After a long run of teasing the RGB-lit Zephyr mask, Razer is finally ready to sell it to die-hard fans — or possibly cosplayers. The Zephyr costs $100 or there’s a $150 Starter Pack with three replacement filter kits. Alas, the Starter Pack is already listed as "out of stock," and the mask by itself is still "coming soon."
Yes, you can customize the lighting through a companion app, but the highlight is a dual-fan active air filtration system with N95 filters — something I’d never thought I’d be writing about a Razer device.
Microsoft’s dual-screen ambitions continue to struggle. Upgraded hardware and a new Glance Bar don’t mean much when the Duo 2 is still plagued with inconsistent, finicky software. The new triple-camera array is held back by an atrocious camera app, and thermal issues cause the device to hang. All of this will cost you $1,500.
Yes, Sony is finally releasing an Uncharted movie after trying to make one for over a decade. Sony Pictures included a handy reminder at the end of the trailer about of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy that's coming to PlayStation 5 and PC in early 2022.
Gaming chairs have proliferated over the past few years, and until now, they’ve tended to be overpriced and visually unappealing. Think: lurid colors, Bond villain lair aesthetics and giant drink holders. As Buyer's Guide Editor Kris Naudus puts it, Razer’s new Enki chair is still a bit over the top, but at least it’s a more affordable kind of over the top.
It costs $100 for six months, double the current premium tier price.
NVIDIA has unveiled its next-generation cloud gaming platform called GeForce Now RTX 3080 with "desktop-class latency" and 1440p gaming at up to 120 fps on PC or Mac. The service is powered by a new gaming supercomputer called the GeForce Now SuperPod and, at $200 for a year, costs double the price of the existing Priority tier, which recently doubled to $100.
It promises 'flagship-class' image quality and AI-powered AF.
Sony has finally revealed its mainstream $2,500 Alpha A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera, and it looks to have been worth the wait. Borrowing technology from the recent A1 and A7S III models, it has some substantial improvements over the A7 III introduced well over three years ago. There’s an all-new 33-megapixel sensor, 4K 10-bit 60 fps video, new AI autofocus tricks and a lot more, including some new live streaming and sharing features, though they're not quite up to the level we've seen on other recent cameras. You can do video and audio streaming over USB-C at up to 1080p 60 or 4K 15p if resolution is a priority over smooth video.
The A7 IV is clearly a massive leap forward for Sony's "basic" full-frame mirrorless camera series, putting it on par — or ahead of — most rivals. The only deterrent is the $2,500 price tag ($2,699 with a kit lens), which is $500 more than the A7 III cost at launch.
We help you narrow down the multitude of choices available.
With the pandemic still upon us and Work From Home directives continuing, a monitor is one of the most important computer buying decisions you can make. Luckily, there’s never been more choice, and we’ve seen vast improvements in color accuracy, size and resolution since our last update. Steve Dent is here to help with your buying decision. Do you need HDR, and if so, how bright should your monitor be? What size do you need? Let’s dive in.
Amazon's deal of the day is all about Samsung today, with products on sale ranging from laptops to Galaxy S smartphones to storage. That includes a 30 percent discount on Samsung's thin and pretty 13.3-inch Galaxy Book Pro laptop with an OLED display (on sale for $840), the Galaxy S21 Plus smartphone at $750 ($250 off), and the Galaxy Watch 4 priced at $220 — $90 off the regular $310 price.
Some of the best deals are on Samsung's laptops. The Galaxy Book Pro stands out not just because it's pretty, thin and light but because of that gorgeous AMOLED display. The 13.3-inch model in "Mystic Blue" is the standout deal, priced at just $840 for a savings of $360 (30 percent). It weighs in at just 1.92 pounds, offering an Intel 11th-gen Core-i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and 21 hours of battery life.
Another great option that's far more on the budget side is Samsung's 11.6-inch Galaxy Chromebook 4, available for $179 or 28 percent off. It comes with 64GB of storage, 4GB RAM, Gigabit WiFi, Chrome OS and an HD Intel Celeron Processor N4000.
As for smartphones, the deals are focusing on Samsung's high-end Galaxy S21 models. First up is the Galaxy S21 Plus that comes with a big 6.7-inch Full HD+ display and variable refresh rate up to 120Hz. It's just as capable under the hood, with a Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 8K video and 5G capability. The regular price for that model is a cool $1,000, but you can get one today in Phantom Violet or Phantom Silver for $750, a 25 percent savings.
If you want the very best Galaxy device, that would be the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The camera in particular is more capable, with a 108-megapixel sensor and Samsung's 100X "Space Zoom," along with 8K video and other features. It's got a larger, higher-resolution 3,200 x 1,440 display, a bigger battery, and more RAM and storage (12GB and 256GB, respectively). Normally priced at $1,200, that model is available at $950 in Phantom Black or Phantom Silver, 21 percent off the normal price.
Next up is watches and wireless earphones. We found Samsung's latest Galaxy Watch 4 model to be the best Android watch you can get, in part because it's using a new version of Wear OS built in collaboration with Google. It looks nice, offers comprehensive health tracking, has a bright and crisp screen, supports more third-party features and offers Samsung's touch-sensitive rotating bezel. Amazon's $220 sale price is not only the cheapest we've seen, but you get a free wireless charger, to boot.
