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Updated: 6 min 19 sec ago

Google Gemini chatbots are coming to a customer service interaction near you

Tue, 2024-04-09 08:00

More and more companies are choosing to deploy AI-powered chatbots to deal with basic customer service inquiries. At the ongoing Google Cloud Next conference in Las Vegas, the company has revealed the Gemini-powered chatbots its partners are working on, some of which you could end up interacting with. Best Buy, for instance, is using Google's technology to build virtual assistants that can help you troubleshoot product issues and reschedule order deliveries. IHG Hotels & Resorts is working on another that can help you plan a vacation in its mobile app, while Mercedes Benz is using Gemini to improve its own smart sales assistant. 

Security company ADT is also building an agent that can help you set up your home security system. And if you happen to be a radiologist, you may end up interacting with Bayer's Gemini-powered apps for diagnosis assistance. Meanwhile, other partners are using Gemini to create experiences that aren't quite customer-facing: Cintas, Discover and Verizon are using generative AI capabilities in different ways to help their customer service personnel find information more quickly and easily. 

Google has launched the Vertex AI Agency Builder, as well, which it says will help developers "easily build and deploy enterprise-ready gen AI experiences" like OpenAI's GPTs and Microsoft's Copilot Studio. The Builder will provide developers with a set of tools they can use for their projects, including a no-code console that can understand natural language and build AI agents based on Gemini in minutes. Vertex AI has more advanced tools for more complex projects, of course, but their common goal is to simplify the creation and maintenance of personalized AI chatbots and experiences. 

At the same event, Google also announced its new AI-powered video generator for Workspace, as well as its first ARM-based CPU specifically made for data centers. By launching the latter, it's taking on Amazon, which has been using its Graviton processor to power its cloud network over the past few years. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-gemini-chatbots-are-coming-to-a-customer-service-interaction-near-you-120035393.html?src=rss

Google's new AI video generator is more HR than Hollywood

Tue, 2024-04-09 08:00

For most of us, creating documents, spreadsheets and slide decks is an inescapable part of work life in 2024. What's not is creating videos. That’s something Google would like to change. On Tuesday, the company announced Google Vids, a video creation app for work that the company says can make everyone a “great storyteller” using the power of AI.

Vids uses Gemini, Google’s latest AI model, to quickly create videos for the workplace. Type in a prompt, feed in some documents, pictures, and videos, and sit back and relax as Vids generates an entire storyboard, script, music and voiceover. "As a storytelling medium, video has become ubiquitous for its immediacy and ability to ‘cut through the noise,’ but it can be daunting to know where to start," said Aparna Pappu, a Google vice president, in a blog post announcing the app. "Vids is your video, writing, production and editing assistant, all in one."

In a promotional video, Google uses Vids to create a video recapping moments from its Cloud Next conference in Las Vegas, an annual event during which it showed off the app. Based on a simple prompt telling it to create a recap video and attaching a document full of information about the event, Vids generates a narrative outline that can be edited. It then lets the user select a template for the video — you can choose between research proposal, new employee intro, team milestone, quarterly business update, and many more — and then crunches for a few moments before spitting out a first draft of a video, complete with a storyboard, stock media, music, transitions, and animation. It even generates a script and a voiceover, although you can also record your own. And you can manually choose photos from Google Drive or Google Photos to drop them seamlessly into the video.


It all looks pretty slick, but it’s important to remember what Vids is not: a replacement for AI-powered video generation tools like OpenAI’s upcoming Sora or Runway’s Gen-2 that create videos from scratch from text prompts. Instead. Google Vids uses AI to understand your prompt, generate a script and a voiceover, and stitch together stock images, videos, music, transitions, and animations to create what is, effectively, a souped up slide deck. And because Vids is a part of Google Workspace, you can collaborate in real time just like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Who asked for this? My guess is HR departments and chiefs of staff, who frequently need to create onboarding videos for new employees, announce company milestones, or create training materials for teams. But if and when Google chooses to make Vids available beyond Workspace, which is typically used by businesses, I can also see people using this beyond work like easily creating videos for a birthday party or a vacation using their own photos and videos whenever it becomes available more broadly

Vids will be available in June and is first coming to Workspace Labs, which means you’ll need to opt in to test it. It’s not clear yet when it will be available more broadly.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/googles-new-ai-video-generator-is-more-hr-than-hollywood-120034992.html?src=rss

The Morning After: Tesla settles lawsuit over fatal Model X crash

Tue, 2024-04-09 07:16

Back in 2019, the family of Apple engineer Wei Lun Huang (aka Walter Huang) sued Tesla a year after he was killed when his Model X crashed while Autopilot was engaged. The automaker has settled the lawsuit — on the very day jury selection was supposed to take place. Tesla’s lawyers asked the court to seal the settlement agreement so the payout amount wouldn’t be made public.

Tesla confirmed shortly after the accident that Autopilot was on at the time of the crash, but it also insisted Huang had time to react and had an unobstructed view of the divider. In a statement to the press, the company insisted the driver was at fault, and the only way for the accident to have occurred was if Huang “was not paying attention to the road.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation found Huang running a mobile game but couldn’t confirm if he was holding the phone during impact.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

Google’s long-awaited Find My Device network launches today

Logitech’s tiny G Pro X 60 gaming keyboard has some big competition

NASA will be studying the total solar eclipse. Here’s how you can help

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Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS online servers are gone They lived their life like two candles in the wind. TMAEngadget

Both the Wii U and 3DS’ online servers have been switched off. This means the end of online multiplayer gaming for both consoles, turning Mario Kart 7 for 3DS and the original Splatoon for the Wii U into single-player or couch co-op experiences — AKA the best Mario Kart experience. The first Super Mario Maker is also effectively dead.

