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Engadget
Mar 27, 2023

Amazon will give you a $50 gift card when you buy a year of Microsoft 365 Family
If you've been waiting to purchase Microsoft 365 Family, now might be the right time. Amazon is offering a 12-month subscription for $100, down from $150 — plus a $50 Amazon gift card. Basically, you save $50 and get another $50 in spending money, not so bad. 

Your purchase includes all the usual Microsoft programs — Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook etc. — and 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage for easy sharing of photos and files across your devices.

Microsoft 365 is available to download immediately for up to six family members on PCs or Macs. The Amazon gift card, on the other hand, will arrive in the mail. It has no expiration date so as long as you don't lose the little card somewhere, you can hold onto it for a while (or spend it right away, no judgement here). 



If you choose to buy the family package, do yourself a favor and set a calendar reminder for just under a year from now. The subscription will auto-renew annually and there's nothing worse than finding out through a credit card statement. If you love it,

Engadget
Mar 27, 2023

It's your last chance to buy from Nintendo's Wii U and 3DS eShops
It's the end of an era as Nintendo is shutting down its Wii U and 3DS eShops today (March 27th) at 5PM PST (8PM EST). After that, you'll no longer be able to purchase new games for those consoles, though you'll still be able to redownload titles you've already purchased for the time being. 

The company first warned of the eShop closures back in February 2022, and barred users from adding funds to their accounts on August 29th. Nintendo wrote at the time that that the move was "part of the natural lifecycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time."

That may be true, but a trove of over 1,000 digital games will be lost in the shutdown, including Dr. Luigi, Mini Mario & Friends: Amiibo Challenge, and Pokémon Picross, to name but a few. In total, 450 digital-only Wii U games, 600 digital-only 3DS games and 530 virtual console games will disappear, VGC reported. Of the latter, 335 aren't currently available on Nintendo Switch Online. 

That means the only option for folks who want to play these classic games will be physical copies, which have soared in value. Many other download-exclusive games, meanwhile, will disappear for good. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/its-your-last-chance-to-buy-from-nintendos-wii-u-and-3ds-eshops-072838697.html?src=rss

Engadget
Mar 26, 2023

Portions of Twitter's source code were reportedly leaked online
In yet another embarrassing development for new Twitter boss Elon Musk, court filings published Friday reveal that portions of the social media site's source code — the base programming that makes Twitter possible — have been leaked online, the New York Times reports.

Per court filings, Twitter claimed copyright infringement in an effort to have the offending code taken down from the Github collaborative programming network, where it had been posted. While the code was removed the same day, details as to how long the code had been left up were not made available, nor were the leak's scope or depth. As part of the takedown request reminiscent of Raytheon's famous -- failed -- attempt at court-sanctioned doxxing, Twitter also asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California to order Github to reveal both the identity of the user who posted the code and those who accessed and downloaded it. 

The NYT reports that, per sources within the company pr

Engadget
Mar 26, 2023

Netflix strikes last-minute deal to retain ‘Arrested Development' streaming rights
Good news, Arrested Development fans. You can continue watching the highly acclaimed sitcom on Netflix. As The Verge outlines, all five seasons of the show, including the two financed by Netflix, were set to leave the service on March 15th. However, the series is now staying put, thanks to a licensing agreement the company reached with Disney-owned 20th Century Fox, the show's original rights holder.


Engadget
Mar 26, 2023

Elon Musk reportedly values Twitter at $20 billion
Elon Musk values Twitter at about $20 billion, according to an email seen by The Information and The New York Times. Musk shared the valuation, a significant drop from the $44 billion he paid to buy the company

Engadget
Mar 26, 2023

EU agrees to allow sales of e-fuel internal combustion engine cars past 2035
The European Union has agreed to make a carveout for synthetic fuels in its proposed 2035 ban on the sale of new combustion engine cars. Per the Associated Press, the bloc made a deal with Germany on Saturday to allow automakers to sell new ICE cars past 2035, provided those vehicles run on climate-neutral fuels only. The agreement ends a dispute that had threatened to scuttle the EU's signature climate change policy. At the start of March, the European Parliament delayed a vote that would have codified the proposed ban after Germany, with support from automakers, said it would not back the mandate without an exemption for synthetic fuels.


Engadget
Mar 26, 2023

Sennheiser's Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are cheaper than ever
One of Engadget's favorite pair of noise-canceling headphones is on sale at Amazon. After a nearly $85 discount, you can get the Sennheiser Momentum 4 for $265. If you're not fussy about color, the white model is an additional $6 off. Either way, that's a new all-time low for Sennheiser's flagship Bluetooth headphones.



Engadget Senior Editor Billy Steele awarded the Momentum 4 a score of 82. He came away with their audio quality, noting they were among the best-sounding Bluetooth headphones he tested in 2022. Also impressive was their ANC performance and battery life. With noise cancellation turned on, Steele found he could get up to 60 hours of playtime on a single charge. That's double what most noise-canceling headphones offer. If you don't mind the Momentum 4's somewhat forgettable design, they're a great pair of headphon

Engadget
Mar 26, 2023

Hitting the Books: How the 'Godfather of Cybercrime' got his start on eBay
The internet has connected nearly everybody on the planet to a global network of information and influence, enabling humanity's best and brightest minds unparalleled collaborative capabilities. At least that was the idea, more often than not these days, it serves as a popular medium for scamming your more terminally-online relatives out of large sums of money. Just ask Brett Johnson, a reformed scam artist who at his rube-bilking pinnacle, was good at separating fools from their cash that he founded an entire online learning forum to train a new generation of digital scam artist.

Johnson's cautionary tale in one of many in the new book, Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry, from Harvard Business Review Press. In it, Professor of Forensic Accounting at DePaul University, Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, chronicles some of the 20th and 21st century's most heinous financial misdeeds — from Bernie Madoff's pyramid schemes to Enron and VW, and all the Nigerian Princes in between — exploring how the grifts worked and why they often left their marks none the wiser.



Engadget
Mar 25, 2023

Epic made a Rivian R1T demo to show off its latest Unreal Engine 5 tools
In 2020, Epic Games publicly demoed Unreal Engine 5 for the first time. Nearly three years later, gamers are still waiting for the tech to go mainstream. Outside of Fortnite and The Matrix Awakens, there aren't any UE5 games you can play right now, and the first salvo probably won't arrive until the end of the year at the earliest. None of that stopped Epic from showcasing the engine's latest capabilities with a handful of new demos during its recent State of Unreal keynote at GDC 2023.

Arguably the most impressive one saw Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 developer Ninja Theory show off Epic's new MetaHuman Animator. The tool promises to make realistic facial capture accessible to indie developers by allowing them to use an iPhone, instead of dedicated equipment, to capture facial performances. As you can see from the two demos Epic shared, the tool makes it possible to quickly and accurately transform a closeup video of an actor i

Engadget
Mar 25, 2023

Microsoft releases fix for Windows 11 screenshot privacy bug
Microsoft has released a pair of emergency updates to address the "aCropalypse" security flaw found within its native Windows 10 and 11 screenshot editing apps. As Bleeping Computer reports, the company began testing a fix for the vulnerability earlier this week shortly after it was discovered by retired software engineer Chris Blume.

On Friday evening, Microsoft began rolling out public updates for Windows 11's Snipping Tool as well as Windows 10's Snip & Sketch app. You can manually prompt Windows to patch the app you use by opening the Microsoft Store and clicking on "Library," followed by "Get Updates." Microsoft recommends all users install the updates.

The aCropalypse flaw was first discovered on Pixel devices, and subsequently addressed by Google in Android's recent March security update. In the case of Windows 11's Snipping Tool, it turned out the utility wasn't properly overwriting cropped PNG data. The issue did not affect all PNG files, but the concern was that bad actors could exploit the vulnerability to partially recover edited images, particularly those that had been cropped to omit sensitive information. As with Google's March Android update, Microsoft's patches won't protect images that were previously created with its screenshot tools. 

This article originally appeared on En

Engadget
Mar 25, 2023

Internet Archive violated publisher copyrights by lending ebooks, court rules
A federal judge has ruled against the Internet Archive in its high-profile case against a group of four US publishers led by Hachette Book Group. Per Reuters, Judge John G. Koeltl declared on Friday the nonprofit had infringed on the group's copyrights by lending out digitally scanned copies of their books.

The lawsuit originated from the Internet Archive's decision to launch the "National Emergency Library" during the early days of the pandemic. The program saw the organization offer more than 1.4 million free ebooks, including copyrighted works, in response to libraries worldwide closing their doors due to coronavirus lockdown measures.

Before March 2020, the Internet Archive's Open Library program operated under what's known as a "controlled digital lending" system, meaning there was often a waitlist to borrow a book from its collection. When the pandemic hit, the Internet Archive lifted those restrictions to make it easier for people to access reading material while stuck at home. The Copyright Alliance was quick to take issue with the effort. And in June 2020, Hachette, as well as HarperCollins, Penguin Random House and John Wiley & Sons, sued The Internet Archive, accusing the organization of enabling "willful mass copyright infringement." That same month, the Internet Archive

Engadget
Mar 25, 2023

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore has passed away
Gordon Moore, co-founder and former CEO of Intel, has passed away at 94. He was the last surviving member of the Intel Trinity, which also included his fellow founder Robert Noyce and their first hire Andy Grove. Moore and Noyce previously worked with the co-inventor of the transistor, William Shockley, before helping found Fairchild Semiconductor. In 1968, the two struck out on their own and founded NM Electronics, which eventually became Intel. 

A few years before that, in 1965, Moore wrote a paper that envisioned the miniaturization of computers. To be precise, he predicted that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year, leading to the creation and production of smaller and more powerful chips that would, in turn, enable advancements in technology. His prediction was dubbed "Moore's Law," and it was proven accurate in the years that followed. By 1975, he adjusted his estimate for the doubling of transistors to every two years, though now top chipmakers

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

Blue Origin pins last summer's NS-23 rocket failure on a faulty engine nozzle
Blue Origin now has an explanation for the booster failure that cut a New Shepard flight short last September. Jeff Bezos' company has determined that a "thermo-structural failure" in the NS-23 rocket's engine nozzle was to blame. Operational temperatures for the nozzle climbed higher than expected following cooling system design changes, creating fatigue that misaligned the thrust and activated the crew capsule's escape system.

Engineers are already taking "corrective actions" that include redesigning the combustion chamber and operating conditions. Blue Origin has also tweaked the nozzle design to improve its structural integrity. The capsule wasn't damaged and will fly again, Blue Origin says.

The company says it hopes to resume flights "soon," but hasn't provided an exact date. It intends to restart operations by re-flying the research payload from the aborted mission. The Federal Aviation Administration has to accept the incident findings before Blue Origin can move forward.

There's plenty of pressure on Blue Origin to address the issues. The company recently obtained a NASA contract to fly a science mission to Mars using its yet-to-launch New Glenn rocket, and has been pushing for a lunar lander agreement. The sooner Blue Origin can prove that its rocketry is trustworthy, the sooner it can secure customers that include governments and space tourists.

Rivals are facing problems of their own. Relativity Space's first 3D-printed rocket

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

Levi's will ‘supplement' human models with AI-generated fakes
Levi's is partnering with an AI company on computer-generated fashion models to "supplement human models." The company frames the move as part of a "digital transformation journey" of diversity, equity, inclusion and sustainability. Although that sounds noble on the surface, Levi's is essentially hiring a robot to generate the appearance of diversity while ridding itself of the burden of paying human beings who represent the qualities it wants to be associated with its brand.

Levi Strauss is partnering with Amsterdam-based digital model studio Lalaland.ai for the initiative. Founded in 2019, the company's mission is "to see more representation in the fashion industry" and "create an inclusive, sustainable, and diverse design chain." It aims to let customers see what various fashion items would look like on a person who looks like them via "hyper-realistic" models "of every body type, age, size and skin tone."

Levi's announcement echoes that branding, saying the partnership is about "increasing the number and diversity of our models for our products in a sustainable way." The company continues, "We see fashion and technology as both an art and a science, and we're thrilled to be partnering with Lalaland.ai, a company with such high-quality technology that can help us continue on our journey for a more diverse and inclusive customer experience."

Lalaland.aiLevi's claims, "AI will likely never fully replace human models for us" (

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

France bans TikTok (and Candy Crush) from government phones
It's no shock to see another country banning TikTok from government phones, but France is taking the restrictions a step further. Le Mondereports the French government is banning "recreational" apps like TikTok, Twitter, Netflix and even Candy Crush from public servants' devices. The apps represent cybersecurity risks that could jeopardize data for both the employees and the administration, according to the office of public service minister Stanislas Guerini.

