Download of the day – Planetarium

Planetarium, as its developer is keen to point out, isn’t a game – it’s a planet generator – but it’s great fun to tinker with.

You can make your own planet using the small selection of controls, but the real fun is in discovering the 250-odd planets it already contains. These can be found by typing words into the search box at the bottom right, then tapping Enter to see what appears. Move your mouse over the planet – if you’ve been lucky, you’ll see a description written by the planet’s creator.

The Planetarium Subreddit contains a list of planets discovered by players. If you find something interesting, you can take a screenshot by tapping 4 on your keyboard. Planetarium is only available for Windows at the time of writing.

Download here: Planetarium

Download of the Day is our pick of the best free software around – whether it’s useful, fun, or just plain silly. If you have any recommendations, please send them to downloads@techradar.com.

      

Net Neutrality Day of Action: what is it and what does it mean for you?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a major rollback of net neutrality laws, and in protest the public along with some of the biggest companies in the world are taking a stance during the Net Neutrality Day of Action.

The protests range in arguably how effective they are, but the point is the same: the rollback of net neutrality laws could seriously damage the internet as we know it.

Today’s being called the Net Neutrality Day of Action, or Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, and there are dozens of companies taking part, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Reddit.

Why are these giants of the industry being so vocal about net neutrality? There are a few reasons. From a business perspective, limitations on what pages people can access could ultimately lead to fewer people viewing certain pages. For example, if you have to pay extra to access Facebook, fewer people will end up using Facebook, which is bad news for Facebook as well as users who would have to pay.

This is by far not the only reason companies are taking part, of course. Here’s a rundown of what net neutrality is, what the major tech companies are saying during the Day of Action, and why all this matters to you.

What is net neutrality?

To understand what the Net Neutrality Day of Action is all about, it’s important to know what net neutrality is in the first place.

The dictionary definition of net neutrality is: “the principle that internet service providers [ISPs] should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service – regardless of what’s being accessed or who’s accessing it – shouldn’t be restricted. Without net neutrality rules in place, this unrestricted, open internet access is put in jeopardy.

What major tech companies are saying today

Here’s a look at what some of the major tech companies are saying and doing today as part of the Net Neutrality Day of Action:

Facebook

Facebook may not have done anything official today, but founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a note in support of net neutrality on his personal Facebook page.

“Right now, the FCC has rules in place to make sure the internet continues to be an open platform for everyone,” he writes. “At Facebook, we strongly support those rules. We’re also open to working with members of Congress and anyone else on laws to protect net neutrality.”

It’s a strong position from one of the tech industry’s most prominent leaders.

Reddit

Reddit’s approach on the Day of Action is a little more ingenious.

When you head to Reddit today, you’ll see a pop-up message that appears to load slowly, and reads “the internet’s less fun when it loads slowly, isn’t it?” Not only that, but the Reddit logo is also animated so it looks like it’s loading slowly.

The point here is to demonstrate what throttled internet speeds could look for users like if net neutrality protections are rolled back.

Google

Google’s protest against the rollback of net neutrality laws comes in the form of a statement, which reads in part the company hopes “you’ll make your voice heard.”

”Thanks in part to net neutrality, the open internet has grown to become an unrivaled source of choice, competition, innovation, free expression, and opportunity. And it should stay that way,” Google writes.

The search and technology giant stopped short of any prominent pop-up, banner or throttled speeds on google.com, but it’s position on the matter of net neutrality is clear.

Amazon

Amazon’s protest is a more hidden than some others. When you head to the Amazon home page and scroll down a ways, you’ll notice a small section to the right that reads “Net Neutrality? Learn More.”

Click here, and you’re taken to the Internet Association’s page, which reads prominently: “Save The Open Internet”. There’s also this helpful explainer video on the page:

Twitter

Twitter also posted a blog post today protesting the rules rollback, arguing net neutrality is extremely important in maintaining competition and in reaching global customers.

It also noted that you currently “don’t have to be a big shot to compete” – a reality that could change for smaller companies if net neutrality laws are rolled back. Twitter’s PublicPolicy arm is promoting Net Neutrality Day with a special #NetNeutrality hashtag.

Netflix

Netflix’s protest is slightly more in-your-face than a staid blog post. When you head to Netflix today, you’ll see a banner that reads “Protect Internet Freedom. Defend Net Neutrality,” along with a prompt to “Take Action.” Clicking on this will take you to the Internet Association’s page on net neutrality.