In our Engadget review, we said that Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro were its best earbuds yet, thanks to the comfy fit, good sound quality and wireless charging capability, with the main drawbacks being mediocre battery life and the lack of an iOS app. Amazon's selling them today for $140, which isn't quite the lowest price we've seen, but still a good 30 percent off. If you're willing to risk it, you could hold out for possibly a better Black Friday deal in about a month.
Finally, if you're looking for storage, Samsung has you covered there, too. Samsung's T7 portable SSDs are popular for their relative portability and incredible USB 3.2 Gen2 write/read speeds of around 1,000 MB/s/1,050 MB/s — ideal for video editing and fast storage transfers. The T7 portable 1TB model is a particularly good deal, priced at $130 instead of $170 for a savings of 24 percent.
And if you need a smartphone storage bump without compromising performance, Samsung's EVO Select microSDXC UHS-I cards deliver 100MB/s, allowing fast photo transfers and video capture. The Samsung 512GB EVO Select model is now on sale for $55, for a savings of 21 percent.
American tech heavyweights are facing yet more scrutiny of their payment practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal and Square to hand over info concerning their payment system plans. The bureau wants to learn how these companies harvest data and control access to spot any anti-consumer behavior and provide "adequate" protections to the public.
Director Rohit Chopra justified the order by warning that payments can pose a threat to the fair market thanks to their "tremendous scale and market power." He pointed to China as an example, noting that systems like Alipay and WeChat Pay are so thoroughly integrated with Chinese society that residents are effectively forced to use them as-is.
There's no certainty the CFPB orders will lead to regulatory action. However, they come right as politicians are trying to rein in Apple, Google and others for allegedly abusing app store payments. The Biden administration as a whole is also determined to crack down on tech companies. There's a chance CFPB will take corrective measures, even as those companies lower fees and otherwise try to make peace offerings.
The real world just felt too small when I stepped out of Denis Villeneuve's Dune. There weren't any enormous spaceships ready to rocket off to planets in distant galaxies. No Brutalist palaces amid endless desert vistas. No building-sized sandworms roaming about, eager to devour anyone who disturbed them. Just me and traffic on Atlanta's I-285.
This latest Dune adaptation isn't perfect — it's at times emotionally empty, and it's basically set up for a second movie we may never see — but it successfully transported me to the universe Frank Herbert created over half a century ago. The film focuses on half of the novel, telling the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a sheltered baron's son who moves to the desert planet of Arrakis. It's an important post, since it's the only world that produces the melange, or spice, which powers interstellar travel. But as Paul quickly learns, it's also a dangerous place for his elite family, and it's where he learns he may also be a potential messiah. You know, typical teen boy stuff.
After being wowed by Dune in the theater, I plan to rewatch it at home on HBO Max, where it's also being released today. But I'm certain the experience won't be the same, even on my 120-inch projector screen. This Dune demands to be seen on something even bigger—a place where your very sense of being can be dwarfed. Dune made me feel like Paul Atreides standing in front of a skyscraper-sized sandworm, waiting to be consumed. And I welcomed it.
Of course, it's no simple thing to trek out to the cinema these days, not with coronavirus still raging and fellow theatergoers refusing to take basic safety precautions. (The vaccines are safe. Masks work. Please protect yourself and others.) But if you can manage to safely see it in theaters — perhaps by renting out a private screen with friends — you'll be reminded of what makes that experience so special. I watched it in the second row of a fairly typical multiplex theater, and it still floored me. I can only imagine what it would be like on a full-sized IMAX screen, which can reach up to 98 feet tall.
Dune is at its best when Villeneuve and cinematographer Greig Fraser let you soak in the vistas, the regal-yet-alien costumes and the wealth of background details. It's pure visual world-building. At one point, a character's eyes briefly flash white when he's asked to compute the cost of an imperial envoy's trek through the stars. It's never explained, but you get it. This style of slow burn sci-fi isn't for everyone, but if you enjoyed Arrival or Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve's previous genre forays, there's a good chance you're primed for this brand of storytelling.
Even before I saw anything on the screen, though, I felt Dune in my gut. As I waited for my screening to begin, an alien voice began speaking out of nowhere, sounding like it came entirely from the theater's subwoofers. It posed a question about the power of drums, but really, it was as if the movie was saying, "Sit up, pay attention, you're not on Earth anymore."
The film's inventive sound design doesn't stop there. Everything you hear — from the roar of spaceships as they take off, the buzz of dragonfly-like vehicles as they flap their wings, or the sphincter-clenching roar of the sandworms — is meticulously crafted to make you believe it's all real. Hans Zimmer's score doesn't tread too far from his Gladiator vibe, but does a fine job of making everything sound epic. (And yes, I was blasting it down the highway as I sped back home.)
Don't take my praise for this movie as disrespect towards David Lynch's 1984 Dune. That was a troubled production that's since attained cult status, but it was hampered by meddling producers and a script that tried to cram in the entire novel. Villenueve's approach is more confident and, as you'd expect, is backed by far more capable visual effects technology. Even though it runs for two hours and 35 minutes, I could have easily given up another three hours to watch the rest of the story.
Unfortunately, there's a chance we won't see that conclusion. Warner Bros. originally agreed to let Villeneuve tell the story in two parts (this movie's title card says "Dune Part 1"), but the follow-up still hasn't been officially greenlit. The director told Variety that his plan to shoot both parts at once was denied—he expects to hear more from the studio once we see how Dune performs in theaters and on HBO Max. Plans for a prequel TV series, Dune: The Sisterhood, are still in the works with Villeneuve attached to produce.
