Johny's blog

The things you should know before insuring your car

 

 

 

  1. How is Your Insurance Rate Determined? Two factors determine what you pay for auto insurance. The first factor is underwriting and the second factor is rating. Insurance companies underwrite to assess the risk associated with an applicant, group the applicant with other similar risks and decide if the company will accept the application. Based on the results of the underwriting process, the rating assigns a price based on what the insurer believes it will cost to assume the financial responsibility for the applicant’s potential claim
  2. Each company adopts its own rating system, although there are general guidelines that all companies follow. The single greatest influence on the rating process is claim frequency. This does not mean how many times you specifically have made an insurance claim, although that will have an additional effect. Claim frequency measures how often an insured event occurs within a group relative to the number of policies contained in that group. Persons sharing characteristics with high claims groups will be charged more for insurance coverage. 

  3. Specific Factors that Affect Your Rate
    • Your driving record – drivers with previous violations or accidents are considered to be higher risk
    • Your geographic territory – urban areas have more claims than rural areas
    • Your gender and age – males have more accidents; certain age groups have more claims
    • Your marital status – married people show lower rates of claims
    • Prior insurance coverage – if you have been cancelled for non-payment of premiums
    • Vehicle use – higher annual mileage results in higher exposure to risk
    • Make and model of your vehicle – luxury and sports cars average a higher number of claims
  4. Ask Your Agent About Discounts
    Discounts are awarded because the insurance company sees you as a “better risk.” Here are some discounts you should look for: multiple vehicles, driver education courses, good student, safety devices, anti-theft devices, low mileage, good driver/renewal, auto/home package and dividends. Not all states offer all discounts, so check with your agent to see if you qualify.  
  5. Tort System vs. No-Fault System
    Each state must implement either a tort system or a no-fault system. The system your state has implemented will determine what kind of insurance is available to you. The three basic coverages sold under the tort system are bodily injury liability insurance, property damage liability insurance and uninsured motorists coverage. In a no-fault state, coverages will vary, but under a no-fault system your insurance company pays you directly for your losses as a result of injuries sustained in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Check with your state insurance department for questions concerning tort or no-fault state systems.  
  6. Check Into Optional Coverage
    The most commonly recognized coverages, in addition to the basic liability package, are collision and comprehensive coverages. Collision coverage pays for physical damage to your car as a result of your auto colliding with an object such as a tree or another car. This is relatively expensive coverage and is not required by law. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your auto from almost all other causes, including fire, severe weather, vandalism, floods and theft. This coverage will also cover broken glass and windshield damage. Comprehensive coverage is less expensive than collision, but is also optional. Other optional coverages include medical payments coverage, rental reimbursement coverage and towing and labor coverage.  
  7. Were to Go for More Information
    Information is available to consumers from a number of unbiased sources. These sources include public libraries, state insurance departments, online resources, consumer groups and consumer publications. Every state insurance department has personnel available to answer questions regarding auto insurance coverage and many departments publish premium comparisons to make shopping around easier.
  8. Shop Around Before You Buy
    When shopping for auto insurance, premium quotations are a useful tool for comparison of different companies’ products. When asking for price quotations, it is crucial that you provide the same information to each agent or company. The agent will usually request the following information: description of your vehicle, its use, your driver’s license number, the number of drivers in your household, the coverages and limits you want.  
  9. Where to Shop
    Check the newspaper and yellow pages of the telephone directory for companies and agents in your area. In addition, ask your neighbors, relatives and friends for recommendations on insurance companies and agents. In particular, ask them what kind of claim service they have received from the companies they recommend. Remember to shop around to get the best price and service.  
  10. For Your Protection
    Once you have selected the insurance coverages you need and an insurance agent or company, there are steps you can take to make certain you get your money’s worth. Before signing an application for any insurance coverage, call you state insurance department and verify that the company and the agent are licensed to do business in your state. It is illegal for unlicensed insurers to sell insurance, and if you buy from an unlicensed insurer, you have no guarantee that the coverage you pay for will ever be honored.  
  11. Read Your Policy Carefully
    You should be aware that an auto insurance policy is a legal contract. It is written so your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the insurance company, are clearly stated. When you purchase auto insurance, you will receive a policy. You should read that policy and make certain you understand its contents. If you have questions about your insurance policy, contact your insurance agent for clarification. If you still have questions, turn to your state insurance department.

 

Don't wait till the moment comes, insure your loved car today!

An informative and appealing brochure is a great tool for the marketing arsenal of a business. The layout needs to have a quality balance of informational text, attractive imagery, and call to actions. Hiring a professional brochure design company can make a world of difference to your objectives. It can result in effective portrayal of your business identity, products and services. If you are lacking inspiration regarding designs, just get in touch with a reputed company.  
 
If you are business owner who is new to brochures, there is no need for concern. There are ample design professionals offering time and cost efficient solutions. Business owners can also educate themselves regarding the available options. A simple search will bring you across various different brochure styles, design layouts, material and finish variations. These are some of the main variables that determine the end quality of your brochures. Let us take a closer look at them.  


