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Engadget
Jul 07, 2022

North Korean hackers are using ransomware to attack healthcare providers, feds warn
State-sponsored North Korean hackers have been targeting healthcare providers since at least May 2021, according to the US government. The FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of the Treasury have issued a joint advisory warning healthcare organizations about the attackers' MO. Apparently, they've been using a ransomware called Maui to encrypt healthcare organizations' computers and then demanding payment from the victims to get their networks unlocked. The agencies' warning contains information about Maui, including its indicators of compromise and the techniques the bad actors use, which they got from a sample obtained by the FBI. 

The agencies said the attackers locked up healthcare providers' electronic health records services, diagnostics services, imaging services and intranet services, among others. In some cases, the attacks kept the providers out of their systems and disrupted the services they provide for prolonged periods. 

According to the agencies' advisory, the malware is manually executed by a remote actor once it's in the victim's network. They "highly discourage" paying ransom, since that doesn't ensure that the bad actors will give victims the keys to unlock their files. However, the agencies admit that the attackers will most likely continue targeting organizations in the healthcare sector. "The North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors likely assume healthcare organizations are willing to pay ransoms because these organizations provide services that are critical to human life and health," they said.

The agencies are now urging healthcare providers to employ mitigation techniques and to prepare for possible ransomware attacks by installing software updates, maintaining off

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Rivian says it's still on track to produce 25,000 vehicles despite production woes
Moreso than most automakers, Rivian has had a tough 2022. At the start of the year, the company, blaming inflation and component shortages, raised the base price of its quad-motor R1T pickup truck by a whopping $12,000. And while it went on to quickly backtrack, the decision led to a shareholder lawsuit. 

Despite those early woes, Rivian says it's still on track to produce 25,000 vehicles in 2022. The company reiterated the prediction in a statement it shared on Wednesday. Rivian said it built 4,401 R1T trucks, R1S SUVs and Amazon delivery vans at its factory in Normal, Illinois and delivered 4,467 vehicles during fiscal Q2.

"Supply chain and production are ramping," Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe tweeted after the announcement. "We just announced production of 4,401 vehicles for Q2 bringing our cumulative total since start of production to 7,969 — keeping us on track to reach our year-end goals."


Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Horizon Forbidden West's latest PS5 update adds a ‘Balanced' 40Hz graphics mode
Horizon Forbidden West was already one of the best-looking games on PlayStation 5, and now developer Guerrilla Games has found a way to make it look even better. With Forbidden West's latest update, the studio has added a 40Hz "Balanced" rendering mode and support for both variable refresh rate (VRR) and high refresh rate (HFR).

VRR is a feature that's relatively new to console gaming. It syncs your TV's refresh rate to the frame rate of the game you're playing, thereby helping to eliminate screen tearing whenever there's a drop in performance. Meanwhile, the new Balanced setting promises to give you the best of Forbidden West's existing Performance and Fidelity modes by offering a happy medium between the two.


Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Extreme sports Apple Watch could feature an expansive 2-inch display
Apple's long-rumored extreme sports Series 8 Watch could ship with the company's largest smartwatch display to date. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the forthcoming wearable features a screen that measures almost 2 inches diagonally and has a 410 by 502 resolution. Compared to the display on the 45mm Series 7, the largest smartwatch Apple sells at the moment, the new model would offer about seven percent more screen real estate. Gurman says the company could use the extra space to show additional fitness metrics or more information on watch faces at one time.

Corroborating Bloomberg's reporting is a recent tweet from display analyst Ross Young who said the Series 8 lineup would include a model with a 1.99-inch display. Outside of a larger screen, Gurman says the new variant will feature a more shatter-resistant screen, a higher capacity battery and a studier case made from metal more robust than aluminum. It will also include the fever detection feature he previously reported was coming to the entire Series 8 family, as well as better tracking capabilities for activities like hiking and swimming. What it won't include is a faster processor: Apple's upcoming S8 chipset reportedly features the same capabilities as its S7 and S6 predecessors.

If Apple follows its usual release cadence, the tech giant will likely announce the wearable at its iPhone event in the fall. Gurman previously said the company was work

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Elaborate hack of 'Axie Infinity' tied to fake LinkedIn job offer
Axie Infinity was the prime example of crypto gaming last year, when its play-to-earn formula helped it reach up to 2.7 million daily active users last November. But that all came crashing down in March, when hackers stole $625 million from the Ethereum-linked Ronin sidechain powering the game. Now, it turns out, the source of that hack came from an unlikely source: A fake job offer from LinkedIn. 

As The Block reports (via The Verge) based on two sources, the hackers infiltrated Axie Infinity owner Sky Mavin's network by sending a spyware-filled PDF to one employee. That person thought they were accepting a high-paying job from another firm, but it turns out that company never existed. According to the US government, North Korean hacker group Lazarus was behind the attack. 

"Employees are under constant advanced spear-phishing attacks on various social channels and one employee was compromised," Sky Mavis noted in a post-mortem blog post following the hack. "This employee no longer works at Sky Mavis. The attacker managed to leverage that access to penetrate Sky Mavis IT infrastructure and gain access to the validator nodes."

Axie Infinityspun back up last week, and it's still relying on the Ronin sidechain, albeit wi

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Grab 'The Matrix Awakens' Unreal demo before it's delisted on July 9th
Time is running out to download Epic Games' The Matrix Awakens. The free open-world interactive demo made with Unreal Engine 5 will be removed from the PlayStation and Xbox stores on July 9th. Luckily, players can still access the game an unlimited amount of times once it's downloaded. The tie-in experience to The Matrix Resurrections debuted last year, and was one of the first examples of what Epic's next generation game engine can do. UE5 has since been released to the wider developer community.

While The Matrix Awakens isn't a full game, it's still a memorable introduction to UE5's immersive visuals and natural lighting. Players are essentially given free rein to roam through the titular Matrix and soak in the visual effects. The game was written by Lana Wachowski, the co-writer and director of The Matrix trilogy films, and features performances by both Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves.

If you've already dipped your toe into the world of The Matrix Awakens and are interested in experiencing more games using UE5, a number of new titles have been announced, including a new Tomb Raider game, ARK 2, the upcomin

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Netflix says a 'Stranger Things' stage play and spin-off series are on the way
The otherworldly dust has settled on season four of Stranger Things, which just wrapped up with a blockbuster pair of episodes. While The Duffer Brothers, who created the show, have one more season of the Netflix megahit to make, they're looking ahead to future projects.

Matt and Ross Duffer have set up a new production company as part of their partnership with Netflix. Fittingly enough, it's called Upside Down Pictures. The studio, which will be run by Ozark and Orphan Black producer Hilary Leavitt, will "aim to create the kind of stories that inspired the Duffers growing up — stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism," Netflix said.

The company and the Duffers also revealed some of the projects they have in the pipeline. For one thing, they're working on a stage play set in the world of Stranger Things. Emmy- and Tony-award winner Stephen Daldry, known for his work on The Crown and Billy Elliot, will direct the play. A live-action Stranger Things spin-off series is also in the works.

Intriguingly, Netflix is taking another stab at adapting the classic manga and anime series Death Note with the help of the Duffers. Unlike the poorly received 2017 movie, this will be a live-action show

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

'Forspoken' is delayed again, this time to January 24th
For the second time this year, Square Enix is delaying Forspoken. Following a delay that pushed the title from its original May 24th release date, the upcoming action RPG from Final Fantasy XV studio Luminous Productions was scheduled to hit PlayStation 5 and PC on October 11th, 2022. It will now instead come out on January 24th, 2023, the publisher announced on Wednesday.

"As a result of ongoing discussions with key partners, we have made the strategic decision to move the launch date of Forspoken to January 24, 2023," Square Enix said on Twitter. "All game elements are now complete, and development is in its final polishing phase."

The delay comes on the same day Sony announced the release date for God of War: Ragnarok. The latest project from the company's Santa Monica studio will arrive on PS5 and PS4 on November 9th. With Forspoken pushed back to 2023, Sony's fall release schedule now only includes Ragnarok and The Last of Us Part I - the latter is due on September 2nd. The last time we got an extended look at Forspoken was during a hands-off preview Square Enix held at the end of l

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Apple is building a Lockdown Mode to fend off cyberattacks on high-profile users
Apple has announced Lockdown Mode, an "extreme" level of security designed for a "very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats." It will be available this fall when the company rolls out iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.

The company says it created Lockdown Mode to help protect high-profile people who, because of their status or job, might be personally targeted by malware developed by the likes of NSO Group, which is behind Pegasus, or other state-backed groups. Switching on Lockdown Mode will severely restrict the functions of an iPhone, iPad or Mac to limit possible entry points for spyware.

In Messages, for instance, most attachments other than images will be blocked. The same goes for link previews. Lockdown Mode will prohibit incoming FaceTime calls and other invites, unless it's from a person you've previously called or shared an invite with. Wired iPhone connections with computers and accessories will be disabled when the device is locked.

Apple will also block some web technologies, such as

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Japan's amended cyberbullying law makes online insults punishable by one year in prison
Insulting someone online could land an individual in Japan a one-year prison term under an amendment to the country's penal code enacted on Thursday morning. Following the apparent suicide of Hana Kimura and a paltry ¥9,000 (around $81) fine for one of the men accused of bullying the Terrace House star in 2020, government officials began a review of Japan's cyberbullying laws. Under the previous version of the country's penal code, the punishment for posting online insults was a fine of ¥10,000 or less and fewer than 30 days in prison. Now, the law allows for financial penalties of up to ¥300,000 or about $2,200.

Despite pressure from the public on the government to tackle cyberbullying, the bill that introduced the amendment was controversial. CNNreports it only passed after Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party added a provision that calls on the government to review the law in three years to examine its impact on freedom of expression. As The Verge points out, there are also concerns the law isn't specific enough about what counts as an insult.

The country's penal code defines insults as an effort to demean someone without referencing specific facts about them - defamation, by contrast, includes reference to specific traits. "There needs to be a guideline that makes a distinction on what qualifies as an insult," Seiho Cho, a criminal lawyer i

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

A colorful Splatoon 3-themed Nintendo Switch OLED is on the way
Nintendo occasionallyreleases special-edition Switch models for its big games and Splatoon 3 will be no different. A very colorful version of the Switch OLED will be available on August 26th, a couple of weeks before the game arrives on September 9th. This version of the console costs $360 — $10 more than the regular OLED. Pre-orders are open now.

The main body has gray artwork from the game on the rear, but it's the Joy-Cons that really make this special version shine. The left one has a blue and purple scheme and the right Joy-Con has a yellow and green gradient. Both Joy-Cons have squid-style artwork and a white design on the rear. Here's hoping they'll be available separately at some point. The console also comes with a white Splatoon 3-centric dock, with a similar art style and a splash of yellow ink.

Unfortunately, Nintendo isn't tossing in a copy of the game as a bonus — you'll need to buy Splatoon 3 separately. The company will also release a $75 Splatoon 3 Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (with similar art and blue and yellow grips) on the day the game comes out, as well as a themed $25 carrying case.

Nintendo

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Is the Honor Magic4 Pro a cinematographer's dream?
After it spun out from Huawei, Honor wanted to make a splash with its first flagship, the Magic3 Pro. One of the biggest features the company boasted about was the camera, saying it was good enough to shoot a proper movie with. Armed with one, we'd all be turned into miniature Tom Cruises, shooting TikToks as if they were destined for the multiplex. Unfortunately, the phone never left its native China, but Honor is using the same pitch for its successor, the Magic4 Pro, which has arrived in Europe.

Certainly, Honor distinguished itself with the spec list, which reads like the company threw the kitchen sink, then the kitchen, then the dining room at the handset. The Pro model has a 50-megapixel primary camera paired with a second 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 122 degree field of view. On top of that, there's a 64-megapixel telephoto with 100x digital zoom and an 8x8 Direct Time of Flight sensor, giving it whip-fast focusing.

The "IMAX-enhanced" phone's cinematic credentials go further: Honor enlisted the help of a professional colorist to devise specific hue palettes for video. Bryan McMahan created a series of Look Up Tables (LUTs) for the phone which act like an Instagram filter for your video. These range from a Sunny mode that makes your footage look like it was shot at the height of summer, and a Gloomy mode which makes everything look like it's been through a bleach-pass. One of my favorites was Focus, which dials down all the colors except for skin tone, at least for my caucasia

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

UK's antitrust watchdog investigating Microsoft and Activision megadeal
Microsoft will have to satisfy more than just the Federal Trade Commission to complete its $68.7 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard. On Wednesday, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority announced it would investigate the proposed merger. The watchdog says it seeks to determine whether the agreement would create a "substantial lessening of competition" within the UK. The CMA could announce a decision on whether it will move forward with a probe as early as September 1st. With today's announcement, the public has until July 20th to submit comment.