As epic as Dune is, it's a shame that its scope couldn't fit in actors from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), cultures that Herbert was clearly inspired by. The film almost goes out of its way to diminish any Islamic influence from its story (instead of Jihad, there are references to a crusade). That's particularly egregious when we see the locals of Arrakis, the blue-eyed sand dwellers known as the Fremen, who are often portrayed as noble savages. At least the film begins with the Fremen perspective: Chani, played by Zendaya, wonders aloud who their next oppressors will be.
All of this is to say, if you can make it to the theater to see Dune, you should. You can still capture some of its immensity by watching it up close: Pull a chair right up to your TV, or veg out with a laptop as close to your eyeballs as possible. But Dune is a story that hinges on the power of dreams, so it’s almost fitting that it’s best experienced when it overwhelms your reality.
The redesigned MacBook Pro might be more powerful than you think, provided you have the right configuration. Apple has confirmed to Engadget and MacRumors that the 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip can invoke a previously hinted-at "High Power Mode." While the company was shy on details, macOS Monterey beta code suggested the mode would "optimize performance" for demanding tasks in return for the possibility of more fan noise.
This could be frustrating if you buy either the 14-inch MacBook Pro or a 16-inch system with the M1 Pro. This isn't surprising, though. Features like this by their nature drive up power consumption and heat, and Apple may want to make sure there's enough battery and thermal headroom (that is, a larger enclosure). The M1 Max is also a better fit for a mode like this than the M1 Pro — there's simply more performance to unlock.
If you do buy a higher-end MacBook Pro, though, this could be particularly helpful. Many pro users have moments when they need performance at all costs, such as a hurried video export or last-minute code compile. High Power Mode might help finish those tasks on time while putting a ceiling on noise in most situations.
Snap is finally seeing the effects of Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes on its ad business and the changes have had a bigger impact than it expected.
The company reported revenue of just over $1 billion for the third-quarter of 2021. But despite that being a new milestone for Snap, it was $3 million shy of what the company had previously estimated. Snap executives said Apple’s iOS changes that make it more difficult for advertisers to track users were largely to blame for the shortfall.
“Our advertising business was disrupted by changes to iOS ad tracking that were broadly rolled out by Apple in June and July,” CEO Evan Spiegel said during a call with analysts. “While we anticipated some degree of business disruption, the new Apple provided measurement solution did not scale as we had expected, making it more difficult for our advertising partners to measure and manage their ad campaigns for iOS.”
It wasn’t all bad news for Snap, though. The company beat expectations on user growth, adding 13 million new daily active users for the second quarter in a row. Snap now has 306 million DAUs, a new high for the company.
Still, Spiegel called it a “frustrating setback” for the company, but added that increased privacy protections are “really important for the long term health of the ecosystem and something we fully support.”
The iOS 14.5 update forced developers to ask users to explicitly agree to sharing their device identifier (known as IDFA), which is used by advertisers to track users across apps and services. Though Apple previewed the changes more than a year ago, the update wasn’t released . Since then, third-party analytics have estimated that a percentage of iOS users agreed to allow apps to track them.
Snap isn’t the only company that has warned about Apple’s iOS changes on its ad business. Facebook, which has been publicly the changes for more than a year, saying the changes will have an outsize impact on developers and small businesses. But Facebook has also warned investors that the changes are likely to hurt its own ad revenue . The social network is reporting its third-quarter earnings Monday, when it will share just how significantly it's been affected.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto III. Although Rockstar Games didn’t mark the occasion with a sudden surprise release of , it when you’ll be able to get your hands on the upgraded versions of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas.
The bundle arrives digitally on November 11th (the for the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of ) on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. Physical editions will be available for consoles on December 7th.
Rockstar is charging $60 for the trilogy, which might be hard to swallow for some given that the original versions were often available for a few bucks each before the publisher pulled them from digital storefronts this month. It's worth noting that the remastered hits Xbox Game Pass on November 11th and the upgraded GTA III will arrive on PlayStation Now on December 7th.
The most obvious changes to the games are upgraded, richer visuals. Rockstar has added higher resolution textures, enhanced the weather effects, improved character and vehicle models, overhauled the lighting system and increased draw distances — all while trying to hang onto each game's original aesthetic. Vice City, for one thing, looks far more vibrant than the original, but it's clearly still Vice City.
There are some platform-specific enhancements. PS5 and Xbox Series X players will be able to run the games in 4K at up to 60 frames per second. On PC, there's support for NVIDIA's upscaling tech. Switch players, meanwhile, will have gyro controls and can use the touchscreen to to navigate menus and to zoom and pan the camera.
Rockstar has tweaked the gameplay in other ways. The controller layout now matches that of GTA V, and there are changes to gunplay and targeting, the weapon and radio station selection wheels and minimaps (such as the ability to set waypoints). You'll also be able to immediately restart a mission after failing too, which is a great quality of life update.
iFixit has taken apart the Apple Watch Series 7 and showed that despite having minimal changes on the outside, it does feature some big upgrades underneath. As we mentioned in our review, the main difference between this device and the Series 6 is its slightly bigger display, Now, iFixit's teardown shows that its display uses touch-integrated OLED panel or "on-cell touch," which debuted with the iPhone 13.
The website says the move is unusual for Apple, since it typically introduces new display tech — such as OLED, always-on and variable refresh rate — on the lower-volume Apple Watch first instead of the other way around. According to the former Apple engineers iFixit worked with for this teardown, this new display may have caused production delays and made the company release the device later than it would've liked.