The Key Variables of Professional Brochure Designs  

 

 

Variables That Must be Considered for Business Brochure DesignsVariables That Must be Considered for Business Brochure Designs

 

The Fold Type -

The fold type of a brochure depends on what your objectives are, and how you want to convey them. Some of the main types of brochure folds are bi-fold, Z-fold, gate-fold, accordion fold, double gate fold, French fold, roll fold, and double parallel fold. To design a company brochure with the right fold type, you can consult with experts from design companies. They can recommend the best ones for you.  

Information Distribution -

If you have decided on a brochure design layout, the next step is determining how information will be spread. For instance, if the brochure has 4 pages/sides, make sure that you do not convey the bulk of information in just 1 page. That creates an unappealing imbalance. There is a logical approach for this. Make sure that you create the content beforehand, and send it over to design teams.  

The Color Scheme -

 

 

Incorporating color schemes can work both ways. The results can either be great or terrible. Too many contrasting colors can be too distracting for readers. On the other hand, lack of color can simply be boring. To get ideas regarding color schemes, search online. Brochure design company professionals have many readily-available templates you can look at. They can influence you to take sound decisions.

The Fonts -

Choosing the right fonts for your brochure is quite important. If you are clueless, take a look at the font styles your competitors and industry peers are using. One can experiment with various fonts during the design phase. However, it is advisable not to use more than 2 fonts within the same brochure.  

The Brochure Size -

Brochures come in many template-based sizes. The choice will depend on the volume of information and graphics. If it all fits in but is very tight, you might need a bigger size. Todesign a company brochure that is effective, the right size is crucial. For this too, you can take expert opinions.  
 
Paying attention to the above variables will make a marked difference in brochure design outcomes.  

https://cooljonny.com/blog/Brochure-Design-Tips/Variables-That-Must-be-Considered-for-Business-Brochure-Designs

Good Artificial Intelligence vs Bad Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is about to reshape the enterprise workplace in a big and fundamental way, and any organization that hasn’t already started thinking about, planning for and adopting the new wave of smart Artificial Intelligence tools is at risk of being left behind by their competitors.

Artificial Intelligence

Even at this early stage, it’s clear the benefits of Artificial Intelligence in the office are going to be enormous, as these new tools work alongside employees — becoming a personal digital “coworker” — and augment our productivity and creative-thinking skills while freeing us from the monotony of the routine tasks that currently consume our workdays.

But it’s also clear that not all workplace Artificial Intelligence is created equal — some of these new Artificial Intelligence tools will be seamlessly adopted into your employees’ daily tech stack and workflows, like Slack, while others won’t be a good fit, getting the cold shoulder and ending up unused and unloved despite the best efforts of management and IT.

In other words, there is good workplace Artificial Intelligence and bad workplace Artificial Intelligence. The challenge enterprise leadership is now facing is figuring out how to tell the two apart.

Signs of bad workplace Artificial Intelligence

Bad workplace Artificial Intelligence creates more problems than it solves, holding back adoption rates and wasting everyone’s time. Look out for these warning signs.

Bad workplace Artificial Intelligence requires significant customization to interact with and understand your office’s digital data. If the Artificial Intelligence tool doesn’t work out of the box with the APIs of Office 365, Outlook and Google Mail, OneDrive and Dropbox, and the other standard platforms and apps of our workdays, your implementation cost and employee adoption rates will suffer.

Another example of bad workplace Artificial Intelligence is Artificial Intelligence that is not easily accessible by employees, who will be interacting with chatbots and Artificial Intelligence assistants through a chat interface. If the Artificial Intelligence tool doesn’t use an existing platform like MS Teams, Slack, or Skype, odds are employees won’t bother with the learning curve to use it, no matter how many training seminars you put them through. It’s in an enterprise’s best interest to create the most frictionless interaction possible when bringing in a new type of tech like Artificial Intelligence to the workplace.

And finally, the biggest warning sign is Artificial Intelligence not built from the ground up to solve the real-world problems your employees are facing. For example, one of the biggest challenges our offices are facing is the huge amount of time lost spent on menial, no-value tasks like booking meetings, searching for files and creating standard documents. These problems are solvable, and more importantly will deliver the easy and measurable wins you should expect from a new AI tool.

Welcoming good workplace Artificial Intelligence

Don’t let these potential Artificial Intelligence downsides scare you off workplace Artificial Intelligence, because the potential of good Artificial Intelligence can’t be underestimated. Artificial Intelligence’s underlying technology has developed rapidly, and as a result Artificial Intelligence has gotten a lot smarter in a really short amount of time, and can generate real value for the modern enterprise.

You can read a lot about Artificial Intelligence tech like natural language processing and machine learning, but the key takeaway is this: Artificial Intelligence-powered tools can now navigate and understand our workplaces’ digital information at the deepest level, automating tasks and unlocking new insights for employees while helping deliver major strategic gains for your organization.

It’s this advancement that is reshaping our workplaces and nature of work, from the cubicle to the corner office, as we gain the time, ability and mental energy to focus more on work that matters, while the menial tasks are offloaded to workplace AI assistants and similar tools, who we simply tell what we need done and get instant results.