The government hasn't provided an exact list of banned apps. However, Guerini said certain there could be some exceptions for the sake of necessary communication. This won't prevent a social media team from posting content, in other words. The ban takes effect immediately, but the penalties for defying the rule can be decided at the "managerial level," Guerini's office says. The approach doesn't affect personal devices.

The clampdown comes after the US federal government, dozens of states, Canada, the European Commission and the UK have banned TikTok on their workers' devices. In those cases, the rationale has been similar: officials are worri

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

OpenAI says a bug leaked sensitive ChatGPT user data
OpenAI was forced to take its wildly-popular ChatGPT bot offline for emergency maintenance on Tuesday after a user was able to exploit a bug in the system to recall the titles from other users' chat histories. On Friday the company announced its initial findings from the incident.

In Tuesday's incident, users posted screenshots on Reddit that their ChatGPT sidebars featured previous chat histories from other users. Only the title of the conversation, not the text itself, were visible. OpenAI, in response, took the bot offline for nearly 10 hours to investigate. The results of that investigation revealed a deeper security issue: the chat history bug may have also potentially revealed personal data from 1.2 percent of ChatGPT Plus subscribers (a $20/month enhanced access package). 

"In the hours before we took ChatGPT offline on Monday, it was possible for some users to see another active user's first and last name, email address, payment address, the last four digits (only) of a credit card number, and credit card expiration date. Full credit card numbers were not exposed at any time," the OpenAI team wrote Friday. The issue has since been patched for the faulty library which OpenAI identified as the Redis client open-source library, redis-py.

The company has downplayed the likelihood of such a breach occurring, arguing that either of the following criteria would have to be met to place a user at risk:


Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

The next game from the makers of ‘Genshin Impact' arrives in April
The next game from the makers of Genshin Impact has a release date. Honkai: Star Rail — a turn-based, space-fantasy, tactical RPG — arrives on April 26th. In addition to previously announced PC and mobile availability, developer HoYoverse announced today that a PlayStation (PS5 / PS4) version is coming "later."

Although much is unknown about Honkai: Star Rail, we do know it trades in Genshin Impact's Breath of the Wild type of open-world action for turn-based combat. Based on its trailers, it looks like a visual spectacle with an anime-esque art style and a cast of memorable characters. 

The story, set in the same universe as Honkai Impact 3rd, follows a protagonist with an implanted Stellaron (mysterious life forms that respond to the world's desire to advance) on a quest to discover the truth about the "Cancer of All Worlds." It begins at a tutorial level on Herta Space Station before moving on to snow-covered Jarilo-VI and other diverse worlds.

The free-to-play game will use gacha (item and character-based loot boxes) for monetization. It's rated T for Teen and will be available for PC (standalone installation or the Epic Games Store), iOS and Android. That PS5 / PS4 version will arrive at an unknown later date.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-next-game-from-the-makers-of-genshin-impact-arrives-in-april-165030309.html?src=rss

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

How to get your grill ready for the outdoor season
As winter's chilly grip thaws, it's time to spend our days on porches, patios or in the backyard. A key part of those warm weather activities is showing off your outdoor culinary skills to friends and family. During the cold months, your grill has likely been dormant, so it's time to give it a thorough cleaning before it gets fired up several times a week. Some of us keep the grill going year-round, but spring is a great time to do a deep clean before the official outdoor cooking season starts. Here are a few tips and tricks that will hopefully make things easier.

Disassemble, scrub, reassembleBilly Steele/EngadgetA good rule of thumb when it comes to cleaning anything you haven't used in a while is to take it apart as much as you feel comfortable and give it a thorough wipe down. For grills, this means removing the grates and any bars or burner covers - basically, anything you can take out that's not the heating element. This gives you a chance to inspect the burners of your gas grill or the fire pot of a pellet model for any unsightly wear and tear. If those components are worn out or overly rusted, most companies offer replacements that you can easily swap out with a few basic tools.

Once all the pieces are out, start by scraping excess debris off all sides of the interior - with the help of some cleaner if needed. For a

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

Twitter may let you hide the fact you pay to use Twitter
Do you like the features that come with Twitter Blue, but not the image it conveys of an Elon Musk superfan? There might be a solution in the near future. As Boing Boingnotes, developer Alessandro Paluzzi claims to have spotted Twitter testing an option to hide the Blue checkmark on your profile. Unless you write a very long tweet or otherwise flaunt Blue-only features, other users might never know that you're paying for perks. You'd still need to verify your government ID to use the features.

Twitter isn't available for comment as it disbanded its communications team after Musk's purchase. The test comes as Twitter says it will start removing legacy verified checkmarks on April 1st. In November, Musk called legacy checkmarks "corrupt" and said the social network would remove them in the months ahead. 


Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

Apple's AirPods Pro drop back to $200, plus the rest of the week's best tech deals
It's Friday, which means it's time for another roundup of notable discounts on good tech. Among the highlights, Apple's AirPods Pro are back down to $200, tying the best price we've seen for the iPhone-friendly noise-cancelling earphones. Amazon has dropped the Kindle Paperwhite down to $100, which is $5 above that e-reader's all-time low, while Samsung is running another sale on various storage devices. We're also seeing discounts on

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

Amazon sale knocks the Kindle Paperwhite down to $100
If you're on the market for a new e-reader, Amazon's latest discounts on Kindles may have exactly what you've been looking for at a lower-than-expected price. Key among the sale items is the Kindle Paperwhite, which is down to $100. That's only $5 more than its record-low price, and it's the same price as the standard Kindle, which doesn't have as many extra features as the Paperwhite.

While we did not review the Paperwhite, we did test the Paperwhite Signature Edition, which is only different thanks to its auto-adjusting front light, higher storage capacity and its wireless charging capabilities. You should get a very similar experience going with the regular Paperwhite, and it should be a great one. The latest version of Amazon's ubiquitous e-reader has a 6.8-inch, 300 ppi glare-free screen with 17 front LEDs, including a new adjustable warm light that will make it easier to read in dark environments (and after a full day of staring at a computer screen).



The design of the Paperwhite hasn't ch

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

How to clean all the screens in your home
Display technology has come a long way in recent years. OLED and LCD screens are brighter, more colorful and responsive than ever before, but at some point, they all still succumb to dust, dirt and grime. There are a plethora of cleaning products out there that claim they can make your screen sparkle again, but we've found that the simplest route is actually the best. If you want to refresh all of the screens in your home, from TVs to smartphones, we'll outline the best methods that will help you do so properly without damaging any of your gear.

How not to clean your screensPhoto by Igor Bonifacic / EngadgetBefore we get to how to clean a screen, there are a few ways you don't want to go about the process. The first, and most important, is that you don't want to clean a display using substances like isopropyl alcohol or Windex. Alcohol- and ammonia-based cleaners can damage your screen's anti-reflective coating. Using those substances repeatedly can lead to clouding and the coating becoming uneven.

Companies like

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

UK watchdog no longer thinks Microsoft's Activision Blizzard merger is a threat to console competition
The UK is softening its objections to Microsoft's buyout of Activision Blizzard. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has revised its findings and determined that the merger won't lead to significantly reduced competition in the console space. While the evidence remains the same, the watchdog now finds that Microsoft's ownership of franchises like Call of Duty would "not materially affect" Sony's ability to compete with PlayStation systems. Microsoft could "degrade" the PlayStation's appeal, the CMA says, but Sony's platform has a strong-enough catalog that the damage would be limited.

The Authority also reconsidered its view that Microsoft might benefit from shutting out Call of Duty's PlayStation audience. More recent Microsoft data suggests the company could suffer substantial losses in "any plausible scenario" by making the game franchise Xbox-only or offering exclusive perks, according to the CMA. Not enough gamers would switch from PlayStation to Xbox to make that strategy work, in other words.

The CMA makes clear that the updated findings don't change its concerns about cloud gaming services. In February, the regulator said Microsoft represented up to 70 percent of the worldwide cloud gaming market, and completing the Activision Blizzard purchase could harm gamers who can't afford an expensive console or PC.

We've asked Microsoft and Sony for comment. Activision Blizzard tells Engadget in a statement that the CMA now has an "improved understanding" of the console market, and that Microsoft already has solutions in place for remaining issues. Activision maintains that Sony is only trying to "protect its domi

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

UK watchdog no longer thinks Microsoft's Activision Blizzard merger is a threat to console competition (updated)
The UK is softening its objections to Microsoft's buyout of Activision Blizzard. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has revised its findings and determined that the merger won't lead to significantly reduced competition in the console space. While the evidence remains the same, the watchdog now finds that Microsoft's ownership of franchises like Call of Duty would "not materially affect" Sony's ability to compete with PlayStation systems. Microsoft could "degrade" the PlayStation's appeal, the CMA says, but Sony's platform has a strong-enough catalog that the damage would be limited.

The Authority also reconsidered its view that Microsoft might benefit from shutting out Call of Duty's PlayStation audience. More recent Microsoft data suggests the company could suffer substantial losses in "any plausible scenario" by making the game franchise Xbox-only or offering exclusive perks, according to the CMA. Not enough gamers would switch from PlayStation to Xbox to make that strategy work, in other words.

The CMA makes clear that the updated findings don't change its concerns about cloud gaming services. In February, the regulator said Microsoft represented up to 70 percent of the worldwide cloud gaming market, and completing the Activision Blizzard purchase could harm gamers who can't afford an expensive console or PC.

We've asked Microsoft and Sony for comment. Activision Blizzard tells Engadget in a statement that the CMA now has an "improved understanding" of the console market, and that Microsoft already has solutions in place for remaining issues. Activision maintains that Sony is only trying to "protect its domi

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

'Diablo IV' beta preview: More polished and even more satisfying
Later today, Blizzard will open the gates to Diablo IV's long-awaited open beta, allowing anyone to play the action RPG before its June 6th release date. I had a chance to check out the beta during the early access window the studio offered last weekend and came away more excited than ever to play the final game. Nearly three months from release, there's a lot to like about Diablo IV. Combat is fun and impactful, and the game gives you a lot of freedom to play your character the way you want to play them. Add to that a compelling world with top-notch art direction and sound design, and you have what could be the best Diablo game yet. Still, there's more work Blizzard could do around the user interface, and some dungeons could use more variety. 

If you're jumping into the beta today, Blizzard has said players should be ready for lengthy queue times, particularly on Friday afternoon. Long login times and disconnects were an issue on the first day of the early access weekend, but Blizzard eventually addressed those technical hiccups.  



This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/diablo-iv-beta-preview-more-polished-and-even-more-satisfying-1330387

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

The best eco-friendly phone cases for 2023
No modern smartphone is completely carbon neutral. Even the most eco-conscious phones are only partially made out of recyclable materials. But you can help cut back on plastic usage by at least purchasing an eco-friendly case to protect your phone from dings and scratches. There are plenty of them, from those that are completely compostable to ones made from ocean-based plastic. Best of all, eco-friendly cases are often just stylish and durable as their mainstream counterparts. Here are our favorites.

Pela

Without a doubt, our favorite eco-friendly phone cases are those made by Pela. We absolutely love their colors and designs, plus the fact that the entire line is 100 percent plant-based and compostable. The case material is called "Flaxstic," which the company says is made from flax straw and compostable bioplastic elastomer. Importantly, it's also free of BPA, phthalates, cadmium and lead. If you ever decide to get rid of it, you can indeed just chuck in a compost bin and it'll be completely biodegradable.

What's more, Pela cases are available for a

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

Engadget Podcast: Is Google Bard drunk?
Google finally opened up its Bard AI for testing, and it turns out it's a little loopy. This week, Cherlynn and Devindra dive into their experience with Bard, as well as how it compares with Microsoft's BingAI (and GPT4, consequently). Also, we discuss even more AI news from NVIDIA, Microsoft and Midjourney, as well as TikTok CEO Shou Chew's date with Congress.

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

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Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

The Morning After: What TikTok's CEO told Congress about the app's ties to China
It turned into a five-hour showdown between TikTok CEO Shou Chew and US lawmakers, who have found suspicion of TikTok to be a rare source of bipartisan agreement. It comes as US officials told the company they could ban the app if it doesn't separate itself from ByteDance.

As with previous hearings with social media executives, lawmakers pressed Chew for often impossible yes-no answers to complex questions and grew frustrated when he declined to give one. In one exchange, Representative Tony Cardenas asked Chew whether ByteDance was a Chinese company. He would only admit it was a "global" firm with a Chinese founder. The hearing was also notably different from previous hearings with other social media company CEOs because the vast majority of lawmakers are not active on TikTok. Not all of their questions were nuanced, either: Representative Richard Hudson demanded to know if TikTok can "access the home WiFi network." TikTok's future remains uncertain, Chinese officials said Thursday they opposed a sale of the social network.

