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Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is coming to Game Pass Ultimate and EA Play on April 25
The second installment in EA's Star Wars Jedi series is coming to Game Pass Ultimate, PC Game Pass and EA Play this week. Subscribers can continue Cal Kestis' journey in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on April 25, almost a year to the day after its debut. If you haven't checked out the first steps of Cal's adventure, it might be best to get started with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which is also available through those services.

Jedi: Survivor picks up five years after the events of the previous game, with Cal continuing his fight against the Empire. This time around, you have five lightsaber stances to make use of, while the maps are larger than in Jedi: Fallen Order (at least the sequel includes fast travel). While Jedi: Survivor was generally well-reviewed, the PC port had notoriously poor performance out of the gate — an issue

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

The EU opens an investigation into TikTok Lite, citing addiction concerns
The European Union (EU) has opened a second formal investigation into TikTok and has accused the platform of running afoul of the region's Digital Services Act (DSA), according to a report by TechCrunch. The probe involves the addictive nature of TikTok Lite, which is a smaller version of the app that takes up less memory on a smartphone and was built to perform over slower internet connections.

TikTok Lite launched earlier this month in France and Spain and includes a design aspect that allows users to earn points by watching and liking videos. These points can be exchanged for stuff like Amazon vouchers and TikTok's proprietary digital currency, which is typically used to tip creators. The EU's Commission has expressed concern that this type of "task and reward" design language could impact the mental health of young users by "stimulating addictive behavior."

The Commission hasn't yet confirmed any breaches of the DSA, but has suggested that it might impose temporary measures to force parent company ByteDance to suspend TikTok Lite in the EU while it continues the investigation. The company has until April 24 to argue against these potential measures, so the app's still available for EU residents. However, ByteDance failed to provide the EU with a risk assessment document regarding TikTok Lite after being asked last week.

This failure to comply with the DSA could open the company up to steep penalties of up to one percent of its total annual income and periodic penalties of up to five percent of daily income. The Commission hasn't indicated if it plans on issuing these fines as the investigation continues.

"We suspect TikTok Lite could be as toxic and addicti

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Meta opens Quest OS to third parties, including ASUS and Lenovo
In a huge move for the mixed reality industry, Meta announced today that it's opening the Quest's operating system to third-party companies, allowing them to build headsets of their own. Think of it like moving the Quest's ecosystem from an Apple model, where one company builds both the hardware and software, to more of a hardware free-for-all like Android. The Quest OS is being rebranded to "Meta Horizon OS," and at this point it seems to have found two early adopters. ASUS's Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand is working on a new "performance gaming" headsets, while Lenovo is working on devices for "productivity, learning and entertainment." (Don't forget, Lenovo also built the poorly-received Oculus Rift S.)

As part of the news, Meta says it's also working on a limited-edition Xbox "inspired" Quest headset. (Microsoft and Meta also worked together recently to bring Xbox cloud gaming to the Quest.) Meta is also calling on Google to bring over the Google Play 2D app store to Meta Horizon OS. And, in an effort to bring more content to the Horizon ecosystem, software developed through the Quest App Lab will be featured in the Horizon Store. The company is also developing a new spatial framework to let mobile developers created mixed reality apps.

"Mixed reality is transforming how people interface with computers by integrating digital experiences and physical spaces to reach new levels of productivity, learning and play," Lenovo Chair & CEO, Yuanqing Y

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Tales of the Shire trailer shows what life as a regular Hobbit looks like
In Tolkien's Middle-earth of orcs and Nazgûl, "cozy" isn't exactly the first word that springs to mind. And yet, Tales of the Shire is an upcoming cozy life sim set in the universe of The Lord of the Rings. Several months after the game was announced, developer Weta Workshop (which worked on the special effects for all six of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films) and publisher Private Division have offered a first proper look at it with a new trailer.

The clip opens with a narration noting that, while Hobbits have been known for "tales of courage and brave deeds in dark times," things will be much lighter here. You and your Hobbit will explore Bywater, decorate a home, make friends, cook, grow crops, go fishing (of course) and much more. You'll get to enjoy what appears to be a very chill existence in The Shire. The stylized, cartoony art style lends itself to the warm atmosphere that Weta Workshop is trying to project.

Tales of the Shire is coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S later this year.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tales-of-the-shire-trailer-shows-what-life-as-a-regular-hobbit-looks-like-163041185.html?src=rss

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

What we watched: Bluey's joyful finales
It's never good to recommend a comedy by saying it makes you weep, but somehow Bluey, a comedy for kids, feels more real and more truthful than anything else on TV. I see so much of myself in Bandit's triumphs and failures as he tries to parent his two daughters. I nod along to all of his unsuccessful parenting tactics that, I'll admit, I've also tried on my own two kids. And then, at the end of so many episodes, I'll realize that the front of my t-shirt is wet with tears because I've been crying.

There can't be many people unfamiliar with Bluey, the biggest kids' TV series on the planet, if not the biggest series overall. Each seven-minute episode is a slice-of-life sitcom about the Heelers, a family of anthropomorphic dogs living in Brisbane, Australia. Bluey and her younger sister Bingo live with parents Bandit and Chilli. The show started out focused on the playtimes the kids would have with each other or their parents. But it quickly sprawled out to create a rich world in the vein of The Simpsons, with a whole city's worth of storylines. It can now regularly relegate the Heelers to the background to focus on the show's deep cast of characters.

It closed out its third season with last Sunday's "The Sign," a (comparatively) epic 28-minute episode and this week with "Surprise," a sweet little postscript. The former's long running time was described as a dry-run for any potential Bluey movie, wrapping up a number of the show's storylines. It focuses on a wedding taking place at the Heeler's home in the shadow of the family's plan to relocate to another city. I won't spoil too much beyond saying "The Sign" is a story about the bigness of change and how that affects parents and kids alike. Much of it focused on Bandit's decision to move for a better-paid jo

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Some Amazon and Max cartoons may have been partially animated in North Korea
North Korean animators may have helped create popular cartoons for Amazon Prime Video, Max and other streaming services. Researchers from the Washington-based 38 North project allegedly discovered a misconfigured cloud server on a North Korean IP address that contained thousands of animation files, as reported by Wired. US sanctions prohibit commercial activity with North Korean entities, due to human rights abuses and the advancement of its nuclear weapons program. 

The server included animation cells, videos and notes discussing the work, in addition to requested changes. Some images appear to be from the popular Prime Video superhero show Invincible and others from an upcoming Max children's anime called Iyanu: Child of Wonder. The data, which was analyzed in part by the Google-owned security firm Mandiant, provides a glimpse into how North Korea likely skirts sanctions.

The researchers were able to analyze incoming connections to the server and noted access from three Chinese cities, suggesting front companies of some kind. "All three cities are known to have many North Korean-operated businesses and are main centers for North Korea's IT workers who live overseas,"

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Anker's Soundcore Space A40 wireless earbuds are back down to $49 right now
Anker's Soundcore Space A40 is the top recommendation in our guide to the best budget wireless earbuds, as it offers enjoyable sound and a meaty set of features for well under $100. If you're looking to buy a set on the cheap, take note: A new sale on Amazon has dropped the earbuds down to $49, which matches the lowest price we've seen. The earbuds technically have a list price of $100, but they've sold for $59 for most of 2024, so you're saving about $10 here. We last saw this discount about a month ago.

In an amusing bug, Amazon's product page currently lists the earbuds as a "Gildan Unisex-adult Fleece Hoodie Sweatshirt." Why? We have no idea. The correct name appears when you add the pair to your cart, however, so this shouldn't be any cause for alarm. (Unless you really want a new hoodie.) The deal itself is sold by Anker directly and applies to the black model; the blue and white versions are also on sale for $1 more. 



We rec

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Grindr sued for allegedly sharing users' HIV status and other info with ad companies
Grindr has been sued for allegedly sharing personal information with advertising companies without users' consent. A lawsuit filed in London claims that the data included HIV statuses and test dates, ethnicity and sexual orientation, Bloomberg reports.

According to the class action-style suit, the alleged data sharing involved adtech companies Localytics and Apptimize. Grindr is said to have supplied the companies with user info before April 2018 and then between May 2018 and April 2020. Engadget has asked Grindr for comment.

In April 2018, Grindr admitted it had shared HIV data with Apptimize and Localytics following an investigation by BuzzFeed News and Norwegian non-profit SINTEF. It said it

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

The best college graduation gifts
Graduating college is a huge achievement. If you'd like to show your appreciation for a tech-savvy grad, or if you just want to help them acclimate to their new life, there are tons of gadgets and services you can gift to make it easier for them. We at Engadget spend our days testing these kinds of products and figuring out which ones are actually good — if you need some help jogging your brain, we've rounded up a few of our favorite college graduation gift ideas below.





































Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Embracer Group is splitting up its messy gaming empire into three different companies
Embracer Group has been on a losing streak of late, having recently missed out on a $2 billion investment, laid off thousands of employees and sold one of its key properties, Gearbox, at fire-sale prices. Now, the company has announced plans to split into three separate, publicly listed entities, Bloomberg reported. 

The first is Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends, specializing in AAA games and and overseeing the Dead Island, Killing Floor, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Tomb Raider and The Lord of the Rings franchises. Studios under its purview include Crystal Dynamics, Dambuster Studios, Eidos-Montréal, Flying Wild Hog Studios, Tripwire, Vertigo Games, Warhorse Studios and 4A Games. This company will remain within the current listing as Embracer Group for now.

The second is Asmodee, will handle the tabletop gaming segment of Embracer Group. Those titles include Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, Azul, CATAN, Dobble and Exploding Kittens. Finally, Coffee Stain & Friends is the company's indie-centric group, with properties including Deep Rock Galactic, Goat Simulator, Satisfactory, Wreckfest, Teardown and Valheim.  

"This move has been made with the intention to unleash the full potential of each team and provide them with their own leadership and strategic direction," said Embracer

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

The Morning After: House votes in favor of bill that could ban TikTok
The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Saturday that could ban TikTok in the country or force its parent company to sell it. Under the revised version, ByteDance would have up to a year to divest, up from six months, originally. The bill now moves to the Senate, which could vote on it in just a matter of days — maybe even this Tuesday.

For that reason, I'm keeping this intro short, because I'll probably be writing about this TikTok saga, all over again, later this week.

— Mat Smith



The biggest stories you might have missed Biden signs bill to reauthorize FISA's warrantless surveillance program

Engadget Podcast: PlayStation 5 Pro rumors and a look back at the Playdate

Baldur's Gate 3 developer confirms it won't make the sequel

Tesla makes its controversial Full Self-Driving software cheaper by $4,000

??You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here!





Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Proton Mail's paid users will now get alerts if their info has been posted on the dark web
Proton Mail has introduced Dark Web Monitoring for its paid users, which will keep them informed of breaches or leaks they may have been affected by. If anything's been spotted on the dark web, the feature will send out alerts that include information like what service was compromised, what personal details the attackers got (e.g. passwords, name, etc.) and recommended next steps. At launch, you'll have to visit the Proton Mail Security Center on the web or desktop to access these alerts, but the company says email and in-app notifications are on the way.

Proton Dark Web Monitoring is intended to be a proactive security measure. If you've used your Proton Mail email address to sign up for a third-party service, like a social media site, and then hackers steal user data from that service, it would let you know in a timely manner if your credentials have been compromised so you can take action (hopefully) before any harm is done. It seems a fitting move for the service, which already offers end-to-end encryption and has made privacy its main stance since the beginning. Dark W

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

The best E Ink tablets for 2024
If you love physical notebooks like me, an E-Ink tablet could serve you well. I've had hundreds of paper notebooks over the years, serving as safe places for me to dump story ideas, to-do lists, meeting notes and everything in between. But at a certain point, I turned away from physical notebooks because it became easier to save all of those things digitally in various apps that were always available to me on my phone. E-Ink tablets marry the tactile satisfaction of physical notebooks with many of the conveniences found in apps and other digital tools. E-Ink tablets have come a long way over the years, especially in the last couple of years, to the point where you have a few solid options to choose from now. We tested out a number of different E Ink tablets to see how well they work, how convenient they really are and which are the best tablets using E Ink screens available today.

