Elemental Evil: Sessions 13 & 14

I just noticed that I am behind on my reporting on the Elemental Evil campaign. In the previous reported session the group had reached level 5 and was about to head for the Sacred Stone Monastery. Sessions 13 and 14 were about the adventures of the group in that monastery. However once again it has to be remarked that this particular group is mainly interested in the combat aspects of D&D, and less interested in the role-playing aspects. And the campaign has been chosen with this preference in mind, containing a lot of dungeon crawls. Nevertheless even in that campaign the group still managed to avoid most opportunities to find out more about the story, and spent those two sessions mostly in combat encounters.

The group entered the Sacred Stone Monastery via the garden and from there into the main hall. However that was exactly what the bad guys had planned for invaders, as the main hall contains a trap that drops the group down into the dungeon and into a cage with an Umber Hulk. Having beaten the Umber Hulk and then some orog and ogre guards, the group liberated a group of slaves used for mining work. That included members of the Mirabar delegation, which in the book is the official story hook. However the group showed absolutely no interest in asking them about what had happened to the delegation, and allowed the slaves to leave unescorted.

Next the group entered a part of the dungeon in which a Lich lives. A Lich is a challenge rating 21 monster and obviously not meant as a combat encounter for level 5 characters. But in spite of the Lich just being a bit grumpy and not immediately attacking, the group decided against getting information from him, and just fled. Having otherwise cleaned out the basement, the group found another staircase up, and found themselves in the middle of the monk’s quarters, where a big fight ensued. That included the boss of the place, a blind female monk with the name of Hellenrae. Just like in the previous two elemental keeps, the group killed the boss, looted the magical key part the bosses are carrying, and then legged it.

Then they returned to Red Larch to rest and recuperate. But the next morning at breakfast in the inn, they were attacked by four hell hounds. That was a bit annoying for the sorceress, who mainly had fire-based spells like scorching ray and fireball, to which the monsters were immune. But although they took heavy damage from fire breaths, the group prevailed and sent the dogs packing. They (correctly) concluded that the hell hounds had been sent by the one cult they hadn’t visited yet, the fire cult. As they had previously heard about druids planning a fire ritual at a location which corresponded to the location of the fourth elemental keep on their ancient map, they plan to go there in the next session.

Watch: Former Navy Officers Tell NY Times They Had a UFO Encounter in 2004

A video from the Department of Defense shows the encounter with the strange object.

In an interview with the New York Timestwo former US Naval pilots described an encounter with what they believed to be a UFO during an exercise in 2004 that left one pilot saying he “felt weirded out” right after.

According to Cmdr. David Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight, they were 100 miles out into the Pacific  when they were hailed by radio by an operations officer aboard the U.S.S. Princeton wanting  to know if they were carrying weapons.

The two men recall that they were told, “Well, we’ve got a real-world vector for you,” with the radio operator informing them that the Princeton had been tracking a mysterious aircraft which appeared suddenly at 80,000 feet, before plummeting towards the sea and hovering at  20,000 feet.

Asked to investigate the pilots searched for the object, finding it and describing it as “an aircraft of some kind — whitish — that was around 40 feet long and oval in shape. The craft was jumping around erratically, staying over the wave disturbance but not moving in any specific direction,” according to Fravor.

Fravor stated that, as he approached the object, “It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” adding he was “pretty weirded out.”

The two pilots had other encounter with the object before it once again pulled away.

Fravor recalled that he told another pilot about the encounter, explaining to him, “I have no idea what I saw. It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s,” before adding: “I want to fly one.”

You can read the whole interview here

Video below provided U.S. Department of Defense:

 

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Here’s What It’s Going to Take for Democrats to Take Back the House in 2018

Bannon is on the defensive. There’s red dread and blue hope. But election data nerds say Dems must do even more next year.

What a difference one special election makes! Following Tuesday’s historic victory by Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s Senate race, Democrats and Republicans—to say nothing of pundits and election data-crunchers—have been revisiting old assumptions about 2018 and 2020.

Most visibly, the radical reactionary Republicans who backed Roy Moore—led by white nationalist and Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon—are on the defensive. Bannon, who never stopped himself from throwing mud before, complained about the Democrat’s “new model” of smearing his Breitbart-branded patriots. Of course, mainstream media, had a villainous role.

“I think the new model is they’re going to come at people with personal attacks and just overwhelm them with media—and you got to remember this wasn’t supported, this was triggered by the establishment,” Bannon said on Wednesday night on his national radio show, referring to The Washington Post reporting of Moore’s habit of preying on teenage girls. “They’re the ones that triggered all this stuff on Moore.”

His guest on Breitbart News Tonight, Pat Caddell, went even further into the us-versus-them, real patriots-versus-establishment shills divide that is likely to resurface in 2018’s GOP congressional primaries. (Caddell is a pollster who, four decades ago, helped elect Democrat Jimmy Carter; but in recent years has backed Donald Trump and white-America centered populism.)

“Understand this,” he intoned. “We’re watching how they are developing to handle the revolt, if you will, or the rebellion; you put it down. And that is to work in concert with the mainstream media. Even Republicans are doing this, as well as the Democratic establishment, to squeeze this out, and they will use it to attack candidates who are unworthy… But as people come forth to take back their country, we’re going to have to find way to protect, to give cover to these people… [from others] trying to take them out.”

The Bannon mob usually isn’t this defensive. But after Alabama, they have plenty to worry about, even if not what they’re fixating on. Alabama saw an unprecedented numbers of whites vote for a Democrat—especially those under 44 and suburban women, instead of reflexively for a Republican.  

That is a break-the-mold political development. It was one of many metrics from the Alabama election that create a new landscape of blue hope and red dread. Another is Alabama counties with majorities of registered Democrats showed up in much larger percentages to vote than GOP majority counties.

This raises a question that some of the country’s best respected election data crunchers and forecasters have been debating since Tuesday: How big of a popular vote majority do Democrats need in 2018 to win back the House?

At Sabato’s Crystal Ball, named after Larry Sabato, who decades ago took the helm at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, a rather dense post by Alan Abramowitz concluded, “a popular vote margin of between three and four points would be large enough for this purpose.”

The reason that Democrats cannot win elections simply with 50 percent plus one is because many House districts have been gerrymandered, which means their boundaries were drawn based on segregating each parties most reliable voters. The GOP did this in a dozen states in 2011 that resulted in Congress and state legislatures being under their control for most of this decade. So Abramowitz is saying that 53-to-54 percent of registered Democrats must vote in November 2018 for their party to win 24 seats to take the House.

Other election data nerds quickly pounced on that figure as too slim in Twitter posts.

“I thought it was more?” replied David Leonhardt, a New York Times columnist. 

“This is way too low. More like 7-8%,” tweeted David Wasserman, the U.S. House editor for The Cook Political Report.

“Totally agree. I don’t have numbers in front of me but I’ve looked at this specific w before. It’s basically 7.25% by which Dems need to win national vote for Congress in order to overcome gerrymandering. Chew on that…” tweeted Jeremy Kalin, a former Minnesota legislator.

