Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

Keanu Reeves to star in Hulu's adaptation of 'Devil in the White City'

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 16:53

Hulu has ordered a limited series adaptation of Devil in the White City, which will star Keanu Reeves and be executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. The streamer announced the news today at the Television Critics Association’s summer tour. Based on the book of the same name by Erik Larson about the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, the series will be the first time the work is adapted for the screen after more than a decade’s worth of deals and bidding by numerous studios. Todd Field (In the Bedroom,Little Children) is set to direct the series. Deadlinereported that the eight-episode series is aiming for a 2024 release.

As The Hollywood Reporternotes, DiCaprio first optioned the rights to the book in 2010, and was set to star in a feature film adaptation that would be directed by Scorcese. Now, both men will executive produce the limited series, which will be a co-production of Paramount Television Studios and Disney’s ABC Signature.

Disney signed a deal with Comcast where it will buy its 33 percent stake in Hulu in 2024 — granting it full operational control of the streamer. But as CNBC notes, the deal was signed before the launch of Disney+, and there’s current confusion over what role another streaming service will play in the vast Disney empire. Hulu also houses a number of critically-acclaimed series, including Dopesick, The Dropout and The Handmaid’s Tale. With Devil in the White City, it seems Disney is attempting to position Hulu within the crowded streaming landscape as an adult-oriented platform for prestige TV.

HBO Max Will Mash Up With Discovery Plus in the Middle of Next Year - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 16:52
Get ready for 90 Day Fiancé to move in next door to The White Lotus.

NASA's Quirky Artemis I Moon Pack List Includes Lego, Rocks, Tree Seeds - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 16:36
It isn't just moonikins and Shaun the Sheep going along for the ride.

How to Watch Samsung's Unpacked Event: Galaxy Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4 Reveals Are Expected - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 16:34
Samsung's August 2022 Unpacked event is likely to focus on the company's foldable phones.

San Diego joins other cities in restricting cops' use of surveillance technology

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 16:18

San Diego is joining the ranks of cities clamping down on surveillance technology. The San Diego Union-Tribunereports the City Council has given a final greenlight to an ordinance requiring approval for tech that can identify and track individuals, such as body and streetlight cameras. Municipal government workers will have to outline the intended uses of a surveillance system, while a new privacy advisory board and residents will be asked for input. Councillors will also conduct yearly reviews of in-use systems.

The city has a year-long grace period to both form the advisory board and give departments a chance to examine their surveillance tech inventories. Organizations that already use these systems will need authorization to continue use. An exception will allow police on federal task forces to use surveillance, however. San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit requested the carve-out over concerns that local officers couldn't participate in federal operations that bar disclosure of surveillance tech.

The council first approved the ordinance in November 2020. The late approval comes after multiple employee groups exercised their right to review the new rules. That process alone took about 18 months, The Union-Tribune said.

San Diego is relatively late to such regulations. San Francisco and other cities have banned facial recognition, for instance. Even so, its approval might increase pressure on other local governments to either restrict surveillance hardware or offer more transparency regarding their monitoring tools.

US Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 15:50
There are vaccines and other resources available for monkeypox, but they've been in short supply in some areas.

Microsoft is testing a family plan for Xbox Game Pass

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 15:48

After months of rumors, Microsoft is starting to test an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate family plan in the wild. Xbox Insiders in Colombia and Ireland can try out the new offering, which allows them to add up to four other people to their plan, as long as they're in the same country. Those folks will get access to all the benefits of Game Pass Ultimate, including a library of hundreds of titles for console, PC and cloud gaming.

If you're in either country, you can buy the Xbox Game Pass – Insider Preview plan from the Microsoft Store, though enrolment is limited. If you're already a Game Pass member, the time remaining on your subscription will be converted based on its monetary value. A month of Game Pass Ultimate is worth 18 days of the family plan. Parsing things out, that suggests the family plan would cost around $25 per month if Microsoft brings it to the US, or $5 per person.

