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Engadget
May 30, 2024

A year of Peacock Premium can be yours for just $20
The prices of streaming services have been rising across the board over the last few years. One way to keep the costs down is by opting for a bundle. But there are other deals to be found, such as one that can save you $40 on an annual Peacock Premium plan ahead of a planned price hike. A year of the ad-supported tier can be yours for

Engadget
May 30, 2024

Amazon has permission to fly its drones over longer distances
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given Amazon permission to fly its delivery drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). With that hurdle cleared, the company claims it can fly farther and expand drone service, providing customers faster delivery and a larger selection of items, Amazon announced in a blog post.

Until now, the FAA has only allowed Amazon to fly drones as far as someone could see them from the ground. That way, spotters or pilots could ensure that drones weren't interfering with aircraft. However, the constraint seriously limited how far the drones could travel.

To move beyond that, Amazon said it spent years developing "onboard detect-and-avoid technology." It submitted engineering information to the FAA including operation, maintenance and performance details. Flight tests were then conducted in the presence of FAA inspectors around airplanes, helicopters and a hot air balloon to "demonstrate how the drone safely navigated away from each one of them," Amazon said. 

With BVLOS approval in hand, the company plans to expand its delivery area around its drone facility at College Station, Texas. Later in 2024, drone deliveries will be integrated into its broader delivery network.

Last month, Amazon announced that it was halting drone deliveries at one of its first test sites in Lockeford, California, without providing a specific reason. At the same time, it said it would launch drone deliveries in the West Valley, Phoenix metro area.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-has-permission-to-fly-its-drones-over-longer-distances-133602573.html?

Engadget
May 30, 2024

The latest Sonos sale slices $90 off the flagship Era 300
Folks who have been on the fence about buying a Sonos soundbar or speaker for the first time or those who want to expand their existing home audio setup may be pleased to learn that the company is running a sale. (Its new Ace headphones aren't included, unfortunately.) You can save up to 25 percent on many Sonos products until June 16. The Era 300 speaker, for instance, has dropped from $449 to $359. That's 90 bucks off, and the deal is also being matched

Engadget
May 30, 2024

How to watch Sony's PlayStation State of Play event this evening
Sony's next PlayStation State of Play livestream event kicks off this evening at 6PM ET and it's extremely easy to watch. The stream will be available on the company's YouTube page, on Twitch and even TikTok. Sony says the event should last around 30 minutes.

So what's on the agenda? The company promises the stream will spotlight 14 games coming to the PS5 and PS VR2. Sony hasn't announced many first-party titles for the months and years ahead, so this should finally give us a glimpse into the future of both the PS5 and its VR headset accessory. Wait, 14 games in 30 minutes? You had better not take a break to make popcorn.

Sony remains mum as to which 14 games will get some TLC during the stream, but we have some likely guesses. It's been nearly three years since the teaser trailer for Insomniac's Wolverine game dropped, and the near-indestructible mutant has been all over the pop culture landscape lately. It's highly likely we'll get an actual gameplay trailer and maybe, just maybe, a release date.

Rumors have suggested that the long-awaited Silent Hill 2 remake will get another trailer, but Konami is holding its own event immediately following State of Play. Konami's event is called

Engadget
May 30, 2024

World of Warcraft is coming to GeForce Now
GeForce Now subscribers will be able to stream and play World of Warcraft (WoW) through the service if they want to. NVIDIA's cloud gaming service is adding World of Warcraft Classic, Dragonflight and even Cataclysm Classic, which launched just a few days ago, to its library of games. WoW and its extensions will be available starting this week, along with a bunch of other titles such as the newly released Rogue Prince of Persia. In June, NVIDIA is also adding Resident Evil Village and Street Fighter 6, among other games, to the service. 

The service gives members a way to access games across platforms, including Android and iOS devices, PCs and Macs. It's worth noting that WoW does not support controllers for consoles, and players typically need a keyboard and a mouse to be as accurate and as fast as possible, so it may not be easy to play on certain devices. The game's addition to GeForce Now means subscribers can play it on Chromebooks, though, eliminating the need for players to jump through hoops just to be able to install the game on their computers. 

In addition to announcing new titles for GeForce Now, NVIDIA also revealed t

Engadget
May 30, 2024

Netflix is developing a Minecraft animated series
While Minecraft was officially released in 2011, it was first introduced to the public back in 2009. This year, Minecraft is celebrating its 15th anniversary, and as part of the festivities surrounding that milestone, Netflix and Mojang Studios have announced that they're making an animated series based on the iconic sandbox game. It's a computer graphic-animated show that's being developed by Canadian studio WildBrain, which was also behind the animated Netflix shows Carmen Sandiego and Sonic Prime.

The companies said the series will feature an original story based on new characters that show "the world of Minecraft in a new light." We'll most likely find out what that means exactly before the series launches when they start releasing previews and trailers. The video Netflix and Mojang have published only announces their collaboration — we'll just have to wait for more information on whether the show will still include characters we all know from the game, like Steve, creepers and zombies, or if it will truly only feature characters we've never seen before. If the long-delayed Minecraft movie ever gets made, we'll still see Steve in an adaptation anyway. Earlier this year, Deadline reported that Jack Black is set to star as the game's blocky protagonist alongside Jason Momoa. 

Over the

Engadget
May 30, 2024

The best home entertainment gifts for Father's Day
While the cinema is still the best way to experience movies, it's admittedly hard (and expensive!) to corral kids for a theater trip. And don't even bring up babysitting costs. These days, it's far easier to turn your house into the perfect entertainment cocoon, with all of your required creature comforts. Here are a few suggestions to help dads get their kids into Across the Spider-Verse (or perhaps catch up on all the Marvel and Star Wars shows they may have missed).



















This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-best-home-entertainment-gift-ideas-for-dad-134509519.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 30, 2024

The Morning After: Sony apologizes for fabricated ‘interview' with Last of Us studio head
Last week, Sony published a seemingly innocuous round of interviews that centered the company's nebulous "creative entertainment vision". Neil Druckmann, head of the Sony-owned game studio Naughty Dog, was one of those — but his interview wasn't quite what it seemed.

Druckmann, who headed the team behind The Last of Us series, was apparently wildly misquoted by his own employers. A few days after the interviews were published, he took to X and said, "This is not quite what I said." He even posted a section of the original interview transcript, which was hugely different.

Sony has since pulled the interview and issued an apology on the old page, saying the article had significant errors and inaccuracies, encompassing "animation, writing, technology, AI and future projects." So, if all that was inaccurate, what was accurate?

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed The best VPN service for 2024

Fitbit's new wearable for kids has a digital pet inside

Sony's next PlayStation State of Play takes place May 30

Samsung's largest union calls its first-ever strike



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Engadget
May 30, 2024

Amazon Prime Day 2024: Everything you need to know about the upcoming sale in July
Amazon Prime Day 2024 is coming soon, so 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 event, and if you're a Prime member, you'll have access to all of the Amazon Prime Day deals. 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? We do not have official dates for Prime Day 2024 yet, but we do know it'll be back sometime in July. The shopping event focuses on exclusive deals for Prime members, which means you'll have to be a Prime subscriber on Prime Day to take advantage of most of the savings. Amazon still offers a

Engadget
May 30, 2024

Instagram is expanding its anti-bullying features for teens
Instagram is expanding two of its safety features in an effort to ramp up its bullying protections for teens. The company is changing how limiting and restricting work in its app to give teens ways to deal with potential bullies that it claims are less likely to lead to further retaliation.

With the changes, Instagram users will have the ability to "limit" their post interactions to "close friends" only. That means that users will only see comments, direct messages, tags and mentions from people on their close friends list. Other followers will still be able to interact with their posts, but those comments and messages won't be visible to others.

The company previously introduced comment limiting as a creator-focused anti-bullying feature in 2021 with the goal of preventing the kind of sudden flood of harassment experienced by several UK football players. The latest changes, according to Instagram, are geared more toward teens who are dealing with bullies, but may be hesitant to use the app's block feature due to fears of escalating potential conflicts,

For cases when people may be dealing with one particular bully, Instagram is making similar changes to its "restrict" feature. Users will be able to prevent restricted individuals from tagging or mentioning them. Comments from those on the restricted list will also be automatically hidden from others.

The updates comes as Meta is facing scrutiny over its handling of teen safety and other issues. The company was

Engadget
May 30, 2024

The best E Ink tablets for 2024
E-Ink tablets have intrigued me ever since they became available because I'm a longtime lover of pen and paper. I've had hundreds of paper notebooks over the years, serving as safe places for me to dump story ideas, to-do lists, meeting notes and everything in between. But at a certain point, I turned away from physical notebooks because it became easier to save all of those things digitally in various apps that were always available to me on my phone. E-Ink tablets seem to provide the best of both worlds: the tactile satisfaction of physical notebooks with many of the conveniences found in digital tools. These devices have come a long way in the past few years, and we're just starting to see more color E-Ink tablets become more widely available. I tested out a number of different E Ink tablets to see how well they work, how convenient they really are and which are the best tablets using E Ink screens available today.

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

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

Engadget
May 30, 2024

Amazon Prime customers in the US now get free GrubHub delivery
Amazon is permanently offering free restaurant delivery via Grubhub as part of its Prime subscription, the company announced. If you live in the US and pay $139 per year for a Prime subscription, you'll pay no fee for eligible GrubHub orders over $12. You'll also see lower service fees, 5 percent credit back on pickup orders and exclusive offers. 

That works out to a value of $120 per year, according to Amazon. The retail giant had previously offered Prime clients a free one-year subscription to GrubHub , but once it auto-renewed, you had to pay $129 per year on top of your Prime subscription. Now, it appears to be a permanent Prime inclusion.

Amazon's US customers can access GrubHub on Amazon.com and in the Amazon Shopping app with an "identical" ordering experience and prices to Grubhub.com or Grubhub's app, according to Amazon. To activate the offer, go to Amazon.com/grubhub. On top of the free delivery, Prime members can get $5 off GrubHub orders of $25 or more through June 2nd.

Though widely used, restaurant delivery services have been controversia

Engadget
May 30, 2024

Google makes it easier to multi-task with minimized in-app Chrome tabs
Sometimes, having to open a link from within another app on mobile could be disruptive and take you away from the task you were trying to accomplish. Now an update for Chrome could help keep you focused with the task at hand. When you click on a link within Gmail, for instance, and open a Chrome tab within the app, you can tap on the chevron icon in the toolbar right next to the "x" or the close button to minimize the browser. That turns the open tab into a compact, floating picture-in-picture window that you can drag anywhere on the screen. 

You can keep it minimized while you use the original app, and the moment you're ready to look at its contents, you only have to tap the floating window to restore the tab to its original size. We were already able to use the new feature on Android within Gmail. You'll also be able to take advantage of it soon if you don't have it yet, as long as your default browser is Chrome and you keep it updated. The feature is even enabled by default, so you don't have to do anything to switch it on. Of course, you can always send an in-app tab to the Chrome browser if keeping different tasks open in separate windows makes you more productive.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-makes-it-easier-to-multi-task-with-minimized-in-app-chrome-tabs-060209780.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 29, 2024

US House bill would require national security reviews on connected vehicles from China
Newly proposed Congressional legislation would require the US to conduct security reviews for connected vehicles built by automakers from China and "other countries of concern." Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official who has championed the issue, introduced the bill on Wednesday.

If passed by Congress (a tall order these days), the Connected Vehicle National Security Review Act would establish a formal review process for connected autos from Chinese companies. It would also allow the Department of Commerce to limit or ban these cars and other vehicles before they reach US consumers.