Then came FiveThirtyEight.com’s Harry Enten, who tweeted, “Lots of discussion in nerd Twitter on just how much Dems need to win House vote by in order to win majority of seats. Here’s what I wrote in Feb 2017.”

That analysis is worth reposting, because it says Dems need an 8-point popular vote edge to breach the GOP’s gerrymander advantage.

“The median congressional district was 5.5 percentage points more Republican-leaning in the presidential race than the nation as a whole in 2016, meaning Democrats are essentially spotting the GOP 5.5 points in the battle for control of the House,” Enten wrote. “And even that may be underestimating Republicans ability to win a majority of seats without a majority of the vote. Since 2012 (or when most states instituted the current House district lines), Republicans have won, on average, 51 percent of the two-party House vote and 55 percent of House seats. If that difference holds for 2018, Democrats would need to win the House popular vote by about 8 percentage points to win half the House seats.”

Why do these figures matter? Because as some of these same election data crunchers pour over the exit polls and other results from Alabama and every other big election in 2017, it appears that the Democratic wave is right on the brink of closely winning (like in Alabama) or losing (as Jon Ossoff did by a few points in Georgia’s sixth congressional district last spring.)

“In six 2017 special elections, Dems have been outperforming their @CookPolitical PVI-suggested share of the vote by an average of 9%,” tweeted Wasserman on Friday.

So, if Democrats have been turning out by 9 percent more than expected, how come they haven’t swept every race this year—you might ask? The answer is the gerrymandering advantage, which these analysts have been debating, is at the starting line of the process. But there are other intentional barriers that await Democrats at the finish line, where Republicans passed laws and regulations to undermine turnout. The biggest is stricter voter ID requirements to get a polling place ballot, which congressional analysts have said peels off 2-to-3 percent of likely turnout. (Academics say it’s more). There’s other tactics too, such as limiting early voting opportunities, complicating registration, illegally purging infrequent voters, etc.

Alabama’s senate election was the perfect capstone to a year where Democratic candidates and voters increasingly were getting their mojo back. Bannon and his right-wing rabble should be worried, because, as Dems are getting organized and are more optimistic, the Republicans are rife with intra-party strife, deeply unpopular policies and an unstable president.

However, Democrats, progressives and independents need to know the scale of the barriers that await in 2018. Because as much as the opposition party turned around and regained momentum in 2017, more will be needed next year to retake Congress and put a big red stop sign before the GOP.    

 

 

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Android Widget: Android – LeaVe my baThRoom at-least !

What is a widget?  In Android, the word widget is a generic term for a bit of self-contained code that displays a program, or a piece of a program, that is also (usually) a shortcut to a larger application. We see them every day on web pages, on our computer desktop and on our smartphones, but we never give too much thought into how great they are. Widgets first appeared in Android in version 1.5, and really gained traction thanks to HTC’s Sense-flavored version of the operating system. Prior to the release of the HTC Hero and our first taste of HTC Sense, widgets were functional, but pretty bland in appearance. Since then, the people making our phones and independent developers alike have done some marvelous things with widgets, and it’s hard to imagine using Android without them.
Android support to implement widgets for both, the home screen and the lock screen.

Common Types of Android Widget
Widget typically fall in one of the following categories

1. Information Widgets

Information widgets display information elements that are important to a user and track how that that information changes over time. Touching information widgets typically launches the associated app and opens a detail view of the widget information. Example for information widgets are weather widgets, clock widgets, etc.

2.Collection widgets

As the name implies, collection widgets specialize on displaying multitude elements of the same type, such as a collection of pictures from a gallery app, a collection of articles from a news app or a collection of emails/messages from a communication app. Collection widgets typically focus on two use cases: browsing the collection, and opening an element of the collection to its detail view for consumption. Collection widgets can scroll vertically.

3.Control widgets

The main purpose of a control widget is to display often used functions that the user can trigger right from the home screen without having to open the app first. A typical example of control widgets are music app widgets that allow the user to play, pause or skip music tracks from outside the actual music app. Power Control Widgets are using to make changes to the system settings easier and simpler. You just need to toggle On or Off almost all the system settings with just one tap.

4. Hybrid Widget
They combine the elements of different other widgets in one.

Some Widget Limitations
Gestures
Only two gestures available for widgets are Touch and Vertical Swipe
Elements
Due to gestures limitations, some of the UI elements that rely on restricted gestures are not available for widgets.

To create your own widget and use your widget in layout XML, there are two additional files for you need to create. Here is a list of files you’ll need to create to implement a custom widget:

XML Definition File – Click on your project and create a new folder called xml. Now right click on the newly created folder and create a new XML file. An XML flie defines the XML element used to instantiate your widget, and the attributes that it supports. The resource type of the XML file should be set to AppWidgetProvider. In the xml file, define some properties which are as follows :-

<appwidget-provider 
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
android:minWidth="146dp"
android:updatePeriodMillis="0"
android:minHeight="146dp"
android:initialLayout="@layout/activity_main">
</appwidget-provider>

Layout XML [optional]– An optional XML file inside res/layout/ that describes the layout of your widget. You could also do this in code in your Java file.

Java Implementation File– This is the file that implements the behavior of the widget. If you can instantiate the object from layout XML, you will also have to code a constructor that retrieves all the attribute values from the layout XML file.

Java File must extend AppWidgetProvider class and override its update method. In the update method, you have to deifne the object of two classes PendingIntent and RemoteViews.

PendingIntent pending = PendingIntent.getActivity(context, 0, intent, 0);
RemoteViews views = new RemoteViews(context.getPackageName(), R.layout.activity_main);

In the end you have to call an update method updateAppWidget() of the AppWidgetManager class.

appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(currentWidgetId,views);

Following are the other Methods of AppWidgetProvider class to manipulate widgets.
onDeleted(Context context, int[] appWidgetIds)
This is called when an instance of AppWidgetProvider is deleted.

onDisabled(Context context)
This is called when the last instance of AppWidgetProvider is deleted

onEnabled(Context context)
This is called when an instance of AppWidgetProvider is created.

onReceive(Context context, Intent intent)
It is used to dispatch calls to the various methods of the class

You also need to declare approvider widget class in Android manifest file as follows

appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(currentWidgetId,views);  

<receiver android:name="ExampleAppWidgetProvider" >

<intent-filter>
<action android:name="android.appwidget.action.APPWIDGET_UPDATE" />
</intent-filter>

<meta-data android:name="android.appwidget.provider"
android:resource="@xml/example_appwidget_info" />
</receiver>

Example

here is the example of application widget which create basic widget which will open the Web Browser.
Content of the MainActivity.java

package net.suven.android.androidwidget;

import android.app.PendingIntent;
import android.appwidget.AppWidgetManager;
import android.appwidget.AppWidgetProvider;
import android.content.Context;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.net.Uri;
import android.widget.RemoteViews;
import android.widget.Toast;

public class MainActivity extends AppWidgetProvider{
public void onUpdate(Context context, AppWidgetManager appWidgetManager,int[] appWidgetIds) {
for(int i=0; i < appWidgetIds.length; i++){
int currentWidgetId = appWidgetIds[i];
String url = "http://android.suvenconsultants.com/";

Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW);
intent.addFlags(Intent.FLAG_ACTIVITY_NEW_TASK);
intent.setData(Uri.parse(url));

PendingIntent pending = PendingIntent.getActivity(context, 0,intent, 0);
RemoteViews views = new RemoteViews(context.getPackageName(),R.layout.activity_main);

views.setOnClickPendingIntent(R.id.button, pending);
appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(currentWidgetId,views);
Toast.makeText(context, "widget added", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
}
}
}

Content of the activity_main.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools" android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="match_parent" android:paddingLeft="@dimen/activity_horizontal_margin"
android:paddingRight="@dimen/activity_horizontal_margin"
android:paddingTop="@dimen/activity_vertical_margin"
android:paddingBottom="@dimen/activity_vertical_margin"
tools:context=".MainActivity"
android:transitionGroup="true">

<TextView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="SCTPL"
android:id="@+id/textView"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:textColor="#ff3412ff"
android:textSize="35dp" />

<Button
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="Visit SCTPL"
android:id="@+id/button"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:layout_marginTop="61dp"
android:layout_below="@+id/textView" />

</RelativeLayout>

Content of the AndroidManifest.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
package="net.suven.android.androidwidget" >

<application
android:allowBackup="true"
android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
android:label="@string/app_name"
android:theme="@style/AppTheme" >
<receiver android:name=".MainActivity">

<intent-filter>
<action android:name="android.appwidget.action.APPWIDGET_UPDATE"></action>
</intent-filter>

<meta-data android:name="android.appwidget.provider"
android:resource="@xml/widget"></meta-data>

</receiver>

</application>
</manifest>

content of the res/xml/widget.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<appwidget-provider
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
android:minWidth="146dp"
android:updatePeriodMillis="0"
android:minHeight="146dp"
android:initialLayout="@layout/activity_main">
</appwidget-provider>
Install App and Go to your widget section and add your created widget to the desktop or home screen.

Android widget application output
Click here to download Source Code and APK
 Learn Android Programming?

Common HTTP Errors

Every HTTP transaction has a status code sent back by the server to define how the server handled the transaction.
Apart from the 404 error, how many other HTML error pages do you know about? Have you ever thought about what happens in the background when you see any of these HTML error pages on your screen?
Those codes are meant to convey important information to the user. Using them properly reduces your bounce rate, improves your search engine ranking and gives you knowledge on the performance of your site.

Status Codes

Status codes come in the format of 3 digit numbers. The first digit marks the class of the status code:
1XX status codes have informational purposes
2XX indicates success
3XX is for redirection
None of these three classes result in an HTML error page as in this cases the client knows what to do and goes on with the task without hesitation. 

What we usually see are the 4XX and 5XX kind:

4XX represent client-side errors
5XX indicate problems on the server side
HTML error pages are displayed in these cases because the client has no idea about what how to move on.

Lets see some Client side and Server side HTTP error codes

Client Side Errors(4XX)

400 – Bad Request

Whenever the client sends a request the server is unable to understand, the 400 Bad Request error page shows up. It usually happens when the data sent by the browser doesn’t respect the rules of the HTTP protocol, so the web server is clueless about how to process a request containing a malformed syntax.

Open the same webpage in a different browser, clear the cache, and check if you are due with security updates. If you regularly meet the 400 error on different sites, your PC or Mac is awaiting a thorough security checkup.

401 – Authorization Required

When there’s a password-protected webpage behind the client’s request, the server responds with a 401 Authorization Required code. 401 doesn’t return a classical error message at once, but a popup that asks the user to provide a login-password combination.

403 – Forbidden

The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it. Authorization will not help and the request SHOULD NOT be repeated.By returning the 403 status code the server basically rejects the client with a big loud “No” without any explanation.
The most common reason is that the website owner doesn’t permit visitors to browse the file directory structure of the site.

404 – Not Found


The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.

408 – Request Time-Out

When the request of the client takes too long, the server times out, closes the connection, and the browser displays a 408 Request Time-Out error message. The time-out happens because the server didn’t receive a complete request from the client within the time frame it was prepared to wait.

410 – Gone

The requested resource is no longer available at the server and no forwarding address is known. This condition is expected to be considered permanent. Clients with link editing capabilities SHOULD delete references to the Request-URI after user approval.

If the server does not know, or has no facility to determine, whether or not the condition is permanent, the status code 404 Not Found SHOULD be used instead. This response is cacheable unless indicated otherwise. It’s a good idea to distinguish between 404 and 410 to enhance your Google-friendliness. 

Server Side Errors

500 – Internal Server Error

The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.
If you encounter the 500 error page on your own site, it will be wise to contact your hosting provider. The reason is most likely a permission error, a corrupt .htaccess file or a too low memory limit.

502 – Bad Gateway

The 502 error message represents a communication problem between two servers. It occurs when the client connects to a server acting as a gateway or a proxy that needs to access an upstream server that provides additional service to it.

503 – Service Unavailable

Your web server is unable to handle your HTTP request at the time. There are a myriad of reasons why this can occur but the most common are:

  • server crash
  • server maintenance
  • server overload
  • server maliciously being attacked
  • a website has used up its allotted bandwidth
  • server may be forbidden to return the requested document
  • This is usually a temporary condition. Since you are getting a return code, part of the server is working. The web people have made the server return this code until they fix the problem.

If you do not get service back soon, contact your web host as they would know the best. Some web hosts have server status pages you can check.

504 – Gateway Time-Out

There is a server-server communication problem behind the Gateway Time-Out error message, just like behind the 502 Bad Gateway error code. When the 504 status code is returned there’s also a higher-level server in the background that is supposed to send data to the server that is connected to our client. In this case the lower-level server doesn’t receive a timely response from the upstream server it accessed.

Want to learn Web Programming?

Dice Brawl: Captain’s League

I have a strange fascination with the game Monopoly, must be some memory of my childhood where games weren’t as plentiful as today. But somehow the various computer versions of Monopoly never really excited me. But now I found a nice little game on iOS called Dice Brawl: Captain’s League, which is basically a pirate themed Monopoly on speed, and it is fun.

The board is much smaller, and there are only two players. It is styled as PvP, but the opponent always reacts so fast, and never quits, that I suspect it is fake PvP against an AI controlled opponent just using the name and deck of another player. That is pretty much the only sort of PvP I like. So just like in Monopoly you roll two dice, move around the board, and if you land on an empty spot you can build a fortress there. If you land on your own fortress you can increase its level. If you land on an enemy fortress, you take damage, but then you can try to attack it and conquer it. The player with the most fortresses after 8 turns wins, unless a player gets killed in combat earlier.

This being a mobile game, it comes free but then uses the Gacha game or lootbox mechanic. In the lootboxes you find captains, ships, and crew members of various rarities. By finding more of the same card, you can level that card up. And the various cards have skills which you can then use in battle. The obvious idea is that you spend money to buy lootboxes, but I found the game well playable without doing so.

Overall a fun little game which isn’t overly exploitive, unless you are the kind of player that easily gets sucked in by lootboxes.

