available as an Amazon Household benefit; you can share your plan with parents, siblings, and offspring. Each household member can download their own books individually from each other. To share Prime Reading with a member of your Household, go to Your Account > Account Settings > Manage Your Household >  Add an Adult.

If you like music, books, TV series, movies, or shopping, Amazon Prime is a no-brainer. For the monthly subscription, you get access to an amount of content that’s unrivaled elsewhere. Check out our list of all of Amazon’s features and services if you would like to learn more.

Integration With Audiobooks

Amazon is investing an increasing amount of its resources into audiobooks; in recent years, the sector has grown considerably.

About 30 percent of the books in the Prime Reading library have Audible narration included. As with the rest of the library, they change on a monthly basis.

Better still, you can seamlessly jump between the audio and text, with the service capable of remembering your progress between sessions.

All the latest generations of the Kindle ereaders support audiobooks, as do the smartphone apps.

Amazon Prime Reading vs. Kindle Unlimited

People naturally make comparisons between Prime Reading and Amazon’s other big literary offering, Kindle Unlimited. The comparison is not necessarily a fair one.

Kindle Unlimited is an entirely separate subscription-based service. It costs $ 10/month in the United States; you do not need to have a Prime membership to take advantage.

The Unlimited service has more than one million books to choose from, as well as thousands of audiobooks. Unlike Prime Reading, there is no limit on the number of books you can download and read in any given month.

You can access Kindle Unlimited on any of your Kindle devices and the Kindle smartphone apps.

But before you run away and sign up for Kindle Unlimited, you need to be aware that the service does have some downsides. To learn more about the negatives, read up on why Kindle Unlimited might not be worth the money.

Amazon Prime Reading vs. Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

Prime Reading also differs from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is another service that’s available through your Amazon Prime subscription. If you have a Kindle eBook reader, Fire tablet, or Fire phone, you can download one book per month from the library. You cannot download books onto the smartphone or desktop Kindle apps.

Obviously, the one-book-per-month limit isn’t ideal for people who read a lot. However, on the flipside, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library has a much more extensive selection of content than Prime Reading. There are more than 100 New York Times bestsellers and several thousand books in total. The books you borrow have no due date.

Is Amazon Prime Reading Right for You?

The question of suitability is a hard one to answer. If you’re a bookworm who doesn’t currently subscribe to Prime, you might see more value for money if you sign up to Kindle Unlimited.

On the other hand, for casual readers who digest a book or two every month, Prime Reading is a fantastic solution, especially when you consider the other benefits included in your Amazon Prime plan as standard.

Don’t have Amazon Prime yet? Use this link to start a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime and get a taste to see if it’s right for you!

If you would like to learn more about Amazon Prime, check out our article asking whether Amazon Prime is worth the money. And remember, you can always download ebooks for free too.

Read the full article: What Is Amazon Prime Reading? Everything You Need to Know

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How to Reformat an External Hard Drive Without Losing Everything on It

reformat-external-hdd

Most people are pretty good at keeping backups of their valuable data on external hard drives. But what happens if the drive becomes corrupted?

It’s a lesson in why you should always make an offsite backup with a cloud provider as well as a local copy—but it’s too late for that now.

Thankfully, if you use a few little workarounds, you can reformat an external hard drive without losing everything on it.

Yes, It Is Possible!

A quick browse on the web’s many tech forums reveals that too many people think “data recovery” and “format drive” are mutually exclusive terms. They aren’t.

It’s perfectly possible to wipe your hard drive without losing all your data. The process requires you to format your drive, then use data recovery tools to salvage your data.

The methodology for the formatting part of the process differs depending on whether you’re using a Windows computer or macOS. We’re going to cover both platforms; keep reading to learn more.

How to Reformat a Drive on Windows

The process to reformat an external hard drive on Windows is straightforward.

Firstly, connect your external hard drive to your computer using a USB port. Wait for Windows to recognize the connected drive.

Next, open File Explorer, navigate to This PC in the left-hand column, and click on the shortcut.

In the Devices and Drives section of the main window, you should see your external hard drive. Right-click on the drive’s icon to bring up the context menu, then select Format from the list.

Make sure the Quick Format box is ticked and leave all the other settings the same.

quick format checkbox on windows

Finally, click on the Format button and wait for the process to complete.

To reiterate—it is extremely important to ensure the Quick Format checkbox has a tick in it. If you do a full format of your drive, you will lose all your data.

