Design At Scale: One Year With Figma

Design At Scale: One Year With Figma

Paul Hanaoka

2019-04-15T13:30:48+02:00
2019-04-15T14:08:46+00:00

This article will be about how large teams can benefit from using more open, collaborative tooling and how to make adoption and migration feasible and pleasant. Also, in case you didn’t guess from the title of the article just yet, a lot of it will be about Figma and how we succeeded at adopting this design tool in our team.

The intended audience is experienced designers working in larger teams with design systems, developers or product managers looking to improve the way cross-functional teams work in their organization.

I’ve been using design tools in a professional setting for over ten years and am always trying to make teams I’m serving work more efficiently and more effectively. From scripting and actions in Photoshop, to widget libraries in Axure, to Sketch plugins, and now with Figma — I’ve helped design teams stay on the cutting edge without leaving developers or product managers behind.

Logos from products like Sketch, Principle, Invision, and more loosely tied together

The State of Design Tools 2015. (Large preview)

Basic knowledge of design systems and tools will be helpful, but not necessary as I hope to share specific examples and also “high level” concepts and methods that you can adapt for your team or context.

Our Design Workflow Circa 2015

Our primary tool in 2015 was Sketch, and that’s pretty much where the commonalities stopped. We all had different methods of prototyping, exporting, and sharing designs with stakeholders (InVision, Axure, Marvel, Google Slides, and even the antiquated Adobe PDF) and developers (Avocode, Zeplin, plugins without standalone apps like Measure). On rare occasions, we could send files directly to the engineers who were lucky enough to have the rare combination of a MacBook and a Sketch license.

When InVision released the Craft plugin, we were overjoyed — being able to prototype and upload screens from Sketch into InVision, sharing components and styles in nascent libraries across files — it was the designer’s dream come true.

A variety of screens in Liferay’s 'My Projects' InVision dashboard

A peek into our InVision projects. (Large preview)

Eventually, we all converged on the InVision platform. We created and documented the processes that helped reduce much of the friction in stakeholder collaboration and developer handoff. Yet, due to the complex permissions structure, InVision remained a closed ecosystem — if you weren’t a designer, there was an approval chain that made it difficult to get an InVision account, and once you got an account, you had to be added to the right groups.

Manually managing versions and files, storing and organizing them in a shared drive, and dealing with sync conflicts were just a few of the things that caused us many headaches.

A screenshot from Figma’s 'Getting Started' video on YouTube

Getting Started in Figma. (Large preview)

Could we really have an all-in-one tool that had all the best features of Sketch and InVision, with the real-time collaboration and communication features found in Google Docs? In addition to reducing overhead from context switching, we could also potentially simplify from three tool subscriptions (for mockups, prototyping, and developer handoff), to only one.

The Process

The first designers from our team to adopt Figma started experimenting with it when the first Figma beta was released in 2016. The features were limited but covered 80% of what we needed. Sketch import was buggy, but we still found immense value in being able to collaborate in real-time and most importantly, we could do 90% of the design work for a project inside a single tool. Stakeholder feedback, revisions, and developer handoff improved exponentially.

By 2017, we had a few designers using it for most of their work, and one of the Lexicon designers (Liferay’s design system), Emiliano Cicero, was quickly becoming an evangelist — which turned out to be a key factor in convincing the rest of the team to make the switch.

When Figma 2.0 debuted in the summer of 2017 with prototyping features added and huge improvements to the developer handoff capabilities, we knew this could be a viable tool for our global team. But how do you convince 20+ designers to abandon tools and workflows they love and have used comfortably for years?

I could write a series on that subject, but I’ll summarize by saying the two biggest things were: starting small, and creating a solid infrastructure.

Starting Small

In the fall of 2017, we started our first trial of Figma with a product team distributed between the United States and Brazil. We were fortunate to have a week-long kickoff together in our Los Angeles office. Designing flows and wireframes together in Figma was so much faster and more efficient. We were able to divide up tasks and share files and components without having to worry about constantly syncing a folder or a library.

At our global gathering in January 2018, we formulated a plan to slowly adopt Figma, using this team’s experiences to help form the infrastructure we’d need for the rest of the organization so that migration would be as seamless as possible.

The biggest challenge we faced was a tight deadline — it didn’t make any sense for us to rework our review and handoff process due to the scale of the project with multiple engineering teams and product managers distributed around the world. Even though the end result would have been better, the timing wasn’t right. Another factor was Figma’s lack of a reliable offline design experience (more on that later), and for these reasons, the team decided to use Sketch and Figma for wireframes and mockups, but any prototyping or review had to be done in InVision.

 A slide with about Liferay’s Digital Asset Management structure

A DAM presentation from Design Week 2018. (Large preview)

Creating a solid Figma structure

One of the first steps was formulating rough guidelines for the project, file, and component organization. The foundation for these things was started by two junior (at the time) designers, Abel Hancock and Naoki Hisamoto, who never developed the bad layer-naming habits that seem to come from designers who cut their teeth in Photoshop. This method for organization, coupled with a year spent developing a small library of components for Liferay.com properties, was critical to setting the rest of the global team up for success.

An early organizational improvement created by one of our Liferay.com designers, inspired by Ben’s tweet, was our system of covers.

A screenshot showing Liferay’s system for organizing Figma projects

Figma project covers, by Abel Hancock. (Large preview)

We’ve made this file available if you’d like to copy it, otherwise it’s a pretty straightforward hack:

Create a single frame in the first page of your file that’s 620×320.
Add your design. If you have text, we found that the minimum size is ~24, the titles in our examples are set at 48.
Enjoy!

Note: There will always be a slight margin around your cover, but if you set the page canvas the same color as the card, it will reduce the appearance of this margin.

This helped transform our library, not just for designers, but for project and product managers and engineers who are trying to find things quickly. The search functionality was already really good, but the covers helped people narrow things down even faster, plus it allowed us to instantly communicate the status of any given file.

An animated image a Figma project before and after the cover systemSparking Joy with Figma Covers (Large preview)

Prior to using Figma, in addition to a ‘Master’ design system Sketch file, most designers had base files they had developed over time with things like wireframing elements and basic components. As we coalesced into a single pattern, we started to combine everything and refined them into a single library. Since we were doing wireframes, mockups, and prototypes in Figma, we also started to abandon flow apps like Lucidchart, instead of making our own task flow components in Figma.

Other utilities that we developed over time were redline components for making precise handoff specs, sticky notes for affinity diagrams (and just about anything), and flow nodes.

