If you’re gonna go buy Rogue One, make sure you’ve connected Disney Movies Anywhere

Most digital copies are a letdown. Disney’s are not.

We’ve all seen it: buy the movie before it’s out on Blu-ray, and you don’t get any special features, and your copy is stuck in one store forever. It sucks, right? WRONG! Disney has a digital system that makes buying the movie early an actually tempting thing to do, and it all has to do with connecting digital stores and awesome app implementation.

Before you go download Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, please take our advice and download Disney Movies Anywhere.

Disney Movies Anywhere is a venture that Disney has undertaken in cooperation with Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and other stores to offer their digital copies on all your digital platforms. If you buy a Disney movie on Google Play, Disney Movies Anywhere can see the purchase if it’s connected to your account and then give you that same film on iTunes so you can load it on the iPad before a family trip. Here’s what we do:

  1. Download Disney Movies Anywhere.
  2. Open Disney Movies Anywhere.
  3. Log into (or create) your Disney account. This is the same Disney account you’d use on Disney.com, the Disney Store, or a Walt Disney World vacation.
  4. Connect your account to Google Play.
  5. If desired, connect your account to Amazon.
  6. If you want to connect your account to Apple iTunes, log into the Disney Movies Anywhere website on your desktop computer or Disney Movies Anywhere app on your Apple device.

Now, buy a movie. Any Disney movie you buy will show up on every digital store you’ve connected to your account, and with the copy of your digital film in Disney Movies Anywhere, you’ll also be able to access any shorts and special features associated with the film. For big blockbuster movies like Moana, there will be a lot of special features. For smaller movies, like The Parent Trap, you’ll only get the movie, but you’ll get that movie anywhere that Disney has an agreement.

What if I want to buy the Blu-ray?

Great news! Remember those digital codes that come in a lot of Blu-ray combo packs? For Disney movies, those codes go right into Disney Movies Anywhere. This means that you can spend $20 buying Rogue One on digital and get all the special features on Disney Movies Anywhere, or you can wait a couple weeks, buy a shiny Blu-ray for $25, pop that digital code into DMA, and get that magical digital copy with all the special features PLUS a physical copy for when you want to use that Blu-ray player gathering dust in your entertainment center.

I am a huge Disney fan. I wait for the Blu-ray because it is the only Blu-ray I can buy with a decent digital copy. If you can’t wait another few weeks for Rogue One, though, buy your copy content that you’re not missing anything from the disc, and that your copy will be with you anywhere.

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How to install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

Making your own arcade is a lot easier than you think.

The Raspberry Pi is an amazing little computer. Ultra cheap and well supported, it’s perfect for all sorts of projects like running Kodi or Playing games.

It’s also a killer little emulation station that you can play a ton of throwback console ROMs on, and there’s a custom operating system that makes doing it a lot easier than you think.

Let’s get RetroPie installed on your Raspberry Pi!

What you’ll need to get set up

You’ll need a Raspberry Pi (natch) and everything required to connect it to a monitor and running any operating system. Here’s the list:

  • A power supply
  • SD card
  • An enclosure
  • HDMI cable

You can easily source these parts online or from a well-stocked hobby shop or even Radio Shack, but the easy way to make sure you have everything you need we recommend you buy a kit with all this stuff in it.

We think the CanaKit Starter Kit is your best bet based on price, completeness, and quality of parts.

See CanaKit at Amazon

You are also gonna need a controller. RetroPie works just fine with a PS3 controller, PS4 controller or Xbox 360 controller through a USB cable. But it also works with most USB controllers designed for a PC, including old school Nintendo copies. That’s awesome because NES ROM files are small and NES emulators for the Raspberry Pi work really well. That means the controller is perfect for the game and the buttons are right where you remember them. That’s pretty important and you realize it as soon as you start to play a game with the “wrong” controller.

Anyhoo, NES knockoff controllers with a USB connection are cheap at Amazon. Including one built specifically for what we’re about to do!

See RetroLink controller at Amazon

Now all you need is a screen to play your games on and some ROM files. You can use any screen with an HDMI input and it just works. We’ll let you source the ROM files yourself, but remember that some older games are still copyrighted and you can’t just grab one from a website without paying or you are violating that copyright.

