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Samsung shows business customers how to be high tech

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 31 March 2014 10:50 pm

Everything there is to know about iPhone 6

Here is all the information you should know about Apple’s next phone.

Google Launches Sustained-Use Cloud Pricing

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 31 March 2014 4:44 am

Google is re-architecting how cloud instances are sold. In the typical cloud model, on-demand based pricing for virtual resources is always more expensive than if a developer buys some form of a reserved instance.

In order to bridge the gap between reserved and on-demand virtual instances, Google is now introducing the idea of sustained-use discounts. In the sustained-use model, an on-demand Google Cloud user will get a discount after a virtual instance is used for a specific amount of time. The sustained-use discount kicks in after a virtual machine has been used for over 25 percent of a given month. According to Google, the sustained-use model will provide users with a 53 percent price reduction over existing on demand cloud resource pricing.

Google is also expanding its cloud services with the launch of Google Cloud DNS. Rival cloud vendor Amazon has been offering its Route 53 Cloud DNS service for several years.

Read the full story at Datamation:
Google Redefines Reserved and On-Demand Cloud Instances

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Google Launches Sustained-Use Cloud Pricing

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 31 March 2014 4:44 am

Google is re-architecting how cloud instances are sold. In the typical cloud model, on-demand based pricing for virtual resources is always more expensive than if a developer buys some form of a reserved instance.

In order to bridge the gap between reserved and on-demand virtual instances, Google is now introducing the idea of sustained-use discounts. In the sustained-use model, an on-demand Google Cloud user will get a discount after a virtual instance is used for a specific amount of time. The sustained-use discount kicks in after a virtual machine has been used for over 25 percent of a given month. According to Google, the sustained-use model will provide users with a 53 percent price reduction over existing on demand cloud resource pricing.

Google is also expanding its cloud services with the launch of Google Cloud DNS. Rival cloud vendor Amazon has been offering its Route 53 Cloud DNS service for several years.

Read the full story at Datamation:
Google Redefines Reserved and On-Demand Cloud Instances

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Google Launches Sustained-Use Cloud Pricing

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 31 March 2014 4:44 am

Google is re-architecting how cloud instances are sold. In the typical cloud model, on-demand based pricing for virtual resources is always more expensive than if a developer buys some form of a reserved instance.

In order to bridge the gap between reserved and on-demand virtual instances, Google is now introducing the idea of sustained-use discounts. In the sustained-use model, an on-demand Google Cloud user will get a discount after a virtual instance is used for a specific amount of time. The sustained-use discount kicks in after a virtual machine has been used for over 25 percent of a given month. According to Google, the sustained-use model will provide users with a 53 percent price reduction over existing on demand cloud resource pricing.

Google is also expanding its cloud services with the launch of Google Cloud DNS. Rival cloud vendor Amazon has been offering its Route 53 Cloud DNS service for several years.

Read the full story at Datamation:
Google Redefines Reserved and On-Demand Cloud Instances

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Google Launches Sustained-Use Cloud Pricing

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 31 March 2014 4:44 am

Google is re-architecting how cloud instances are sold. In the typical cloud model, on-demand based pricing for virtual resources is always more expensive than if a developer buys some form of a reserved instance.

In order to bridge the gap between reserved and on-demand virtual instances, Google is now introducing the idea of sustained-use discounts. In the sustained-use model, an on-demand Google Cloud user will get a discount after a virtual instance is used for a specific amount of time. The sustained-use discount kicks in after a virtual machine has been used for over 25 percent of a given month. According to Google, the sustained-use model will provide users with a 53 percent price reduction over existing on demand cloud resource pricing.

Google is also expanding its cloud services with the launch of Google Cloud DNS. Rival cloud vendor Amazon has been offering its Route 53 Cloud DNS service for several years.

Read the full story at Datamation:
Google Redefines Reserved and On-Demand Cloud Instances

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

10 Ways Apple’s iWatch Can Learn From Pebble Steel

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 30 March 2014 10:42 pm

The race to build the modern smartwatch started in earnest thanks to two major events in the past two years: Pebble’s über-successful run on Kickstarter in early 2012, and a steady drumbeat of reports in 2013 about Apple’s alleged plans to build its own iWatch (or whatever the company decides to call it, should it in fact exist).

With low-energy Bluetooth, Pebble made it easy to view important notifications, check the weather, or change the music you’re listening to without ever needing to reach for your smartphone. It managed to make digital watches look less nerdy but also far more user-friendly and functional, especially as a simple but helpful extension to the diverse apps on your smartphone.

Pebble made it easy to understand the value of a smartwatch, but the New York Times lit a fire under every major tech company in February 2013 when Nick Bilton reported on Apple’s nascent smartwatch efforts, likening its possible “next big thing” to something Dick Tracy or James Bond would use: “A watch that double[s] as a computer, two-way radio, mapping device or television.”