"Today's vehicles are more sophisticated than ever, carrying cameras, radars and other sophisticated sensors, plus the ability to process, transmit and store the data they gather from the United States," said Slotkin. "If allowed into our markets, Chinese connected vehicles offer the Chinese government a treasure trove of valuable intelligence on the United States, including the potential to collect information on our military bases, critical infrastructure like the power grid and traffic systems, and even locate specific U.S leaders should they so choose."



Engadget
May 29, 2024

Sony pulls fabricated 'interview' with Naughty Dog head Neil Druckmann
Last week, Sony published a seemingly innocuous bit of fluff, touting its long-term "creative entertainment vision" in broad terms, along with some interviews of key employees. Neil Druckmann, studio head of Sony's Naughty Dog, was one of those — and his interview made waves in the game world. According to the interview, Druckmann said AI could "create nuanced dialogues and characters" and also said that the new game Naughty Dog was developing (but hasn't officially announced) "could redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming." Some mighty strong and potentially controversial statements from the head of a studio beloved for its The Last of Us and Uncharted franchises. 

Problem is, Druckmann was wildly misquoted by his own employers. A few days after Sony published its interview, Druckmann took to X and said "this is not quite what I said." He then went full Ellie-in-revenge-mode on Sony, posting a section of the original interview transcript. (He was actually pretty polite if we're being honest — even the powerful can only bite the hand that feeds so hard.) Regardless, things here do not add up.


Engadget
May 29, 2024

The new Framework 13 laptops include Intel Core Ultra Series 1 processors
Framework, the company known for making unique modular laptops, just announced the latest iteration of its Laptop 13. The big news here is that these computers now come equipped with Intel Core Ultra Series 1 processors, which should offer a serious boost in power along with improved efficiency and battery life. These processors also support up to 96GB of DDR5 RAM, so you can make sure your model is relatively future-proof.

A laptop isn't just a processor, however, so the Laptop 13 features all kinds of iterative improvements over previous models. There are multiple display options, and the best one features a resolution of 2880x1920 and a refresh rate of 120Hz. That'll certainly be quite handy for gaming.

There's a new 9.2MP webcam that steals a bit of tech from modern smartphone cameras to deliver "amazing 1080p performance, especially in low-light conditions." Framework has also moved to lower-noise microphones for audio clarity.

Of course, this is Framework, so the Laptop 13 is modular. The company offers an array of customization options, including new expansion cards and system modules. There are some new multi-colored USB-C expansion cards and a forthcoming SD expansion card for easy flash storage. It also offers pre-configured models to suit different consumers. For instance, there's a business version that comes with a 3-year warranty and pre-installed Windows 11 Pro with Autopilot support.

Preorde

Engadget
May 29, 2024

The Atlantic and Vox Media made their own deal with the AI Devil
In the last few months, news organizations have leapt into bed with OpenAI, hatching Faustian bargains where the cash-strapped media industry exchanges a monetary pittance for OpenAI's right to scrape and integrate their content into things like ChatGPT. Those that have signed in blood include News Corp (publisher of the Wall Street Journal), the Financial Times, People magazine publisher Dotdash Meredith, the AP, and now, The Atlantic and Vox Media.

The Atlantic and Vox Media quickly confirmed these new deals shortly after Axios first published the news. 

The Atlantic says that it'll be a "premium news source" in OpenAI and that all its cit

Engadget
May 29, 2024

Sony is working on a PC adapter for the PlayStation VR2
Sony promised earlier this year that it would free the PlayStation VR2 from the shackles of the PS5 by letting folks use it with their PC. We're starting to get a fuller picture of what that might look like, as the company appears to be working on a PC adapter for the headset.

A Korean filing recently unearthed by VR and mixed-reality enthusiast Brad Lynch (as noted by The Verge) indicates that the company has created such a peripheral. There are no details on how the adapter works, what it looks like or how much it will cost, but it lends credence to previous evidence that the headset would have a wired PC connection.


Engadget
May 29, 2024

Meta caught an Israeli marketing firm running hundreds of fake Facebook accounts
Meta caught an Israeli marketing firm using fake Facebook accounts to run an influence campaign on its platform, the company said in its latest report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The scheme targeted people in the US and Canada and posted about the Israel-Hamas war.

In all, Meta's researchers uncovered 510 Facebook accounts, 11 pages, 32 Instagram accounts and one group that were tied to the effort, including fake and previously hacked accounts. The accounts posed as "Jewish students, African Americans and ‘concerned' citizens" and shared posts that praised Israel's military actions and criticized the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and college protests. They also shared Islamaophobic comments in Canada, saying that "radical Islam poses a threat to liberal values in Canada."

Meta's researchers said the campaign was linked to STOIC, a "a political marketing and business intelligence firm" based in Israel, though they didn't speculate on the motives behind it. STOIC was also active on X and YouTube and ran websites "focused on the Israel-Hamas war and Middle Eastern politics."

According to Meta, the campaign was discovered before it could build up a large audience and many of the fake accounts were disabled

Engadget
May 29, 2024

Sony's next PlayStation State of Play takes place May 30
We're inching toward that early June window previously occupied by E3 that will feature a ton of games showcases, including Summer Game Fest, an Xbox event, an Ubisoft Forward and a Nintendo Direct. Sony is getting a headstart on all of those though, as a PlayStation State of Play is set for Thursday, May 30. It starts at 6PM ET and you'll be able to watch it on YouTube, Twitch and TikTok.

Interestingly, Sony is opting not to use the PlayStation Showcase branding it usually opts for with its now-annual late-May stream. The company hasn't announced much in the way of first-party PlayStation games for the months and years ahead, and it will start padding out the slate here.

The stream will run for over 30 minutes and feature 14 titles that are coming to PS5 and PS VR2. It will include some PlayStation Studios games that will arrive later this year. 


Engadget
May 29, 2024

Fitbit Ace LTE hands-on: Wearable gaming to make exercise fun (but not too fun)
Google is crossing genres with its latest wearable for kids, combining a gaming system and an activity tracker in the Fitbit Ace LTE. The company is pitching this as a "first-of-its-kind connected smartwatch that transforms exercise into play and safely helps kids lead more active, independent lives." Basically, think of it as a Nintendo Switch pared down into an activity tracker for children aged 7 and up, with a few safety and connectivity features built in.

The main idea here is to get kids up and moving, in exchange for progress on the Ace LTE's onboard games. But there are also basic tools that let parents (and trusted contacts) stay in touch with the wearer. Through the new Fitbit Ace app (that adults can install on iOS or Android), guardians can set play time, monitor activity progress and send calls or messages. On the watch itself, kids can also use the onscreen keyboard or microphone to type or dictate texts or choose an emoji.

The Fitbit Ace LTE's hardware: Basically a Pixel Watch 2 Since the Fitbit Ace LTE uses essentially the same hardware as the Pixel Watch 2, it's pretty responsive. One major difference, though, is that the kid-friendly tracker uses Gorilla Glass 3 on its cover, in addition to the 5 ATMs of water-resistance that both models share. Google does include a protective case with each Ace LTE, and it doesn't add much weight.

There are also other obvious differences because the Pixel Watch 2 has a circular face while the Fitbit Ace LTE has a "squircle" (square with rounded corners) with two large buttons on the right side. The latter's band is also a lot narrower, and it comes "with technology built in," according to Google's vice president of product management An

Engadget
May 29, 2024

This Anker Nano portable charger for iPhone is on sale for only $12
My phone always dies on long days out and about, but I'm not a fan of carrying heavy power banks or having cords twist in my bag. The Anker Nano portable charger is the only option I've found that I'll actually use, and I'm excited to report (though with a bit of jealousy) that it's currently on sale for just $12. The charger is typically $26, but a 31 percent discount and a $6 coupon bring the white and

Engadget
May 29, 2024

Samsung's largest union calls its first-ever strike
Samsung's largest workers' organization, the National Samsung Electronics Union, has announced that it's planning to stage a walkout next week as part of its fight for fair compensation. Members are threatening to skip work for a day, on June 7, in hopes that the company would listen to their demands after their wage negotiations over the past months had come to a standstill. If it pushes through, BNN Bloomberg says it'll be the first strike ever by the company's employees since Samsung was founded. As Reuters reports, Samsung agreed to a 5.1 percent increase in wages this year, but the union is also negotiating to add one more day to workers' annual leaves and for more transparency when it comes to performance bonuses.

"What we want is not a 1-2 percent wage increase. What we want is to be paid fairly for the amount of work done," union leaders said in front of Samsung's offices in Seoul. "We want to be compensated for our labor fairly and transparently."

The National Samsung Electronics Union has 28,000 members, which represent over a fifth of the company's workforce. Union leaders aren't expecting the strike to have a significant impact on Samsung's production since most of its manufacturing processes are automated anyway, but they're still hoping that their walkout could compel the company to take them seriously. The union certainly has more power to negotiate now — apparently, its membership grew four-fold over the past couple of years after the company

Engadget
May 29, 2024

Samsung will stuff the Galaxy Watch with new AI health-tracking features
Samsung will add new AI-based health and fitness features to the Galaxy Watch later this year. The company announced on-device AI features on Wednesday, including personalized health scores, tips, sleep indicators and suggested workout routines.

One of the Galaxy Watch's big AI upgrades is a new Energy Score, which learns from various personal metrics to provide "comprehensive health insights." The model draws on a variety of sleep data, including when the wearer went to bed, how long and how well they slept and their heart's rate and variability during sleep. Physical activity during waking hours is also taken into account.

Along similar lines, the Galaxy Watch will also add Wellness Tips, which take that data analysis a step further with "insights, motivational tips, and guidance" relative to your personal fitness goals.

Malak Saleh for Engadget Sleep features are also getting AI-enhanced upgrades, offering extra insight into your nightly habits. New sleep algorithms can analyze sleep movement, latency, heart rate and respiratory rate. They'll join existing tracking features like snoring hours, blood-oxygen level and sleep cycle.

For hardcore runners, the Galaxy Watch is getting new aerobic threshold (AT) and anaerobic threshold (AnT) heart rate zone metrics to help you stay within your optimal training windows. High-intensity cyclis

Engadget
May 29, 2024

The best Father's Day tech gift ideas
The big day is approaching and there's plenty of pressure for you to hand over a gift that says a lot all at once. It may be called Father's Day, but this is an event for you to say a loving thank you to whatever person held that special role in your life, irrespective of gender. Here's a list of the best gifts you can give to show your appreciation for all of the parenting they did, and may even still do.































This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-fathers-day-gift-ideas-123012557.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 29, 2024

The Morning After: Xbox's Call of Duty Black Ops 6 gamble
Ahead of Microsoft finishing up its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it said bringing that publisher's titles to Xbox Game Pass might take some time. We've only seen one so far(Diablo IV), but the company now has added a notable one. In fact, it's a game that isn't even here yet. Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be available on Game Pass on its release day, later this year.

In Black Ops style, it's a tactical play. Almost every year in recent memory, the latest Call of Duty release has been the best-selling game. Microsoft is relying on the debut of a new Call of Duty game to draw players to its Game Pass. $10 a month is cheaper than the price of the game, but it's also a subscription. And the company is banking on Xbox gamers continuing that sub.

If you do pick up Xbox Game Pass, you'll get to play the game on the day of release, as well as access to the ever-increasing Game Pass game library, including recent addition Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2.