The software

Make sure you pick the right file for your Raspberry Pi. If you bought the CanaKit, you have a Raspberry Pi 3.

You need two things from the Internet: the RetroPie operating system, and a utility to create a bootable file system on the SD card you’ll be using. You’ll also need a computer running Windows, Mac OS, or Linux to flash the operating system to the card. This sounds complicated, but it’s not. You don’t need to be any sort of tech guru for this.

Fire up the computer and browse to the RetroPie website. On the Downloads page, you’ll find a button to download RetroPie for the Raspberry Pi 0 or 1, and a download button for the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3. Make sure you pick the right file for your Raspberry Pi. If you bought the CanaKit, you have a Raspberry Pi 3. If you bought a different one, you’ll find the version printed in white ink right on the top of the circuit board.

Download RetroPie

Now you need a program to flash RetroPie to the SD card. You need to do this the right way so your Raspberry Pi can read it from the card and boot up. The best and easiest way is to download Etcher. It’s available for Windows, Mac or Linux and it’s dead simple to use. Unless you already have a program you use to flash Raspberry Pi images, trust us. Just download Etcher and install it.

Download Etcher

Plug your SD card into your computer and start flashing.

The setup

Open the file explorer on your computer and triple check what drive the SD card you’re going to flash is. If you tell Etcher to use the wrong drive, it can erase the stuff on your computer. Write it down if you have to, because we’ll need it here in a sec.

  • Unzip the RetroPie image you downloaded and put it somewhere on your computer.
  • Open the Etcher program and click the first button that says Select Image.
  • Pick the RetroPie image you downloaded and press OK.
  • Pick your SD card with the middle button (if it’s not showing the right one, double check it then triple check it).
  • Click the button that says Flash! and let it do its thing.

It’s going to take a few minutes — the bigger the SD card the longer it takes. Figure about three to five minutes for a typical PC. Don’t interrupt it because it will tell you when it’s finished. When it’s done, stick the SD card in the slot on your Raspberry Pi.

Grab your controller and plug it in. If you’re using an Ethernet cable with your Pi you don’t need a keyboard, but if you’re going to use Wi-Fi you need one to enter your Wi-Fi password. Any USB keyboard will work even a wireless one with a little dongle like this cool one from Logitech. You can just grab the one from the computer you used to copy the OS and you’re good to go. Next plug the HDMI cable in, then plug the cord in.

While it’s booting you see a bunch of text on a black screen and that’s normal. Don’t worry, it automatically boots up to an easy graphical interface when it’s done. The first boot might take a couple minutes because it’s setting a few things up. When it’s done you’ll see the screen to set up your controller. That’s why we needed it plugged in right away.

This is easy. Press any button and hold it until you see a configuration menu. Then follow the prompts and push the button it tells you to push as it goes through the list. If you come to a button your controller doesn’t have, just press any button and hold it to skip it. Once you’ve told it which buttons are which, it boots to the RetroPie desktop and you can use your controller to navigate and the action button (A on the NES controller) to “click” things.

At this point, you’re done. RetroPie is installed and you can run ROM files through the various emulators available, which is pretty much all of them (here’s a list). But one more thing makes using it so much easier.

One more thing

  • On the RetroPie Desktop, press the Start button if you don’t see a list of things you can do.
  • Choose Wi-Fi from the list and enter your Wi-Fi network info when it asks you (use the Tab key on your keyboard to get your cursor in the box).
  • Go back to the options page and choose RetroPie Setup from the list.
  • Go back one screen by choosing Exit.
  • Choose Manage Packages from the next list.
  • Choose Manage Experimental Packages from the next list.

You’ll come to a list of applications you can install. They’re called Packages because RetroPie is a front-end for Debian Linux and it uses a package manager to add or remove programs. The package we’re looking for is called RetroPie-Manager and it’s near the very end of the list. When you see it, go ahead and choose it, then choose to Install from source and let it do its thing. This will only take a minute (seriously, just a minute or so).

When it’s done installing, you’ll see configuration / options on the list now. Choose it, then pick Enable RetroPie-Manager on boot so that it starts up every time you boot up the Raspberry Pi. Go ahead and reboot now by pressing the Start button to open a control window.