When the tech giant first announced the Series 7 in September, it didn't have a concrete release date. The former Apple engineers said that usually signals delays, and the most likely culprit was the manufacturing hiccups caused by the Watch's display. "[S]creens have some of the most complex supply chains and assembly processes in the industry," the website explained. In addition to using new technology, Apple also made the display bigger and gave it a refractive edge to make the sides look like they're slightly curved.
iFixit also found that the model's battery is larger than its predecessors. That doesn't translate to longer battery life, though, since the device's larger screen likely uses more power. There are a few other more minor changes compared to previous versions of the Watch. You can see the whole teardown on iFixit's website, along with more photos of what's inside the Series 7.
Instagram is testing new tools to make it easier for creators to earn money through its service. The app is now testing affiliate shops, a feature it at its Creator Week event in June, and a dedicated “partnerships” inbox.
Affiliate shops are an extension of Facebook’s existing shopping features, which are already widely available. But the latest version of the storefronts allow creators to link to products that are already part of their . Creators will earn commission fees when their followers buy products from these shops (though the exact terms of these arrangements haven’t been detailed). The company says that for now the shopping feature will only be available to creators who are part of that affiliate program.
Instagram is also testing new inbox features it says will make it easier for brands to connect with creators for sponsorships. Instagram DMs will get a dedicated “partnerships” section just for messages from brands. The company says this will give those messages “priority placement” and will allow them to skip the “requests” section where incoming messages are often lost.
Separately, the app is working on tools to match brands with creators looking for sponsorships. With the tools, creators can identify brands they are interested in working with directly from the app. While brands would be able to browse creators who fit their needs based on factors like age, gender and follower count.
The tools are still in an early stage, with only a handful of companies and creators participating for now. But the company has previously signaled such features could expand significantly. Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year that Instagram is planning a “branded content marketplace” to help enable a bigger “creator middle class.”
has announced when its next stream will take place. You can watch it on October 27th at 5PM ET on or .
It'll be a short broadcast, clocking in at 20 minutes or so, but as we saw with , it can pack a lot into these events. The company didn't say what games will be featured nor did it rule anything out. However, the focus will be on third-party titles for PS4 and PS5.
Along with reveals from some of its partners, Sony is promising more info about previously announced games. Here's hoping for a firm release date for Bethesda and Tango Gameworks' delayed , which is scheduled for next spring. Square Enix's is also penciled in for that timeframe, so perhaps Sony will reveal exactly when that game's coming too. And maybe, just maybe, we'll learn more about the PS5 version of Grand Theft Auto V, which is due to arrive in March.
Spend enough time on social media and it’s likely that you’ll see what I’ve started to call a Bad Math Scam. This is where an account, looking to juice their engagement figures, posts an equation with a challenge for people to solve it. Often, it’ll say something like “Only ‘80s Kids Can Do This” or “Brain Power Challenge: Can You Do This Without a Calculator?”. The only problem is that the equation is so ambiguously-written that you can come up with multiple answers.
Here’s one that I found floating around the internet a couple of days ago from an account that seems to re-share a lot of existing content in the hope of going viral. The tweet reads (in true viral bait style) “Please don’t use a Calculator, use your BRAIN: 50+50 - 25 x 0 + 2 + 2 = ??”.
Now, the equation is sufficiently ambiguous in its design that, depending on how you tackle it, it produces a number of different answers. In this instance, users concluded that the answer was definitely 0, 4, 79 or 104. The subsequent chat often breaks out into some discussion about how Order of Operations work and how stupid the other people are. Between argument, counter-argument, and people smugly retweeting about how other people didn’t pay attention to high school math, the original poster has succeeded in getting their engagement.
But there is a solution, and a neat way of arriving at the correct answer both for this problem and for any others you see online. And I’ve enlisted the help of a mathematician to help explain it so that this sort of viral bait never trips you up ever again. Especially if you don’t recall your PEMDAS (or BODMAS, if you were raised on the other side of the pond) from high school math.
Dr. Helen Crowley is lecturer in mathematics at the University of East Anglia, and took issue with how I’d described the equation. “The problem shared [above] is not actually ambiguous at all,” she said, “maths is a very well-behaved subject and there are fixed rules that all problems like this follow.” Dr. Crowley is, of course, referring to the Order of Operations, which explains how a multi-part equation like the one above is meant to be broken down and worked out.
In the US and UK, Order of Operations is expressed under the acronyms PEMDAS (US) or BODMAS (UK). The terms may differ, but the order in which you calculate each component part of the equation remains the same. You start with anything in Parentheses / Brackets, and then move on to anything using Exponents / Orders, which are figures including square-roots and powers. The equation above, uses neither.
Third in the list is Multiplication and Division, which is the first function that we actually need to do. “For this problem, we [first] do 25 x 0 = 0,” said Dr. Crowley. That 0 then inserts itself into the sum, which now looks like 50 + 50 - 0 + 2 + 2. “The last two operations to consider are Addition and Subtraction,” said Dr. Crowley, making the final sum 50 + 50 - 0 + 2 + 2 = 104. “This is exactly what your calculator does, as it is programmed to ‘know’ the order,” said Dr. Crowley, “the above problem certainly isn’t ambiguous, we are just forgetting the rules.”