A screenshot showing Liferay’s reusabile utility components for redlining, and creating flows and affinity diagrams

Liferay Design’s redline, flow, and affinity components. (Large preview)

One of the biggest benefits of doing this in Figma, was that improvements to any of these components that any designer made could easily be pulled into the library and then pushed out to all instances. Having this in a centralized place also makes maintenance a lot easier, as anyone on the team can contribute to improvements with a relatively simple process.

A redline document is for making it easier for the developer to know the dimensions, visual specs, and other properties of a UI component or a set of components. If you’re interested in the topic, you can also check Dmitriy Fabrikant’s article about design blueprints.

Some recommendations to keep in mind when creating components:

Use of overrides and masters for powerful base components (more on that here);
Establish a consistent pattern for naming (we use the atomic model);
Document and label everything — especially layers.

With the advanced styling features released at the beginning of June 2017, the systems team finished a complete version of our Lexicon library in between our big product releases in July and the ramp-up in August. This was the final piece we needed to support the global team. Designers working in Marketing and other departments had already been using Figma for some time, but by last Fall almost all of the other product teams had finalized the move over to Figma.

As of today, most of the product designers are only using Figma, there are also a couple of designers that are working in legacy systems with lots of existing, complicated Sketch prototypes that aren’t worth importing to Figma. Another exception is a few designers that occasionally use apps like Principle or Adobe After Effects for more advanced animation that wouldn’t make sense to do in Figma. We even have a few designers exploring Framer X for even more robust prototypes, especially with work that requires leveraging any kind of data at scale. While there are some designers using multiple tools on a semi-regular basis, 80% of our product designers are using Figma for all of their design and prototyping work.

Continuous Improvements

We’re always working on ways to work more effectively, and one of the current things we’re iterating is best practices for naming pages. At first, we named pages according to the page name, but that proved problematic, plus, as we improved our libraries, the need for larger files with multiple pages was reduced.

Currently, we’re using a numbering system within files, with the top-most page being what’s delivered to the developers. The next phase we’re discussing nowadays is making the versions more meaningful with explicit labels (wireframes, mockups, breakpoints, etc.) and making better use of Figma’s built-in versioning, establishing best practices for when and how to save versions.

 Two screenshots showing different ways to name Figma pages

The evolution of page organization within a Figma file. (Large preview)

Final_Final_Last_2 — No More!

I generally hate to use the term ‘game-changer’, but when Figma released naming/annotating to the version history last March, it dramatically changed the way we organized our files. Previously, we all had different ways of saving iterations and versions.

Usually we would create new pages within a single file, sometimes with large files we would duplicate them and add a letter at the end of the filename to signal an iteration. If you were going to make drastic changes, then you might create a new file and append a version number. This was very natural, coming from the Photoshop/Sketch paradigm of managing multiple files for everything.

A screenshot showing what Figma’s version history timeline looks like

Version history timeline view (Large preview)

The ability to work, periodically pausing to name and annotate a point in time will be very familiar for anyone who has used a version control like Git before. You can even look at the whole file history, and go into past snapshots, pick one out and name and annotate it.

If you want to go back and revert to a past version, you can restore it and work on that file from that point in the history. The best part is that you didn’t lose any of the work because the version you ‘restored’ wasn’t deleting anything; it was simply copying that state and pasting it at the top.

A diagram showing how restoring past versions of a Figma file works

Git it? (Large preview)

In this illustration, the designer arrives at final 3.0 after restoring final 1.1, but the file version history is still completely visible and accessible.

In cases where you’re starting a new project, or want to make some really dramatic changes to the file, it can be necessary for you to ‘fork’ the file. Figma allows you to duplicate a file at any given point in the history, but it’s important to note that the file history will not be copied.

We’ve found that a good way to work in this versioned system is to use your file history in a similar way to how a developer uses git — think of a Figma version as a commit or pull-request, and name and annotate them as such. For more, smarter thoughts on this, I recommend Seth Robertson’s Commit Often, Perfect Later, Publish Once: Git Best Practices — this is a good general philosophy for how to work in a version-controlled ecosystem. Also, Chris Beams’s How to Write a Git Commit Message is a great guide to writing meaningful and useful notes as you work.

Some practical tips we’ve discovered:

Keep titles to 25 characters or less.
Longer titles are clipped and you have to double-click on the note in the version history to open up the ‘Edit Version Information’ modal to read it.
Keep your description to 140 characters or less.
The full description is always shown, so keeping it to the point helps keep the history readable.
Use the imperative mood for the title.
This gives the future you a clearer idea of what will happen when you click on that point in time, e.g. “changing button colors to blue” vs. “change buttons to blue.”
Use the description to explain ‘what’ and ‘why’ versus ‘how’.
Answering the ‘why’ is a critical part of any designers job, so this helps you focus on what’s important as you’re working as well as provide better information for you in the future.

Working Offline

Disclaimer: This is based on our own experience, and a lot of it is our best guess as to how it works.

As I mentioned before, offline support in Figma is tenuous. If you already have a file open before going offline, you can continue working on the file. It seems like each change you make is timestamped. In the case of someone else working on the same file while you were offline, then the latest change will be the one rendered once you do come back online.

A series of screenshots showing how offline editing works

When Cat came back online, her button position change was made, and merged with the Nerd’s color changes. (Large preview)

In this simple example, it doesn’t seem like too big of a deal — but in real life, this can get really messy, really fast. In addition to the high possibility of someone overriding your work, frames and groups could get stacked on top of one another.

Our workflow is to duplicate the page before (or after) going offline, and then do your work in that copy. That way it will be untouched when you come back online, and you can do any necessary merges manually.

“F” Is For Future

Adopting a new tool is never easy, but in the end, the benefits may far outweigh the costs.

The biggest areas of improvement our team has experienced are:

Collaboration
It’s much easier to share our work and improvements with the team and community.
Transparency
A system that is open by default is naturally more inclusive to people outside of the field of design.
Evolution
Removing the “layers” between designers and engineers, enabling us to take the next step in design maturity.
Operations
Adopting a single tool for wireframes, mockups, prototypes, and developer handoffs makes life easier for accounting, IT, and management.

Reducing the overall number of subscriptions was really helpful for our team, but as costs can vary from ‘free’ to over $500 per year this might not make sense for your specific context and needs. For a full breakdown, see Figma’s pricing page.

