What we’re using: Qapital, Mighty and the Switch Pro controller

This month’s In Real Life focuses on self-improvement: taking your Spotify playlists to the gym minus your phone, getting some app-powered help on your savings and, er, being a better gamer on the Nintendo Switch.


Nicole Lee

Nicole Lee
Senior Editor

I like spending money, but I’m not so great at saving it. I’ve used Mint and other budgeting software before, but they still require me to do the heavy-lifting of actually watching what I spend. So after doing a bit of research, I decided to try out Qapital, an app that promises to do the saving for me. I’ve been using it for about a month now, and I’ve already saved up around $ 500 — without really trying.

The trick with Qapital is that it lets you set up a series of rules that’ll automatically transfer money out of your bank account and into your Qapital account. And the great thing is, you can create whatever rule you want. So for example, you can have a “Round-Up” rule that’ll automatically round up each expense to the nearest dollar and transfer the difference. Or you can create a rule that’ll chip in $ 10 every time you spend something on Amazon (which Qapital calls the “Guilty Pleasure” rule).

For the extra nerdy, you can even hook Qapital up with If This Then That (IFTTT), a service that connects different internet accounts together. This way, you can save a buck every time you post a photo on Instagram, or save $ 5 every time you tweet. You can also set it so that it saves money every time you reach your 10,000-step goal if you’re so inclined.

When the money arrives in your Qapital account, it gets siloed into one or more of different goals that you’ve set up for yourself. This can be something like a “Rainy Day” fund with a goal of $ 10,000 or a “Vacation” fund with a goal of $ 2,000. Qapital encourages you to have smaller, multiple goals to work toward (so you can get the satisfaction of achieving something), but it works just as well with the one big goal.

I opted to choose rules that saved money every time I spent — the Round-Up rule as well as the Guilty Pleasure rule. I also had three separate goals set up, with the same rules applied to each one. Before I knew it, I was putting away almost a hundred dollars a week — every time I went to the grocery store, or bought a gadget on Amazon, extra money was shuffled from my bank account to Qapital. I was pleasantly surprised by just how much money I could save and still be able to live my life the way I always have.

I’ll warn here that you do need to give Qapital your bank login credentials for the whole thing to work. If you use credit cards for your spending, you’ll want to add those account logins to the Qapital app too, so that your spending can trigger the rules. That might scare off some of you, but this is how Mint and most other budgeting apps work. Besides, the Qapital account is FDIC-insured, so you won’t have to worry about your money disappearing in the middle of the night. Also, you can transfer the money out of Qapital any time you want. You can even use Qapital to pay your bills directly.

There’s one caveat though, and it’s an important one: You don’t earn any interest from the money you put away in your Qapital account. After all, the service is free — the interest from your savings goes directly to Qapital instead of you. It would be far more prudent and money-wise for you to simply transfer all that money into your very own interest-earning account yourself.

But if you need help saving and you want it to be done automatically, then Qapital does provide a simple and elegant solution. An interest-earning savings account will get you more money over time, sure, but this is better than not saving anything at all.


Mat Smith

Mat Smith
Bureau Chief, UK

Billy has already given the Mighty a thorough testing here, but for the uninitiated, it’s an iPod Shuffle-esque Spotify player with both a headphone socket and the ability to play music wirelessly. As I’m a foolish iPhone 7 owner, my headphone choices have gravitated towards wireless options. But I still own some wired sets, which generally offer better sound quality. (Oh yeah, and Apple stopped selling the iPod Shuffle.) Finally, I could listen again to my Spotify tracks with higher-quality ‘phones on my commute, at the gym and the rest. I was an early backer on Kickstarter — yeah, I can’t believe it happened either, and my device even landed ahead of review samples. I’ve had it for a few months now.