Check out the teaser trailer here.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed The best VPN service for 2024

OpenAI's new safety team is led by board members, including CEO Sam Altman



Engadget
May 29, 2024

The best budgeting apps for 2024
As a former Mint user, I recently had to find a new budgeting app. Intuit, parent company of Mint, shut down the service in March 2024, and prompted users to transition to its other financial app, Credit Karma. However, I found Credit Karma to be a poor Mint replacement after testing it out — that meant I needed to look elsewhere for a trusted place to track all of my accounts, monitor my credit score, follow a monthly spending plan and set goals like building a rainy-day fund and paying down my mortgage faster. I set out to try Mint's top competitors in the hopes that I'd find a new budgeting app that I could turn to for all of my financial needs. Hopefully my journey can help you find the best budgeting app for you as well.

How we tested Before I dove in and started testing out budgeting apps, I had to do some research. To find a list of apps to try out, I consulted trusty ol' Google (and even trustier Reddit); read reviews of popular apps on the App Store; and also asked friends and colleagues what budget tracking apps they might

Engadget
May 29, 2024

The best VPN service for 2024
Virtual private networks (VPNs) promise the potential to stream any content, from anywhere. They unlock content from abroad across nearly any streaming platform you use regularly, which can come in handy if you're into some obscure BBC exclusive not available in the United States. But that's actually just one small perk of VPN services. VPNs provide a private traffic tunnel to keep your internet service provider out of your business, and provide an extra layer of security to protect your browsing habits. We tested nine of today's most popular VPNs to help you find the best option for your needs.

What is a VPN? VPNs, or virtual private networks, mask your IP address and the identity of your computer or mobile device on the network and creating an encrypted "tunnel" that prevents your internet service provider (ISP) from accessing data about your browsing history. VPNs are not a one-size-fits-all security solution, though.

Instead, they're just one part of keeping your data private and secure. Roya Ensafi, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, told Engadget that VPNs don't protect against common threats like phishing attacks, nor do they protect your data from being stolen. Much of the data or information is stored with the VPN provider instead of your ISP, which means that using a poorly designed or unprotected network can still undermine your security. But they do come in handy for online privacy when you're connecting to an untrusted network somewhere public because they tunnel and encrypt your traffic to the next hop.

That means sweeping claims that seem promising, like military-grade encryption or t

Engadget
May 28, 2024

The Internet Archive has been fending off DDoS attacks for days
If you couldn't access the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine over the past few days, that's because the website has been under attack. In fact, the nonprofit organization has announced that it's currently in its "third day of warding off an intermittent DDoS cyber-attack" in a blog post. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the organization posted on Twitter/X that most of its services aren't available due to bad actors pummeling its website with "tens of thousands of fake information requests per second." On Tuesday morning, it warned that it's "continuing to experience service disruptions" because the attackers haven't stopped targeting it. 

The website's data doesn't seem to be affected, though, and you could still look up previous pages' content whenever you could access it. "Thankfully the collections are safe, but we are sorry that the denial-of-service attack has knocked us offline intermittently during these last three days," Brewster Kahle, the founder of the the Internet Archive, said in a statement. "With the support from others and the hard work of staff we are hardening our defenses to provide more reliable access to our library. What is new is this attack has been sustained, impactful, targeted, adaptive, and importantly, mean."

The Internet Archive has yet to identify the source of the attacks, but it did talk about how libraries and similar institutions are being targeted more frequently these days. One of the institutions it mentioned was the British Library whose online information system was held hostage for ransom by a hacker group last year. It also talked about h

Engadget
May 28, 2024

OpenAI's board allegedly learned about ChatGPT launch on Twitter
Helen Toner, one of OpenAI's former board members who was responsible for firing CEO Sam Altman last year, revealed that the company's board didn't know about the launch of ChatGPT until it was released in November 2022. "[The] board was not informed in advance of that," Toner said on Tuesday on a podcast called The Ted AI Show. "We learned about ChatGPT on Twitter."

Toner's comments came just two days after criticized the way OpenAI was governed in an Economist piece published on Sunday that she co-wrote with Tasha McCauley, another former OpenAI board member. This is the first time that Toner has spoken openly about the circumstances that led to Altman's dramatic ouster from the company he co-founded in 2015, and his

Engadget
May 28, 2024

VR classics Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator come to Apple Vision Pro
The Apple Vision Pro was marketed primarily as a productivity machine, but as any active VR user can tell you, it's the games that sell these devices. Apple's headset offers access to hundreds of games, but mostly as quick and dirty iPad ports that show up as a virtual screen in your field of vision. This, however, is starting to change.

Developer Owlchemy Labs just announced that two of its marquee titles, Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator, are now available for the Apple Vision Pro. These aren't iPad ports. Both games are fully immersive VR experiences that have been optimized for Apple's headset. This means that controls have been mapped to hand-and-eye tracking. The AVP's lack of a dedicated controller would absolutely hamper some pre-existing VR games, but these two should work perfectly.

For the uninitiated, Job Simulator was one of the first "must have" titles in the VR space. It's a hilarious riff on corporate culture that tasks players with designing a cubicle, making coffee and participating in all kinds of shenanigans. Vacation Simulator extends the tomfoolery to leisure, with a colorful beachside location, the ability to take picturesque hikes and, well, knitting. Players can also relax in a fake hot tub, splash in a fake sea and even get in some fake yoga.

Job Simulator costs $20 and Vacation Simulator costs $30, which are the same prices as rival platforms like the Meta Quest Store and S

Engadget
May 28, 2024

The TikTok ban law will be argued in court this September
TikTok will face off with the Justice Department this fall in its bid to stop a law that could lead to a ban of the app in the United States. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set a September date for oral arguments in two cases challenging a law that requires ByteDance to sell the app or face a ban.

TikTok filed a lawsuit claiming that the law was unconstitutional earlier this month. The company has said that divesting from ByteDance is "simply not possible" and that it had already negotiated with the US government to address national security concerns. Separately, a group of TikTok creators are also challenging the law. They claim that the law violates their First Amendment rights because they would lose their ability to communicate on the platform. TikTok is reportedly paying the creators' legal fees in the case.

In September, the appeals court will hear challenges in both cases, which have been consolidated. As Reuters notes, the September date lines up with TikTok's desire for a "fast-track" schedule in the case, which could eventually end up before the Supreme Court.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-tiktok-ban-law-will-be-argued-in-court-this-september-185025724.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Ooni's larger, dual-zone Koda 2 Max pizza oven is now available for pre-order
In April, Ooni revealed its largest pizza oven yet, but the company was clear that you wouldn't be able to order one until May. Well, the time has come. Starting today, you can pre-order the Koda 2 Max pizza oven for $999. The outdoor beast is scheduled to start shipping in July, which means you'll still have to wait a few weeks to take advantage of this unit's upgrades. In addition to a larger cooking area, the new features include dual-zone temperature controls, improved heat distribution, a new digital display and Bluetooth connectivity to your phone. 

None of these items are a surprise as they were part of the initial reveal, but Ooni's full spec sheet for the Koda 2 Max does offer more info on how the Bluetooth feature will work. The company explains that the Digital Temperature Hub takes readings from "various spots" inside the oven and shows them on both the color display and the Ooni app. There are also two meat probes, similar to what you'd see on the best smart grills, that allow you to monitor int

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Apple's M3-powered MacBook Air laptops are up to $150 off right now
The M3-powered MacBook Air laptops have only been out a few weeks and there's already a fairly substantial discount. Amazon is selling both versions of the laptop for up to $150 off. This brings the price of the 15-inch model down to $1,150, thanks to a discount of $100 and a clippable coupon worth $50. If that's too much screen real estate for you, the 13-inch model is $100 off and currently an even $1,000.



The M3 MacBook Air isn't

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Apple's WWDC 2024 keynote is scheduled for June 10 at 1PM ET
Apple has just announced that its WWDC 2024 keynote is scheduled for 10AM PT/1PM ET on June 10 at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. The remaining festivities for the 35th edition of WWDC will run through to June 14, online and free for developers to attend.

What should we expect at this year's keynote? WWDC is typically a software-centric event, so we might hear some details on the work Apple has been doing around AI over the last year or so. Other reports indicate that A

Engadget
May 28, 2024

OpenAI's new safety team is led by board members, including CEO Sam Altman
OpenAI has created a new Safety and Security Committee less than two weeks after the company dissolved the team tasked with protecting humanity from AI's existential threats. This latest iteration of the group responsible for OpenAI's safety guardrails will include two board members and CEO Sam Altman, raising questions about whether the move is little more than self-policing theatre amid a breakneck race for profit and dominance alongside partner Microsoft.

The Safety and Security Committee, formed by OpenAI's board, will be led by board members Bret Taylor (Chair), Nicole Seligman, Adam D'Angelo and Sam Altman (CEO). The new team follows co-founder Ilya Sutskever's and Jan Leike's high-profile resignations, which raised more than a few eyebrows. Their former "Superalignment Team" was only created last July.

Following his resignation, Leike wrote in an X (Twitter) thread on May 17 that, although

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Lego just announced the first-ever Zelda playset and it's glorious




This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lego-just-announced-the-first-ever-zelda-playset-and-its-glorious-163426681.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Apple's new M2 iPad Air tablets drop to record-low prices
Apple's latest iPad Air models have only been out for a couple of weeks, but you can already score decent deals on the new tablets. Most variants are on sale at Amazon at the minute, including the base 11-inch model with 128GB of storage. Thanks to a $30 discount, you can snap one up for $569. It's early days for the new iPad Air, but that still marks a record-low price.



While the iPad Pro might be significantly more powerful and have a nicer display, we reckon the latest Air is the best iPad for most people. We feel it strikes the right balance of price, features and performance for the majority of folks.

Sure, it's more expensive than the base iPad, the most wallet-friendly model with a sticker price of $349. But opting for an Air will help futureproof you, as older devices don't support many of the latest apps and features.

The

Engadget
May 28, 2024

T-Mobile to acquire majority of US Cellular, further consolidating carrier market
T-Mobile will acquire the majority of US Cellular in a deal worth approximately $4.4 billion. This means that T-Mobile will own all of US Cellular's stores, some of its spectrum assets and some of its customers. The deal includes a combination of cash and up to $2 billion of assumed debt, according to a press release by US Cellular. The companies expect to finalize the purchase by mid-2025, though the deal must attain regulatory approval.

All told, T-Mobile will walk away with around 30 percent of US Cellular's wireless spectrum, which it hopes to use to improve coverage in rural areas and offer better connectivity to current US Cellular customers throughout the country. Current customers will be able to keep their plans or switch to a similar T-Mobile contract.

US Cellular will retain 70 percent of its wireless spectrum and towers. Additionally, it will lease space on around 2,100 additional towers to T-Mobile. "The decisions we announced today are in the best interests of our customers and our shareholders. T-Mobile is the right partner for our wireless operations," said Laurent Therivel, CEO of US Cellular.

This is just the latest consolidation move by T-Mobile. The company recently acquired the Ryan Reynolds-backed Mint Mobile, via the purchase of parent company Ka'ena Corporation for around $1.35 billion. T-Mobile

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 is coming to Xbox Game Pass on its release day
Just before Microsoft closed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it said that it would take some time to bring the publisher's titles to Game Pass. We've only seen one such addition so far in the form of Diablo IV, but the company has announced another, somewhat notable one. Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be available on Game Pass on its release day later this year.