Continue reading.

Play Tekken, get free Chipotle Mild salsa for Mishima.

The Chipotle Challenger Series featuring Tekken 8 will kick off on PS5 Tournaments with a qualifier round from April 15 to 26, open to anyone who wants to test their fighting-game skills — or just score some free snacks. All qualifier participants will receive a code for free chips and guacamole from Chipotle. If you’re actually good (at Tekken, not eating Chipotle), there’s a $5,000 prize and a trip for two to Evo 2024 in Las Vegas, plus free Chipotle for a year. Adobo chicken for Asuka, Barbacoa for Bryan Fury, Carnitas for King. I could go on.

Continue reading.

Spotify tests AI-generated playlists based on text prompts Again, it’s trialing features in the UK first.

Spotify is dipping its toe into the world of AI prompts. It announced AI Playlist, a new beta feature for creating playlists with a few words to get into the music vibe you want, such as “an indie folk playlist to give my brain a big warm hug.” Ugh.

The beta is available to Premium subscribers on Android and iOS devices in the United Kingdom and Australia. You can access it through the + button at the top right of your library. Click AI Playlist and let your imagination run wild.

Continue reading.

Fairphone’s repairable wireless earbuds put the industry on notice Swap the Fairbuds’ batteries in 30 seconds. TMAEngadget

The big problem with the boom in true wireless earbuds is they’re pretty much never repairable. Once the batteries wear out, they’re done. Fairphone, however, has built a pair of buds with not only replaceable batteries but easily replaceable ones. The Fairbuds are made of 70 percent recycled and fair materials, while 100 percent of the rare earth elements and tin are recycled. They are €149, and it’s likely we’ll see them in the US at some point, just like its phones.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-tesla-settles-lawsuit-over-fatal-model-x-autopilot-crash-111621559.html?src=rss

The best wireless headphones for 2024: Bluetooth options for every budget

Tue, 2024-04-09 05:00

Over-ear, noise cancelling headphones offer the best mix of sound quality, noise reduction, comfort and extra features that you can get today. But there are dozens to choose from now as the space has gotten more saturated over the past few years. That’s a good thing in part because it’s brought more affordable options with compelling feature sets, but nevertheless, deciding how to spend your money has gotten a bit harder. Engadget reviews dozens of wireless headphones every year and we test out even more to keep our finger on the pulse. In this guide, we’ve highlighted our top picks for the best wireless headphones based on the best mix of features, including overall audio quality, ANC performance, Bluetooth connections, advanced audio tools and more. Our six favorites, which have remained the same since the start of 2024, offer all of the conveniences we’d expect in a set of high-quality wireless headphones, with a range of prices to help you stay within your budget.

How to choose the best wireless headphones for you

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

The next area to consider is features. We recommend trying to get the most bang for your buck, but as you’re shopping around you should determine which items are must-haves and what you can live without. And don’t take basic things like automatic pausing and Bluetooth multipoint connectivity for granted, as not all companies include them. We also suggest reading reviews to see how well a company’s more advanced features work. This will help you decide if those are something you’re willing to (likely) pay extra for. Pay close attention to battery life estimates and don’t be easily swayed by lofty promises about call quality.

Sound can be subjective, so we recommend trying before you buy if at all possible. We understand this isn’t easy at a time when we’re doing most of our shopping online. But trying on a set of headphones and listening to them for a few minutes can save you from an expensive case of buyer’s remorse. We also recommend paying attention to things like Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, 360 Reality Audio and other immersive formats. Not all headphones support them, so you’ll want to make sure a perspective pair does if that sort of thing excites you.

How we test wireless headphones

The primary way we test wireless headphones is to wear them as much as possible. We prefer to do this over a one- to two-week period, but sometimes embargoes don’t allow it. During this time, we listen to a mix of music and podcasts, while also using the earbuds to take both voice and video calls. Since battery life for headphones can be 30 hours or more, we drain the battery with looping music and the volume set at a comfortable level (usually around 75 percent). Due to the longer battery estimates, we’ll typically power the headphones off several times and leave them during a review. This simulates real-world use and keeps us from having to constantly monitor the process for over 24 straight hours.

To judge the best Bluetooth headphones, we consider audio quality by listening to a range of genres, noting any differences in the sound profile across the styles. We also test at both low and high volumes to check for consistency in the tuning. To assess the quality of phone calls, we’ll record audio samples with the headphones’ microphones as well as have third parties call us.

When it comes to features, we do a thorough review of companion apps, testing each feature as we work through the software. Any holdovers from previous models are double checked for improvements or regression. If the headphones we’re testing are an updated version of a previous model, we’ll spend time getting reacquainted with the older set. Ditto for the closest competition for each new set of headphones that we review.

Other wireless headphones we tested AirPods Max

Apple’s AirPods Max are premium, well-designed headphones that incorporate all of the best features you find on standard AirPods: solid noise cancelation, spatial audio and easy Siri access. However, their $550 starting price makes them almost prohibitively expensive, even for those with Apple devices. There are better options available at lower prices.

Sony WH-CH720N

While the WH-CH720N are a great affordable option, we prefer the Audio-Technica in the budget category. Sony’s cans are lightweight with good sound quality, but ANC struggles at times and they’re made with a lot of plastic.