For employees, this will unlock the literal hours spent each day on meaningless processes like coordinating and scheduling meetings and looking for documents across the cloud, apps and platforms are freed up. This time and energy can then be spent on high-value tasks. Even decision-making will be improved, as Artificial Intelligence tools plug into and understand work data like sales figures, web analytics, and other metrics, making them accessible for all and generating new insights.

At the organizational level, these Artificial Intelligence tools will help you hit strategic goals by quickly and easily expanding productivity, and even unlocking new sources of growth. While productivity is the easy win, it’s the additional value generated by employees being more engaged with the work they enjoy doing, putting more time and energy into challenging, creative work, that can result in major gains, like surfacing more ideas and innovation. It’s these gains that will help separate high-performing 21st century enterprises from their last-century peers.

Red Dead Redemption 2 game will be the biggest thing to happen for cowboy hats since Westworld, promising an all new western adventure from the masters of the open world. Perhaps just as exciting as chance to saddle up for single player again is the rumors of a new Battle Royale mode. Think PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds but with more horse poop.

Whatever the new Red Dead Redemption 2 is hiding under its chaps, we're ready. It's been seven years since the original, and we've never quite got over those sweeping desert rides or that incredible ending.  Red Dead Redemption 2 will arrive on PS4 and Xbox One on October 26, until then, here's everything you need to know about this potential game of the year contender.

Fast facts
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 release date: October 26, 2018
  • Formats: PS4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Rockstar
  • Price: $59.99
Red Dead Redemption 2 has a confirmed release date of October 26th, 2018 for PS4 and Xbox One

We have a confirmed Red Dead Redemption 2 release date of October 26th, 2018 with publisher Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick saying he was 'confident' there would be no more delays. This isn't the first time the game has been pushed back, however. When Rockstar first announced it was pushing back Red Dead Redemption 2’s release date from Fall 2017 to Spring 2018, our inner outlaws were crushed. Hadn't we waited long enough for a sequel to the 2010 masterpiece? The developer cited the upcoming sandbox sequel “needs some extra time” to get it up to the standards we all expect from the first game out of the studio since Grand Theft Auto 5. Since then, an earnings call with Rockstar’s parent company shed further light on the reasons behind the delay. 

Speaking to investors in late May 2017, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick was adamant that Red Dead Redemption 2 has merely been delayed to ensure can Rockstar “deliver the most extraordinary [experience] we’re capable of providing.” When an analyst subsequently asked if the delay signaled the epic Old West adventure is suffering development woes behind the scenes, Zelnick was quick to shoot down the suggestion. 

"We have not run into particular issues," Zelnick said. "We are building a new game from the ground up for the first time for new-generation consoles. And the pressure that we put on ourselves to deliver excellence and to delight consumers is extraordinary.”

Zelnick went on to add that Rockstar has the full backing of Take-Two over the delay. "We support emphatically the label's decision, and we are utterly confident that it will prove in time to be wise first and foremost creatively and artistically, economically as well." Turns out, when your previous game sells over 70 million copies (and counting), a publisher is going to back you no matter what. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 leak from Trusted Reviews points to three new online modes, vehicles and multiple open-world activities

We'll talk in more detail about the rumoured new online modes below, but the volume of open-world distractions listed by Trusted Reviews sound promising. Activities include herding, fishing, a poker mini-game, gold mining, and a variety of shooting challenges. Rumour is you'll constantly receive rewards for your adventures e.g. for travelling a set distance, and the world will feel much more alive, with shopkeepers packing away their stalls at the end of the day. Plants and herbs can be collected, as per the previous game, and you'll be able to upgrade your tents, much like GTA Online's apartments. There's also talk of an official companion app, plus vehicles such as handcarts, minecarts and horse-drawn carriages; with hints you'll be able to ride a train. As plausible as it all sounds – and the Trusted Reviews leak did contain two new images which look fairly authentic – this is far from confirmed. Watch this space.

Red Dead Redemption 2's trailer validates all those prequel fan theories  

Meet your new Red Dead Redemption 2 hero: outlaw Arthur Morgan. Our first introduction doesn't exactly present him as the 'take him home to mother' type. We're sure there's more to him than threatening people and robbing banks, but right now, all we know is he's rough around the edges and in the employ of original RDR antagonist Dutch van der Linde - which sets the game's timeline firmly in prequel territory. 

According to the information overlords at Rockstar, the new game is "the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they rob, fight, and steal their way across the vast and rugged heart of America." We also get to see a few new faces: a woman who looks strikingly like the original's Bonnie MacFarlane - leading some fans to wonder if it's her mother - and a Native American character who advises Morgan on needing extra firepower. We also see another familiar face: Bill Williamson, a known member of Dutch's gang, and the first outlaw John Marston is set to track and kill in Red Dead Redemption. 

Red Dead Redemption 2's trailers so far show Rockstar’s most visually stunning open-world ever 

No one does lonely Wild West spectacle quite like Rockstar. Just rewatch the Red Dead 2 trailers. Golden prairies that stretch as far as the eye can see. Cavernous valleys where eagles dominate the skies. Simmering deserts that immediately recall the iconic sights of Monument Valley. Alligators lurking in swamps; snowy, treacherous paths. Rockstar sandboxes always contain exquisite lighting and insanely incidental detailing, and its latest world looks like it’ll top everything that’s come before.