Suddenly everyone wanted to crack the smartwatch code before Apple could get its first iteration iWatch out the door. So far, however, Pebble remains in the forefront of this nascent market in many ways, having launched its first “appstore” in January and unveiling its premium Pebble Steel smartwatch, which is currently in limited supply.

Unfortunately for Pebble, the company’s dominance in the smartwatch space is almost sure to be short-lived. Companies with deeper pockets than Pebble, including device makers like Samsung and chipmakers such as Qualcomm, are beginning to get the hang of their own early-generation products. Meanwhile, Google recently introduced its Android SDK for wearables, which will help power smartwatch entrants from LG, Motorola and others.

And then there’s Apple, which seems likely to finally unveil its own smartwatch later this year—probably in time for the all-important holiday push. (Among the bits and pieces of evidence here are the company’s hiring spree for smartwatch makers and designers last year, as well as the recent 9to5Mac scoop outlining the new Healthbook app in iOS 8, which would ideally provide important health information by tracking data from one’s pulse.)

Many believe Apple’s iWatch will marry the looks of a luxury wristwatch with the powerful sensors found in today’s fitness wristbands, and, of course, familiar elements from the iPhone and iPad shrunken down and reconfigured to work from your wrist. Apple is undoubtedly full of its own ideas. But it would also benefit from looking at the progenitor of the modern smartwatch—or rather, its steely successor—both as inspiration and as a model to surpass.

What Apple Should Borrow From Pebble Steel


  • It actually looks like a watch: These days, wristwatches are born and worn for aesthetic purposes above all else; the key for smartwatches is to retain that physical attractiveness while also incorporating new technologies that exponentially increase the wristband’s power. The Pebble Steel is significantly smarter than a normal watch, but its low profile is excellent for blending into one’s environment. For its own smartwatch, Apple will similarly want to pursue a design that’s stylish but not gaudy, in the same way the iPhone is modern and beautiful without being ostentatious.
  • Visibility in all light: Whether in the light or in the dark, the display on the Pebble Steel is easy to view at all times. That’s because the Pebble Steel features a backlit e-paper display, which means you can read its screen even in direct sunlight. Apple’s current iOS devices are no bueno in the sunlight, but it would make more sense to consider more effective polarization methods to make the iWatch visible anywhere.
  • Notifications: This is the main reason people want smartwatches—to see who’s messaging them or what appointment is coming up without having to pull a phone from their pocket for every vibration. The Pebble Steel offers iPhone or Android smartphone owners a simple way to see incoming texts, phone calls and Facebook activities with a relatively discreet glance at their wrist. Notifications in Pebble Steel are simple “cards” with text; Apple will likely pursue a similarly simple notification system for the iWatch, but with a more colorful palette. It wouldn’t be surprising for iWatch notifications to resemble those in iOS 7, with the use of semi-transparent layers, simple iconography and playful animations.
  • Battery life: If Apple can make its iWatch battery last roughly as long as Pebble Steel, most customers ought to be satisfied. I’ve been using the Pebble Steel for a while, and in my experience it runs low on battery roughly every 5-7 days. Even better, fully charging the device via my laptop takes less than an hour. Apple products, especially early-generation ones, have tended to suffer from battery-life issues, so this would be an extremely useful rabbit for Apple to pull out of its hat.