Beats Studio Pro

The Studio Pro lacks basic features like automatic pausing and multipoint connectivity is only available on Android), plus they’re not very comfortable for people with larger heads. Overall sound quality is improved, though, and voice performance on calls is well above average.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra

Bose’s latest flagship model has a lot to offer, but its trademark Immersive Audio feature can be inconsistent across different types of music. There’s still world-class ANC, excellent comfort and a clearer transparency mode, but for the price, the non-Ultra model is a better choice right now.

Master & Dynamic MH40 (2nd gen)

The MH40 are a great set of headphones if you favor crisp, clear and natural sound that isn’t overly tuned. This pair showcases the company’s affinity for leather and metal too, but limited customization and short battery life for non-ANC cans kept this set from making the cut.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8

The company’s trademark pristine sound is on display here, but the Px8 are more expensive and not nearly as comfortable as the Px7 S2.

FAQs How can you tell the quality of headphones?

I typically look at three factors: design, sound quality and features. In terms of design, I’m usually looking to see if the build quality of the headphones feels cheap and plasticky. Plenty of companies use plastic, but they can do so in a way that doesn’t look or feel like budget models. For sound quality, I want to hear a nice, even tuning where highs, mids and lows are all well represented. No overly boomy bass or scooped out mids. I also want good clarity where you can pick up fine details and an open, immersive soundstage. Features is typically a distant third, but if a company doesn’t cover basic functionality (automatic pausing, transparency mode, multipoint Bluetooth, etc.) it can be an indication of overall quality. 

How do I choose the best quality headphones?

“Best” can be pretty subjective, but I always recommend going to a place where you can listen to the headphones you’re thinking about buying before you commit. Sometimes this isn’t possible, so you’ll want to check return policies. I also recommend doing some research to determine what your priorities are in a new set. Are you an audiophile who wants the best sound quality? Is powerful active noise cancellation (ANC) the most important? Would you rather have conveniences like automatic pausing?

Which brand has the best headphones?

Sony consistently tops our list with its 1000X line. This is mostly due to the combination of sound quality, ANC performance and the truckload of features these headphones pack in. I’ll be the first to tell you that there are better sounding options and other companies, like Bose, offer more effective noise cancellation. But when you add everything up, no one comes close to the full slate of tools Sony puts in its premium headphone line.

Do expensive headphones sound better?

Exorbitant price tags don’t mean better audio quality. Bowers & Wilkins’ headphones are on the high end for wireless noise-canceling models and they sound amazing. However, Audio-Technica’s M50xBT2 is much more affordable and doesn’t have ANC, but these headphones have a warm, natural sound profile that I find very inviting. At the end of the day, it will come down to personal preference, but you don’t need to spend a lot to find great headphones.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-headphones-wireless-bluetooth-120543205.html?src=rss

X makes passkey logins available to iOS users worldwide

Tue, 2024-04-09 04:05

X has expanded its support for passkey logins and has made the option available to users around the world, as long as they're accessing the app on an iPhone. The social media company formerly known as Twitter originally launched passkey support for iOS users in the US back in January. Now, the X Safety account has confirmed its global rollout, giving more people the choice to use the login alternative.

Passkeys are considered more secure than passwords, because they're not vulnerable to phishing or social engineering schemes and are resistant to login theft. When users activate and set up a passkey login, they're creating a key pair that will serve as their digital authentication credential. The service offering the login option only has access to one of those keys, which it then has to pair to the other key stored locally on the user's device to verify their identity. The user only has to confirm that they're the one accessing their account through their biometric credentials or device passcode. 

To enable passkeys on X, users will need to fire up their iOS app, and then go to "Settings and privacy" under "Your account." In "Security and account access," they can find Passkey under "Additional password protection." Unfortunately, X didn't say if and when the option will be available for Android users.

Update: Passkeys is now available as a login option for everyone globally on iOS! Try it out.https://t.co/v1LyN0l8wF

— Safety (@Safety) April 8, 2024

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/x-makes-passkey-logins-available-to-ios-users-worldwide-080514995.html?src=rss

Fairphone’s repairable wireless earbuds put the industry on notice

Tue, 2024-04-09 04:00

True wireless earbuds are flimsy, easily lost and prone to battery failure. Given their size and cost, companies would rather you throw them out when they succumb to the inevitable. Fairphone, however, has built a pair of buds with easily replaceable batteries, as well as a swappable cell in the charging case. And, look, if the engineers working at this tiny Dutch company can work this out, then the army of designers in Apple and Samsung’s steel-and-glass cathedrals have no excuse.

Fairbuds are a pair of true wireless earbuds that look like Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, with the outermost surface on both sides being a controller. Fairphone promises six hours of battery life on a charge with an extra 20 hours nestled inside the case. The buds are packing the usual feature list, including ANC, multipoint connectivity as well as an IP54 rating for sweat and water resistance. As usual, the company wants to make the argument (on paper, at least) that just because the devil has the best toys, you can still have fun while wearing a halo.

Fairbuds are the company’s second crack at the true wireless whip after its 2021’s obviously named True Wireless Stereo Earbuds. Those were made with fairtrade gold and 30 percent recycled plastic, but were still more a part of the problem than the solution. At the time, I gave the company grief for launching a product so at odds with its environmental goals. In retrospect, the crap name should have been a clue that these were a stopgap. Since then, the TWS were dumped off, and the company released Fairbuds XL, a pair of over-ear cans that I rather liked.