Are E Ink tablets worth it? An E Ink tablet will be a worthwhile purchase to a very select group of people. If you prefer the look and feel of an e paper display to LCD panels found on traditional tablets, it makes a lot of sense. They're also good options for those who want a more paper-like writing experience (although you can get that kind of functionality on a regular tablet with the right screen protector) or a more distraction-free device overall.

The final note is key here. Most E Ink tablets don't run on the same operating systems as regular tablets, so you're automatically going to be limited in what you can do. And even with those that do allow you to download traditional apps like Chrome, Instagram and Facebook, E Ink tablets are not designed to give you the best casual-browsing experience. This is mostly due to the nature of E Ink displays, which have noticeable refreshes, a lack of color and lower quality than the panels you'll find on even the cheapest iPad.

Arguably the biggest reason why you wouldn't

Engadget
Apr 22, 2024

Tinder is making it easier to share date details with family and friends
Tinder has revealed a feature that both helps users share their excitement about a date with loved ones and acts as a safety tool. The Share My Date feature lets users share details about a planned date with a single link.

The URL can point to details including the location, date and time of the rendezvous along with a photo of your match and a link to their profile. The page can include some notes too. You can edit your date plans so those you share that link with have the most up-to-date info. Dates can be set in the app up to 30 days in advance. For those lucky folks out there who have a bunch of matches they make IRL plans with, you can create an unlimited number of dates and share those with your loved ones.

Tinder says that around 51 percent of users under 30 already share date details with their friends, while 19 percent of users do so with their mom. It's always a good idea to let someone know where and when you're going on a date and details about the person you're meeting up with, just to be safe. Share My Date could simplify the process a bit. Back in 2020, Match.com debuted a date check-in feature that let users send details about their date to emergency contacts if things weren't going well.

Tinder will roll out Share My Date over the coming months. It'll be available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, India, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Mexico, Netherlands, Italy, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tinder-is-making-it-easier-to-share-date-details-with-family-and-friends-040105977.html?src=rss

Engadget
Apr 21, 2024

Tesla makes its controversial Full Self-Driving software cheaper by $4,000
Tesla has reduced the price of its Full Self-Driving software in the US and Canada. Per a post from the company on X, it now costs $8,000 in the US (or $11,000 for buyers in Canada) to add the so-called Full Self-Driving (FSD) Capability. This is down from $12,000 ($16,000 CAD), according to Electrek, which also reports that Tesla has discontinued the $6,000 Enhanced Autopilot option. Current owners with that package can upgrade to FSD for $2,000.

Tesla's driver assistance features have been under scrutiny from regulators for years, and despite the name, Full Self-Driving isn't meant to fully take over for a human driver at this stage. On its website, Tesla notes that current FSD features "require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous." In March, the company reportedly introduced a mandate requiring its staff to give buyers a demonstration of FSD before they're able to take home their new cars, so they can see what the software has to offer.

The latest price drop comes

Engadget
Apr 21, 2024

Biden signs bill to reauthorize FISA warrantless surveillance program for two more years
President Biden this weekend signed into law a bill that reauthorizes a controversial spying program under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 702 of FISA, which has now been extended for two more years, allows for warrantless intelligence gathering on foreign targets. While its focus is on the communications of targets located outside the US, that includes any exchanges with people stateside, meaning Americans' records can get swept up in these collections too.

The Senate vote on reauthorizing Section 702 came down to the wire. It was set to expire on Friday at midnight, but was recently given an extension until April 2025, according to The New York Times, lest it lapse while disagreements over proposed amendments dragged on. Section 702's extension period was also shortened, cutting it down to two years instead of the previous five. Congress did ultimately miss the deadline on Friday, but it passed with a 60-34 vote, CBS News reported. The White House issued a statement not long after saying t

Engadget
Apr 20, 2024

House votes in favor of bill that could ban TikTok, sending it onward to Senate
The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Saturday that could either see TikTok banned in the country or force its sale. A revised version of the bill, which previously passed the House in March but later stalled in Senate, was roped in with a foreign aid package this time around, likely meaning it will now be treated as a higher priority item. The bill originally gave TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, six months to sell the app if it's passed into law or TikTok would be banned from US app stores. Under the revised version, ByteDance would have up to a year to divest.

The bill passed with a vote of 360-58 in the House, according to AP. It'll now move on to the Senate, which could vote on it as soon as days from now. President Joe Biden has previously said he would support the bill if Congress passes it. The bill positions TikTok as a national security threat due to its ties to China. There are roughly 170 million US users on the app, at least according to

Engadget
Apr 20, 2024

Tesla cuts Model Y, X and S prices in the US and says it's ending the referral program
Another round of price cuts has shaved $2,000 off the starting prices of Tesla's Model Y, Model X and Model S for buyers in the US. The company's North America branch posted on X about the change Friday night, at the same time announcing that Tesla is ditching its referral program benefits in all markets. According to Tesla, the "current referral program benefits will end after April 30."

Tesla's Model Y now starts at $42,990 for the rear-wheel drive base model, $47,990 for the Model Y Long Range or $51,490 for the Model Y Performance. The base Model S has dropped to $72,990 while the Model S Plaid now starts at $87,990. The Model X starts at $77,990 (base) or $92,990 (Plaid). The changes come during a rocky few weeks for the company, which just issued a recall for Cybertrucks over possible issues with the accelerator pedal, reportedly laid off 10 percent of its employees and reported a decline in deliveries for the first quarter.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tesla-cuts-model-y-x-and-s-prices-in-the-us-and-says-its-ending-the-referral-program-172311662.html?src=rss

Engadget
Apr 20, 2024

What we're listening to: The Tortured Poets Department and Eternal Sunshine
In this installment of what we're listening to, Reviews Editor Cherlynn Low dives into new releases from Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, and explores what music means to us when songs are consumed more like books and journal entries.

Cherlynn Low, Deputy Editor, Reviews



April 19 should have been declared a global holiday. It was, after all, the release day of Taylor Swift's highly anticipated album, The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD). How could we be expected to work on this most hyped of Fridays, when there were lyrics to overanalyze and melodies to emo-walk to?

Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department I'll admit: I hate myself a bit for the eagerness with which I hit play on albums like TTPD and Ariana Grande's Eternal Sunshine (ES). Both musicians had recently left long-term relationships and got together with new beaus, amid rabid press coverage and relentless speculation on Reddit. I usually prefer to hear from the people involved instead of reading tabloid articles based on what "friends close to" said, and for Swift and Grande, songs are usually as close as we'll get to primary sources. 

I saw these albums as opportunities to get their takes on what went down. Granted, it's always wise to take their words with generous helpings of salt, the same way therapists tend to remember that their patients' retelling of stories can be skewed or unreliable.

Both Grande

Engadget
Apr 20, 2024

Apple will reportedly unveil a genre-defining calculator app at WWDC 2024
Apple's calculator for Mac computers serves its purpose just fine, but it's reportedly getting massive updates with macOS 15 that turn it into a note-taking, currency-converting hybrid app. To start with, AppleInsider said the calculator will receive a design overhaul that swaps its number boxes with round buttons. You'll even reportedly be able to resize the calculator. If you make it bigger, the round buttons get stretched and turn pill-shaped, though they go back to their original form if you make the calculator smaller again. 

A new history tape that you can access with the click of a button will show you previous calculations, so you no longer have to note them down if you're working with a lot of data and need to see a trend or keep track of what information you've processed so far. You'll be able to see the bar whatever mode the calculator is in, even if it's in scientific or programmer mode and not just in basic. The updated app will apparently come with Notes integration, as well, allowing you to more easily create notes with mathematical notation like you could on competing products like Microsoft's OneNote. Finally, the new calculator will make it easier to work with numbers in different currencies by incorporating the conversion tool into its user interface. You no longer have to access the tool via the drop-down menu every time you want to see how much a certain amount is in another currency. 

According to AppleInsider, the company is expected to introduce these and more features for the iOS 18 and macOS 15 at Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference that's set to take place in June this year. 

This art

Engadget
Apr 20, 2024

Microsoft's AI tool can turn photos into realistic videos of people talking and singing
Microsoft Research Asia has unveiled a new experimental AI tool called VASA-1 that can take a still image of a person — or the drawing of one — and an existing audio file to create a lifelike talking face out of them in real time. It has the ability to generate facial expressions and head motions for an existing still image and the appropriate lip movements to match a speech or a song. The researchers uploaded a ton of examples on the project page, and the results look good enough that they could fool people into thinking that they're real. 

While the lip and head motions in the examples could still look a bit robotic and out of sync upon closer inspection, it's still clear that the technology could be misused to easily and quickly create deepfake videos of real people. The researchers themselves are aware of that potential and have decided not to release "an online demo, API, product, additional implementation details, or any related offerings" until they're sure that their technology "will be used responsibly and in accordance with proper regulations." They didn't, however, say wh

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Finally, someone used Pareto's economic theories to find the best Mario Kart 8 racer
Who hasn't spent sleepless nights pondering what would happen if we applied Vilfredo Pareto's (the early 20th-century Italian economist) theories to Mario, the Mushroom Kingdom's Italian high-jump champion and part-time elephant cosplayer? Data scientist Antoine Mayerowitz, PhD, tackled that age-old question, and the resulting work provides an objective way to tell us the best Mario Kart 8 racer combinations. Hint: It sure as hell ain't Koopa Troopa.

When you break down the build options (including driver stats and various vehicle details) in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there are over 700,000 possible combinations. Yikes. But once you eliminate duplicates that differ only in appearance, you can narrow it down to "only" 25,704 possibilities. How do you narrow it down to find the best racer from there? Enter Mr. Pareto.

Pareto's theories, most notably the Pareto front, help us navigate the complexities of choice. They can pinpoint the solutions with the most balanced strengths and the fewest trade-offs. Pareto's work is about efficiency and effectiveness. Now we're talking.



Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Rebel Moon Part 2 review: A slow-mo sci-fi slog
Rebel Moon: Part 2 - The Scargiver is an empty feast. It's a relentless onslaught of explosions, sci-fi tropes and meaningless exposition that amounts to nothing. And yet somehow it's still better than the first film in Zack Snyder's wannabe sci-fi epic franchise for Netflix, Rebel Moon: Part 1 - A Child of Fire. (What do these titles really mean? Who cares.) 

With all of the dull table-setting complete, Snyder is able to let his true talents soar in Rebel Moon: Part 2 by delivering endless battles filled with slow-motion action and heroic poses. It looks cool, I just wish it added up to something. Anything.

Spoilers ahead for Rebel Moon: Part 2.

If you somehow missed the first Rebel Moon film, the basic setup is that it's Star Wars meets The Seven Samurai. Sofia Boutella stars as Kora, a former elite soldier of an evil empire who is hiding out in an all-too idyllic farming village, just planting and harvesting her days away. When a group of military baddies kills the chief of the village and starts threatening a young girl, Kora goes on a murdering spree (in defense!), leaving the community open to a retaliatory attack. 

She spends the first movie recruiting potential warriors to defend the village, including a fallen gladiator (Djimoun Hounsou) and a bad-ass swordswoman (Doona Bae). (Their names are Titus and Nemesis, respectively, but those don't really matter because the characters are paper thin.)

Full disclosure: I tried writing a review for the first Rebel Moon and just gave up in disgust. It was a shockingly boring epic, so much

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Prison Architect 2 is denied release until September 3
It hasn't been a great week for Paradox Interactive, and things just got a little worse for the publisher. It has announced another delay for Prison Architect 2, the sequel to a cult hit from 2015. The game had been set to drop on May 7 (which was already a delay from March 26) but now it won't arrive until September 3.

Though builds of Prison Architect 2 had been certified for all platforms, the developers at Double Eleven ran into some technical problems that will take some time to resolve. Some issues concerning memory usage and minimum spec configuration failures emerged. Although the team says its work on fixing those have been successful so far, some other technical challenges started popping up, leading to significantly more crashes.

Double Eleven will use the extra development time to improve the prison management sim's stability and to refine some of its features. Paradox says it will also take the opportunity to let players get a look inside the development process via additional developer diaries and streams. A stream is set for April 25.