- Mat Smith.

The Morning After isn't just a newsletter - it's also a daily podcast. Get our daily audio briefings, Monday through Friday, by subscribing right here.



The biggest stories you might have missedHow and where to buy refurbished tech online

‘Star Trek: Picard' thinks the kids aren't alrigh

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

Sony's God of War: Ragnarok PS5 bundle is $50 off right now
If you've had your eye on the PS5 and God of War: Ragnarok, which just happens to be one of our best PlayStation 5 games for 2023, then this is your chance to get both together at a discount. The PS5 God of War: Ragnarok bundle is currently on sale for $510, or $50 less than its usual price. That means you can get the game for only $11, considering the

Engadget
Mar 24, 2023

PayPal launches passkey logins for Android in the US
PayPal is expanding access to passkey logins to Android users in the US, so long as they access the website on the Chrome browser. The payment processor first introduced passkey logins for Apple's computers and tablets running macOS Ventura and iPadOS16 in October last year. Google had yet to release stable passkey support for Android and Chrome at the time, but PayPal promised to make the password alternative available to other platforms and countries in the future. 

By December last year, passkeys rolled out to stable Chrome. Now PayPal is making good on its promise, with some limitations. The login option isn't available for the payment processor's Android app yet, and users can only activate it if they're using Chrome on a device running Android 9. 

The new authentication technology allows users to access websites and services that support it without having to type in usernames and passwords. While it can use biometric authentication to verify a user's identity, it's not quite the same as current login tech that auto-populates login boxes using facial or fingerprint recognition. The technology creates a cryptographic key pair — one public and one private — that becomes associated with a user's account. Apps and services that support passkeys use the public key to confirm a person's identity by matching it to the private key, which is kept in the user's device. As The Verge notes, some password managers can now sync passkeys between devices, as well. 

To activate passkeys for PayPal on Android, eligible users h

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Twitter says it's killing legacy verified checkmarks starting on April 1st
Pretty soon, previously verified Twitter accounts will lose their checkmarks unless they start paying for it. The website has announced that it will "begin winding down [its] legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks" on April 1st. It was never a secret that the company intended to do so. Shortly after Twitter Blue first launched in November 2022, company chief Elon Musk said that "far too many corrupt legacy Blue 'verification' checkmarks exist" and that the company is removing them in the coming months. 


Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Utah passes laws requiring parental permission for teens to use social media
Utah's governor has signed two bills that could upend how teens in the state are able to use social media apps. Under the newlaws, companies like Meta, Snap and TikTok would be required to get parents permission before teens could create accounts on their platforms. The laws also require curfew, parental controls and age verification features.

The laws could dramatically change how social platforms handle the accounts of their youngest users. In addition to the parental consent and age verification features, the laws also bar companies "from using a design or feature that causes a minor to have an addiction to the company's social media platform."

For now, it's not clear how Utah officials intend to enforce the laws or how they will apply to teenagers' existing social media accounts. Both laws are scheduled to take effect next March.

The effect that social media can have on teens, particularly younger ones, has been in the spotlight for some time. Earlier this year, the Surgeon General said that "13 is too early," referring to the minimum age when most platforms allow teens to join. Lawmakers in Congress and in other states have also proposed laws that would limit teens' ability to use social media apps.

Not everyone agrees that laws restricting teenagers from using social media is the right approach, though. The

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Twitter Blue subscriptions are now available worldwide
You no longer have to wonder whether or not the revived Twitter Blue subscription is available in your country. Twitter has confirmed that Blue is now available worldwide. Pay $8 per month ($11 if you sign up through the iOS app) and you'll get the no-longer-that-special blue checkmark as well as 4,000-character tweets, higher ranking in replies, post editing and other perks.

Organizations, meanwhile, can pursue a more useful tick next to their names. Twitter has begun accepting applications for the grey checkmarks that verify government officials and organizations, not to mention their equivalents at multilateral institutions. As you might guess, the criteria is stricter. Applicants have to use either their government ID or a valid email address, and have to describe their positions and functions. Businesses can already apply for gold checkmarks.


Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Here's what TikTok's CEO told Congress about the app's ties to China and teen safety
At his first Congressional hearing, TikTok CEO Shou Chew tried to downplay TikTok's ties to China and parent company ByteDance. But lawmakers at the House Energy and Commerce Committee were far from satisfied with his answers.

In her opening statements, committee chair Representative Cathy Rodgers said that TikTok should be banned. "ByteDance is beholden to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], and ByteDance and TikTok are one and the same," she said.

Chew, who in his written testimony said that "ByteDance is not an agent of China" repeatedly pointed to Project Texas, the company's sweeping plan to lock down US users' data in the United States. But lawmakers on the committee were skeptical of the plan, which TikTok officials have said would do more to protect users than an outright ban.

Chew repeated multiple times that US user data would be inaccessible to employees in other countries "after Project Texas" is completed later this year. Still, committee members were skeptical of the plan, which has been in the works for more than a year. Rodgers called it a "marketing scheme," Representative Frank Pallone said "Project Texas is simply not acceptable," and Representative Angie Craig said the plan "doesn't pass the smell test."

The more than five-hour showdown between Chew and lawmakers, who have found suspicion of TikTok to be a rare source of bipartisan agreement, comes as US officials have told the company it could ban the app if it doesn't separate itself from ByteDance.

As with previou

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

'Lord of the Rings: Gollum' will finally arrive on May 25th
After a particularly long incubation process, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is almost ready to ship. Daedalic has revealed that its stealth action take on JRR Tolkien's fantasy world will be available May 25th on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. A Switch version is due later in the year. While the mechanics of the game are by now familiar, this still promises to be a fresh take if you weren't enthused with the hack-and-slash of Monolith's Middle-earth games.

You play Gollum in a previously unrecorded story of his search for (what else?) the Precious during the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. He's clearly not a brawler, so he has to sneak and climb to survive. And crucially, the battle inside his corrupted mind plays a key role. You have to choose between giving into Gollum's darker impulses or hanging on to the shreds of kindness from Smeagol. While this is an original tale based on the books, you'll run into familiar characters and navigate a world heavily inspired by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies.

To say Gollum has taken a while to finish would be an understatement. It was originally unveiled in 2019, and even then wasn't expected to arrive until 2021. That year came and went (the pandemic didn't help speed development), and even a tentative September 2022 release didn't happen after a delay that was only supposed to last "a few months" as Daedalic took extra time to polish the title.

The timing might work in the game's favor. In 2019, Amazon's Lord of the Rings

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

United and Archer will open an air taxi route to Chicago's O'Hare airport in 2025
Archer Aviation and United Airlines announced a partnership today to launch a commercial air taxi route in Chicago. The companies plan to open the flight path between downtown and O'Hare International Airport in 2025.

Besides being United's headquarters and largest hub, Chicago's airport commute makes it an ideal testbed for flying taxis. For example, the drive to or from O'Hare, in the western suburb of Rosemont, can take anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic; even in one of the city's elevated trains, it can take around 45 minutes. But Archer estimates a flight in one of its air taxis will only take 10 minutes to travel from O'Hare to its destination at a downtown helipad. The program will initially be limited to the mainline O'Hare / downtown route, but the companies eventually plan to add smaller paths to surrounding communities.

Archer describes the upcoming route as "cost competitive" for passengers without going into specifics. But even if it's initially limited to deep-pocketed business travelers, the program should be good for the environment. Archer's air taxis use electric motors and batteries and don't produce emissions. "This exciting new technology will further decarbonize our means of transportation, taking us another step forward in our fight against climate change," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "I'm pleased that Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this innovative, convenient form of travel."

The partnership is the latest in United's aggressive investments in flying taxis. Last year, the airline ordered at least 200 e

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

ChatGPT's new plugins will deliver real-time stats
Following the release the new GPT-4 engine and Whisper API in March, OpenAI announced Thursday that it has begun introducing plugins for ChatGPT. These will enable the chatbot to interact with 3rd-party APIs, tailoring its responses to specific circumstances as defined by the developers while expanding the bot's range of capable actions.

Say you want to develop a chatbot that users can talk sports with. Before the latest GPT-4 upgrade, the chatbot would only be able to discuss games and scores that happened in the past, specifically in 2021 which is when GPT-3's training data was assembled. It wouldn't pull real-time data or even be aware that the year 2022 existed. With a chatGPT plugin, you'll be able to tack ChatGPT functionality onto your existing code stack where it will be able to do anything from retrieve real-time information calls (sports scores, stock prices, breaking news) to pulling specific knowledge-base information like your company's internal documents or from your personal cloud. It will even be able to take action on behalf of the user like booking a flight or ordering take-out — think, an installable Google Assi

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

You can now embed a legitimate audio workstation right on your website
Digital audio workstations (DAWs) tend to be power-hungry, so it was already a pretty big deal when Soundation managed to fit most of the required features in a handy web app. But now the company has refined the code to allow anyone to embed a fully-functional music recording station right on their website.

For the uninitiated, digital audio workstations are where the vast majority of modern music-making takes place. These software suites integrate with all manner of hardware and feature standard timeline-based recording functions. Soundation's new tools open these features up to any person or company with an active website. All you have to do is copy and paste a bit of code and the software does the rest. Of note, you can place an empty DAW on your website, just waiting to be filled with music, or a DAW that already features audio content.

What are the use cases here? You can drop a fresh and empty DAW just waiting for visitors to add sounds and effects. This is the ideal scenario for collaborative classes and the like. Remember, a DAW features all of the tools you need to record audio, edit audio, drag and drop MIDImidi, and add effects.

Things get more interesting when you factor in DAWs pre-loaded with musical content, which could lead to a user-friendly way to remix pre-existing songs. The artist just has to embed a preloaded DAW on their site and let fans work their magic. This technology will also allow customers to "try before they buy" when it comes to sample packs and standalone beats. You can rearrange the samples on the fly and really get into the nitty-gritty, instead of just listening to demo clips.



Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

‘Cyberpunk 2077' is getting a path-tracing 'Overdrive Mode' in April
Nvidia wants game developers to remember that ray tracing isn't the end of the line. A new Cyberpunk 2077 technology preview ("Overdrive Mode") supports path tracing, the next goalpost to make games look even prettier and keep you buying expensive new GPUs. The two-year-old game joins Minecraft, Portal and Quake II — titles with relatively primitive graphics — in supporting the technology. In addition, Nvidia announced the availability of a developer kit to pave the way for the next generation of bleeding-edge graphics.

While ray tracing follows a single beam of light across a virtual scene, path tracing follows the light as it bounces around an environment, more realistically mimicking how it works in the physical world. It determines how nearby surfaces reflect or absorb the light, producing physically accurate soft shadows that more easily convince our brains that we're viewing a natural, real-life scene. And humans perceiving graphics as more realistic is (naturally) an advancement the gaming industry will pursue without hesitation. Hollywood has used path tracing for decades, but it was a slow and expensive process that couldn't work on consumer gear or in anything close to real-time.

However, we need to keep our expectations in check for the moment: You'll need the most powerful Nvidia RTX 40-series GPUs to enjoy Cyberpunk 2077's path tracing (and those who do may run into performance issues). Still, Nvidia is eager to nudge the industry toward what will be increasingly possible for consumer graphics in the coming years.



Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Framework's Laptop 16 is a modular, upgradable gaming laptop
There have been many attempts to build an upgradable gaming laptop, and all of them have failed. Technology moves on, or the manufacturer stops being able, or willing, to support users who have already bought a machine. The most infamous example must be the A51M, which had swappable GPU modules designed to keep it close to the cutting edge. But Dell killed off the plan to produce new modules for that machine the very next year. It's this arena, littered with high expectations and broken promises that Framework is entering with its first gaming notebook. It's called the Framework Laptop 16 and it could be the standard bearer for a new paradigm in portable computing. No pressure.

The Framework Laptop 16 is the company's second product after its perpetually-upgraded 13-inch notebook. That has earned it plaudits from across the industry, and has given it the confidence to turn its sights toward a far harder group to win over; gamers, creatives and power users. But despite the beefier internals, the machine retains the promise of being an entirely modular, fully-repairable laptop. "It's all of the repairability and upgradeability that exists in the Framework Laptop 13, in a larger, higher-performance form factor," said company founder Nirav Patel. He told me he believes that Framework is now "delivering on the holy grail in high-performance notebooks, which is the ability to upgrade the GPU independently of the rest of the system."