Fairphone says that the Fairbuds here are made with 70 percent recycled and fair materials, while 100 percent of the rare earth elements and tin are recycled. The company also claims to offer improved pay for factory workers compared to rival manufacturers and works with suppliers to improve working conditions for the people on the production line.

Image of a Fairbud with its battery slider open.Photo by Daniel Cooper / Engadget

I don’t think it’s unfair to say Fairphone prioritizes repairability over look and feel, so these won’t take a podium at the Beautiful Gadget Awards. I had a pair of AirPods Pro on my desk and, sat beside the Fairbuds, the difference between the two is almost comical. Fairbuds’ case is about twice the size and, while the corners are rounded off, it’s still going to be an unwelcome presence in your jeans pocket. It’s not as if there’s acres of wasted space in the case but it’s a product that the armchair designer in me keeps wanting to slim down.

There are other irritations, like the fact the action button is on top of the charging tray but the status light is on the side by the USB-C port. That’s not a deal breaker but you hope these fit and finish issues are the focus for any future version two. But the point of these irritations is that elegance has been sacrificed on the altar of repairability, and that’s why you’d buy a pair.

I probably need to make clear, for the people who will point to the iFixit guides showing you how to swap the battery in an AirPod and a Galaxy Bud that it is possible to do so. But if the guides ask you to use a heat gun, scalpel, vice, pry bar and glue-dissolving solvent, then that’s not an easy job just anyone can do. When I say that you can swap out the battery on each Fairbud with the same level of ease as you could a ‘90s cell phone battery, I mean it.

In fact, my first attempt took all of 30 seconds since all you need to do is get a small, flat-headed screwdriver to slide off the rubber gasket. Once done, you just need to gently pry out the hinged holder and the battery will slide out easily. Swap in a new cell, slide the rubber gasket back in place (if you’re gentle, it mostly plops back into position without any fussing) and you’re done.

Similarly, the charging case has a replaceable battery held in place with a single philips head screw. A few twists and the charging plate pops out, revealing the 500mAh cell underneath, with users able to buy replacement outer shells, charging trays and case batteries. You can also buy eartips, earbuds and earbud batteries from Fairphone’s online parts store.

Image of the Fairbuds case open with the charging plate and battery exposed.Photo by Daniel Cooper / Engadget

It’s likely you’d only want or need to swap the batteries once every three or four years so you won’t benefit from this flexibility on a daily basis. Reading lots of online chatter, a rule of thumb is that most TWS buds last for between two and three years before things start to go wrong. Fairphone, too, offers a three-year warranty on the buds, but I’d hope to see a well-used pair of Fairbuds lasting for twice as long, assuming you don’t lose them in a sewer or leave them in the back of a cab.

Sadly, I can’t be as praiseworthy for the Fairbuds’ sound quality which isn’t as strong as you may hope. They’re not bad by any means, but the default sound profile lacks a dynamism you hear in competitors. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing a lush orchestral piece by Jerry Goldsmith or something beefier, like Korn, you’ll feel the sound is rougher and flatter than other products. It’s like the top and bottom ends of the sounds are being sliced off to keep everything from getting too out of hand.

There are sound profiles in the Fairbuds app that I found similarly lackluster with users able to opt between standard tuning, Bass Boost or Flat. None of them feel distinct. There’s also a Studio option where you can adjust the tuning along eight specific frequency bands. It’s here that you can really improve the sound quality but it’s more time and effort than I’d be happy putting in on a regular basis.

At least the fundamentals are all pretty good: I’ve been testing these for a big chunk of the last five days and I’ve not felt the need to recharge the case battery at all. Even with ANC on, I think I’ve squeezed at least 20 hours out of these things and I’ve still got juice left in the tank. And the ANC itself offers the same background muffling you’ll hear in every other mid-range ANC earbud.

One of the mantras Fairphone has always repeated is that it doesn’t expect to build a phone that will topple the big manufacturers. Its products are designed to appeal to folks who want something a little more ethically made, and to act as a north star for the technology industry more broadly. There are plenty of engineering questions — around durability, bulkiness and ease of use — that linger. But Fairphone’s impact here should be to lay down a challenge to its bigger rivals to use their vast resources to build an earbud that isn’t condemned to live in the trash from the moment it was born.

Fairbuds are making their debut in Europe today from Fairphone as well as a variety of retail partners across the territory. They are priced at €149 and while there’s no word on the matter now, it’s likely that we’ll see them making their way to the US at some point in the future.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fairphones-repairable-wireless-earbuds-put-the-industry-on-notice-080033940.html?src=rss

Logitech’s tiny G Pro X 60 gaming keyboard has some big competition

Tue, 2024-04-09 03:01

Logitech has unveiled the G Pro X 60, its latest mechanical gaming keyboard. Similar to the peripheral maker's G Pro X TKL from last year, this is a wireless model aimed at competitive-minded gamers first and foremost. Unlike that device, it has a smaller 60 percent layout, which means it lacks a dedicated function row, number pad, arrow keys and nav cluster but takes up much less space on a desk. This can be a boon for games because it leaves more room to flick a mouse around while retaining the most common action keys. Naturally, it’s also more portable.

The G Pro X 60 is up for pre-order today for $179 in the US or €229 in Europe. It’s available in three colors (black, white or pink) with either the linear or tactile version of Logitech’s GX Optical switches. The company says it’ll be available at major retailers in “late April.”

I’ve had the keyboard on hand for a few days prior to today’s announcement and have mostly been impressed, though I’d have a hard time calling it a great value.