Paradox notes that console players who pre-ordered will automatically be refunded due to platform policies — they'll need to buy Prison Architect 2 again to get a pre-order bonus. Steam players can request a refund if they wish.

The Prison Architect 2 delay comes one day after studio Colossal Order said it would refund all

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Ryan Gosling and Miller/Lord's Project Hail Mary could be the sci-fi event of 2026
Do you like rip-roaring science fiction books? Do you like movies? Then you are in for a treat in, well, two years. Amazon MGM Studios just set a release date of March 20, 2026 for Project Hail Mary, according to Deadline. It's based on the Andy Weir novel of the same name, which was one of our favorite books of the past few years, so color us excited.

The film stars honorary SNL cast member Ryan Gosling and will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo behind The Lego Movie and, allegedly, most of the good parts of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Lord also wrote a little-known movie called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

The script was penned by Drew Goddard, who cut his teeth on TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost before moving onto features. He directed Cabin in the Woods, which is somehow both iconic and underrated at the same time. If the name Andy Weir sounds familiar, it's because he wrote a book called The Martian, which inspired the Matt Damon film. Incidentally, Goddard also wr

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Some of our favorite Anker power banks are up to 30 percent off, plus the rest of this week's best tech deals
Before you head into the weekend to hike, pull weeds, play games or go to work, you may feel a hankering to snap up a few tech gadgets. If that's the case, here's a roundup of all the deals we found this week on gear we've tested, reviewed and just generally recommend. To get cleaner floors without much work, check out the discount codes below from Wellbots on three different iRobot robot vacs. We found discounts on streaming dongles including Google's Chromecast HD and

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Automate your vacuuming and mopping with $400 off the Roomba Combo J9
If you're looking to automate more of your home cleaning setup, iRobot's flagship Roomba Combo J9 is on sale for $400 off. The vacuum-mop hybrid robot, which only arrived last fall, has a redesigned dock that automatically empties debris and refills the device's mopping liquid. Usually $1,399, Wellbots has the Roomba Combo J9 for $999 with coupon code ENGA400.



The Combo J9 , Engadget's pick for the best vacuuming-mopping robot, has an upgraded motor and four-stage cleaning system that takes multiple pass-throughs across your carpets and floors. This version also adds dual rubber brushes for better suction and pressurized scrubbing. Its motor automatically lifts the mop pads wh

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Tesla is recalling Cybertrucks because their accelerator pedals could get stuck
Tesla has issued a recall for around 3,878 Cybertruck vehicles, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notice has revealed. Apparently, the cover of the truck's accelerator pedal could get dislodged and trapped by the interior rim. Based on videos going around showing the problem, a faulty accelerator cover could slide up due to excessive lubricant, jamming one end into a crevice while it's still also attached to the pedal itself. That means the vehicle could get stuck accelerating in full power even after the driver lifts their foot. 

Tesla said in the notice that it will replace and repair the pedals as needed free of charge. The automaker will send notices to owners of recalled Cybertrucks in June, but affected drivers who want their vehicles to be fixed as soon as possible can also call the company's customer service number at 1-877-798-3752. If asked for reference, they can say that the recall service number for their issue is SB-24-33-003.

Cybertruck buyers were recently informed that their deliveries had been delayed and were reportedly told that Tesla was going to issue a recall over a problem with the vehicle's accelerator. It followed an earnings call earlier this month, wherein the company

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Engadget Podcast: PlayStation 5 Pro rumors and a look back at the Playdate
The latest batch of rumors make it pretty clear that a PlayStation 5 Pro is coming this year, but will anyone really care about slightly better 4K graphics? This week, Engadget Senior Editor Jessica Conditt joins Cherlynn and Devindra to chat about the PS5 Pro, as well as her piece on the PlayDate two years after its release. You could say the Playdate is pretty much the opposite of another expensive high-end console. 

In other news, we discuss the death of Boston Dynamic's hydraulic Atlas robot, and the birth of an all-new digital model. We also chat about the abrupt closure of Possibility Space, an ambitious indie game studio.

Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcast, Engadget News!

Topics Jess Conditt on Playstation 5 Pro rumors - 0:48

Jess' thoughts on Panic's innovative handheld, the Playdate, 2 years later - 14:24

Indie game studio Possibility Space announces closure, CEO blames media leaks - 27:29

Other News: Boston Dynamics unveils new, all electric Atlas robot - 35:39

Menteebot is a human-sized, GPT-powered robot you can command with natural language - 39:52

NASA confirms Florida man's house was hit by spa

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

The Morning After: The bill to ban TikTok is barreling ahead.
The bill that could ban TikTok in the United States inches closer to becoming law. The legislation passed the House of Representatives last month, then had to face the Senate — and opposition from a few prominent lawmakers. The House is to vote on a package of bills this weekend, which includes a slightly revised version of the TikTok bill. In the latest version, ByteDance would have up to 12 months to divest TikTok, instead of the six months initially pitched.

That change alone was apparently key to winning support from some skeptical members of the Senate, including Sen. Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. What will happen if the bill passes into law? TikTok (and potentially other apps "controlled by a foreign adversary") would face a ban in US app stores if it declined to sell to a new owner.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed Nothing's Ear and Ear (a) earbuds with active noise cancellation are now available for pre-order

The 5 best mechanical keyboards

Razer's Kishi Ultra gaming controller works with damn near everything, including some foldables

Cities: Skylines 2's embarrassed developers are giv

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Fallout has already scored a green light for a second season
Amazon's live adaptation of Fallout was so well-received, the fourth main game in the franchise had a resurgence in sales almost a decade after it was released. If you were ever worried about its fate despite the success it enjoyed, you can rest easy, for now: Amazon has already renewed the show for a second season, mere days after the first one debuted. The Fallout universe is set in a post-apocalyptic world, decades after a nuclear war decimated the planet. Ella Purnell plays Lucy in the series, a vault dweller who was forced to go to the surface to rescue her father.

Walton Goggins seems to be a hit with audiences as the Ghoul, a radioactive noseless bounty-hunting corpse. We called him an "enlightened choice" for the role in our review and found this to be his most engaging performance yet. As a whole, we liked Fallout almost as much as we liked the TV adaptation of the The Last of Us. It features fantastic visuals with detailed sets and costumes that stay true to the source materials, and it has a story that flows well and doesn't feel like it's struggling to juggle several different plotlines. The game is also violent and gory, though, and it's not really for the faint of heart. 

The show is one of Amazon's projects under executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the creators of Westworld, who Prime Video

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Baldur's Gate 3 developer confirms it won't make the sequel
The developer behind the popular, award-winning and slightly bawdy Baldur's Gate 3 confirmed that it won't be doing Baldur's Gate 4 — but it does have other irons in the fire. 

 "We won't be introducing any major new narrative content to the story of Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3) or its origin characters and companions, nor will we be making expansions or Baldur's Gate 4," Larian Studio wrote in a community update on Steam. "We're currently working on two new projects and we couldn't be more excited about what the future has in store."

Larian promised more news about the new games "later down the line," but did give a hint about the style. "Know that even as our focus turns to these new games, the sensibilities that brought you Baldur's Gate 3 are alive and well here at the Larian castle. I don't know if we're going to pull it off, but looking at our narrative, visual and gameplay plans, I think what we're working on now will be our best work ever."

Baldur's Gate 3 has been praised for its breadth, character development, puzzles, combat, D&D fidelity and, of course, intimate relationships. It sold around 15 million copies, far exceeding the expectations of the studio, while pretty much sweep

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

The best PS5 games for 2024: Top PlayStation titles to play right now
Regardless of if you just got your hands on a PS5 or you've had the console for a while, chances are you had a good idea which few games you wanted to start out with. After playing those to death, maybe you're on the hunt for the next title that will suck you into an immersive world. We can confidently say that all of the video games on our best PS5 games list do this in their own way, be they action-adventure titles, racing sims, puzzles and everything in between. As always, in building a list like this, we looked for must-play games that offer meaningful improvements over their last-gen counterparts when played on a PlayStation 5 console, or are exclusive to the system. We'll be updating this periodically, so, if a video game's just been released and you don't see it, chances are that the reason for its absence is that we haven't played through it for the first time yet. Either that or we hate it.

Read more: The best SSDs for PS5





















Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

The 6 best Mint alternatives to replace the budgeting app that shut down
We're now living in a post-Mint world. Intuit shuttered the popular budgeting app on March 24, 2024, and suggested its millions of users switch to its other finance app, Credit Karma. I, along with 3.6 million others (as of 2021, according to Bloomberg), had been Mint users for a long time. Many of us liked the Mint app for how it easily allowed us to track all accounts in one place and monitor credit scores. It was also a great tool for sticking to a monthly spending plan and setting goals like building a rainy-day fund or paying down my mortgage faster.

I gave Credit Karma a shot in the months leading up to Mint shutting down. I was left unimpressed; it's not a true Mint alternative, so I set out to find an app that could be. The following guide lays out my experience testing some of the most popular Mint replacement apps available today. If you're also on the hunt for a budgeting app to replace

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Apple says it was ordered it to remove WhatsApp and Threads from China App Store
Apple users in China won't be able to find and download WhatsApp and Threads from the App Store anymore, according to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The company said it pulled the apps from the store to comply with orders it received from Cyberspace Administration, China's internet regulator, "based on [its] national security concerns." It explained to the publications that it's "obligated to follow the laws in the countries where [it operates], even when [it disagrees]."

The Great Firewall of China blocks a lot of non-domestic apps and technologies in the country, prompting locals to use VPN if they want to access any of them. Meta's Facebook and Instagram are two of those applications, but WhatsApp and Threads have been available for download until now.

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Apple says it was ordered to remove WhatsApp and Threads from China App Store
Apple users in China won't be able to find and download WhatsApp and Threads from the App Store anymore, according to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The company said it pulled the apps from the store to comply with orders it received from Cyberspace Administration, China's internet regulator, "based on [its] national security concerns." It explained to the publications that it's "obligated to follow the laws in the countries where [it operates], even when [it disagrees]."

The Great Firewall of China blocks a lot of non-domestic apps and technologies in the country, prompting locals to use VPN if they want to access any of them. Meta's Facebook and Instagram are two of those applications, but WhatsApp and Threads have been available for download until now.

Engadget
Apr 19, 2024

Surprise: Taylor Swift is joining Threads at the exact same time as her new album drop
With the Eras Tour still under way and The Tortured Poets Department dropping today, you can't shake off Taylor Swift these days. She's everywhere — in the news, on streaming services and on social media, which now includes Threads. Taylor's Threads account, and her first post, are going live around midnight. And if you're one of the first people to share her post, you'll get a custom badge based on her new album's artwork that you can display on your Threads profile. 

Meta has been dropping hints and releasing easter eggs for Swifties over the past week as part of a countdown for her album release today. You may have even seen its call to pre-follow Swift on Threads, along with the shimmer effect that's been showing up on conversations on the social network with Taylor-related hashtags. Celebratory hearts pop up when you like relevant posts, as well. 

On Instagram, you'll be able to change the background in your DMs with one that's inspired by TPD's artwork. The company told Engadget that the countdown on Taylor's Instagram profile will also reset, and you can apparently expect yet another surprise in-app experience to go live at 2AM ET. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/surprise-taylor-swift-is-joining-threads-on-the-day-her-new-album-drops-040026147.html?src=rss

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

The bill that could ban TikTok is barreling ahead
The bill that could lead to a ban of TikTok in the United States appears to be much closer to becoming law. The legislation sailed through the House of Representatives last month, but faced an uncertain future in the Senate due to opposition from a few prominent lawmakers.

But momentum for the "Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act" seems to once again be growing. The House is set to vote on a package of bills this weekend, which includes a slightly revised version of the TikTok bill. In the latest version of the bill, ByteDance would have up to 12 months to divest TikTok, instead of the six-month period stipulated in the original measure.

That change, as NBC News notes, was apparently key to winning over support from some skeptical members of the Senate, including

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Netflix is done telling us how many people use Netflix
Netflix will stop disclosing the number of people who signed up for its service, as well as the revenue it generates from each subscriber from next year, the company announced on Thursday. It will focus, instead, on highlighting revenue growth and the amount of time spent on its platform.