Grow And Get Better

Of course, no tool is perfect, and there’s always room for improvements. Some things that were missing from previous tools we used are:

No plugin ecosystem.
Sketch’s extensibility was a huge factor in making the switch from Photoshop a no-brainer. Figma does have a web API, but currently, there is no ‘write’ functionality. For now, Sketch remains the market leader with its vibrant community of extensions and plugins. (Of course, things might change in the future in case Figma opens the stage for plugin development as well.)
Importing web, or JSON data in prototypes.
It would be a lot easier for us to design with real data. Sketch recently introduced a “Data” feature in v.52, InVision’s Craft plugin is still very much the gold standard when it comes to easily addxing large amounts of different data — and for now, we’re stuck manually populating text fields.
More motion.
The Principle integration is nice (if you have Principle), but having basic animation and advanced prototyping features in Figma would be a lot better.
A smoother offline experience
As mentioned previously, as long as you have the Figma file open before going offline, you’re fine. This is probably OK for most people — but if you like to shut down your computer every night, it can be painful when you open it in the morning on a train or airplane and realize you forgot to leave Figma open.

Open-Source Design

A few months ago, the always controversial Dann Petty recently tweeted about developers having GitHub, photographers having Unsplash — but designers not having a platform for sharing things for free. Design Twitter™️ swooped in and he deleted his tweet before I could get a screengrab, but one thing I’d like to mention is that what we’re very passionate about at Liferay, is open source. To that end, we’ve created a Figma project for resources to share with the design community.

A screenshot of Liferay’s open source Figma project

Open sourced files from Liferay.Design. (Large preview)

To access any of these files, check out liferay.design/resources/figma, and stay tuned as we grow and share more!

Further Reading

Our First 6 Months With Figma,” Danny Saltaren
Waiting For A Sign To Start Building Your Design Team’s Component Library?,” William Newton
How To Streamline Your UI/UX Workflow With Figma,” Nicole Saidy
Getting Started With Teams In Figma Organization,” Thomas Lowry
5 Ways To Structure Your Workflow With Pages In Figma,” Josh Dunsterville
Best Practices: Components, Styles, And Shared Libraries,” Thomas Lowry
Figma: A Fluid And Modular Design Approach To Typography With Components,” Mirko Santangelo

Other Resources

Figma Community on Spectrum
Figma Design Handbook by David Ukauwa

Smashing Editorial
(mb, yk, il)

Read more: smashingmagazine.com

Introduction

In the previous blog (Hyperlink) we provisioned and connected to an Autonomous Transaction Processing instance. Autonomous Transaction Processing supports a complex mix of high-performance transactions, reporting, batch, IoT, and machine learning in a single database, allowing much simpler application development and deployment and enabling real-time analytics, personalization, and fraud detection.

In this blog you will install Oracle Client libraries, install Visual Studio, install Anaconda and run a few simple commands on Jupyter Notebook.

Step 1: Download the Oracle Instant Client

In order to connect and run applications from your PC to remote Oracle databases, such as Autonomous Transaction Processing, Oracle client libraries must be installed on your computer. Oracle Instant Client enables applications to connect to a local or remote Oracle Database for development and production deployment. The Instant Client libraries provide the necessary network connectivity, as well as basic and high-end data processing features, to make full use of any Oracle database. It underlies the Oracle APIs of popular languages and environments including Node.js, Python and PHP, as well as providing access for OCI, OCCI, JDBC, ODBC and Pro*C applications. Tools included in Instant Client, such as SQL*Plus and Oracle Data Pump, provide quick and convenient data access.

Let us start with Oracle Instant Client for Microsoft Windows (x64) 64-bit. You can find it here. If you happen to run another operating system, you can find the relevant Oracle Instant Client libraries here.

Accept License Agreement and select Basic Lite Package.

 

 

This will require you signing into OTN with your SSO account. If you do not have an account you need to create one.

 

 

Download the file and then proceed to the directory where the file was downloaded. Unzip the file into a directory. Open Command Prompt and navigate to the directory.

 

Add this directory to your path in Windows:

In Search, search for and then select: Advanced Systems Settings (Control Panel)
Click Environment Variables at the bottom of screen
In the System Variables double click Path
In the screen that opens up select NEW
Add full path to the instant client directory (C:\instantclient_18_5)

 

Step 2: Installing Microsoft Visual Studio Redistributable

Oracle Client libraries for Windows require the presence of the correct Visual Studio redistributable. Follow the link below to install:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2977003/the-latest-supported-visual-c-downloads#bookmark-vs2013

 

Select the correct architecture

 

Double Click the downloaded file and proceed with the installation

 

This completes the installation of the pre-requisites

 

Step 3: Installing Anaconda/Python/Jupyter

Anaconda/Jupyter is a popular IDE. Anaconda/Jupyter is very sensitive to other installed versions and PATH’s associated with previous installations on your computer. If you have other versions of Python installed, remove them as any PATH’s and projects associated with them or this installation may not work.

Download the software from www.anaconda.com/download
Select the Python 3.7 version download highlighted below, make sure you select the one for your correct architecture (32 or 64-bit)

Go to the folder where the file was downloaded and Double Click it. This brings up the Anaconda installation page, go ahead and Click Next.

 

Click I agree on the next screen

 

In the next screen Select Just me and Click Next

 

Install in the following directory: C:\Anaconda3 You must create the directory if the directory does not exist create (the installer will not create it). Click Next

 

Make sure you Select Register Anaconda as my default Python 3.7. Leave Add Anaconda to your PATH environment variable non-selected. Click Install

 

The installation will take a few minutes. Once complete Click Next

 

You will get a prompt to install Microsoft VS Code. Skip this step.

 

Deselect both options in the next screen and Click Next.

 

You must add the new install directory into your PATH. Add C:\Anaconda3\ and C:\Anaconda3\scripts\ to your PATH:

 

In Windows 10:

In Search, search for and then select: Advanced System Settings (control panel)
Click Environment Variables at bottom of screen
In the System variables double click Path
In the screen that opens up select NEW
Add full path to the anaconda directory (C:\Anaconda3)
Add full path to the anaconda scripts directory (C:\Anaconda3\scripts\)

 

Hooray!!! Anaconda and Python is now installed.

 

Step 4: Using Anaconda/Jupyter/Python with Autonomous Transaction Processing

 

Before running any Python apps that access the database, the correct packages must be loaded into the Python environment. Open a Command Prompt Window and navigate to the directory where you installed Anaconda (C:\Anaconda3) and run the following commands in order. pip is a package management system used to install and manage software packages written in Python. We will use pip to install the packages:

 

pip install –upgrade pip

pip install keyring

pip install cx_oracle

pip install sql

pip install ipython-sql

pip install python-sql

 

To Start Anaconda/Jupyter, go to the Windows Start Icon, Click and Select Anaconda Navigator under Anaconda3. Once inside Anaconda, Select Jupyter

 

A new browser page will open up, running Jupyter, Select New and then Python 3 highlighted below:

 

A new Python Notebook will open up. Python is an interpreted language so we must load libraries to use every time an environment is started up. Libraries are loaded with the import command, we will use 3 libraries. Run the following commands as shown below. Copy the 3 lines below and Paste them directly in the box next to the In[]: prompt, then select Run. 