Let’s start with the good: This thing is well-built. Its aluminum top plate is surrounded by a plastic frame, but it all feels sturdy, with no real flex or give when you press down. Its doubleshot PBT keycaps are pleasingly crisp and should avoid any of the shininess that'd develop with cheaper ABS plastic over time. The legends on the keycaps are neatly printed and transparent, so any RGB backlight effects you set will come through cleanly. All the keys are angled comfortably, and there’s a set of flip-out feet on the back.

A woman in a gray sweater holds up a white Logitech G Pro X 60 gaming keyboard up to the camera with her left hand.Logitech

I’m not crazy about the side-mounted volume roller — once you’ve blessed your keyboard with a full-on rotary knob, it’s hard to give up — but it’s easy to reach with your pinky, so you can adjust volume without having to lift your other fingers during the heat of a game. There’s also a dedicated switch for flipping on Logitech’s “game mode,” which deactivates keys you might otherwise hit by accident; those include the Windows and Fn keys by default, but you can add others through Logitech’s G Hub software. 

The keyboard can connect over a detachable USB-C cable, Bluetooth or a 2.4GHz wireless dongle. Per usual with Logitech gear, the latter’s connection is rock solid; I’ve had none of the hiccups or stuttering I’ve seen with some wireless keyboards from less established brands, particularly when waking the device from sleep. There are buttons to swap between Bluetooth or the 2.4GHz connection built into the board, as well as a handy compartment for stashing the adapter itself. You can also connect the G Pro X 60 and certain Logitech mice simultaneously using one dongle. Logitech rates the battery life at up to 65 hours; that sounds about right based on my testing so far, but the exact amount will fluctuate based on how bright you set the RGB backlight.

The best thing about the G Pro X 60 might have nothing to do with the keyboard at all — it’s the fact that Logitech includes a hard carrying case in the box. More companies should do this! It makes the device much easier to transport.

Alas, this probably isn't a keyboard you’d want to take to the office. The linear GX Optical switches in my test unit feel totally pleasant: They’re fast enough for gaming, and they come pre-lubricated, so each press goes down smoothly. Since they’re optical, and thus not reliant on any physical contact points, they should also prove durable over time.

The side profile of a white Logitech G Pro X 60 gaming keyboard, with its dedicated Game Mode switch in view.Logitech

But they aren’t exactly quiet. Logitech has fit a couple layers of silicone rubber inside the board, but there isn’t the wealth of sound-dampening foam you'd find in some other options in this price range. To peel back the curtain a bit: I received the G Pro X 60 just after testing a bunch of mechanical keyboards for an upcoming buying guide, so I’m a little spoiled on this point. Some people may like the obvious clack of each press here, too. I can’t imagine their coworkers or roommates being as thrilled, though, and some modifier and nav keys like Alt, Ctrl and Tab sound hollower than others.

Besides that, my issues with the G Pro X 60 are more about what's missing than anything the keyboard does wrong. For one, its switches aren’t hot-swappable, so you can’t easily remove and replace them without desoldering. Yes, this is a niche thing, but so are $180 gaming keyboards as a whole. Being able to pop in new switches isn’t just a plus for long-term repairability; it’s half the fun for some keyboard enthusiasts in the first place. Swapping keycaps is straightforward, though. 

Taking a step back, a growing number of the G Pro X 60’s peers have some sort of analog functionality, which means they can respond to varying levels of pressure. The top pick in our gaming keyboard buyer’s guide, the Wooting 60HE+, is a good example: Its magnetic Hall effect sensors let you set custom actuation points, so you can make each key extra sensitive while playing a fast FPS, then make them feel heavier and more deliberate while typing. They also enable a “rapid trigger” feature that lets you repeat inputs faster, which can be helpful for, say, strafing back and forth during an in-game shootout. Other models from Razer and SteelSeries provide similar functionality. But the G Pro X 60 lacks any sort of adjustable actuation or rapid trigger mode. That’s probably not a dealbreaker for most people, but the people who would use those features are the kind of hardcore gamers Logitech is targeting with this device.

Three Logitech G Pro X 60 keyboards -- one white, one pink, and one black -- sit stacked on top of one another against a white background.Logitech

What is here is a new remapping system called “Keycontrol.” Through G Hub, this allows you to assign several different commands or macros to each key, with three separate control layers. This is a convenient way to get around some of the design’s missing keys: I made it so holding Alt temporarily turns WASD into arrow keys, for example. But it also lets you base different actions on whether you press, hold or release a key, so you could tie complementary actions in a game — casting a couple of buffs in an RPG, perhaps — to one press. Some of the analog keyboards noted above can work like this, too, and you need to have G Hub open for some bindings to stay active. Still, it’s better to have this sort of flexibility than not. Logitech says more of its keyboards will receive Keycontrol support in the future but declined to give more specific details.

All of this makes for a keyboard that’s solid in a vacuum but faces some stiff competition. Rival gaming keyboards like the Wooting 60HE+ and SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless are a little richer with performance-focused features, while a slightly larger option like the ASUS ROG Azoth sounds better and offers more customizable hardware for keyboard geeks. There are plenty of great non-gaming keyboards that cost much less, too. But the G Pro X 60 isn’t a bad choice if you want something compact and wireless, so it might be worthwhile during a sale.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/logitechs-tiny-g-pro-x-60-gaming-keyboard-has-some-big-competition-070154542.html?src=rss

The best streaming services in 2024

Tue, 2024-04-09 03:00

There are too many streaming services to keep track of today — and with prices steadily rising, you might be asking yourself if it’s still worthwhile at all to subscribe to these services instead of cable. We share those frustrations but have ultimately decided this oversaturated space offers much more than the basic-cable world that came before it. But now, you have to wade through all of those options and figure out which have the content you want to watch, which fit into your budget, which have the most compelling original series, movies and documentaries, and the best live TV streaming services.