How Apple Can Improve Upon Pebble Steel’s Model

  • Fewer buttons: The Pebble Steel features four buttons—one on the left side above the charging port and three on the right side to go up, down and select. It’s relatively intuitive, but pressing any button requires at least two fingers, and that’s not always convenient. Apple could fit the iWatch with two buttons, like it does its iOS devices—one for power, the other for “home”—but if the iWatch comes with a touchscreen, most controls and gestures would only need one finger at most, which would be significantly less awkward.
  • Improve the screen and interface: The Pebble Steel’s black and white display works in bright sunlight and at night, but colors and some multi-touch capabilities would be a nice touch (literally). At times, it would be nice to provide touchscreen inputs like swiping as opposed to awkwardly pinching the buttons around my wrist when I want to play different music or make notifications go away.
  • Appeal to women: Don’t get me wrong, the Pebble Steel is a beautiful smartwatch. But I don’t see it becoming “fashionable” anytime soon. Most smartwatches today come with rectangular watchfaces (the Moto 360 hopes to address this), but more importantly, many smartwatches are thick and bulky. Apple should deal with that front and center.
  • Fix the wristband: The Pebble Steel offers two premium wristbands, including leather and two metal styles, brushed stainless steel or black matte. Having a choice in my wristband style is nice, but I still need to visit a jeweler to get my steel wristband properly sized, and that’s a problem. Sure, Pebble is a fledgling company, but forcing customers to make multiple appointments to purchase the device and size the watch properly to one’s wrist seems like too much hassle for customers, and not something Apple would do. Removing pins to accommodate different-sized wrists also seems like an ancient, clunky solution that’s unacceptable in the world of modern technology; I couldn’t imagine Apple’s design team OK’ing an iWatch that didn’t crack this problem on how to accommodate different-sized wrists without needing to visit a jeweler.
  • Use the voice: I mentioned earlier that it takes at least two fingers to press one of the four buttons on the Pebble Steel. With a touchscreen, you’d still need to use at least one finger. Sometimes, though, I’d like to be able to use no fingers. Apple’s Siri isn’t voice-activated like Google Now, but for iWatch, perhaps a simple shake of one’s wrist could activate Siri, which would then allow you to ask directions, send texts, schedule appointments, or even tweet without needing to fiddle on your wrist.  
  • Make it comfortable: Balancing beauty with comfort isn’t easy, but if people use smartwatches as much as they use smartphones, people will be wearing this device a lot. These are the challenges Apple needs to address: Heat, size and shape. As I mentioned earlier, Apple products tend to suffer from battery issues, but complaints of overheating on a smartwatch would be disastrous for the product. So Apple needs to have a battery that’s powerful but doesn’t get too hot on people’s wrists, but also small enough fit on people’s wrists—plus, be shapely and attractive. And yet, after all of those needs, if your watch is painful for your wrist in any way, especially after extended usage, you’re not going to wear it—and that’s not good for you, or Apple.

Given the recent rush of wearables, the big question is whether Apple will add to the smartwatch conversation or simply echo it. Learning more from Pebble Steel—as opposed to the many rival smartwatches from Samsung and Sony that seem like guesses at what an iWatch could and should be—would be a big step toward building a simple wristband product that still has plenty to offer.

Lead image by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite; right image by Dave Smith for ReadWrite

2048 starts easy; gets hard. Here’s how to make it easy again

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 30 March 2014 10:36 am

2048win.jpg

Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Like the popular iOS and Android puzzler Threes from which it borrows its core concept, 2048 is a game as much about numbers as it is about space.

You have a limited number of free squares, and each move introduces another tile into the mix. But combine like numbers into their sum and you’ve opened up the board for the new tile and simultaneously progressed a little further toward your goal of making a magic 2048 one, a feat accomplished by combining two 128’s into a 256 and two 256’s into a 512 and so on.

The HTML5 game, which can be played in a mobile or desktop browser for free, took off earlier this month when 19-year-old Italian programmer Gabriele Cirulli published it on GitHub, playable on a standalone site for mobile and desktop. He claims it’s borrowed from the iOS app 1024, yet that game itself is a self-described free version of Asher Vollmer’s Threes, so all three exist in a similar family of addictive, math-based puzzlers.

But where 2048 differs substantially from Threes, an admittedly far more difficult game with a steeper learning curve, is in its addictive conceit. 2048 is difficult — and you don’t realize that until you first progress far into the game; whereas Threes will aggressively remind you that you must keep the board from clutter. In fact, I’ve gone one game in Threes earning as much as 10,000 points to my next where I earn in the low triple-digits, moving too quickly and mindlessly to realize I’d made fatal mistakes so early on.

It’s that antithetical challenge curve of 2048 that keeps you coming back. For one, it’s actually difficult to lose for the first few minutes of play unless you have absolutely zero strategy. Not only does that let you progress far into the game very early on — a 512 tile can be unlocked in under a minute if you move fast enough — but it instills in you, like the infamous Flappy Bird, a notion that this game can’t be that hard. Yet, get far enough and everything seems to fall apart before your eyes, possibly with an elusive 1024 tile onboard that makes you kick yourself and start again.

So how exactly does one succeed at 2048? It’s fairly easy in fact to reach the end the same day you pick up the game. It takes simple strategy, a knowledge of when to alter that strategy, and, unlike Threes, requires almost no luck whatsoever.

Build into a corner

The first step with all these Candy Crush-meets-Sudoku number games is to understand that the corner is your best friend. For me, it’s the upper left. It’s just how I play, and any of the corners will do. That strategy lets you build toward a singular tile without moving it around and disrupting your ability to merge it with other large tiles when the time comes.

The key, however, is to understand that this limits your movements. In my case, that means I should only be swiping to the direction of my corner — that is, left and upward — to merge tiles. Never pull in the opposite direction of your largest tile — meaning down for an upper left or right tile and up for lower left or right tile — unless you absolutely have to. In most cases, that’s never needed.