Red Dead 2 has strong foundations to build on, too. If you’re lucky enough to have the hardware, play GTA 5 on PC at 4K and tell us it’s not one of the most consistently gorgeous games ever made. Now consider that the engine has benefitted from a few subsequent years of development, aging like a particularly sumptuous (and super shooty) wine, and there's every chance Red Dead Redemption 2 will be the prettiest open-world game ever made when it launches towards the start of 2018. At the very least, the trailer hints at a beautifully varied sandbox, filled with epic canyons, dense forests, and spectacular Old West vistas.

The Red Dead Redemption 2 map looks like it’s already been leaked

This looks pretty legit. Early last year, a Red Dead 2 map was leaked on (RIP) NeoGaf. The fidelity of the design - and specificity of the names on said map - only lend further credence to this being an accurate blueprint of the Western world we’ll hopefully all be roaming around next year.

 

Look closely at the leaked map, and you can see an area labelled ‘The Great Plains’. This significant chunk of prairie real estate was one of the most visually striking locales from the first Redemption - remember that sweeping valley with all the grazing buffalo.

 

 

The presence of islands and caravan sites on the leaked document are also interesting. Couple the former with the trailer shots of the canoe, and it would seemingly all but confirm that boat travel is in Red Dead 2. The inclusion of caravan sites also suggest this is a less-populated take on the Old West than the original Redemption’s. Again, this points towards Red Dead 2 taking place before Marston’s adventure, during a time when the American Frontier was still being discovered by European settlers.

 

Red Dead Redemption 2 characters could be swappable, like GTA 5 

We may have met our protagonist, but the artwork so far definitely leans on the idea of the classic Wild West posse. With so many strong characters appearing in the latest trailer, it wouldn’t be that much of a shock to see Red Dead 2 follow on from GTA 5 with more criminal-swapping missions.

 

Controlling and switching between multiple characters worked brilliantly in Los Santos, and the prospect of potentially hopping between various outlaws in Red Dead 2 is tantalizing. Would Rockstar have the stones to allow you to control every one of the seven figures seen storming into the desert at the end of Red Dead 2’s first trailer? Mechanically, it would be a big ask. Swapping between upwards of five characters could become a logistical nightmare, but Rockstar is nothing if not ambitious.

Alternatively, the posse play could be a big part on the online world that will come with the game. Start deciding which of your friends you can trust with a horse and a six shooter now. 

Red Dead Redemption 2's setting will feature more water 

John Marston was not a strong swimmer. Hell, if the outlaw so much as dipped a toe in the waters of New Austin, swift (and decidedly soggy) death awaited. Thankfully, it looks like Morgan will get along swimmingly - sorry - with the wet stuff in Red Dead Redemption 2. Rewatch the trailer, and about thirty seconds in you can quite clearly see two figures paddling upstream in a canoe.

 

Water played a big part in GTA 5 - whether it was daring, submerged scuba dives to bust into secret government facilities, or scanning the ocean floor for nuclear waste in a mini-sub - so it wouldn’t surprise us to see river-based missions play a substantial role in Red Dead 2. Even the last game had a fantastic river quest: remember We Shall Be Together in Paradise? It saw Marston venture into Nuevo Paraiso for the first time, his Mexican adventure kicking off in style as Irish helped the charismatic cowboy paddle upstream on a raft against a hail of bandito gunfire. 

If the original Redemption can give us a great on-water mission - in spite of Marston’s suck-ass swimming skills - surely Red Dead 2 and its canoes can serve up some H2O treats? Providing another mode of transport other than horse riding would certainly make traversing Rockstar’s latest sandbox more diverse, too.

The rest of the year is looking ridiculously stacked when it comes to the best new games of 2018. You've got long-awaited sequels to legendary games, like Red Dead Redemption 2, Super Smash Bros. for Switch, and Kingdom Hearts 3, bumping up against excitingly fresh ideas like Sea of Thieves, Indivisible, and Dreams. Whatever you're looking forward to the most, there are plenty of highly anticipated titles set to debut in the coming months (and the years to come) - so we've collected the standouts for your viewing pleasure, updated weekly with new additions. Browse our list (ordered by release date) and see what you need to start saving up for ASAP - then be sure to let us know in the comments which games have your rapt attention. 

A Way Out 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: March 23, 2018

Now you can experience your very own Shawshank Redemption courtesy of A Way Out, a co-op only jailbreak story written and directed by the mind behind the affecting puzzle adventure Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Whether you're playing with a partner on the couch or online, A Way Out is always played in splitscreen co-op, as inmates Leo and Vincent begrudgingly work together to bust out of prison and reclaim their freedom. The persistent splitscreen presentation creates some intriguing opportunities for teamwork; for instance, one player might be locked in a cutscene, while the other can freely move about, planning the duo's next move or viewing critical story scenes from a different perspective. 