I made the wrong choice on color, however. Unlike our review sample in moody black, mine was a slightly dull white, if you remember desktop PCs from the mid-90s, you’ve got the right shade. It gave the feeling that this was some sub-$ 20 MP3 player, not something closer to 90 bucks. The clip was reassuringly sturdy, with a rubber edge to keep it all snugly attached to wherever I put it. (Like you can see in the image in this article, I did wear it on my shirt collar, because I could.) One personal caveat is that I’ve realized that I’m pretty much tethered to my phone when I go the gym: I log my exercises, timings and the rest. I might even Google stretches and rehab movements because my body doesn’t like it when I make it move. This means that Mighty doesn’t liberate me as much as say, someone that goes running, or follows along a class. But, hey, that’s me.

Unlike my colleague, I had a few early troubles getting my music tracks to sync, but once you’ve got your best playlists synced, you rarely have to meddle with the app and sync from your phone again. This is great. Less great is the choice of charging port: The headphone socket. Yes, I understand that this helps simplify design, and there’s likely technical design reasons for it, but it also means another obscure cable I need to keep around. Just add a micro-USB port — those cables are cheap and plentiful. The Mighty might not be essential for me, but it is smart way to take your Spotify collection away from your phone and PC and there aren’t many options for that.


Timothy J. Seppala

Timothy J. Seppala
Associate Editor

Nintendo is forcing my hand to buy a Pro Controller for my Switch. After sending my left Joy-con in for service (yup, mine loses sync too), my buddy Victor offered to lend me his Pro so I could keep chipping away at the legendary beasts in Zelda. Until then, I’d sworn the gamepad off because the Wii U’s version never felt quite right to me. That and the updated model is $ 70. C’mon, Nintendo.

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Getting it to sync to my console was a bit of an ordeal, but a few minutes later I was up and running. I haven’t owned a non-default controller for a Nintendo system since the GameCube, and once I fired up Breath of the Wild, I realized how much of a mistake that’s been.

Scrolling through my arrow and weapon inventory with a real D-pad and having normal-sized face buttons was a revelation. The Joy-cons and adapter are serviceable stand-ins for a controller, but now that I’ve used the real deal, I don’t think I’ll be able to go back. The ergonomics are better, as is the fit and finish. Best of all? When I’m staring at my TV screen, I don’t have a nagging feeling that I’m using an input device designed around compromises.


“IRL” is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they’re buying, using, playing and streaming.

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What we’re listening to in June

We spend every minute of the working day bringing you news, reviews and features on every aspect of technology. Like everyone else, though, we also use tech outside of work hours. Last month we launched a new series about the gadgets we use every day, the apps and services we can’t live without and what we watch and play.

This week, it’s time for music and podcasts. We start with a personal story from Dana Wollman on her on-again-off-again relationship with podcasts, before four other editors offer quick takes on the music and shows they’ve been obsessing over this month.


Dana Wollman

Dana Wollman
Executive Editor

The first time I tried to get into podcasts, it was to impress a guy. He loved podcasts, so I was going to love them too. Looking back, my early collection mostly amounted to NPR’s greatest hits, with a few other public radio standards thrown in. Think: Planet Money, Marketplace, Radiolab, This American Life. Generally speaking, it was basic stuff, with a heavy dose of pundits engaged in rambling conversation.

Being the purist I am, I made myself back-listen to older episodes that had piled up, even news programs like NPR Politics that, by definition, had a limited shelf life. It didn’t help that I had a tendency to listen precisely when my concentration was at its most impaired. Pro tip: If you’re riding the train home drunk from Brooklyn to Harlem at 2AM on a Sunday morning, Ira Glass’s voice isn’t the best pick-me-up.

Soon enough, I burned out. I went on to date men who were indifferent to podcasts, and I ignored all of you as you grew obsessed with Serial. I continued to appear as guest on various programs — including Engadget’s own! — but never subscribed to any myself.

When I finally did give podcasts another try, it was also because of a guy — one who I didn’t want to think about any more.

Incidentally, when I finally did give podcasts another try, it was also because of a guy — one I didn’t want to think about anymore. I had to get out of my head, away from my tired Spotify playlists and daydreams of running into him on the street.