This strategy hits a snag early on though when you discover that using two directions exclusively reaches gridlock pretty fast.

screen-shot-2014-03-21-at-1-48-35-pm.png
A gridlock position people hit early in 2048 if they employ the necessary corner strategy of moving in only two directions.
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

The solution here is to move in the opposite direction of your largest tile one space and then up one space. Then you can resume the two-direction strategy.

The pivotal point is to make sure that you have four tiles in the row containing your highest multiple. Without that, you run the risk of having a low two tile take up the space next to your largest one, a chance occurrence that proves near fatal to a play-through. If you have only three tiles in the row of your highest multiple, the best way to avoid a disaster is to pull tiles towards your preferred corner until it has filled vertically, pull downwards to generate a new tile, and then immediately push back up. Repeat until you have four tiles in your top row.

This is because in 2048, as opposed to Threes, a new tile will show up in a random spot but is exclusively a two or four tile, making building new multiples extremely easy once you have the space to do so, but awful if it shows up next to larger ones in your top row.

There are exceptions to this where you’ll see that it’s evident you have an opportunity to combine tiles and move things around a little more deliberately for a more efficient progression. Meaning, the over-once-up-once strategy can be modified for moving to the right twice, or up twice, or any combination of those alternative moves to achieve a more compact board. However, early on you shouldn’t have the need to do that as long as you keep aggressively pushing toward the corner, moving right and then up when necessary.

The automatic beginning

This introduces an interesting aspect to 2048. If you can just abide by a simple directional strategy almost without thinking what numbers are involved, that means you can practically automate the first 25 percent to 40 percent of a winning play-through without running the risk of messing up your game at all.

It’s more difficult to do on mobile, given that you’re swiping your finger, but on the desktop version you can literally mash buttons and watch as 2048 practically solves itself, making you look a bit like a numerical wizard in the process.

You do of course have to be careful when you solve the gridlock problem that you don’t overdo the directional movements opposite your largest multiple. Still, it’s a surefire way to get past the drudgery of the early game and onto the challenging parts that arise after you get a 512 tile and start attempting to build a second one.

Late-game hurdles

On your way toward a 1024 tile and beyond, the game will begin to require a different, more-risky strategy. It’s recognizing that shift, noted by the fact that your board may begin to fill up less like an arrow and more like a two-row rectangle, that will help you maximize space and achieve a 2048.

For instance, if you’re dealing with the unfortunate circumstance of a rectangular block and you can’t move left or right or even up, there are ways to get out that involve breaking the above mentioned rule of never moving opposite the location of your largest tile.

2048-tutorial.jpg
In this scenario, a three-row block can be solved by making the otherwise ill-advised decision to pull downward, but quickly creating an opportunity to put the two highest tiles back in the corner.
Screenshots by Nick Statt/CNET

There are issues you’ll encounter late in the game that have to approached on a case-by-case basis, but they can be boiled down to a few simple rules. Never let the 2s build up, and do your best to turn them into 4s and 8s by moving only upward. If you’re running into gridlock issues an small number of large-numbered tiles, try going from right to left and back again to quickly build 8s and 16s. The tactic is also great for placing a number in a certain position by crowding it on the right and left with 2s and 4s so that you can then combine it upward.

Most importantly, never compromise your position on the board to combine tiles, as they will combine naturally if you move toward your highest-numbered tile. Only actively attempt to combine tiles by moving away from the direction of your corner when you know the corner tile can be kept in place.

When you do finish the game, you’re given the opportunity to continue on and keep scoring, perhaps even earning a second 2048 and creating a 4096. But for most of us, finally reaching the titular tile is enough to put this game to rest, especially so in a year when addictive mobile titles have been ravaging the psyche. So use these tips, and may you hopefully find solace, through victory, from the grip of 2048.

Update at 9:40 a.m. PT, Monday, March 24: Clarified strategy under ‘Build into a corner’ section.

2048 starts easy; gets hard. Here’s how to make it easy again

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 30 March 2014 10:36 am

2048win.jpg

Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Like the popular iOS and Android puzzler Threes from which it borrows its core concept, 2048 is a game as much about numbers as it is about space.

You have a limited number of free squares, and each move introduces another tile into the mix. But combine like numbers into their sum and you’ve opened up the board for the new tile and simultaneously progressed a little further toward your goal of making a magic 2048 one, a feat accomplished by combining two 128’s into a 256 and two 256’s into a 512 and so on.

The HTML5 game, which can be played in a mobile or desktop browser for free, took off earlier this month when 19-year-old Italian programmer Gabriele Cirulli published it on GitHub, playable on a standalone site for mobile and desktop. He claims it’s borrowed from the iOS app 1024, yet that game itself is a self-described free version of Asher Vollmer’s Threes, so all three exist in a similar family of addictive, math-based puzzlers.