 

import cx_Oracle

import keyring

import os

 

Run a simple command to display your PATH. Run the following command (copy and paste into the box and select Run): print(os.environ["PATH"]

 

Now let us set the TNS_ADMIN variable. TNS_ADMIN is the location of the unzipped wallet files. Instructions on how to create a wallet can be found here (Hyperlink to previous blog post). Below we set and then check the variable (the first command sets it, the second displays it back). Run the following command (copy and paste into the box and select Run):

os.environ['TNS_ADMIN'] = 'c:\wallets'

print(os.environ["TNS_ADMIN"]

 

Let’s make some external calls to the Autonomous Transaction Processing. For that we need to load another library. Run the command below which will load the library needed to call external sql databases (ignore warning/error messages, make sure to include the %):

 

%load_ext sql

 

Next let us connect to the Autonomous Transaction Processing database using a user name, password and service. Use your admin account and password created when the ATP database was created. The format of the command is:

 

%sql oracle+cx_oracle://user:password@service

 

Once connected you will get the message ‘Connected: admin@None’

 

To run a query, once connected use the oracle+cx library calls followed by the SQL statement (notice no ; at the end of the statement). The SQL below is the same one we ran in previous labs, copy the statement below and paste it in the box and click  Run.

 

%sql oracle+cx_oracle://user:password@service

 

SELECT channel_desc, TO_CHAR(SUM(amount_sold),'9,999,999,999') SALES$,RANK() OVER (ORDER BY SUM(amount_sold)) AS default_rank,RANK() OVER (ORDER BY SUM(amount_sold) DESC NULLS LAST) AS custom_rank FROM sh.sales, sh.products, sh.customers, sh.times, sh.channels, sh.countries WHERE sales.prod_id=products.prod_id AND sales.cust_id=customers.cust_idAND customers.country_id = countries.country_id AND sales.time_id=times.time_idAND sales.channel_id=channels.channel_idAND times.calendar_month_desc IN ('2000-09', '2000-10')AND country_iso_code='US' GROUP BY channel_desc

 

Awesome. Now you are connected to Autonomous Transaction Processing using Anaconda.

Written by Philip Li & Sai Valluri

Read more: blogs.oracle.com

Hello, Xbox Insiders!

Thanks again for all your help and feedback before Crackdown 3 released. We are calling on you once more to help us test the much-requested Squads feature for Wrecking Zone! That’s right, you can now officially team up with your friends to face off against other Agents and show off your skills! This playtest will be open to all Xbox Insiders regardless of whether you participated in the previous Technical Test. Keep reading for playtest details and how to participate.

There will be one playtest, on Thursday April 11th, 2019 from 11:00am – 12:30pm PST / 7:00pm – 8:30pm BST. To maximize the number of players matchmaking on our servers at the same time, we are keeping this playtest to a single 90-minute window, and focusing on Agent Hunter. This will maximize your experience, by guaranteeing as many of you and your friends can play together as possible, and will help test our servers to find any bugs that may be lurking.

How to participate:

If you participated in the Technical Test previously, simply be sure your “Wrecking Zone Technical Test” client is updated to the latest build before the playtest begins. If you’re not sure which client to launch or need to re-install:

Launch the Xbox Insider Hub.
Navigate to Insider content > Games > Wrecking Zone Technical Test.
Select “See in Store” and install or launch Wrecking Zone from the Store page.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the Technical Test previously, here’s how to join:

On your Xbox One console or Windows 10 PC, sign in and launch the Xbox Insider Hub app.
Navigate to Insider content > Games > Wrecking Zone Technical Test.
Select Join.
Wait for the registration to complete (Pending will switch to Manage), and you’ll be redirected to the Store where you can install Crackdown 3: Wrecking Zone Technical Test.

How to Squad Up:

We realize many of you might not have friends in this Tech Test pool and that’s A-OK. Invite them to participate in the Tech test, or  help test the new Squad features by adding some players you’ve recently been teamed up with as friends. Here’s how:

Launch ‘Wrecking Zone Technical Test.’
Play a session of Agent Hunter as a single user. This will add players to your Recent Players list.
Once you’re in a match, open the Gamercard of the other users in the lobby and add them as a friend.  This can also be done by opening the Guide >People >Recent Players option.
When you’ve completed the match, return to the main game menu, invite others to your squad or join someone else’s. A squad supports a maximum of 5 players
Queue up for Agent Hunter.
Play the Agent Hunter match through to completion and return to the main menu with your squad after the match ends.
Continue playing Agent Hunter with a squad until the playtest ends!

FEEDBACK OR ISSUES? LET US KNOW.

When reporting feedback, please make sure to include a general description of the issue. Any screenshots or video clips you can include would help. We also ask that you only use these channels for reporting issues to ensure our development team can ask questions or work with you on what specifically the issue may be.

On PC: Join the conversation on Discord and share your feedback with the team and the community: https://discord.gg/g3EHnug.
On Xbox One: Submit issues on Xbox One by holding down the Xbox button on the controller and selecting “Report a Problem” from the power menu.

Thanks for being an Xbox Insider!

See the rest of the story on Xbox WireRelated:They Came From Below Brings Fresh New Content to We Happy Few on Xbox OneThe Personal Journey of Where the Bees Make Honey, Available Now on Xbox OneThis Week on Xbox: April 5, 2019

Read more: news.xbox.com

Donielle W.
Elements Greenville

"A great stretch for clients and therapists is the doorway stretch for pectoral muscles.  Standing in a doorway with arms braced on the side of the door and leaning forward with your body will help stretch pectoral muscles contracted from forward posture or a lot of computer work.

“Another great one for the upper shoulders, or the trapezius, is to lean your head to either side with chin tilted slightly toward the shoulder and stretch the opposite arm from where your head is tilted toward the floor. This muscle tends to hold stress and tension so this is great to keep it flexible.

“The last one would be for your rhomboid area, which also gets a lot of sore spots and trigger points from posture or working out.  Take your arms out in front of you, cross them over each other, then put your palms together and push.  This will give a delicious stretch to the upper back."

Norma R.
Elements McAllen

“For a nice shoulder stretch, place one arm across your chest and use the other arm to hold. Gently press on your upper arm for an additional stretch.  Hold for about five seconds, and repeat five times for each arm.”