Microsoft is banking on the debut of a new Call of Duty title on its subscription service leading to a significant bump in the number of Game Pass members. It's a bit of a gamble, as for nearly every year in recent memory, the latest Call of Duty release has been the best-selling game. Microsoft is likely to see lower direct sales of Black Ops 6 on Xbox and PC, though it will still generate revenue from Game Pass and the

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Apple's 10th-gen iPad falls to an all-time low of $300
Apple's 10th-gen iPad has become a much better value after a permanent $100 price cut earlier this month, and now a new discount has made it even more affordable. The 10.9-inch tablet is on sale for $300 at Amazon, which is the lowest price we've seen to date. Just note that you'll need to clip an on-page coupon to see the full discount, and that the deal only applies to the blue and silver finishes as of this writing. For reference, Apple sells the slate for $349, though we previously saw it drop around $330 a couple weeks back. 



Be aware that this deal is for models with 64GB of storage; if you need more space,

Engadget
May 28, 2024

June's PlayStation Plus offerings include PS VR2 games for the first time
Sony has revealed the lineup of games PlayStation Plus members can add to their library in June. For the first time, players will have access to PS VR2 titles through the Premium plan.

First up, subscribers on all tiers will be able to claim SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake, Streets of Rage 4 and the solid wrestling game AEW Fight Forever starting on June 4 and retain access as long as their PS Plus membership stays active. Those with a Premium plan and a PS VR2 headset will be able to play Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, Walkabout Mini Golf, Synth Riders, Before Your Eyes and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapters 1 & 2 at no extra cost starting on June 6. Premium members can also dive into PS2 games Tomb Raider Legend, Star Wars: The C

Engadget
May 28, 2024

A popular Japanese digital pet with the weirdest mode of interaction is coming to the US
Japan's hit virtual pet, Punirunes, will be released in the US this summer and I can almost guarantee most of you have never seen a toy quite like this before. A play on the Japanese mimetic word for "squishy" (punipuni), Punirunes has a design quirk that sets it apart from other gadgets of its ilk: a doughy button at the center of the device that serves to simulate physical contact with your pet. How do you get to that button? By sticking your finger into the quarter-sized hole in the side of the plastic shell.

It is undeniably a little weird. The device will even display an animation of your finger on the screen when you do this (you can choose from a variety of skin colors during setup). But once you get past the strangeness of the aforementioned act and really get into the things it allows you to do, Punirunes' oddest feature actually makes for a pretty rich virtual pet experience. The squishy button feels like a joystick wrapped in mochi, which makes sense because the characters themselves are adorable, gummy-like creatures that start their lives as small blobs. You can pat them on the head to show them affection and bounce them to catch items; you can even drag them around to clean the virtual floor using their sticky bodies as a mop.

Spin Master/Takara Tomy The device has a full-color, LCD display and the potential to raise 55 different characters. There are 6 built-in games, each of which make use

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Google is bringing a slew of AI-powered software features to Chromebook Plus laptops
Two weeks ago, Google announced a slew of new AI-powered features at its I/O developer conference. Microsoft followed suit last week with the introduction of its Copilot PCs that have, you guessed it, a slew of new AI-powered features. Somewhat predictably, Google is announcing its answer to the Copilot PC initiative with… the humble Chromebook. The Chromebook Plus line that it first announced last October, to be specific. When Google first announced Chromebook Plus, it focused on a combination of higher-performance hardware as well as some modest AI software features compared to what you'd get on regular Chromebooks.

Now, however, Google is delivering on what it first announced: Chromebook Plus models are getting a host of features that Google first teased last year as well as some new ones we haven't heard about before.



Engadget
May 28, 2024

Acer, ASUS and HP all have new Chromebook Plus laptops with Google's built-in AI features
Google just announced a slew of new features coming to ChromeOS, many of them coming to the more premium Chromebook Plus models that were announced last fall. But today's news isn't just about the software — Google's hardware partners have a bunch of new laptops ready to take advantage of these features. Here's a quick run-down of what's coming. 

Acer Acer has two updates to existing models, the Chromebook Plus Spin 714 and Chromebook Plus 516 GE. These were already two of my favorite Chromebooks, and they've now been updated with new Intel chips. The Spin 714 starts with an Intel Core Ultra 5 115U processor, while the 516 GE has the Core 5 120U processor. Both of these laptops already had solid performance, but it's good to get them with some of the newest chips Intel is offering. 

The Spin 714 keeps its lovely 14-inch touchscreen with a 360-degree hinge and a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution; it also includes up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. The 516 GE is one of the game-focused Chromebooks you can buy — as such, it has features like a large 16-inch screen with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate. It also has customizable RGB keyboard lights and anti-ghosting technology, an ethernet port and Wi-Fi 6E. You can get up to 2TB of storage and 16GB of RAM on this machine. Despite the gaming focus, I've found it to be the best performance-oriented large-screen Chromebook you can buy, regardless of what you want to

Engadget
May 28, 2024

Opera is adding Google's Gemini AI to its browser
Opera users can already rely on the capabilities of OpenAI's large language models (LLMs) whenever they use the browser's Aria built-in AI assistant. But now, the company has also teamed up with Google to integrate its Gemini AI models into Aria. According to Opera, its Composer AI engine can process the user's intent based on their inquiry and then decide which model to use for each particular task.

Google called Gemini the "the most capable model [it has] ever built" when it officially announced the LLM last year. Since then, the company has announced Gemini-powered features across its products and has built the Gemini AI chatbot right into Android. Opera said that thanks to Gemini's integration, its browser "will now be able to provide its users with the most current information, at high performance."

The company's partnership with Google also enables Aria to offer new experimental features as part of its AI Feature Drop program. Users who have the Opera One Developer version of the browser can try a new image generation feature powered by Google's Imagen 2 model for free — in the image above, for instance, the user asked Aria to "make an image of a dog on vacation at a beach having a drink." In addition, users can

Engadget
May 28, 2024

The Morning After: Preparing for Summer Games Fest 2024
I hope you had a quiet Memorial Day. It was a quiet one tech-wise, and I briefly fought the urge to copy and paste yesterday's TMA into today's newsletter hopper.

There were a few teases and glimpses of gaming news, with E3 successor Summer Games Fest kicking off in just over a week. SGF's game showcase is set for June 7. Leaks suggest we may see a new soccer game to rival EA's non-FIFA franchise at some point, while there will also be more 2D remakes of classic RPGs and hopefully big reveals at the Xbox Games Showcase on June 9. Expect to hear a lot more about the next Call of Duty title. And what is PlayStation up to? It'll have a presence, but will it have any new games?

While SGF is a young show, it's done a good job at platforming indie games, something Devolver Digital may capitalize on, while celebrating its 15-year anniversary. In summary, there should be lots of games to play. And if you're not a gamer? Don't worry: Apple's WWDC kicks off just as SGF ends.

The biggest question though: Where are the best tacos in DTLA and can you tell me? I'll be in Los Angeles to report on the games show in a few weeks.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

Engadget
May 28, 2024

The best microSD cards in 2024
Most microSD cards are fast enough for stashing photos, recording video and transferring files, but some will get you a little more bang for your buck than others. If you're looking to boost the internal storage of your Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, GoPro, Raspberry Pi or any other device that still has compatibility with microSD cards, we can help. We've thoroughly researched the market and put more than a dozen microSD cards through a range of benchmark tests: Here are the best that we've tested, along with some general advice on what to look for when buying a new card.

Editor's note (5/28/24): We've tested the latest iteration of Samsung's Evo Select, but we think the upgrade isn't significant enough to make it worth recommending to most folks who just want a decent microSD card for as little money as possible. We've noted the new model in our guide below. We also plan on testing Lexar's new Professional Silver Plus card, which is set to arrive in June and promises slightly better speeds than our "faster option" pick.

What to look for in a microSD card Capacity The first thing to figure out when buying a microSD card is how much space you need. Modern cards are usually available in sizes ranging from 32GB to 512GB, while a handful offer 1TB models as well. 2T

Engadget
May 28, 2024

The best wireless headphones for 2024: Bluetooth options for every budget
In order to get all of the features you'd need to get the most comprehensive listening experience possible, over-ear, noise-canceling headphones are likely your best option. Stellar sound quality, powerful active noise cancelation (ANC), reliable Bluetooth connections and more should all be present on a good pair of wireless headphones that offer the complete package. Of course, some companies do this better than others. At Engadget, we review dozens of Bluetooth headphones each year while testing even more to keep our finger on the pulse. For this guide, we selected our top picks based on the best mix of features, including overall audio quality, ANC performance, comfort, advanced audio tools and more. Our seven favorites offer all of the conveniences we'd expect in a set of high-quality wireless headphones, with a range of prices to help you stay within your budget.

How to choose the best wireless headphones for you When it comes to shopping for a good pair of wireless headphones, the first thing you'll need to decide on is wear style. Do you prefer on-ear or over-ear headphones? For the purposes of our buyer's guide, we focus on the over-ear style as that's what most noise-canceling headphones are nowadays. Sure, you can find on-ear models with ANC, but over-ear designs are much more effective at blocking sound. Speaking of noise cancellation, you'll want to determine early on if you even want that. If you frequently crank up the beats in noisy environments, you'll want to not only make sure it's there, but also make sure it's good. If you plan to use your new headphones in quieter spaces, skipping ANC can save you some money.

The next area to consider is features. We recommend trying to get the most bang for your buck, but as you're shopping aro

Engadget
May 27, 2024

The Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D remake is coming to Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC
Square Enix has largely kept its lips sealed about the Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D remake since announcing it three years ago, but the publisher has now revealed which platforms it's coming to. When it eventually arrives, you'll be able to play it on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC (via Steam).

Since Square Enix started using its distinctive HD-2D tech with Octopath Traveller, the company has put it to use in a string of titles, including that game's sequel, Triangle Strategy, the Live A Live remake and Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster's opera scene. Based on the reveal trailer from 2021, the HD-2D engine is set to give Dragon Quest 3 a serious visual upgrade, nearly three decades after the original game arrived in 1988.


Engadget
May 27, 2024

Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K Max is better as a retro gaming device than a streamer
Here's an open secret: Every cheap streaming stick kind of sucks. Yes, it's great that people can access so many shows and movies with devices that cost less than $50. It's great that the best of them no longer force you to suffer through constant lag and performance hiccups, too. But over time, the Faustian bargain we make with these things becomes increasingly obvious. We save cash upfront, then we repay our debt through a shoddy user experience.

I've been thinking about this since buying Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K Max a couple of months ago. It's a good example of that handshake: It's been on sale for $40 for most of the past few months, and at that price, its hardware is a tremendous bargain. It's fast, it works with the major HDR formats and Dolby Atmos and it supports all the requisite apps.



Engadget
May 27, 2024

Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro M3 Max is $250 off
The top-of-the-line MacBooks are undoubtedly expensive, so we're happy anytime there's a sale. Right now, Apple's 2023 MacBook Pro laptop with an M3 Max chip is touting a 7 percent price cut, dropping to $3,249 from $3,499. Yes, the device's 1TB of storage and 36GB of unified memory still require a large investment, but we'll gladly take the $250 in savings. This deal is running on Amazon and

Engadget
May 27, 2024

It's a golden age of puzzle games, even for people who suck at puzzle games
I'm a big fan of the British comedy game show Taskmaster. Each season, five comedians compete against each other to complete ridiculous objectives. The competitors are often rewarded for lateral thinking, as long as they stick within each task's rules.

Every time I watch a player hilariously mess up, I often think "well, I could do better than that." But sit me down in front of a puzzle game that demands adept use of logic or pushes me to think outside of the box, and l often get frustrated and give up quickly (unless I find a decent guide to help me out). That's quite irritating, especially since we're in a golden age of puzzle games.