At first blush, it's clear that the Fram

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Framework brings updated Intel and AMD chips to its modular laptop
If there was a question hovering over Framework's much-lauded modular laptop, it was for how long the company would keep supporting it. After all, companies talk a good game about being green and sustainable at launch, only to abandon those plans a year or two later. Now, we're three chip generations deep, and today we're getting new mainboards carrying Intel's 13th generation Core CPUs. Even better, users will soon have the option to ditch Intel in favor of AMD's rival products, both for new machines and to upgrade in all of the models already shipped. It's a remarkable sign of confidence in its platform, and a signal to users that Framework is in this business, with this chassis, for the long haul.

Intel's 13th generation Core CPUs were first announced at CES in January and Framework is rolling them out along with a number of other updates to its laptop. Since it sells (or sold) only one model of laptop, these changes will appear in the product from now on. And these annual updates are designed to address the criticisms that some users have had with the hardware thus far. That includes a new hinge that's been redesigned to be more rigid compared to the ones found in units up until now. And, more importantly, a new, bigger 61Wh battery with a slew of firmware updates that should increase the laptop's runtime by between 20 and 30 percent depending on how intense your workload is.

The focus on addressing user complaints stretches to the display cover, which will now be matte as opposed to glossy. Similarly, Framework will now incorporate the 80dB louder speakers it offered in its Chrome

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Atari buys the game studio behind the 'System Shock' remake
Atari is betting that an acquisition will bolster its classic game library. The company is buying Nightdive Studios, best known for its upcoming System Shock remake, for $10 million in cash and stock. The move will help Atari both expand its catalog and use Nightdive's combination of technology and publishing to boost a "retro-focused" strategy. The deal is expected to close in April.

Apart from the System Shock re-do, Nightdive mainly thrives on the KEX engine it uses to make vintage games run on today's PCs, in some cases with technical improvements. Its modernizations range from well-known hits like Quake and Blade Runner through to cult favorites like Darklands and Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri. Nightdive isn't a large company, having racked up $3 million in revenue last year.

For Atari, this is part of a broader bid to refocus on gaming. The company has tried (and struggled with) multiple unusual ventures in recent years, including crypto, online casinos and even themed hotels. Nightdive lets Atari concentrate on making "premium" PC and console titles without relying solely on retreads of first-party games, and without spending as much time de

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

‘Sonic Origins Plus' brings the hedgehog's Game Gear entries to modern consoles
Sega announced a new expansion today for Sonic Origins, its remastered collection of old-school Sonic the Hedgehog games. Sonic Origins Plus adds 12 classic Game Gear titles and new playable characters.

Sonic Origins Plus adds the entire library of Sonic Game Gear installments, which includes: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic Chaos, Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, Sonic Labyrinth, Sonic Blast, Sonic Drift, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic 2 in 1, Tails Adventure, Tails' Skypatrol, Sonic Spinball. Additionally, the expansion lets you play as Amy Rose (Sonic's hammer-wielding admirer first introduced in Sonic CD) in the first three Sonic games, and you can play as Amy or Tails in Sonic CD.

You'll receive all the content from the Sonic Origins base game, including remastered versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 1, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD (as well as all previously released DLC). In addition, the collection still includes Classic Mode, where you can enjoy the games in their original and unaltered format, and Anniversary Mode, which stretches the aspect ratio to 16:9 and lowers frustration by giving you infinite lives. Finally, a 20-page book of classic art and a reversible coversheet are bundled if you buy a physical copy.

If you own Sonic Origins, the expansion will cost an extra $10. However, if you're new to the collection, you get Sonic Origins Plus — including all the base game's content — for $40, the same price you'll pay now for Sonic Origins alone. The expansion will be available for PlayStation (PS5 / PS4), Xbox (Series X /

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Relativity Space launched its 3D-printed rocket, but failed to reach orbit
Relativity Space has finally launched its 3D-printed rocket after multiple scrubbed attempts, but the results are decidedly mixed. The startup's Terran 1 vehicle successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral late Wednesday, but it failed to reach orbit after the second stage engine ignited only momentarily. It's not clear what led to the failure, but Relativity is promising updates in the "coming days."

The company still characterizes the mission as an accomplishment. Terran 1 endured Max-Q (maximum dynamic pressure), the moment expected to place the most stress on the 3D-printed design. The rocket wasn't carrying a customer payload. Instead, it carried the first metal produced from Relativity's 3D printing system.



Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

The best GPS running watches for 2023
Because I'm the editor of Engadget by day and a volunteer coach in my free time, I often get asked which GPS watch to buy. (People also ask what I'm wearing and the answer is: All of them. I am testing all of them.) For my part, the best running watches are quick to lock in a GPS signal, offer accurate distance and pace tracking, last a long time on a charge, are comfortable to wear and easy to use.

Advanced stats like VO2 Max, or maximum oxygen intake during workouts with increasing intensity, are also nice to have, along with training assessments to keep your workload in check and make sure you're getting in effective aerobic and anaerobic workouts. It's also a plus when a watch supports other sports, like cycling and swimming, which all of these do to varying extents. As for features like smartphone notifications and NFC payments, they're not necessary for most people, especially considering they drive up the asking price.

Without further ado, I bring you capsule reviews of four running watches, each of which I ultimately recommend, none of which is perfect. And keep in mind, when it comes time to make a decision of your own, there are no wrong answers here: I like Apple and Garmin enough, for instance, that I switch back and forth between them in my own training.

The best running watch that's also a smartwatch: Apple Watch

Pros: Stylish design; a great all-around smartwatch you'll want to use even when you're not exercising; automatic workout detection; heart-rate and blood oxygen monitoring; support for lots of third-party health platforms; auto-pause feels faster than on Garmin watches; zippy performance and fast re-charging; optional LTE is nice to have.

Cons: For iPhone users only; shorter battery life than the competition might concern endurance athletes; fewer perform

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook
Chromebooks are designed to be simple and straightforward, but if you're new to Chrome OS, it may not be immediately obvious how to do certain things. One potential source of confusion is figuring out how to take a screenshot, since the keyboards built into most Chromebooks contain keys you won't see on a MacBook or Windows laptop. If you're stuck, don't worry: Capturing your screen is still easy on Chrome OS, and there are multiple ways to do it. Let's break it down.

In most cases, the fastest way to take a screenshot on a Chromebook is to press the Control (Ctrl) and Show Windows keys at the same time. This grabs a shot of your entire screen. The Show Windows key, which is unique to Chromebooks, looks like a rectangle with two lines next to it. It's often located where the F5 key would be on a Windows PC.

GoogleHitting Ctrl Shift Show Windows, meanwhile, opens up the Screen Capture toolbar. This presents a menu with options to capture all of your screen, a specific portion or a single open window. You can also take a video recording of part or all of your screen from here.

Alternatively, you can get to these tools through your Chromebook's Quick Settings menu. To access this, click the clock in the lower right corner of the taskbar - or "shelf," in ChromeOS terms - then click the Screen Capture icon that appears in the resulting menu.

Note that some Chromebooks have a dedicated Screenshot key, marked by

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Audible original productions and podcasts are getting Dolby Atmos support
Audible has teamed with Dolby Laboratories to introduce spatial sound in its library. Called Dolby Atmos on Audible, it's debuting on more than 40 titles including The Little Mermaid, The Sandman Act III and the music-oriented podcast, Maejor Frequency. The move represents another push into narrative audio content for Dolby, as Wondery (also owned by Amazon) started doing Atmos podcasts last year.

The new collection covers multiple genres, including feature-length multi-cast productions, soundscapes, live performances and podcasts. "The Dolby Atmos collection celebrates and expands the possibilities of audio storytelling by highlighting the extraordinary talents of a variety of actors, writers, directors, sound designers and other creators," the companies said in a press release.

Dolby Atmos might seem like overkill for audiobooks, but much as Dolby did for movies, it has the potential to make narrative stories more immersive on good headphones or sound systems. "Through the ability to create more layers of sound and control over the directionality of different audio elements, creators can draw listeners into a deeper, richer, and more

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

The best smart scales for 2023
Data is a useful tool in any battle, especially if you're opting to wage war against your waistline in an attempt to be healthier. Back in 2007, I bought a dirt-cheap scale and drew my own graph sheets in order to chart my weight's downward progress after a rough year at university. I think that while 2007 me wouldn't be pleased with my own fitness journey, he would love the fact that the process is entirely automated, and affordable. Consequently, allow me to take you (and him) on a journey to pick the best smart scale to help you on your own journey toward behavior change.

SafetyThere are valid reasons to weigh yourself, but your self-worth shouldn't be defined by the number that shows up between your feet. If you're looking to alter your body shape, that figure could go up as your waistline goes down, since muscle weighs more than fat. Dr. Anne Swift, Director of public health teaching at the University of Cambridge, said that "weighing yourself too often can result in [you] becoming fixated on small fluctuations day-to-day, rather than the overall trend over time." Swift added that "it's sometimes better to focus on how clothes fit, or how you feel, rather than your weight."

(A meta-analysis from 2016 found there may be some negative psychological impact from self weighing. A 2018 study, however, said that there may be a positive correlation between regular weigh-ins and accelerated weight loss. It can be a minefield, and I'd urge you to take real care of yourself and remember that success won't happen overnight.)

What to look for in a smart scaleWeightA weighing scale that weighs you is probably the top requirement, right? One thing to bear in mind is that, with all these measurements, the figures

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

FTC wants to make it easier for you to cancel subscriptions
You might not have to go to great lengths to cancel subscriptions in the future. The Federal Trade Commission is proposing rule changes that would require providers to make it as easy to cancel subscriptions as it is to sign up, including through the same medium. If it only takes a few clicks to join an online fitness class, for instance, you should have the option to cancel online in just as many steps.

The proposal would also let you decline to hear pitches for additional offers when you want to cancel service. Providers would have to provide annual reminders of renewals for subscriptions to anything besides physical goods, the FTC says. Other rule updates would require clear explanations of what people are getting and bar misleading claims.

The FTC's effort would revise the Negative Option Rule from 1973, and would echo European Union policy on subscriptions. This will ideally prevent companies from either fooling customers into paying for services they don't want or are done using, commission Chair Lina Khan says. It's also meant to prevent the all-too-common tactic of forcing customers to call or visit a store in order to make the cancellation process difficult.

The proposal doesn't outline specific penalties for violations. It's not

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

How and where to buy refurbished tech online
Yes, I'll probably want the iPhone 15 when it comes out. But as I consider a tablet for my six-year-old (so he'll stop stealing mine), I don't think a brand new device is necessary. Both economically and environmentally, refurbished tech might be a better bet if you don't need the latest edition. Sometimes called "renewed," refurbished has no legal definition, but typically refers to an item that's not new but has undergone cleaning and diagnostics tests at the minimum, and includes replacement components when necessary. A refurbished device should operate and perform as if it were a new version of itself, with the only drawbacks being possible cosmetic imperfections.

In addition to being more budget-friendly, buying refurbished keeps electronics out of landfills and cuts down on the overall carbon footprint, since the majority of a device's environmental impact comes from manufacturing. It's also better than recycling

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Lenovo LOQ15 hands-on: Affordable but not cheap
Just a few months ago Lenovoannounced updates to its high-end Legion gaming PCs. But now the company is back to introduce some fresh budget-friendly fare as part of its new "value-oriented" LOQ line. Though they aren't quite as powerful as their more expensive siblings, after checking them out, I like how these new devices don't feel cheap despite their lower prices.

At launch, the LOQ family (pronounced "lock") will consist of either a 15 or 16-inch laptop and a 17L desktop PC. The LOQ 15 and 15i will be the least expensive of the bunch starting at $900 for either an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS or Intel Core i7-13700 chip, while the LOQ 16 and 16i (the "i" denotes an Intel-based config) will go for just a bit more at $960 and $1,150, respectively. Finally, for people who don't need to move their gaming rig around, the LOQ tower will be priced at a reasonable $980.



Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

‘Star Trek: Picard' thinks the kids aren't alright
The following article discusses Star Trek: Picard, Season Three, Episode Six, "The Bounty."