Microsoft was most likely ready for the deal to be intensely scrutinized, and in recent months it has made moves seemingly designed to placate regulators. In June, for instance, the company announced a labor neutrality agreement with the Communications Workers of America, the organization that seeks to represent the quality assurance workers who recently voted to unionize at Activision's Raven Software studio. Just how effective such gestures will be is hard to say. At the start of the year, NVIDIA abandoned its proposed $40 billion deal to buy chip designer ARM after the FTC sued to block the purchase. At the time, the agency called the outcome "signifcant" because it represented "the first abandonment of a litigated vertical merger in many years

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

NASA reestablishes communications with its wayward CAPSTONE satellite
It's been a wild few days for NASA's CAPSTONE mission. Following the lunar satellite's successful launch from Rocket Lab's site on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula, ground control lost contact with the spacecraft shortly after it escaped Earth's gravity well and separated from its Electron rocket carrier on Monday. But after nearly a full day in the dark, NASA announced on Wednesday that its engineers have managed to reopen a line to the 55-pound satellite.

While the situation was concerning, NASA had accounted for just such a possibility. "If needed, the mission has enough fuel to delay the initial post-separation trajectory correction maneuver for several days," a NASA spokesperson told Space.com on Monday.

Dubbed, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE), this spacecraft had spent nearly a week orbiting the planet in order to build up enough momentum to sling it on a four-month, trans-lunar injection (TLI) route over to the moon. Once the CAPSTONE arrives on November 13th, it will follow the planned Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit of

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Marriott suffers at least its seventh data breach since 2010
Marriott confirmed it was the target of yet another data breach after attackers recently breached the company's systems. The company said hackers used social engineering techniques to gain access to an employee's computer. After obtaining around 20GB of data, the person or group behind the attack tried to extort Marriott, but the company refused to pay up. 

The hackers had access to Marriott's network for less than a day. The company told CyberScoop it was already investigating the breach before it received the extortion attempt. The incident is said to have taken place around a month ago, but it only just came to light. Marriott has informed law enforcement and it will notify between 300 and 400 unspecified individuals and regulators as required.

According to DataBreaches, which first reported on the attack, the hackers gained access to a server at BWI Airport Marriott in Maryland. They provided the publication with screenshots that appear to show reservation documents for flight crews, along with ]corporate credit card numbers for an airline or travel agency.

Marriott said most of the information was "non-sensitive internal business files regarding the operation of the property." It's unclear what kinds of other customer and employee data was included. Engadget has contacted Marriott for comment.

This is at least the seventh data security incident involving Marriott since 2010, according to DataBreaches. One of the more notable cases emerged in November 2018. The company said hackers gained access to the reservation dat

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Ubisoft is killing online support for 15 games on September 1st
If you have fond memories of older Ubisoft games with online components from the early 2010s, you might want to check in on them soon. That's because on September 1st 2022, Ubisoft is dropping support for online services in 15 different games including Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.

In a post on Ubisoft's website, the company says it's decommissioning online services in some of its older games in order to "focus our resources on delivering great experiences for players who are playing newer or more popular titles." Depending on the title, gamers will no longer be able to access multiplayer modes or even download and install additional content (DLC). 

Affected games are spread across various platforms including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, HTC Vive, Oculus and Wii U, with notable titles including Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, the 2012 release of Assassin's Creed 3, Anno 2070 and more. And in some cases like Space Junkies, which is a multiplayer-only title, the game will be completely unplayable. Meanwhile, for others such as Ghost Recon Future Soldier, you'll need to put your console in offline mode just to play the solo campaign. 

While most of these games enjoyed 10 to 12 years of support since their release, it's still a bit sad to see Ubisoft drop support for online services for some of its most iconic franchises — especially in titles where DLC will no longer be accessible. For a full list of games that are being decommissioned on September 1st, please visit the company's help page here for more information. 



Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Toyota runs out of federal EV tax credits, pushing prices higher
Toyota is the latest automaker to run out of US federal tax credits and it will join Tesla and GM in losing access to the $7,500 subsidy. The company surpassed the qualifying sales threshold for EVs and hybrids in June, as Bloomberg reports.

The government limited each carmaker to 200,000 EV tax credits, though Toyota and other companies have been lobbying for that cap to be lifted. Toyota says losing the credit will mean its EVs are more expensive for consumers, which will slow the transition away from combustion-engine cars to EVs.

However, Toyota and Tesla have pushed back on a Biden administration plan to grant extra credits to unionized carmakers. GM, Ford and Stellantis (the parent of Fiat and Chrysler) have unionized plants. The Build Back Better Act, which passed through the House but stalled in the Senate, also included extra credits for cars made entirely in the US.

As things stand, Toyota's tax credits will be phased out gradually over a one-year period. Bloomberg notes that the value of the subsidy will be halved twice before it expires. However, Toyota will still be able to take advantage of incentives at the state level.



Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2022
With Amazon Prime Day less than a week away, it's a good time to start thinking about the things you'll want to look for once the deal wave hits. Everything from gadgets to clothes to household necessities will be on sale during the 48-hour event, and if you're a Prime member, you'll have access to all of the deals on Amazon's site. Engadget will be surfacing all of the best tech deals we can find - both on Amazon and elsewhere - but there are some important things to know ahead of time so you can get exactly what you want out of this year's Prime Day.

When is Amazon Prime Day?Amazon Prime Day 2022 will begin at 12AM PT on Tuesday, July 12, and it will end 11:59PM PT on Wednesday, July 13. The two-day shopping event will surface exclusive deals for Prime members, which means you'll have to be a Prime subscriber on Prime Day to take advantage of any of the savings. Amazon still offers a 30-day free trial to new Prime subscribers, so you can start your free trial now and participate in the event.

If you don't pay for Prime and have no intention of doing so, you should still check out Amazon on Prime Day for sales that are available to all shoppers. Plus, other retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and Target will have their own competing Prime Day sales during

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

'God of War Ragnarok' hits PS5, PS4 on November 9th
Sony has confirmed that God of War Ragnarok, the sequel to 2018's dramatic spin on the franchise, will launch on the PlayStation 5 and PS4 on November 9th. That confirms earlier rumors around a November launch date, and it should be welcome news to gamers worried about a delay into 2023. Many major upcoming titles originally slated for this year, like Bethesda's Starfield, have been pushed to next year (Just take your pick for reasons: the ongoing pandemic, rocky working conditions for developers, or the sheer difficulty of pushing out a massive AAA game).

God of War Ragnarok's latest trailer doesn't feature any actual gameplay, but it delivers the usual does of super-powered butt-kicking from Kratos and his son Atreus. It's your typical father and son outing: Facing a variety of demons, a near-death fall off a cliff and a giant wolf of some kind. If anything, Atreus looks like more than just a boy, this time around.



Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Fitbit's Charge 5 fitness tracker is on sale for $110 right now
A new sale at Wellbots knocks the Fitbit Charge 5 down to the best price we've seen it. The GPS-toting fitness band is on sale for $110, or $40 off its usual price, when you use the code ENGDTRUN40 at checkout. If you want something more advanced, Fitbit's Sense smartwatch is $120 off and down to $180 when you use the code ENGDTRUN120 at checkout.

Buy Charge 5 at Wellbots - $110Buy Sense at Wellbots - $180The Charge 5 is Fitbit's most capable fitness tracker and it earned a score of 82 from us. It's pretty similar to the Charge 4 that came before it, but it now has a full color touchscreen with an always-on mode that will make it easier to glance down at the time and activity information on your watch screen. It's also 10 percent thinner than its predecessor, making it even more low-profile than before and, more importantly, more subtle than many smartwatches.

The Charge 5 is a good option for those that prefer the band style but don't want to compromise when it comes to fitness chops. It has a built-in GPS for mapping outdoor workouts, plus an all-day heart rate monitor as well. It tracks activity and sleep while you're wearing it, and it comes with Fitbit Pay as a standard feature, which means you can go out for a coffee after your run and pa

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Meta's latest AI can translate 200 languages in real time
More than 7,000 languages are currently spoken on this planet and Meta seemingly wants to understand them all. Six months ago, the company launched its ambitious No Language Left Behind (NLLB) project, training AI to translate seamlessly between numerous languages without having to go through English first. On Wednesday, the company announced its first big success, dubbed NLLB-200. It's an AI model that can speak in 200 tongues, including a number of less-widely spoken languages from across Asia and Africa, like Lao and Kamba.

According to a Wednesday blog post from the company, NLLB-200 can translate 55 African languages with "high-quality results." Meta boasts that the model's performance on the FLORES-101 benchmark surpassed existing state-of-the-art models by 44 percent on average, and by as much as 70 percent for select African and Indian dialects.

Translating between any two given languages — especially if neither of them is English — has proven a significant challenge to AI language models because, in part, many of these translation systems rely on written data scraped from the internet to train on. Super easy to do if you speak what this sentence is in, much more difficult if you're looking for quality content in Fan or Kikuyu.

Meta AILike most of its other publicly promoted AI programs, Meta has decided to open-source NLLB-200 as well as provide $200,000

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Amazon's kid-focused Glow device is 55 percent off for Prime members
With early Prime Day deals in full swing, Amazon has discounted one of its more niche devices for Prime members. The Glow, Amazon's interactive video-call and projector device, is down to $150 ahead of Prime Day, which is 55 percent off its normal price. That's also the best price we've seen on the gadget since it became widely available in the US earlier this year.

Buy Glow (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $150The unique device combines an 8-inch LCD display with a projector that creates a 19-inch touch-sensitive surface in front of it. This allows kids to play games using the projected touch screen while video chatting with parents or other loved ones, who can also see the play surface and what the kids are doing. Adults can also join in on the games via their own smartphones or tablets. The Glow comes with one year of Amazon Kids , too, which includes a bunch of compatible games for the device.

While admittedly a niche device, the Glow could be a good solution for parents who don't mind their kids playing digital games but would prefer something more interactive than what a standard tablet could offer. Kids can interact with things like digital storybooks with animations, card games, puzzles and more, and create digital art as well. The Glow also works with

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

This 'sand' battery stores renewable energy as heat
A company in Finland has created an an unusual storage solution for renewable energy: One that uses sand instead of lithium ion or other battery technologies. Polar Night Energy and Vatajankoski, an energy utility in Western Finland, have built a storage system that can store electricity as heat in the sand. While there are other organizations researching the use of sand for energy storage, including the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Finns say theirs is the first fully working commercial installation of a battery made from sand.

Similar to traditional storage systems for renewables, Polar's technology stores energy from wind turbines and solar panels that isn't used at once. To be precise, it stores energy as heat, which is then used for the district heating network that Vatajankoski services. Sand is inexpensive and is very effective at storing heat at about 500 to 600 degrees Celsius. Polar says its technology can keep sand "hotter than the stoves in typical saunas" for months until it's time to use that heat during Finland's long winters. 

As the BBC explains, the resistive heating process used to warm the sand generates hot air circulated inside the structure. When it's time to use the stored energy, the battery discharges that heated air to warm water in the district's heating system, which is then pumped into homes, offices and even pools. At the moment, Polar's sand battery only serves a single city, and it's still unclear whether the technology can be scaled up. The BBC also says that its efficiency "falls dramatically" when it comes to returning electricity to the grid instead. It's early days for the technol

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Amazon's Fire TV Cube drops to $60 in early Prime Day deal
A bunch of Amazon devices are starting to go on sale for Prime members ahead of the two-day shopping event next week, and that includes the company's most powerful streaming device. The Fire TV Cube has now been discounted to $60 for Prime members, which is $10 cheaper than its previous all-time low. Amazon appears to be staggering out its early Prime Day deals because the Fire TV Cube is one of two streaming gadgets on sale right now, the other being the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is $10 off and down to $40 for everyone — not just Prime members.

Buy Fire TV Cube (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $60Buy Fire TV Stick 4K at Amazon - $40The Fire TV Cube is Amazon's most capable streamer, with support for 4K content, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and HDR10 . It also works as an Alexa speaker as well with its built-in mics. Not only can you ask Alexa to look up TV shows and movies you want to watch, but you can also ask the voice assistant to do things like control smart lights, add things to your shopping list and more. The Cube is the only Fire TV device that has hands-free Alexa support, making it a good option for those that want a new streaming device and basic virtual assistant features in one device.



Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Apple's MacBook Air M2 ships July 15, with pre-orders starting July 8
Good news for those who've been waiting for Apple's colorful laptops to come out: The new M2-powered MacBook Air will be available for pre-order starting on July 8th at 5AM PDT/8AM EDT. It was first introduced in June at WWDC alongside the redesigned 13-inch MacBook Pro that's similarly powered by the tech giant's new M2 chip, but Apple had released the latter first. Those who prefer the redesigned MacBook Air may not have to wait that long to get their laptops after pre-order begins, because it will start shipping to buyers worldwide on July 15th. 

The new MacBook Air design gets rid of the model's signature wedge silhouette and swaps it for a squarer look close to its Pro-tier siblings. It has a larger 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, but it's lighter than its predecessors and is 20 percent smaller in volume. It will also be available in four colors, namely Silver, Space Gray, Midnight (deep blue) and Starlight. The laptop has a full row of physical function keys instead of a Touch Bar and brings back the older models' MagSafe charging port.