Far Cry 5

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: March 27, 2018

Far Cry 5 won't take place in some exotic far-off region like Far Cry 4's Kyrat, or an ancient history setting as in Far Cry Primal - it'll be bringing its first-person mayhem to the US of A. The fictional region of Hope County, Montana is thrown into disarray by a cult known as the Project at Eden's Gate, led by the charismatic Father Joseph who advocates religious fanaticism and militia-style stockpiles of high-powered firearms. As Hope County's newest deputy sheriff, you'll have to band with the unturned townsfolk to take down Eden's Gate in the most chaotic ways possible - including aerial dogfights and bombing runs in a pilotable plane, or vicious takedowns using pitchforks, sledgehammers, or trusty animal companions, to name a few options.

God of War  

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: April 20, 2018 

 

Having torn the Greek pantheon asunder, Kratos (now sporting a scruffy beard) has set his sights on a new mythology to conquer: Norse. The fourth main entry in the legendarily brutal PlayStation series - God of War - drops the numbering and looks like it'll force Kratos to control his endless rage, as he raises his young son Atreus to become a hardened warrior. Don't worry, you'll still slay plenty of fantastical creatures along the way, using Kratos' new lightning axe main weapon - but expect a lot more character development and quieter moments in between all the carnage.

State of Decay 2 

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Release date: May 22, 2018

 

If The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it's that forging bonds between survivors and building up a community is essential to surviving the zombie apocalypse. State of Decay 2 takes those values to heart with co-op for up to four players, provided you all agree to work together instead of backstabbing one another for precious supplies. To build up your customizable encampment, you'll need to scavenge on foot or four wheels, splattering the skulls of countless undead along the way. And if someone's unfortunate enough to get bitten, their allies will have the tough choice between curing them with a limited supply of medicine, or ending their impending suffering with a bullet to the brain.

Detroit: Become Human 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: May 25, 2018

 

 

As is the trend nowadays, Detroit: Become Human is a choice-driven adventure revolving around androids achieving sentience. Remember the Kara tech demo Sony showed off years ago? She's back as one of three playable androids in a futuristic Detroit, along with detective 'bot Connor and the aspiring revolutionary Marcus. It’s a game of staggering ambition: it took David Cage two years to write the script, and hundreds of actors have done mo-cap work for it.

Vampyr 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: June 5, 2018

The last great vampire-centric game was Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines, and that cult classic debuted way back in 2004 - but soon enough, Vampyr should sate our bloodlust and fill that vampiric void. Made the eclectic studio Dontnod, developers of Remember Me and Life is Strange, Vampyr casts you as the recently fanged Jonathan Reid in the Victorian-style streets of 1918 London. You have the option of roleplaying Reid as London's savior, using the doctor's powers of healing to find a cure for a deadly flu epidemic, or a sinner, hunting human prey under cover of night and serving only your eternal thirst. Hopefully, Vampyr will play like a Dishonored game starring Dracula.

The Crew 2 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: June 29, 2018

Despite strong sales, Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew didn't seem to make much of an impact in 2015 - but there's a dedicated group of players still roaming its virtual USA roadways to this day. Hopefully The Crew 2 will entice them to make the jump and bring in droves of new racers with its expanded scope: now you can get behind the wheel of boats and planes in addition to the first game's souped-up luxury cars and off-roading rides. You'll be speeding around gigantic slices of world-famous American cities like Las Vegas and New York, taking on plenty of cooperative driving missions as you bond with your crewmates across land, sea, and air. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One
Release date: October 26, 2018

 

Red Dead Redemption 2 has a lot to live up to, so it's reasonable that Rockstar Games wanted a generous amount of time to get this open-world, Wild West sequel just right. Set before the first RDR, you're filling the cowboy boots of Arthur Morgan, an outlaw in the employ of familiar villain Dutch van der Linde. Morgan seems to be a rougher, thornier character compared to the stoic John Marston - but we'll surely get to know him better across dozens of hours spent moseying across quaint plains, hunting for wild animals (now with a new bow and arrow combo!) in verdant mountain regions, and carrying out many a high-stakes train heist.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: TBC 2018

Bandai Namco's cult favorite series of flight sims is gearing up for a big comeback in 2018, bringing the dogfighting action back to the alternate universe of Strangereal for Ace Combat's current-gen debut. The fast-paced aerial skirmishes look great whether you're piloting from the first-person cockpit or a third-person view, and the campaign promises to contextualize the theater of war in the skies with a healthy dose of political intrigue and Top Gun-esque melodrama. Those who own a PlayStation VR get the added bonus of PS VR-exclusive missions that should ideally make you feel like you're actually flying your very own fighter jet.

Spider-Man 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: TBC 2018

 

This open-world superhero game should be an interesting departure for Insomniac Games, the studio most famous for the Ratchet & Clank series. You'll be web-swinging between buildings and beating up thugs as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, dealing with the likes of Kingpin and Mister Negative in your efforts to keep the peace in the Big Apple. This game isn't tied to any specific comic or movie, so the creators aren't bound by an existing storyline; here's to hoping we don't have to see any origin stories play out for the umpteenth time.