We at Engadget wanted to make that process easier so we’ve compiled a list of the best streaming services you can subscribe to right now, with our favorite picks spanning across all content types and budgets. Should you go out and subscribe to all of the services listed here? Probably not, unless you’re a true cord cutter aching for content. But these are the services that offer the best bang for your buck, regardless of whether you’re a live sports buff, a classic movie lover or a general streaming enthusiast.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-streaming-services-154527042.html?src=rss

Tesla settles lawsuit over fatal Model X crash that killed an Apple engineer

Tue, 2024-04-09 01:47

Back in 2019, the family of Apple engineer Wei Lun Huang (aka Walter Huang) sued Tesla a year after he was killed when his Model X crashed into a median in Mountain View while Autopilot was engaged. That case is officially closed, now that the automaker has settled the lawsuit on the very day jury selection was supposed to take place. According to CNBC and The New York Times, Tesla's lawyers asked the court to seal the settlement agreement so that the exact amount the company paid wouldn't be made public. The company didn't want "other potential claimants (or the plaintiffs' bar) [to] perceive the settlement amount as evidence of Tesla's potential liability for losses, which may have a chilling effect on settlement opportunity in subsequent cases."

Tesla confirmed shortly after the accident that Autopilot was switched on at the time of the crash, but it also insisted that Huang had time to react and had an unobstructed view of the divider. In a statement to the press, the company insisted that the driver was at fault and that the only way for the accident to have occurred was if Huang "was not paying attention to the road, despite the car providing multiple warnings to do so." In the lawsuit, Huang's lawyers pointed to Autopilot marketing materials from Tesla suggesting that its cars are safe enough to use on the road without drivers having to keep their hands on the wheel at all times. We took the image above from a video on Tesla's Autopilot page, showing a driver with their hands on their lap. 

The incident became big enough to attract the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which conducted an investigation and found that Huang previously reported that the car steered away from the highway on prior trips. In fact, his family said that he used to complain about his car swerving towards the exact barrier he crashed into and had even reported it to the Tesla dealership, which couldn't replicate the issue. The agency also concluded that Tesla's collision warning system didn't alert the driver and that its emergency braking system didn't activate as it should have when the car started making its way toward the barrier. 

That said, the NTSB discovered, as well, that Huang was running a mobile game on his phone at the time of the accident. It just couldn't determine whether the phone was in his hands when the crash occurred. The Times said Tesla was preparing to show proof to the court that Huang was playing a game when he crashed, which his lawyers denied. Regardless of who's truly at fault, a trial would've called renewed attention to the safety of Tesla's driver assistance system. Settling puts an end to the case a few months before the company unveils its own robotaxi on August 8.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tesla-settles-lawsuit-over-fatal-model-x-crash-that-killed-an-apple-engineer-054710845.html?src=rss

Nintendo's online servers for Wii U and 3DS shut down today

Mon, 2024-04-08 14:35

We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. Nintendo shut down the online servers for both the Wii U and 3DS today. This means the end of online multiplayer gaming for both consoles, turning Mario Kart 7 for 3DS and the original Splatoon for the Wii U into single player or couch co-op experiences. The first Super Mario Maker is also effectively dead, as there’s no way to browse for and download player-created levels.

Both consoles are relatively controversial. The 3DS was originally considered a lukewarm follow-up to the barn-busting DS, though it eventually became a success in its own right. This was thanks to a glut of incredible titles, from Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to more niche fare like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Fire Emblem Awakening. The portable console also had a robust lineup of online exclusive titles, like Pushmo and BoxBoy!.

The Wii U, on the other hand, never quite found a significant audience and is largely considered one of Nintendo’s biggest missteps. It was the next home console after the culture-defining Wii, so it had large shoes to fill. However, the company went with a name that was an absolute nightmare for the Wii’s core audience of casual gamers. Was it an accessory to the original Wii? A new console? A crappy iPad? Those of us glued to gaming media knew the answer, but the casuals never stood a chance.

There was also the console itself. The company never delivered a compelling use case for the “asymmetric gameplay” offered by the device. Simply put, the Wii U gave you two screens. There was the TV, of course, but also a touchscreen tablet. This was supposed to lead to unique gameplay mechanics that gave the person holding the tablet a different task than those holding traditional controllers, but only a few titles truly explored this concept.

Just like the 3DS, however, the Wii U was buoyed by a robust selection of first-party classics. I found the first-party offerings of the Wii era to be mostly underwhelming, with desperate attempts to shoehorn in finicky and gimmicky waggle. I still get panicked when remembering just how horrible it felt to fly Link around in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The Wii U, on the other hand, brought Nintendo back to a novel concept called “just make good games.”

The console brought us Mario Kart 8, which is still the gold standard for digital kart racing, and the underrated Super Mario 3D World. There was also Super Mario Maker, a great Super Smash Bros. title, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3 and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, among many others.

Even if you never owned a Wii U, you’ve probably played some of these games. Nintendo knew the console itself was a flop, but the games were good. This led to numerous re-releases on the Switch. It’s worth noting that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was originally developed for the Wii U. Also, it had Miiverse! Nintendo, for the love of Bowser, bring back Miiverse. It was the only pure social network.