After a busy day of work, I'm far more inclined to play something relatively mindless, like Overwatch 2 or Fortnite. I tend to bristle at anything that slows me down, such as turn-based games. But the more I push myself to stick with puzzle games, the more I appreciate them. There are three recently released options that I've been bouncing between recently in Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, Animal Well and Paper Trail.

I had enormous expectations for Lo

Engadget
May 27, 2024

Making bread by hand is hard, are breadmakers better?
There's no finer pleasure than starting the day with a slice of hot, fresh bread dripping in salted butter. Poets have waxed on about the joys of transforming so few ingredients into such a beautiful foodstuff for millennia. But unless life has been very good to you, it's probably not often you wake up to freshly-made bread wafting from your kitchen. Are breadmakers the answer to this, the most first-world of first-world problems? And are they able to match or outdo the stuff I can make by hand?

French Bread by hand It was only when we bought our home that I decided that making bread was a skill I had to learn lest I not feel like a Proper Adult. I scoured YouTube for a tutorial and stumbled across this clip by star baker Richard Bertinet. I've written before about how comforting and relaxing this video is, and it's a balm for the soul when you're having a rough day. Bertinet made this look so easy that anyone could achieve similarly beautiful results. Alas, I could not.

Mercifully, this was in the heyday of Twitter when celebrities were all around and happy to talk to fans. So, I asked Bertinet himself and got the necessary advice to remedy my woes — I wasn't kneading the dough confidently, or for as long enough as I needed to make it work. After that, I was churning out some pretty gorgeous bread on a regular basis and my kids love eating my fougasse.

The recipe itself is so simple: 500 grams of strong bread flour, 10 grams of salt, 10 grams of yeast and 350 grams of water. That's not an error: You stick a measuring jug on a weighing scale and weigh the water for a more accurate measurement. Once mixed, you have to get the dough onto the table and work it. The mix is sticky. Don't add flour. Trust the process.

That means moving the dough, stretching it and folding air into it qu

Engadget
May 27, 2024

The Morning After: AI-generated emoji could soon come to the iPhone
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that AI-generated emojis may be one of the new features Apple shows off at WWDC next month. If the current emoji library weren't overwhelming enough (let alone my increasingly growing sticker collection both on Messages and WhatsApp), Gurman writes that the company "is developing software that can create custom emojis on the fly, based on what users are texting." Niche food emojis? Yes, please. :tunamayosandwich:

- Mat Smith



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The best Memorial Day sale tech deals we could find

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Kobo Clara Colour ereader review Color pages steal the show.

Engadget
May 27, 2024

Memorial Day 2024 tech deals you can still get this weekend - Sales from Apple, Samsung, Anker and more
Memorial Day is here, and along with the holiday has come a swath of tech deals available across the internet. In addition to the typical outdoor gear we see go on sale during this time, a number of our favorite earbuds, tablets, streaming devices and other gadgets are discounted at the moment. Most of the deals we've curated below represented record-low prices, or the best prices we've seen so far all year. You'll likely have to wait until Black Friday (or Amazon Prime Day in July) to see even steeper discounts, but nevertheless, these sales are worth considering if you have tech on your shopping list. Here are the best Memorial Day sales on tech and gadgets that you can get for 2024.

Our top picks

New and noteworthy Memorial Day deals

Best Apple Memorial Day sales

Best outdoor Memorial Day sales

Best vacuum Memorial Day sales

Best Memorial Day sales on Anker charging gear

Best Memorial Day sales on streaming services and devices

Best Memorial Day sales on headphones and earbuds

Best Memorial Day sales on tech gear

New and noteworthy Memorial Day deals

Engadget
May 27, 2024

The best ereaders for 2024
Ereaders can stuff an entire bookcase into a device that fits in your pocket. They beat reading on a phone or tablet thanks to their E Ink screens that are easier on your eyes. And the text displays so clearly, printed pages look almost fuzzy by comparison. Some screens are even available in color now. We've tested models from all the major brands to come up with recommendations for a budget pick, one with buttons and the best ereader overall.

What to look for in an ereader Plenty of apps, including the Kindle app, will let you download and read digital books on a phone or tablet. But what makes ebook readers different is the screen: nearly all of them use technology from a company called E Ink. It manufactures electronic paper displays (EPD) composed of three sheets: one containing millions of microcapsules filled with black and white ink particles sandwiched between transparent electrode layers. When a charge is applied, either the black or white particles shift to the top, forming letters and the whitespace around them.

Because these displays are so different from standard LED panels, you can expect most ereaders to do a number of things well. They'll be easier to stare at for long periods of time and easier to read in direct sunlight. Also, since E Ink displays only require power to rearrange the ink, these devices have much longer battery lives than even the best tablets: we're talking weeks, not days.

The ereader market is not as saturated as, say, the smartphone market, but there are still plenty of options out there and they do have small but important differences among them. They tend to range from around $100 to more than $400, though usually the higher end options are stylus-enabled read/write E Ink tablets like the Kindle Scribe. Beyond price,

Engadget
May 26, 2024

Pikmin Bloom has been helping me meet my outdoor walking goals for years
Over the past few years, I've developed a peaceful little routine to make up for time spent cooped up inside working on sunny days: after I've closed my laptop for the day, I throw my sneakers on, open Pikmin Bloom on my phone, and go for a long walk to clear my head and plant virtual flowers with the 'min.

Pikmin Bloom was released for Android and iOS in 2021 by Pokémon Go developer Niantic and Nintendo as another "go outside and touch grass" app, and I've been playing it pretty regularly since then. Only recently, when the app announced some special events for its 2.5-year anniversary, did it occur to me how long I've actually stuck with it. There isn't all that much to Pikmin Bloom, but that's part of the charm — it's more of a walking buddy than a full-on game. You accumulate Pikmin, feed them nectar so they'll grow flowers from their heads, then pick the petals and use those to "plant flowers" when you go on walks (don't think too hard about the science of that, it's Pikmin).

Unlike Pokémon Go, Pikmin Bloom doesn't require a lot of your attention while you're walking around, which really appealed to me as someone who likes to stay fully aware of their surroundings while out and about. That, and the promise of being accompanied wherever I go by a horde of quietly singing Pikmin; I just love those weird little guys.



Engadget
May 26, 2024

The Ninja Creami ice cream maker is down to $149 for Memorial Day
It's officially ice cream season, and if you've been wanting to try your hand at making the dessert yourself, Walmart has a deal you might be interested in. The Ninja Creami ice cream maker is $50 off right now, bringing the price down to $149 — the best price we've seen for it all year. The Creami is designed for ease of use and gives you control over the texture of the finished product, so you can make ice cream, sorbet, milkshakes and other kinds of frozen treats.



The deal applies to the Ninja Creami model with 5 one-touch progams: Ice Cream, Sorbet, Milkshake, Lite Ice Cream and Mix-in (which lets you toss in embellishments like chocolate chips or nuts). It also comes with two 16oz pints to make and store your ice cream in. The Creami is one of our favorite kitchen gadgets and earned

Engadget
May 26, 2024

iPhone users may get AI-generated emoji and more app customization than ever with iOS 18
iOS 18 may inject a little more fun into the iPhone experience. In the Power On newsletter this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that AI-generated emoji will be among the new features Apple shows off at WWDC next month. As if the current emoji library weren't overwhelming enough, Gurman writes that the company "is developing software that can create custom emojis on the fly, based on what users are texting." I, for one, cannot wait to see the cursed creations that are sure to come out of that one.

Apple is also reportedly making it so iPhone users will have more customization options for their apps and home screen, like the ability to change the color of app icons and arrange things more freely, rather than being locked into the grid layout. The latter especially would be a pretty big change for Apple, but surely a welcome one for any users who have been itching to get more creative with their home screen designs. Of course, these are still rumors, so don't take any of it as set in stone.

There's been a ton of talk about Apple's AI plans in the leadup to its annual developers conference, which kicks off on June 10, but rather than debut anything too flashy at this st

Engadget
May 26, 2024

Someone made a Flappy Bird tribute for the Playdate that lets you use the crank to fly
Ah, Flappy Bird. It's been a long time since I last gave any thought to the game-turned-cultural-phenomenon that briefly had us all in a chokehold a decade ago. At least, that was the case until this morning, when I stumbled upon a Reddit post announcing a Flappy Bird tribute for the Playdate and, without a moment's hesitation, sideloaded it onto my device. Now here I am, absolutely hooked on this maddening little game once again. And, using the crank to control that silly looking bird, it's even harder this time around. FlappyBird by Chibisuke is free and available to download for Playdate on itch.io. You're welcome... or, I'm sorry.

FlappyBird is just like the OG game, but in grayscale. You can play using the up button on the D-pad, the ‘A' button or the crank to guide the bird between the pipes, but I've been going with the latter for the extra challenge it adds. It also just feels like a perfect use of the crank, and I like making the most of the Playdate's funky design whenever I can. There are other games inspired by Flappy Bird that you can get for the Playdate, like

Engadget
May 25, 2024

Elon Musk is reportedly planning an xAI supercomputer to power a better version of Grok
Elon Musk told investors this month that his startup xAI is planning to build a supercomputer by the fall of 2025 that would power a future, smarter iteration of its Grok chatbot, The Information reports. This supercomputer, which Musk reportedly referred to as a "gigafactory of compute," would rely on tens of thousands of NVIDIA H100 GPUs and cost billions of dollars to build. Musk has previously said the third version of Grok will require at least 100,000 of the chips — a fivefold increase over the 20,000 GPUs said to be in use for training Grok 2.0.

According to The Information, Musk also told investors in the presentation that the planned GPU cluster would be at least four times the size of anything used today by xAI competitors. Grok is currently in version 1.5, which was released in April, and is now touted to process visual information like photographs and diagrams as well as text. X earlier this month started rolling out

Engadget
May 25, 2024

Over a million Switch owners have bought the worst mainline Resident Evil game ever
Resident Evil 6 has sold surprisingly well on the Nintendo Switch since it was ported to the console in 2019, despite it being almost universally panned by fans of the series. As spotted by Nintendo Life, RE6 just got added to Capcom's Platinum Titles list, meaning it's crossed the threshold of one million units sold. It sits at number 117 on the list, with a million downloads for the Switch (but not any other platforms).

RE6 stands out as a convoluted action game next to the titles that came before it, marking a dramatic shift away from survival horror. It has a lot going on, but not so much of the things people actually love about Resident Evil games. It's gained some defenders over the years, though, I'll give it that. Capcom brought Resident Evil 6 to the Switch in October 2019 and bundled it with RE4 and RE5 in the Resident Evil Triple Pack that was released around the same time, which surely helped its sales. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/over-a-million-switch-owners-have-bought-the-worst-mainline-resident-evil-game-ever-170834260.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 25, 2024

Uh-oh: ICQ is shutting down on June 26
ICQ, which used to be a very popular messaging app for a short period in the 90s and the early aughts, only has a month left before it joins the other apps and software of old in the great big farm in the sky. It will stop working on June 26, according to it website, which also encourages users to move to VK Messenger for casual chats and to VK WorkSpace for professional conversations. ICQ came into the picture at a time when most people were using IRC to chat. IRC, however, was mostly meant for group conversations — ICQ made it easy to communicate one-on-one. 

Users who signed up for an account got assigned a number that grew longer as time went on, because it was issued sequentially. The shortest numbers had five digits, which means users who got them were there at the very beginning. ICQ peaked in the early 2000s when it reached 100 million registered accounts. And while it didn't take a long time for AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger to eclipse its popularity, ICQ's iconic "uh-oh!" notification sound remains memorable for a lot of internet users during that era. 