Of course, users can expect a boost in performance, thanks to the new SoC that gives it access to more memory bandwidth and more graphics cores. The laptop also supports fast charging and has a battery that Apple says can last up to 15 hours of web surfing on a single charge. Prices for the new M2-powered MacBook Air start at $1,199, and it will be available for purchase from Apple's website and from retailers like Adorama and B&H.



Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

The Morning After: ASUS' ROG Phone 6 has a clip-on thermoelectric cooler
In a nutshell, ASUS' new powerful gaming phone is all about bigger specs and faster performance. It has a 165Hz 6.78-inch display, with 720Hz touch sampling rate, up to 18GB of RAM and a bigger 6,000mAh battery.

EngadgetThe most notable change is the revamped clip-on cooler that's arriving alongside the ROG Phone 6. You can toggle between four cooling settings in the updated Armoury Crate app's console, with a "Frozen" mode that pushes its Peltier chip to the max. This is only available when there's external power plugged into the device but ASUS claims the AeroActive Cooler 6 can lower the ROG Phone 6's surface temperature by up to a staggering 25 degrees Celsius (that's 77 Fahrenheit), which sounds more like a portable air cooler than a smartphone accessory. As far as availability goes, ASUS says the ROG Phone 6 series will start from €999 (around $1,000) in Europe. US availability remains TBC.

-Mat Smith



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Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Amazon's smart thermostat falls to a new all-time low of $42 ahead of Prime Day
Amazon has already started selling a bunch of its smart home devices at a discount, almost a week before Prime Day even begins. One of the most notable deals that's already available is Amazon's smart thermostat, which you can get for $42 — as long as you're a Prime member. That's 30 percent off its regular retail price of $60 and a new all-time low for the device. Amazon's smart thermostat debuted in September 2021, giving you an affordable option to control your home temperature. 

Buy Amazon Smart Home Devices - up to 67 percent offIt's not quite as feature-rich as its more expensive counterparts, like the Google Nest thermostat. But it's Energy Star-certified and can save you an average of $50 on your electric bills every year. Plus, it's Alexa-compatible and allows you to use the voice assistant to set custom routines for heating and cooling. The thermostat itself doesn't have a speaker or a microphone, though, so you'll need to use the Alexa app or another Alexa-enabled device like an Echo speaker to do so. 

That brings us to another deal you can get right now: Amazon's smart thermostat bundled with an Echo Dot speaker. The bundle with a fourth-gen Echo Dot speaker will set you back $62, or $48 off its usual price, which is the lowest we've seen for it on the website. Meanwhile, the smart thermostat

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Amazon is giving Prime subscribers a free year of Grubhub deliveries
Amazon has announced a handful of new perks for Prime members ahead of Prime Day this month, including free deliveries from nearby restaurants. All Prime members in the US will now get access to a one-year Grubhub membership, which typically costs $10 a month, for free. Amazon used to have a restaurant delivery service of its own in an attempt to create a homegrown UberEats rival, but the company ultimately shut it down in the UK and the US. This time, it's teaming up with an established delivery service.

Grubhub members enjoy $0 food delivery fees, so long as their orders go over $12. They also get rewards that include free food and discounts on their orders. Prime subscribers can redeem their free Grubhub membership by going to the official perk page on Amazon, activating the offer and then sharing their Prime status with the delivery service. Even existing Grubhub users can claim the freebie, with their free year kicking in after their current billing cycle ends. People who cancel their Prime membership will also lose access to their free year of Grubhub , while those who stick around will be charged $10 a month for the delivery service after 12 months.

This partnership is part of the commercial agreement Amazon has entered with Just Eat Takeaway.com, the Dutch parent company of Grubhub. Under the agreement, Amazon will receive stock warrants worth 2 percent of Grubhub's fully-diluted common equity. Grubhub says it "continues to actively explore the partial or f

Engadget
Jul 06, 2022

Netflix says 'Stranger Things 4' racked up over 1 billion hours viewed
Stranger Things 4 has become the most popular English-language series on Netflix with the premiere of its last two episodes. The streaming giant has revealed that the show has racked up 1.15 billion hours of viewing time within the first 28 days of each part's release. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, the first seven episodes had a viewing time of 930.32 million hours within 28 days of the show's debut. Meanwhile, episodes 8 and 9 reached 221 million hours viewed in the week of June 27th to July 3rd. 

That makes the series second only to Squid Game, which crossed 1.65 billion hours viewed within its first 28 days of release and which currently holds the title for the most-viewed show in Netflix history. It even has the potential to overtake the Korean hit, seeing as it has only been a few days since the last two episodes came out. 

Netflix, however, has yet to reveal whether Stranger Things 4's popularity has had a significant impact on its subscriber numbers. In 2021, the company said it posted its best subscriber growth of the year during the third quarter, thanks in part to Squid Game. But in April this year, Netflix admitted that it lost about 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 due to several issues, such as stiff

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Meta sues a site cloner who allegedly scraped over 350,000 Instagram profiles
Meta is taking legal action against two prolific data scrapers. On Tuesday, the company filed separate federal lawsuits against a company called Octopus and an individual named Ekrem Ates. According to Meta, the former is the US subsidiary of a Chinese multinational tech firm that offers data scraping-for-hire services to individuals and companies.

Octopus also sells software people can use to carry out their own data collection campaigns. According to Meta, this program first compromises the Facebook and Instagram accounts of the user by providing their authentication information to Octopus before proceeding to scrape all the data accessible to that individual's accounts. The software can then obtain phone numbers, dates of birth and other personal information about every Facebook and Instagram friend connected to a particular Octopus customer. Meta alleges Octopus violated its terms of service and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by offering an automated scraping service and attempting to avoid detection by the company.

"Companies like Octopus are part of an emerging scraping industry that provides automation services to any customer — regardless of who they target and for what purpose they scrape," Meta said. "This industry makes scraping available to individuals and companies that otherwise would not have the capabilities."

As for Ekrem Ates, the individual Meta sued, the company says he used automated Instagram accounts to collect information on more than 350,000 Instagram users and later published that data on a series of clone sites where one could view the data of those individuals without their consent. Since the start of 2021, Meta says it has taken multiple enforcement actions against Ates, inclu

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Twitter sues India to challenge government order to block content
After more than a year of rising tensions over the country's sweeping 2021 IT law, Twitter is suing India's government. The New York Times reports the company filed a complaint on Tuesday with the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore to challenge a recent order to censor content within the country. According to Twitter, it had until Monday to block about a dozen accounts and posts or face possible criminal action. While the company complied with the order, it's now also seeking legal relief.

Twitter declined to comment. The challenge comes after the company reportedly told the Indian government last summer it was compliant with the country's IT rules. As part of the law, Twitter was required to hire a domestic compliance officer and a point of contact for local authorities.

Before that point, Twitter's relationship with India had been strained for much of 2021. In February, the government threatened to jail Twitter employees unless the company removed content related to the farmer protests held that year. Two months later, India ordered Twitter to pull tweets that criticized the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More recently, the government ordered Twitter to block tweets from Freedom House, a nonprofit organization that

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

NASA's CAPSTONE satellite has gone dark
NASA has lost contact with CAPSTONE, a tiny satellite that left Earth's orbit on July 4th. CAPSTONE is a cubesat weighing just 55 pounds, and it's headed for the Moon as part of NASA's plan to get humans back on the lunar surface for the first time in more than 50 years. 

The small satellite stopped communicating with engineers on July 4th shortly after deploying from an Electron rocket bus and exiting Earth's orbit. A NASA spokesperson told Space.com that the team has solid trajectory information for CAPSTONE and handlers are attempting to re-establish contact with the cubesat. 

"If needed, the mission has enough fuel to delay the initial post-separation trajectory correction maneuver for several days," the spokesperson told the site.

CAPSTONE spent six days building up speed in-orbit on a Rocket Lab Electron booster and finally deployed yesterday, on a path to the Moon. The plan is for CAPSTONE to enter a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon on November 13th, serving as a test for NASA's Artemis mission. With Artemis, NASA plans to install a space station called the Lunar Gateway in the Moon's orbit, serving as a permanent floating base for lunar visitors, complete with living quarters and a laboratory.

NASA plans to kick off its Artemis 1 mission between August 23rd and September 6th with the deployment of an unmanned Orion module, which will orbit the Moon and provide data about how the trip might affect the human body. After that, four astronauts will take off for the lunar satellite

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Respawn finally patches an 'Apex Legends' input lag issue on Xbox Series X/S
Apex Legends players on Xbox Series X/S haven't been too impressed with the game over the last two weeks. Since Respawn Entertainment rolled out a large update on June 22nd, players on those consoles have been complaining about an input lag issue that seemingly made the battle royale very slow to register button presses. Thankfully, the developer may have finally resolved the matter.

"We just pushed a small update to [Apex Legends] to help address issues with input lag on Xbox Series X and S consoles," Respawn wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for your patience here, legends."


Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

The Kindle Kids e-reader hits new low of $50 before Prime Day
There's no need to wait for Prime Day for a decent deal on a Kindle, especially if you're looking to pick one up for a younger person in your life. Prime members can pick up the Kindle Kids edition for $50, which is $10 cheaper than the previous all-time-low price. The usual price of the e-reader is $85.

Buy Kindle Kids (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $50It's a 10th-gen Kindle that comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee. Amazon will replace the device if it breaks for any reason. It's a proper e-reader, not a rugged toy, so that guarantee might come in handy. Kindle Kids does, however, come with a kid-friendly cover.

You'll also get one year of access to Amazon Kids , which includes access to thousands of kid-friendly books, including the Ramona Quimby and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Parents can view their kids' reading progress and set educational goals. Amazon Kids usually costs $5 per month.

Meanwhile, you can also pick up the 2019 edition of the Fire 7 without breaking the bank, since that's also down to a record low. The tablet is currently $30, which is 40 percent off the regular price. It's another low-cost device that could be a solid option for a ch

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Ubisoft will drop details on Assassin's Creed and more games on Sept. 10th
Ubisoft will share updates and announcements about its roster of projects in a showcase on September 10th at 3PM ET. The event will be streamed on Ubisoft channels on YouTube, Twitch and the studio's official website, and it'll include news on "multiple games and projects from Ubisoft teams around the world," according to spokesperson Youssef Maguid.

Back in June, Ubisoft confirmed plans to share information about the future of Assassin's Creed during a special event in September, and this appears to be that. Ubisoft is currently working on two Assassin's Creed projects: one is a live multiplayer experience spanning multiple time periods codenamed Infinity, and the other is a standalone series installment codenamed Rift. Early reports indicate Rift started out as an expansion to Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and it stars Basim Ibn Ishaq from that title.

Alongside Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft is the caretaker of Far Cry, Rabbids, Beyond Good & Evil, Just Dance, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, Rayman and Prince of Persia. A remake of the original Prince of Persia has been bouncing around Ubisoft's studios for a few years and is now in development in Montreal, due out some time after April 2023.

Ubisoft is also hosting a broadcast for its open-world, online pirate simulator Skull and Bones on July 7th at 2PM ET. Skull and Bones has been kicking around since 2017 and it was even playable in 2018, but updates since then have been few and far between.



Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Games Done Quick bans speedrunning cheater from future events
Games Done Quick has banned a speedrunner from future events after they admitted to cheating during last week's marathon. Russian player Mekarazium appeared to complete a Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance expansion in a world record time. Instead of live gameplay, though, Mekarazium showed a pre-recorded video that was pieced together using parts of separate runs. They reacted to the footage in real-time to sell the ruse.

While Summer Games Done Quick took place as an in-person event for the first time since 2019, some speedrunners participated remotely. Mekazarium was one of those, which allowed them to cheat, as PCGamesN reports. The player initially sped through the main campaign of MGR: Revengeance in a seemingly legitimate run, before taking on the Blade Wolf DLC after a charity donation goal was met.

However, viewers noticed discrepancies in the Blade Wolf playthrough. Some noted there were barely any audible instances of Mekarazium pressing keys on the keyboard (which could be heard as he played the main game). At one point, Mekarazium lifts their right hand up while their character was looking around, though they claimed they controlled the mouse with their other hand.

Mekarazium also downplayed the record-breaking aspect of their run after the fact. You'd think a speedrunner

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Ubisoft will reveal updated 'Skull and Bones' gameplay this week
After years of delays, Ubisoft is finally ready to offer a fresh look at Skull and Bones. The publisher announced on Tuesday it plans to host a showcase dedicated to the open-world multiplayer pirate game on July 7th at 2PM ET. Ubisoft will livestream the event on YouTube and Twitch.

The company is widely expected to announce a new release date then. If you haven't kept track of Skull and Bones' troubled development, we don't blame you. Ubisoft first announced the title at E3 2017, with an original release window planned for 2018. It then pushed the game back to 2019, mid-2020, 2021 and then finally its fiscal 2022-2023 year.


Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Early Prime Day deals knock the Echo Show 5 down to $35
Amazon has announced good deals on more devices ahead of Prime Day. This time around, some smart displays are getting deep discounts. The Echo Show 5, for instance, has dropped to just $35 for Prime members. That's $10 less than the previous all-time low and $50 below the list price.

Buy Echo Show 5 (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $35The second-gen Echo Show 5 emerged last summer. We gave the smart display, which has a 5.5-inch screen, a score of 85 in our review.

It's a solid choice for a bedside table device, particularly given that there's a tap-to-snooze function. The decent audio quality doesn't hurt either. On the flip side, we found the interface less intuitive than it perhaps ought to be. The webcam, meanwhile, is only 2MP, though that's still an improvement over the one Amazon used in the first-gen Echo Show 5.

Amazon has slashed the price of the Echo Show 8 as well. It's down from $110 to $55. However, it's worth noting the deal is for the first-gen version of the device, which was released in 2019. An updated model followed in 2021.

Buy Echo Show 8 (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $55The eight-inch smart display has a camera shutter (as does the Echo Show 5) and s

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Amazon's Echo Dot drops to $20 ahead of Prime Day
Prime Day is still a week away, but Amazon is getting the jump on one of its biggest events of the year by putting a bunch of its own products on sale a little early. One of those is the fourth-gen Echo Dot. The company has slashed the price of the Alexa-powered smart speaker by 60 percent for Prime members. It's down to $20, which is $30 off the regular price. That's the best price we've seen to date.

Buy Echo Dot (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $20We gave the Echo Dot a score of 88 in our review, lauding it for the decent audio quality, a 3.5mm audio out jack and the option to tap it to snooze the alarm. We also liked the spherical design. It's worth bearing in mind that it's been almost two years since Amazon released the fourth-gen Echo Dot. Dropping the price to just $20 is an indicator that the company is clearing out stock ahead of a possible new model this fall.

In addition, there's a decent deal on the regular fourth-gen Echo. That's down from $100 to $60. The larger version of the Alexa smart speaker also has a 3.5mm audio out jack. We gave it a score of 89 in our review, largely because of the great sound quality.

Buy Echo (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $60If

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Suda51's ‘Lollipop Chainsaw' is getting a remake
Publisher Dragami Games has announced a remake of Lollipop Chainsaw, which will arrive next year. The 2012 original was a cult hit. It's a hack-and-slash title from the minds of producer Yoshimi Yasuda, creative director Goichi "Suda51" Suda (of No More Heroes fame) and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who was a writer on the game.

Lollipop Chainsaw focuses on Juliet Starling, a cheerleader who battles zombies in a California high school. Surprisingly enough, Juliet wields a chainsaw that she can use in various ways (including ranged attacks). She can also collect lollipops to restore her health. Juliet is accompanied on her quest by the disembodied head of her boyfriend. A serious game this is not. 

Dragami Games is led by Yasuda. who will also produce the remake. The development team includes some other folks who previously worked on Lollipop Chainsaw. As IGN notes, some aspects will be different in the remake. Yasuda said the new version will take advantage of current-gen console hardware to deliver "a more realistic approach to the graphics." It will have new music as well, due to licensing issues.

Dragami acquired

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Xbox Games with Gold will no longer include Xbox 360 titles
As of October 2022, Microsoft will stop offering free Xbox 360 titles through Games with Gold. The company announced the change in an email sent out to Xbox Live Gold subscribers in the US, Canada and other parts of the world. "We have reached the limit of our ability to bring Xbox 360 games to the catalog," the company states in the message. "However, Games with Gold will continue to include exciting Xbox One titles and exclusive savings each month."

The email adds that Xbox users can redownload any 360 titles they claimed through Games with Gold regardless of whether they continue to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold. 

"No other Xbox Live Gold benefits will be impacted by this change," a Microsoft spokesperson told Engadget. "We're always looking at ways to evolve the Xbox experience based on community engagement, feedback and shifting company priorities. We have reached the limit of our ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing and technical constraints. We will continue to focus on providing Xbox One titles through the Games with Gold program."

MicrosoftIntroduced in 2013, Microsoft added Games with Gold to Xbox Live Gold in response to the success of Sony's PS Plus service, which was the first to offer free monthly games to customers. Microsoft later extended the perk to include the Xbox One. In recent years, the allure of the bonus has waned with the introduction of Xbox Game Pass. After Microsoft recently dropped the Xbox Live Gold requirement to p

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Jabra's Elite 7 Pro earbuds drop to a record low of $140
Amazon has been busy dropping prices on its own products ahead of Prime Day and several other manufacturers are getting in on the action too. One of them is audio brand Jabra. Its Elite 7 Pro noise-canceling earbuds have dropped to $140 on Amazon. That's 30 percent off the regular price of $200. It's also the lowest price we've seen to date for the titanium black model.

Buy Jabra Elite Pro 7 at Amazon - $140Jabra announced the true wireless earbuds last August. They were pegged as a successor to the Elite 85t (which were previously the brand's smallest earbuds), with a smaller, retooled design. The company says the earbuds use bone conduction in concert with microphones and algorithms to improve voice performance. The idea is that Jabra's algorithms detect when the microphones pick up certain kinds of background audio and activate the bone conduction function when necessary.

The Elite 7 Pro's active noise cancellation (ANC) levels are adjustable. Jabra says you'll get up to nine hours of use on a single charge if ANC is switched on and up to nine hours without that feature. The case (which can be charged wirelessly) can provide another three charges. 

In addition, you can configure the on-device controls via Jabra's Sound app. Earlier this year, Jabra rolled out support for multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect the earbuds to two devices at the same time — a handy feature for those who often take calls during th

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

The best streaming boxes and sticks you can buy
If you're in the market for a new streaming device, chances are you want to improve your home entertainment experience. Maybe you've been relying on your phone or tablet for binge-watch sessions, or perhaps your TV's built-in operating system just isn't cutting it anymore. Streaming dongles and set-top boxes are ubiquitous at this point, but sussing out the differences between them can be challenging. Plus, they're not the only gadgets that can deliver your latest Netflix obsession to your TV screen. Let us break down all of the streaming device options you have today and give you our picks for the best you can buy.

Who needs a streaming device?It's worth pointing out that if you only use a couple of streaming services (say, Netflix and Hulu), you might not need a standalone streaming device. Most modern televisions ship with a basic selection of apps that usually include the most popular streaming services. Some TVs and soundbars run on built-in Roku or Fire TV operating systems, which offer a robust selection of apps without the need for a separate device.

But if your TV is on the older side, adding a streaming stick is obviously much cheaper than shelling out for a new television. Also, a dedicated streaming device typically has access to a lot more streaming services and apps, while content is often presented more intuitively. Some devices also offer better search features, including voice control. Cord cutters in particular will benefit from this sort of streaming hardware, as live TV services like Sling and Hulu Live aren't always available in basic TV interfaces.

How to pick a streaming deviceThe most important things to keep in mind when choosing a streaming device are platform, price and what you already have in your home. Currently, the most popular streaming platforms are Roku, Amazon's Fire TV, Apple TV and Google TV (which is an overlay on top of Android TV). All of them offer

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

European Union passes landmark laws to rein in big tech
Today, after months of negotiations and procedural hurdles, the European Union has passed a pair of landmark bills designed to rein in Big Tech's power. The Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act are intended to promote fairer competition, improve privacy protection, as well as banning both the use of some of the more egregious forms of targeted advertising and misleading practices.

The Digital Services Act, for instance, focuses on online platforms like Facebook, Amazon and Google. They will be tasked with being more proactive both with content moderation and also to prevent the sale of illegal or unsafe goods being sold on their platforms. Users will also be able to learn how and why an algorithm recommended them a certain piece of content, and to challenge any moderation decision that was made algorithmically. Finally, companies will no longer be able to use sensitive personal data for ad-targeting, sell ads to children, or use dark patterns — deceptive page design that can manipulate you into saying yes to something even when you'd much rather say no, such as joining a service or preventing you from leaving one you no longer wish to use.

These obligations operate on a sliding scale, and so the largest platforms will have the greatest obligations placed upon them. Platforms with 45 million or more monthly users will be subject to independent auditing to ensure they are preventing fake news and illegal content. Those platforms will also have to open up their algorithms a

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

The ASUS ROG Phone 6 has a ‘wireless' thermoelectric cooler add-on
Following the ROG Phone 5 and 5s, ASUS decided to skip Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in favor of the more efficient 8 Gen 1, which brings us to the new ROG Phone 6 series today — almost a year after the 5s. In a nutshell, this beastly gaming phone is all about its faster 165Hz 6.78-inch display, 720Hz touch sampling rate, up to 18GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, bigger 6,000mAh battery, enlarged internal cooling system and IPX4 splash resistance, in addition to its handy ultrasonic triggers and proven audio performance by Dirac. The most notable change, however, lies within the revamped clip-on cooler, which has now integrated a thermoelectric chip and yet doesn't require external power.

This new AeroActive Cooler 6 is noticeably bulkier than before, partly because of its larger, more ergonomic physical buttons — and there are now four of them instead of just two. It also has a bigger kickstand that flips out from the bottom (though not necessary), and there's a spring-loaded clamp at the top to secure (and activate) the cooler. The new Peltier cooling chip inside — positioned right over the phone's processor when mounted — is sandwiched between the fan and a large piece of copper plate, and there's also a humidity sensor nearby to help avoid condensation.

Richard Lai/EngadgetYou can toggle between four c

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

England's health service will use drones to deliver vital chemotherapy drugs
The UK's National Health Service has announced that it will test delivering vital chemotherapy drugs via drone to the Isle of Wight. The body has partnered with Apian, a drone technology startup founded by former NHS doctors and former Google employees. Test flights are due to begin shortly, and it's hoped that the system will reduce journey times for the drugs, cut costs and enable cancer patients to receive treatment far more locally.

The Isle of Wight is an island two miles off the south coast of England with a population just under 150,000. Due to the short shelf-life of most chemotherapy drugs, medicines are either rushed onto the island or patients take the ferry to the mainland. This journey can take up to four hours, while a drone flight can run from Queen Alexandra Hospital to St. Mary's Hospital in half an hour. Not long after and an additional pilot scheme will take place in Northumbria to see if it's possible to deliver vital medical supplies at ultra-short notice.

It's not the first time that drones have been used to deliver vital medicines faster than a conventional courier. Merck and drone company Volansi began testing the delivery of cold-chain medicines to patients in rural North Carolina. Similarly, drone technology has helped move blood supplies across Rwanda, deliver prescriptions to senior citizens in Florida and help with supply drops during COVID-19.

Similarl

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

The Morning After: Xiaomi's flagship phone has a Leica camera with a massive one-inch sensor
Just six months after its last flagship launch, Xiaomi has announced another one. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra packs a massive one-inch, 50.3-megapixel Sony IMX989 main sensor. And unlike the Sony Xperia Pro-I, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra apparently uses the entirety of its one-inch sensor. And the camera unit itself? Well, it looks gigantic.

XiaomiInside, there's a Leica Summicron 1:1.9-4.1 / 13-120 ASPH camera system that combines three rear cameras: a 50.3-megapixel main camera (23mm, f/1.9), along with the 48-megapixel ultra-wide camera (13mm, f/2.2) and the 48-megapixel periscopic camera (120mm, f/4.1). Both 48-megapixel cameras use a half-inch Sony IMX586 sensor. The circular camera island (continent?) has a special coating to mitigate lens glare and improve image consistency. Oh, and there's a 23K gold rim as well. Because excess.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is now available for pre-ordering in China, ahead of retail launch on July 6th. The 12S Ultra starts at 5,999 yuan (around $900).

Leica has spread its bets over the years in mobile imaging partnerships. It has previously collaborated with Sharp, Huawei and Panasonic — Chinese p

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

Geely buys majority stake in troubled phone maker Meizu
Chinese car giant Geely has purchased a majority stake in the now-small smartphone maker Meizu. Bloomberg reports that Meizu will be run as an independent company under Xingli Technology, another tech brand under Geely's umbrella. That said, the pair are expected to work together on new products, and Xingli has already expressed plans to make a big splash in the AR/VR space.

If you've been reading Engadget for long enough, you'll have likely seen Meizu's early rise at the dawn of the smartphone boom. Unfortunately, it found its lunch being eaten by other Chinese upstarts, including Xiaomi, and wound up remaining a small player. Back in 2015, Alibaba decided to take a stake in the company just as it found itself distracted by various boondoggles, including the baffling-in-retrospect decision to build phones with Ubuntu.