Of course, there’s a strong case to be made that both the design of the Wii U and its failure led to the Switch. Both devices allow for portable play, but the Wii U required people to be tethered to a bulky console. The Switch, on the other hand, is the (not bulky) console. Nintendo’s smash hybrid has sold 140 million units, as of December. The Wii U sold under 14 million devices throughout its lifespan.

Nintendo already shut down the online stores for the 3DS and Wii U last year, so this is the final goodbye. Luckily, speedrunners managed to actually beat a Super Mario Maker level that was long thought to be impossible just a few days ago. Life always finds a way. Sleep well, my two old friends.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nintendos-online-servers-for-wii-u-and-3ds-shut-down-today-183513670.html?src=rss

Get free Chipotle chips and guac by playing Tekken 8 on PS5

Mon, 2024-04-08 14:02

After nearly seven years of activity across PlayStation 4 and PS5, the PlayStation Tournaments platform is getting its first branded competition, and the name at the top of the screen is smothered in tomatillo-red chili salsa. The Chipotle Challenger Series featuring Tekken 8 will kick off on PS5 Tournaments with a qualifier round from April 15 to 26, open to anyone who wants to test their fighting-game skills — or just score some free snacks. All participants in the qualifier round will receive a code for free chips and guacamole from Chipotle. According to the company's official rules, the freebie must be redeemed alongside a full-priced entrée item, purchased online or in-app only. Also, the offer expires on May 31. But, hey, there's still a clear path to free chips and guac via Tekken 8 playtime here.

The Chipotle Challenger Series continues with the closed qualifier and finals on May 3 and 4. First place takes home $5,000 and a trip for two to Evo 2024 in Las Vegas from July 19 to 21, plus free Chipotle for a year. Looking closer, that offer "consists of Chipotle Rewards credits good for one free regular entrée item per week for a year, or a total of up to fifty-two regular entrée items," which actually sounds much healthier than literally eating Chipotle every day for a year like some of you weirdos were already fantasizing about. 

Second place gets $3,500, a trip for two to Evo, and a $300 Chipotle gift card. Third place receives $2,500 plus a $250 gift card. Monetary payouts stop at 16th place ($475), but 17th through 1,250th (!) place will be awarded a free Chipotle entrée code. 

There's also an official Tekken 8 Battle Bowl (which sounds like a just-fine chicken situation) that you can order from the Chipotle app or website to be automatically entered for a chance to win a Tekken 8 Premium Collector's Edition signed by director Katsuhiro Harada. This deal is live from April 8 to 16.

Technically, it feels possible to put together a whole-ass Chipotle order for free from these prizes, and the only requirement is that you play Tekken 8 through PlayStation Tournaments on PS5. You'll have to be better than 1,249 people to claim the full bounty, but that sounds worth a shot. Good luck, fighters.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/get-free-chipotle-chips-and-guac-by-playing-tekken-8-on-ps5-180239947.html?src=rss

Fly Me To The Moon trailer plays right into Apollo 11 conspiracy theorists' hands

Mon, 2024-04-08 13:45

Fly Me To The Moon is an upcoming comedy-drama from Columbia Pictures and Apple that goes behind the scenes of NASA trying to improve its image while preparing for the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. A trailer makes it seem like a lighthearted, fun time at the movies, though conspiracy theorists may have a field day with one of the key plot points.

Scarlett Johansson plays Kelly Jones, a PR expert who NASA brings in to improve public perception ahead of the launch. Along with butting heads with launch director Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) and turning the crew into global celebrities, Kelly is handed a particularly difficult task: to secretly create a fake version of the Moon landing, just in case the mission goes sideways. 

The rest of the cast, which includes Woody Harrelson, looks solid too. For one thing, the delightful Jim Rash (Community) plays the very much not Stanley Kubrick director of the phony Moon landing. The movie's director is Greg Berlanti, who was behind Love, Simon and a string of DC Comics TV shows.

Fly Me To The Moon will arrive in theaters on July 14, almost 55 years to the day after Apollo 11 launched.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fly-me-to-the-moon-trailer-plays-right-into-apollo-11-conspiracy-theorists-hands-174547851.html?src=rss

TSMC snags $6.6 billion in CHIPS Act funding to open three factories in Arizona

Mon, 2024-04-08 12:59

President Biden’s CHIPS Act money continues to get doled out to semiconductor manufacturers. The White House just announced that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is receiving $6.6 billion in grants to build three fabrication plants, otherwise called fabs, in the region of Phoenix, Arizona. This is in addition to around $5 billion in government loans.

As part of this deal, TSMC agreed to expand its planned investment in Arizona by $25 billion, to $65 billion. The company already announced two of the three factories it is building in the state, with a third promised by 2030. The White House says this represents the largest foreign direct investment in Arizona’s history, with expectations to bring 6,000 high-wage tech jobs and 20,000 construction jobs to the state.

One nifty aspect of these factories is that they’ll allow TSMC to complete every aspect of the chip-making process on US soil, including advanced packaging. I’m not talking about slapping a box and warranty information around the chip. In this context, packaging refers to arranging the various components to build the final product, in addition to adding power, inputs and outputs. As things currently stand, even components that are made in America are sent back to Taiwan for packaging and then mailed across the world yet again for the final sale. These Arizona factories will, eventually, put a stop to all of that jet-setting.