ICQ, derived from the phrase "I seek you," was developed by Israeli company Mirabilis. It was then purchased by AOL and then by the Russian company Mail.Ru Group that's now known as VK, which has its own social networking and messaging services.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/uh-oh-icq-is-shutting-down-on-june-26-153048381.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 25, 2024

Meta and Activision face lawsuit by families of Uvalde school shooting victims
The families of the shooting victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas have sued Call of Duty publisher Activision and Meta. They alleged that the companies "knowingly exposed the shooter to the weapon [he used], conditioned him to see it as the solution to his problems, and trained him to use it." The plaintiffs also accused the companies of "chewing up alienated teenage boys and spitting out mass shooters." 

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs explained that the Uvalde shooter played Call of Duty, which featured an assault-style rifle made by gunmaker Daniel Defense. They also mentioned that he frequently visited Instagram, which advertised the gunmaker's products. The lawsuit claimed, as well, that Instagram gives gunmakers "an unsupervised channel to speak directly to minors, in their homes, at school, even in the middle of the night." It argued that the shooter was "a poor and isolated teenager" from small town Texas who only learned about AR-15s and set his sights on it, because he was exposed to the weapon from playing Call of Duty and visiting Instagram. In addition, it accused Meta of being more lenient towards firearms sellers than other users who break its rules. Meta prohibits the buying the selling of weapons and ammunition, but users can violate the policy 10 times before they'

Engadget
May 25, 2024

Roomba robot vacuums are up to $425 off for Memorial Day
If you've been craving some help with cleaning, this Memorial Day Roomba sale may be up your alley. Wellbots has the iRobot Roomba Combo J9 , Engadget's favorite vacuum-mop combo, for $425 off. The machine not only cleans floors and carpets; its redesigned dock can automatically empty debris and refill it with mopping liquid. Use the exclusive code ENG425 to get iRobot's top-of-the-line combo cleaner for $974.



Although that's still a hefty price for a cleaning robot, you're getting a premium product in return. The Roomba Combo J9 has an upgraded motor and a four-stage cleaning system that takes multiple passes across your floors and carpets. This latest model, which arriv

Engadget
May 25, 2024

SpaceX Raptor engine test ends in a fiery explosion
A SpaceX testing stand at the company's McGregor, Texas facilities went up in flames during a test of its Raptor 2 engines on the afternoon of May 23. According to NASASpaceflight, the engine had an anomaly that caused vapors to seep out and lead to a secondary explosion. The news organization's livestream showed the engine shutting down before the fire started and eventually swallowed the stand in flames and smoke. 


Engadget
May 24, 2024

Doctor Who: 73 Yards review: Don't stand so close to me
The following contains spoilers for "73 Yards."

Russell T. Davies admits his writing eschews narrative formalism in favor of things that just feel right. Two decades ago, his critics pointed to his use of deus ex machina endings as a stick to beat his reputation with. But we're in a different era now, where vibes matter just as much as logic — both inside the show's new more fantastic skew, and in the real world. "73 Yards" is the vibiest episode of new Doctor Who so far, but I even found it easy to sit back and enjoy what it was doing.

Doctor Who is a complicated show to make, and some series have started production on Day 1 a week or more behind schedule. To combat this, the show started making "-lite" episodes that didn't need the leads to be as involved. There are "Doctor-lite" episodes like "Love and Monsters" and "Blink," and even "companion-lite" episodes like "Midnight." This production process enables the star, or stars, to be off shooting Episode A while a guest cast takes the spotlight for the bulk of Episode B.

Production of the new series began while star Ncuti Gatwa was still finishing the last of his work on Netflix's Sex Education. So while he appears in the opening and closing moments of "73 Yards", he's otherwise absent as the Doctor has been erased from history. It gives us the chance to see what a modern companion would do if left stranded in uncertain territory without her alien ally. The episode takes hard turns from folk and rural horror to kitchen-sink drama before becoming a light homage to Taxi Driver. Suffice to say, this is another episode you wouldn't watch with small kids.



Engadget
May 24, 2024

You can now hum to find a song on YouTube Music for Android
YouTube Music for Android is finally releasing a long-awaited tool that lets people hum a song to search for it, in addition to singing the tune or playing the melody on an instrument, according to reporting by 9to5Google. The software has been in the testing phase since March.

All you have to do is tap the magnifying glass in the top-right corner and look for the waveform icon next to the microphone icon. Tap the waveform icon and start humming or singing. A fullscreen results page should quickly bring up the cover art, song name, artist, album, release year and other important data about the song. The software builds upon the Pixel's Now Playing feature, which uses AI to "match the sound to the original recording."

The tool comes in a server-side update with version 7.02 of YouTube Music for Android. There doesn't look to be any availability information for the iOS release, though it's most likely headed our way in the near future.


Engadget
May 24, 2024

Russia can reportedly jam Ukraine's access to Starlink at will
Russia has reportedly found new, more effective ways to knock out Ukraine's Starlink service. The New York Times said on Friday that the increased interference has disrupted communications at critical moments and is posing "a major threat to Ukraine," putting the country further on its heels more than two years into the war. How Russia is jamming Elon Musk's satellite internet terminals is unclear.

The New York Times said Russia's ability to jam communications has thrown off Ukraine's ability to communicate, gather intelligence and conduct drone strikes. Ukrainian soldiers told the paper that jammed Starlink service stunts their ability to communicate quickly, leaving them scrambling to send text messages (often extremely slowly) to share intel about incoming or ongoing Russian maneuvers or attacks.

The jamming was reportedly repeated across Ukraine's northern front line, often coinciding with Russian advances. The new outages are the first time Russia has jammed Starlink reception that widely and frequently. If it continues, it could "mark a tactical shift in the conflict," highlighting Ukraine's dependence on SpaceX's internet technology. Without competing choices of similar quality, Volodymyr Zelenskyy's democratic nation is left without many options that could work at the scale Ukraine needs.

Russia has tried to disrupt Ukraine's comms since the war began, but Starlink service has reportedly held up well in the face of them. Something has changed. Ukraine's digital minister, Mykhailo Federov, told The New York Times this week that Russia's recent jamming appeared to use "new and more advanced technology."

Federov told The N

Engadget
May 24, 2024

The UK passes its version of the EU's Digital Markets Act
The UK has passed a bill that's the country's version of the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA). Legislators fast-tracked the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill before parliament dissolves on May 30 ahead of a general election in July.

The overarching aim of the DMCC, which is set to become law once it receives Royal Assent, is to "regulate and increase competition in digital markets." It will come into force later this year.

The bill is broadly similar to the DMA, which led to the EU designating several large tech companies' services and products as "gatekeepers" and imposing stricter rules on them. The DMCC grants the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), a division of the Competition and Markets Authority, the authority to label companies with "substantial and entrenched market power" and "a position of strategic significance" as having Strategic Market Status (SMS).

Among other things, SMS companies will have to adhere to codes of conduct as determined by the DMU. Those will be based on the foundations of fair trading, openness and trust and transparency. The DMU has a broad canvas for defining the conduct requirements for each business. If a company breaches its code of conduct, it faces a fine of up to 10 percent of its global revenue.

There have been suggestions that the likes of Meta and Google may be forced to

Engadget
May 24, 2024

Apple built a Tetris clone for the iPod but never released it
Apple once designed a Tetris clone that has been found on a prototype version of the third-generation iPod, indicating the company was experimenting with releasing the game on the music player. It's called Stacker and, obviously, is controlled via the iPod's scroll wheel. The software was spotted by X user AppleDemoYT, who is known for finding rare prototype devices.

The prototype iPod is a "DVT" device, meaning it was a mid-stage device that was still in "Design Validation Testing." It has a model number of A1023, which is not a known model number of any iPod version.

The device runs a prototype version of iPodOS 2.0, which is where Stacker comes from. The pieces are moved from left to right using the scroll wheel and they fall when the middle button is pressed. The goal is to clear lines and score points. You know the deal. It's Tetris.

It's not the only game found on the prototype iPod. There's something called Block0, which is likely an early version of Brick. The device also features a game called Klondike, which is likely an early version of Solitaire. The music player did eventually get some games, including the aforementioned Solitaire and Brick. AppleDemoYT asked former Apple VP Tony Fadell why Stacker was never released and he said it was because games didn't show up until a "later software release."

Later versions of the iPod got an official version of Tetris, in addition to games like Bejeweled, Mini Golf, Mahjong, Zuma

Engadget
May 24, 2024

The 'Doge' dog has died
The dog who inspired the famous meme coin Dogecoin has died, according to a post on Instagram by its owner. Kabosu, an adorable Shiba Inu, was likely around 18 years old, though owner Atsuko Sato doesn't know the exact birthdate of the rescue pup.

"She quietly passed away as if asleep while I caressed her," she wrote in a blog post published by The Guardian. "I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner."

The Japanese dog not only inspired Dogecoin, but the iconic 2010 photo became the source of a vast collection of internet memes. Some have even called Kabosu the "Mona Lisa of the internet." Sato snapped the photo two years after rescuing the dog from a puppy farm, in which she would have likely been put down. The image shows Kabosu with her paws on the sofa while giving the camera, well, a sort of grin. 


Engadget
May 24, 2024

Nintendo is finally opening a second US store
It's taken Nintendo two decades, but the company is finally ready to open a second store in the US. The new location in San Francisco's Union Square is set to open its doors in 2025. Details about Nintendo San Francisco are thin for now, but the company said it will allow "visitors from near and far to experience the world of Nintendo, its products and characters." More information will be revealed in the leadup to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Nintendo opened its New York store at Rockefeller Center 19 years ago this month, though there was previously a Pokémon Center at the same location. Along with merchandise and kiosks where visitors can play some Switch games, the New York store has a mini museum featuring older consoles and a boatload of Amiibo. 

The company didn't open any permanent stores in Japan until 2019, and it now has three in its home country. Nintendo also has a private outlet for employees at its American headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nintendo-is-finally-opening-a-second-us-store-155001183.html?src=rss

Engadget
May 24, 2024

Lucid Motors cuts six percent of its workforce ahead of EV SUV launch
Lucid Motors has cut 400 jobs, according to a regulatory filing. This amounts to around six percent of the workforce. Incidentally, the company also cut a whopping 1,300 jobs last year. This all comes just ahead of the launch of its first electric SUV later this year, a crucial release for the auto manufacturer.

You can likely guess as to the reasoning given for the layoffs. The 400 people got pink slips due to the ever-useful and nebulous term known as "restructuring." To that end, the company says it expects this restructuring to be completed by the end of the third quarter, though it didn't say anything about rehiring anyone.

"As always we must remain vigilant about costs. We are optimizing our resources in a way we believe will best position the company for future success and growth opportunities as we focus on achieving our ambitious goals," CEO Peter Rawlinson said in a company email published by TechCrunch.

Those ambitious goals include the aforementioned EV SUV, named the Lucid Gravity. The company's calling it the "world's best SUV" and it'll feature two electric motors, all-wheel drive and an expected maximum range of 440 miles per charge. Those are some really good specs.

However, the vehicle's also

Engadget
May 24, 2024

Fortnite's new post-apocalyptic season taps into Fallout, Mad Max and X-Men
Epic Games has an uncanny habit of making sure Fortnite is in tune with the cultural zeitgeist and that's very much the case once again. After a strong season focused on Greek gods and monsters, the latest major revamp of the battle royale is taking a vehicle-heavy, post-apocalyptic turn in Chapter 5 Season 3.

The new season, which is dubbed "Wrecked," seems very much inspired by Mad Max, given the desert vibe and modded vehicles. It includes an official Fallout crossover too. Not only that, a wastelander take X-Men's Magneto will be unlockable via battle pass quests at some point in July.