Learn the Bootstrap Grid in 15 Minutes : BootStrap – ResponSive Designing

Bootstrap grid system

Bootstrap is a free and open-source front-end web framework for designing websites and web applications. Unlike many web frameworks, it concerns itself with front-end development only. Anybody who knows HTML, CSS and a bit of Java Script can learn Bootstrap in no time. Responsive page layout is the layout which can change and adapt depending on the screen size of the device the user is on.

The grid consists of rows and columns. This allows us to freely position elements vertically and horizontally. Rows are block level. This means, that when we create a row, it takes up the entire width of the element it is in. You can think of rows as new lines in your layout. The horizontal alignment in the grid is done via columns. Only columns can be the direct children of a row and all content should go inside them. Placing content directly within a row will break the layout.
        
Syntax for the Bootstrap grid system:


<div class="row">


<div class="col-md-12">Content Goes Here</div>

</div>      
Rows are divided horizontally into 12 equal parts. When we place a column inside a row, we have to specify the number of parts it is going to take up. 
        
This is done by using special class .col-md-NUMBER , here Number can be 1 to 12 depending on the width of the element getting placed in that column.

components of the grid system
 
In the class name .col-md-NUMBER  md stands for medium display size. To make the page responsive we use different classes because bootstrap uses the screen resolution and dpi into account when deciding which classes are active. This is a powerful way how to control how layouts render on different devices. 


classes used in bootstrap


To make it responsive according to screen size we use :


<div class="row"> <div class="col-xs-12 col-md-6"><p> To learn Angular JS and BootStrap visit http://monster.suvenconsultants.com/#section-angularJs-Bootsrtap . </p></div>


<div class="col-xs-12 col-md-6">Content</div>

output for the code where desktop will show elements horizontally and in mobile it will view vertical



Clearfix :
In some scenarios, when a column has much more content and a bigger height then the ones after it, the layout will break. The columns will all pile up under each other, instead of moving to the next line as they should. To make the page look perfectly aligned we use clearifix.

syntax to use clearfix:

<div class="row">
<div class="col-xs-6 tall-column">A column much taller than the rest.</div>
<div class="col-xs-6"></div>
<div class="clearfix"></div>
<div class="col-xs-6"></div>
</div>

even if the height is different next element will display on the next row


Offsets :
By default, columns stick to each other without leaving any space, floating to the left. Any excess space remaining in that row stays empty on the right. to leave space on the left side we use offsets
classes used in offsets


Example for offsets:

<div class="container">
<div class="row">
<div class="col-xs-5 col-xs-offset-4">col-xs-5 col-xs-offset-4</div>
<div class="col-xs-9 col-xs-offset-2">col-xs-9 col-xs-offset-2</div>
<div class="col-xs-6 col-xs-offset-1">col-xs-6 col-xs-offset-1</div>
<div class="col-xs-4 col-xs-offset-1">col-xs-4 col-xs-offset-1</div>
<div class="col-xs-11 col-xs-offset-1">col-xs-11 col-xs-offset-1</div>
<div class="col-xs-10">col-xs-10</div>
<div class="col-xs-7">col-xs-7</div> </div>
<div class="row"> <div class="col-xs-5">col-xs-5</div> </div>
<div class="row">
<div class="col-xs-7">col-xs-7</div>
<div class="col-xs-10">col-xs-10</div>
<div class="col-xs-11 col-xs-offset-1">col-xs-11 col-xs-offset-1</div>
<div class="col-xs-11 col-xs-offset-1">col-xs-11 col-xs-offset-1</div>
<div class="col-xs-9 col-xs-offset-2">col-xs-9 col-xs-offset-2</div>
<div class="col-xs-5 col-xs-offset-4">col-xs-5 col-xs-offset-4</div>
</div> </div>


   


offset will keep the blank space on left side


To make it more clear:


CONCLUSION:
Great job! You now know the most important part of the Bootstrap framework, and you’re ready to build your next responsive design. Interested in learning bootstrap ?  . 

It’s Ayn Rand’s America Now, Thanks to the GOP

Conservatism has turned itself into a civic religion and columnist Neal Gabler fears the damages wrought in the Trump era will be permanent and lasting.

Sad to say, this will be my last column for billmoyers.com, where I have written for the past two years. In recent months, in the process of trying to understand for myself the cataclysm of Nov. 8, 2016, I have tried to examine a number of forces — demographic, economic, cultural, media — that may help explain it. I am certain that the question of  “what happened” will plague us for decades and that Nov. 8, 2016, will join April 12, 1861; Oct. 28, 1929; Dec. 7, 1941; Nov. 22, 1963 and Sept. 11, 2001 as one of the most calamitous and tragic dates in our history.

Historians may determine that it was the date America’s second civil war began. By that perspective, just as the first Civil War was the last gasp of slavery, this second is very likely the last gasp of aging white Americans — their full-throated death rattle against an America that they detest for having changed so dramatically the traditions and power structures by which those whites had lived. Regressions are often like that. They are an angry attempt to prevent a threatening future from arriving. Republicans had long preyed upon these discontents, but did so tepidly — a wink-and-nod approach. Trump voiced them and validated them, making racism, nativism and sexism acceptable. It will be his primary legacy.

But I think the real lesson of 2016 lies not in politics, but in religion. We hear a great deal about tribalism as an explanation for the Trump phenomenon. We hear about how Americans have divided themselves into parochial groups that reinforce shared values and interests as well as grievances and hatreds. But if tribalism answers one question — why people seem to hold so firmly to their beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence and even moral opprobrium — it doesn’t answer another, more important question: Why did they join these tribes in the first place?

I believe religion rather than politics may provide that answer. One of the most important shifts in our culture has been the transformation of politics into a kind of civic religion. Religion has always provided a sense of identity — hence the tribalism — but it provided something else, too; something even more fundamental. In what historian Karen Armstrong describes as the Axial Age, from which modern religions grew, it pointed the way to a meaningful life with spiritual values. That was for nurturing the soul. And it provided a cosmology, a systematic way of thinking about and explaining the world and our place in it. That was for the mind.

I have written previously about how conservatism turned itself into a civic religion, which I think is one of the affinities between evangelicalism and conservatism — not just that they share some values, but that they share the very idea of orthodoxy. Armstrong describes in a religious context how the Axial Age lost its spiritualism to dogma. This is especially relevant in a complex, ever-churning world that seems to outrun our capacity to understand it. True religion, I believe, begins in doubt and continues in spiritual exploration. Debased religion begins in fear and terminates in certainty.

Modern conservatism, like debased religion, has an explanation for everything, and there is nothing mysterious or spiritual about it. Trump understood the desire for some all-encompassing answer, as demagogues always do. Demagogues assume the proportions of religious leaders, but without the moral instruction. Through a process of simplification, they purport to tell their followers what happened and who is responsible. In short, they provide cosmology, not for the purpose of enlightenment, but for the opposite — benightedness.

As religious observance has declined in America, as faith has declined and the religious cosmologies have weakened, political passions and political cosmologies have risen, and those old religious/conservative affinities have strengthened as religion tries to save itself by piggybacking on politics, rather than as some believe, the other way around. Roy Moore, the Republican senatorial candidate in Alabama, is the perfect example of religion’s surrender to politics. Many evangelicals embrace him despite credible allegations of child molestation, showing how morality has become so politicized that it no longer even makes sense. That is because politics is the new religion of America.