The Last of Us Part 2 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: TBC

 

The Last of Us Part 2 picks up the story of Joel and Ellie five years after the original game. While survival in a post-outbreak world will still be the key theme of the game, we know very little else... other than the fact that Ellie is seriously pissed off about something in the reveal trailer. Fan theories suggest that Joel is actually dead and Ellie is simply imagining him, but we won’t know for sure until Naughty Dog reveals more. Don't hold your breath for this one to be out in 2018, though - it's reportedly still early in development.

The easiest and most affordable way to experience virtual reality is Google Cardboard. The tech giant's creation will work with most modern smartphones, and it requires fairly inexpensive headsets. You can find out more about Google Cardboard, its available content, and the supported headset by visiting the project's official website.

Using a high-end smartphone is the best way to experience Google Cardboard apps. Such devices feature powerful hardware and sharp displays that won't compromise the quality.

On the other hand, the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows mixed reality headsets are considerably pricier than any Google Cardboard device, but they're also capable of delivering a much more immersive experience. Both options require high-end gaming PCs in order to work.

If you don't want to buy or build a gaming PC, consider getting PlayStation VR, which is powered by the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro console, which you may already have.

Take a look below at all the best options available on the market today and find the best one for you.

1.SAMSUNG GEAR VR (2017)

Best for Samsung Smartphone Users

Samsung and Oculus teamed up to bring quality VR to the masses with the Gear VR headset. It's comfortable, senses movement, and comes with an excellent motion controller. It's the best way to experience virtual reality without investing in an expensive gaming PC or console.

The new Gear VR headset works only with Samsung's high-end Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones. It comes bundled with microUSB and USB-C adapters, but you need to carefully keep track of them — they're small and easy to lose. 

Compared to Google's Daydream View, the Gear VR offers a lot more apps, games, and experiences. 

2.HTC VIVE

Best for High-Quality VR Gaming  

The HTC Vive is a decidedly upmarket offering, which requires a powerful gaming PC to deliver the best results. Key features of the virtual reality headset include a high-resolution display with a wide field of view, 32 sensors for precise motion-tracking, and a front-facing camera that can add real-world objects to the experience.

The HTC Vive comes with two multifunction trackpads with haptic feedback and two base stations of motion tracking. The headset requires a room with ample space for an optimal experience.

There's plenty of great content to choose from for the HTC Vive, courtesy of Steam. The device is considered by many to be the best VR headset available today.

3.GOOGLE DAYDREAM VIEW (2017)

Best for Android Smartphone Users

The Google Daydream View VR headset is designed to showcase the tech giant's vast library of virtual reality content on compatible smartphones with OLED display. Beautiful to look at and comfortable to wear, the headset comes with a neat controller that makes all apps and games incredibly engaging. 

4.SONY PLAYSTATION VR

Best for Sony PlayStation Owners

The Sony PlayStation VR is the best option to experience quality virtual reality content in its price range. Unlike the pricier HTC Vive and Oculus Rift that require even more expensive gaming computers to work, all the PlayStation VR needs is one of the tech giant's PS4 or PS4 Pro gaming consoles. 

Easy to set up and operate, the headset features a quality OLED display with a zippy refresh rate and low latency. There are plenty of games, experiences, and videos to soak in, too.

5.SAMSUNG HMD ODYSSEY WINDOWS MIXED REALITY HEADSET

Best Windows 10 Mixed Reality Headset

The Samsung HMD Odyssey is the best Windows mixed reality headset available today. Mixed reality headsets are a new lineup of PC accessories, which launched alongside the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update late last year. 

The accessory can deliver augmented and virtual reality experiences on Windows 10. It also supports content and games from Steam VR, so it's a great, affordable alternative to the HTC Vive.

Key hardware features of the Samsung HMD Odyssey include high-resolution AMOLED displays, integrated high-end headphones from AKG, and bundled motion controllers. 

8.OCULUS RIFT

Best for Oculus Gaming

The Oculus Rift is a direct HTC Vive rival in the premium segment. It features a high-res display, integrated headphones, two Touch controllers, and a pair of movement sensors.

Like the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift requires sufficient room, as well as a powerful gaming PC, in order to deliver the best user experience. Oculus has listed a number of compatible options in various price points on its website.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to emerge as revolutionary new computing platforms and change the way we see the world. Admittedly, these technologies have yet to break into the mainstream, but their widespread adoption appears to be on the horizon.

With that in mind, the question becomes which companies will best enable investors to profit from these exciting new tech categories? Read on to see why FacebookActivision Blizzard, and Alphabet are among the top mixed-reality stocks to buy today. 

 

Facebook

Facebook has been an aggressive first mover in the VR space, and stands to be a big winner if the technology takes off. Perhaps no other large tech company has made a bigger bet on the new display technology. It acquired virtual-reality company Oculus for roughly $3 billion in 2014 and has remained steadfast in its vision to develop mixed reality tech even though its initial foray into the hardware space was somewhat rocky.

The first Oculus Rift headset launched at $599, a price that proved too high for mass-market appeal, but Mark Zuckerberg and Co. are taking the long view on VR and AR, and readying their next stab at the hardware space. Unlike the Rift, the upcoming Oculus Go won't need to connect to a phone or computer, and will debut at $199. The device, set to launch in 2019, is another clear indicator that Facebook is committed to the long-term future of VR.