"In our early days, when we had little revenue or profit, membership growth was a strong indicator of our future potential," the company said in a letter to shareholders. "But now we're generating very substantial profit and free cash flow."

Netflix revealed that the service added 9.33 million subscribers over the last few months, bringing the total number of paying households worldwide to nearly 270 million. Despite its decision to stop reporting user numbers each quarter, Netflix said that the company will "announce major subscriber milestones as we cross them," which means we'll probably hear about it when it crosses 300 million.

Netflix estimates that more than half a billion people around the world watch TV shows and movies through its service, an audience it is now figuring out how to squeeze even more money out of through new pricing tiers, a crackdown on password-sharing, and

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Blizzard takes aim at Overwatch 2 console cheaters
Like many other multiplayer games, Overwatch 2 isn't immune from cheaters. And it's not only an issue on PC, where cheaters use tools like aimbots. Some folks use XIM devices so they can play with a keyboard and mouse (KBM) on consoles. This is against Blizzard's rules, as KBM players typically have an aim advantage over those who use a controller, even though the console versions of the game have features like aim assist. While it's taken some time to get the ball rolling, the developer is finally doing something about the XIM problem.

XIM devices trick consoles into believing that KBM users are playing with a controller. However, in a blog post, Blizzard says it has been able to detect KBM players on consoles over the last few Overwatch 2 seasons. It has found that the cheating problem is more prevalent among higher ranked players. The developers say that use of so-called unapproved peripherals is "very rare" in lower ranks.

During the current season (which started this week), Blizzard will dish out permanent bans to the most extreme users of unapproved peripherals. It will rely on reports from other players and its own data to pinpoint those who are breaking the rules.

Starting in Season 11, which should get underway in June, the developers will tackle the issue at a broader level. The first time a console player is detected using an unapproved device on consoles, they'll be banned from Competitive modes for a week. If they keep using KBM or other u

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Amazon no longer offers its easy-to-miss Prime Video subscription
Amazon appears to have nixed its Prime Video-only plan in the US and UK. Cord Busters reports that the little-known subscription, introduced in 2016, is no longer available to new users in either country. Those trying to sign up for the previously $8.99 monthly plan (£5.99 monthly in the UK) are now directed to the landing page for a full Amazon Prime membership.

The Prime Video plan launched eight years ago, priced to undercut Netflix's (at the time) $9.99-a-month subscription price for standard HD streaming on up to two devices. Although the option stuck around for close to a decade, Amazon increasingly buried it, making it impossible to sign up for on mobile devices. It was also increasingly difficult to find on desktops, where you had to navigate to an easy-to-miss "See more plans" section of the Prime sign-up page.

The Prime Video plan never even got a price increase during that time, further illustrating how obscure Amazon apparently wanted it to remain. Now, it appears to be gone for good. Cord Busters says it was recently removed in the US and axed from Amazon UK earlier this week.

Your subscription should still work if you're already on the Prime Video-only plan. But if you cancel it or switch to the full Prime membership, don't expect to see an option to return to it.

Engadget reached out to Amazon to

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

It took 20 years for Children of the Sun to become an overnight success
Children of the Sun burst onto the indie scene like a muzzle flash on a dark night. Publisher Devolver Digital dropped the game's first trailer on February 1, showcasing frenzied sniper shots and a radioactive art style. A Steam demo highlighting its initial seven stages went live that same day and became a breakout hit during February's Steam Next Fest. Two months later it landed in full and to broad acclaim. This explosive reveal and rapid release timeline mirrors the game itself — chaotic but contained, swift and direct, sharp and bright.

Though it feels like Children of the Sun popped into existence over the span of two months, it took solo developer René Rother more than 20 years to get here.

René Rother As a kid in Berlin in the early 2000s, Rother was fascinated by the booming mod community. He spent his time messing around with free Counter-Strike mapping tools and Quake III mods from the demo discs tucked into his PC magazines. Rother daydreamed about having a job in game development, but it never felt like an attainable goal.

"It just didn't seem possible to make games," he told Engadget. "It's like it was this huge black box."

Rother couldn't see an easy entry point until the 2010s, when mesh libraries and tools like GameMaker and Unity became more accessible. He discovered a fondness for creating 3D interactive art. But aside

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Quicken Simplifi subscriptions are half off through April 21
Subscriptions to the budgeting app Quicken Simplifi are half off through April 21. The price has been brought down to just $2 per month, which is billed annually at $24. The deal also extends to Quicken Classic, which adds more features for investments and tracking taxes. This tier now costs $4 per month, instead of $8 per month. It's also billed annually.



Quicken Simplify is pretty much the budgeting app to beat all budgeting apps. There's a reason, after all, that it topped our list of the best budgeting apps and our collection of the best apps to replace Mint. We've consistently praised the user-friendly interface that makes it easy to get started and keep an eye on things. Users have instantaneous access to various metrics, like top-line balances, net worth, recent spending, upcoming recurring payments and more.

We also loved how simple (pun intended) it is to set up customized savings goals and th

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Meta gives the Quest 2 its second permanent price cut in four months
For the second time this year, Meta has given the Quest 2 a permanent price cut. The company has dropped the price of the base headset with 128GB of storage to $199, down from $249. Until January 2, the company was charging $299 for the Quest 2.

Of course, the price cut comes in the wake of the company rolling out the far more powerful and capable Meta Quest 3, which starts at a far higher price of $499. The discount suggests that Meta is trying to get rid of its remaining inventory of the previous model. Still, the Quest 2 is our pick for the best cheap VR headset and the drop to $199 makes the device even more appealing.

For a couple of hundred bucks, you'll get a headset that has fast-switching LCD displays with a resolution of 1832x1920 per eye and a 90Hz refresh rate. It has a solid library of VR apps at this point, along with access to cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming. However you slice it, the Quest 2 is a solid entry point into VR.

In addition, Meta recently lowered the prices of Quest 2 accessories. The Elite Strap and Elite Strap with Battery have both dropped by 50 percent to $25 and $45, respectively. The Fit Pack, which could help you find a mo

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

The HD Chromecast with Google TV is on sale for only $20
If you watch movies and TV on a 1080p screen, the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) provides a rock-solid streaming experience on the cheap. This is the HD version of Engadget's top choice for streaming devices. Today, Amazon has it for $10 off, letting you pick up the HDR10-capable streaming stick for only $20, nearly a record-low price.



The Chromecast with Google TV (HD) plugs directly into an open HDMI port on your TV. (There's an optional power adapter with a USB cable if your TV can't supply enough juice.) If you have a 4K television, you're better off with the

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Razer's Kishi Ultra gaming controller works with damn near everything, including some foldables
Razer just released the Kishi Ultra mobile gaming controller, a successor to the popular Kishi V2 Pro. It's filled with improvements, including a larger form factor to accommodate beefier mobile devices like 8-inch tablets and even some foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 5. The controller also offers USB-C compatibility, so it should work with just about any device out there, as long as it fits. Remember, even modern Apple products now include USB-C ports.

Razer says the controller has been "designed to provide an authentic console experience on the iPhone 15 series, iPad Mini, and Android tablets with 8-inch displays." To that end, it features the company's proprietary Sensa HD haptics technology, which includes a haptic coil near each hand to increase immersion. The company says this experience will actually surpass what's found with traditional console controllers. The newly-released Interhaptics SDK will even allow developers to "craft bespoke haptic experiences."

This immersion is further improved by integration with Razer's

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Netflix will stop tossing coins to The Witcher after season five
Netflix has renewed The Witcher for a fifth season, but the company says that will bring the series to an end. The final season will be shot back-to-back with the fourth season, which has just started production. The two seasons will cover the events of the last three books in the series: Baptism of Fire, The Tower of the Swallow and Lady of the Lake. The show is a direct adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's novels, but it does occasionally take inspiration from CD Projekt Red's game adaptations (and vice versa).

The fourth season will mark a significant change for The Witcher, as Liam Hemsworth is replacing Henry Cavill in the lead role. This time around, Geralt of Rivia will find a n

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Cities: Skylines 2's embarrassed developers are giving away beachfront property for free
Cities: Skylines 2 developer Colossal Order is unlisting and refunding purchases of its controversial Beach Properties asset pack less than a month after its release. It's also significantly delaying the game's future DLC and console port.

Beach Properties was the first paid DLC for Cities: Skylines 2, and has an "Overwhelmingly Negative" rating on Steam, with just 4 percent of user reviews marked as positive. In a note announcing the reverse of course, Colossal Order CEO Mariina Hallikainen said the company had let its community down. 

"We thought we could make up for the shortcomings of the game in a timeframe that was unrealistic, and rushed out a DLC that should not have been published in its current form," Hallikainen said. "For all this, we are truly sorry."

The asset pack itself worked as advertised, adding a number of zoneable waterfront-style properties to the game, but it was definitely thin for the $9.99 asking price. Most will admit, though, that the content itself wasn't the problem: The DLC was largely derided because it was released at a time when players were waiting on patches for the base game. Cities: Skylines 2 was released in a poorly optimized state in October 2023, and although it's in better shape now, many in the community feel there are fundamental issues with the simulation, and there is still work to be done to make the game run better. Mod support — perhaps the reason that the original Cities: Skylines had such a long lifespan — was also slow to arrive, and is still only in beta, with no support for custom assets.

In

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Google's wired Nest security camera is cheaper than ever
Google's wired Nest security camera has dropped to its lowest price to date. The second-gen device is for indoor use and it's motion sensitive. It's capable of capturing 1080p HDR video. You can snap one up for $70, which is $30 or 30 percent off the regular price of $100, at Amazon if you opt for the fog or linen colorway. However, if you go for the snow variant you can save a little more. That one is

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Sonos refurbished speakers and soundbars are up to $170 off right now
A speaker doesn't have to be brand new to sound good. Sonos speakers get high marks in our reviews and buying guides and the company has one of the better refurbished programs out there. Right now, you can grab a refurbished Sonos Arc SL soundbar for $509, which is $170 off the refurbished price and $240 off the speaker's full $749 price tag when it was new. A decent selection of other renewed soundbars and speakers

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Meta rolls out an updated AI assistant, built with the long-awaited Llama 3
Meta just announced a major update for its AI assistant platform, Meta AI, which has been built using the long-awaited open source Llama 3 large language model (LLM). The company says it's "now the most intelligent AI assistant you can use for free." As for use case scenarios, the company touts the ability to help users study for tests, plan dinners and schedule nights out. You know the drill. It's an AI chatbot.

Meta AI, however, has expanded into just about every nook and cranny throughout the company's entire portfolio, after a test run with Instagram DMs last week. It's still available with Instagram, but now users can access it on Messenger, Facebook feeds and Whatsapp. The chatbot also has a dedicated web portal at, wait for it, meta.ai. You don't need a company login to use it this way, though it won't generate images. Those recently-released Ray-Ban smart glasses also integrate with the bot, with Quest headset integration coming soon.

On the topic of image generation, Meta says it's now much faster and will produce images as you type. It also handles custom animated GIFs, which is pretty cool. Hopefully, it can successfully generate images of different races of people. We found that it struggled with this basic concept a couple of

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

TSMC will charge more for chips made outside of Taiwan, possibly making devices more expensive
TSMC is the world's biggest chipmaker and its products are found in everything from phones to game consoles and computers. But devices using TSMC chips could become more expensive if manufacturers opt to buy ones that the company makes outside of its home base of Taiwan.

"If a customer requests to be in a certain geographical area, the customer needs to share the incremental cost," TSMC CEO CC Wei said on an earnings call. "In today's fragmented globalization environment, cost will be higher for everyone, including TSMC, our customers and our competitors."

Talks with customers over price increases have already started. As the Financial Times points out, it's more expensive for TSMC to manufacture chips outside of Taiwan (where over 90 percent of the planet's most advanced semiconductors are made). But the company will be passing on those costs amid a push by companies and governments to increase chip supply outside of Taiwan, over which China is attempting to control.