When the Original Series cast made their swansong, they left Star Trek in the rudest health it had ever been in. The Next Generation had reached its creative peak, Deep Space Nine was a year away from starting, and the movie series was making good money. The Undiscovered Country gave fans one last adventure with Kirk and co. that gently highlighted why it was time to move on. By comparison, Nemesis' soft box office meant there would be no grand finale for the TNG crew. DS9 and Voyager were done, and it wouldn't be long before pre-Kirk prequel-series Enterprise would leave our screens. There was quite literally nobody to pick up from where Picard and co. left off as "current day" Trek went into enforced stasis. Now, it feels like 2002 all over again, with the only "current" Trek series, Discovery, canceled and the only other live-action Trek show yet again being a pre-Kirk era prequel. They say that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

This sense of unease about the future permeates "The Bounty," as Star Trek: Picard hints that the next (next) generation aren't up to scratch. Picard, Riker and LaForge are all fathers struggling to deal with the gifts and curses they handed down to their children. The show keeps implying that there's less hope in these kids because they've spent so long in their parents' shadow. S

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Samsung SSDs and memory cards are up to 54 percent off at Amazon
You can grab Samsung SSDs and microSDs at a discount right now from Amazon if you're looking to expand the storage space of your computers, consoles or mobile devices. To start with, Samsung's 1TB T7 Shield portable SSD is down to $80. At 50 percent off retail, it's now available for the lowest price we've seen it sell for on the e-commerce website. We named the non-rugged (or non-Shield) T7 as one of our best SSDs for 2023, and this has similar specs and features. Take note that the beige, blue and black color choices are all on sale, and the

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

The Morning After: TikTok CEO says its owner is 'not an agent of China'
TikTok CEO Shou Chew is preparing to tell lawmakers that banning it will damage the US economy. "Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country," Chew said in written remarks released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee before today's hearing on TikTok. The hearing, Chew's first Congressional appearance, comes when the stakes couldn't be higher for the company.

US officials recently told Bytedance TikTok could be banned in the US if the company doesn't divest itself. Chew detailed the app's safety features, including Project Texas, TikTok's billion-dollar effort to lock down users' data. "Earlier this month, we began the process of deleting historical protected US user data stored in non-Oracle servers; we expect this process to be completed later this year," Chew writes. "Under this structure, there is no way for the Chinese government to access it or compel access to it."

Lawmakers will likely grill Chew in depth about TikTok's ties to ByteDance and China, and whether they can trust the company to protect US users. How will the hearing fare? Congress has a track history of completely misunderstanding the underpinnings of tech companies, whether that's Iowa's Steve King complaining to the head of Google about iPhones, Senator Orrin Hatch not knowing Facebook makes most of its money from advertising or the iconic claim from then-Alaska Senator Ted Stevens that the internet is a series of tubes. Who will embarrass themselves this time?

- Mat Smith

The Morning After isn't just a newsletter - it's also a daily podcast. Get our daily audio briefings, Monday throug

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

WhatsApp on Windows now supports up to eight people in video calls
WhatsApp has rolled out a new desktop client for Windows that brings its calling features up to par with its counterpart for mobile. In an announcement, Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg said the new app enables users to host end-to-end encrypted video calls with up to eight participants. For audio calls, up to 32 people can participate, making it a viable choice for company meetings and family reunions where all the aunts, uncles and extended relatives can join in. WhatsApp says it will increase these limits further to allow for even larger calls in the future. 

In addition to announcing the new client's improved calling features, it also touched upon some of its other recent upgrades. The messenger updated its multi-device capabilities to make it easier and faster to link new devices to user accounts. WhatApp also enabled better syncing so that people can simultaneously access their chats on up to four linked devices. 

The service launched

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Apple Music bug on iOS is reportedly mixing up people's playlists
Apple Music users on iOS are highlighting a fairly serious bug that is causing other people's playlists and songs to appear in their libraries, according to multiple Redditors. On top of that, some users have complained that their own playlists have outright disappeared or been replaced by others, 9to5Mac has reported.

The issue appears to be limited to the iOS Apple Music app and could be caused by an iCloud issue that's syncing up the wrong data between users. Some wrote that disabling iCloud syncing and then re-enabling it has cleared up the issue. That button is located in Settings Apple ID iCloud Show All. 

Apple has seen similar iCloud syncing issues in the past. Shortly after the iPhone 13 was released, some users lost access to their Music libraries if they transferred their data from another phone. And last year, Windows iCloud users complained about corrupt videos and images from other users appearing in their Photo Libraries. Apple has yet to comment on the latest problem, but Engadget has reached out for more information. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-music-bug-on-ios-is-reportedly-mixing-up-peoples-playlists-073003381.html?src=rss

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Huawei's Watch Ultra is a long-lasting rugged smartwatch that looks the part
Huawei may be persona non grata in the US but the company is still pushing out products for the rest of the world. Its latest is the Watch Ultimate, a super-premium wearable for extreme sports types who want a statement piece on their wrist. In the style of a Submariner or Seamaster, the Ultimate has a top right-mounted rotating crown and two pushers, one top left, the other bottom right. Available in blue and black, the cases are clad in an "innovative zirconium-based liquid metal material," which sounds a lot like the LiquidMetal-brand alloy found in a number of modern Omega watches.

You'll get a different strap choice depending on which watch face you opt for, with the more premium blue option getting a titanium alloy band. Select black, and you'll get both a standard length HNBR (rubber) band and a long-length one to wear while scuba diving. It's for this purpose that Huawei is really pushing the Watch Ultimate, saying that it'll last for up to 24 hours at depths of 110 meters. Huawei added a number of extra software features for technical divers, but it's not clear how many deep-diving pros would trade in their mechanical watch for a digital alternative.

Nestled inside the case is a 1.5-inch LTPO AMOLED display with a 466 x 466 resolution and a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits underneath a 2.3mm sapphire glass crystal. It's running Harmony OS, with the same sort of features found in the existing Watch GT series of wearables, with the only major changes being a China-exclusive Golf mode and the aforementioned diving spec

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Meta's VR game publisher is now called 'Oculus Publishing'
Meta's publishing arm for virtual reality games is now officially called Oculus Publishing. It's a completely different division from Oculus Studios, which is the company's label for first-party games. Oculus Publishing will instead support partner developers with conceptualization, funding, technological help, as well as promotion and merchandising. While the name is new, the division itself isn't. It had previously funded and supported over 300 titles, including Among Us VR, Bonelab and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.

The company has also revealed that Oculus Publishing has over 150 titles currently in development, which bodes well for the Quest 3 that's expected to arrive this year. Previous reports suggested that the next-gen Quest will be thinner and more powerful than its predecessor and will have mixed reality capabilities. That could mean that some of these new titles — Meta unfortunately didn't name any of them in its announcement — may have features that weren't possible for older games. 

At the moment, users still have more than 500 titles to choose from in the Meta Quest Store, and they seem to be doing well. Last year, the company said the games and apps on the store had surpassed $1.5 billion in revenue, with 40 titles grossing over $10 million. In addition, the number of titles that had reached $20 million in revenue had doubled year-over-year.



Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

Ableton's Live 11 music production software is 20 percent off
Digital audio workstations (DAWs) are the key to making music or other productions on a computer, and Ableton's Live 11 is one of the most popular apps around. If you've been waiting for a decent discount to pick up the music production suite, now might be the time. The company has slashed the price of all the versions of Ableton Live 11, including upgrades and packs, by 20 percent. The sale runs for a week until March 28th.

The base Live 11 Intro option is down from $99 to $79, offering what you need to get started, including more than 1,500 sounds, 21 audio effects and 11 MIDI effects. For something more full-featured, consider the Live 11 Standard package, now available for $359 instead of $449. The bundle includes unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, as well as unlimited scenes and more than 1,800 sounds.

At the top end is the Live 11 Suite, which is down from $749 to $599. You'll get access to more than 5,000 sounds, along with more audio and MIDI effects and extra software instruments. Current Live users can get 20 percent off upgrades too. In addition, Ableton is offering packs with the Push hardware instrument, letting you save up to $299 with the Live 11 Suite. 

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/abletons-live-11-music-produ

Engadget
Mar 23, 2023

SEC charges Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities for illegally touting crypto
The Securities and Exchange Commission has cracked down on the businesses of crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun and has charged him for the unregistered offer and sale of the tokens Tronix and BitTorrent. If those tokens sound familiar even to non-hardcore crypto enthusiasts, it's because several celebrities had promoted them on social media — and now they're also being charged by the agency. According to the SEC, eight celebrities, including Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, Soulja Boy, Ne-Yo and Akon, illegally promoted the tokens online without disclosing that they were paid to do so. 

"...Sun paid celebrities with millions of social media followers to tout the unregistered offerings, while specifically directing that they not disclose their compensation. This is the very conduct that the federal securities laws were designed to protect against regardless of the labels Sun and others used," Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said in a statement. 

All celebrities charged, with the exception of Soulja Boy and musician Austin Mahone, have agreed to pay a collective amount of $400,000 in penalties to settle the charges. It's not the first time the SEC went after celebrities shilling crypto on social media — it previously charged Kim Kardashian and NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce for posting about EthereumMax's EMAX tokens without revealing that they had been paid for the promotion. Kardashian paid $1.26 million to settle the charges against her, while

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Positive Grid unveils ultra-portable Spark Go enhanced guitar amp
Positive Grid has a new ultra-portable version of its high-tech Spark guitar amplifier. Designed for musicians seeking a versatile and powerful practice amp, the 3.5-inch-tall Spark Go works with a companion app loaded with virtual amps, pedals and other effects — and it can even flesh out your sound with AI-powered drums and other backing instruments.

Like its predecessors, the Spark Go pairs with an iOS / Android app to go far beyond amplifying your strumming and picking; it enhances it digitally. It includes 50,000 tones (ranging from boutique to modern), 33 amps and 43 effects and pedals, giving you plenty of novel ways to shape your sound. The app can even "jam along with you" by listening to and learning from your playing, generating an appropriate backing track. And if you want to learn new tunes, the app can sync with Spotify or Apple Music to display AI-generated chords for the song you're hearing.

Engadget's 2021 review of the Spark Pearl (a larger model in the same line) found the app to have some rough edges — including a less-than-convincing AI drummer. However, the company has had plenty of time to smooth it out, so we'll reserve judgment on the current iteration until we test it again. After all, you may have heard generative AI has made some impressive leaps since then.

The amp has a rugged construction and "extra hardshell gri

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Microsoft's collaborative work app, Loop, is finally available in public preview
It took two years, but Microsoft is at last ready to let everyday users try its latest take on collaborative work. The company is

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Ethernet co-inventor Bob Metcalfe wins the Turing Award, the 'Nobel Prize of computing'
Even if you're not plugging an Ethernet cable into the wall, somewhere along the chain you're still relying on that technology to get online. You've got Bob Metcalfe and the late David Boggs to thank for that. Together at Xerox's renowned Palo Alto Research Institute (better known as Xerox PARC), the pair developed Ethernet and set the stage for a networking revolution. Yesterday, Metcalfe received the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) A.M. Turing Award, which is often pegged the "Nobel Prize of computing."

Thanks to funding from Google, that prize is now worth $1 million, and it's yet another highlight for Metcalfe's storied career. After leaving Xerox PARC, he founded 3com, a networking equipment company that brought Ethernet to the mainstream. "It is dangerous to accept an award for developing Ethernet, which turns 50 on May 22, 2023," Metcalfe told the University of Texas, where he now serves as a professor emeritus. "Over Ethernet's 50 years, hundreds of people have earned some claim of inventorship. Join me in saying to these folks, ‘Thank you.'"

Despite its notoriety as a cable technology, Metcalfe

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Epic will share 40 percent of 'Fortnite' purchase revenue with creators
Epic Games will has a new way to encourage more custom Fortnite islands: promise a steadier stream of cash. The company has launched a Creator Economy 2.0 system that will proportionately hand out 40 percent of net revenue from most real-money purchases to creators, including Epic. If your island is especially popular or keeps people coming back, you'll get a larger cut of Item Shop spending and related transactions.

Until now, Fortnite creators received special codes they had to share with fans if they wanted a five percent slice of purchases. However, that approach only worked if players knew to use the code. That left some creators using heavy-handed tactics to promote the code, such as frequent promotion during livestreams or even designing islands around the concept.

Creators can sign up for Economy 2.0 through a portal. People with existing islands who joins on or before April 21st will be paid for engagement dating back to March 1st. To qualify, individuals only need to be 18 years old and have a Fortnite account at least 90 days old. Companies are also eligible.

The news comes as Epic is introducing a

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

LG's 2023 wireless soundbars available now, starting at $450
We saw both of LG's new soundbars in action at CES earlier this year — and while the company was happy to show off the speakers' wireless connectivity and other features, it wasn't ready to share pricing or availability. Turns out, both the premium-focused LG Sound Bar C (SC9) and the more compact SE6 are available starting today, March 22nd. Which unit is right for you depends not only on what kind of soundscape you're hoping to build, but also on if you already have an compatible LG TV.