Geely, meanwhile, is perhaps best known in the West as the controlling owner of Volvo, Polestar and Lotus, all of which have been pushed towards electrification. Of course, with cars becoming more like phones (and phones becoming such a crucial part of most cars) the idea of automakers buying in to the phone space makes plenty of sense. As Reuters reports, both the mobile and car business

Engadget
Jul 05, 2022

The latest Apple TV 4K is $150 right now
With so many streaming services now available, finding the right box or dongle to view them on can be a challenge. Apple's own streamer, the uniquely-named Apple TV, is one of the best on the market, but its price can often put people off. With Prime Day just days away, Amazon has dropped the price of both the 32GB and 64GB models, dropping them by $29 to $150 and $170, respectively. That's not quite the low of $130 we saw last month for the 32GB version, but it's a great price nonetheless.

Buy 2021 Apple TV 4K (32GB) at Amazon - $150Buy 2021 Apple TV 4K (64GB) at Amazon - $170Devindra Hardawar gave the 2021 Apple TV 4K a score of 90 in our review. The new model irons out some of the kinks from what was already a powerful media box. The updated remote is a lot more intuitive in the hand and the beefier A12 Bionic chip delivers both HDR video at 60 frames per second (if the content you're playing supports it) and better game performance. 

If it's just basic streaming you're after, the Apple TV is expensive compared to Google's Chromecast, Amazon's Fire TV and Roku's range of media players. However, if you're already invested in Apple's ecosystem and want one of the best streamers available at its second-lowest price ever, now might be time to pull the trigger.



Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

Crosby, Stills and Nash return to Spotify after COVID-19 misinformation boycott
The music of Crosby, Stills and Nash is once again available to stream on Spotify. In February, the supergroup left the platform to protest Spotify's inaction against Joe Rogan, who was accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation through his podcast. According to Billboard, the trio plan to donate their Spotify earnings to COVID-19 charities for "at least a month."

Crosby, Stills and Nash were among a handful of musicians who left Spotify in response to Rogan's interview with vaccine skeptic Dr. Robert Malone. The exodus, such that it was, began with Neil Young and later came to include Joni Mitchell, as well as author Brené Brown.

In the end, Spotify did not drop Rogan. Instead, the company said it would add a content advisory to any episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19. The protest's effect on Spotify's bottom line appears to have been minimal, with the company recently reporting that it grew to 422 million monthly users.

Despite the return of Crosby, Stills and Nash to Spotify, don't expect to see all of the music the trio helped created on the platform. As

Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

NASA's CAPSTONE satellite breaks from Earth's orbit and heads toward the Moon
NASA's grand plan to take humans back to the Moon for the first time in over half a century has taken another step forward. The 55-pound CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) cubesat has broken free of Earth's orbit and is on its way to the Moon.

Rocket Lab launched CAPSTONE on an Electron rocket from New Zealand last week. Following six days of orbit-raising burns to build up enough speed, the pathfinding satellite set out toward the Moon. It's a relatively slow trip, though. CAPSTONE won't reach the Moon until November.

NASA will try to put CAPSTONE in a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit around the Moon, a feat that's never been attempted before. The agency plans to use the same orbit for the Gateway space station, which will provide support for long-term lunar missions under the Artemis program. The outpost will have living quarters for astronauts and a lab. That mission won't launch until at least 2024.

Meanwhile, it emerged last week that NASA has targeted a launch window of betwe

Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

Hacker claims they stole police data on a billion Chinese citizens
A hacker (or group of hackers) claims to have stolen data on a billion Chinese citizens from a Shanghai police database. According to Bloomberg, the hacker is attempting to sell 23 terabytes of data for 10 bitcoin, which is worth just over $198,000 at the time of writing.

The data includes names, addresses, birthplaces, national IDs and phone numbers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the hacker provided a sample of the data, which included crime reports dating as far back as 1995. Reporters confirmed the legitimacy of at least some of the data by calling people whose numbers were listed.

It's not yet clear how the hacker infiltrated the police database, though there have been suggestions that they gained access via an Alibaba cloud computing company called Aliyun, which was said to host the database. Alibaba said it's investigating the matter.

The true scope of the leak is unknown. However, cybersecurity experts have dubbed it the biggest cybersecurity breach in China's history.



Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

Amazon starts making deliveries by e-bike and on foot in London
Amazon has started delivering packages by cargo e-bike and on foot in the UK for the first time as it makes more progress toward its climate goals. The company has opened a micromobility hub in central London. The company says the walkers and e-bikes will make more than a million deliveries a year from the hub in Hackney. It claims those trips will replace thousands of van deliveries. 

At the outset, the e-bikes and on-foot couriers will be in service across more than a tenth of the city's ultra low emission zone (ULEZ). E-bikes and fully electric vehicles are exempt from the London Congestion Charge and ULEZ fees, so Amazon and its delivery partners will avoid having to pay those.

Amazon plans to open more e-cargo delivery hubs in the UK in the coming months. It already has more than 1,000 electric delivery vans on the road in the country. Earlier this year, the company added five fully electric heavy goods vehicles to its UK fleet to replace diesel trucks.

This isn't the first time Amazon has used cargo e-bikes. Euronews notes that they're being used for deliveries in five cities in France and seven metropolitan areas in Germany. It also employs electric scooters in Italy a

Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

Xiaomi 12S Ultra has a Leica camera with a massive 1-inch sensor
Merely six months after its previous flagship launch, today Xiaomi announced a trio of familiar-looking smartphones to mark the beginning of its partnership with Leica. The new 12S Series features MIUI 13 based on Android 12, and it runs on Qualcomm's allegedly more efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagship processor, with the headlining 12S Ultra packing a massive 1-inch, 50.3-megapixel Sony IMX989 main sensor. This translates to a generous pixel size of 1.6um, which then doubles to 3.2um via pixel binning for a supposedly boosted color accuracy and low light performance. And unlike the Sony Xperia Pro-I, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra apparently uses the entire portion of its 1-inch sensor.

According to CEO Lei Jun, Xiaomi took part in the Sony IMX989's development, and the $15 million cost was also split evenly between the two companies. Interestingly, the sensor won't be exclusive to Xiaomi; Lei added that it'll be made available to his local competitors after the launch of the 12S Ultra, in order to "promote the advancement of mobile imaging together."

Xiaomi 12S UltraXiaomiAs for Leica's part on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, you get a "Leica Summicron 1:1.9-4.1 / 13-120 ASPH camera system" covering all three rea

Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

HBO Max halts original productions across large parts of Europe
HBO Max is halting original productions across much of Europe, Variety has reported. The streaming service confirmed that it will no longer produce originals in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey, leaving only Spain and France untouched. The news is part of a plan from parent Warner Bros. Discovery to cut some $3 billion in costs following its split from AT&T. 

"We are reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services," a spokesperson told Variety in a statement. "As part of this process, we have decided to remove a limited amount of original programming from HBO Max, as well as ceasing our original programming efforts for HBO Max in the Nordics and Central Europe. We have also ceased our nascent development activities in the newer territories of Netherlands and Turkey, which had commenced over the past year."

Some of the service's most praised shows including Lust (Sweden) and Kamikaze (Denmark) came from the Nordics and other affected regions. On top of ceasing production, HBO Max will remove those shows along with the Hungarian drama The Informant from its service globally. Projects already in production and other approved shows will reportedly continue — but they may be sold to other platforms, with Warner acting strictly as producer. 

Streaming content production has been a bright spot in Europe, as Netflix and other platforms have hit the 30 percent local content quotas required in major markets there. HBO Max's announcement may put a damper on that, though, as "redundancies are likely ac

Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

Tesla EVs can now scan the road for potholes and adjust the suspension height
Tesla has introduced a software update that allows its vehicles to scan for potholes, broken pavement and other defects, Electrek has reported. It can then use that to generate "rough road map data," and trigger the adaptive suspension in supported vehicles to adjust the ride height for more comfort. 

Back in 2020, Musk tweeted that such a feature was coming, and this appears to be the first step. "This adjustment may occur at various locations, subject to availability, as the vehicle downloads rough road map data generated by Tesla cars," the release notes state. That means pothole and other data should become increasingly refined as Tesla vehicles ply the roads. 

The ride adjustment will only work in Tesla Model S and Model X cars with adaptive suspensions, Elektrek notes. It's not clear if the Model 3 or Y vehicles also scan for rough roads, even if they lack the adaptive suspension to benefit from the data. Both the Model 3 and the Model S have eight cameras in total. 

To enable the feature you'll need the latest update 2022.20, then you tap "Controls Suspension Adaptive Suspension Damping, and select the Comfort or Auto setting," Tesla notes, adding that "the instrument cluster will continue to indicate when the suspension is raised for comfort."

Tesla isn't the first automaker to think up pothole scanning technology. Some manufacturers like Ford have proposed features that even detect individual potholes and instantly damp the suspension, for example. Tesla's system could be far more practical, though, by simply softening the ride parameters over known patches of rough road. 



Engadget
Jul 04, 2022

The Morning After: The next Apple Watch may detect if you have a fever
The next Apple Watch may have a body temperature sensor to warn you when you're coming down with a fever, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The Series 8 won't provide an exact reading, but it could notify you to see a doctor or use a dedicated thermometer.

The feature has been a rumor for a while now but is more likely to appear than a blood sugar monitoring, which uses more elaborate sensors and technology. Gurman says he believes the body temperature feature is "a go" for the standard Series 8 and the oft-rumored rugged edition Apple is creating for extreme athletes.

If you're hoping for next-gen AirPods Pro with heart rate or body temperature monitoring features, while we might get a new pair this year, they won't pack health monitoring tech this time around.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed'Genshin Impact' Summer Fantasia update arrives on July 13th

We're heading for a messy and expensive breakup with natural gas

The best 4th of July tech sales we could find

Apple needs to take fertility tracking more seriously

Hitting the Books: How 3D printing helped make cosplay costumes even more accurate



Engadget
Jul 03, 2022

British army Twitter and YouTube accounts compromised to promote crypto scams
The British army is investigating an apparent hack after its official Twitter and YouTube accounts were compromised on Sunday. News of the breach was first reported by Web3 is Going Great. According to the blog, both accounts were simultaneously compromised to promote two different cryptocurrency scams.

Although it has since been scrubbed, the army's verified Twitter account was briefly changed to look like a page for The Possessed, a project involving a collection of 10,000 animated NFTs with a price floor of 0.58 Ethereum (approximately $1,063). During that time, the account tweeted out multiple links to a fake minting website. It's possible the hack is part of a broader campaign to leverage the recent popularity of The Possessed. On Saturday, the project's official Twitter account warned its followers of another verified account that was similarly hacked to promote a NFT scam using The Possessed brand.

Web3 is Going GreatOver on YouTube, the army's channel has been made to look like a page for Ark Invest. As of the writing of this article, the channel is livestreaming videos that repurpose old footage of Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey and Ark CEO Katie Wood discussing cryptocurrency. The clips feature an

Engadget
Jul 03, 2022

German traffic watchdog says 59,000 Tesla cars affected by safety bug
Germany's Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt traffic regulator is calling on Tesla to recall more than 59,000 vehicles over a software issue. On June 29th, the KBA published a notice on its website notifying Model Y and 3 owners of a bug with the eCall safety system on those cars, according to Reuters. The glitch prevents the tool from automatically calling first responders in the event of a serious accident.

The KBA said the problem affects 59,129 vehicles globally, including Model Y crossovers manufactured at the automaker's recently opened Berlin Gigafactory. German media first reported on the notice on Saturday.

Before this week, three of the 11 recalls Tesla issued this year involved a software bug. Most recently, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a recall involving approximately 130,000 vehicles over a glitch that could cause the infotainment system in 2021 and 2022 Tesla cars to overheat. The news of a new safety issue comes after Tesla reported a nearly 18 percent decline in vehicle deliveries on Saturday.



Engadget
Jul 03, 2022

Summer Games Done Quick 2022 raises $3 million for charity
In its first in-person event since 2020, GDQ's Summer Games Done Quick 2022 raised more than $3.01 million for Doctors Without Borders. In all, some of the world's best speedrunners descended on Bloomington, Minnesota to complete 134 different playthroughs of games like Doom Eternal, Tunic and Control. Across seven days of programming, Games Done Quick collected more than 42,000 individual donations.

And while the final tally fell short of the record-breaking $3.4 million the organization secured for the Prevent Cancer Foundation at Awesome Games Done Quick at the start of the year, it was more than the $2.9 million raised during SGDQ 2021. This year's event saw the departure of Kasumi "Sumichu" Yogi. For the past eight years, Yogi has served as GDQ's director of marketing and business development, helping the organization grow into the community cornerstone that it is today. Games Done Quick's next fundraiser, the all-women Flame Fatales showcase, starts on August 21st, with proceeds from the event slated to g

Engadget
Jul 03, 2022

Apple Watch Series 8 may be able to detect if you have a fever
The next Apple Watch will reportedly include a body temperature sensor that will warn you when you're coming down with a fever, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The Series 8 won't provide an exact reading, but it could send a notification that prompts you to see a doctor or use a dedicated thermometer.