TSMC has plants in Japan and is building several in Arizona, the first of which started operating this month and is expected to go into full production this year. It's also constructing a plant in Germany.

In addition, the US government last week agreed to provide the company with $6.6 billion in funding under the CHIPS Act, which seeks to bolster semiconductor manufacturing in the country. In return, TSMC pledged to up its US investment by $25 billion to $65 billion. Aligned with that, the company announced plans to build a third US plant by the end of the decade a

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Airchat is the latest app trying to make 'social audio' cool again
There's a new invite-only app going semi-viral among VCs, tech execs and other Silicon Valley personalities. It's called Airchat and it's trying to revive the concept of an audio-first social media app.

The premise is similar to Clubhouse, the audio app that had a viral moment at the height of the pandemic in 2021 and inspired copycat features in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit before gradually fading into obscurity. But unlike the original version of Clubhouse, Airchat isn't built around live audio streams that require users to all tune it at once. It's more like Twitter or Threads, except posts can only be shared as voice notes.

The app uses a timeline format, and automatically plays audio clips as you scroll your feed. You do have the ability to pause the playback and read text instead — each post is accompanied by an AI-generated transcript — but posts and replies can only be shared by recording an audio clip. There don't seem to be any time constraints on how long individual clips can be, I found at least one post where a user spoke for a full hour just to see if it would work (it did).

It sounds a bit gimmicky (because it is), but the app has all the hallmarks of the kind of social apps tha

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

GPT-4 performed close to the level of expert doctors in eye assessments
As learning language models (LLMs) continue to advance, so do questions about how they can benefit society in areas such as the medical field. A recent study from the University of Cambridge's School of Clinical Medicine found that OpenAI's GPT-4 performed nearly as well in an ophthalmology assessment as experts in the field, the Financial Times first reported.

In the study, published in PLOS Digital Health, researchers tested the LLM, its predecessor GPT-3.5, Google's PaLM 2 and Meta's LLaMA with 87 multiple choice questions. Five expert ophthalmologists, three trainee ophthalmologists and two unspecialized junior doctors received the same mock exam. The questions came from a textbook for trialing trainees on everything from light sensitivity to lesions. The contents aren't publicly available, so the researchers believe LLMs couldn't have been trained on them previously. ChatGPT, equipped with GPT-4 or GPT-3.5, was given three chances to answer definitively or its response was marked as null. 

GPT-4 scored higher than the trainees and junior doctors, getting 60 of the 87 questions right. While this was significantly higher than the junior doctors' average of 37 correct answers, it just beat out the three trainees' average of 59.7. While one expert ophthalmologist o

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Acer's new $399 Chromebook Plus 514 hits the mark for a solid budget laptop
There are a frankly ridiculous number of Chromebooks on sale to choose from, but Google's Chromebook Plus initiative that launched last fall has gone a long way towards standardizing some key specs for ChromeOS devices. That in turn has made it a little easier to pick ones that'll provide a consistent quality experience without breaking the bank. Acer's latest Chromebook Plus 514, which the company just announced today, is a good example — at first glance, it looks like it checks most of the boxes I'm looking for when recommending a basic Chromebook that'll work for most people. 

To make things confusing, Acer already sells a few Chromebook Plus 514 models; this one is the CB514-4HT and is priced at $399. Look for that SKU if you want to make sure you're getting the latest one. This laptop is powered by Intel's 13th-gen Core i3-N305 processor and pairs that with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage — that latter spec is a bit of surprise and is a lot more storage than I'd expect to see on a $400 Chromebook. To meet the required Chromebook Plus specs, this laptop includes a 1080p webcam with a privacy shutter. While the resolution is pretty solid, not all webcams are equal so we'll have to see how this one performs in real life.



Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Analogue Duo review: A second chance for an underappreciated console
We are living in a second golden age for console gaming. Active communities, open developer tools and easy distribution have given new life to many once-dead systems. If there's one company who deserves the most thanks for bringing a love for '80s and '90s cartridge-based console gaming back to the semi-mainstream, it's Analogue.

It started with the CMVS, an obsessive (and expensive) wood-grained reboot of the iconic Neo Geo. Then came the Analogue Nt in 2014, which brought easy, high-def NES gaming to our homes . In 2017, the Super Nt did the same for SNES gaming, then the Mega Sg for the Sega Genesis and, most recently, the Analogue Pocket, which supports everything from the Game Boy to the Neo Geo Pocket thanks to a series of adapters.

Analogue's latest is something different. While all those before have lived and died by their cartridge ports, the new Analogue Duo takes us to the next generation of gaming: optical. That's right, Analogue has entered the multimedia era with this love letter to one of Japan's most beloved consoles, a machine that barely made a dent elsewhere in the world.



That system is the TurboGrafx-16, known as the PC Engine in its home market of Japan. It launched there in 1987, beating the Sega Genesis to market by two years and the SNES by three. It rocketed to huge popularity, ultimately outselling Sega and keeping pace wit

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

DJI's new backup battery can power small appliances, charge your drone
DJI is entering the portable power station market in the US and Europe with the launch of the Power 1000 and Power 500 aimed at home users or road warriors. The devices (released in China at the end of last year) can be used to power small appliances or charge devices like laptops or drones, and work in concert with solar panels to provide power on the road. 

The Power 1000 (13kg or 29 pounds) has a 1,024 Wh capacity and can output up to 2,200W — enough to run a home microwave oven for about 1.3 hours and a car refrigerator for 19 hours, or charge a drone up to 12 times. The Power 500 (7.3 kg or 16.3 pounds) delivers 512 Wh of capaci

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Samsung's Galaxy A35 midrange smartphone is officially available in the US
The Samsung Galaxy A35 smartphone is officially available for US customers. We knew it was coming to the US, but we didn't know when. The phone starts at $400 and is available in two colors. It's already been available in the UK since March.

The Galaxy A35 is squarely a midrange device, so don't go expecting flagship features. However, this is still a capable smartphone with plenty of bang for your buck. Samsung's A-series devices tend to be among our favorite low-cost smartphones. This model boasts a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display with a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz, just like its cousin the Galaxy A55. The Galaxy A35 also features the company's Vision Booster software, which automatically adjusts the screen's tone to suit different ambient lighting conditions.

It also includes Samsung's proprietary Knox Vault technology, which originally debuted with the Galaxy S21. This is a separate memory device within the phone for storing sensitive data like blockchain keys, biometric information and authentication credentials. The A35 and the A55 are the first midrange devices in Samsung's lineup to get this tech.

Android Police has reported that the A35 features a modest Exynos 1380 processor, with an option for 6GB or 8GB of RAM. As for storage, there's a 128GB model and a 256GB model, with no microSD card slot for additional room.

It includes three rear

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

The 5 best mechanical keyboards for 2024
A keyboard is one of the few pieces of technology you may use for hours every day. Why not make it something that brings you joy? Sure, the people who gush over these things can be intense, but the upgraded comfort, durability and customizability that comes with a good mechanical keyboard is a real thing. If you're looking to make the switch (ahem), we tested a couple dozen mechanical keyboards over the past few months and rounded up our favorites below. We've also broken down what to look for when shopping for one.

What to look for in a mechanical keyboard Layout The first thing to decide with any keyboard is what size and layout you want. Full-size layouts have all the keys you'd ever need — a number pad, a full function row, arrow keys, etc. — but they also have the largest physical footprint. A 96-percent or "1800" keyboard is similar, but crunches the navigation cluster (Page Up, Home, etc.), numpad and arrow keys closer together to save space. Tenkeyless (TKL) or 80-percent keyboards omit the number pad entirely; they're often considered the best blend of size and functionality. 75-percent keyboards keep almost all of the buttons of a TKL model but further reduce any "dead" space between them — think of them like the TKL versions of a 96 percent layout.

It gets more and more minimal from there. The smallest popular layout is the 60 percent keyboard, which removes the arrow keys, function row, numpad and navigation cluster. This kind of design can be particularly useful for gaming, as it opens up a ton of desk space to swing your mouse around. It typically relies on shortcuts to make up for its missing keys, but it comes with a learning curve as a result.

Even more compact options exist beyond that. These can be adorable, but they usually involve removing the number row

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Slack rolls out its AI tools to all paying customers
Slack just rolled out its AI tools to all paying users, after releasing them to a select subset of customers earlier this year. The company's been teasing these features since last year and, well, now they're here.

The AI auto-generates channel recaps to give people key highlights of stuff they missed while away from the keyboard or smartphone, for keeping track of important work stuff and office in-jokes. Slack says the algorithm that generates these recaps is smart enough to pull content from the various topics discussed in the channel. This means that you'll get a paragraph on how plans are going for Jenny's cake party in the conference room and another on sales trends or whatever.

There's something similar available for threads, which are smaller conversations between one or a few people. The tool will recap any of these threads into a short paragraph. Customers can also opt into a daily recap for any channel or thread, delivered each morning.

Slack Another interesting feature is conversational search. The various Slack channels stretch on forever and it can be tough to find the right chat when necessary. This allows people to ask

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Playdate developers have made more than $500K in Catalog sales
Panic is celebrating Playdate's second birthday this month, and the party favors include some piping-hot statistics about Catalog game sales.

Playdate hit the market in April 2022 with 24 free games. Its Catalog store went live in March 2023, offering 16 curated games for purchase directly on the device. Panic has added more titles to Catalog on a bi-weekly basis for the past year, and the marketplace today has 181 games and apps. More than 150,000 games have been sold on Catalog, giving developers $544,290 in gross revenue — that's after taxes, processing fees and Panic's 25 percent cut. 

Panic The average price of a Playdate Catalog game is $5.36. The average install size is 5.03MB, while the smallest Catalog game is 30.1KB and the largest is 107MB. Playdate ships with 4GB of flash storage. It also has 16GB of RAM, an accelerometer, a 400 x 240 1-bit display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, a mono speaker, and a condenser mic and stereo headphone jack. Oh, and it has a delightful little crank.

The figures Panic shared today cover Catalog purchases, which means they only tell part of the story. While Catalog has just under 200 titles, there are more than 800 Playdate games and apps available on itch.io alone, and the community there is active and vibrant. As I described in our

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

The Morning After: Is the new Zephyrus G16 any good?
ASUS has updated its 16-inch Zephyrus G16 for 2024 with fresher chips and graphics options all the way up to an RTX 4090. There's a new OLED display with a 240HZ refresh rate and a full size SD card reader for transferring files. But, as much as ASUS is positioning this as a laptop for media makers as well as gamers, we need to know if its promises match its power. If you're as curious as I am, you'll have to read Sam Rutherford's review to find out for yourself.

— Dan Cooper

The biggest stories you might have missed Media coalition asks the feds to investigate Google's removal of California news links

TikTok is trying to clean up its For You recommendations

Amazon says a whopping 140 third-party stores in four countries use its Just Walk Out tech

There's a TV show coming based on Sega's classic arcade game Golden Axe

Cheaper Evercade retro consoles will arrive in July



Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Nothing's Ear and Ear (a) earbuds with active noise cancellation are now available for pre-order
Carl Pei's Nothing has revealed two new wireless earbuds at an event in Tokyo. It calls the Ear, the more expensive model of the two with prices starting at $149 and £129, a refinement of its older model the Ear (2). The Ear retains the brand's transparent design and looks very similar to the previous model. But it's powered by a new custom 11 mm dynamic driver and comes with a dual chamber design that allows it to deliver clearer sounds compared to its predecessor. 

It also features a new smart active noise cancellation (ANC) algorithm that can check for noise leakage between the earbuds and the ear canal and then add more noise cancellation accordingly. Plus, it can automatically apply the level of noise cancellation needed — high, medium or low — appropriate for the environment the user is in. Nothing says the model's noise cancellation rated at 45 dB is almost twice that of the Ear (2), as well. 

When it comes to battery life, the Ear's was also designed to last longer. It can last for up to 40-and-a-half hours after a full charge with its charging case, or up to eight-and-a-half hours of non-stop playback. In addition, the model comes with a new mic that enables less obstruction and interference, support for LHDC 5.0 and LDAC codec for high-resolution streaming over Bluetooth and the ability to quickly switch between connected devices. 