How to Reformat a Drive on Mac

MacOS doesn’t have a Quick Format box, but you can still achieve the same result by tweaking a particular setting.

To begin, open the Finder app and select Applications from the left-hand panel.

Scroll down the list of applications until you come to the Utilities folder. Open the folder and locate Disk Utility.

Within the Disk Utility app, you should see your external hard drive listed under External on the left-hand side of the screen. Click on your drive’s name.

Now turn your attention to the top of the window and click on the Erase button. The operating system will prompt you to wipe the drive.

mac format disk security options slider

Do not proceed—you need to click on the Security Options link. It’s vital to ensure the slider is moved all the way to the left side of the scale. If the slider is not in the correct position, you will lose some (or all) of your files. The data recovery process will be impossible.

Why Is Quick Format Important?

If you want to use data recovery software, you need to perform a Quick Format (or the Mac equivalent)—but why?

Think of your files as books on a bookshelf. The filesystem is like the catalog that tells you where the books are kept. Performing a Quick Format is akin to throwing away the catalog but keeping the books themselves. You wouldn’t be able to find the books as easily, but they are still there.

In more technical terms, a Quick Format only deletes the file system journaling. It doesn’t overwrite the entire drive with binary zeroes. The files stay, but File Explorer/Finder can no longer see them because they don’t have any information about where to look. The files remain there until they are overwritten with new data from the user.

Don’t Add More Files

At this stage, it’s imperative that you don’t write any new data to your hard drive.

As we just explained, any new data will directly overwrite the old (now hidden) files. And the overwriting won’t take place on a file-for-file basis. By sending a new file to your external hard drive, you could corrupt hundreds of the files that you need to retrieve.

Just move straight onto using the data recovery software.

Using Data Recovery Software

Now it’s time to turn to a data recovery app. It is specialized software that can find files on a hard drive without a catalog which tells it where to look.

Quite a few data recovery apps have a free tier. Sometimes, the free tier is restricted to a certain number of files or amount of storage. If you’re trying to recover lots of data, you might need to get your wallet out.

Here are three data recovery apps you can try:

1. Prosoft

Available on: Windows, Mac

Prosoft is a data recovery app that’s available on both Windows and Mac. It can recover more than 100 different file types, recognize duplicate files among those you want to restore, and offers a recovery preview before you begin the process.

The free trial lets you see a preview so you can be sure it’s going to work before you buy.

Download: Prosoft (Free trial, $ 99 for a full license)

2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Available on: Windows, Mac

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is probably the most well-known data recovery app.

Unlike Prosoft, it lets you recover 2GB of data for free. All mainstream file types are supported.

If you need to recover more than 2GB of data, you will need to pay for the Pro version. It costs $ 69.99 for a lifetime license.

Download: EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (Free, $ 69.99 for Pro)

3. Recuva

Available on: Windows

The Windows-only Recuva app falls under the CCleaner umbrella. It is free to download and use, and does not have any data limits.

The $ 19.95 Pro version adds support for virtual hard drives and automatic updates.

If you’d like to learn more, we’ve written about the best data recovery apps for Windows and the best data recovery apps for macOS in separate articles.

Download: Recuva (Free, $ 19.95 for Pro)

Avoid Problems, Make Multiple Backups

As we mentioned at the start, all these problems can easily be avoided if you make multiple backups of your data.

At the very least, you should keep an onsite and offsite backup. In a dream world, have a backup on a NAS drive, with a cloud storage provider, on an external hard drive, and with a dedicated backup app provider.

Read our article about the best online backup services to learn more.

Read the full article: How to Reformat an External Hard Drive Without Losing Everything on It

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch: Everything You Need to Know

blackmirror-bandersnatch

Netflix has pioneered the age of cord-cutting and become synonymous with streaming. And Netflix is now producing more original content than ever. The latest, called Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, is an interactive film that shows the power of streaming media.

Bandersnatch is the latest installment of Black Mirror, one of Netflix’s most popular titles. But what is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and why is everybody talking about it? Here are the answers to the questions you’re asking about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

What Is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch?

Black Mirror has been a favorite among viewers since it first premiered in 2011. It’s a science fiction anthology series that focuses on a future where the technological advancements bring out the dark side of humans.

The show didn’t start as a Netflix Original but was instead bought over by Netflix after two seasons on the British TV network, Channel 4. Bandersnatch is a standalone “interactive” film in the Black Mirror series.