This time around, I started with S-Town from the team behind Serial and This American Life, which launched to critical acclaim about a month before my current podcast kick. Despite those accolades, I somehow loved it even more than I expected. No longer was I nodding off on the train, losing 10-, 15-, 20-minute chunks. I was listening intently, on my commute to work, and then home again. When I walked through my door, the episode continued, on my phone or laptop speaker.

This was aural literature and, indeed, I was as reluctant to finish it as I would have been a great novel. I wanted to talk to people about the storytelling, the narrative arc, the ethical problems with delving into the life of a man who never consented to be profiled, per se. I even tried to get my dad (a book lover in his own right) to give podcasts, and S-Town in particular, a try. Who was I?

The truth is, I like my brain better on podcasts. I’m learning, I’m thinking critically and I’m not ruminating — or if I am, it’s nowadays usually not about myself. In my case, podcasts have distracted me from disappointment and sadness. But I’ve heard various friends say the same, including people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others still who would otherwise find their workweek dull and repetitive.

In addition to S-Town, I’ve binge-listened to Codebreaker, The Leap and Still Processing, along with the first season of Serial. You guys were right: It’s pretty good. For politics, my current diet includes Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It and the occasional Pod Save the People, with a tolerable amount of overlap there. My Dad Wrote a Porno is the only podcast that can make me laugh out loud on the subway, though I’ve also been enjoying 2 Dope Queens, a standup-comedy roundup hosted by Jessica Williams ofThe Daily Show fame.

Not everything I’ve tried has stuck. I feel like the only human on the planet who doesn’t find Jordan, Jesse, Go! funny. I listened to Missing Richard Simmons with interest but ultimately found it ethically suspect, with one interview, in particular, amounting to a character assassination. I also gave The Human Race from Runner’s World, Girl Friday and New York Magazine‘s Sex Lives a try, but haven’t yet committed to any of them.

I did also give news podcasts another shot, by the way. The Daily from the The New York Times is a 20-minute morning podcast in which host Michael Barbaro interviews two or so Times reporters about whatever big story they broke the afternoon or evening before. I’ve been enjoying the concise length, the added insight and, in particular, the behind-the-scenes element of hearing journalists discuss their work. Even so, listening to The Daily still sometimes feels like eating my vegetables before I can proceed to dessert (in this case, true crime stories and tales of dating schadenfreude). Maybe news podcasts really aren’t my jam.

My Favorite Murder

Jessica Conditt

Jessica Conditt
Senior Reporter

Like many women across the world, my life is tinged with the subtle yet constant anxiety that, one day, when I least expect it, I’m going to be raped and murdered. On top of this anxiety — or perhaps because of it — I’ve sustained a lifelong obsession with the macabre mental processes of serial killers. How do they choose their victims? Why do they do such horrific things? Would I be able to spot a murderous sociopath at the bar? Would he be able to spot me?

My Favorite Murder doesn’t answer all of these questions, but it scratches all of my most morbid itches. It’s hosted by two hilarious women, Georgia Hardstark (Drunk History) and Karen Kilgariff (Mr. Show), who manage to infuse the most disturbing descriptions of brutality with sarcasm, wit and warmth. My Favorite Murder is a podcast about the violent death of innocence, but it feels more like a slumber party at Rory and Lorelai Gilmore’s house.

True crime has been hot since Serial and Making a Murderer burst onto the scene, and there’s no shortage of podcasts covering crazed killers. But My Favorite Murder occupies a unique space within the genre. Consider The Last Podcast on the Left: It’s a fantastic show that happens to be hosted by a group of dudes who often dive into murders from the perspective of the killers, using words like “prostitute” to describe female victims without pause. My Favorite Murder tends to focus just as much attention on the killers and the victims, often with an undertone of, “That could have been any of us.” This is usually followed by a joke about the dangers of men with briefcases, of course.

My Favorite Murder has spawned a litany of fan-favorite lines, including “Fuck politeness,” “You’re in a cult. Call your dad,” and “Stay out of the forest.” But, the show’s sign-off offers a perfect summary of its place in the true-crime podcasting universe: “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.”