Hardware aside, the real promise of VR for the social network company is in software. The current installed base for virtual-reality hardware is small, but more than 2.1 billion people use Facebook's services. That's  a huge addressable market for mixed reality content that's just waiting to be tapped into.

Put simply, there's an excellent chance that any person who buys a VR headset is already a member of a Facebook platform, and is likely to use their new hardware to interface with the company's services. To see a small slice of what the social media giant is working on in the mixed reality space, check out this video from the company's most recent F8 conference demoing features including 360-degree photos and virtual computers.

n the video above, Facebook's Mike Booth says that the company isn't sure yet what the killer app for VR will be -- it sees its role as a platform provider. That's a role that's likely to come with huge benefits, opening up new data and advertising opportunities, and keeping its social platforms central to users' lives.

Activision Blizzard

Like Facebook, Activision Blizzard is not a pure-play in virtual reality, but it's a stock that could see significant upside thanks to the rise of a new kind of content. VR is a new medium that overlaps with existing ones, but, much like video games, it hinges on interactivity and immersion. Those are areas where Activision Blizzard has a lot of expertise.

Video games are already one of the biggest draws to virtual reality, and they'll play a core role in bridging the technology to mainstream adoption. Uses for VR and AR will extend into fields including manufacturing and healthcare, but it's likely that gaming will always be a big part of the consumer appeal for mixed-reality platforms. 

Outside of a Call of Duty experience for Sony's PlayStation VR platform that was released in 2016, Activision Blizzard hasn't shown much of what it's developing for VR. That doesn't mean that the company doesn't have some big things in the works, and it's a safe bet that the gaming leader will be one of the biggest and most influential players in the space once hardware platforms have a greater adoption rate.

Activision Blizzard has a range of franchises that could make the transition to VR, as well as some of the most accomplished development teams in the industry. No game company in the last decade has a better track record of building virtual worlds and creating competitive experiences that keep players coming back for more. The publisher is also better positioned than any competitor to deliver mixed-reality gaming experiences across console, PC, and mobile platforms.  

In addition to changing the way games are played, VR stands a good chance of complementing Activision's push into esports. At present, most esports content is viewed from fixed camera angles. VR presents an opportunity to immerse viewers in the perspectives seen by the competitors, and even the possibility of having spectators navigate the playing fields of ongoing matches to experience events from vantage points of their own choosing.

 

Alphabet

Thus far, Alphabet has made forays into the budget-priced end of the VR hardware space with its Cardboard and Daydream headsets. It was also a first mover in augmented reality with its Google Glass smart glasses, though the company seems to have set that platform on the back burner after its lackluster reception. Building an early presence in mixed-reality hardware should help the company move toward the real long-term prizes in the space -- setting up leading platforms for app sales and content, and taking advantage of new frontiers in advertising. 

Alphabet has a range of competitive advantages and product synergies that should make it a formidable player in VR and AR. YouTube is a dominant platform for video sharing and livestreaming, and position's Alphabet to become one of the leaders in mixed-reality content portals. The company's Android operating system stands as the world's most-used mobile platform, and will likely play a defining role in the evolution of VR and AR as well.

Mixed-reality platforms will likely open up a wide range of new and valuable user data, and Google's dominance in the search space means that Alphabet is ideally situated to serve up tailored ads. From there, the immersive nature of mixed-reality experiences has the potential to increase user engagement that leads to more effective advertising campaigns -- and higher ad-pricing rates.

If that weren't enough, Alphabet will also be able to generate revenue by claiming a portion the revenues from VR and AR software sold through its app store. This makes the company a good pick-and-shovel play for investing in the growth of the VR games market, as gaming apps currently produce the large majority of app store revenue, and will be a driving force in mixed-reality adoption. With such a strong range of advantages in the space, Alphabet is one of the best-positioned companies to benefit from the widespread adoption of mixed-reality technology.

Pandora is acquiring San Mateo, Calif.-based digital audio ad tech startup Adswizz for $145 million in cash and stock, the company announced Wednesday. After the acquisition, Adswizz will continue to operate independently, but also power Pandora’s digital audio ad sales.

“Since I joined Pandora six months ago, I have highlighted ad tech as a key area of investment for us,” said Pandora CEO Roger Lynch in a statement. “Today we took an important step to advance that priority and accelerate our product roadmap.”

Adswizz CEO Alexis van de Wyer will continue to lead the subsidiary, which will offer advertisers the ability to buy audio advertising across Pandora and other services. The startup counts Spotify, Deezer, iHeartradio and TuneIn among its partners, according to its website.

 

In addition to programmatic ad buying for audio advertising, Adswizz has also been offering interactive audio ads and dynamic ad insertion for podcasts. Lynch recently told Variety that Pandora was looking to double down on podcasts, and create what he called “the equivalent of the podcast genome project” in order to properly surface and recommend podcasts to its audience.

Joining a pitch competition or innovation award can translate into a lot of benefits for early-stage startups. For example: Increased visibility, valuable feedback, media exposure, prize money/value, and good networking opportunities. Of course, bringing home the trophy is a bonus. If your startup is looking for a stage to kickstart its debut, here are 10 startup competitions in Europe worth checking out.