But where 2048 differs substantially from Threes, an admittedly far more difficult game with a steeper learning curve, is in its addictive conceit. 2048 is difficult — and you don’t realize that until you first progress far into the game; whereas Threes will aggressively remind you that you must keep the board from clutter. In fact, I’ve gone one game in Threes earning as much as 10,000 points to my next where I earn in the low triple-digits, moving too quickly and mindlessly to realize I’d made fatal mistakes so early on.

It’s that antithetical challenge curve of 2048 that keeps you coming back. For one, it’s actually difficult to lose for the first few minutes of play unless you have absolutely zero strategy. Not only does that let you progress far into the game very early on — a 512 tile can be unlocked in under a minute if you move fast enough — but it instills in you, like the infamous Flappy Bird, a notion that this game can’t be that hard. Yet, get far enough and everything seems to fall apart before your eyes, possibly with an elusive 1024 tile onboard that makes you kick yourself and start again.

So how exactly does one succeed at 2048? It’s fairly easy in fact to reach the end the same day you pick up the game. It takes simple strategy, a knowledge of when to alter that strategy, and, unlike Threes, requires almost no luck whatsoever.

Build into a corner

The first step with all these Candy Crush-meets-Sudoku number games is to understand that the corner is your best friend. For me, it’s the upper left. It’s just how I play, and any of the corners will do. That strategy lets you build toward a singular tile without moving it around and disrupting your ability to merge it with other large tiles when the time comes.

The key, however, is to understand that this limits your movements. In my case, that means I should only be swiping to the direction of my corner — that is, left and upward — to merge tiles. Never pull in the opposite direction of your largest tile — meaning down for an upper left or right tile and up for lower left or right tile — unless you absolutely have to. In most cases, that’s never needed.

This strategy hits a snag early on though when you discover that using two directions exclusively reaches gridlock pretty fast.

screen-shot-2014-03-21-at-1-48-35-pm.png
A gridlock position people hit early in 2048 if they employ the necessary corner strategy of moving in only two directions.
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

The solution here is to move in the opposite direction of your largest tile one space and then up one space. Then you can resume the two-direction strategy.

The pivotal point is to make sure that you have four tiles in the row containing your highest multiple. Without that, you run the risk of having a low two tile take up the space next to your largest one, a chance occurrence that proves near fatal to a play-through. If you have only three tiles in the row of your highest multiple, the best way to avoid a disaster is to pull tiles towards your preferred corner until it has filled vertically, pull downwards to generate a new tile, and then immediately push back up. Repeat until you have four tiles in your top row.

This is because in 2048, as opposed to Threes, a new tile will show up in a random spot but is exclusively a two or four tile, making building new multiples extremely easy once you have the space to do so, but awful if it shows up next to larger ones in your top row.

There are exceptions to this where you’ll see that it’s evident you have an opportunity to combine tiles and move things around a little more deliberately for a more efficient progression. Meaning, the over-once-up-once strategy can be modified for moving to the right twice, or up twice, or any combination of those alternative moves to achieve a more compact board. However, early on you shouldn’t have the need to do that as long as you keep aggressively pushing toward the corner, moving right and then up when necessary.

The automatic beginning

This introduces an interesting aspect to 2048. If you can just abide by a simple directional strategy almost without thinking what numbers are involved, that means you can practically automate the first 25 percent to 40 percent of a winning play-through without running the risk of messing up your game at all.

It’s more difficult to do on mobile, given that you’re swiping your finger, but on the desktop version you can literally mash buttons and watch as 2048 practically solves itself, making you look a bit like a numerical wizard in the process.

You do of course have to be careful when you solve the gridlock problem that you don’t overdo the directional movements opposite your largest multiple. Still, it’s a surefire way to get past the drudgery of the early game and onto the challenging parts that arise after you get a 512 tile and start attempting to build a second one.

Late-game hurdles

On your way toward a 1024 tile and beyond, the game will begin to require a different, more-risky strategy. It’s recognizing that shift, noted by the fact that your board may begin to fill up less like an arrow and more like a two-row rectangle, that will help you maximize space and achieve a 2048.

For instance, if you’re dealing with the unfortunate circumstance of a rectangular block and you can’t move left or right or even up, there are ways to get out that involve breaking the above mentioned rule of never moving opposite the location of your largest tile.