Other observers, many of them brilliant, have been less alarmist than I about the permanent effects of Trumpism. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt wrote this past week that the Republican tax bill, which is like a nuclear bomb to the economy and to economic equality, will likely not have as severe consequences as many critics, myself included, fear. He says that politics change, Democrats sooner or later will take power, and they will revise the law just as Obama revised Bush’s tax cuts. Nothing is irrevocable.

But this assumes that politics is still politics, not religion. Religions are not easily reformed, doctrines are not easily changed, disciples are not easily converted. History is punctuated with religious warfare. This new civic religion has already put Republicans in the position of turning every election, every legislative squabble, into Armageddon. Ten years from now they may still be trying to repeal Obamacare. In the long run, perhaps, Leonhardt is right. Things change. They always change. But then again, according to the old saying, in the long run, we are all dead.

And that is why I don’t think the Trump moment will pass without serious and permanent damage to America. Trump isn’t just a politician with whom one may disagree. Indeed, Trump really has very little interest in politics, none in policy, and no respect whatsoever for the political process, which he ridicules at every turn as “rigged.” Instead, Trump, like other creators of a cult of personality, is a self-proclaimed savior, who promises his supporters redemption. In a certain sense, he is right. Trump’s is a cosmology of an America — a world, gone wrong — an America decayed by changing values purveyed by nonwhites, non-Christians and nonmales. He tells his supporters he will make it right. They believe him. And they will not be dissuaded. In Trump they trust.

So what to do? When liberal commentators discuss how Obama voters drifted to Trump and must be courted if Democrats are to win, I am deeply skeptical. I am skeptical of the data, which draws questionable conclusions about voting behavior, and I am even more skeptical of the effort to attract them. Thomas Edsall is as wise a columnist as we have, and he has been indispensable in trying to decipher this crisis in national sanity. But I think he too underestimates the forces that feed Trump and that Trump feeds. Last week’s column enjoined liberals to take their fingers out of their ears so they could hear the complaints of those Trump voters and win them back, even as he admits to the near impossibility of a liberal democracy, committed to freedom of expression, containing its more extreme elements.

I am not at all opposed to listening to Trump supporters. Quite the opposite. It is an imperative that they be heard and understood. I just don’t think there is much common cause between progressives and them. They are not all racists, nativists, sexists, homophobes and Islamophobes, but a healthy percentage are, and I think it’s probably a fool’s mission to attempt to change their minds. Just watch the people at Trump’s rallies. That is what makes the future so perilous. They are not going to convert.

Moreover, I am convinced that the worst is yet to come. Heading into the special election in Alabama, Moore seemed likely to win, confirming the utter depravity of the Republican Party. Thankfully — mercifully — that was not the case. Trump will issue blanket pardons in the Russia investigation and eventually fire Robert Mueller. The attacks on environmental protection, conservation, economic equality, the social safety net, a free press, voting rights, higher education and reason, diplomacy, women and morality itself will continue unabated with the full support of the Republicans. We shouldn’t fool ourselves. America is under siege, and this civil war has already taken a grave toll.

So I am not hopeful, but I don’t want to leave this space with a sense of hopelessness or futility. The resistance movement has already borne fruit, and there is a chance, albeit small, that Democrats will retake Congress next year and the counterattack will begin. I always remind myself, as you should remind yourself, that while the forces of hate are powerful, unshakable and mobilized, there are more of us than of them — Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote, after all.

But just as I don’t think politics is the real engine for the Trump movement, I don’t think that politics is entirely the solution. Religion, which in its corrupted form is an engine, may be — by which I mean the moral and spiritual underpinnings of life. Rather than abandon our values or downplay them, as some suggest, I think we should double down on them. The religious historian Karen Armstrong, in describing those early religious principles of the Axial Age, wrote, “First, you must commit yourself to the ethical life,” and concluded that “religion was compassion.”

These are important things to remember. Let the conservatives continue to eschew ethics and compassion. Let them sow hatred. Let progressives hold firmly to ethics and compassion and to love. Morality, not moralism, is an almost ineluctable force. We talk a lot about grass-roots politics. We need to talk as well about grass-roots morality. Put simply: If you want to defeat Trump where it really counts, live ethically. The rest will follow. As Martin Luther King memorably said, paraphrasing Theodore Parker, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Moreover, when it comes to cosmology, progressives need to provide an alternative narrative to Trump’s and the conservatives’ that will explain the world without distorting it. It should tell the story of economic inequality, and of plutocracy, and of the role of conservatives in enabling these things. It should also provide a positive vision of community and mutual assistance and global interdependence. It should promote compassion and empathy. It should be simple, powerful and affirmative, and it should be repeated endlessly the way Trump repeats his racist/nativist/sexist/phobic narrative. I am convinced that you don’t fight fire with fire, which is why I am dubious of Democratic efforts to out tough Trump. You fight fire with water.

Here is hope. Even if 40 percent of Americans have gone to the dark side, there are still so many people who are good and decent and self-sacrificing and who will continue to fight for a just society. It has been my privilege to share my ideas with them (and you among them) these past two years. I hope I will be able to engage them (and you) again. Yes, it is a sad, indescribably tragic time in America, and now that we know what we know about so many of our fellow citizens, about the Republican Party, and about the incapacity of our political system to deal with extremism, there is no going back. But in spite of all that, I think we must keep the faith, and we must take comfort that we have one another, not as fellow tribalists, but as fellow human beings searching for our best selves.

 

 

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Working with Adobe After Effects


About :

Adobe After Effects is a software program that allows its users to create animation and other special effects for graphic-related projects. Graphic designers use it to provide their projects with layer-based animation. After Effects is part of the Adobe family of software and is compatible with other Adobe software.

Index

1. Creating a New Composition and Importing Files

2. Building a Composition with Layers

3. Adding Animations, Effects, and Preset

4. Previewing and Rendering Your Composition 



1. Creating a New Composition and Importing Files



I. Make and set up a new composition. 

Projects in Adobe After Effects are called compositions, or comps. At the Welcome screen, locate and click on the “New Composition” button in the right column. If you already have the program open, you may either click on the “Composition” tab and select “New Composition” or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N. Every time you create a new composition, a “Composition Settings” window will appear on your screen.

  1. Locate “Preset” and click on the drop-down menu. The menu is divided up into four sections, respectively: web settings, standard definition broadcast settings (NTSC and PAL), HD settings (the most commonly used), and film settings. Select the top HD preset: “HDV/HDTV 720 29.97.” This selection with automatically set the width, height, and frame rate.
  2. In the second row, locate “Start Timecode” and “Duration.” Leave the “Start Timecode” at 0. “Duration” refers to the total length of the project, from start to end. Set the “Duration” to the required length for your composition.
II. Save your composition. 

Before you begin to work on the composition, you should always name and save the project. Click on the “File” tab at the top of the screen. When you select “Save,” a “Save As” window will appear. 
At the top of the window, type in the name of your composition. Select a location to save this file to and click the “Save” button at the bottom of the screen. The saved composition will appear in the “Project” tab to the left of the screen.
While you may save this file in any location, it is recommended that you save your composition near your “Footage” file. This file is located within the “Exercise Files” folder.

