JFK Airport Drug Bust, Woman Allegedly Smuggled 27 lbs. of Cocaine in Her Wheelchair

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Customs agents and a drug sniffin’ dog busted a woman attempting to smuggle 6 bricks of cocaine — worth nearly $500k — in the cushion of her wheelchair. Yoncela Stanley arrived at the JFK Airport Sunday from St. Lucia, and allegedly had the…

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Judge Judy’s Son Adam Levy Scores Huge Victory Over Sheriff in Defamation Lawsuit

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Judge Judy’s son ended a 4 year long ordeal to clear his name in a defamation lawsuit against Putnam County’s Sheriff. Adam Levy, the former D.A. in Putnam County, NY, reached a settlement with Sheriff Don Smith that requires Smith to fork over…

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Google’s new Local Guides points system makes leaving reviews worth your time

Whether you’re a traveler or a homebody, the Google-led app rewards handsomely for leaving recommendations.

Google Local Guides were introduced in 2014 to help foster a giant community of local reviewers who just know where all the best stuff is. When you sign up to be a Local Guide, every contribution helps you rack up points towards unlocking other elements of the service inside Google Maps. Over the next few days, Google will introduce a new points system to Local Guides to help unlock other types of goodies and hopefully encourage the proliferation of more reviews.

Certain kinds of contributions that have a higher impact for Google Maps users—like being the first to add a place to the map or leaving a review—earn you more points. In addition, Local Guides now earn points for rating places and checking facts from other community members. All points earned are shown immediately after each contribution, and are visible in the “contribute” tab.

Google has also added five new levels to Local Guides, in addition to adding badges for those who are heavy contributors.

We’ve added five new levels to Local Guides, bringing the total number from 5 to 10. For levels 4-10, we’ve designed unique badges, giving guides at higher levels a new way to be recognized for their contributions, and helping users quickly identify the Local Guides who contribute the most. These badges will appear next to each Local Guides’ profile picture in Google Maps.

If you’re a Level 2 Local Guide, you can enjoy early access to the new features. In select countries, Level 4-10 Local Guides can redeem a three-month Google Play Music subscription and 75% off digital rentals in the Play Movie store.

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How many Pixels has Google actually sold since its debut?

The sales number remain a mystery to all of us, though there are a few theories floating around.

With all the fervent rumormongering regarding the next batch of Pixel smartphones, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at several of the theories making the rounds about how many millions of Pixel and Pixel XL units Google has actually sold.

The phone launched eight months ago and has remained a strong seller at Verizon, where it was marketed as an exclusive (it’s not; it’s also sold unlocked in the Google Store). Regardless, that was certainly a winning strategy, as 7.5% of all phone activations on Verizon late last year was for a Pixel or Pixel XL. (Sadly, thanks in part to a disjointed marketing strategy, other carriers only ranked in at 2%.)

So, we know the phone is selling relatively well with the help of the carrier that was heavily marketing it as an exclusive. But how well did it sell for Google? According to Ars Technica, it just barely hit a million units:

Unlike just about every hardware manufacturer on Earth, Google doesn’t share official sales numbers for the Pixel phones, choosing to bundle the income under Alphabet’s “Other Revenues” during earnings reports. We do have one very solid signal for Pixel sales, though: the Play Store, which shows install numbers for apps. If there was an app that was exclusive and install-by-default on the Pixel phones, like say, the Pixel Launcher, the install number would basically be the number of sold activated phones.

This calculation is complicated by the fact that Google Play doesn’t show exact install numbers; it shows installs in “tiers” like “100,000-500,000.” So most of the time, we won’t have an exact Pixel sales number—except when the Pixel Launcher crosses from one download tier to another. So guess what just happened? The Pixel Launcher just crossed into the “1,000,000-5,000,000” install tier (you can see some third-party tracking sites, like AppBrain, still have it listed at 500,000). So for this one moment in history, eight months after launch, we can say Google finally sold a million Pixel phones.

Since there aren’t any official sales numbers offered by Google (or Alphabet, as it were), the guesstimate is based on the number of downloads of the Pixel Launcher in the Play Store. The result paints a rather grim picture, however, which didn’t seem to be the case when we initially pored over Verizon’s Q3 2016 finance reports:

Let’s look at Verizon’s Q3 2016 earnings report, where we can see it activates roughly 8 million phones per quarter. If you assume Verizon activates a similar number in Q4, that’d average out to 600,000 Pixels activated at Verizon in the first three months…

Last year, the company had a record of activating roughly 8 million phones a quarter. If we assume Verizon maintained a consistent number of Pixels activated per quarter — 7.5% of 8 million, which makes it about 600,000 units — then that puts the number at close to two million units since the initial debut. The result then gives less credence to the idea that only a measly million units were sold.

Overall, we don’t know how Google actually calculates its hardware sales numbers, but we certainly can’t make the inference based on how many times an app was downloaded or installed. There are many factors that play into that particular number, anyway, not to mention that side-loading is a heavy practice in the Android world, which can mess with those results.

What we do know is that Google still has a long journey ahead of it before its branded smartphones sell as well as Apple’s iPhones. There are sure plenty of Android users in the world, but only a small fraction of them are on the Pixel or Pixel XL.

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Everything we know so far about Skyrim VR

What do I need to know about Skyrim VR?

A surprise trailer for Skyrim VR was shown during the Sony presentation at E3 2017. Arriving on the heels of the Fallout 4 VR trailer, many fans were left with a bunch of questions regarding Bethesda’s move to take their beloved fantasy RPG into VR. To help spread the word, here’s everything we know so far.

Read more at VR Heads!

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