2048-tutorial.jpg
In this scenario, a three-row block can be solved by making the otherwise ill-advised decision to pull downward, but quickly creating an opportunity to put the two highest tiles back in the corner.
Screenshots by Nick Statt/CNET

There are issues you’ll encounter late in the game that have to approached on a case-by-case basis, but they can be boiled down to a few simple rules. Never let the 2s build up, and do your best to turn them into 4s and 8s by moving only upward. If you’re running into gridlock issues an small number of large-numbered tiles, try going from right to left and back again to quickly build 8s and 16s. The tactic is also great for placing a number in a certain position by crowding it on the right and left with 2s and 4s so that you can then combine it upward.

Most importantly, never compromise your position on the board to combine tiles, as they will combine naturally if you move toward your highest-numbered tile. Only actively attempt to combine tiles by moving away from the direction of your corner when you know the corner tile can be kept in place.

When you do finish the game, you’re given the opportunity to continue on and keep scoring, perhaps even earning a second 2048 and creating a 4096. But for most of us, finally reaching the titular tile is enough to put this game to rest, especially so in a year when addictive mobile titles have been ravaging the psyche. So use these tips, and may you hopefully find solace, through victory, from the grip of 2048.

Update at 9:40 a.m. PT, Monday, March 24: Clarified strategy under ‘Build into a corner’ section.

2048 starts easy; gets hard. Here’s how to make it easy again

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 30 March 2014 10:36 am

2048win.jpg

Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Like the popular iOS and Android puzzler Threes from which it borrows its core concept, 2048 is a game as much about numbers as it is about space.

You have a limited number of free squares, and each move introduces another tile into the mix. But combine like numbers into their sum and you’ve opened up the board for the new tile and simultaneously progressed a little further toward your goal of making a magic 2048 one, a feat accomplished by combining two 128’s into a 256 and two 256’s into a 512 and so on.

The HTML5 game, which can be played in a mobile or desktop browser for free, took off earlier this month when 19-year-old Italian programmer Gabriele Cirulli published it on GitHub, playable on a standalone site for mobile and desktop. He claims it’s borrowed from the iOS app 1024, yet that game itself is a self-described free version of Asher Vollmer’s Threes, so all three exist in a similar family of addictive, math-based puzzlers.

But where 2048 differs substantially from Threes, an admittedly far more difficult game with a steeper learning curve, is in its addictive conceit. 2048 is difficult — and you don’t realize that until you first progress far into the game; whereas Threes will aggressively remind you that you must keep the board from clutter. In fact, I’ve gone one game in Threes earning as much as 10,000 points to my next where I earn in the low triple-digits, moving too quickly and mindlessly to realize I’d made fatal mistakes so early on.

It’s that antithetical challenge curve of 2048 that keeps you coming back. For one, it’s actually difficult to lose for the first few minutes of play unless you have absolutely zero strategy. Not only does that let you progress far into the game very early on — a 512 tile can be unlocked in under a minute if you move fast enough — but it instills in you, like the infamous Flappy Bird, a notion that this game can’t be that hard. Yet, get far enough and everything seems to fall apart before your eyes, possibly with an elusive 1024 tile onboard that makes you kick yourself and start again.

So how exactly does one succeed at 2048? It’s fairly easy in fact to reach the end the same day you pick up the game. It takes simple strategy, a knowledge of when to alter that strategy, and, unlike Threes, requires almost no luck whatsoever.

Build into a corner

The first step with all these Candy Crush-meets-Sudoku number games is to understand that the corner is your best friend. For me, it’s the upper left. It’s just how I play, and any of the corners will do. That strategy lets you build toward a singular tile without moving it around and disrupting your ability to merge it with other large tiles when the time comes.

The key, however, is to understand that this limits your movements. In my case, that means I should only be swiping to the direction of my corner — that is, left and upward — to merge tiles. Never pull in the opposite direction of your largest tile — meaning down for an upper left or right tile and up for lower left or right tile — unless you absolutely have to. In most cases, that’s never needed.

This strategy hits a snag early on though when you discover that using two directions exclusively reaches gridlock pretty fast.

screen-shot-2014-03-21-at-1-48-35-pm.png
A gridlock position people hit early in 2048 if they employ the necessary corner strategy of moving in only two directions.
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

The solution here is to move in the opposite direction of your largest tile one space and then up one space. Then you can resume the two-direction strategy.

The pivotal point is to make sure that you have four tiles in the row containing your highest multiple. Without that, you run the risk of having a low two tile take up the space next to your largest one, a chance occurrence that proves near fatal to a play-through. If you have only three tiles in the row of your highest multiple, the best way to avoid a disaster is to pull tiles towards your preferred corner until it has filled vertically, pull downwards to generate a new tile, and then immediately push back up. Repeat until you have four tiles in your top row.

This is because in 2048, as opposed to Threes, a new tile will show up in a random spot but is exclusively a two or four tile, making building new multiples extremely easy once you have the space to do so, but awful if it shows up next to larger ones in your top row.