This is all very timely given the success of Prime Video's adaptation of Fallout, Furiosa: A Mad Mad Saga hitting theaters and X-Men ‘97 capturing the hearts and minds of '90s kids all over again. The Wrecked season will run until August 16.

The sandstorm that had been looming in the horizon over the last couple of weeks has swept over the island, bringing destruction and a new biome in the south called the Wasteland. (I'm glad my favorite drop site last se

Engadget
May 24, 2024

The best gaming monitors in 2024
It's already pretty complicated to find the best computer monitor for your needs, considering how many options are out there. But as soon as you decide you want one for gaming, things get even more dicey. In addition to all the usual factors like screen size and compatibility, you now also have to think about refresh rates, NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, and much more. To help demystify the market, we wrote this guide to answer some of the biggest questions surrounding the gaming monitor buying process, and help you find the best gaming monitor for your budget.

Factors to consider before buying a gaming monitor LCD vs OLED When shopping for a new gaming monitor, you first need to decide if you want to go with a screen that has an LCD or OLED panel. For most people, that choice will come down to price; OLED gaming monitors are significantly more expensive than their LCD counterparts. But even if money isn't a concern, the choice might not be as straightforward as you think.

LCD monitors come in three different varieties: twisted nematic (TN), vertical alignment (VA) or in-plane switching (IPS). Without getting too technical, each panel type has its own set of quirks. For the most part, you want to avoid TN monitors unless you're strapped for cash or want a monitor with the fastest possible refresh rate. TN screens feature the worst viewing angles, contrast ratios and colors of the bunch. After using an IPS monitor for many years and testing an OLED monitor for this guide, I can't go back to a TN panel.

The differences between VA and IPS panels are more subtle. Historically, VA gaming monitors have featured slower pixel response times than their TN and IPS counterparts, leading to unsightly image sm

Engadget
May 24, 2024

Crow Country is a darkly meditative callback to survival horror's past
Is it blasphemous to call a survival horror game "cozy"? Maybe so, but while thinking back on my playthrough of Crow Country, the word popped into my mind more than a few times.

From the jump, there's no question about Crow Country's PlayStation 1 influences, which its creators at SFB Games have been upfront about: it is very intentionally the creepy-cute child of Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Final Fantasy VII. The game, which was released on Steam, PlayStation 5 and Xbox X/S on May 9, just about checks all the boxes for survival horror, but it takes a gentler approach to the genre, making it feel more like a test of mental endurance against some all-consuming bleakness than a constant fight for your life. (A Hard Mode, however, is apparently on the way).

You play as Mara Forest, who must painstakingly make her way through an abandoned amusement park in the year 1990 to find its elusive and evidently corrupt owner, Edward Crow. Resources, like ammo and health kits, must be scavenged. Skinless monstrosities may emerge from the shadows at any turn to grab at you and puzzles of varying complexity promise to stall your progress. There is an ensemble of characters who — including the protagonist — each seem to have questionable motives.

It's a familiar formula paired with a familiar style of character design paired with a familiar unsettling atmosphere, yet Crow Country manages not to feel like it's being propped up by nods to its predecessors. With more of an em

Engadget
May 24, 2024

'Challengers' VFX artists show how they did that tennis ball POV scene
Challengers, the tennis movie starring Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor, is not the first movie you'd think of for visual effects. But the film uses them to a surprising extent: One shot in particular, a 24-second volley between two of the protagonists from the perspective of the ball, used extensive digital and practical effects, as VFX supervisor Brian Drewes explained on X. 

The live plates were shot with an Arri Alexa LF on a 30-foot technocrane during a period of five hours with stunt doubles, according to Drewes. 23 individual shots were stitched together to create the final sequence. 


Engadget
May 24, 2024

The best Memorial Day sale tech deals we could find - Save big on Apple, Anker and Ooni gear
In the midst of beach trips and grilling sessions this weekend, it's worth briefly turning to the internet to see if you can save on any tech you might need. Memorial Day tech deals may not rival those of Black Friday (or even Amazon Prime Day, coming up in July), but they present decent opportunities to save on things like earbuds, chargers, robot vacuums and even season gear like fire pits and pizza ovens. To help you avoid spending too much time indoors on your phone or computer scouring for deals, we collected the best Memorial Day sales on tech here so you can keep your shopping trip quick and efficient.

Our top picks

Best Apple Memorial Day sales

Best outdoor Memorial Day sales

Best vacuum Memorial Day sales

Best Memorial Day sales on Anker charging gear

Best Memorial Day sales on streaming services and devices

Best Memorial Day sales on headphones and earbuds

Best Memorial Day sales on tech gear

Best Apple Memorial Day sales



Engadget
May 24, 2024

Engadget Podcast: Microsoft goes Copilot crazy
Microsoft is leaning even more into AI after launching a new Copilot AI PC initiative earlier this year. It's a new set of standards for PCs with powerful neural processing units (NPUs), and it could be just as significant for Windows as Apple's move towards its M-series chips. In this episode, Cherlynn and Devindra discuss Copilot and the potential rise of Arm-based Windows systems, and we dive into the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop.

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

Topics Microsoft announces a new chapter with Copilot and NPU-powered Surface Pro and Surface Laptop - 0:51

Scarlett Johansson vs. OpenAI is just getting started - 37:17

Sonos Ace headphones take aim at Apple's AirPods Max - 42:15

US Department of Justice makes its first arrest for AI-generated CSAM - 45:50

Bloomberg Report: Humane AI seeks a buyer for $700m-$1B, but will they get it? - 47:21

Listener Mail: Could you port the new ARM-based Windows to your Android handheld? - 51:42

Working on - 53:11

Pop culture picks - 54:19



Engadget
May 24, 2024

The Morning After: Samsung's secret war on repair
Manufacturers may hate independent repair stores, but Samsung and Apple appeared to accept the direction the political wind was blowing in. Sadly, Samsung's warm-hearted embrace of third party repair may not have been as loving as had originally been suggested. Details of the contract the Korean giant asks repair stores to sign include some pretty user-unfriendly rules.

That includes sending your details and device identification to HQ, including all of the details of your repair issue. And, if your phone is found to be using an aftermarket, or non-Samsung part, the store has to instantly disassemble it and raise the alarm. That's quite problematic, and also probably in violation of US laws around the right to use third-party parts for repair.

The repair gurus at iFixit announced that it was ending its partnership with Samsung around the same time. iFixit said there were irreconcilable differences between the pair's philosophies, like the high price of replacement parts and the mostly-unrepairable nature of Samsung's phones.

— Dan Cooper

The biggest stories you might have missed OpenAI scraps controversial nondisparagement agreement with employees

Meta and Google want to mak

Engadget
May 24, 2024

The best online resources for cooking at all skill levels
You probably already know the benefits of cooking at home. It can help save you money, you can learn a new skill and it can often be healthier than eating out all the time. But regardless of if you enjoy being in the kitchen or don't know where to start, we at Engadget know that advice can be easier said than done. After working all day, taking care of kids and pets and the like, it might feel like an insurmountable task to find a new recipe to cook for dinner. But there are so many online resources available now to home chefs that you can find something to fit all kinds of needs — be it a busy weeknight where you only have a few minutes to whip up a meal, or an evening where you're feeling adventurous and want to try something new. Here, we're gathered some of our favorite websites, YouTube channels and more that can help you on your culinary journey.

Recipe sites Serious Eats If you self-identify as a nerd and you're also into cooking, you probably already know about Serious Eats. The site rose to prominence several years ago under the helm of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who often takes a decidedly scientific approach to cooking. Lopez-Alt has since transitioned to a consulting role at Serious Eats (he has his own vlog, which is well worth following as well), but the site remains strong under new leadership. It offers tips on basics like food prep and storage, as well as a slew of how-tos and step-by-step instructions for everything from breaking down a chicken to kneading your own bread.

Try this: Quick and Easy Pressure Cooker Black Bean

Engadget
May 24, 2024

A beginner's guide to smart sous vide
French for "under vacuum," sous vide cooking involves immersing vacuum-sealed food in a temperature-controlled water bath until the food is cooked to your liking. It might sound intimidating, and it's true that this cooking method was once the province of professional cooks with expensive equipment. But that's not the case anymore — not only is sous vide cooking more accessible than ever now, but there are a number of sous vide machines out there that don't cost a fortune. And, like a lot of kitchen tools now, many sous vide devices even have companion apps and Wi-Fi connectivity that make the process even more automated. If you're curious about giving sous vide cooking a go, we'll walk you through the process of choosing the right machine for you and share some of the tips and tricks we've learned through our own experiments.

How to pick a smart sous vide machine If you're going to choose a sous vide machine, we definitely recommend getting a smart one, which means it either has Bluetooth or WiFi capabilities (or both). That's because this often adds a whole lot more features than you might otherwise have. We suggest getting models with a companion app that will help you set up and monitor your sous vide temperature remotely. Bluetooth-only models work when you're within 30 to 40 feet of the cooker, while those with WiFi let you supervise your food from anywhere in your home, or as long as you're on the same network. We also tend to prefer apps that come with recipes already on it, especially if you're new to sous vide cooking and need some help getting started.



Engadget
May 24, 2024

OpenAI scraps controversial nondisparagement agreement with employees
OpenAI will not enforce any nondisparagement agreement former employees had signed and will remove the language from its exit paperwork altogether, the company told Bloomberg. Vox recently reported that OpenAI was making exiting employees choose between being able to speak against the company and to keep the vested equity they earned. Employees could lose millions if they choose not to sign the agreement or if they violate it. Sam Altman, OpenAI's CEO, said he was "embarrassed" and didn't know that the provision existed, promising to have the company's paperwork altered. 

According to Bloomberg, the company notified former employees that "[r]egardless of whether [they] executed the agreement... OpenAI has not canceled, and will not cancel, any vested units." It released them from the agreement altogether, "unless the nondisparagement provision was mutual." At least one former employee said they had lost their vested equity that was equivalent to multiple times their family's net worth by refusing to sign when they left. It's unclear if they're getting it back with this change. The company also talked to current employees about this development, easing their worries that they will have to be careful with everything they say if they don't want to lose their stocks. 

"We a

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Meta and Google want to make AI deals with Hollywood studios
Meta and Google are offering Hollywood studios millions of dollars with the hope of striking licensing deals that could improve their models for AI-generated video, according to a new report in Bloomberg. The companies have reportedly offered "tens of millions of dollars," though it's unclear what will come from the talks.

According to the report, Netflix and Disney "aren't willing to license their content" but have "expressed interest in other types of collaborations." Warner Brothers Discovery has reportedly indicated "a willingness to license some of its programs."

A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment. Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The companies, it seems, are hoping such deals would help advance their video generation tools. Google recently showed off a text-to-video model, called Veo, and tapped Donald Glover to promote its capabilities. Meta is also researching AI-generated video.

There's been something of an arms race among AI firms to forge licensing deals with media compan

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Netflix's cozy take on Animal Crossing hits Android and iOS in June
Netflix's mobile gaming lineup will soon have one more entry. Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit, the sequel to the 2021 Animal Crossing-esque Cozy Grove, will arrive on Android and iOS on June 25.

The Cozy Grove sequel is the first game from developer Spry Fox since Netflix bought the studio in 2022. In the game, you'll embark on the high-stakes mission of helping ghostly bears upgrade their haunted island. The developer describes it as a "heartwarming adventure" where you'll "experience new activities, new ghost stories, new furry companions with stories and abilities of their own and much more."