Meanwhile, the Ear (a) is the more fun and more affordable model between the two new releases. It's the first Nothing model that isn't just black or white — though those colors are also available — with one version's non-transparent parts and case colored in vivid egg yolk-yellow. Even though its prices start lower than the Ear at $99 and £99, it also features the same ANC technology and the brand's

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

EU criticizes Meta's 'privacy for cash' business model
The European Union doesn't think you should have to choose between giving Meta and other major players your data or your money. In a statement, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) stated that "consent or pay" models often don't "comply with the requirements for valid consent" when a person must choose between providing their data for behavioral advertising purposes or pay for privacy.

The EDPB argues that only offering a paid alternative to data collection shouldn't be the default for large online platforms. It doesn't issue a mandate but stresses that these platforms should "give significant consideration" to providing a free option that doesn't involve data processing (or at least not as much). "Controllers should take care at all times to avoid transforming the fundamental right to data protection into a feature that individuals have to pay to enjoy," EDPB Chair Anu Talus said. "Individuals should be made fully aware of the value and the consequences of their choices."

Currently, EU users must pay €10 ($11) monthly for an ad-free subscription or be forced to share their data. The EU is already investigating if this system complies with the Digital Markets Act, which went into effect at the beginning of March.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/eu-criticizes-metas-privacy-for-cash-business-model-103042528.html?src=rss

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

The best Bluetooth speaker for 2024: 15 portable options for every price range
One thing became apparent after testing dozens of Bluetooth speakers: there are plenty of good options out there for most people. While that variety is great to have, it can also lead to confusion and overwhelm when you go to buy a new one ahead of your next camping trip, beach outing or backyard barbecue. I set out to try some of the best Bluetooth speakers available now, at all different price points, to see which are worth your money. I'm happy to report that most of them sounded pretty good upon first listen. But in comparing them head-to-head, that's when I began to suss out the nuances among the best-sounding ones. Ultimately, out of all of the portable speakers out there, you won't find a single "best" one. But there are a number of solid choices out there that should fit most use cases. These are our favorites.

Factors to consider Weather-proofing IP ratings (Ingress Protection) are the alphanumeric indicators you often see in a product's spec sheet that define water and dust resistance. It's usually a combo of two numbers with the first indicating solid object ingress and the second being water. The former goes from 0 (no protection) to 6 (dustproof). The water-resistance rating goes from 0 (no protection) to 9 (protected against immersion and high pressure jets). When an X is used instead of a number, that means the product wasn't tested for resistance. If it's waterproof, it may have some innate resistance to solids, but there's no guarantee.

IP67 is a common rating these days indicating highly resistant and potentially rugged speakers suitable for outdoor adventures. These are safe for quick dunks in the pool or tub and should be more than OK in the rain or in the shower. They're also good options for the beach, playground and other rough environs.

Additionally, speakers with ports and a high rating

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Google fired 28 workers who protested Israeli government cloud contract
Google has fired 28 employees involved in protests against the company's "Project Nimbus" cloud contract with the Israeli government, according to an internal memo seen by The Verge. That follows the arrest and suspension of nine employees on April 16 and a previous firing related to the same project last month. 

Some of the fired workers were forcibly removed after occupying the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. Google head of global security Chris Rackow said that the company "will not tolerate" such incidences and warned that the company could take further action. 

"If you're one of the few who are tempted to think we're going to overlook conduct that violates our policies, think again," he told employees in a letter. "The company takes this extremely seriously, and we will continue to apply our longstanding policies to take action against disruptive behavior — up to and including termination."


However, workers in the "No Tech for Apartheid" group organizing the protests called the dismissals "a flagrant act of retaliation." It added that the Google saying protests largely involve people not working at the company is "insulting," adding that the push to drop Project Nimbus is supported by "thousands" of their colleagues. 

"In the three years that we have been organizing agai

Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Supergiant shows off Hades II's gameplay and new god designs
Supergiant Games just treated Hades fans to an extensive look at the game's upcoming sequel. Seriously — the developer hosted a three-hour livestream that showed off Hades II's gameplay, new features and mechanics, as well as the new designs for its characters based on the gods of Greek mythology. Supergiant's Creative Director Greg Kasavin and Studio Director Amir Rao demonstrated the abilities of the game's new protagonist, Melinoë. While she's the sister of Zagreus, the first title's protagonist, and Hades II is a direct sequel to the original, Kasavin and Rao said players don't need to have prior knowledge of the first game and of Greek mythology to enjoy it. Old fans, however, will catch "delightful references" here and there. 

Melinoë is a witch and assassin, who's adept with her staff and can wield magic, and has a pretty different playstyle from Zagreus, as the gameplay footage showed. Kasavin and Roe also showed off new gods like Apollo, returning ones like Aphrodite and Demeter, new resources and various environments within the game. They played the technical test version of Hades II, however, which means certain environments and elements could still go through some changes before the final product is released. 

The developer is hoping to fix any issues technical test players might find expeditiously so that the game can go into early access, which is expected to take place sometime this spring. 



Engadget
Apr 18, 2024

Twitch is giving all users access to its discovery feed later this month
Twitch has been testing a discovery feed for livestreams and Clips on mobile since last year, in hopes of giving users a new way to find new streamers to follow and, hence, spend more time on the platform. Now, the website has announced that it's rolling out the feature to all users later this month. The feed will first appear as a new tab in the mobile app and will allow viewers to switch between a scrollable feed for livestreams and another one for Clips. Like their names imply, the live feed will show users broadcasts from people they already follow and ongoing streams from people they don't based on their watch history. Meanwhile, the Clips feed will be filled with short snippets from live broadcasts. 

Users will be able to join ongoing streams from the live feed by tapping on the streamers' avatars to immediately go into theater mode. Twitch will also show when the streamer is live in the Clips feed, so viewers can check them out from there, as well. And just in case it isn't clear, Twitch explained in its announcement that the discovery feed will only be aggregating streams and clips from the service and that creators cannot upload to it directly. In other words, getting highlighted on the feed is a game of chance, though featured Clips will be given priority over non-featured ones. 

The discovery feed launching this month isn't its final form, though. Some users might start seeing the feed as their actual home page sometime next month, which is what Twitch had in mind for the feature in the first place. In early March, company CEO Dan Clancy said the service is giving its mobile app its first major redesign

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Media coalition asks the feds to investigate Google's removal of California news links
The News/Media Alliance, formerly the Newspaper Association of America, asked US federal agencies to investigate Google's removal of links to California news media outlets. Google's tactic is in response to the proposed California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), which would require it and other tech companies to pay for links to California-based publishers' news content.

The News/Media Alliance, which represents over 2,200 publishers, sent letters to the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and California State Attorney General on Tuesday. It sa

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

TikTok is trying to clean up its ‘For You' recommendations
TikTok is ramping up penalties for creators who post potentially "problematic" content and tightening its rules around what can be recommended in the app. The updates arrive as TikTok is fighting for its future in the United States and trying to convince lawmakers and regulators that its app is safe for teens.

Under its updated community guidelines, set to take effect in May, TikTok has added a long list of content that's not eligible to be recommended in the app's coveted "For You" feed. The list includes some obvious categories, like sexually suggestive or violent content, but it also adds topics that have previously been a source of controversy for the app. For example, the new guidelines bar videos showing "dangerous activity and challenges," as well as many types of weight loss or dieting content. It also prohibits any clips from users under the age of 16 from appearing in "For You."

There's also a lengthy section dedicated to a wide range of misinformation and conspiratorial content. From the guidelines:



Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Nintendo emulator Delta hits the iOS App Store, no sideloading required
It hasn't been long since Apple started allowing retro game emulators on the App Store. We've already seen one notable controversy after the company pulled Game Boy emulator iGBA from the storefront. It turned out that iGBA, which hit the top of the download charts, was a near carbon copy of another emulator submitted for review.

GBA4iOS developer Riley Testut claimed that iGBA was a "knock-off of GBA4iOS" that was packed with ads and trackers. As it turns out, Testut's Delta, a successor to GBA4iOS, is now available for free in the App Store.

The original emulator picked up some buzz a decade ago after Testut found a way for iPhone users to sideload the Game Boy Advance emulator without having to jailbreak their device. Apple eventually closed the iOS loophole and, of course, Nintendo was none too happy about the emulator. However, you can now download Delta free

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Amazon says a whopping 140 third-party stores in four countries use its Just Walk Out tech
Amazon published a blog post on Wednesday providing an update about its Just Walk Out technology, which it reportedly pulled from its Fresh grocery stores earlier this month. While extolling Just Walk Out's virtues as a sales pitch to potential retail partners, the article lists a startlingly minuscule number of (non-Amazon) stores using the tech. There are now "more than 140 third-party locations with Just Walk Out technology in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada."

Mind you, that isn't the number of companies or retail chains licensing the tech; that's the total number of locations. Nor is that the tally in one state or even one country. In four countries combined — with a total population of about 465 million — Just Walk Out is being used in "more than 140 third-party locations."

On average, that means there's one third-party Just Walk Out store for every 3.3 million people in those four countries. (They must be busy!) By contrast, there are over one million retail locations in the US, and, as of 2019, Starbucks

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

There's a TV show coming based on Sega's classic arcade game Golden Axe
Comedy Central just greenlit a cartoon based on the classic Sega arcade cabinet Golden Axe, further proving we are in something of a gilded age of video game adaptations. The animated show is getting a ten-episode first season and features a voice cast filled with comedic heavy hitters, like Danny Pudi from Community and Carl Tart from Grand Crew (RIP) and the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast universe.

It also stars Matthew Rhys, from The Americans and Perry Mason, and comedian Lisa Gilroy. The pilot is being written by Mike McMahon, the creator of Star Trek: Lower Decks and Solar Opposites, and Joe Chandler, a regular writer for American Dad. Chandler is the showrunner and McMahon is on board as the executive producer. Interestingly, several big Sega names are also involved with the show, including Haruki Satomi, Shuki Utsumi and Toru Nakahara, the latter being largely responsible for shepherding the Sonic the Hedgehog cinematic universe.

The plot looks appropriately zany, as there wasn't too much story in those old arcade cabinets. The show bills itself as a "hilarious and loving homage to Sega's 1989 video game series" and follows several warriors as they attempt to save the realm from franchise antagonist Death Adder. It does look to be doing a deep dive on the franchise, as one of the characters is the panther/man hybrid beast from Golden Axe III. Comedy Central promises "plenty of exciting cameos" from the f

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Cheaper Evercade retro consoles will arrive in July
Blaze Entertainment has made a bunch of announcements regarding its Evercade retro gaming consoles. Among other things, the company has revealed refreshed and less expensive hardware.

The Evercade -R range updates the VS and EXP with a new look. Each of the new consoles, which will arrive in July, comes with a bundled cartridge (more on that in a moment). The previous consoles have been discontinued but will be available while stocks last.

Blaze redesigned the handheld Evercade EXP-R with the aim of reducing costs. To that end, Blaze has removed two features: 18 Capcom games that were built into the EXP and the Mini-HDMI out port. On the plus side, that means the latest version of the console is $100 (£100 in the UK and €120 in Europe), $30 less than the previous system.

The EXP-R has a new textured grip on the back that seeks to improve comfort for longer gaming sessions. The system is charcoal grey and there are turquoise accents on the power, menu, start and select buttons. Like its predecessor, the EXP-R includes Wi-Fi and a TATE button, which allows you to switch to vertical play while maintaining an accurate screen ratio.

Rather than being a handheld, the Evercade VS-R plugs into your TV. It has the same color scheme as the EXP-R, with a turquoise power button and front LED light.

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

LG's S95TR soundbar with wireless Dolby Atmos is now available for $1,500
In typical LG fashion, the company is following up its CES soundbar announcement with pricing and availability info a few months later. The company's latest Dolby Atmos model, the S95TR, is now available from LG and other retailers

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Apple renews For All Mankind and announces a spinoff series set in the Soviet Union
For All Mankind is coming back for a fifth season of space-based alt-history hijinks on Apple TV . This is unsurprising news, given the near-universal critical acclaim heaped on season four. However, the company also surprise-announced a spinoff series called Star City that will follow the Russian space program.