There are exceptions to this where you’ll see that it’s evident you have an opportunity to combine tiles and move things around a little more deliberately for a more efficient progression. Meaning, the over-once-up-once strategy can be modified for moving to the right twice, or up twice, or any combination of those alternative moves to achieve a more compact board. However, early on you shouldn’t have the need to do that as long as you keep aggressively pushing toward the corner, moving right and then up when necessary.

The automatic beginning

This introduces an interesting aspect to 2048. If you can just abide by a simple directional strategy almost without thinking what numbers are involved, that means you can practically automate the first 25 percent to 40 percent of a winning play-through without running the risk of messing up your game at all.

It’s more difficult to do on mobile, given that you’re swiping your finger, but on the desktop version you can literally mash buttons and watch as 2048 practically solves itself, making you look a bit like a numerical wizard in the process.

You do of course have to be careful when you solve the gridlock problem that you don’t overdo the directional movements opposite your largest multiple. Still, it’s a surefire way to get past the drudgery of the early game and onto the challenging parts that arise after you get a 512 tile and start attempting to build a second one.

Late-game hurdles

On your way toward a 1024 tile and beyond, the game will begin to require a different, more-risky strategy. It’s recognizing that shift, noted by the fact that your board may begin to fill up less like an arrow and more like a two-row rectangle, that will help you maximize space and achieve a 2048.

For instance, if you’re dealing with the unfortunate circumstance of a rectangular block and you can’t move left or right or even up, there are ways to get out that involve breaking the above mentioned rule of never moving opposite the location of your largest tile.

2048-tutorial.jpg
In this scenario, a three-row block can be solved by making the otherwise ill-advised decision to pull downward, but quickly creating an opportunity to put the two highest tiles back in the corner.
Screenshots by Nick Statt/CNET

There are issues you’ll encounter late in the game that have to approached on a case-by-case basis, but they can be boiled down to a few simple rules. Never let the 2s build up, and do your best to turn them into 4s and 8s by moving only upward. If you’re running into gridlock issues an small number of large-numbered tiles, try going from right to left and back again to quickly build 8s and 16s. The tactic is also great for placing a number in a certain position by crowding it on the right and left with 2s and 4s so that you can then combine it upward.

Most importantly, never compromise your position on the board to combine tiles, as they will combine naturally if you move toward your highest-numbered tile. Only actively attempt to combine tiles by moving away from the direction of your corner when you know the corner tile can be kept in place.

When you do finish the game, you’re given the opportunity to continue on and keep scoring, perhaps even earning a second 2048 and creating a 4096. But for most of us, finally reaching the titular tile is enough to put this game to rest, especially so in a year when addictive mobile titles have been ravaging the psyche. So use these tips, and may you hopefully find solace, through victory, from the grip of 2048.

Update at 9:40 a.m. PT, Monday, March 24: Clarified strategy under ‘Build into a corner’ section.

2048 starts easy; gets hard. Here’s how to make it easy again

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 30 March 2014 10:36 am

2048win.jpg

Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Like the popular iOS and Android puzzler Threes from which it borrows its core concept, 2048 is a game as much about numbers as it is about space.

You have a limited number of free squares, and each move introduces another tile into the mix. But combine like numbers into their sum and you’ve opened up the board for the new tile and simultaneously progressed a little further toward your goal of making a magic 2048 one, a feat accomplished by combining two 128’s into a 256 and two 256’s into a 512 and so on.

The HTML5 game, which can be played in a mobile or desktop browser for free, took off earlier this month when 19-year-old Italian programmer Gabriele Cirulli published it on GitHub, playable on a standalone site for mobile and desktop. He claims it’s borrowed from the iOS app 1024, yet that game itself is a self-described free version of Asher Vollmer’s Threes, so all three exist in a similar family of addictive, math-based puzzlers.

But where 2048 differs substantially from Threes, an admittedly far more difficult game with a steeper learning curve, is in its addictive conceit. 2048 is difficult — and you don’t realize that until you first progress far into the game; whereas Threes will aggressively remind you that you must keep the board from clutter. In fact, I’ve gone one game in Threes earning as much as 10,000 points to my next where I earn in the low triple-digits, moving too quickly and mindlessly to realize I’d made fatal mistakes so early on.

It’s that antithetical challenge curve of 2048 that keeps you coming back. For one, it’s actually difficult to lose for the first few minutes of play unless you have absolutely zero strategy. Not only does that let you progress far into the game very early on — a 512 tile can be unlocked in under a minute if you move fast enough — but it instills in you, like the infamous Flappy Bird, a notion that this game can’t be that hard. Yet, get far enough and everything seems to fall apart before your eyes, possibly with an elusive 1024 tile onboard that makes you kick yourself and start again.