Future Islands

Jamie Rigg

Jamie Rigg
Reviews Editor, Engadget UK

I swear by my Spotify Discover playlist, but first thing on a Monday morning, my brain typically relegates it to white noise. On this initial playthrough, it’s rare a track stands out enough to steal my attention away from stimulants and Twitter. One recent such song, however, was “Vireo’s Eye” by Future Islands; thus started a several weeklong binge of the band’s back catalog.

The dominant bassline and muffled, repeating vocals of “Vireo’s Eye” gave me serious Cure vibes, leading me to believe Future Islands were an ’80s group that had somehow passed me by. I was surprised to see, then, that the synthpop act — Wikipedia’s description, not mine (I’m useless at genre determination) — had released a new album just a few weeks before my fortuitous discovery.

Turns out that Future Islands have only been around for the past decade, but the influence of late-20th-century rock and pop is palpable throughout their music. And that is very much my jam — or one of them, at least. For a time, the five albums available on Spotify were even upgraded to offline download status, which is quite the honor considering storage space on my 16GB iPhone is at a premium.

Not all of Future Islands’ tracks are quite as anthemic as “Vireo’s Eye,” which is the perfect introduction to their signature sound of slightly OTT vocals, commanding bass guitar, melancholic undertones and healthy doses of synth. It’s variety within the band’s catalog that’s kept me coming back, though. “Walking Through That Door” and “Long Flight” are relatively high-intensity, whereas “The Great Fire” and “Where I Found You” sound like tracks pulled from Donnie Darko‘s slow-dance playlist. Then there’s the aching vocals on “Beach Foam,” which make it one of my favorites.

A friend tells me that vocalist Samuel Herring is even more charismatic live than he sounds on studio recordings, so I’ll most definitely be catching a Future Islands gig the next time the opportunity presents itself.

The Handsome Rambler

Timothy J. Seppala

Timothy J. Seppala
Associate Editor

Hannibal Burress isn’t the only comedian with a podcast, but he’s the only one I listen to. In fact, The Handsome Rambler is the only podcast I listen to, period. Like my boss Dana, I took an extended break from podcasts, but my reasoning was I got tired of listening to video game shows and not having a commute means my time for listening was basically nonexistent. And when I’m home, I’d rather listen to music than talking heads or my TV. After switching over from night shift recently, though, I started walking a few miles a day for exercise and needed a soundtrack for my jaunts — something to completely zone out to and take my mind off from work and current events. At the recommendation of my coworker Richard Lawler, I gave Rambler a spin.

I’m a stand-up comedy nerd and have devoured almost everything Burress has put out in the past few years. I even saw him play in Michigan last fall. I’m not sure what I was expecting out of Rambler but what’s there never fails to make me smile. The show isn’t him just testing out new material or talking solo into a mic for an hour. More often than not, it’s just Burress having a conversation with his friend and touring companion Tony Trim about everything from the Airbnb reviews they’ve gotten, life on the road and the different “energies” everyone gives off.

The best parts, though, are the commercials. A running joke is that once he finishes his comedy career, he’s going to become a rapper and producer. He doesn’t have a record contract, so commercials for MeUndies, Seat Geek and Squarespace are his outlet. They’re absurd in the best way possible, usually freestyle rapped over a beat from Trim. There’s no real way to do them justice by describing them, though, but know that Autotune and a Moog Theremini appear in the most random places at the most random times. Listen to the SoundCloud embed above to hear what I’m talking about.

Lofi Hip Hop Radio

Nick Summers

Nick Summers
Associate Editor, Engadget UK

At the peak of Vine’s popularity, I was obsessed with a six-second subgenre that blended classic anime moments with relaxing, jazz-infused beats. I’ve seen the terms “vaporwave” and “chillwave” attached to the movement, but honestly, I have no idea if they’re accurate — music categorization isn’t my forte. What I can confirm is their sumptuous tone and considered, note-perfect editing. Studio Ghibli films were a popular choice, no doubt because of their slow, melancholic tone. Cowboy Bebop, Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion would crop up too, slowly stretching the genre and the people that stumbled upon it.