Original series creators Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi are all onboard for Star City, though there's no cast yet. The plot synopsis calls it a "robust expansion" of the universe and refers to it as a "propulsive, paranoid thriller." It also looks to be taking viewers back to the events of season one of For All Mankind, chronicling the Russian moon landing that started the story.



Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

X's AI bot is so dumb it can't tell the difference between a bad game and vandalism
Last night, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson had a rough outing shooting 0 for 10 in a loss against the Sacramento Kings, ending the team's chances of making the NBA playoffs. But then, almost as if to add insult to injury, X's AI bot Grok generated a trending story claiming Thompson was vandalizing homes in the area with bricks.

Now at this point, even casual basketball fans may be able to see what went wrong. But Grok isn't very smart, because it seems that after seeing user posts about a player simply missing a bunch of shots (aka shooting bricks), the bot took things literally resulting in a completely fictitious AI-generated report.



Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Creepy monitoring service sells searchable Discord user data for as little as $5
A data scraping service is selling information on what it claims to be 600 million Discord users. A report from 404 Media details Spy Pet, an online service that gathers, stores and sells troves of information from the social platform. But have no fear: It markets its services to totally trustworthy paying clients like law enforcement, AI model trainers or your average person curious about "what their friends are up to." Why ask them when you can simply purchase and download a copy of their Discord activity?

For as little as $5 in cryptocurrency, Spy Pet lets you access data about specific users, such as which servers they participate in, what messages they've sent and when they joined or left voice channels. It claims to have information on an alleged 600 million users across 14,000 Discord servers and three billion messages.

As for what inspired Spy Pet, its creator suggested it's a classic case of doing what one enjoys and pushing personal boundaries. "I like scraping, archiving, and challenging myself," the creator told 404 Media. "Discord is basically the holy grail of scraping, since Discord is trying absolutely anything to combat scraping."

Some people run a 5K, set a weight-loss goal or take up pickleball. Others start a social scraping service that sells data to the feds, AI companies and creepy exes. To each their own!

404 Media says the database lets you search for specific users. For each search result, a page shows the servers the user has joined (at least among those Spy Pet monitors), their connected accounts, a table showing their recent messages (including the server name

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

TikTok Notes is basically Instagram for your TikTok account
TikTok is experimenting with an all-new app that's just for sharing photos with text updates. It's called TikTok Notes, and it's available now in Australia and Canada.

"We're in the early stages of experimenting with a dedicated space for photo and text content with TikTok Notes," the company wrote in an update on X. "We hope that the TikTok community will use TikTok Notes to continue sharing their moments through photo posts. Whether documenting adventures, expressing creativity, or simply sharing snapshots of one's day, the TikTok Notes experience is designed for those who would like to share and engage through photo content."

Based on App Store screenshots, it appears the app will, like TikTok, have two feeds: a "for you" timeline of recommended content as well as a "following" feed. Posts appear to be very similar to what you'd see scrolling Instagram (before TikTok-like video took over the app, anyway): single images or carousels of multiple photos with lengthy captions.

Rumors of the Instagram-like app have been swirling for the last month as reverse engineers unearthed references in TikTok's code. Some TikTok users had also seen in-app

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, by Sayonara Wild Hearts devs, comes out on May 16
The surreal puzzle game Lorelei and the Laser Eyes hits the Nintendo Switch and PC on May 16, as revealed at Nintendo's Indie World Showcase event. This is a big deal, as the game's being developed by Simogo, the company behind the mind-blowing adventure Sayonara Wild Hearts, which was one of our favorite titles of 2019. It's also being published by Annapurna Interactive, who helped steward games like Stray, Open Roads and Cocoon to digital store shelves.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes was originally teased a couple of years back and looks to be a more frightening experience than Sayonara Wild Hearts. The game's title is quite literal, as you play as someone named Lorelei who has, wait for it, laser eyes. It's set inside of a mysterious mansion, with a mostly black-and-white color palette. It looks positively soaked in vibes.

There are all kinds of different puzzles to solve as you explore this mansion, so expect the gameplay to change on a dime, just like Sayonara Wild Hearts. Despite the brand-new trailer, much of the title is still soaked in mystery, which is likely a purposeful move by the devs and publisher. We do know that it's non-linear, so you can explore and solve puzzles at your own pace.



Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, by Sayonara Wild Hearts devs, comes out on May 19
The surreal puzzle game Lorelei and the Laser Eyes hits the Nintendo Switch and PC on May 16, as revealed at Nintendo's Indie World Showcase event. This is a big deal, as the game's being developed by Simogo, the company behind the mind-blowing adventure Sayonara Wild Hearts, which was one of our favorite titles of 2019. It's also being published by Annapurna Interactive, who helped steward games like Stray, Open Roads and Cocoon to digital store shelves.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes was originally teased a couple of years back and looks to be a more frightening experience than Sayonara Wild Hearts. The game's title is quite literal, as you play as someone named Lorelei who has, wait for it, laser eyes. It's set inside of a mysterious mansion, with a mostly black-and-white color palette. It looks positively soaked in vibes.

There are all kinds of different puzzles to solve as you explore this mansion, so expect the gameplay to change on a dime, just like Sayonara Wild Hearts. Despite the brand-new trailer, much of the title is still soaked in mystery, which is likely a purposeful move by the devs and publisher. We do know that it's non-linear, so you can explore and solve puzzles at your own pace.



Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Yars Rising revives a 40-year-old Atari game as a modern metroidvania
How many of you had "sequel to a game from 1982" on your Nintendo Indie World Showcase bingo card? If so, you just won big. Yars Rising is a modern metroidvania take on the Atari 2600 classic Yars' Revenge, and all it took was 42 short years to reach fruition. By my math, this is the longest break between sequels in gaming history, and it's not even close. 

That's not the only interesting tidbit about this game. As previously mentioned, it's a metroidvania, but this one is made by WayForward. For the uninitiated, the company's basically a metroidvania and retro-gaming factory, going all the way back to the Game Boy Color and the original Shantae. Since then, WayForward has released a slew of fantastic Shantae titles and many other games in the metroidvania genre, including the criminally underrated The Mummy Demastered. WayForward also helped with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which is considered the spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The devs know their stuff.

Now, Yars Rising may be the sequel to Yars' Revenge, but that doesn't mean it plays anything like it. The original was an early version of what eventually became known as shoot 'em ups, like R-Type and Ikaruga. The new one is a sid

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Shadow platformer Schim is coming to PC and consoles on July 18
It's always nice to get a release date for a game that's caught the eye whenever it has popped up. We've had a few looks at Schim, a pretty puzzle platformer, in previous game showcases. It emerged during Nintendo's Indie World stream on Wednesday that the game is coming to Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and PC on July 18. The creators say it will run smoothly on Steam Deck too.

You'll take on the guise of a schim, a frog-like creature that's linked to a human but gets separated from them. To get back to your person, you'll need to leap from one shadow to the next. Schim seems to play around with light and shadows in intriguing ways, such as a forklift activating to give your character access to a new area horizontally and pulling back on a sign to propel yourself further forward.

Schim uses an abstract art style that hopefully lends itself to moderately challenging gameplay. Developers Ewoud van der Werf and Nils Slijkerman, who have worked on the game for four years, also say that each level will feature small stories. I'm looking forward to this one.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/shadow-platformer-schim-is-coming-to-pc-and-consoles-on-july-18-162815433.html?src=rss

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Good riddance, WH-XB910N: Sony's confusing product names are going away
When Sony debuted its ULT lineup of speakers and headphones last week, it took the first step towards a big change on naming its products. For years, the company has used an awfully confusing mix of letters and numbers, some of which are just one letter off from products with entirely different designs. You'll no longer have to remember something like WH-B910N to find the headphones you're hunting for as the new names make it immediately apparent what product you're reading about.

The ULT line of audio gear is replacing the Extra Bass brand Sony has used for several years. Described as the "ultimate step into the evolution" of its portable audio devices, ULT Power Sound is an improved progression of the low-end boost the Extra Bass products offered. ULT breaks down even further into Tower (large party speakers), Field (smaller, portable Bluetooth speakers) and Wear (headphones). I'll concede that Field is a bit obscure at first glance, but at least Tower and Wear accurately describe the products bearing those labels. All three are a massive upgrade from SRS-XV900, SRS-XG300 or WH-CH720N, three model names that were used for previous versions of three similar models.

Sony is also revising the names for both home audio and TV products, employing its existing Bravia moniker here. The company's new TVs are the Bravia 9 (mini LED), Bravia 8 (OLED), Bravia 7 (mini LED) and Bravia 3 (LED) instead of older names like XR-65A95L. For soundbars and speakers, the

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Sony's new Bravia TVs boast powerful processors and a Prime Video calibration mode
Sony just revealed its lineup of new TVs for 2024. While many boast interesting features that we'll get into later, the biggest change is naming conventions. Sony TVs used to be named confusing strings of numbers and letters, but that's all gone now. The names here are clean and simple. They all use Bravia, a long-time Sony moniker for televisions, and a single digit number.

The Bravia 3 is a standard 4K LED TV with dynamic HDR, upscaling technology and a 60Hz refresh rate. This is the most basic box within Sony's lineup, but it still looks plenty capable. The company promises that it also uses eight percent less power than last year's equivalent, which is always nice. The TV is available in sizes ranging from 43-inches all the way up to 85-inches, with prices going from $600 to $1,800.

Sony Don't ask what happened to Bravia 4, 5 and 6, because the next TV in the lineup is called the Bravia 7. This is a mini LED box with some neat tech, including a powerful updated processor and Sony's proprietary Backlight Master Drive local dimming algorithm. The company says this allows it to feature 790 percent more dimming zones compared to last year's similar X90L. The more dimming zones a TV has, the smaller each one will be. This leads to an increase in precision and a better contrast ratio.

It also uses less power than the X90L, to the tune of 15 percent, and boasts a new calibration mode

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Sony debuts Bravia Theater line of Dolby Atmos soundbars and speakers
Sony didn't announce any new home theater audio gear at CES, so it was only a matter of time before the company would reveal its latest soundbars and speakers. Today, the company unveiled its new Bravia Theater line, a moniker that the company's soundbars and living room speakers will carry for the foreseeable future. Sony is ditching the HT-XXXX naming scheme, which should be less confusing for all parties. For the initial offering, the company has two new Dolby Atmos soundbars, a four-speaker surround system and a wearable neckband speaker. 

At the top of the list sits the Bravia Theater Bar 9. This is Sony's new flagship soundbar, but the company says it's 36-percent smaller than the former premium model, the HT-A7000. Inside, a 13-speaker setup includes three tweeters, four woofers, two beam tweeters, two up-firing and two side-firing drivers. The slightly smaller

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 (2024) review: Not just for gamers
ASUS' latest 14-inch gaming laptop is an incredibly versatile and stylish all-rounder. But for those who want something even beefier, there's the ROG Zephyrus G16. Not only does it feature a more powerful Intel Core Ultra 9 CPU, it supports up to NVIDIA RTX 4090 graphics cards. That's not all. Its OLED display refreshes twice as fast at 240Hz and it has surprisingly good speakers as well as a full-size SD card reader for quickly transferring files from a camera. So despite being aimed at gamers, the G16 is better equipped to serve as a portable editing rig, which makes this a great system even for people who don't care about bunny-hopping and fragging.

Design The G16's new all-aluminum chassis is simply fantastic. That's because in addition to being a touch lighter (about 0.1 pounds) and thinner (about 0.2 inches) than the previous model, it feels even sturdier. For 2024, ASUS ditched the dot matrix display on its lid for a single diagonal slash with white (not RGB) LEDs running down the center, which gives the laptop a much more sophisticated look without becoming boring. It's like a teenager who grew up and learned to dress properly without losing touch with their gamer roots. On the inside, there's a backlit keyboard with rainbow lighting (though it's single-zone and not per-key) flanked by some surprisingly punchy speakers with an absolutely massive touchpad below. All told, it's a beautifully designed system that looks as good as it feels.