Doug J.
Elements Rockville Centre

“Be aware of your posture. Make sure you’re sitting and standing up straight. Don't lean on your arms. Keep your neck straight and head up.

“Take the time to stretch as much as you can.  While at your desk, bring your arms all the way back and expand your chest. Turn your head to the side and then look over your shoulder. Stretch your right ear to your right shoulder.  Then stretch your right ear to your right arm pit.  Do the same on your left.”

Colleen O.
Elements Louisville

“Even though it isn't heavy lifting, computer work is hard on our bodies! Here are a few things you can do to keep your body in working order.

“Stretch your chest muscles every 20 minutes by standing up straight, looking straight ahead at a focal point on the wall and trying to touch your elbows behind your back. Hold for 20 seconds.

“To stretch your hands and arms:  Stand up straight.  Extend your left arm slightly in front of you, palm side up.  Extend your fingers. Grab the fingers on your left hand (with your right hand) and gently pull your fingers back towards your body, keeping your arm extended. Do this for about 20 seconds.  You’ll feel a nice stretch up the inside of your arm (your flexors).  Repeat on the right side.”

Read more: elementsmassage.com

A big part of the appeal of #vanlife is the simple access to all things outdoors. You bring the conveniences of house to your legendary walkings, trips, and climbs up. What about ski and snowboard journeys? Living out of an automobile in the mountains throughout chillier months is, obviously, a bit more complex. This is my 4th winter season in a van, and I’’ ve discovered a couple of features of making the dream operate in mountain resort towns . Here are my leading pointers, along with stories from a couple effective objectives to snowy paradises where I put them into practice. Most importantly, as I explain below, you can attempt this yourself with very little financial investment by leasing a sweet camper van .

Things to Know

 vanlife( Brent Rose)

While spontaneity is among the trademarks of vanlife, for winter season experiences you require to do some research. For beginners, examine the weather condition so you wear’’ t enter into a scenario that you (or your van) can’’ t deal with. If the roadways are going to be icy, you might wish to reconsider, as vans tend to be top-heavy. Clearly, all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive rigs will fare much better in those kinds of conditions, while a rear-wheel-drive van would be additional dodgy. Having chains is compulsory regardless. And put on’’ t hesitate to pull the rip cable if the projection is particularly foreboding.

Do some reading about the guidelines and policies of the location you’’ re checking out, and search for journey reports from vanlifers to see where they remained (typically 10 minutes of Googling around will get you the essentials). It’’ s progressively typical for towns to have laws that particularly restrict overnighting in cars. Discovering that out in advance might conserve you a huge headache upon arrival.Constantly examine your tires and fluids prior to heading into winter season weather condition. In addition to bring chains, I advise having a folding shovel in case it snows on you during the night and you require to dig the van out. make sure you have plenty of food to tailor and consume to keep you warm if you get stuck. In addition, I would argue that complete blackout tones or drapes are compulsory. If you’’ re required to park incognito in an unknown town, being as unnoticeable as possible is going to be extremely helpful.

Let’’ s enter into how I used these finest practices on a number of journeys, along with some info particular to 2 places: Whistler and Aspen.

.Whistler, British Columbia.

 vanlife( Brent Rose)

The very first time I went all in on vanlife at a ski resort, it went way much better than I might have pictured. It was spring at Whistler Blackcomb . I’’d examined the weather condition ahead of time and saw that temperature levels weren’’ t anticipated to drop listed below freezing, which was necessary for me, as my van has a water supply (sink, shower, toilet) and little insulation. If the water lines freeze and break, I’’ m taking a look at countless dollars in damages. With the temperature levels looking excellent, and still a lot of snow on the slopes, I chose to go all out.

Whistler has numerous big outside car park, a number of which function huge areas designated for RVs. The indications at the lot inform you that you’’ re not permitted to over night in your lorry there, I’’d done some online research study that recommended otherwise. When I drew in, I spoke with other individuals in Busses and recreational vehicles who supported the concept that I didn’’ t need to stress. One man informed me that he ’d been there for 2 weeks and hadn ’ t had any issues. ““ As long as you keep it subtle and wear’’ t make a mess or anything,” you must be great, ” hestated.

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He was. I invested 5 nights and days there, and the only things I actually needed to spend for were lift tickets and the periodic après beer or meal when I didn’’ t seem like cooking. My van has a little refrigerator, lp range, and microwave, so by packing up on groceries prior to driving north from Seattle, I had the ability to keep my expenditures very low. That made the periodic splurge on meals much more rewarding. I would get up early and get the packed French toast at Elements prior to directing the mountain and looking for powder stashes in Symphony Glades. Due to the fact that my van has a little shower, I’’d return there after last chair to rinse while I was still warm from the effort, then I’’d head back out and strike Garibaldi Lift Company for après, supper at Sushi Village , or simply lose consciousness while viewing films on my laptop computer. I’’d hang up my damp equipment near my little lp heating system, and it’’d be dry by early morning.

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I duplicated that standard pattern for 5 days, and it was marvelous. Not just does Whistler provide a few of my preferred surface in the world, however it was likewise the most inexpensive resort experience I’’ ve ever had. Even if my luck had actually been bad and I ’d gotten tossed out of the car park, there are some neighboring camping areas that I might have pulled back to for very little extra expense. My lp heating unit kept me cozy in the evening, however if you wear’’ t have among those, it ’ s most likely worth heading to a camping area where you can plug in and run an electrical area heating unit. I took pleasure in comparable luck at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe (park in the huge lot on the Squaw Creek side), however as I found out the difficult method, other ski towns can be harder.

.Aspen, Colorado.

 vanlife( Brent Rose)

Aspen Snowmass in Colorado has actually long been among my preferred locations to ride. Not just does it get incredibly dry, fluffy powder, however the 4 mountains running under a single pass provide you amazing range to select from. For my early-December effort, it was going to be method too cold for my van (called Ashley the Beast, if you were questioning). The projection required temperature levels to 2 degrees, which would have eliminated my water supply (and I didn’’ t wish to drain it and fill it with Recreational Vehicle antifreeze). My van is just geared up with rear-wheel drive, and I didn’’ t trust it in the snow and ice. Ashley was staying at home.

Luckily, I had another choice: Aspen Custom Vans . This small, regional business does customized constructs for individuals who desire their own adventure-mobile, however it likewise has some that it leases through Outdoorsy.com . And there it was: a high, 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter called Blue. It didn’’ t have all the bells and whistles of my van, however it had beautiful wood paneling, lots of area, and, most significantly, a robust diesel heating system that would avoid me from freezing to death.