You'll need to wait for your membership to expire before moving to a different plan. People you want to invite onto a family plan will also need to cancel an existing Game Pass subscription or wait for it to run out. Alternatively, they can just create a new Microsoft account. It's worth noting that folks with an Xbox All Access plan aren't eligible.

A family plan seems to make a lot of sense for Microsoft, which has positioned Game Pass at the heart of the Xbox business. This should help the company boost the service's overall number of users, though it may come at the cost of losing some subscriptions in households with multiple Game Pass memberships or among groups of friends who split the price of a single plan.

Elsewhere, Nintendo has long offered a Switch Online family plan for both the standard and Expansion Pack tiers. Although Sony recently revamped PlayStation Plus, it does not yet offer any multi-person plans.

Someone Please Buy Me Princess Diana's Awesome Ford Escort RS Turbo - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 15:44
One of the coolest cars owned by the People's Princess is going up for auction.

Princess Diana's Ford Escort RS Turbo Is Going Up for Auction - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 15:44
This is the only RS Turbo painted in black, and it has fewer than 25,000 miles.

Google made one of its best search shortcuts even more useful

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 14:50

Google searches with quotes just became much more useful if you're looking for the exact place words appear on a page. The internet giant has updated quote-based searches with page snippets that show exactly where you'll find the text you're looking for. You might not have to scroll through a giant document just to find the right phrase.

There are limitations. Searches with quotes might turn up results that aren't visible (such as meta description tags) or only show up in web addresses and title links. You might not see all of the mentions in a snippet if they're too far apart. You'll "generally" only see bolded mentions on desktop, and you won't see the bolding at all for specialized searches and results (such as image searches and video boxes). You may have to use your browser's on-page search feature to jump to the relevant keywords.

The company characterized the change as a response to feedback. It hesitated to make snippets for these searches in the past, as documents didn't always produce readable descriptions. This is an acknowledgment that people using quotes to search are sometimes "power users" more interested in pinpointing words than reading site descriptions.

Apple Promises Change to 'Training and Processes' After Series of HR Complaints - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 14:39
More than a dozen women who worked for the iPhone maker during the past two decades have publicly shared stories of harassment and abuse, and of poor response from HR.

Something is making the Earth spin faster and days shorter

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 14:33

Over the last couple of years, time has felt more nebulous than ever. You'd be forgiven for thinking that days are passing by at an increasingly faster clip. According to scientists, that perspective is not wrong. On June 29th, midnight arrived 1.59 milliseconds sooner than expected. It was the shortest day in over half a century, at least since scientists started tracking the pace of the Earth's rotation with atomic clocks in the 1960s. 

That wasn't a one-off occurrence either. In 2020, the planet saw what were, at the time, the 28 shortest days in recorded history. And just last week, on July 26th, the day lasted 1.5 milliseconds less than usual. "Since 2016 the Earth started to accelerate," Leonid Zotov, a researcher at Lomonosov Moscow State University, told CBS News. "This year it rotates quicker than in 2021 and 2020."

Days have become much longer since the Earth's formation. As The Guardian notes, around 1.4 billion years ago, a rotation of the Earth took less than 19 hours. Days have gotten longer by, on average, around one 74,000th of a second each year. But the planet's rotation can fluctuate on a day-to-day basis.

Scientists believe there are a number of factors that may impact the Earth's rotation, including earthquakes, stronger winds in El Niño years, icecaps melting and refreezing, the moon and the climate. Some have suggested the so-called "Chandler wobble" may have an effect on the rotation too. That phenomenon is a "small, irregular deviation in the Earth's points of rotation relative to the solid Earth," as USA Today puts it.

To account for fluctuations in the lengths of days, since 1972, there have been occasional leap seconds — a single-second addition to Coordinated Universal Time. Should the current trend of shorter days continue, there's a possibility that a negative leap second may be needed to keep clocks aligned with the planet's rotation. As such, UTC would skip a second.

Leap seconds already cause havoc on ultra-precise systems. Just last week, Meta called for an end to leap seconds, which have caused outages at Reddit and Cloudflare over the last decade. A negative leap second could lead to even more chaos.