The higher-end Sound Bar C sells for $999, and comes with an included subwoofer as well as the LG Synergy Bracket — a soundbar mount designed specifically for LG OLED C Series TVs that bolts the audio directly to the screen, rather than the wall or your TV stand. LG's Wow Interface is exclusive to the SC9, which lets you control the soundbar's settings from a compatible LG TV itself.

At $450, the LG SE6 is less expensive and lacks a dedicated subwoofer, but it still packs Dolby Atmos and many of the higher-end soundbar's key features. Wow Orchestra can sync the sound bar's audio to the TV's internal speakers for a larger soundscape, and LG's Wowcast feature allows both units to wirelessly connect to a TV to avoid visible cable clutter.

Both the SC9 and SE6 are available from LG.com and sele

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

‘Counter-Strike 2' arrives this summer as a free upgrade for 'CS:GO'
The rumors were true: Valve has just taken the wraps off of Counter-Strike 2, announcing a limited beta that is available to select members of the game's community. The studio says the sequel will overhaul every system, piece of content and part of the Counter-Strike experience. As expected, Valve is moving the game to the latest version of its in-house Source 2 engine, leading to a noticeable leap in graphical fidelity.

The game will feature sharper textures, more life-like lighting and additional geometry. Valve says the Counter-Strike 2 team is taking a three-tier approach to level design. "Touchstone" maps like Dust 2 will, for the most part, be left untouched outside of tweaks to their lighting and readability. "Upgrade" maps, meanwhile, will take advantage of Source 2's enhanced lighting pipeline for more realistic-looking materials and reflections. Lastly, Valve plans to fully overhaul a handful of levels, taking advantage of everything its engine has to offer.

The move to Source 2 will also bring with it gameplay enhancements. Starting, most notably, with how smoke grenades function. As Valve explains in a behind-the-scenes video, smoke grenades will now live as volumetric 3D objects within the game world, making them responsive to other gameplay elements and allowing players to momentarily shape sightlines with bullets and explosions.



Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

TikTok CEO to Congress: ‘ByteDance is not an agent of China'
TikTok CEO Shou Chew is preparing to tell lawmakers that there are many "misconceptions" about the app, and that banning it will damage the United States economy. He's also planning to tell members of Congress that concerns about parent company ByteDance, and its ties to China, are unfounded.

"Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country," Chew says in written remarks released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ahead of Thursday's hearing on TikTok. The hearing, which will mark Chew's first Congressional appearance, comes at a moment when the stakes couldn't be higher for the company.

US officials recently told the company that TikTok could be banned in the United States if ByteDance doesn't divest itself from the company. And members of both parties have supported bills that would empower President Joe Biden and others in his administration to ban the app.

Much of Chew's written testimony is similar to arguments TikTok has been making for years. He details the app's safety features, particularly those aimed at teens, as well as

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Apple's Friday Night Baseball returns April 7th, but you'll need a subscription to watch
Apple's Major League Baseball broadcast lineup no longer includes free games for non-subscribers. The company announced today that its "Friday Night Baseball" doubleheaders, which resume on April 7th, now require an Apple TV subscription.

During the 2022 baseball season, anyone could stream the Friday night games on Apple TV without a subscription. However, the company did note at the time that the offer would only be available for a limited time. It was Apple's first foray into live sports after negotiating a seven-year with MLB worth $595 million.

Although the games are now locked behind a subscription, Apple's deal doesn't include blackouts for local teams, a rarity in non-network-TV sports broadcasting. Additionally, it's worth noting that while Apple bills its Friday-night lineups as "doubleheaders," the two games often air simultaneously. The first game on April 7th is an exception, fearing the Texas Rangers vs. Chicago Cubs at 2 PM ET and the San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves at 7 PM ET. You can

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

The evolution of video game controllers: From Telstar to the PS5's DualSense
When looking back at past console generations, the conversation often turns to graphical fidelity. And for good reason. Who could, for example, forget the first time they left the confines of Kokiri Forest for the wide expanse of Hyrule Field in The Ocarina of Time? It was a moment where you felt like you were experiencing the future of gaming.

But as video games have become more complex, so too have the peripherals we use to play them. Over on Engadget's YouTube channel, Senior Producer Brandon Quintana recently took a look back at the evolution of console controllers, tracking their development all the way from the 1970s to the modern day. It's an overview that includes everything from the Coleco Telstar to the PlayStation 5 and its Dual Sense controller. 



This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-evolution-of-video-game-controllers-from-telstar-to-the-ps5s-dualsense-170415428.html?src=rss

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Cable and satellite providers may have to advertise the true price of TV service
Are you tired of TV providers advertising one price, but charging another thanks to hidden fees? You might not have to put up with that practice for much longer. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a requirement that cable and satellite TV services "clearly and prominently" display the true cost of service both in their marketing and on subscriber bills. Companies couldn't mask programming costs as fees that only show up on your bill, hiding them behind vague or potentially misleading terms.

The measure is intended to help would-be customers make truly informed choices about TV subscriptions, including comparisons with streaming services. The move could also help boost competition between providers and help cash-strapped families avoid unpleasant surprises, FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel claims.

The proposal comes months after President Biden called on government agencies to fight "junk fees" and otherwise demand more transparent pricing for services and events. The FCC itself recently said it would require broadband "nutrition labels" that display prices and typical performance. In that light, the TV price transparency effort is mainly an extension that could outline exactly how much you'll pay for a multi-service bill.

The proposal doesn't come at a great time for conventional TV giants. Streaming TV viewership in the US (including live and on-demand)

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

The best DACs for Apple Music Lossless in 2023
The "Apple effect" can be as helpful as it is infuriating. A good technology can exist for years, and many won't care until it gets the Cupertino seal of approval. To that end, a lot of people are about to start caring about "high resolution" audio as the company launched its upgraded music service to the masses.

But as many were quick to point out, some of Apple's own products don't necessarily support the higher sample rate and bit-depths on offer. No worries, there's a dongle for that. (And there are options for Android and the desktop, too.) 

As hinted, it's not just Apple in on the hi-resolution game: Qobuz, Tidal and Deezer have been doing it for a while, and Spotify is planning on introducing its own version soon. The products in this guide will play nice with any of these services, aside from Tidal's MQA, which is a little more specific (and we have options for that as well).

Why do I need new hardware to listen to music?Apple

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Amazon Luna expands to Canada, Germany and the UK
A year after first launching in the US, Amazon Luna is expanding to three new regions. Starting today, the cloud gaming service is available in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. The expansion marks the first Amazon customers outside of the US have had a chance to try Luna. If you're a Prime subscriber, the company offers a handful of complimentary games every month. The March lineup features four games, including Megaman 11 and Trails from Zero.

You can access more of the Luna library by subscribing to bundles Amazon calls "Channels." For instance, the Luna channel comes with games like Control, Street Fighter II and Tetris Effect. Pricing varies by market, but in Canada for example, Luna costs $13 per month.

There's also a Ubisoft channel that comes with access to all of the publisher's most popular games, including Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion and Rainbox Six Extraction. If you already own some of Ubisoft's games on PC, you can play those games on Luna provided you have an Amazon Prime or Luna subscription.

Notably, today's announcement sees Luna expanding to three markets where Stadia was available before it was unceremoniously shut down by Google at the start of the year. Judging by the fact Amazon

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

The best passive bookshelf speakers for most people
Vinyl has been on a resurgence for some time, and the pandemic somehow only accelerated that. It's got many out there looking to upgrade from a cheap Crosley turntable and build out their first HiFi system. Of course, there are multiple pieces that go into building a decent stereo, but perhaps the most important is the speakers. If your speakers don't sound good, it basically doesn't matter what you connect them to.

Active vs. Passive SpeakersThis is understandably the part of their setup that people likely spend the most time researching. And you have to make a number of choices. One of the biggest is: active or passive? Both have their advantages, but for the sake of this guide we're going to focus on passive speakers, which require a separate amplifier.

Active speakers have a built-in amplifier. Usually, the two things are specifically designed to work together, which means you're getting a more faithful version of the manufacturer's aural vision. And since you don't need an external amplifier, active speakers also take up less room. While active speakers are more expensive than passive, the fact that you need to buy an amp to power passive speakers means the savings aren't as great as they might initially seem. The primary benefit of passive is greater flexibility. You can't go out and buy a new high-end amplifier and connect your active speakers to it; you're stuck with what's built in. Also, since active speakers require power, you'll have to make sure they're near an outlet.

Terrence O'Brien / EngadgetWe're also putting a cap on our spending for this guide: a somewhat arbitrary $600. Anything over that and you're starting to get into b

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Nothing's $149 Ear 2 wireless buds have improved connectivity and more customization
Nothing's revealed its second-generation Ear wireless buds. The eye-catching design sticks around and the company has tried to address some of the issues that bedeviled the original, with some much-needed improvements to connectivity and setup. Fortunately, the price of the Nothing Ear 2 is the same as the Ear 1: $149, which undercut a lot of the established true wireless competition.

Nothing hasn't redesigned its buds and case - they look very similar side-by-side - but it's made a handful of incremental changes. Most of them focus on the case, which is smaller and slimmer. The outer part of the case is still transparent, but part of the white structure is now exposed. There's no textured surface, just a soft-touch panel. Nothing claims the see-through plastic is harder to scratch and damage than the original Ear 1. In my pockets and bag, getting shuffled around with keys or other objects has already left a noticeable scratch on the case. I also worry that this exposed panel could get muckier easier - the curse of all white gadgets.

Photo by Mat Smith / EngadgetTackling one the bigger complaints I had with the Ear 1, Nothing moved the microphones and antenna inside the buds to improve connectivity and stability - something it also did with the

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Spotify has reportedly spent less than 10 percent of its Joe Rogan apology fund
Spotify's financial apology for Joe Rogan's comments may not amount to much so far. Bloomberg sources claim the streaming service has spent less than 10 percent of its $100 million Creator Equity Fund, a pool meant to foster diversity in podcasts and music, in its first year of operation. The company reportedly planned to spend the whole fund over three years, but hasn't had a solid structure for approving spending and has been slow to hire staff. Changing priorities have also hurt the project, the insiders say.

Unionized workers at Parcast, a Spotify podcast network, have previously criticized the company over a lack of spending. In February, they complained to management that the company had greenlit just $5,000 out of the $100,000 earmarked for diversity plans. 

Spotify didn't address the funding claims in a statement to Engadget. It instead pointed to projects the fund has supported so far. This includes the LGBTQ music promotion program Glow, marketing campaigns for Black artists like Kaytranada and the recent expansion of the NextGen podcast funding initiative to support development at historically Black colleges and universities. The Creator Equity Fund has also been used to support Latina/Latino creators.

The firm established the fund after the artist-led backlash to Joe Rogan allegedly enabling the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation through his Spotify-exclusi

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Spotify has reportedly spent less than 10 percent of its Joe Rogan apology fund (updated)
Spotify's financial apology for Joe Rogan's comments may not amount to much so far. Bloomberg sources claim the streaming service has spent less than 10 percent of its $100 million Creator Equity Fund, a pool meant to foster diversity in podcasts and music, in its first year of operation. The company reportedly planned to spend the whole fund over three years, but hasn't had a solid structure for approving spending and has been slow to hire staff. Changing priorities have also hurt the project, the insiders say.

Unionized workers at Parcast, a Spotify podcast network, have previously criticized the company over a lack of spending. In February, they complained to management that the company had greenlit just $5,000 out of the $100,000 earmarked for diversity plans. 

Spotify didn't address the funding claims in a statement to Engadget. It instead pointed to projects the fund has supported so far. This includes the LGBTQ music promotion program Glow, marketing campaigns for Black artists like Kaytranada and the recent expansion of the NextGen podcast funding initiative to support development at historically Black colleges and universities. The Creator Equity Fund has also been used to support Latina/Latino creators.

The firm established the fund after the artist-led backlash to Joe Rogan allegedly enabling the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation through his Spotify-exclusi

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

The Tripod Desk Pro is a portable standing desk that upgraded my WFH setup
At Engadget, we've covered plenty of standing desks and peripherals that have changed up our work-from-home setups, but everyone's use case (and living arrangements) differ. Until now, I've struggled to find a standing desk that balances versatility and compactness.

I live in a small, one-bedroom apartment in London, usually working on a dining table instead of a work desk. I don't use a second screen (I know I should) as I prefer to take my work computer to a coffee shop or across London without losing utility. I do have a wireless keyboard and trackpad, which I usually break out during hectic writing deadlines. But, beyond an IKEA laptop shelf, I've never found a standing desk to which I'd be willing to dedicate a corner of my home. I also didn't want to be reminded of work while relaxing on a Saturday morning.