If you understand anything about Aspen, you will not be stunned to hear that it has a couple of more guidelines than Whistler. Not just can it be tough to discover an easy parking area, however overnighting in your automobile is unlawful within the city. It is, nevertheless, a victimless criminal activity, so if you put on’’ t have a lot of scruples about such things, then you simply require to use a little imagination.

The finest, most peaceful location I discovered to park remained in the lot by the gate on Independence Pass (a.k.a. Colorado State Highway 82), which a couple of regional pals had actually advised. The pass is closed throughout the winter season, however eviction is just about 15 minutes from downtown. I invested the night there with a number of other parked vans and automobiles, and it was definitely beautiful. The only noise I heard all night was the wind through the trees, and I got up to the sight of the sun shining off the newly fallen powder.

Another suggestion I obtained from some residents: there are a great deal of popular huts around Aspen that individuals ski or snowshoe to, and they normally have car park on the roadway where individuals leave their vehicles or vans for days on end and no one bats an eye. If you’’ re incognito there, you shouldn ’ t have an issue. You’’ re likewise less most likely to have concerns in more working-class towns like Carbondale, some 45 minutes away. One night I simply went on and chanced and parked in a suburb within Aspen, and no one appeared to see. Truthfully, I got a bit fortunate, as the noise of the heating unit certainly might have brought in some attention. Once again, being incognito is crucial. You’’ re going to desire complete blackout drapes. Do any cooking and cleaning up prior to you park in your area, so when you arrive you can be as quiet as possible. You desire individuals strolling by to believe it’’ s simply an empty traveler van.

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But what about showers, you ask? You can’’ t get all sweaty on the slopes and simply repeat day after day. There are some terrific choices in town. Entryway to the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC) is $10, which provides you gain access to not just to its showers, however likewise to its swimming pools (total with a huge waterslide), health club, jacuzzis, and steam bath. If you put on’’ t mind paying out a bit more, the $25 jacuzzi at the Aspen Meadows Resort ignores a river and is beautiful. Worse-case situation: child wipes. You can likewise boil some water and utilize a washcloth and a plastic basin. Not precisely elegant, however practical!

For food, there’’ s big grocery store in the area, which is the very best method to keep your expenses low. Blue had a little refrigerator and a two-burner range, however I wound up eating in restaurants a lot. There’’ s something about having breakfast at Element 47 at the Little Nell, then burning all of it off treking the Highland Bowl or ripping groomers all the time at Aspen Mountain, then getting après at the Ajax Tavern , striking the jacuzzi at the ARC, taking pleasure in pizza for supper at the Limelight Hotel’’ s lounge , and after that huddling in your warm van to do all of it once again the next day.

.The Takeaway.

 vanlife( Brent Rose)

Truth be informed, however, the genuine benefit of owning a four-season van isn’’ t holing up in one mountain town (though I definitely had a good time doing that), it’’ s storm chasing. State you’’ ve got an Epic or Ikon Pass. When you see that storm coming, you might get your van, head to the westernmost resort on your pass, and after that follow the powder as it moves east, scoring fresh tracks as you go. That’’ s the type of objective that will have you tiring your grandkids one day with stories of snorkel-skiing magnificence.

But vanlife certainly isn’’ t for everyone, which is why I suggest doing a trial run initially in a leased automobile. This provides you the possibility to attempt it out—– then retreat to your teeny-tiny, definitely more parkable city automobile if it’’ s not your cup of tea.

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Read more: outsideonline.com

How to Get Started With Autonomous Data Warehouse

Our previous post Data Warehouse 101: Introduction outlined the benefits of the Autonomous Data Warehouse–it’s simple, fast, elastic, secure, and best of all it’s incredibly easy to spin up an environment and start a new project.  If you read through the last post, you already know how to sign up for a data warehouse trial account and download SQL Developer and Data Visualization Desktop, both of which come free with the Autonomous Data Warehouse. 

Sign up for a Free Data Warehouse Trial Today

This post will focus on the steps to get started using the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse. We will provision a new Autonomous Data Warehouse instance and connect to the database using Oracle SQL Developer.

How to Use Autonomous Data Warehouse with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

STEP 1: Sign in to Oracle Cloud

Go to cloud.oracle.com. Click Sign In to sign in with your Oracle Cloud account.
Enter your Cloud Account Name and click My Services.

Enter your Oracle Cloud username and password, and click Sign In.

STEP 2: Create an Autonomous Data Warehouse Instance

Once you are logged in, you are taken to the cloud services dashboard where you can see all the services available to you. Click Create Instance.

Note: You may also access your Autonomous Data Warehouse service via the pull out menu on the top left of the page, or by using Customize Dashboard to add the service to your dashboard.

Click Create on the Autonomous Data Warehouse tile. If it does not appear in your Featured Services, click on All Services and find it there.

Select the root compartment, or another compartment of your choice where you will create your new Autonomous Data Warehouse instance. If you want to create a new Compartment or learn more, click here.
Note – Avoid the use of the ManagedCompartmentforPaaS compartment as this is an Oracle default used for Oracle Platform Services.

Click on Create Autonomous Data Warehouse button to start the instance creation process.

This will bring up the Create Autonomous Data Warehouse screen where you will specify the configurations of the instance. Select the root compartment, or another compartment of your choice.

Specify a memorable display name for the instance. Also specify your database's name, for this lab use ADWFINANCE.

Next, select the number of CPUs and storage size. Here, we use 4 CPUs and 1 TB of storage.

Then, specify an ADMIN password for the instance, and a confirmation of it. Make a note of this password.

For this lab, we will select Subscribe To A New Database License. If your organization owns Oracle Database licenses already, you may bring those license to your cloud service.
Make sure everything is filled out correctly, then proceed to click on Create Autonomous Data Warehouse.

Your instance will begin provisioning. Once the state goes from Provisioning to Available, click on your display name to see its details.

You now have created your first Autonomous Data Warehouse instance. Have a look at your instance's details here including its name, database version, CPU count and storage size.

Because Autonomous Data Warehouse only accepts secure connections to the database, you need to download a wallet file containing your credentials first. The wallet can be downloaded either from the instance's details page, or from the Autonomous Data Warehouse service console.

STEP 4: Download the Connection Wallet

In your database's instance details page, click DB Connection.

Under Download a Connection Wallet, click Download.

Specify a password of your choice for the wallet. You will need this password when connecting to the database via SQL Developer later, and is also used as the JKS keystore password for JDBC applications that use JKS for security. Click Download to download the wallet file to your client machine.
Note: If you are prevented from downloading your Connection Wallet, it may be due to your browser's pop-blocker. Please disable it or create an exception for Oracle Cloud domains.