ASUS has also included the right ble

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Boston Dynamics unveils an all-electric version of its Atlas robot
When Boston Dynamics announced on Tuesday it was retiring the hydraulic version of Atlas, there were a few hints that the company wasn't done with humanoid robots entirely. Sure enough, one day later, Boston Dynamics has unveiled an all-electric model.

Atlas was originally envisioned as a search-and-rescue robot and Boston Dynamics claims the latest model is designed for real-world applications. It calls Atlas "the world's most dynamic humanoid robot" and it certainly looks limber. 

A video shows Atlas lying prostrate and flipping its feet over to push itself up into a standing position. The robot then turns its head 180 degrees, followed by its torso. The rotations of the legs and the rest of the body are a little unnerving, but it's an impressive display of balance and flexibility. 

The electric Atlas appears sleeker than its predecessor, which looked slightly like a person wearing an exosuit. Rather than having a face with human features, Atlas' featureless head looks a bit like a ring light.

Boston Dynamics says parent company Hyundai's next generation of automot

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Cozy cat sim Little Kitty, Big City arrives for consoles and PCs on May 9
After the massive success of Stray, the world has been crying out for another big game about cats. Well, our pleas have been answered. The cozy cat sim Little Kitty, Big City will be available for download on May 9 for multiple platforms, including the Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC via Steam. It costs $25 and preorders are available now, with Switch owners getting 10 percent off for the time being. It's also a Game Pass day one release.

There's a new trailer, which was revealed at Nintendo's latest Indie World Showcase event. It looks very cute. You play as a, duh, cat and explore a Japan-inspired city, getting into mischief and wearing a bunch of costumes. It's a cozy game, so don't expect any bloodthirsty cyberpunk ruffians to chase you around town.

The cel-shaded visuals are adorable and the "mini-open-world" looks like its filled with stuff to do, people to annoy and sun-soaked spots to take a good nap. We'll never fully understand what goes on in the brains of our favorite felines, they are aliens after all, but this game will at least give us some time in their shoes/paws.

The developer is a company called Double Dagger Studio, which was started by veteran game designer Matt T. Wood, who spent nearly two decades

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Logitech adds programmable ChatGPT shortcuts to its mice and keyboards
Logitech has rolled out a new software tool called Logi AI Prompt Builder, which gives you quick access to ChatGPT's features. You first have to link a specific key on your keyboard or a button on your mouse with the tool from within the Logi Options software. After that, you can use that key or button as a shortcut to summon the prompt builder when you need it. 

The tool window pops up when you call it, populated with the text you've highlighted. It already has functions or "recipes" you can use, such as Rephrase, Summarize and Create Email, that will base their results on the text you've selected. However, you can create your own recipes, as well, including one that can generate images. From within each feature, you can also adjust the result's length and tone until you get one that fits your needs. It could help prevent disruption to your workflow if you do use AI tools frequently. And if you don't, well, maybe OpenA

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Samsung Frame TVs are up to 37 percent off right now
TVs might have gotten much less bulky in recent years, but most are still just big black screens. If you've been holding out for something a bit prettier, check out Amazon's sale on Samsung's QLED 4K The Frame LS03B Series. Most of the sizes are down to record lows, but the 75-inch model has the best deal thanks to a 37 percent discount. It's still going to cost you a pretty penny, but the framed TV is down to $1,895 from $2,998 — a $1,103 savings. 



We've been big fans of Samsung's frame TVs for some time and love not having to stare at a blank screen. This model has features such as an anti-reflection and matte display, so it doesn't give itself away as a TV hiding along your actual artwork. You can display one of over 2,000 beautiful works from across the world, ranging from The Starry Night to The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. However, on top of the money you shelled out on the TV, there's also a $6 monthly subscription to the Samsung Art Store. You c

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Formlabs' new 3D printers are faster and cheaper to use
The dawn of the 3D-printing age was full of sky-high promises that had no chance of matching the reality of what was possible. Companies like Formlabs have taken the subsequent decade to look for places that the manufacturing process can work, and refining its technology to suit. Today, the company is announcing its Form 4 and Form 4B printers that, it says, offer a substantial improvement on what has gone before. And with maturity comes a shift in focus from just being able to create custom doodads on the fly toward a real manufacturing platform. The headline promise is simple: The Form 4 series will crank out prints up to five times faster than its predecessors. Rather than waiting a full day for a prototype to print out, the company is now suggesting you'll be able to get something usable in just two hours.

(For the uninitiated: The B suffix stands for "biocompatible," meaning the unit can 3D-print materials for medical applications. Formlabs has made inroads into the dental and medical industries, making cheap, custom-designed dentures as well as training models, prostheses and custom-fit medical equipment.)

The faster print time is enabled by better ha

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Snap is adding a watermark to AI-generated images
It's becoming increasingly difficult to determine what is AI-created as tools' capabilities continue to improve. Marking AI-created images is one solution and an option Snapchat is expanding on. The platform is introducing a watermark on AI-generated content that is saved to your camera roll or exported.

Snapchat In a surprise to absolutely no one, Snapchat's AI watermark will be a ghost with sparkles next to it. There doesn't seem to be any way to control where the icon appears (as is typical with watermarks), but we'll know more when Snapchat adds the feature "soon."

The addition of an AI marker for externally seen images follows Snapchat's steps to label in-app content. There's the extend tool, which creates the effect of a zoomed out image, and has a sparkle icon to indicate it's an AI feature. Then there's the Dreams feature, which uses generative AI to turn selfies into "fantastical images that transform their persona into new identities." Anyone who receives a Dream image also

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Watch Nintendo's Indie World stream here at 10AM ET
It's time for another video game showcase and this time around, Nintendo's stepping up to the plate. The company's latest Indie World stream takes place today at 10AM ET and you can watch it above.

The showcase is slated to last for around 20 minutes and it will feature announcements and updates on games that are coming to Nintendo Switch this year. With only Endless Ocean Luminous, Luigi's Mansion 2 HD and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door on the docket as things stand, the first-party calendar is looking pretty sparse in the run up to the Switch's successor, which is rumored to arrive in early 2025. So giving fans some exciting indies to look forward to in the meantime is a smart idea.  

There are some signs that Hollow Knight: Silksong may show up during the showcase. It wouldn't be a surprise to see updates on some of the year's biggest hits, such as Balatro. 

One thing I'm especially curious about is whether we'll ever see Palworld on Switch. That enormous hit is effectively a survival-based spin on Pokémon. Given Nintendo's close association with that franchise and The Pokémon Company, a

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

WhatsApp's new chat filters make it easier to find unread messages
WhatsApp is making it a bit easier to find specific conversations by introducing Chat Filters. The new update will let you sort messages by All (as it currently is), Groups or Unread. They're all pretty self-explanatory, with Unread showing any, well, unread messages and Groups showing only your group chats. Groups will also show you any subgroups from Communities. 

You could already use WhatsApp's search bar to find a particular conversation, so if you know who you're looking for, this update isn't likely to change much for you. This feature will likely be the most beneficial for finding the chats you've yet to respond to, as it can be hard to remember who you still owe a message to. The Unread filter will show messages you've yet to open and ones you've marked as "unread" to return to later. 

The new sort options will live at the top of your messages, so you can easily switch back and forth without having to dig into settings. WhatsApp has begun rolling out filters and claims they should be available to everyone in the coming weeks. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/whatsapps-new-chat-filters-make-it-easier-to-find-unread-messages-123003086.html?src=rss

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

This hopping robot with flailing legs could explore asteroids in the future
Over the past two-and-a-half years, a group of students from ETH Zurich have been developing a robot with three spindly legs that was designed to be able to hop like an insect in microgravity. That's right — the curious little machine was built for space, specifically for the exploration of small celestial bodies like asteroids and moons. SpaceHopper, as the robot is called, could thus provide us more information to advance our understanding of life's origin, of the origin of water on our planet and of asteroids as potential providers of valuable resources. 

It has no preferred orientation, so it can go in any direction, and it has nine motors that give it the capability to jump long distances in low-gravity environments. The robot can even self-right after landing, ensuring the safety of any scientific payload it may carry. Since SpaceHopper was made for use on asteroids and moons, which have very little gravity compared to Earth, it has to be tested under conditions similar to those environments first. To see if it will actually work as intended, the students and the European Space Agency have recently taken the robot on a parabolic flight that creates a zero gravity environment when the aircraft freefalls. Apparently, they had no idea if SpaceHopper would be able to move as they intended in zero gravity scenarios and seeing that it actually worked was a "massive weight off [their] shoulders."

You can watch SpaceHopper flail about in the test flight below:



Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

The best SSDs for PS5 in 2024
When the PlayStation 5 originally came out, players were not able to expand the console's storage — until a software update finally unlocked that feature. While some were served well by the device's built-in 667GB of space for storing games, others (like my son) were forced to perform a near-daily juggling act that involved frequently deleting and redownloading games due to the console's low SSD storage space and the apparent need to have constant access to every Call of Duty game.

Now, a standard PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD can solve all of your PS5 storage woes. If that mess of acronyms has you recoiling, don't worry, you'll see that it's not all that complicated. And if you want to know which are the best SSDs for the PS5, you can skip to the end ??for our top picks.

Read more: These are the best SSDs in 2024

How much storage do I need? Aaron Souppouris / Engadget The PS5 will accept internal drives between 250GB and 4TB in capacity. If you already own a PlayStation 5, chances are you have a reasonable idea of how much storage you need ??for your game library. If you're

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

The Morning After: Boston Dynamics' bi-ped Atlas robot is going into retirement
Almost 11 years after Boston Dynamics revealed the Atlas humanoid robot, it's finally being retired. The DARPA-funded robot was designed for search-and-rescue missions, but it rose to fame thanks to videos showing off its dance moves and—let's be honest—rudimentary parkour skills.

 Atlas is trotting off into the sunset with one final YouTube video, thankfully including plenty of bloopers — which are the best parts. Boston Dynamics, of course, has more commercially successful robots in its lineup, including Spot. It's likely not the end of the line for the company's humanoid robots, either.

— Mat Smith

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Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

Menteebot is a human-sized AI robot that you command with natural language
The whole world is ragging on a barely functional $700 AI pin at the moment, but what if similar tech was squeezed into a gigantic robot that lives in your home? That's a worst case scenario for the recently-introduced Menteebot, a human-sized robot that's stuffed to the brim with AI-adjacent bells and whistles.

It's being advertised as the "personalized AI-based robot you can mentor." It can run, walk sideways and even turn, all "with the same balance and control as a human." Manufacturer Mentee Robotics also says it'll adjust its gait when lifting heavy objects. It should be able to lift these heavy objects with ease due to the fact that it's, well, absolutely gigantic. Many of the models also have no head, which certainly doesn't recall any old-time myths about a scary demon on a horse.

Now, we've had humanoid robots for a while. There was Honda's Asimo, which has been sadly discontinued, and the army of nightmare creatures that Boston Dynamics is busy cooking up. Agility Robotics has been building out its robot assis

Engadget
Apr 17, 2024

ESA's Gaia mission discovers the biggest stellar black hole in our galaxy yet
In addition to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way also serves as home to smaller stellar black holes that form when a massive star collapses. Scientists believe there are 100 million stellar black holes in our galaxy alone, but most of them have yet to be discovered. The ones that had already been found are, on average, around 10 times the size of our sun, with the biggest one reaching 21 solar masses. Thanks to the information collected by the European Space Agency's Gaia mission, though, scientists have discovered a stellar black hole that's 33 times the size of our sun, making it the biggest one of its kind we've ever seen in our galaxy so far. It's also relatively close to our planet at around 1,926 light-years away. 

Gaia BH3, as it's now called, was first noticed by a team of ESA scientists poring over data from the mission to look for anything unusual. An old giant star from the nearby Aquila constellation caught their attention with its wobbling, leading to the discovery that it was orbiting a massive black hole. BH3 was hard to find despite being so close — it's now the second closest known black hole to our planet — because it doesn't have celestial bodies close enough that could feed it matter and make it light up in X-ray telescopes. Before its discovery, we'd only found black holes of comparable size in distant galaxies. 

The ESA team used data from ground-based telescopes like the European Southern Observatory to confirm the size of the newly disc

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