Now, you may be wondering who was in charge of establishing this order, and when that may have happened. According to the UEA’s Dr. Mark Cooker, the current Order of Operations was probably first laid down in their current form in the middle of the 16th century. Before that point, “manuscripts were wholly wordy, and free from operational symbols, except abbreviations,” said Dr. Cooker. But from the mid-16th century onwards, math texts “were first printed in large numbers for education.”
Cooker then believes that it was the wide-ranging influence of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London that “set new high standards to reduce ambiguity in handling powers, brackets and multiplications or additions, in the correct order.” He said that the journal, as it would now be described, “spread higher standards of maths typography as far afield as St. Petersburg, where Leonard Euler was working.” Euler was one of the most pioneering mathematicians of the 18th century, who “published so many papers and influential textbooks,” along with “clear explanations of BODMAS rules in his elementary texts must have made everyone agree on the current order of operations.”
Now that you know how to solve those crappy equations people post on social media, don’t forget to share a link to this story to serve as a bulwark against folks cynically trying to juice their engagement.
Nintendo has delayed Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp. The company will release the remake in spring 2022 instead of December 3rd, 2021, as previously announced. "The game just needs a little more time for fine tuning," it said of the delay.
Hello, troops! #AdvanceWars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, which was set to launch on 12/3, will now release for #NintendoSwitch in spring 2022. The game just needs a little more time for fine tuning. You'll be battling with Andy & friends soon! Thanks for your patience. pic.twitter.com/dSi8VSsxTH
Nintendo first announced the Switch title back at its E3 Direct back in June. The remake will bundle together "reimagined" versions of Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising. The two games, long considered classics of the turn-based tactical strategy genre, first came out on the Game Boy Advance in 2001 and 2003. Intelligent Systems, best known for its work on the Fire Emblem franchise, was the lead developer on both titles.
is rolling out a way for people to sign up to newsletters directly from tweets. When someone shares their Revue newsletter, the tweet will include a subscribe button. If someone clicks a link to a specific newsletter issue, they'll see an option to subscribe when they return to their Twitter feed. The feature is live on the web now, and it's coming to iOS and Android soon.
When someone clicks on your newsletter issue from Twitter, they’ll be able to subscribe when they return to their timeline. pic.twitter.com/F7bPN8thRY
In addition, if your Twitter account is linked to an email address, you can sign up to receive newsletter updates with a single click. You won't need to confirm your subscription through your email inbox.
The update should make it easier for people to convert Twitter followers into newsletter subscribers. It's a big advantage for Revue over the likes of Substack and other newsletter services, since writers on those platforms have to guide potential subscribers through a slightly longer signup process.
Twitter recently to profiles on the web, iOS and Android. The company in January as the newsletter ecosystem continued to pick up steam.
Tesla's closely-guarded driving data has been decrypted for the first time, according to a Dutch government-run forensic lab. The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) said it discovered a wealth of information about Tesla's Autopilot, along with data around speed, accelerator pedal positions, steering wheel angle and more. The findings will allow the government to "request more targeted data" to help determine the cause of accidents, the investigators said.
The researchers already knew that Tesla vehicles encrypt and store accident related data, but not which data and how much. As such, they reverse-engineered the system and succeeded in "obtaining data from the models S, Y, X and 3," which they described in a paper presented at an accident analysis conference.
These data contain a wealth of information for forensic investigators and traffic accident analysts and can help with a criminal investigation after a fatal traffic accident or an accident with injury.
With knowledge of how to decrypt the storage, the NFI carried out tests with a Tesla Model S so it could compare the logs with real-world data. It found that the vehicle logs were "very accurate," with deviations less than 1 km/h (about 0.6 MPH).
The NSI also analyzed several accidents using the raw data it acquired. In one case, a Tesla on Autopilot collided with a car ahead that suddenly braked. Normally, if the Autopilot doesn't brake in time, the driver is supposed to take over.
"In this case, the investigation showed that the driver did indeed intervene and also within the expected response time," said researcher Aart Spek. "The fact that it turned out to be a collision was because the following distance [chosen by Autopilot] was too tight in the busy traffic situation. That makes it interesting, because who is responsible for the following distance: the car or the driver?"
It used to be possible to extract Autopilot data from Tesla EVs, but it's now encrypted in recent models, the investigators said. Tesla encrypts data for good reason, they acknowledged, including protecting its own IP from other manufacturers and guarding a driver's privacy. It also noted that the company does provide specific data to authorities and investigators if requested.
However, the team said that the extra data they extracted would allow for more detailed accident investigations, "especially into the role of driver assistance systems." It added that it would be ideal to know if other manufacturers stored the same level of detail over long periods of time. "If we would know better which data car manufacturers all store, we can also make more targeted claims through the courts or the Public Prosecution Service," said NFI investigator Frances Hoogendijk. "And ultimately that serves the interest of finding the truth after an accident."
Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, aka "ConcernedApe," has made a surprise unveiling of his next game, Haunted Chocolatier. It has the same pixelated SNES look as Stardew, with characters, set-pieces and themes that are similarly cute and quirky.
"In this game, you will play as a chocolatier living in a haunted castle. In order to thrive in your new role, you will have to gather rare ingredients, make delicious chocolates, and sell them in a chocolate shop," according to Barone's blog on the new website. The video shows characters heading out into into a town, the castle, a mountain and other scenarios to seek ingredients and fend off creatures.