But Intension's tripod standing desk, with a collapsible design and adjustable height, might be the solution. There are several ‘portable' standing desks, but Intension's ‘pro' model, with particularly industrial legs and an optional wheel add-on, ticked many boxes. The desk surface can be fixed between 28 and 53 inches, making it a suitable work surface for most people.

The tripod setup offers more versatility than typical standing desks, as you can set it up at knee height and use it for board games or puzzles. (People still do puzzles, okay?) The desk can also be angled and fixed if you prefer to type or write at an incline, too. Along one edge, there are two ‘laptop stops' to keep your laptop on the desk surface, even when tilted.

The wheels (an optional add-on) add even more freedom: I can roll the desk into my bedroom if I'm taking con

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Amazon's refreshed Fire TV Omni QLED lineup includes cheaper, smaller models
Amazon is once again refreshing its Fire TV sets, but the focus now is less on whiz-bang features and more on where those sets will fit. The 4K-capable Fire TV Omni QLED line now comes in smaller 43-, 50- and 55-inch models. These TVs start at a lower $450 but still offer up to 96-zone local dimming as well as HDR using Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10 Adaptive. To no one's surprise, you can expect far-field microphones for Alexa control as well as promises of an upgraded Ambient Experience (always-on art similar to Samsung's The Frame) with "dynamic" pieces that respond to conditions like the time and weather. That update comes later in the year.

There's also a new Fire TV 2 range (pictured below) aimed squarely at viewers looking for a small bedroom set. The 32-inch 720p and 40-inch 1080p variants aren't based on QLED, require using a remote for Alexa and are limited to HDR based on HDR10 and HLG. However, the price might hit the sweet spot — the 32-inch panel costs $200.



Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Redfall hands-on: A creepy and creative twist on the modern looter shooter
It seems like every major developer is working on an open-world shooter with co-op and RPG elements. But with Redfall, by drawing inspiration from a number of its previous titles, alongside other standouts in the genre, Arkane Studios has added fun new twists to the typical fps survival game. After getting a chance to go hands-on with a preview build of the game, I'm really excited to see more of how Arkane is adding its own flavor to that formula.

Set in the fictional island town of Redfall, Massachusetts, your goal is to cleanse the land of the growing vampire invasion. However, these aren't your standard bloodsucking ghouls. Instead of ancient monsters, these vampires are the result of a science experiment gone wrong. This gives high-ranking vampires powerful psionic abilities that elevate them to near god-like status, which they've used to convert some of the surviving townsfolk into a cult. But more importantly, the mashup of sci-fi and supernatural in a contemporary setting has some really neat impacts on gameplay as well.

That's because, in addition to your standard range of pistols, shotguns and sniper rifles, you'll have to rely on updated interpretations of iconic vampire killing weapons too, especially since bullets only weaken vampires before you properly finish them off. So alongside your trusty stake, you'll also have access to things like stake launchers, flare guns and even a high-powered UV beam rifle which adds a new dimension to typical gunplay. On top of that, as a looter shooter, there's a variety of weapon rarities (from standard to unrivaled) with bonus traits like being able to reload faster or having increased accuracy while moving. And if you're a fan of a p

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Amazon's palm-reading tech is being tested in Panera cafes
Amazon One's palm-reading technology that can substitute for credit cards and tickets is now available for Panera customers. With this new partnership, the fast casual chain becomes the first national restaurant to let diners use their palm for payments and loyalty points. 

To purchase food, customers will first need to link their MyPanera membership with an Amazon One account. This removes the need to hand over a phone number at the checkout, which traditionally provided the server with available rewards. Palm scans can be used to access loyalty rewards, for payment, or for both.

One of the reasons Panera is excited about the prospect of introducing Amazon One in stores is the ability to get to know its customers better. The company claims that being able to identify customers at the checkout will allow servers to recognize names and also their favorite orders, turning "the guest experience into a true and meaningful relationship." Yes, next time you want a "You pick two" you're going to have to make a friend first. Good luck.

Amazon One launched in 2020 and has since expanded into a slew of Whole Foods stores (owned by Amazon) and concert venues. Artists and activists pushed back about the planned move into sports and music events, claiming the technology could provide personal data to government agencies. 

As well as announcing the new partnership, Amazon also confirmed it's now allowing customers to pre-enroll in Amazon One. Panera says A

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Windows 11 security flaw exposes cropped-out screenshot data
It's not just Android phones that are vulnerable to a screenshot security flaw. Developer Chris Blume has discovered that Windows 11's Snipping Tool falls prey to a similar exploit. The utility doesn't completely erase unused PNG image data, making it possible to recover some of the cropped-out picture and potentially obtain sensitive data. As BleepingComputerverified with researcher David Buchanan, you can extract the supposedly hidden info using a slightly modified version of the script used to demonstrate the Android vulnerability.

The issue doesn't affect some PNG files, including optimized images. You can also wipe the unused data by saving the cropped picture as another file in an image editing tool. JPEG files also leave data from the original screenshot, but the exploit isn't known to work with the format at this stage.


Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

How to find and cancel your unused subscriptions
Paying a monthly fee for something you never use makes zero financial sense. But subscription overload is real, with dozens of streaming, gaming, dating and even hot-sauce delivery services lining up to take a monthly cut of your paycheck. While it's tough to keep track of everything you signed up for - especially the ones you don't use - we've come up with a few tricks to help thin the ranks of your recurring charges. We included a list of common subscriptions you may have forgotten about, as well as instructions on how to cancel a few of the most unwanted. And for those who could use a little cancellation help, we tested a couple of finance apps that track and nix stuff on your behalf.

First things first: Find out what subscriptions you haveBefore putting this post together, I had no idea how many subscriptions I was paying for. Surprises included a coding game for my kid (that he no longer plays) and a British streaming app I'd gotten for one show (that I finished nearly a year ago). You, too, may not know what subscriptions are quietly subtracting dollars from your accounts. One of the most comprehensive ways to see what you're paying for is to look at your bank and credit card transactions, performing a search for every transaction in the previous full month. It may be a lot to scroll through, but each monthly subscription will appear at least once in that time frame.

Another approach is to search for welcome and thank you emails, since most services send out an initial message confirming your new subscription. Using the advanced search function in your email, enter the words "welcome" or "thank you" in the subject field, and variations on the words "annual" "subscribing" and "membership" in the general or keyword search fields. You should get a decent idea of the things you've signed up for, but may have to wade through lots of promoti

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Tesla's Wireless Charging Platform is well-made and exorbitant
It kind of makes sense that Tesla would make wireless chargers. After all, when you think of the company, you think electric vehicles and their Superchargers (at least, after you force the image of Elon Musk out of your mind). But wireless charging is a slightly different beast that requires understanding of magnetic fields and expertise in power transfer technologies. That's where Freepower, formerly known as Aira, comes in. Founder Jake Slatnick started the company in 2017 and told Engadget that it has spent the last five and a half years developing a "much more advanced form of Qi," the industry-wide standard for wireless charging.

As a "technology supplier" according to Slatnick, Freepower doesn't typically make products for consumers, besides the Base Station chargers it made in collaboration with Nomad Goods. When the Pro model launched in 2019, it was considered an enticing alternative to Apple's canceled AirPower charging mat. Both promised to deliver power to up to three devices without you having to carefully align them to the charging coils. But the Base Station series is no longer supported and had compatibility issues that affected its charging speeds.

In December last year, Tesla and Freepower announced the Wireless Charging Platform, and it might be a spiritual successor to the Base Station Pro. Like many of the car maker's other products, though, it's almost ludicrously expensive. At $300, Tesla's offering is twice the cost of the priciest item on our roundup of the best multi-device wireless chargers. Still, diehard

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Nreal Air AR glasses will soon support Windows
Windows support is coming to Nreal Air AR glasses. The company announced Nebula for Windows, which lets you view your PC on the virtual equivalent of an ultra-wide monitor.

Nreal says gaming is the top use for its glasses, which connect to an external device to show content on a private virtual screen. The company cites a recent survey showing that 68 percent of Nreal Air owners use the glasses for gaming, making Windows support a top priority.

The company says Windows users will enjoy a virtual curved gaming monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Nreal suggests the setup is particularly ideal for fans of cockpit games where a wide field of view is advantageous. In addition, Nebula for Windows will support three degrees of freedom (3-DoF), meaning it follows your head movements and rotations but not leaning or moving through space.

NrealNreal hasn't yet announced an exact release date, but it will show off the Windows support at GDC 2023 in San Francisco this week. It will also showcase "next-gen casual AR games for mobile" there as the company looks to spark more Android gaming development for the popular wearable.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nreal-air-ar-glasses-will-soon-support-windows-120041674.html?src=rss

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

WhatsApp group admins can now approve who joins their communities
WhatsApp has announced two new features for group chats and communities. The first is a privacy update, allowing admins to decide whether a person can get access to the group or not. Previously, anyone could join using an invite link provided by any member. Typically, banners within the chat indicating a new person has entered the group are small and can easily disappear from view after a few messages. This shift can ensure conversations and information is shared with those who it's intended to be. 

The other update focuses on connecting with other people in your Communities. Last year, WhatsApp created Communities to allow multiple groups to exist under one umbrella. Now, the messaging platform is making it easier to find out which groups you have in common. The group names will appear when you search under a specific contact's name.

This announcement comes on the heels of a few new WhatsApp updates. The most recent one allows users to schedule when they will leave a WhatsApp group chat. This feature is still in beta testing, but would mean a big clear out of your conversation history. Other recent additions include picture-in-picture support for iOS video calls and voice notes as status updates. 

Thee two new features should be available worldwid

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Opera adds ChatGPT and AI prompts into its browser
In February, Opera shared plans to integrate generative AI capabilities into its web browser using ChatGPT. Now, the independent browser maker has launched sidebar integration for both ChatGPT and ChatSonic and has introduced another feature called smart AI Prompts. To get these features, you'll need to update your browser and then go to Easy Setup to toggle on the "AI Prompts" option at the bottom. For the Opera GX browser for games, you also need to have the Early Bird option enabled in your browser settings. 

Once the option is switched on, you'll see buttons for the chatbots on your sidebar, which you can click if you want to launch them within the browser. Take note that you'll still need to log in to be able to use either. You can also launch the chatbots by using the browser's new contextual AI Prompts that show up when you highlight text on a website. 

The prompts suggest different ways you can use the chatbots with the text on page, such as turning a chunk of text into a soap opera or a football commentary and using information to create quiz questions. (I turned our post about the new quests feature for Horizon Worlds VR into a soap opera, and let's just say it wouldn't feel out of place in Dynasty or Riverdale.) Green prompts use ChatGPT, while purple prompts use ChatSonic's service.

Opera says these are merely parts of the first stage of its Browser AI plan and that the features launching with the second stage will be based on its own GPT-based browser AI engine. A lot of tech companies are rushing

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

The Morning After: Google expands access to its AI chatbot, Bard
Google Bard is the company's answer to ChatGPT: an AI chatbot using LaMDA, the company's in-development language model. We've been testing it, and what's immediately clear are all the company's warnings, whether it's the experiment label or the regular reminders that Bard "will not always get it right." Even the example entries, when you boot up Bard, include what the chatbot can't do.

The big difference between Google and Bing's integration is the alternative responses that Bard throws up alongside the conversation. You can click the dropdown arrow next to "View other drafts" at the top left of each chat bubble to see some other suggestions. Unlike Bing, Google's chatbot doesn't always cite its sources, which I think could be a major point as these chatbots creep into our daily internet lives. They're still prone to mistakes, and I want to know where these bots get their answers from. Also, be careful what you're searching for. Google notes these early rounds of testing will inform Bard's direction, so we'd advise not using private information. Another reason to be cautious? A bug in ChatGPT accidentally revealed user chat histories yesterday.

The rollout of Bard seems to be happening pretty quickly, so if you're in the US or the UK, you should get access a few hours after applying.

- Mat Smith

The Morning After isn't just a newsletter - it's also a daily podcast. Get our daily audio briefings, Monday through Frid

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Ubisoft's new 'Ghostwriter' AI tool can automatically generate video game dialogue
A good open world game is filled with little details that add to a player's sense of immersion. One of the key elements is the presence of background chatter. Each piece of dialog you hear is known as a "bark" and must be individually written by the game's creators — a time consuming, detailed task. Ubisoft, maker of popular open world gaming series like Assassin's Creed and Watch Dogs, hopes to shorten this process with Ghostwriter, a machine learning tool that generates first drafts of barks. 