Connecting to the database using SQL Developer

Start SQL Developer and create a connection for your database using the default administrator account 'ADMIN' by following these steps.

STEP 5: Connect to the database using SQL Developer

Click the New Connection icon in the Connections toolbox on the top left of the SQL Developer homepage.

Fill in the connection details as below:

Connection Name: admin_high
Username: admin
Password: The password you specified during provisioning your instance
Connection Type: Cloud Wallet
Configuration File: Enter the full path for the wallet file you downloaded before, or click the Browse button to point to the location of the file.
Service: There are 3 pre-configured database services for each database. Pick <databasename>_high for this lab. For
example, if you the database you created was named adwfinance, select adwfinance_high as the service.

Note : SQL Developer versions prior to 18.3 ask for a Keystore Password. Here, you would enter the password you specified when downloading the wallet from ADW.

Test your connection by clicking the Test button, if it succeeds save your connection information by clicking Save, then connect to your database by clicking the Connect button. An entry for the new connection appears under Connections.
If you are behind a VPN or Firewall and this Test fails, make sure you have SQL Developer 18.3 or higher. This version and above will allow you to select the "Use HTTP Proxy Host" option for a Cloud Wallet type connection. While creating your new ADW connection here, provide your proxy's Host and Port. If you are unsure where to find this, you may look at your computer's connection settings or contact your Network Administrator.

Watch a video demonstration of provisioning a new autonomous data warehouse and connect using SQL Developer:

NOTE: The display name for the Autonomous Data Warehouse is ADW Finance Mart and the Database name is ADWFINANCE. This is for representation only and you can choose your name.

In the next post, Data Warehouse 101: Setting up Object Store, we will start exploring a data set, how to load and analyze the data set.

Written by Sai Valluri and Philip Li

Read more: blogs.oracle.com

On a daily basis there is no shortage of great deals to be had, but sometimes hunting them down can be a bit time consuming. Don’t let that drag you down, though. We’ve rounded up some of our absolute favorites from today that you simply can’t miss out on.

TO 4K OR NOT TO 4K

Amazon Fire TV Sticks and other Fire TV devices

Get the Amazon Fire TV Stick streaming media player with Alexa voice remote for $29.99 or upgrade to 4K with the Fire TV Stick 4K for $39.99. You’re saving $10 with either device, and both options are so affordable really the only question you need to answer is whether or not you want to spend the next several weekends binge-watching in 4K.

$29.99 $40 $10 off

See at Amazon

Other Fire TV devices also on sale include the Fire TV Recast 1TB for $50 off, the Fire TV Recast 500GB for $40 off, and $40 off the Fire TV Cube. Save big no matter what you want.

Zero Wires

Aukey true wireless earbuds

Use code AUKEYPT16 for the Black version or code AUKEYPT6 for the White version. Make sure the product page says “Sold by Qinxi.” These earbuds connect easily to your smartphone, and once paired will just connect as soon as you pull them from the charging case. They use Bluetooth 4.2, and you can use just one at a time for a single ear mode.

$39.59 at Amazon

Works like a Charm

Lenovo Chromebook C330 11.6-inch 2-in-1 convertible laptop

The C330 has a 2.1 GHz MediaTek MT8173C processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 64GB internal flash storage, and a 10-hour battery life. Flip the Chromebook 360 degrees and go from a full blown laptop to a mobile tablet using the 11.6-inch touchscreen. The whole machine is super fast, with quick load times and enough memory for multi-tasking. You’ll also get an additional 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage.

$219.99 at Amazon

Clearance

Nomad outlet sale on leather cases and other devices

The Nomad site is having an outlet sale and taking 30 to 50% off the price of several cases and devices. You can use the code THRIFTER15 to take another 15% off the price. You can combine both to get some really big discounts. You will have to pay a shipping fee, but it looks like the most the fee ever gets to be is $6.95, even if you order multiple items. The sale covers iPhone and Samsung smartphone cases, USB hubs, cables, and more.

Various Prices at Nomad

Blast It

Sbode M400 water-resistant portable Bluetooth speaker

The speaker is designed to deliver powerful bass with advanced digital sound, noise reduction technology, a loudspeaker cavity for premium acoustics, and more. It uses Bluetooth 4.2 technology with a 100-foot range so you can stream your music even across the room. Plus, you can pair two speakers together for stereo sound. Considering the price right now is almost half off one, buying two wouldn’t break your bank either.

$22.49 at Amazon

Stay Lit

Tacklife electric arc lighter

Use code UEFS6QDY during checkout. This electric arc lighter isn’t USB-rechargeable like other models; it uses AAA batteries to power on. Four are included with its purchase, though it wouldn’t help to order more batteries for when replacement time comes. That makes it a great option for camping trips. Plus, being windproof and rainproof helps a lot too.

$7.99 at Amazon

Smarter

TP-Link TP-Link Kasa HS100 Smart Wi-Fi Plug

The HS100 smart plug can be scheduled from anywhere in the world to automatically turn on and off as you wish, allowing you to enhance your daily life in a multitude of ways, like setting up your lights to turn on right before you get home from work each day or connecting it to your kid’s TV so you know they’re not watching cartoons while they’re supposed to be doing homework. You can even control these smart plugs with your voice when paired with an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device.

$13.98 at Amazon

This is just a small sampling of the deals that the Thrifter team has uncovered today. If you want to keep up with everything that the crew is uncovering, be sure to follow Thrifter on Twitter and sign up for the daily deals newsletter so you never miss out on anything!

Read more: androidcentral.com

A quick introduction about deals and stuff goes here. This should be changed up on a regular basis, if not unique for every post. Keep it under 75 words.

Sounds like savings

Samsung AKG Y100 Bluetooth earbuds

This deal applies to every available color, including Blue, Green, and Pink. While it isn’t the single lowest price we’ve ever seen, it’s still 15% off and definitely one of the best deals we’ve shared in the last few months.

$84.99 $100 $15 off

See at Amazon

These comfortable wireless earbuds feature Bluetooth 4.2, AAC codec, and are capable of lasting for up to eight hours of playtime. A quick 15-minute charge powers them up for a whole hour of listening time, too. They’re even capable of pairing with two devices simultaneously.

Not in the market for headphones? Don’t worry, we’ve got a lot of other deals today, too:

Stream your audio

Anker Soundsync transmitter and receiver

The 2-in-1 design of the Soundsync lets you add Bluetooth to almost any audio device. In transmitter mode, you can connect two Bluetooth headsets to your TV, or you can stream music to your home stereo system in receiver mode. With Bluetooth 5.0, you’ll be able to transmit data twice as fast and with far more stability than previous generations.