“Interactive” is the keyword here. Interactive means that the viewer gets to make choices in the film and these choices affect the flow and the ending of the story. Think of it like this—Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a movie that you can play like a game.

The story revolves around a young video game developer named Stefan as he tries to complete a choose your own adventure game called Bandersnatch. This is just one of the many “meta” references in the film.

Which Platforms Does Bandersnatch Run On?

While Netflix limits its content by region, content usually plays on any platform. So one would assume that Black Mirror: Bandersnatch runs on any device that runs Netflix. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.

Netflix states that Bandersnatch is available on newer platforms that are capable enough to run the interactive experience, like smart TVs, most modern browsers, Android and iOS devices, and games consoles.

It also said that the film wouldn’t be available on Apple TV, Chromecast, and specific older hardware that doesn’t support Netflix software updates. Bandersnatch also doesn’t work with Silverlight browsers, so you might want to look into Silverlight workarounds for Netflix.

The reason for this is that Bandersnatch isn’t a video file just available to stream on Netflix like most of its regular content. It’s a program written in a programming language called Twine.

You can best experience Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on a games console. The controller even gives you vibration feedback when presented with a choice, which is both cool and creepy.

How Long Does It Take to Watch Bandersnatch?

Netflix lists the official runtime of the film as 1 hour and 30 minutes. However, since this is an interactive film, there is no set time.

Netflix Black Mirror: Bandersnatch restart dialog

The shortest way through Bandersnatch will take you 40 minutes, and the longest can take you over 2 hours. The film does not let you rewind as typical video content does. However, you can sometimes loop back to the last choice and choose a different path.

The makers filmed over 5 hours of footage for Bandersnatch. And you’ll be able to watch most of it by choosing different paths through the story.

How Many Endings Does Bandersnatch Have?

There is no official count of the total number of endings to Bandersnatch. The most commonly accepted figure right now is five. However, some fans of Bandersnatch have found up to 10 different endings. And it’s almost certain that there are even more endings programmed in.

Some of the more dedicated fans have made detailed flow charts mapping the different endings and how to reach them, like the one below. Beware: Spoilers below!

Almost 4 hours after release and I think I have mapped Bandersnatch. Throw tea over computer. from blackmirror

Even the makers of Bandersnatch don’t agree on the number of endings it has. The Hollywood Reporter asked Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker how many endings Bandersnatch has, and his reply was: “All of them.”

So it looks like this question may never have a definitive answer, and is yet another thing for the viewer to figure out by themselves.

Are There Secret Endings and Easter Eggs?

As previously mentioned, Bandersnatch has a lot of underlying “meta” themes. That means that things can get creepily self-aware. Spoiler alert! At one point, you even get the option to tell the protagonist, Stefan, that we are watching and controlling him on Netflix.

There are multiple references to Netflix in the film. One of the references cycles after an ending, as a mid-credits scene. There’s also one that will take you beyond the camera, to the set of Bandersnatch.

Creator Charlie Brooker had revealed that there is a secret ending that even the creators themselves cannot access. Another secret ending can lead you to the download link for one of the games mentioned in the film.

There is a good chance that there are more secret endings that even the most ardent fans have yet to discover.

Why Exactly Is Bandersnatch So Special?

Bandersnatch is a milestone in Netflix’s attempt at making interactive content and a glimpse at what the future holds for streamers. However, that is not the reason that makes it so unique.

The main thing that makes Bandersnatch special is that it gives Netflix an insight into its users like never before. Every way you play Bandersnatch helps Netflix better understand what you want from its content.

Think of your choices in Bandersnatch as live feedback to Netflix. Data like this is an excellent tool for Netflix to improve its content, interactive or otherwise. This is important, especially since Netflix is set to face some tough competition from Disney’s streaming service.

The Future of Interactive Content

With Netflix’s big experiment creating such a buzz, the competition is bound to try and emulate this new model. This is not because regular content is boring, but streaming media companies are always looking for more and more ways to get people to cut the cord, and interactive content serves that purpose.

Netflix currently has a few other interactive titles, many of which they have designed for kids. Popular titles include Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and Minecraft: Story Mode, and more are likely to be released in the future.

Bandersnatch itself might not be the last interactive installment in the Black Mirror series. A Black Mirror interactive film that is designed to collect data about user behavior flies in the face of the show’s premise, and that is an irony that Netflix is likely to milk to the fullest.