To use Ghostwriter, narrative writers input the character and type of interaction they are looking to create. The tool then produces variations, each with two slightly different options, for writers to review. As the writers make edits to the drafts, Ghostwriter updates, ideally producing more tailored options moving forward.

The idea here is to save game writers time to focus on the big stuff. "Ghostwriter was created hand-in-hand with narrative teams to help them complete a repetitive task more quickly and effectively, giving them more time and freedom to work on games' narrative, characters, and cutscenes," Ubisoft states in a video release.  

Ubisoft touts Ghostwriter as an "AI" tool — the bi

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Meta 'quests' give you more to do in its Horizon Worlds VR social network
To have any hope of making its Horizon Worlds VR social network catch on, Meta has to give potential users a reason to go (and stay) there. Its latest attempt to do that is something called "quests" that lets users complete in-game missions to earn (virtual) swag like clothing, the company announced in an update spotted by The Verge. 

The feature (which doesn't appear related to the Quest headset branding) is in beta testing via a game called

Engadget
Mar 22, 2023

Instagram is putting ads in search results
You may soon see ads on Instagram in places you didn't in the past. The Meta-owned app has started testing a couple of new ad placements meant to give businesses more ways to get discovered. One of those experimental placements puts ads in its search results. When you search for a particular term on the app — say "makeup" — posts marked "sponsored" will show up in the feed you can scroll through when you tap on any of the actual results. In its announcement, Instagram said it plans to roll out the placement globally in the coming months.

In addition, the app has teamed up with certain brands to test a format that would give businesses the power to remind or notify you of future events or launches. When you opt into the app's "reminder ads" for a particular event, you'll get notifications from Instagram one day before, 15 minutes before and when the event begins. These reminders will appear like any other Instagram notification and will show up on your lock screen. 



InstagramAds are Meta's lifeblood, and the introduction of new ways to earn from them comes as no surprise after a year that saw the company's quarterly revenue shrink for the first time. For the fourth quarter of 2022, for instance, the company

Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

LG made a 49-inch HDR monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate
LG is once again expanding its UltraGear line of gaming monitors with a new model. Before you ask: No, the company's latest is not a new OLED screen. But it is interesting for a few reasons. LG is marketing the 49GR85DC-B as a fast ultrawide with class-leading HDR capabilities.

The monitor features a 49-inch VA panel with a 32:9 aspect ratio, 5,120 by 1,440 resolution, 98.5 percent DCI-P3 coverage and an aggressive 1000R curve. It also features a 240Hz refresh rate, a claimed 1ms pixel response time and AMD FreeSync Premium. To top it all off, LG says the 49GR85DC-B is DisplayHDR 1000 certified, suggesting the panel is capable of peaking at an eye-searing 1000 nits of brightness and features some amount of local dimming.

At first glance, it's a spec list that should make the 49GR85DC-B a homerun for ultrawide gaming fans, but there are a few things to note that may not make it as appealing as it seems. First, there's the price. LG is asking $1,300 for the 49GR85DC-B. In 2023, that's a lot for an LCD. Additionally, in my experience, VA panels are never a

Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

A TikTok ban is a lot more complicated than just shutting down the app
Disentangling ourselves from TikTok is more complicated than simply banning the app, just ask the state of Maryland. According to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, it's one of several states that used TikTok's tracking pixel on a government website despite a statewide ban barring TikTok-related software from official devices and networks.

According to the report, Maryland was one of 27 states that had code for TikTok's tracking pixel embedded in an official government website. While these types of tools are extremely common — tracking pixels help online advertisers target their ads — their use has also been widely criticized by privacy advocates.

In Maryland's case, the TikTok pixels were reportedly found on a state-run COVID website and were related to an ad campaign from last year. Likewise, TikTok's pixel was also found on a website run by Utah's Department of Workforce Services, which told

Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

Roblox launches its first generative AI game creation tools
Last month, Roblox outlined its vision for AI-assisted content creation, imagining a future where Generative AI could help users create code, 3D models and more with little more than text prompts. Now, it's taking its first steps toward allowing "every user on Roblox to be a creator" by launching its first AI tools: Code Assist and Material Generator, both in beta. 

Although neither tool is anywhere close to generating a playable Roblox experience from a text description, Head of Roblox Studio Stef Corazzatold an audience at GDC 2023 that they can "help automate basic coding tasks so you can focus on creative work." For now, that means being able to generate useful code snippets and object textures based on short prompts. Roblox's announcement for the tools offers a few examples, generating realistic textures for a "bright red rock canyon" and "stained glass," or producing several lines of functional code that will that make certain objects change color and self-destruct after a player interacts with them. 

Both of those functions might sound familiar to you if you've experimented AI chatbots — GPT-3 can already create functional code snippets based on prompts.  



Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

Google Bard AI hands-on: A work in progress with plenty of caveats
Google has made Bard more widely available to users in the US and the UK today, and I have been spending some time with the company's chatbot to see how its generative AI compares to ChatGPT and Bing AI. 

Like we saw in the screenshots Google provided with today's announcement, the interface here is very similar to Bing AI in that there is a wide text input at the bottom of the screen and a dialogue-based layout. But there are a few key differences between Google's and Microsoft's offerings. 

With Bing AI, you'll have to either hit Chat or scroll up from search results to get to the conversation page, whereas you don't have to do that for the Bard website. Microsoft has a broom icon to the left of the input bar to clear the slate and start a new topic, while Google has a column on the left with options for "Reset chat," "Bard Activity," "FAQ and "Help & Support." 

It's also worth noting the language Google painstakingly uses here. Once I navigated to the website, I was greeted with an alert reminding me that "Bard is an experiment." It asks users to remember two things: "Bard will not always get it right," and that "Bard will get better with your feedback."

Even after you click "Got it" and that reminder goes away, there's a line of fine print below the input field that states "Bard may display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn't represent Google's views." After the embarrassing blunders Bard has already made so far, it's understandable (and mildly funny) to see all these disclaimers. 



Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

The best immersion blenders you can buy in 2023
Back in the 80s and 90s, immersion blenders were often restricted to high-end restaurants and the kitchens of nerdy home cooks. But thanks to improvements in tech, these types of blenders (also known as hand or stick blenders) have become powerful and affordable general-purpose cooking gadgets - especially for people who might not have the space for a traditional countertop model. Unfortunately picking the best immersion blender can get a bit confusing, so here's a guide covering the important things you need to consider, along with our favorite devices across a handful of categories.

Which device is right for you?Before you even think about buying a new kitchen gadget, it's important to figure out how you're going to use it and where it fits in with any appliances you already own. In an ideal world, everyone would have a dedicated food processor, countertop blender and a stand mixer. But the reality is that many people don't have the room or the budget.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget While immersion blenders and traditional countertop models have a lot of overlap, there are strengths and weaknesses to both. For example, if you're looking to make smoothies every day, a countertop blender might be a better choice. The bigger pitchers make it easier to blend drinks for multiple people at once, while larger motors will make short work of ice and frozen fruit. Additionally, more expensive options like those from Vitamix or Robocoupe can even cook soup during the blending process using the heat generated from the blender's

Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

NVIDIA unveils AI Foundations, its customizable Gen-AI cloud service
The age of enterprise AI has come crashing down upon us in recent months. Public infatuation with ChatGPT since its release last November has opened the floodgates of corporate interest and set off an industry-wide land grab with every major tech entity vying to stake their claim in this burgeoning market by incorporating generative AI features into their existing products. Heavyweights including Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Baidu are already jockeying their Large Language Models (LLMs) for market dominance, while everybody else, from Adobe and AT&T to BMW and BYD, scrambles to find uses for the revolutionary technology.  

NVIDIA's newest cloud services offering, AI Foundations, will allow businesses lacking the time and money to develop their own models from scratch to "to build, refine and operate custom large language models and generative AI models that are trained with their own proprietary data and created for their unique domain-specific tasks."   

These models include NeMo, NVIDIA's text-to-image generation engine and DALL-E 2 competitor; BioNemo, a drug and molecule discovery-focused fork of the NeMo model built for the medical research community; and Picasso, an AI capable of generating images, video and "3D applications… to supercharge productivity for creativity,

Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

NVIDIA's big AI moment is here
When NVIDIA's founder and CEO Jensen Huang waxed poetic about artificial intelligence in the past, it mostly felt like marketing bluster — the sort of lofty rhetoric we've come to expect from an executive with a never-ending supply of leather jackets. But this year, following the hype around OpenAI's ChatGPT, Microsoft's revamped Bing and a slew of other competitors, NVIDIA's AI push finally seems to be leading somewhere.

The company's GTC (GPU Technology Conference) has always been a platform to promote its hardware for the AI world. Now it's practically a celebration of how well-positioned NVIDIA is to take advantage of this moment. 

"We are at the iPhone moment for AI," Huang said during his GTC keynote this morning. He was quick to point out NVIDIA's role at the start of this AI wave: he personally brought a DGX AI supercomputer to OpenAI in 2016, hardware that was ultimately used to build ChatGPT. We've seen the DGX systems evolve over the years, but it's remained out of reach for many companies (the DGX A100 sold for $200,000 in 2020, which was half the price of its predecessor!). So what about everyone else?

That's where NVIDIA's new DGX Cloud comes in, an (obviously) online way to tap into the power of its AI supercomputers. Starting at a mere $36,999 a month for a single node, its meant to be a more flexible way for companies to scale up their AI needs. DGX Cloud can als

Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

Microsoft brings DALL-E's AI image generation to Bing and Edge
Microsoft's Bing AI chat can already be helpful for finding answers, but now it can help you produce fanciful pictures. The company has introduced a Bing Image Creator preview that adds OpenAI's DALL-E AI image generation to both Bing search and a sidebar in the Edge browser. You just have to ask the chatbot to create an image with either a direct description or a follow-up to a previous query. If you're wondering how to revamp your living room, you can ask Bing to draw some ideas based on your criteria.

Yes, Microsoft is aware of the potential for things to go awry. The company says it's applying "additional protections" beyond OpenAI's own. It will block you from creating potentially "harmful" images, the firm says. Microsoft also explicitly clarifies that images are AI-generated, including through watermarks.

Image Creator is available to a selection of Bing desktop and mobile users in preview and through a dedicated site. Edge users have access as well If you're part of the test group, you'll have to toggle the Creative mode to give the generator a try. Microsoft plans to bring the creative tool to Balanced and Precise mode users in the future, though, and plans to fine-tune the system's behavior in multi-step chats. While the technology only supports English, more languages are in the works.



Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

NVIDIA and Medtronic are building an AI-enhanced endoscopy tool
NVIDIA is deepening its efforts to fight cancer using AI. The GPU maker is teaming with Medtronic to build AI into the GI Genius endoscopy tool (shown below). The two will use NVIDIA's IGX hardware and Holoscan medical platform to help detect the polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer. Doctors will get "AI-enhanced" diagnostic images, the companies say.

The first GI Genius systems built with NVIDIA tech are expected to arrive later this year. The device can use a range of AI tools, and Medtronic is betting that using NVIDIA's Clara platform could help develop algorithms for real-time medical procedures.

MedtronicThe news comes the same time as NVIDIA is expanding its BioNeMo Cloud service that helps bring generative AI to drug discovery. The new offering helps train AI models (and handle inference) used to develop new therapeutic proteins and otherwise advance fields like biology and chemistry. Researchers can speed up one of the most time-consuming processes in their pipeline, NVIDIA claims.

The news comes soon after Google unveiled AI technology for cancer therapy and ultrasound diagnosis. Other tech giants have devoted more of their AI work to healthcare in recent years. Intel partnered with Penn Medicine on AI to

Engadget
Mar 21, 2023

Where to sell your used and unwanted gadgets
Every year means new iterations of your favorite phones from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google, so you might be tempted to upgrade to your handset. But with some new phones costing over $1,000, keeping up with the latest and greatest can really take a toll on your wallet. So why not offset the cost by putting your old device up for sale? If you're wondering which trade-in service will yield you the biggest bang for your buck, and how easy it will be, we have answers to those questions (and more). We've rounded up some of the leading contenders for offloading your old electronics. It's not just phones, either — perhaps you have an old laptop that isn't quite cutting it anymore, or maybe you've got some other stuff sitting in the closet collecting dust.

Trade-in sitesIf you're looking for the littlest hassle and want your money as soon as possible, there are plenty of sites that will automate the trade-in process. You'll select your device from a list, get a quote within minutes and send the device back for cash in a matter of days.

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