Mozilla

Mozilla has long supported net neutrality, and in celebration of today’s event the company posted a nine-hour long video of narrators reading pro-net neutrality comments written to the FCC. It’s a slightly different protest, and a little bizarre, but it certainly sends a message.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), known for defending the rights of people in their digital lives, today posted a fake message from “Atcast” telling users they had to pay extra for the “premium bundle” in order to access the website.

Of course, another pop-up then explained the first message is fake, but this demonstrates what could actually happen without net neutrality protections.

Why does this matter for you?

Net neutrality is an increasingly important issue, and one that could eventually affect everyone who uses the internet.

Without net neutrality, ISPs such as Comcast and Charter could throttle your internet access depending on the websites you use.

So, for example, while you might pay $40 per month for a basic internet package, you may then have to pay an extra $5 just to use Facebook or Twitter. Or, you might have to pay extra to get a certain speed, depending on the websites you access.

That’s not good new for users, obviously, but it means mega-giant ISPs could stand to make a lot of money at the expense of keeping access to the internet unrestricted.

What can you do about all this? For starters, head to the Internet Association’s website and click the button to “tell the FCC to keep net neutrality.” You can send your comments to the FCC to let the commissioners know you want the internet to remain open.

      

The new Surface Pro’s sleeping problem may soon be fixed

If you’re one of the many newly-minted Surface Pro owners that sees your shiny new tablet take impromptu naps from time to time, rest assured that Microsoft is on the case.

However, a cure to the latest Surface Pro’s sleeping problem is going to take a little while, as the fix that Microsoft is working on was not included in the firm’s Patch Tuesday updates for the week of July 9. Whatever fix Microsoft has in store needs more testing before it rolls out.

“Just wanted to provide additional information that this fix was not included in the 7/11 Windows update, as testing still continues,” Microsoft forum moderator known as ‘BryanH’ wrote recently in a lengthy thread. “I will update this posting when the update is available, also the Surface Pro Update History page will also be updated with the details when it launches.”

Old habits die hard

If you, like us, aren’t experiencing this problem with your Surface Pro unit, then you likely haven’t paid much mind to the countless Reddit and Microsoft forum threads populated with complaints of the issue. Specifically, many Surface Pro units since launch will randomly enter a sleeping state, at times losing place of users’ work – not a good look for a flagship productivity tablet.

That said, this is not the first time a Surface device has struggled with narcolepsy. Both the Surface Pro 4 and original Surface Book suffered from this problem at launch, with the issue having persisted for months before finally receiving a fix.

Here’s to hoping that the time between BryanH’s July 12 forum update and the implementation of this fix will come in days or weeks rather than months. Otherwise, the new Surface Pro is the most impressive Microsoft tablet we’ve reviewed to date.

Via Neowin

      

Amazon Prime Day: Coolpad Note 5 and Cool 1 selling with massive discounts

Coolpad is a big part of Amazon’s Prime Day sales with two of its handsets currently selling with sizable discounts. The Coolpad Note 5 is currently selling for Rs 8,999, which is a discount of Rs 2,000 on its original price. The Coolpad Cool 1 is also available with a discount of Rs 1,000 with the 32GB + 3GB RAM variant selling for Rs 9,999. The 4GB variant is priced at Rs 12,999, although it doesn’t appear to be a part of the Prime Day sale.

Amazon specifies that both deals are only applicable to members of Amazon Prime, so it makes sense to get a Prime subscription as soon as you can to avail further benefits on products. In addition to discounts on items, Prime members are entitled to expedited shipping on Prime approved products and unlimited access to Amazon Prime Video, the company’s on-demand video streaming service.

The Coolpad Note 5 and the Cool 1 are pretty exciting smartphones in the Indian budget segment and the price reduction makes them a hot favorite on Amazon right now.

The Coolpad Note 5 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) panel, a 13MP rear camera, an 8MP front camera with LED flash, and the octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor. The phone comes with 4GB of RAM by default accompanied by 32GB of internal storage, which is expandable via microSD. Rounding off the specs sheet is a 4,010mAh battery and Android 6.0.1 with the company’s proprietary CoolUI on board.

Coolpad Note 5 at Rs 8,999 @ Amazon (save Rs 3,000)

The Coolpad Cool 1 features the same 5.5-inch Full HD display on board and comes with the octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor. This is also one of the only budget phones to come with dual-cameras on the back (13MP + 13MP). There’s an 8MP front facing camera on board with “Selfie Beautification” to further enhance your self-portraits. The entry level variant comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage, which appears to be preferred choice for many. The handset comes with a 4,000mAh battery and Android 6.0 Marshmallow with CoolUI.

Coolpad Cool 1 at Rs 9,999 @ Amazon (save Rs 2,000)

You can also check out the best smartphone deals on Amazon Prime Day here.

      

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