"With the Earth’s rotation pattern changing, it’s very likely that we will get a negative leap second at some point in the future," Meta engineers Oleg Obleukhov and Ahmad Byagowi wrote in a blog post. "The impact of a negative leap second has never been tested on a large scale; it could have a devastating effect on the software relying on timers or schedulers."

Facebook Parent Meta Battles Troll Farms, Hackers - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 14:00
One Russian troll farm targeted public discussions about the war in Ukraine.

Volkswagen's US-made 2023 ID.4 EV will start at $37,495

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 12:52

VW might just buck the trend of ever-rising EV prices. The automaker has revealed that the 2023 ID.4 electric SUV will start at $37,495 before the destination fee ($1,295) and tax credits, or well under the $41,230 price of its predecessor. The trick, as you might guess, is a smaller battery. The base model (now called the ID.4 Standard) uses a new 62kWh battery that musters an estimated 208 miles of range. While that won't thrill anyone planning cross-country jaunts, it could make the EV a better value if you're just looking for a commuter car.

There are numerous technology upgrades, too. The ID.4 now comes standard with a previously optional 12-inch infotainment display, 45W USB-C, simpler Plug & Charge functionality and Intelligent Park Assist. All 2023 models now have driver-initiated lane changes in Travel Assist. You can also expect a posher interior with part-leatherette seats on the Standard model.

You'll still have strong incentives to buy higher-end configurations. The $42,495 ID.4 Pro upgrades to an 82kWh battery with an estimated 275-mile range and 170kW DC fast charging while throwing in perks like a heated windshield, a tow hitch and a variable compartment flow. An all-wheel drive variant of the Pro starts at $46,295. All of these models are available in an S trim that adds a panoramic roof, 12-way power seats, a power tailgate and more advanced lighting. The ID.4 S, Pro S and Pro AWD S respectively start at $42,495, $47,495 and $51,295.

At the high end, the $50,195 ID.4 Pro S Plus and $53,995 AWD Pro S Plus both offer 20-inch wheels, a speaker upgrade with subwoofer, an "Area View" camera system, three-zone climate control and power folding door mirrors. They replace last year's Gradient package.

The more affordable model arrives in the fall. It comes just as VW has started US production of the EV, and reflects the company's shifting strategy. It's betting that a lower price and equipment upgrades will help it undercut rivals in the $40,000 range, like Ford's Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai's Ioniq 5. While it won't be surprising if competitors offer similar options in the future, there's now a clearer reason to buy an ID.4 than before.

Dish Opens Sign-Ups for Its 5G Service Ahead of Fourth-Quarter Launch - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 12:52
Dish's ambitions to become a true fourth wireless provider are starting to get a little clearer with its Boost Infinite brand.

'Among Us VR' beta signups are now open

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 12:39

Among Us is about to enter the realm of virtual reality. If you're lucky, you might even be able to try Among Us VR before it's officially released later this year. Signups are now open for the spin-off's beta.

As you might expect, Among Us VR shifts the action from a top-down perspective to a first-person view. That ups the ante a bit, since you may not be able to tell if a potential impostor is just behind you. There's also proximity voice chat and the option to accuse other players of being an imposter with literal finger pointing.

Schell Games, which is behind puzzle game series I Expect You To Die, worked with original Among Us developer Innersloth on the virtual reality version. Among Us VR will be available on Meta Quest 2, Steam VR, PlayStation VR and, when it's available, PSVR 2.

do you own a VR headset?
do you have an internet connection?
do you want to try Among Us VR early?

sign up for Beta Test tasks here and help out the beans!

— Among Us VR (@AmongUsVR) August 3, 2022

Meta Expanding Instagram Support for NFTs to More Than 100 countries - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 12:37
Expect to start seeing more NFTs on Instagram.

Coinbase and BlackRock Unveil Crypto Partnership - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 12:23
The popular exchange will provide access to crypto markets for BlackRock's institutions through Coinbase Prime.