III. Import files into Adobe After Effects. 

In order to create a composition, you need material to manipulate and animate. 
Select File>Import>File or double click on the “Project” tab. Select all of the files you wish to import and hit “Open.” The imported files will appear in the “Project” tab.
 Alternative methods include:

  • Double click anywhere on the “Project” tab.
  • Strike “Command + I.”
  • Drag images directly into the “Project” tab.



2. Building a Composition with Layers


I. Add files to your composition. 

A composition is a composite graphic, or a composite of layers. Each individual layer of your composition is made up of a file. All of the layers combined form a composite graphic. There are several ways to add a file to your composition.

You may drag and drop files from the “Project” tab into the “Timeline” tab (located at the bottom right of the window), the “Composition” window (located to the right of the “Project” tab), or the “Layer” tab (located directly below the “Project” tab.)

II. Organize and edit the layers. 



Once the files appear in the “Layer” tab, you may begin to manipulate the files. From this tab, you may alter the order of the files and edit the appearance of a file.
To adjust the hierarchy of the layers, drag a file up or down the list. The order of the files will alter the appearance of the composition (see the “Composition” window.) Files at the top of the layer list will appear over files at the bottom of the layer list.

To alter the appearance of a file, click on the sideways triangle next to the layer’s number. This will open up a “Transform” menu. From this menu, you may alter the following properties: anchor point, position, scale, rotation, and/or opacity.

III. Generate a timeline for your composite graphic. 



The “Timeline” function allows you to animate the graphic—it controls when each layer is or is not visible. The “Timeline” is located to the right of the “Layer” list. Each layer has it own life bar within the timeline, which you can trim, extend, or group with other layers as desired.

IV. Trim your layers.



Select a layer from the list. Move your cursor over the line dividing the list and the timeline so that a double arrow appears. Click and drag the double arrow across the timeline to produce a translucent grey box (this indicates that a clip is trimmed.) Stop once you reach the moment you would like the layer to appear.


The red line with the Blue tab indicates your current time known as play head. You can use this line to help you automatically trim layers. Select the layer you wish to trim. Drag the red line to your desired starting or ending point for the layer. Strike  ”
Command + [ ” to automatically trim a layer to the right of the red line, strike ” Command ] “.


V.Transform your 2D layers. 



When you work within the “Composition” window, you may manually position, or transform, the layers. Select a layer from the list. Move your cursor over the “Composition” window and zoom, or scroll, out. A set of handles will appear around the composition. This indicates the the layer may be transformed, or positioned.
  1. To shrink or expand the layer, click on the handle, press ⇧ Shift, and drag your cursor towards the inside or outside of the window.
  2. To rotate an element, press Ctrl+W. This will activate the rotation tool.
  3. To move a layer on a 2-D plane, click on the element you want to move and drag it to its new position.

VI. Create 3D layers. 




To create a 3D layer, return to the “Layer” tab. The column directly under this icon controls the 3D settings for each layer. To activate this feature, check the layer’s blank space in this column. Return to the “Composition” window—if you activated the 3D property, a Y, X, and Z handle will appear on the layer’s anchor.

VII. Transform your 3D layers. 




To move a 3D layer, press CTRL+W to activate the rotation tool. Hover your cursor over the X or the Y axis. Click on the axis and drag your cursor to the left and right or up and down. The Z axis should always remain at “0.”

VIII. Apply the parent function to your layers. 



The parent function allows you to tie your layers together. One layer, the parent, will drive the actions of another layer, the child. The child layer, can still move independently of the parent.

  • Select the child layer (the layer that you want to apply the keyframes to)—this layer will become the child.
  • Locate the “Parent” category in the layer tab.
  • In the “Parent” column for this layer, locate the curly-q shaped icon in the child’s row. Click on the icon and draw a black line from the icon to the “Layer Name” section of parent. Through this process, the child will become tied to the parent.


3. Adding Animations, Effects, and Presets

I. Set up keyframes. 


Keyframes mark exact points in time when changes are to occur to a layer’s properties. This function, which is represented by a little stopwatch, allows you to animate your composite graphics.

  1. Move your red “Current Time Indicator” line to the moment at which you would like to activate a keyframe.
  2. Select a layer from the “List” tab.
  3. Expand the layer’s “Transform” or “Contents” tab.
  4. Click on the stopwatch icon next to the property you wish to alter. This will record a keyframe at the current time indicator. A yellow dot or a greater than/less than symbols will appear on the timeline to mark the keyframe.
  5. To see your keyframes on the timeline, lasso the layers you wish to view and press “U.”
  6. To move a keyframe, select a keyframe symbol on the timeline by lassoing it and then drag it to its new location. You may also copy and paste keyframes.

II. Animate keyframes. 



Keyframes allow you to animate your project. You may alter any of the properties listed under the “Transform” or “Contents” tab. There are two basic forms of animation: with ease or linear. If a layer in animated with ease, the layer will ease into and out of the motion. If a layer is linearly animated, the layer will start and stop moving abruptly and it will also move at the same rate the entire time. Altering a layer’s position is an example of linear animation.

  1. Click on the stopwatch next to “Position.”
  2. Move the red line to the point at which you would like the layer to be off the screen.
  3. Click on the layer’s anchor point.
  4. Hold down “Shift” as you drag the layer completely off of the screen. The motion path will appear as a purple dotted line and each related keyframe will appear as a purple square. To preview your animation, scrub the red line over the timeline.

III. Include effects and presets. 


Click on “Window” and “Effects and Presets.” You will see a list of various animations and effects that are available for application to your project. Simply drag and drop the effect or animation selection onto the layer to which you’d like to apply it. You should see the change immediately.

  • Effects include 3D, color correction, and various camera views.
  • Transition options include wipe, fade and checkerboard.
  • You may remove selections by dragging them off your projects.


4. Previewing and Rendering Your Composition


I. Preview your project. 

Select “Windows.” From here, click on “Time Controls.” A preview pane will pop up where you can select “Play” to see a rough draft of your project. If you wish to see a more finished version, click on “Ram Render Play.” If your project is especially long or requires a large amount of memory, adjust the resolution before you preview it. After clicking to play it, the video will run continually until you click on the screen to stop it.

II. Export your composition to Render Queue. 



If you need to produce and deliver a high-quality composition, export your project to the Render Queue. The Render Queue is built into Adobe After Effects.
Click on “File” at the top of the window. Select “Export” followed by “Add to Render Queue.” Instead of “File,” you may click on “Composition” and select “Add to Render Queue.”
In your Render Queue, locate “Output Module” and click on the linked text to the left of this section. A dialogue box will appear on your screen. From this screen, you can change the video and audio output settings. Click “Ok” when finished.

In your Render Queue, locate “Output To” and click on the linked text next to the left of this section. Another dialogue box will appear on your screen. The screen you prompt you to select a location to save your rendered composition. Click “Ok” when done.
Click on “Render” to export the composition.