 

Web Summit (5-8 November 2018) – The Pitch competition of Web Summit is open to any ALPHA or BETA startup exhibiting at Web Summit and gives them an opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of investors and journalists from around the world.The conference has a reputation for drawing an influential audience of tech insiders, investors, media, and startups and is happening in Lisbon, every November. The 2017 edition of their pitch competition saw a cash prize of €50,000 and a place on a mentoring programme at Daimler AG.

 

 BUSINESS-MEDIA PLATFORM COOLJONNY is the place where you can sell, purchase, or advertise any types of services in any city of your country. CoolJonny will gather 20 chosen starups applied and give them the task of developing the platforms of the same type for different countries including things like design etc. The winners will get free acceleration progrmas on how to build an online marketplaces with all the secret tips and they also will recieve over €100,000 prize.

 

Startup Battlefield (Deadline: March 22, 2018) – Startup Battlefield is probably one of the best-known competitions and allows the world’s top early-stage startups to compete for the Disrupt Cup, a €50,000 prize, and exposure to key industry investors. TechCrunch hosts the Battlefield a few times a year, once at each of their three Disrupt conferences and also in new and emerging markets.

 

 

New Energy Challenge (summer 2018) – The competition is an initiative of Shell in partnership with YES!Delft and Rockstart to recognize and reward the talent of the most extraordinary startups that can shape the transition towards cleaner energy. The program is open to European and Israeli startups with ideas and tools to help the energy sector transition to a low-carbon system. The winner gets a €100,000 convertible loan from Shell Technology Ventures as well as exclusive coaching from Shell experts and access to Shell’s global network.

Get in the ring (30 May – 1 June) – The competition is a featured event of the Global Entrepreneurship Week and has introduced a new unique pitching concept. Startups getting in the ring will battle one on one, during five different rounds, focused on a relevant topic that all investors are interested in. The winner of the National Finals will proceed to the Regional Finals and claim a spot at the International Finals for a chance to compete in front of a jury panel, international investors and a live audience to claim an investment of up to €1,000,000.

Brand new Beasts F90 BMW M5 vs Mercedes-AMG E63 S

This comparison was the first thought in most enthusiasts’ minds when the F90-gen BMW M5 first debuted. When BMW fans first saw the new M5, they immediately thought “how is it going to stack up against the E63 AMG?”. That’s a testament to how good the new Mercedes-AMG E63 is, which is an incredible super sedan. So how does BMW’s new 600 hp, all-wheel drive M5 stack up to the mighty AMG? Auto Bild found out.

First, let’s take a look at how the two cars stack up on paper.

Both cars use twin-turbocharged V8 engines, a 4.4 liter unit from BMW and a 4.0 liter from Mercedes-AMG. The BMW M5 makes 600 hp on the nose and the AMG makes 603 hp. Though, the AMG crushes the M5 for torque, making 627 lb-ft (non ‘S’ model makes 553 lb-ft) while the BMW M5 makes 553 lb-ft. Both cars send power through automatic gearboxes, an eight-speed, torque-converter auto for BMW and a nine-speed, wet-clutch auto for AMG. Both cars also send power to all four wheels with the ability to become completely rear-wheel drive.

As far as performance goes, both cars are just as closely matched as they are on paper.

The sprint from 0-60 mph comes in a claimed 3.4 seconds but expect both to do it in around 3.2 seconds. However, according to Auto Bild, the M5 is quicker to 200 km/h (124 mph), with the M5 doing it in 11.1 seconds compared to the AMG’s 11.5 seconds. It’s odd that the M5 is quicker to 200 km/h, being that it’s slightly less powerful but we chalk it up to being lighter.

So both cars are really evenly matched on paper. But on-paper specs and performance can only go so far. At some point, you need to get behind the wheel and figure out which car is best. And that’s exactly what Auto Bild did.

It’s actually interesting what they learned from driving both cars back to back. Both cars are capable of being absolute hooligans, roasting their tires and making big skids. However, it’s the BMW M5 that actually has a bit more duality. Usually, it’s the Mercedes-AMG that’s the more comfortable on public roads while M products are usually too crazy, too motorsport-like. In this case, though, it’s actually the M5 that’s more comfortable when put in Comfort mode. It’s the more relaxed car under normal conditions.

The AMG E63 S has firmer suspension, more aggressive negative camber and is, ultimately, the angrier car of the two. That doesn’t mean it’s better to drive, though. The M5 is said to have a bit better steering, while also feeling a bit lighter and sharper. Though, when just puttering around town, the M5 is a bit calmer and more comfortable. That’s not to say that the AMG is bad to drive, quite the contrary. The AMG is a riot and its V8 makes a much better noise. Though, it’s not enough to fight off the new M5.

BMW’s newest M5 is a monster with a duality that makes it just a touch better than the mighty AMG E63 S. When the new E63 first debuted, it blew everyone away and rightfully so. It’s excellent. But the new BMW M5 seems to be a bit more excellent.

https://cooljonny.com/blog/Car-Splash/

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