This isn't the first time Gurman has brought up the possibility of the Series 8 including a temperature sensor. He first mentioned Apple was working on the feature back in June 2021, reporting that it would likely arrive with the company's 2022 wearable lineup. He backtracked on that prediction in January, warning fans that blood temperature monitoring was among a handful of capabilities that were a few years away.

However, a few months later, he said the Series 8 would include a body temperature sensor, provided the feature passed Apple's internal testing guidelines. Now, writing in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says he believes the feature is "a go" for the standard Series 8 and the oft-rumored rugged edition Apple is creating for extreme athletes.

Gurman says other changes to the Series 8 "will probably be minor." Reiterating his reporting from last week, he suggests the wearable will feature the same processing power as the

Engadget
Jul 03, 2022

Hitting the Books: How 3D printing helped make cosplay costumes even more accurate
Additive manufacturing is one of the most important technological advances of the 21st century. It's revolutionized the way we build everything from airplanes and wind turbines to medical implants and nano-machinery — not to mention the tidal wave of creativity unleashed once the tech made its way into the maker community. In Cosplay: A History, veteran cosplayer and 501st Legion member, Andrew Liptak explores the theatrical origins of the craft and its evolution from costuming enthusiasm to full-fledged fandom. Liptak also looks at how advances in technology have impacted the cosplay community — whether that's the internet forums and social media platforms they use to connect, the phones and cameras they use to publicize their works, and, in the excerpt below, the 3D printers used to create costume components.

Simon and SchusterExcerpted from Cosplay: A History - The Builders, Fans, and Makers Who Bring Your Favorite Stories to Life by Andrew Liptak, published by Simon & Schuster. © 2022 by Andrew Liptak.

In the summer of 2017, I picked up a Nintendo Switch and began playing the latest installment of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, Breath of the Wild. My son, Bram, and I hacked and slashed our way through Hyrule. Featuring a massive open world, the game is ful

Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

WhatsApp may soon let you hide your online status
WhatsApp is developing a feature that would allow users to hide their online status, according to WABetaInfo. On Saturday, the outlet shared a screenshot of new privacy settings that allow someone to decide who can see them when they're using the app. The feature would complement the recent tweaks WhatsApp introduced to the app's Last Seen functionality.

Following a beta rollout in April, the company released an update that added a "My Contacts Except" setting, allowing for more granular control over who can see when you last checked the app. The problem with WhatsApp's Last Seen status was that it gave contacts a way to find out if you had seen their message even if you turned off read receipts.

Per the screenshot WABetaInfo shared, the new online status feature will allow you to restrict the same people who you don't want to see your Last Seen status. It's surprising it has taken this long for WhatsApp to start work on such a basic privacy feature, but now that it's finally on the way, it's something many users are sure to appreciate.



Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

‘Genshin Impact' Summer Fantasia update arrives on July 13th
Hoyoverse will release Genshin Impact's next major content update on July 13th, the studio announced on Saturday. Dubbed "Summer Fantasia," version 2.8 will reintroduce the Golden Apple Archipelago, a zone Hoyoverse has redesigned to add new plotlines and challenges for players to complete. By finishing the included quests, you'll have the chance to recruit Fischl, a four-star playable character, to your party for free.

Moreover, as part of the game's upcoming Resonating Visions event, you'll have a chance to collect conch shells you can later trade for an outfit for Fischl. The shells will also reveal more of the game's story. Separately, the update adds sailing challenges you can complete with your friends, and a new playable character named Shikanoin Heizou. Hoyoverse describes him as Genshin's first melee catalyst user. Shikanoin can deal extra damage to enemies affected by elemental attacks.

Additional content for Genshin Impact is one of a few projects Hoyoverse is working on at the moment. In recent weeks, the studio announced it was developing two new games, Zenless Zone Zero and Honkai: Star Rail. Neither title has a release date yet, but you can sign up to beta test the former on PC and iOS.





Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

Meta's Novi cryptocurrency wallet is shutting down
Meta is shutting down Novi, its short-lived cryptocurrency digital wallet. In a notice spotted by Bloomberg, the company announced it would sunset the platform on September 1st, with July 20th being the final day to add funds. Meta advised users to withdraw their balance "as soon as possible," noting it would "attempt to transfer" any remaining money to customer bank accounts and debit cards after Novi's final day of operation.

For the time being, the shutdown effectively marks the end of Meta's cryptocurrency ambitions. The company began a "small pilot" of Novi last October. The wallet launched without support for Diem - Meta's in-house cryptocurrency, which was previously known as Libra. One month later, David Marcus, the company's crypto chief, left Meta. At the start of 2022, the Diem Association announced it was selling its assets and "winding down" operations.

But the demise of Novi and Diem doesn't mean Meta won't make another digital wallet. "We are already leveraging the years spent on building capabilities for Meta overall on blockchain and introducing new products, such as digital collectibles," a company spokesperson told Bloomberg. "You can expect to see more from us in the web3 space because we are very optimistic about the value these tech

Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

Pandemic-related manufacturing shutdowns catch up with Tesla
Tesla produced 258,580 vehicles in the second quarter of 2022, the automaker announced on Saturday. While that's a 25 percent year-on-year increase from the number of cars it made during Q2 2021, it's also fewer vehicles than the company produced at the start of the year amid an "exceptionally difficult quarter." In the first three months of 2022, the company manufactured 305,407 cars, meaning production volume declined by 15 percent from the previous quarter.

As a result, Tesla also delivered fewer vehicles in the past three months than it did at the start of the year. Deliveries declined by nearly 18 percent between Q1 and Q2 2022 to 254,695. The setback marks the first time in two years that Tesla's deliveries have fall quarter over quarter.

The company saw production slowed by ongoing component shortages that affected the entire auto industry. Tesla was also forced to stop work at its critical Shanghai Gigafactory multiple times in March due to the strict COVID-19 lockdowns that hit China's most populous city.


Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

NASA targets late August to early September launch for Artemis 1 Moon mission
NASA has set an aggressive launch target for its Artemis 1 Moon mission following the successful June 20th "wet dress rehearsal" fueling test of the SLS rocket that will carry the flight to space. In an interview with Ars Technica, Jim Free, associate administrator with the agency's Explorations Systems Development program, said this week NASA is working toward an August 23rd to September 6th launch window for Aretmis 1. "That's the one we're targeting," Free told the outlet. "We'd be foolish not to target that right now. We made incredible progress last week."

For those keeping track, NASA recently announced the earliest it could get Artemis 1 in space following a successful fueling test of the SLS was between July 26th and August 10th. Instead, NASA selected the second earliest launch window it had open to it.

Before the flight can get underway, technicians must complete final preparations on the SLS rocket, including replacing a seal that led to a hydrogen leak during its June 20th test. NASA began rolling the SLS back to the Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building, where staff will work on the launch vehicle, on July 1st. "I don't think we're stretching ourselves to get there," Free said. "We're probably pushing ourselves a little bit, but we're not going to do

Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

Twitch's latest test lets you preview channels without watching ads
Twitch has begun testing a new feature that could introduce you to great streamers you haven't seen before. Channel Switcher shows random channels as a carousel at the bottom of the screen. When you click on any of them, you'll be able to watch a one-minute preview of the streamer's content, enough to give you an idea of what they offer. The previews have no ads either, so you can channel surf undisturbed until you find something to watch. As Twitch explains, the feature will make it easier to figure out if you like a specific channel before committing.

A Twitch spokesperson told The Verge that "only a small percentage of [randomly selected] users who are logged in" will get the chance to test out the feature. The company plans to end the test in July and then analyze its results. While it's unclear if Channel Switcher will get a wide release at this point, the spokesperson told the publication that Twitch intends to roll out future iterations and is thinking of offering it as an opt-in discovery solution. 


Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

Recommended Reading: Google's biggest hardware flop
Google's worst hardware flop was introduced 10 years ago todayChris Welch, The Verge

Ah, the Nexus Q. The $300 media player Google never release to consumers fetched poor reviews from nearly every outlet that tested it. The Verge recounts all that went wrong with the device, which was nearly everything aside from an eye-catching design. 

A brief history of (unintentionally) unbeatable gamesKyle Orland, Ars Technica

The Switch version of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II has a glitch that makes it impossible to complete the game. There's a plan to fix it with a patch, but that's not always possible when games carry unintentional flaws. Ars Technica provides a brief history of other titles that fall into this unfortunate category.

The rise of the 0.5 selfieKalley Huang, The New York Times

Taken with the ultra-wide lens on the back of a phone at 0.5x on the camera, a new selfie trend is a far cry from the meticulously curated self-portraits we typically see splattered across social networks. 



Engadget
Jul 02, 2022

GM is ramping up Hummer EV production to address huge order backlog
General Motors has only been producing up to a dozen electric Hummers a day in its Detroit factory, according to The Wall Street Journal, and that's far from ideal when the automaker has over 70,000 reservations. As The Drive notes, it would take GM 17 years to be able to fulfill all its orders at that pace. A GM spokesperson told The Journal, though, that the company's output will increase sharply in the second half of the year. They said production has been slower than usual for the vehicle, because it was developed from scratch and was built on top the company's new Ultium EV platform. The global supply chain shortage that's been affecting the tech and auto industries may have also contributed to the issue. 

In the coming months, the automaker expects to fulfill deliveries at a much faster pace, particularly after it switches from using outsourced LG battery cells. GM aims to start manufacturing its own battery cells later this summer in its new factory in Ohio built in partnership with LG. The company has been building multiple Ultium factories in the US over the past year, including one in Tennessee and another in Michigan in addition to its Ohio plant, as part of its efforts to achieve its goal of making more than a million EVs in the US every year

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Meal kit company sued by customers who claim 'contaminated' lentils led to gallbladders removals
Vegan meal kit startup Daily Harvest has been hit with two lawsuits by customers alleging they needed gallbladder removals after eating one of the company's products, reportedCNN. Last month the company issued a voluntary recall of its "French Lentil Leek Crumbles" dish following multiple claims of gastrointestinal and liver from consumers. The first lawsuit was filed by Carol Ann Ready, an Oklahoma woman who is suing the company in the federal court for the Southern District of New York. Ready purchased and ate lentil crumbles from Daily Harvest on two separate occasions in May, both of which both of which resulted in trips to the emergency room. The second of these was a four-day stay, which ended with Ready's physician recommending gallbladder removal. 

Attorneys for Ready are asking for a jury trial, alleging that damages for the case exceed what the court normally allows. "Plaintiff has sustained serious personal injuries; suffered, and will continue to suffer, significant pain and other physical discomfort; incurred, and will continue to incur, substantial medical expenses; have missed, and will likely miss in the future, work and time necessarily dedicated to advancement in her profession; and remains at risk for future health complications with damages far in excess of $75,000, the jurisdictional threshold of this court," says the complaint, obtained by Food Safety News.

Earlier this week, an Oregon-based content creator who claimed he also consumed the lentils and subsequently had to have his gallbladder removed filed a personal injury lawsuit against Daily Harvest. In a

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Google will start removing abortion clinic visits from users' location history
Amid data privacy concerns raised by the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, Google says it will remove abortion clinics and other facilities from users' location history. Since the ruling, Google and other tech giants had largely remained silent about how they would handle requests for data about users in abortion-related investigations. Privacy experts have flagged the vast amounts of data collected by Google and other platforms as ripe for abuse by law enforcement and anti-abortion groups.

In a new blog post, Google states that it will attempt to remove locations from users' location histories "soon after they visit." The company was vague about exactly how it would identify these locations, or how long the removals would take. The company said the same process would also apply to visits to other types of health facilities. 

"Some of the places people visit — including medical facilities like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others — can be particularly personal," Google writes. "Today, we're announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit."

The company also said that Fitbit would be updating its app so users can bulk-delete their menstrual tracking information from the service. Other period tracking apps have also vowed to add new privacy and security features in recent days as concerns mount that cycle tracking apps could become a

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

FIFA OKs sensor ball and semi-automatic offside tracking for the 2022 World Cup
FIFA World Cup 2022 will feature an updated VAR (video assistant referee) system known as semi-automated offside technology, the international soccer governing body announced today. SAOT will replace the old (and still controversial) VAR system that FIFA first debuted at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The new system features 12 stadium cameras that will track the positioning of both the ball and each individual player, including 29 different data points on each player's limbs and extremities. On top of that, a ball outfitted with a motion sensor will be used in each match, which will deliver live data on a player's position at the time it's kicked.

FIFA believes that SOAT will help match officials make faster and more accurate decisions on offside calls. "VAR has already had a very positive impact on football and we can see that the number of major mistakes has already been dramatically reduced. We expect that semi-automated offside technology can take us a step further," said FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina in a statement.

According to

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

A 'Doom' mobile game from 2005 is now playable on Windows
A dedicated group of fans has excavated a Doom mobile game from the sands of time and made it playable again. You won't find 2005's Doom RPG on the App Store or Play Store: it actually predates iOS and Android by a couple of years. And while Fountainhead Entertainment looked into bringing Doom RPG to Nintendo DS around the time of its original release, the game was exclusively available on Java- and BREW-compatible handsets. Until now.