Netflix's mobile gaming portfolio has grown exponentially since it began dabbling in the arena in 2017 with its Stranger Things tie-in. Netflix now has a roster of "nearly 100" mobile games. Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit will be the third game from an in-house studio after the streaming service began scooping up indie studios, including Spry Fox, Night School Studio, Boss Fight Entertainment and

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Samsung reportedly requires independent repair stores to rat on customers using aftermarket parts
If you take in your Samsung device to an independent shop for repair, Samsung requires the store to send your name, contact information, device identifier, and the nature of your complaint to the mothership. Worse, if the repair store detects that your device has been previously repaired with an aftermarket or a non-Samsung part, Samsung requires the establishment to "immediately disassemble" your device and "immediately notify" the company.

These details were revealed thanks to 404 Media, which obtained a contract that Samsung requires all independent repair stores to sign in exchange for selling them genuine repair parts. Here's the relevant section from the contract: "Company shall immediately disassemble all products that are created or assembled out of, comprised of, or that contain any Service Parts not purchased from Samsung." It adds that the store "shall immediately notify Samsung in writing of the details and circumstances of any unauthorized use or misappropriation of any Service Part for any purpose other than pursuant to this Agreement. Samsung may terminate this Agreement if these terms are violated." Samsung did not respond to a request for comment from Engadget.

Samsung's contract is troubling — customers who take their devices to independent repair stores do not necessarily expect their personal information to the sent to the device manufacturer. And if they've previously repaired their devices by using third-party parts that are often vastly cheaper than offici

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Robocaller behind AI Biden deepfake faces charges and hefty FCC fine
A political consultant who admitted to using a deepfake of President Joe Biden's voice in a robocall scheme this year is facing several charges as well as a hefty fine from the Federal Communications Commission. Steve Kramer (pictured above) said his aim with the New Hampshire primary robocall was to warn people about the dangers of artificial intelligence, as The Hill notes.

Kramer previously worked for Dean Phillips, a long-shot Democratic presidential candidate who suspended his campaign in March. Kramer has called for "immediate action" on AI "across all regulatory bodies and platforms."

He has now been charged with 13 felony counts of voter suppression and 13 misdemeanor counts of impersonation of a candidate. The phony Biden voice allegedly urged people not to participate in the primary and to "save your vote for the November election." New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, who announced the charges, said in February that the robocall reached as many as 25,000 voters.

The FCC has

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Google plans to run a fiber optic cable from Kenya to Australia
Google said on Thursday it will build a fiber optic cable to connect Africa and Australia. Named Umoja (a Swahili word meaning "unity"), one end of the cable will start in Kenya and pass through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa (with access points for the countries) before crossing the Indian Ocean to the land down under.

Google says the project is designed to "increase digital connectivity, accelerate economic growth, and deepen resilience across Africa." In addition to the cable itself, the company says it will work with the Kenyan government to boost cybersecurity, data-driven innovation, digital upskilling and responsibly and safely deploying AI.

Umoja will join Equiano, Google's private undersea cable running between Portugal and South Africa (with pitstops in other nations).

Google says the new route is critical to strengthen network resilience in the region, which has a history of "high-impact outages." In other words, more network redundancy makes outages less catastrophic to the area's broadband infrastructure.

"The new intercontinental fiber optic route will significantly enhance our global and regional digital infrastructure," Kenyan President William Ruto wrote about the initiative in a Google blog post. "This initiative is crucial in ensuring the redundancy and resilience of our region's connectivity to the rest of the world, especially in light of re

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Devolver Digital is celebrating its 15th birthday with a livestream on June 7
Devolver Digital is holding a livestream event on June 7 at 2PM ET to celebrate its 15th birthday and drop a bunch of "updates and release dates for upcoming titles." It's part of this year's Summer Game Fest, which also kicks off on June 7 and is quickly becoming the de facto replacement for E3. You can stream the event in a number of ways, including the company's official website. 

What's likely to be revealed by Devolver at the livestream? The company remains mum, but more information on Skate Story is practically guaranteed. The game was supposed to come out last year, so a release date is likely. We could also get updates on the action title The Plucky Squire and the bizarre man-baby walking simulator Baby Steps. The company has also promised "exciting new reveals", which could mean just about anything from Hotline Miami 3 to previously unannounced IPs.

One thing's for sure. The event will most definitely be quirky and entertaining. This has become De

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Spotify's Car Thing will soon transform into Spotify's Car Brick
Spotify's Car Thing, a limited hardware "test" the company began shipping only three years ago, is about to bite the dust. The company wrote on Thursday that the device, which brought Spotify to automobiles without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, will "no longer be operational" as of December 9.

Car Thing was aimed at drivers who want to listen to Spotify in their cars but don't have modern systems with built-in streaming apps. The $90 device let you control the service with voice recognition and preset buttons, and it had a four-inch color touchscreen. However, Spotify had already discontinued it by mid-2022.

In our 2021 preview, Engadget's Billy Steele wrote that the gadget seemed unnecessary at first but proved useful after two weeks of use. "While it seems only Spotify die-hards would be interested in something like this, it does offer an upgrade for older cars," our audio gear expert wrote. "I'm never getting built-in v

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Atari just bought Intellivision, putting an end to the very first console war
Atari just announced that it has acquired the Intellivision brand, along with more than 200 games from Intellivision Entertainment LLC. This puts an end to the very first console war, as Atari and Intellivison were bitter rivals going all the way back to 1979. The original Intellivision console, released by Mattel, went up against the Atari VCS (later named the 2600) a full decade before Nintendo and Sega started their beef.

"Uniting Atari and Intellivision after 45 years ends the longest-running console war in history," said Mike Mika, the studio head at Atari-owned Digital Eclipse.

The deal doesn't include the long-delayed Intellivision Amico retro console. Intellivision Entertainment LLC will continue working on the Amico as a separate and rebranded company and will use a license provided by Atari to release Intellivision games on it. The company has had a difficult time getting the console funded after originally announcing it back in 2018. It did manage, however, to release a truly bizarre app for iOS and Android devices that requires two smartphones or tablets to work. One device displays the game and the other acts as a controller. It's a weird idea and, according to Kotaku, "one janky piece of crap."


Engadget
May 23, 2024

The next Call of Duty is Black Ops 6
Activision has confirmed that the next Call of Duty game will be Black Ops 6. The publisher updated the website for the military shooter franchise to reveal the title, promising that "official lines of communication have begun," which essentially means the game's marketing is shifting from teaser mode to slow-trickle reveal mode.

Xbox's X (Twitter) account posted in late April that a "[REDACTED] Direct" event would follow the Xbox Showcase on Sunday, June 9. It was never much of a mystery that it would be a Call of Duty reveal: The logo matched the franchise's military art style, and it had already been reported that the next installment in the long-running series would arrive this year.

On Thursday, a short teaser video on Xbox's X account removed the redaction to reveal Black Ops 6. So you can look forward to a hype session for the first Call of Duty game unveiled under Microsoft ownership.



Engadget
May 23, 2024

LG C4 OLED TVs are down to record-low prices ahead of Memorial Day
LG's latest OLED smart TVs are on sale via Amazon. These are the C4 models and not the pricier G4 flagship displays, but they still boast plenty of bells and whistles for the discerning couch potato. The deals apply to just about every size, from 42-inches all the way up to 83-inches.



The best discount for most people, however, is for the 55-inch evo C4. This model is available for $1,697, which is 15 percent off. The 65-inch model

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Ticketmaster owner sued by DOJ and 30 attorneys general over alleged monopoly
The Justice Department and 30 state and district attorneys general are attempting to break up Ticketmaster owner Live Nation. They claim in an antitrust suit filed in the Southern District of New York that the company has created an unlawful monopoly over the live entertainment industry. The suit argues that Live Nation has harmed fans, promoters and artists as its dominance has led to imposing higher ticket prices while stifling innovation and competition.

Live Nation owns and/or operates many venues and festivals. It also sells tickets to concerts and festivals, and manages many of the artists who play at them.

"We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters and venue operators," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster."

It was reported back in 2022 amid Ticketmaster's struggle to handle ove

Engadget
May 23, 2024

The 1TB 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 is cheaper than ever right now
You can pick up a specced-out version of last year's MacBook Pro M3 for cheaper than ever right now, at $1,800. This is a discount of $200 for Apple's flagship laptop with 1TB of SSD storage and 16GB of RAM. This deal is only available for the 14-inch Space Gray model. The silver model is also on sale, but with just an eight percent discount.



As for the computer itself, it's the MacBook Pro M3. It's one of the best laptops you can buy, particularly for people who do intensive creative work on a computer, like video editing and music-making. The 14-inch screen is gorgeous, the M3 chip is both fast and efficient and the keyboard and trackpad are excellent. It's heavier and a bit bulkier than the just-released MacBook Air M3 models, but it also boasts more memory, a better selection of ports and a more efficient cooling system.



Engadget
May 23, 2024

South Korea aims to bolster local chip production with $19 billion of support
South Korea is the latest country to support its local semiconductor industry in a significant fashion. It's trying to stay competitive with the likes of the US, China and Taiwan with the help of a 26 trillion won ($19 billion) support package. The country will extend tax breaks that were set to expire at the end of this year and provide financial support to chipmakers through the state-run Korea Development Bank, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

Amid large demand for chips to power AI systems and other computing needs, South Korea saw exports of semiconductors rise 56 percent in April compared with a year earlier. That's despite fierce competition from the likes of Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC). SK Hynix said it would bolster its AI chip manufacturing capacity in South Korea with an extra $14.6 billion investment, while Samsung replaced the leader of its semiconductor division to try and become more competitive.

South

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Leica takes on Fujifilm with the compact D-Lux 8
With small and stylish compact cameras like Fujifilm's X100 VI all the rage for influencers, Leica has decided to jump back into the game. The company just unveiled the $1,595 D-Lux 8, a followup to the D-Lux 7 released way back in 2018. While substantially restyled compared to the last model, it carries the same 17-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor and 24-75mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.7-2.8 lens as before. 

The original was effectively a rebadge of Panasonic's LX100 II, but it's not clear if the D-Lux 8 is using exactly the same sensor or an updated version. In any case, Leica didn't reveal much information, beyond the sensor, resolution and lens, along with the new images. 

From the latter, we can see some substantial differences from the previous model. It has an all-black finish and leather-style wrap, much like its full-frame Q3 compact. The interface has also been simplified, with only a "play," "menu" and d-pad type control on the rear, along with two unlabeled buttons. On top, there's a power switch in place of the "4K" button. All of this is inspired by the Q lineup, the company said.

Leica Spec-wise, all the company detailed is the sensor and lens, while saying it now supports RAW file capture, a first for the D-lux lineup. Other features, like video, autofocus and more h

Engadget
May 23, 2024

Starliner's first crew mission will now launch on June 1... maybe
The first crewed flight of Boeing's Starliner capsule still hasn't launched more than two weeks after its originally scheduled liftoff date, and there's going to be at least another week of waiting and uncertainty before it does. NASA announced last night that the Starliner team is now targeting a June 1 launch as engineers continue to assess the vehicle in the wake of discovering a helium leak from the propulsion system earlier this month. If the June 1 attempt is scrubbed, it'll have other chances to fly on June 2, June 5 and June 6.

It was at first looking like the mission would be postponed indefinitely after NASA called off the May 25 launch attempt on Tuesday night and didn't set a new date. At that time, NASA said it would "share more details once we have a clearer path forward," per SpaceNews. In a blog post published Wednesday night, NASA said the leak remains stable, but the teams are still working "to assess Starliner performance and redundancy

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