  • When it’s done, go back the Desktop list and choose Show IP to find out your RetroPie’s IP address (that’s the number that identifies it on your Wi-Fi network). It’s the very first thing you see in the information box that opens. Go ahead and write those numbers down. There will be four sets of numbers, something like
  • Go back to the computer you used to flash the operating system and open the web browser. Don’t forget your keyboard!
  • In the browser, enter the four sets of numbers followed by a colon and the number 8000. It will look like this: Press enter and be ready for something really cool.

RetroPie Manager is running on your Raspberry Pi but is controlled from a web browser on any computer on your Wi-Fi network. It can show you things like how much free space you have or what the clock speeds of the CPUs in your Raspberry Pi are or even the temperature. Go ahead and check out all the options. What we’re interested in are the Manage BIOS and Manage ROM settings. You can use them to install a ROM or new emulator directly to your Raspberry Pi through the web browser!

Click the Manage ROM files button and choose what type of file you’re going to install. Then drag the ROM file right into the window and it does the rest by itself. There is no need to pull out the SD card and copy files to the right folder or type a bunch of text at the command line to download them using RetroPie’s interface. Go ahead and drag a ROM over to try it.

When it’s done, just close the browser window. Back at your Raspberry Pi, you need to reboot if it was on during installation, Do it through the control window just like you did a few steps back. That’s always how you shut things down safely. When it boots back up you’ll see the Emulation Station program running and the emulator you uploaded a ROM for is now the beginning of a list. You know what to do, choose it and click.

Pick the ROM you just uploaded and click on it, then have a bunch of old school fun!

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T-Mobile will now block scam calls whether you like it or not

You may start receiving fewer scam and spam calls starting April 5 if you’re a T-Mobile customer.

T-Mobile is making it harder for spammers, scammers and other malevolents from getting customers to raise their phones to their ears.

The company is rolling out a behind-the-scenes update called Scam ID that will automatically block calls it deems to be malicious, based on “an advanced global database of tens of thousands of known scammer numbers.”

The database is kept up-to-date in near real-time by analyzing every call that comes into the network with behavioral heuristics and intelligent scam pattern detection. When a match is found, the T-Mobile network tags the incoming call and warns the customer that it’s likely from a scammer. Because of the way T-Mobile’s network manages voice traffic, the Un-carrier is capable of analyzing every call to identify and block scammers.

The service will be rolling out to all T-Mobile One customers on an ongoing basis starting April 5, and will automatically be enabled for new customers the same day.

Another service, Scam Block, doesn’t even let those calls through. It blocks them at the network level, so customers don’t even have to see them in the first place.

T-Mobile postpaid customers can also enable Scam ID for themselves beginning April 5 by dialing #ONI# (#664#) and pressing the call button in their phone’s dialer. To turn on Scam Block, customers can dial #ONB# (#662#) or, to turn it off, dial #OFB# (#632#). To check whether Scam Block is on or off, customers can dial #STS# (#787#).

We don’t know how this will impact the ability for Google’s own spam identifier to do its job on an OS level — presumably it will act as a second line of defense — and it may make irrelevant companies like Truecaller that maintain their own databases and offer similar services at the app level. Customers can easily opt out of Scam ID, but many customers may not know it exists in the first place, and will have to rely on T-Mobile to determine the identity of an incoming caller.

Phone scams come in all shapes and sizes, from the IRS scam to Medicare cons to “free” travel to credit card scams and countless others. These phone scams are run by fraudsters who are often armed with robocalling technology enabling them to target vast numbers of people and make tens of thousands of calls a minute with the sole purpose of cheating people and separating them from their money.

You can learn more about T-Mobile Scam ID, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Rock Band VR review: A series reimagined for Rift

One. More. Song.

In the wee hours leading up to Rock Band VR’s release, I felt inside like I was actually set to go on stage. Since the very first musician-emulation game all those years ago, there’s been a plastic guitar following me around from Rock Band to Guitar Hero and back again. Now, with the upcoming VR union, there’s an undeniable excitement in the air. I can almost hear the crowd, the feedback, the countdown…

Read more at VR Heads!

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