A small group of developers in Costa Rica going by the name of GEC.inc reverse engineered Doom RPG and got it to work on Windows. Although the port is free to download, it doesn't contain any of the original files you need to actually run the game.


Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

FCC clears SpaceX to put its Starlink satellite WiFi in vehicles
SpaceX's satellite internet service is officially going mobile after the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday authorized the company to provide its Starlink WiFi service to vehicles. SpaceX already offers Starlink home internet, which left beta last October.

"We agree with SpaceX... that the public interest would benefit by granting with conditions their applications," The FCC wrote in its authorization letter. "Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX's satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight."

Starlink had already begun expanding its terrestrial footprint, even before the FCC decision, installing receiver dishes at Tesla Supercharger stations, raising prices and unveiling a $500/month Premium service tier. SpaceX has also recently announced partnerships with Delta and

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

TikTok tells senators how it plans to beef up data security for American users
In a letter to nine Republican senators, TikTok said it's working to "remove any doubt about the security of US user data." CEO Shou Zi Chew reiterated a claim that TikTok stores American user data on servers run by Oracle, which will be audited by a third party. Chew also said the company expects to "delete US users' protected data from our own systems and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US."

"[We] are working with Oracle on new, advanced data security controls that we hope to finalize in the near future," Chew wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. "That work puts us closer to the day when we will be able to pivot toward a novel and industry-leading system for protecting the data of our users in the United States, with robust, independent oversight to ensure compliance."

Chew was responding to questions in a letter sent by the Republican senators — including Roger Wicker, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Commerce Committee — following a report by BuzzFeed News. The publication reported last month that China-based engineers of ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, accessed non-public data on users in the US between at least September 2021 and January 2022.

The report also prompted Brendan Carr, the Federal Communication Commission's senior Republican commissioner, to call on Apple and Google

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Engadget Podcast: Our digital privacy and rights post-Roe v. Wade
This week, Cherlynn is joined by senior editors Jessica Conditt and Karissa Bell to discuss the United States ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, and how, in our digital age, it affects the most vulnerable in our communities. Then, our hosts look at the Supreme Court ruling that guts the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act. In consumer tech news, we also look at Sony's new PlayStation-inspired peripherals and Snapchat's new subscription service.

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 podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

FDA says updated COVID-19 Omicron boosters won't require new clinical trials
A Food and Drug Administration official said COVID-19 vaccine makers won't need to carry out fresh clinical trials to receive approval for booster shots they're updating for newer Omicron variants. Dr. Peter Marks, who runs the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told Reuters the agency will use data from trials for vaccines that target BA.1 — the Omicron variant that caused a huge surge in infections last winter — as well as manufacturing data to assess the vaccines. Safety data and preclinical data from animal studies may also be used. 

This week, the FDA asked vaccine manufacturers to modify booster shots to target the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants in addition to the original strain of the virus. The agency hopes the updated boosters will be ready by the fall. "It's going to be really critical as we move into this fall where we've seen this evolution into BA.4/5, where we could see further evolution, to try to get as many people boosted as we can," Marks said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says BA.1 isn't circulating in the US anymore, but BA.4 and BA.5 now account for over 52 percent of COVID-19 infections in the country. Combined, they made up just 0.5 percent of cases in the US at the end of April.

Pfizer and Moderna this week released clinical trial data which suggests versions of

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Apple needs to take fertility tracking more seriously
Fertility apps have always been sketchy. As I've experienced it, it's a Faustian bargain of sorts: Take your chances on one of many options in your app store, and pick the one with the best reviews, or maybe the simplest interface. You'll sign up feeling unsure of what to make of the opaque data policy, and then you'll bear with the ensuing deluge of targeted ads - all in exchange for an accurate prediction of when you're most likely to conceive. Judging by those ads for maternity clothes and organic cotton onesies, someone somewhere knows I'm either trying to conceive or have already given birth, even if they can't decide which. I don't like it, but I put up with it.

I've been mulling the subject of period and fertility trackers ever since I decided I was ready to become a parent, though for privacy's sake, I didn't imagine writing about it until after I'd given birth to said imaginary baby. But in the two months since Politico published a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson, the case that has overturned the constitutional right to an abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, a lot of people have been talking about period trackers. Some activists and privacy advocates have asked if the data captured by these apps can be used to help prosecute someone seeking an abortion in a state that doesn't allow it. Some have simply exhorted readers to delete these apps altogether.

I understand why. And I also understand why people use these apps in the first place: Because the version of that app that's built into your smartphone OS isn't very good.

In my case, I have an iPhone. I've been using period tracking for a couple years now, though Apple began introducing these features much

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Biden will posthumously award Steve Jobs the Presidential Medal of Freedom
The US government has no higher award with which to honor a civilian's achievements than the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Handed out at the discretion of the Commander in Chief, the MoF celebrates "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." President Biden announced the first slate of MoF recipients of his administration on Friday, a list that includes former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.

President Biden's nominees for this award class number 17. They include luminaries like Olympic-winning gymnast Simone Biles, retired Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Gold Star Father Khizr Khan, former US Senator John McCain (posthumous), former president of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka (posthumous), and the most clearly worthy recipient of the group, Denzel Washington. 

The MoF has only been awarded 647 times since it was established by President Kennedy in 1963, and of those, just 26 people have been awarded it "with distinction." The awards will be presented at the White House on July 7, 2022. 



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

The best 4th of July tech sales we could find
Between the July 4th holiday and Amazon Prime Day coming up in a couple of weeks, there are a bunch of tech deals available right now. Solo Stove's Independence Day sale knocks up to 45 percent off fire pits, while our favorite ThermoWorks food thermometer is down to only $79. Early Prime Day sales bring Eero 6 router packs and Blink security camera kits down to record-low prices, and you can still pick up a Google Nest WiFi router for as low as $115. Here are the best 4th of July tech sales we could find.

Apple Watch Series 7EngadgetMost colors of the Apple Watch Series 7 are down to $329 at Amazon, or $80 off their normal price. This is our current favorite smartwatch and we gave it a score of 90 for its larger display, faster charging and handy watchOS features.

Buy Series 7 at Amazon - $329Amazon Eero 6Jon Fingas/EngadgetAmazon has discounted most Eero 6 systems ahead of Prime Day. If you're

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Comcast's refreshed Xfinity Stream app launches on Apple TV
If you're a Comcast Xfinity TV customer looking to move all of our TV watching into a single platform, then grab your finest off-brand champagne. The company has announced that the Xfinity Stream app is now available on Apple TV, both in its vanilla and 4K flavors. And users won't just be able to watch live and on-demand programming, they'll also be able to access material they've stored on their DVR, so long as they're within the home.

This is also the first opportunity to see the freshly-redesigned Xfinity Stream app, with what Comcast is calling a "new, more intuitive user interface." You'll also get improved personalization recommendations and editorial picks to help you find your next great show. Which will go nicely enough with the remainder of the off-brand champagne you'll be toasting with, surely.



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Sonos' latest refurbished sale knocks $360 off the Arc soundbar
Sonos has discounted many of its refurbished speakers to some of the best prices we've seen. A refurbished Arc will set you back just about $540, which is a whopping $360 cheaper than a brand new model. The Sonos Five, one of our favorite music-focused speakers, normally costs $549, but a refurbished model is on sale for just over $373, so you can save about $175. And if you're looking to get your first Sonos speaker, we recommend the Sonos One SL, which you can pick up refurbished for only $119.

Shop Sonos refurbished saleBuy Arc (refurbished) at Sonos - $540Buy Five (refurbished) at Sonos - $373Buy One SL (refurbished) at Sonos - $119You might be hesitant to buy a refurbished gadget, and that's why it's important to check out the conditions of a company's refurbished program before doing so. Sonos includes all necessary accessories, manuals and replacement parts with its refurbished devices, and they come with the same one-year warranty as new items, too. Considering how expensive it

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

We're heading for a messy, and expensive, breakup with natural gas
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated a number of fault lines already present within the global energy supply chain. This is especially true in Europe, where many countries were reliant on the superstate's natural resources, and are now hastily looking to cut ties before the supply is shut off. This has revealed the fragility of Europe's energy market, and caused it to drive up demand and prices for consumers all over the globe.

In the UK, things are becoming increasingly dire and energy prices are skyrocketing. Bad planning on the infrastructure side and the cancellation of several major domestic energy efficiency programs are exacerbating the problem. It's clear that real, useful action on the national level isn't coming any time soon. So, I wondered, what would happen if I, personally, simply tried to break up with natural gas on my own? It's relatively straightforward but, as it turns out, it comes at a cost that only one percenters will be able to bear. 

Dan Cooper: Energy consumer

I live in a four-bedroom, end-terraced house that's around 150 years old and I've tried, as best as I can, to renovate it in an eco-friendly way. Since we bought it almost a decade ago, my wife and I have insulated most of the rooms, installed a new gas central heating system and hot water cylinder. We are, like nearly 20 million other households in the UK, reliant on natural gas to supply our home heating, hot water and cooking. And in the period between January 8th and April 7th, 2022, I was billed on the following usage:



Usage (kWh)

Cost Per Unit (GBP)

Cost (GBP)

Electricity (incl. standing charge)

861



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Ducati's first electric motorcycle is designed for MotoE racing
Ducati has unveiled not just its first electric motorcycle but a key piece in the 2023 season of MotoE e-motocycle racing, it announced. The V21L prototype has that classic Ducati look but is swathed in carbon fiber and packs a 150HP electric motor with a 18kWh battery. As detailed in an announcement last year, Ducati will be the exclusive supplier of all 18 bikes used for FIM MotoE World Cup racing from 2023-2026.

It weighs in at 225 kilograms (496 pounds), with just under half the weight for the battery — very heavy for a racing bike (143 pounds more than ICE models), but still 26 pounds under the MotoE specification for 2023. It's also 35 kg (77 pounds) less than the Energica e-motocycles currently used in MotoE racing. 

The V21L can be charged to 80 percent in just 45 minutes and has enough range to complete the required seven laps of key GP tracks. It has reportedly hit speeds of up to 171 MPH at the Mugello MotoGP Circuit in Tuscany. 

The e-motorbike is quite a bet by (and on) Ducati considering it's never done one before, but the company said it used its extensive racing experience to design the model. At the same time, it'll take racing lessons learned back to its consumer models. 

"At this

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Meta allows select creators to post their NFTs on Facebook
Non-fungible tokens have arrived on Facebook. Meta has confirmed to TechCrunch that it has started giving select creators in the US the power to post digital collectibles on their profiles. While it's unclear if and when the feature will make its way to more users — Meta called the release a "slow rollout" — company CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously said that Meta was going to test NFT support on the social network. Meta Product Manager Navdeep Singh has posted photos on Twitter of what NFT integration would look like on Facebook's, and similar to Instagram's implementation, creators will have a digital collectibles tab on their profile where they can show off their NFTs.

Creators will be able to post their collectibles as status updates that people can comment on and react to, and clicking on them shows information on the artwork. According to Decrypt, Facebook will allow users to link their compatible digital wallets with the website, similar to how they can do so on Instagram. At the moment, Facebook supports NFTs minted on Ethereum and Polygon, though it will soon support Solana and Flow NFTs, as well. 


Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

How to survive the inevitable CD revival
In 1982, when the BBC's prime-time technology show - Tomorrow's World - did a segment on a new musical format called the "Compact Disc" the presenter skeptically asked "Whether there's a market for this, remains to be seen". We all know what happened next, but even in the early ‘80s the benefits of CDs should have been clear: high quality, non-degrading sound in a compact format. Oh, and you could even skip, shuffle and repeat tracks, which, in a pre-digital world, truly felt like the future

The Compact Disc turns 40 this year, and there are already signals the format is primed for a mini revival. For the first time in 17 years, CD sales actually went up - and by almost 50 percent, according to the RIAA's sales database.

It's still a long way from the format's peak. In 2021, 46.6 million CDs were shipped in the US - compared to nearly a billion back in 2000. For context, that 46.6 million barely accounts for four percent of last year's total music revenue. Vinyl albums, by contrast, sold fewer overall units (39.7M) but are more of a money spinner for artists (seven percent of total revenues).

Some reports claim that the uptick in CD sales is mostly due to mega-artists like Adele and BTS releasing new albums (the former's 30 accounted for two percent of total CD sales alone). But there are other potential - and more practical - contributing factors, too, including the pandemic.



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Anova's Precision Cooker Nano drops to $99 at Amazon
If you're looking to experiment more in the kitchen, sous vide cooking could be a way to do that. Anova makes a couple of WiFi-connected sous vide machines that we like, and our favorite, the Precision Cooker Nano, is back on sale for $99. That's 34 percent off and one of the best prices we've seen it, making it a good time to grab the entry-level device.