So how exactly does one succeed at 2048? It’s fairly easy in fact to reach the end the same day you pick up the game. It takes simple strategy, a knowledge of when to alter that strategy, and, unlike Threes, requires almost no luck whatsoever.

Build into a corner

The first step with all these Candy Crush-meets-Sudoku number games is to understand that the corner is your best friend. For me, it’s the upper left. It’s just how I play, and any of the corners will do. That strategy lets you build toward a singular tile without moving it around and disrupting your ability to merge it with other large tiles when the time comes.

The key, however, is to understand that this limits your movements. In my case, that means I should only be swiping to the direction of my corner — that is, left and upward — to merge tiles. Never pull in the opposite direction of your largest tile — meaning down for an upper left or right tile and up for lower left or right tile — unless you absolutely have to. In most cases, that’s never needed.

This strategy hits a snag early on though when you discover that using two directions exclusively reaches gridlock pretty fast.

screen-shot-2014-03-21-at-1-48-35-pm.png
A gridlock position people hit early in 2048 if they employ the necessary corner strategy of moving in only two directions.
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

The solution here is to move in the opposite direction of your largest tile one space and then up one space. Then you can resume the two-direction strategy.

The pivotal point is to make sure that you have four tiles in the row containing your highest multiple. Without that, you run the risk of having a low two tile take up the space next to your largest one, a chance occurrence that proves near fatal to a play-through. If you have only three tiles in the row of your highest multiple, the best way to avoid a disaster is to pull tiles towards your preferred corner until it has filled vertically, pull downwards to generate a new tile, and then immediately push back up. Repeat until you have four tiles in your top row.

This is because in 2048, as opposed to Threes, a new tile will show up in a random spot but is exclusively a two or four tile, making building new multiples extremely easy once you have the space to do so, but awful if it shows up next to larger ones in your top row.

There are exceptions to this where you’ll see that it’s evident you have an opportunity to combine tiles and move things around a little more deliberately for a more efficient progression. Meaning, the over-once-up-once strategy can be modified for moving to the right twice, or up twice, or any combination of those alternative moves to achieve a more compact board. However, early on you shouldn’t have the need to do that as long as you keep aggressively pushing toward the corner, moving right and then up when necessary.

The automatic beginning

This introduces an interesting aspect to 2048. If you can just abide by a simple directional strategy almost without thinking what numbers are involved, that means you can practically automate the first 25 percent to 40 percent of a winning play-through without running the risk of messing up your game at all.

It’s more difficult to do on mobile, given that you’re swiping your finger, but on the desktop version you can literally mash buttons and watch as 2048 practically solves itself, making you look a bit like a numerical wizard in the process.

You do of course have to be careful when you solve the gridlock problem that you don’t overdo the directional movements opposite your largest multiple. Still, it’s a surefire way to get past the drudgery of the early game and onto the challenging parts that arise after you get a 512 tile and start attempting to build a second one.

Late-game hurdles

On your way toward a 1024 tile and beyond, the game will begin to require a different, more-risky strategy. It’s recognizing that shift, noted by the fact that your board may begin to fill up less like an arrow and more like a two-row rectangle, that will help you maximize space and achieve a 2048.

For instance, if you’re dealing with the unfortunate circumstance of a rectangular block and you can’t move left or right or even up, there are ways to get out that involve breaking the above mentioned rule of never moving opposite the location of your largest tile.

2048-tutorial.jpg
In this scenario, a three-row block can be solved by making the otherwise ill-advised decision to pull downward, but quickly creating an opportunity to put the two highest tiles back in the corner.
Screenshots by Nick Statt/CNET

There are issues you’ll encounter late in the game that have to approached on a case-by-case basis, but they can be boiled down to a few simple rules. Never let the 2s build up, and do your best to turn them into 4s and 8s by moving only upward. If you’re running into gridlock issues an small number of large-numbered tiles, try going from right to left and back again to quickly build 8s and 16s. The tactic is also great for placing a number in a certain position by crowding it on the right and left with 2s and 4s so that you can then combine it upward.

Most importantly, never compromise your position on the board to combine tiles, as they will combine naturally if you move toward your highest-numbered tile. Only actively attempt to combine tiles by moving away from the direction of your corner when you know the corner tile can be kept in place.

When you do finish the game, you’re given the opportunity to continue on and keep scoring, perhaps even earning a second 2048 and creating a 4096. But for most of us, finally reaching the titular tile is enough to put this game to rest, especially so in a year when addictive mobile titles have been ravaging the psyche. So use these tips, and may you hopefully find solace, through victory, from the grip of 2048.

Update at 9:40 a.m. PT, Monday, March 24: Clarified strategy under ‘Build into a corner’ section.

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