Vine’s collapse left a Spike Spiegel-shaped hole in my heart. Thankfully, a similar community has popped up on YouTube. Channels like AnimeVibe and Lophee are posting the same sort of music in full, but with anime stills or fanart in the background. The thoughtful editing is gone, and while that’s a shame, I can still appreciate the music and nostalgic anime callbacks. My favorite upload, however, is a 24-hour livestream managed by “ChilledCow.” It’s a nonstop playlist of lo-fi hip hop that is constantly updated with new tracks from up-and-coming beat-makers. For a writer like me, it’s the perfect office soundtrack.

The legality of such a setup is unclear. From what I can tell, ChilledCow has (or at least seeks) permission from all of the artists he or she streams. YouTube, however, was never designed to support internet radio, and I have a hunch this playlist breaks some service terms somewhere. Regardless, it’s a hypnotic, serene and lovingly crafted playlist that never fails to brighten my mood. The looping GIF ripped straight from Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart. The live chat box that slowly scrolls by as new listeners voice their appreciation. It’s a weird but wonderful corner of the internet — one that I hope keeps streaming for many months to come.


“IRL” is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they’re buying, using, playing and streaming.

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Apple’s ‘we’re sorry we took away your ports’ dongle sale ends today

When Apple rolled out its controversial new MacBook Pro last fall, potential buyers were a bit miffed at the need to buy a host of expensive dongles to make the computer work with their old devices. Apple quickly responded by cutting prices on a host of USB-C cables and accessories, as well as the new LG 4K and 5K displays that are compatible with the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Originally, those discount prices were set to expire at the end of 2016, but Apple extended the deal until the end of March. Well, that day of reckoning is here — the discount on cables, accessories and monitors is set to expire today, March 31st.

So if you’ve been considering buying one of those LG monitors, today is definitely the day to do it. The 21.5-inch 4K display currently sells for $ 524, down from $ 700. The 27-inch 5K screen is priced at $ 924, a pretty notable discount from the $ 1,300 it will cost tomorrow.

You’re not going to save nearly as much cash on cables and adapters, but Apple is still offering pretty steep discounts. The super-helpful USB-C to USB dongle is $ 9 right now, down from $ 19, while you can save $ 5 on USB-C to Lightning cables for your iPhone or iPad. More expensive multiport adapters for outputting video to external displays are $ 49 instead of $ 69. All third-party USB-C accessories are 25 percent off, as well. If you’ve been thinking about buying a new MacBook Pro (or already have one) and have been dragging your feet on getting the cables you need, now’s a good day to go get them.

Source: Apple Store

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Google’s defense against anti-trust claims: ‘we’re open’

Google has a response for the European Commission’s anti-trust allegations. In a lengthy blog post, the tech juggernaut addressed the EC’s concerns point by point. That starts with the EC’s stance that Android isn’t in competition with Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, and Google citing the Commission’s own research that 89 percent of survey respondents feel that the two are competitors. That last bit is a recurring theme, with Google pointing toward the survey responses for the EC’s stance on Android’s “stable and consistent framework” across devices as well.

In perhaps the most poignant response, Google made a GIF that illustrates how many apps are typically pre-installed/bundled on Android devices versus the competition — something the EC directly called out. By Mountain View’s count, of the Samsung Galaxy S7 with Android 6.0.1’s 38 pre-installed apps, only 11 were from Google. Contrast that with 39 out of 47 on the Lumia 550 from Microsoft and 39 out of 39 from Apple on the iPhone 7 running iOS 10.0.2.

“Android hasn’t hurt competition, it’s expanded it,” Google’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker said in a statement. “Android is the most flexibe mobile platform out there, balancing the needs of thousands of manufacturers and operators, millions of app developers and more than a billion consumers.

“Upsetting this balance would raise prices and hamper innovation, choice and competition. That wouldn’t just be a bad outcome for us. It would be a bad outcome for the entire ecosystem, and — most critically — for consumers.”

And with that, the battle moves onward. Maybe the EC’s stance won’t leak ahead of the next round. Maybe.

Source: Google

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