Buy Precision Cooker Nano at Amazon - $99You'll need a couple of things to give sous vide a try, but the one that you probably don't already have at home is a machine like the Nano. This method of cooking involves putting food in a sealable bag and then cooking it in a water bath. Devices like the Nano constantly circulate that water while keeping it at a precise temperature so your food comes out perfectly done, not over- or undercooked.

Anova's Precision Cooker Nano earned a spot on our list of favorite kitchen gadgets because it combines affordability and precision in a compact device. Normally priced at $149, the Nano comes in at only 1.7 pounds and its small enough to fit in your kitchen's utensil drawer. It uses 750 watts of power to heat water for up to 3,000 hours before you'll need to recharge it, so you'll be able to conduct a number of sous vide tests before it needs more juice.

The Nano has onboard controls that you can use to adjust temperature and timing, or you can connect it via Bluetooth to your phone and do so via its companion mobile app. Unlike

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

NVIDIA's new Shield update can stop late-night movies waking up the entire house
NVIDIA has rolled out Experience Upgrade v9.1 for all Shield TV and TV Pro units, and one of the features it brings will make watching action movies without earphones more feasible for night owls. The new Night Listening mode can optimize sounds when it's switched on so that loud explosions are subdued while quiet dialogue gets emphasized even while the volume is on low. "Enjoy watching movies or playing games at night without disturbing your family," the company said in its announcement. To note, the new model is available while using HDMI audio only. 

In addition to Night Listening, the latest update also enables Shield TVs to automatically switch to low latency game mode on all supported television and display models. So long as a display has Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLM), the streaming media device will be able to ensure that it's activated while a user is playing, whether it's a local game or something from the GeForce NOW cloud gaming service. By reducing latency, ALLM reduces lag and allows a smoother, more responsive gaming experience. Upgrade 9.1 comes with a few more features that include the ability to disable displaying HDR/Dolby Vision content and to get notifications when the microphone is turned on. 

Shield TV's previous update brought Android 11 to all models and added access to a new Google Keyboard with support for voice searches. It also fixed a a vulnerability that allowed remote attackers to cause a permanent denial of service. While 9.1 doesn't come with a big security fix, it does include a bunch of bug fixes for both Shield TV app and devices.



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Uber's second safety report shows a fall in assaults but traffic deaths rise
Uber has released its second bi-annual safety report covering the period between 2019 and 2020. The headline statistic is that the ride sharing company received 3,824 reports of sexual assault or misconduct via its app during this time. In addition, 20 people were killed in assaults and 101 fatalities as a consequence of an Uber-related crash, although the company is keep to emphasize the majority of those cases were caused by a third-party driver.

Compared to the last safety report, which covered the years 2017 and 2018, the figures for sexual assault have fallen from 5,981 then to 3,824 now. As both The New York Times and Bloomberg say, this may have been related to the fall in demand caused by shelter-in-place orders caused by COVID-19. Uber said that more than 99.9 percent of its rides happen without incident, and that these disclosures are an affirmation of its commitment to safety rather than the opposite.



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

The Morning After: Major League Baseball wants to deploy strike zone robo-umpires in 2024
Major League Baseball will "likely" introduce an Automated Strike Zone System starting in 2024, commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN. These robot umpires may call all balls and strikes then relay the information to a plate umpire, or be part of a replay review system that allows managers to challenge calls.

The comments come following outrage over umpires' missed calls in recent games, including a brutal low strike error during a Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins game. MLB has been experimenting with robo-umpires in the Atlantic League since 2019, using similar technology to golf speed-measurement devices.

There may be other benefits to introducing the tech. According to MLB data, mechanical systems have already made Atlantic league games mercifully shorter by a full nine minutes. And I say mercifully from the perspective of a Brit who's watched cricket matches.

—Mat Smith

 

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Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Google offers developers $90 million to settle Play Store billing fight
Google has offered to put $90 million on the table to settle a brewing conflict between it and a number of Android developers. As Reuters reports, the issue centers around the mandatory use of Google's in-house payments platform, with its fixed 30 percent cut. Developers feel that Google had worked behind the scenes to close off the options for alternative payment systems. It's prompted the search giant to offer a settlement to avoid "years of uncertain and distracting litigation."

In a statement, Google said that, if the court approves the offer, it will put $90 million into a fund to "support US developers who earned two million dollars of less in annual revenue through Google Play during each year from 2016-2021." If it goes ahead, Google will automatically notify the people who qualify for a payout, as well as affirm several changes it's already started to make. This includes lowering the commissionto 15 percent for the first $1 million in annual revenue, enabling developers to communicate with users outside of the app, and make it easier to use rival app stores and billing platforms.



Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Tesla faces new lawsuit over claims of racism and harassment at its Fremont factory
Tesla is facing another lawsuit by a group of former and current workers at its Fremont factory who allege that it knew about but failed to stop racist slurs, harassment and more, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The employees were "subjected to offensive racist comments and offensive racist behavior and discipline by colleagues, leads, supervisors, managers, and/or human resources personnel on a daily basis," the complaint states. 

One plaintiff named in the suit, Jasmine Wilson, worked as a quality inspector from August 2021 to March 2022. She alleges that she was the victim of racial epithets and sexual harassment from supervisors. In addition, they assumed she was a production associate because she was African-American, and berated her for not doing that job and wearing the wrong uniform, according to the suit. When she informed human resources, it was skeptical of her claims and never launched a promised investigation. 

Other employees also alleged racial slurs and graffiti on Tesla restroom walls, and said they were retaliated against after complaining. Some said they were given more strenuous positions than non-minority workers and passed over for promotions. 

Late last year, Tesla was sued by six women who accused it of "rampant" sexual harassment at the Fremont factory with catcalling, inappropriate touching, sexual comments and more. In December, a jury awarded former elevator operator Owen Diaz $137 million over racial abuse. The award was later reduced to $15 million, but that was

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Instagram test turns all video posts into Reels
It looks like Meta truly is making a big push for Reels. Social media consultant Matt Navarra has posted a screenshot on Twitter showing a notice for an experimental Instagram feature that says all video posts would be shared as Reels on the app. If your account is public, that means anyone can discover your video and use your original audio to create their own Reel. Only friends would see your video if your profile is private, but other users can still create a remix with your Reel and download it as part of their remix. The only way to ensure nobody uses your Reel for remixes is to turn the option off in Settings or to disable it for each video you post.


Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

The EU introduces new crypto rules to protect against fraud and climate impact
Europe and its member states have provisionally agreed on new crypto regulations that aim to protect consumers and service providers, the European Parliament announced. Called "MiCA" (markets in crypto-assets), it's designed to guard against things like fraud, criminal activity, climate impact and more. 

"In the Wild West of the crypto-world, MiCA will be a global standard setter," said Germany's MEP Stefan Berger in a statement. "MiCA will ensure a harmonised market, provide legal certainty for crypto-asset issuers, guarantee a level playing field for service providers and ensure high standards for consumer protection." 

A new legal framework is designed to protect market integrating by regulating public crypto offerings. A key provision is a public register administered by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to address money laundering concerns. Major crypto-asset service provider (CASPs) will also have to disclose energy consumption and declare environmental and climate impact data to their national authority, which will in turn inform ESMA. 


The law covers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether, but NFTs (nonfungible tokens) including "cinema tickets, digital collectibles from clothing brands or in-game items in computer games" will be exempt. However, those could later be re-classified as financial instruments or crytpo assets subject to MiCA, according to the rules. 

The law is still provisional, with key

Engadget
Jul 01, 2022

Meta cuts hiring plans as it prepares for 'serious times'
In a weekly employee Q&A session, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said the company is experiencing "one of the worst downturns [it has seen] in recent history." According to Reuters, the executive has revealed that Meta has slashed its target number for new engineers hires this year by about 30 percent. Meta previously said that it's slowing its hiring plans due to weak revenue forecasts, but now Zuckerberg has announced more details with exact figures. Apparently, from plans to hire 10,000 new engineers this year, Meta will only hire between 6,000 and 7,000.

Further, the CEO said that Meta is raising expectations on current employees and giving them more aggressive goals so that they can decide on their own if the company isn't for them. "[S]elf-selection is OK with me," he said. In a memo to employees, chief product officer Chris Cox has stressed that the company "is in serious times here and the headwinds are fierce." He also listed the company's six investment priorities for the second half of the year, starting with its metaverse initiatives Avatars and its virtual world Horizon Worlds. 

According to the memo, published in full by The Verge, Meta is also aiming to monetize Reels as quickly as possible. Time spent on Reels has more than doubled around the world since last year, the memo reads, with 80 percent of that growth coming from Facebook. Cox called Reels, its short-form video for

Engadget
Jun 30, 2022

FCC cracks down on robocalls originating from small carriers
Starting today, small phone carriers must implement a special caller ID authentication tool that will help identify robocallers, the Federal Communication Commission announced. Known as STIR/SHAKEN, major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon — due to an FCC rule adopted in 2020 — have had the same tool in place since last year. The agency initially gave small carriers a more generous deadline of June 2023 to adopt STIR/SHAKEN, but opted to fast-track adoption because it discovered "a subset of these small voice service providers were originating an increasing quantity of illegal robocalls."

But as a new report from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) notes, merely flagging suspected robocalls is not enough to tackle the robocall industry. "The problem is that applying the STIR/SHAKEN methodology requires only that originating providers apply a certification indicating how confident they are that the caller ID displayed in the calls is correct," the report states. Presumably, this means calls can still be routed through gateway carriers from abroad where the FCC's rules don't apply. But as EPIC also mentions, implementing STIR/SHAKEN may help identify spam callers, but there aren't any real metrics in place by which to measure how effective carriers are at stopping the calls. "The FCC's pending regulatory efforts would continue to require only that providers have procedures in place to

Engadget
Jun 30, 2022

Roland's SP-404 MKII sampler gets powerful new sequencing features and effects
When I went hands-on with Roland's SP-404 MKII back in October I said it was "becoming" my favorite sampler. Fast forward a few months and it is firmly entrenched in that spot. Of course, no piece of gear is perfect, and there's always room for improvement. So Roland is pushing out a 2.0 firmware update that only further cement's the 404's place at the top of my list.

Perhaps the biggest addition is a new TR-style (as in TR-808) step sequencer. While the SP series has always appealed more to those that want the loose feel of live instrumentation, being able to punch in a basic four-on-the-floor kick that's right on the money is always nice. That's especially true if your sense of rhythm is only so-so, but it also makes the 404 more useful for genres that are all about being right on the beat like house and techno. And in some ways, it's actually more versatile than your average TR-style sequencer since patterns can be up to 64 bars (or 1,024 steps) in length. 

In addition to being able to program beats by manually punching in individual steps, you can also now record to patterns in chromatic mode: load up a sample of a single note and just play a melody into a pattern. Previously this had to be done via resampling, i.e. creating an entirely new sample of the melody you played.

Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

Engadget
Jun 30, 2022

OpenSea users' email addresses leaked in data breach
NFT marketplace OpenSea shared today that it's the victim of another data breach — though this time the target is one of its vendors. An employee of its email delivery vendor, Customer.io, allegedly downloaded and shared stored email addresses associated with OpenSea accounts and newsletter subscriptions with an unknown third party. Any OpenSea account holder or newsletter subscriber should assume their email address was among those impacted, according to a blog post by the company's head of security Cory Hardman. At this time it does not appear any passwords or other personal information was stolen.

The company is working with Customer.io to investigate the matter. "Please stay vigilant about your email practices, and be alert for any attempt to impersonate OpenSea via email," wrote Hardman.

Unlike a previous phishing attack on OpenSea in February that resulted in hundreds of NFTs being stolen, there appears to be no further reported damage beyond the leaked email addresses. Still, the number of people likely impacted by the breach is significant. Hackread noted that 1.8 million users made purchases through the Ethereum network on OpenSea, according to data from Dune Analytics.

Yesterday the company sent emails to OpenSea users who they suspected were involved, warning them to be on the lookout for phishing emails and other scams. Beyond stand

Engadget
Jun 30, 2022

A swarm of Cruise robotaxis blocked San Francisco traffic for hours
A small fleet of Cruise robotaxis in San Francisco suddenly stopped operating on Tuesday night, effectively stopping traffic on a street in the city's Fillmore district for a couple of hours until employees were able to arrive. TechCrunch first noticed a Reddit post that featured a photo of the stalled driverless cabs at the corner of Gough and Fulton streets. Cruise — which is General Motor's AV subsidiary — only launched its commercial robotaxi service in the city last week. The rides feature no human safety driver, are geo-restricted to certain streets and can only operate in the late evening hours.

Cruise apologized for the incident in a statement, but gave little explanation for what caused the mishap. "We had an issue earlier this week that caused some of our vehicles to cluster together," a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. "While it was resolved and no passengers were impacted, we apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced."

The GM-backed AV startup won the first driverless taxi permit in a major US city, and began offering San Francisco residents free rides in February. After launching its paid passenger service on June 24, early reviews from Cruise passengers came pouring in. One passenger noted that his Cruise car took an

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