III. Export your composition to Adobe Media Encoder. 


The Adobe Media Encoder will produce a compressed version of your composition. The Media Encoder will also export files that are compatible with specific web platforms. While your project is rendering in the Media Encoder, you may continue to work in Adobe After Effects.
Click on “File” at the top of the window. Select “Export” followed by “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue.” You may also select “Composition” followed by “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue” or drag the file directly into the “Adobe Media Encoder Queue” tab.
Locate the “Preset Browser.” Select the format for your composition. Drag this preset from the browser onto the file in the “Adobe Media Encoder Queue.”
In the queue, locate “Output To” and click on the linked text next to the left of this section. A dialogue box will appear on your screen and prompt you to select a location to save your rendered composition. Click “Ok” when done.
Click on the green play button to begin the export.

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The best tech gifts for men

Yes, the holidays are almost here again, and so if you haven’t finished shopping yet, it’s time to start thinking about what to get those special people in your lives. Or the people you want to suck up to – could go either way. So this year, we have a roundup of some of the best gifts you can give that will apply to most guys… though many of them will honestly make sense for anyone regardless of age or gender. Or you can go regift that fondue set from last year. We won’t judge. Should you decide not to go that route, here are some things you can think about.

Looking for even more options? Check out the following guides:

  • 10 cheap tech gifts that only look expensive
  • Best tech gifts under $25
  • Best tech gifts under $50
  • 11 cheap secret Santa gifts
  • These gifts look like they come straight out of Star Trek
  • 6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore

Exercise tracker

Exercise trackers are a thing these days. They allow you to track your steps, heart rate, and a number of other vital statistics to keep you healthy and happy. The Fitbit Blaze is Fitbit’s first foray into smartwatch territory. The Fitbit Blaze uses Fitbit’s custom software to track your body’s stats, and deliver some smartwatch notifications as well. The design is a little on the chunky side, but it can average around four days of battery life.

See more

If Fitbit isn’t his style, maybe give the Garmin Vivosmart a look.

Get Fitbit Blaze at Amazon
Get Garmin Vivosmart at Amazon
 

Home Assistant

Home assistants are one of those items that, once you have them, you can’t live without them. From checking on weather, appointments, or traffic to controlling your smarthome, a home assistant is one of the more futuristic technologies available today. But they can be a little pricey and it seems like something one wouldn’t buy for oneself, which is what makes it a perfect gift!

Google Home is a great product, and it even allows you to make phone calls and play movies and YouTube videos on your Chromecast-connected TVs. Google Home is a jack-of-all-trades kind of product, while other home assistants are a little more focused in one area or another. So, The home is definitely our recommendation in this gift guide. Check it out in the links below.

If your recipient is more Amazon-focused, then the second-generation Echo is also a great buy. Don’t forget both Google Home and the Amazon Echo have “mini” counterparts – you know, if you don’t love them THAT much.

See more
Get Google Home at Google
Get Amazon Echo at Amazon

VR Headset

In the world of VR, Oculus is by far the best known brand out there. While devices like the HTC Vive offer an outstanding experience the Oculus Rift headset is one of the go-to models in the world of VR. It offers a great array of games, plus support from a multi-billion dollar company which is always helpful. The Oculus Rift requires a pretty hefty computer to hook up to, much like the Vive, but the price is a bit lower – around $100 dollars lower.

Truth be told, the HTC Vive is a great experience too – you won’t really go wrong with either one. But Oculus has the name recognition and has a much stronger source of cash, tipping the scales in its favor.

Of course, if your recipient has a Playstation, the Sony Playstation VR is a great headset as well.

Get Oculus Rift at Amazon
Get HTC Vive at Amazon
Get PlayStation VR at Amazon

Headphones

In case you haven’t noticed, wired headphones are a dying breed. At least, those with a 3.5mm jack are. It remains to be seen what will happen with USB Type-C connectors or lightning connectors (hashtag #courage). For now, it’s best to adapt or die, so let’s talk about some bluetooth headphones.

The Jaybird X3 bluetooth in-ear headphones are sleek and stylish with great connectivity. These headphones come with a nice carrying case as well, making them a nice little package. That being said, these are in-ear monitors, which isn’t for everyone. The sound coming from them tends to be good, but not great, so if sound quality is of the utmost importance, or you’re not a fan of in-ear headphones, you may want to look at the Grado SR60e instead.

Get Jaybird X3 at Amazon
Get Grado SR60E at Amazon

Media Streaming

More and more of our content is coming from the internet these days. With the somewhat recent introductions of cable replacement services, like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and others, cord-cutting is becoming a real possibility for many folks out there. Of the wide variety of set top boxes that are out there, Roku stands above the rest. First and foremost, Roku has been doing this for a long time – long before the cord cutting phenomenon began. The Roku Express is an inexpensive, but not underpowered little box that can load up all of your cord-cutting apps without breaking a sweat, and without breaking the bank.

Roku’s UI is also very nice and very streamlined. Oddly enough, Amazon’s Instant video app works much better on the Roku than it does on the Fire Stick. Go figure. Speaking of the Fire Stick, that’s not a bad alternative to a Roku, if you happen to like Amazon’s interface and ecosystem.

See more
Get Roku Express at Amazon
Get Amazon Fire TV Stick at Amazon

Tablet

The future of tablets doesn’t really look all that bright if we’re going to be totally honest. But, there are still some solid use-cases for tablets today. The aforementioned cord-cutting/media streaming is a big one. Gaming is a solid number two. Whatever the case, tablets are still here, and they’re still fun to play with. And in the tablet space, the industry leader is far and away the iPad. From its inception the iPad has handled the transition from small phone screen to large tablet screen the best. Apps are designed exclusively for the iPad, and not just scaled up.

Sure, the iOS interface is about as exciting as watching paint dry in a cornfield in Iowa after 8 hours of fishing having caught no fish. I may be overstating, but the point is, even though the interface is not exciting, the apps make the ecosystem, and iPad app development is not going anywhere any time soon. However, if you’re a fan of thumbing your nose at industry trends, the runner up in the tablet market – the Amazon Fire also sports a solid lineup of devices to choose from with its own app ecosystem – assuming you can live without Google services.

Editor’s Pick
Get iPad Pro at Amazon
Get Fire tablets at Amazon

Phones

Of course if you really want to blow away a man during the holidays, who doesn’t love a new phone to play with. And recently, the Google Pixel 2 XL is one of the most solid phones you can buy today. It’s true, there may or may not be some screen issues, and until those can be addressed it’s hard to throw a lot of weight behind this recommendation. But, by the time you procrastinators out there are looking to shop for the holidays, perhaps we might have more clarity.

That being said, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is also a great phone to pick up for the holidays. Samsung has been absolutely killing it in the hardware department, and the Note 8 takes real advantage of that stylus. For a powerful phone that will last and last, the Note 8 might just be your phone of choice this holiday season – especially when it comes to snapping photos and sending them to friends and family.