$33.99 at Amazon

Players Gonna Play

Xbox black wireless controller

The Xbox Wireless Controllers utilize Bluetooth technology so you can not only use them to play games on Xbox One consoles but also Windows 10 PCs and tablets. If you haven’t bought one in a while, it might even be past time for an upgrade as the latest models of these controllers offer twice the wireless range than previous versions did.

$37.13 at Amazon

Protect it

Apple Leather Folio for iPhone XS Max

The case is made of specially tanned and finished European leather in the gorgeous (Product) RED color. Thanks to some built-in smarts, you can open it to wake your iPhone and close it to put it back to sleep. Inside, aside from a soft microfiber lining, there’s space to hold a few bills or credit cards.

$89.99 at Amazon

Home Media

Synology DS218play 2-bay network-attached storage

The DS218play is a two-bay entry-level NAS with on-the-fly 4K video transcoding. That means you can store your 4K media on here and watch that media even on devices that don’t support 4K as a format, like your smartphone. These are diskless bays, which means there’s no hard drives inside. You’ll need to fill them yourself with drives like the WD Red 3TB.

$184.99 at Newegg

It’s Nerf or Nothin’

Nerf Rival Hera Mxvii 1200 White Combat Blaster

This motorized Nerf Rival blaster can fire high-impact rounds at 100 feet per second, giving you a leg up on the neighborhood Nerf competition. It features a trigger lock, a tactical rail, and is capable of being powered via C batteries or with the Nerf Rival Rechargeable Battery Pack which is on sale for just $16 today.

$29.99 at Amazon

Is it Serious?

Kinsa QuickCare Smart Digital Thermometer

See this deal price by entering the coupon code 50QUICKCARE during checkout. This highly-rated thermometer eliminates guesswork and helps you track what’s going on without much thought or effort. It links to your smartphone via Bluetooth and provides a fast and accurate readout in less than eight seconds.

$9.99 at Amazon

This is just a small sampling of the deals that the Thrifter team has uncovered today. If you want to keep up with everything that the crew is uncovering, be sure to follow Thrifter on Twitter and sign up for the daily deals newsletter so you never miss out on anything!

Read more: androidcentral.com

**UPDATE 1/25 3:00 PM PT** added note that this is only available in the US region.

We’ve released a new test app to validate the Xbox Live PC sign-in experience. As an Xbox Insider, you can help us by downloading the app from the Store and running it on your Windows 10 PC, which should only take a few minutes.

Your PC needs be enrolled in the Windows Insider Fast ring on build 18317 or better to access the Xbox sign in test app in the Xbox Insider Hub. The Xbox sign in test app is only available in the US region.

Follow the steps below and complete the “PC Sign-In” quest in the Xbox Insider Hub to earn double the XP!

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

On your Windows 10 PC, sign in and launch the Xbox Insider Hub app (or install it from the Store first if necessary).
Go to Insider content > Apps and select Xbox Sign-In.
Select Join.
Wait for the registration to complete to be redirected to the Store.
Install the Xbox sign-in test app, launch it, and follow the instructions in the app.
Return to the Xbox Insider Hub and complete the “PC Sign-In” quest to earn double XP (20).

Space is limited and the app will disappear from the Xbox Insider Hub once we reach our participation limit.

Thanks for being an Xbox Insider!

See the rest of the story on Xbox WireRelated:New Idea Drive Available: Improving Gaming on Windows 10Take to the Turn-Based Battlefields with Wargroove on February 1Join the Cuisine Royale Closed Beta on Xbox One 1/10 – 1/31!

Read more: news.xbox.com

We know you’re busy and might miss out on all the exciting things we’re talking about on Xbox Wire every week. If you’ve got a few minutes, we can help remedy that. We’ve pared down the past week’s news into one easy-to-digest article for all things Xbox! Or, if you’d rather watch than read, you can feast your eyes on our weekly video show above. Be sure to come back every Friday to find out what’s happening This Week on Xbox!

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Play Dragon Ball FighterZ Free This Weekend with Xbox Live Gold
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Be the Xbox G.O.A.T with the Madden NFL 19 Sweepstakes
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Free Play Days: Forza Horizon 3 and Dragon Ball FighterZ
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Resident Evil 2 is Available Now, Enhanced for Xbox One X
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Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare DLC Available Now on Xbox One
Good news, Tomb Raider fans: Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare is now available to play on Xbox One! In The Nightmare, Lara is forced to confront the memories of the past and her own dark side while navigating a twisted version of Croft Manor. Be prepared to face Lara’s demons… Read more

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What You Need to Know About Kingdom Hearts III on Xbox One
Soon, Xbox fans will have their first chance to jump into the world of Kingdom Hearts with the release of Kingdom Hearts III on Xbox One. The much-loved series has spanned multiple games, comics, and books to weave a complex tale about light vs. darkness and the power of friendship… Read more

Let Your Creativity Run Wild in Theme Park Tycoon 2 for Roblox on Xbox One
About twenty minutes into Theme Park Tycoon 2 on Roblox, I had already built what I believed to be the roller coaster to end all roller coasters. It was a contorted skyscraper of a ride, with a death-defying series of expertly crafted loop-de-loops, careening nosedives, and enough stomach-churning twists and turns… Read more

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Realm Royale Enters Free-to-Play Open Beta on Xbox One
We here at Heroic Leap Games are excited to announce that Realm Royale is launching into open beta and free to play today for all Xbox One users. Many of you have already played Realm Royale in our closed beta, and we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on the game over the past few months… Read more

New Winter Map, Vikendi, Arrives for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
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HCS Invitational Coming to SXSW March 15-17
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Stellaris: Console Edition – Grand Strategy Isn’t Just for PCs Anymore
Paradox Interactive has long been known as a developer and publisher that makes a very specific kind of game extremely well. In doing so, we’ve helped establish the category of grand strategy games (GSG) and continue to create exciting new entries to the genre as well as support beloved classics… Read more

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Next Week on Xbox: New Games for January 29 to February 1
Welcome to Next Week on Xbox, where we cover all the new games coming soon to Xbox One! Every week the team at Xbox aims to deliver quality gaming content for you to enjoy on your favorite gaming console. To find out what’s coming soon to Xbox One, read on below and click on each of the game profiles for pre-order details (dates are subject to… Read more

See the rest of the story on Xbox WireRelated:What You Need to Know About Kingdom Hearts III on Xbox OneShadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare DLC Available Now on Xbox OneNext Week on Xbox: New Games for January 29 to February 1

Read more: news.xbox.com