It's Barone's first game since Stardew Valley launched in 2016, but so far it's not a lot more than a demo. Barone has yet to finalize the gameplay systems, and said he doesn't even want to be "tied down to any particular concept of what the game is" ahead of launch.
Haunted Chocolatier does sound and look a lot like Stardew at first take. However, in a FAQ, Barone said there will be some substantial differences, particularly when it comes to gameplay.
Like Stardew Valley, Haunted Chocolatier is another "town game," where you move to a new town and try your hand at a new way of living. You’ll get to know the townspeople, achieve your goals and make progress in many ways. All of that is similar to Stardew Valley. However, the core gameplay and theming are quite a bit different. Haunted Chocolatier is more of an action-RPG compared to Stardew Valley. And instead of a farm being the focal point of your endeavors, it’s a chocolate shop.
Barone wouldn't reveal other details, like whether the new title is set in the same world as Stardew, nor a release date or even a general timeframe. He did say that it would be single-player only, with no plans for multiplayer. The game will "100 percent" come to PC, though he has "every intention of bringing it to the other major platforms as well."
SpaceX has taken a major step towards sending the Starship to orbit. On Thursday night, the private space corporation has conducted the SN20 Starship prototype's first static fire test as part of its preparation for the spacecraft's launch. According to Space, the SN20 is currently outfitted with two Raptor engines: A standard "sea-level" Raptor and a vacuum version designed to operate in space. At 8:16PM Eastern time on Thursday, the company fired the latter. SpaceX then revealed on Twitter that it was the first ever firing of a Raptor vacuum engine integrated onto a Starship.
Around an hour after that, the SN20 lit up yet again in a second static fire test that may have involved both Raptor engines. The SN20 will eventually have six Raptors — three standard and three vacuum — and will be the first prototype to attempt an orbital launch. A Starship launch system is comprised of the Starship spacecraft itself and a massive first-stage booster called the Super Heavy. Both are designed to be reusable and to carry large payloads for trips to low and higher Earth orbits. It can also eventually be used for longer trips to the Moon and to Mars.
SpaceX doesn't have a date for the SN20 test flight yet, but the plan is to launch the vehicle with the Super Heavy known as Booster 4 from the company's Boca Chica site. The booster will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico, while the SN20 will continue its journey towards orbit.
This week brought our first official early Black Friday sale, courtesy of Best Buy. While we expect to see even more of these events before we hit Black Friday proper, there are a bunch of gadgets at record-low prices right now that are worth considering. Both Amazon and Best Buy knocked $150 off the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphone, and both retailers have some of our favorite Sony headphones and earbuds for less. Plus, the new Galaxy Watch 4 wearables are down to all-time-low prices thanks to a Samsung deals event on Amazon. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.
Sony's excellent WH-1000XM4 headphones remain on sale for $248, which is a record low. These are our current favorite pair of ANC headphones and they earned a score of 94 from us for their solid sound quality, powerful ANC and multi-device connectivity.
The 256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $200 off, bringing it down to $999. That's the same price as the 128GB version right now, so you're essentially getting double the storage at no extra cost. We gave the tablet a score of 87 for its gorgeous display, impressive performance and handy Center Stage camera.
The previous-gen Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds are down to $128, more than $70 off their normal price. We gave these buds a score of 89 for their excellent sound, great battery life and comprehensive companion app.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 foldable smartphone is still on sale for $850, or $150 off. This is the most practical version of a Samsung foldable yet, and we gave it a score of 82 for its more durable design, attractive build and new water resistance.
Both the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are down to record-low prices, $220 and $300, respectively. These remain the best smartwatches for Android users and we gave the Watch 4 a score of 85 for its comprehensive health tracking abilities, lovely screen and better support for third-party apps.
The Roku Streambar is on sale for $99 right now, or $30 off its normal price. We gave the compact soundbar a score of 86 for its good sound quality, Dolby Audio support, built-in 4K HDR streaming tech and its ability to work as a Bluetooth speaker. Also, the more advanced (and larger) Streambar Pro is down to a record low of $150.
Roku's most powerful streaming device, the Ultra, is on sale for only $69 at the moment. That's $30 off its normal price and a great deal if you want 4K HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content, along with speedy WiFi and the option to hardware the set-top box into your setup via its Ethernet port.
The new Galaxy Buds 2 are down to $130 right now, or $20 off their normal price. It may be $5 more than their record low, but this is still a good deal to consider if you've been eyeing a pair of the company's true wireless earbuds. We gave the Buds 2 a score of 84 for their comfortable design, improved sound quality and adjustable ambient sound mode.
The latest Apple TV 4K is on sale for $130 at Verizon right now. This is the best price we've seen it, and you'll get the model with the latest processor, support for Dolby Vision and Atmos and the much improved new Siri remote.
The 2TB Crucial MX500 internal SSD is down to an all-time low of $170. This is a good option if you need extra storage in your desktop or laptop, and we like that it has AES 256-bit hardware based encryption and integrated power loss immunity.
This Bluetooth-connected Rubik's cube is $10 off thanks to a coupon you can apply on the product page, bringing the toy down to roughly $50. Rather than going nuts trying to solve the puzzle on your own, this one has a companion app that actually teaches you how to do so. You can then complete challenges, better your skills and try to get atop the global leaderboard.
NordVPN, one of our favorite VPNs, is running a sale on a two-year subscription. You can sign up and pay $99 for two years, plus you'll get an extra three months free. We like NordVPN for its speed, its no-logs policy, the thousands of servers it has to choose from and that one account supports up to six connected devices.