If you’re looking for more interactive content right now, you might want to check out these interactive stories for your Amazon Echo.

Read the full article: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch: Everything You Need to Know

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5 Android Apps to Set Up Automatic Replies for Everything

automatic-replies

Your always-connected smartphone makes sure you stay updated with every new message and notification. But there are instances when you aren’t able to keep up with the deluge of alerts, which leaves the other person waiting for a response. This could happen when you’re stuck in a long meeting, on a flight, or just busy.

Fortunately, with the right apps, it’s now possible for your phone to automatically reply to that incoming stream of notifications so people aren’t left wondering. Here is every app you need to set up auto-reply to calls, texts, and emails on Android.

1. IM Auto Reply

IM Auto Reply lets you configure away replies for the majority of instant messaging services. That includes WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and more. The app does so by reading your incoming notifications and employing the quick reply feature.

You can activate this for all apps, or only for the ones you’d like to manage when you’re away. If you prefer, you can also enable it only for specific contacts if you don’t want to respond to everyone.

Apart from allowing you to save a custom response, IM Auto Reply also has the ability to reply with different messages based on a contact or a group of contacts. You can even specify whether you want to get back to a person once or every time they ping you. In addition, there’s an option for triggers. These enable you to set up personalized responses based on what the other person has sent.

Download: IM Auto Reply (Free)

2. Away

Away is another app for replying to notifications from instant messaging services like WhatsApp. It’s similar to IM Auto Reply, but a few additional features help it stand out.

Notably, Away has a couple of supplementary WhatsApp-specific tools if you employ the service for business. For instance, it lets you easily send messages to a person you don’t have in your contacts on WhatsApp. Plus, if you need to for some reason, Away also has the ability to automatically store WhatsApp Status posts from everyone.

The app has a handful of pro features for setting up automatic responses, which you won’t find on IM Auto Reply. With Away, you can configure a schedule for when the app should go live. So if there’s a regular time when you go offline or enter a meeting, you can have Away activate automatically during that period.

What’s more, you can even have delays between auto-replies for a contact if you know they distribute their messages into separate texts. Away is compatible with most IM apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Instagram, and more. While Away is excellent, make sure you know the best built-in features of WhatsApp too.

Download: Away (Free, premium version available)

3. Auto SMS

Neither IM Auto Reply nor Away cover missed calls or SMS messages. For those, try Auto SMS.

Auto SMS is designed for responding to SMS texts or phone calls when you’re away. All you need to do is set up the list of contacts you’d like to update when they’re trying to get in touch, add a response, save it.

You can also schedule Auto SMS to turn on. It offers a plethora of personalization options if you’d like to configure a specific setting. In addition, you can set up multiple profiles to configure auto-replies for more than one scenario, like when you’re at the gym or a work meeting.

Download: Auto SMS (Free) | Auto SMS Pro ($ 2)

4. TextAssured

While Auto SMS packs every feature you could possibly need for customizing automatic replies, its interface is rather complicated and overwhelming. If you have trouble figuring it out, we recommend switching to another app called TextAssured.

TextAssured is a multi-purpose app for setting up auto replies. It works with instant messaging services, SMS texts, and even phone calls. Plus, it comes with a host of features absent from the rest of these apps, such as the ability to reply with attachments.

Further, you can have TextAssured automatically activate when you’re in the vicinity of a specific location, like your gym or when you’re driving. Like others, you can schedule it based on the time, and configure it only to reply to a group of contacts instead of everyone.

Download: TextAssured (Free, premium version available)

5. Vacation Responder for Emails

For emails, you don’t need a third-party app to use auto-replies. Email platforms like Gmail and Outlook all offer built-in out-of-office responders. You can set these up ahead of any time period where you can’t attend to email personally.

To enable it on Gmail, fire up the Android app. Pull out the left navigation drawer by swiping towards the right or tapping the hamburger icon. Now, head into Settings and select the email account you’d like to switch on auto-replies for.

Scroll down until you find Vacation responder (this is Out of Office AutoReply instead in some regions). Tap that, then set the duration, subject, and message Hit Done to save it. You can also choose to only send responses to email addresses in your contacts if you prefer.

Master Your Android Notifications

Handling notifications when you’re away becomes simple with these apps. But a better approach to manage the flood of alerts you receive every minute is to get better at controlling them. For doing that, follow our tips and apps for mastering Android notifications.

Read the full article: 5 Android Apps to Set Up Automatic Replies for Everything

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