See more
Get Google Pixel 2 XL at Verizon
Get Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at Amazon

Laptop

But since we’re talking about computing power, why settling for a phone or tablet when a full-blown laptop might be just what the doctor ordered. And in that area, the Dell XPS 13 is a beautiful line of laptops that absolutely kills it in the hardware department. The Dell XP 13 laptop can be just as powerful as you need it to be – it’s a very versatile line of laptops and comes in a number of configurations. But all of them come in the same gorgeous package.

If you’re not a Windows fan, give a long hard look at the ASUS Chromebook Flip. With a full touchscreen, tablet mode, USB-C ports and more, this is a solid contender in the Chromebook space.

Get Dell XPS 13 at Amazon
Get Asus Chromebook Flip at Amazon

Robot vacuum

When you think of robot vacuums, you think of Roomba. Sometimes you think of a puppy on a Roomba, but that’s a different conversation. Having a robot vacuum wandering around the house, doing what you hate to do is one of those wonderful things that you don’t think you need, until you have it. Giving this as a gift to someone is another one of those “you won’t buy it for yourself, so here” gift ideas. The Roomba 690 is one of the midrange options which gets you a lot of bang for your buck. It has WiFi connectivity and can be controlled using an app, plus there’s a host of other bonuses and add-ons that are pretty huge.

If the Roomba doesn’t float your boat, you can also take a look at the iLife A4. We also have a breakdown of a number of different robot vacuums over on DGiT.

Get Roomba at Amazon
Get iLife A4 at Amazon

Smart Coffee Pot

Coffee is arguably one of the most important parts of waking up in the morning. Millions of customers standing in line at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and more every day can’t be wrong. But this is the future, and the future of coffee is in the smart Coffee Pot. Not to mention, we all like to drink coffee while we watch radar; everyone knows that. Enter the Mr. Coffee Smart WeMo Coffee Maker. This app-controlled coffee pot lets you automate much of the coffee making process – check the status of the coffee pot, set daily schedules for brewing, etc.

Alternatively, you could also take a look at the Behmor Connected Coffee Pot. We also wrote up a comprehensive look at smart coffee pots over a DGiT. Take a look!

Get WeMo Coffee Maker at Mr. Coffee
Get Belmor Coffee Maker at Amazon

TV

Vizio.com

Nothing says love during the holidays like a new TV, but getting the best new TV, without busting your budget can be a pretty big ask. The Vizio M Series 55-inch TV offers a lot of bang for your buck, and comes with an Android tablet to boot. The downside is, you use this android tablet as a remote which can be less than ideal. But to wrap up a TV and a tablet for the holidays, is a pretty big win in our opinion, so this would be a good way to go.

If you’re looking for a TV for gamers, the TCL P607 is a solid buy as well. Both TV’s are full array backlit instead of edge lit resulting in better black levels.

Get Visio TV at Amazon
Get TCL TV at Amazon

Drone

What man doesn’t want a drone? For the money, the DJI Spark is one of the best out there. Remarkably slim and stable, you can even fly the DJI spark using gestures, rather than a remote. Sure, it’s mostly a parlor trick at the moment, but it’s still pretty awesome tech and fun to brag about at parties. The DJI Spark is a great, “Grab and go” type of drone which will get you some great shots, and has a fair bit of range as well.

But it you want to really blow their doors off, take a look at the Phantom 4, also by DJI. The Phantom 4 is the Cadillac of drone flying with a range of two miles and more. Learn even more about your drone options over at DroneRush.

Get DJI Spark at Amazon
Get DJI Phantom 4 at Amazon

Home Game Console

At the beginning of the year, Nintendo came out with its new gaming console, the Nintendo Switch. At first, the console was tough to get hands on. Now the system can be had at most retail outlets without much hassle. The Nintendo Switch is one of the most versatile gaming systems out there. The tablet-like console has controllers on either side that slide off, the tablet itself has a kickstand, plus there’s an included dock to hook the console up to a TV. It is very close to an optimal gaming solution.

It’s not without its drawbacks – it’s a little underpowered compared to most modern gaming consoles. But the versatility of gaming scenarios, from family game nights, to road trips is pretty much unparalleled by any other system. If you know a gamer who doesn’t have a Nintendo Switch, this would put a smile on their face. Of course you could also get an Xbox or PS4, but odds are the person in your life already has one if they are into games at all. 

Get Nintendo Switch at Amazon

Smartwatch

Smartwatches are one of those fun accessories to a smartphone that you need to use, in order to understand. Unlike many accessories of this nature, there’s a pretty high barrier of entry to get in on this trend. So, what better way to bring joy to a man’s heart than with the gift of a smartwatch. The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch is a stylish smartwatch that works great with his Android smartphone. The Tizen-based watch even add Samsung Pay ability through the watch, making contactless or magnetic stripe payments fun and easy. The days of cash are numbered and contactless payment opportunities are becoming more and more widespread. Best get on that wagon now.

Of course, if you need a watch for an iPhone user, look no further than the Apple Watch Series 3. No seriously, look no further, because that’s basically the only smartwatch that will work. The Apple Watch Series 3 adds LTE connectivity to the fold, which can be a great addition to the smartwatch family.

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our guide to the best smartwatches.

Get Samsung Gear S3 Frontier at Amazon
Get Apple Watch at Amazon

Power bank

You can’t anticipate what’s going to happen on a daily basis, especially when it comes to your smartphone battery. So many smartphones today boast “all day battery life” which frankly leaves little room for error if your day is going to be longer than planned. Sometimes, you’ve just had a heavy gaming day. Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to have some extra juice on you when you need to tether on the train ride home, or entertain the kid while in line at the DMV. Does that seem to specific? Because believe me, it happens.

In cases like those, the Anker Powercore+ 20,000 mAh power bank might be a little on the beefy side, but it is very slick looking and slips easily into a bag. Plus it gives you PowerIQ technology and even a USB Type-C port for charging. This will top you off at the end of a long day, or keep you going during an overnight camping trip.

If you need something a little more compact, take a look at the Eighty Plus 10,000 mAh power bank. It’s a lot more sleek and also more attractive. We have a full rundown of a number of other power banks here on Android Authority. If neither of these two are exciting – well, that’s because they’re power banks, but we also have a longer list to look at.

Get Eighty Plus 10,000 at Amazon
Get Anker External Battery at Amazon

Tracking Beacon

People lose stuff. Like always. Which is why there has been a recent surge in tracking tags that attach to your stuff, so you can locate it when you lose it. Use cases for these things extend from wallets and purses, to bikes, to keys – you name it. Many of these tracking tag systems rely on the crowd to throw a blanket of coverage over an entire area. Connectivity range is limited, so in order to track items beyond 30 feet away from your phone, Tile users can report items they come across to their owners. It’s an elegant solution that requires a ton of user adoption in order to saturate an area.

Tile, and similar competitor Trackr have both gotten the type of widespread adoption required to make this somewhat of a reality. There are still gaps, to be sure, but GPS enabled trackers have miserable battery life and cost a lot of money. If you know someone who tends to misplace items, Tile or Trackr might just be a good stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Get Tile at Amazon
Get Tracker at Amazon

So that’ll do it for our holiday gift guide for the men in your life. ‘Are any of these items on your shopping list? Think we left something out? Hit us up in the comments below and let us know what you’ll be camping out on Black Friday for.

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