Another one of our top VPN services, Tunnelbear, is offering a two-year subscription for $100. You'll save 58 percent if you sign up with this deal, and we think Tunnelbear is one of the easiest VPNs to use, especially for those that don't want to go crazy configuring their connections.
Back at the start of the year, Google gave Meet hosts the ability to in a call all at once. Now, the company has a solution for situations that require more nuance and control. It’s introducing an audio and video lock feature that allows hosts to turn off the microphones and cameras of select participants, in which case they can’t turn them back on until they’re allowed to do so again.
Anyone using a version of Meet on Android or iOS that does not support audio and video locks will be removed from the call if the host enables the feature. If they try to join one such call, they’ll also be prompted to update their app. Google has begun rolling out the tool to rapid release domains today. Scheduled release domains will start getting access to it beginning on November 1st. The locks should be particularly useful for corraling rowdy participants, but some hosts may also find it helpful for encouraging specific individuals to participate more often.
It took only a few hours for pranksters to find and deface a test version of former President Trump's yet-to-launch social media platform called TRUTH Social. According to The Washington Post, someone signed up for an account on the test website, took the username "donaldjtrump" and posted a photo of a defecating pig.
Trump and his team recently announced that they're launching TRUTH Social in early 2022 and that beta tests will begin in November. In its announcement, the team said that the platform is part of its efforts to fight against "the Big Tech companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America."
The test website has already been pulled down, but not before one of the publication's reporters was able to sign up under the name "mikepence" without encountering any safeguards that would prevent them from doing so. Based on the mock photos on its App Store listing, TRUTH Social looks like a Twitter clone, where users can post "Truths" similar to tweets and repost "Re-Truths," which are basically retweets. It has a news feed called the Truth Feed and a notification system, as well.
The website's code shows that it runs on a mostly unmodified version of open source software Mastodon, The Post says. Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko told Vice that the platform might be violating its licensing rules, since it requires developers to share any modification with the public and to give credit by linking to the original source code. The test website didn't just reveal TRUTH Social's code, though, but also its terms of service. A sub-section in the ToS shows that the website hopes to be protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Part of the ToS reads: "[W]e are not responsible for any Third-Party Websites accessed through the Site or any Third-Party Content posted on, available through, or installed from the Site, including the content, accuracy, offensiveness, opinions, reliability, privacy practices, or other policies of or contained in the Third-Party Websites or the Third-Party Content."
Trump has been a very vocal critic of Section 230. In 2020, he signed an executive order meant to limit its scope shortly after Twitter fact-checked a false tweet he made. The order was never meaningfully imposed, but President Biden revoked it completely back in May.
Less than a year after it first , Twitter is opening up Spaces to nearly everyone. Starting today, anyone on Android and iOS can host a Space, no matter how many people follow them. As of this past May, the feature was open to any Twitter user with more than . At the time, the company said it put that limit in place to ensure a “good experience.” Now that the option is available to all Android and iOS users, you can start your own audio room by tapping on the compose button and then the Spaces icon.
One more mic check...the option to host a Space is now rolling out to everyone on Android and iOS!
New to Spaces? Here’s a thread to help you out… (1/7)
If there’s a reason Twitter waited almost a year to make hosting Spaces available to everyone, it’s because the company has spent the last few months adding features that enhance the experience significantly. Twitter recently added a that allows you to add pre-defined tags to make your audio room easier to find. It also recently added a you can use to recruit people to help you with moderation. Those are all things that should make Spaces more appealing to first-time users.
Techtober continues with a deep dive into Apple’s latest MacBook Pros, powered by the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Cherlynn and Devindra also chat about what’s new with the Pixel 6, and Mr. Mobile himself () joins to break down the Surface Duo 2. It turns out Microsoft needed more than a year to fix all of the problems with its dual-screen phone.
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!
Apple’s new MacBooks with M1 Pro and M1 Pro Max – 1:37
Google finally details Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro’s specs – 23:22
Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 is inconsistent and buggy – 38:41
Facebook may be changing its name – 1:04:05
Facebook Portal Go Review – 1:05:05
Finally, you can post to Instagram from desktop – 1:06:02
Samsung had yet another Unpacked event – 1:06:23
Also in events: Razer, DJI – 1:07:35
We have a trailer for the Uncharted movie – 1:07:56
Mel Brooks is doing History of the World: Part II for Hulu – 1:09:19
Fisher Price made a version of its toy phone that actually makes calls – 1:10:14
Working on – 1:11:25
Pop culture picks – 1:12:26
Credits Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar Guests: Michael Fisher Producer: Ben Ellman Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos,Luke Brooks Graphics artists: Luke Brooks, Kyle Maack Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien
Twitter said that it was undertaking a new effort to study algorithmic fairness on its platform and whether its algorithms contribute to “unintentional harms.” As part of that work, the company promised to study the political leanings of its content recommendations. Now, the company its initial findings. According to Twitter’s research team, the company’s timeline algorithm amplifies content from the “political right” in six of the seven countries it studied.
The research looked at two issues: whether the algorithmic timeline amplified political content from elected officials, and whether some political groups received a greater amount of amplification. The researchers used tweets from news outlets and elected officials in seven countries (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to conduct the analysis, which they said was the first of its kind for Twitter.
“Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline,” Twitter’s Rumman Chowdhury about the research. “In 6 out of 7 countries, Tweets posted by political right elected officials are algorithmically amplified more than the political left. Right-leaning news outlets (defined by 3rd parties), see greater amplification compared to left-leaning.”
Here’s what’s complex: The team did phenomenal work identifying *what* is happening. Establishing *why* these observed patterns occur is a significantly more difficult question to answer and something META will examine. 5/n
Crucially, as Chowdhury points out , it’s not yet clear why this is happening. In , the researchers posit that the difference in amplification could be a result of political parties pursuing “different strategies on Twitter.” But the team said that more research would be needed to fully understand the cause.
While the findings are likely to raise some eyebrows, Chowdhury also notes that “algorithmic amplification is not problematic by default.” The researchers further point out that their findings “does not support the hypothesis that algorithmic personalization amplifies extreme ideologies more than mainstream political voices.”
But at the very least, the research would seem to the notion that Twitter is biased against conservatives. The research also offers an intriguing look at how a tech platform can study the unintentional effects of its algorithms. Facebook, which has come under pressure to make more of public, has its algorithms even as a whistleblower has suggested the company should to a chronological timeline.
Twitter’s research is part of a broader effort by Twitter to uncover bias and other issues in its algorithms. The company has also published research about its algorithm and started a program to find bias in its platform.
Lyft has finally published its first safety report (PDF), which sheds light on the rate of sexual assault and abuse cases on the service in the US over the course of three years. From 2017 until 2019, Lyft received a total of 4,158 sexual assault reports. The company's safety team divided all sexual assault and misconduct incidents into 21 categories, but the cases included in this report only include five of the most serious categories of sexual assault.
Those categories are non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual/sexual body part, non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and non-consensual sexual penetration. There are lesser categories of sexual assault that weren't included in the total number of cases.
Among the five, the most commonly reported incidents fall under the non-consensual touching of a sexual body part category. The team recorded 360 incidents of rape within that period. Lyft said that it included any incident reported over the three-year period regardless of when it actually happened, because sexual assault is chronically underreported. Further, it intentionally used broad definitions for the sub-categories.In addition to sexual assault cases, Lyft has also reported 105 motor vehicle fatalities and 10 fatal physical assaults.
The company explained that it doesn't proactively report safety incidents to law enforcement, knowing that it's a deeply personal decision, especially for survivors of sexual assault. "This policy gives survivors as much agency as possible when deciding whether and how to report an incident," it wrote.
Lyft has been promising to release a safety report since 2018, and when CNN asked about it earlier this year, the company cited an issue with the California Public Utilities Commission for the delay. According to the news organization, at least 72 individuals are suing the ride-hailing service over alleged sexual assault incidents. Some of those cases accuse Lyft of knowing that its drivers were raping passengers and failing to take steps to protect its customers.
Uber, on the other hand, published its first safety report in 2019. The company revealed nearly 6,000 reports of sexual abuse over 2017 and 2018, as well as 19 fatal physical assaults.
Amazon may soon face a second unionization effort in less than a year. Per , hourly workers at the company’s JFK8 fulfillment center in New York City are in the process of collecting signatures to file for a union election. They’re expected to contact the National Labor Relations Board on Monday. If the agency grants their request, it will lead to a vote with potentially significant ramifications for Amazon.
This past April, Amazon beat back a historic union vote at its BHM1 fulfillment center in . Approximately 1,700 of the more than 3,000 employees who took part in the election voted against unionization, handing Amazon a comfortable majority. However, the election was mired in controversy, with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which sought to represent the approximately 5,800 workers at Bessemer, accusing the company of unfairly influencing the vote. In August, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Amazon had , and recommended that workers in Bessemer hold a new election.
Amazon employs more than 5,000 workers at JFK8. Beyond its sheer size, the facility has been the site of multiple protests since the start of the pandemic. Among those leading the unionization effort at JFK8 is Christian Smalls. Amazon fired Smalls after he organized a walkout over the company’s handling of COVID safety at the warehouse. At the time, the company said Smalls broke a quarantine order by attending the event. At the start of the year, New York sued Amazon, alleging the company had retaliated against Smalls.
When Engadget reached out to Amazon about the effort, the company noted its employees have always had the option to join a union but said it was against the idea.
As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees. Every day we empower people to find ways to improve their jobs, and when they do that we want to make those changes — quickly. That type of continuous improvement is harder to do quickly and nimbly with unions in the middle. The benefits of direct relationships between managers and employees can’t be overstated — these relationships allow every employee’s voice to be heard, not just the voices of a select few. We’ve made great progress in recent years and months in important areas like pay and safety. There are plenty of things that we can keep doing better, and that's our focus — to keep getting better every day.
Even if the National Labor Relations Board calls an election after Monday, the workers at JFK8 face an uphill battle. They’re up against one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful corporations. From competitive wages to , Amazon has consistently used nearly every tool available to it to dissuade its workers from unionizing.
Co-creator Rob McElhenney (who plays Ian Grimm in the show) made the announcement with the help of a couple of familiar faces: Jason Sudeikis, the Emmy-winning face of fellow Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso, and Anthony Hopkins, who received an Emmy nomination for narrating Mythic Quest's standalone "" episode. The series picked up another Emmy nomination this year for its sound editing.
Mythic Quest, which is from some of the folks behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, focuses on the developers of a hugely successful fictional MMORPG. co-produces Mythic Quest, so there's certainly a degree of authenticity to the show and how a game studio might actually operate.