Once all three factories are humming along, they will reportedly manufacture tens of millions of chips to power products like smartphones, autonomous vehicles and, of course, AI datacenter servers. Future iPhones and Macs will use 4nm and 3nm chips made at the Phoenix plants, thanks to a partnership with Apple. TSMC has already reported some delays with the first two factories, but the current plan is for the first fab to be fully operational by next year, with the second to follow in 2028 and the third by 2030.

The White House says this investment, along with other CHIPS Act grants and loans, will turn the US into a global chip-making powerhouse. The federal government suggests that the US will manufacture 20 percent of the world’s leading-edge chips by 2030.

“America invented these chips, but over time, we went from producing nearly 40 percent of the world’s capacity to close to 10 percent, and none of the most advanced chips, exposing us to significant economic and national security vulnerabilities”, said President Biden.

One of the main goals of the CHIPS Act is to lure global chipmakers to build on US soil, and it looks like it’s working. Last week, Samsung announced it would be doubling its investment in Texas to $44 billion, with plans for an ambitious expansion. The multinational semiconductor company GlobalFoundries received a grant of $1.5 billion to help pay for a new fabrication facility in New York that will handle the manufacture of chips for the automotive, aerospace, defense and AI industries. Intel recently received the largest CHIPS grant to date, snatching up to $8.5 billion to continue various US-based operations.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tsmc-snags-66-billion-in-chips-act-funding-to-open-three-factories-in-arizona-165945639.html?src=rss

Drones that charge on power lines may not be the best idea

Mon, 2024-04-08 12:39

Battery life has long been a key limiting factor in drone use. Although there are commercial models that can stay aloft for 45 minutes or longer on a single charge, being able to keep drones in the air for longer would be helpful for many purposes. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have been working on that issue for several years by developing drones that can recharge directly from power lines.

This time around, the scientists attached a gripper system to a Tarot 650 Sport drone, which they customized with a electric quadcopter propulsion system, an autopilot module and other components. When the drone's systems detect that the battery is running low, the device employs its camera and millimeter-wave radar system to pinpoint the closest power line, as New Atlas notes.

The drone then flies up to the power line from underneath, using a pair of inward-sloping arms to guide the cable into the gripper. An inductive charger pulls current from the power line. When the battery is full, the gripper opens and the drone continues on its way.

At the outset, the idea is for drones that inspect power lines to use this charging system. The researchers first showed off a self-charging drone that tops up its battery from power lines in 2022. This time around, they improved the gripper system and demonstrated a real-world use case for the tech.

In a paper they're presenting at next month's IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the team described the project as "to the best of our knowledge, a first-in-the-world system with the ability to sustain operation throughout many inspection/charging cycles powered by energy harvesting from power lines in a real outdoor environment." In arguably the most successful test, the drone stayed aloft for over two hours through five cycles of power line inspection and charging.

Drones have been used for years to monitor and inspect power lines. They're particularly useful in remote areas, such as mountain tops, where examining power lines manually is a tough ask. Still, it's hard not to feel a little uneasy about drones clamping onto power lines. If anything goes wrong and a drone somehow ends up damaging a power line, an entire region could lose electricity. Charging pads for drone exist and may be a safer option, but they'd require extra space for infrastructure.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/drones-that-charge-on-power-lines-may-not-be-the-best-idea-163942109.html?src=rss

Google's long-awaited Find My Device network launches today

Mon, 2024-04-08 12:00

Google has finally launched its long-awaited Find My Device network after teasing it at last year’s I/O event. The technology leverages a crowdsourced network of over a billion Android devices to help people locate lost gadgets, with a basic functionality in line with similar offerings from Apple and Tile. It’s rolling out today to Android users in the US and Canada, with a global release coming soon.

Once installed, people can use the app to locate compatible Android phones and tablets. The tool will cause them to ring at your command and their location will pop up on a map. This map data works even if the items are offline. Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones will appear on the map if they’re powered off or if the battery is completely dead. That sounds pretty handy.

The technology isn’t yet available for everyday items, but that’s coming soon. Bluetooth tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee will get integrated into the Find My Device app in May. This will let users locate just about anything, including car keys, purses, wallets and, hopefully, wandering felines. The upcoming tags are being built specifically for the network.

An image of three new Pebblebee trackers.Google

The Pebblebee offerings include tags, clips and slim cards for wallets. They hit store shelves in late May or early June. Chipolo is making versions of its One Point and Card Point trackers for Android devices, which will arrive in May. Google says more trackers are coming later this year, including products made by Motorola and eufy.

Google’s Find My Device service also integrates with Nest smart home gadgets. If you lose something in the home, the Find My Device app will show you the location of the item in relation to pre-existing Nest devices. This should help provide an “easy reference point” to snatch them back up.

Finally, there’s a nifty feature that lets you share the location of an item with other people, so friends and family can keep an eye on precious belongings. Google says it’ll let folks “easily divide and conquer if something goes missing.” 

The new Find My Device tracking technology works on devices running Android 9 and above. That OS came out in 2018, so it means a whole lot of people will have access to this service. As for compatible products beyond Android devices and Bluetooth tags, the company says future software updates will allow integration with a full range of headphones from JBL and Sony.

Of course, there are the usual privacy concerns with this kind of thing. Google says that users can opt out of the service via a web portal if they feel uncomfortable, according to a story by The Verge. Reports indicate that the technology has been ready for a while, but Google delayed it until Apple implemented tracking protections into iOS to address stalking concerns. To that end, both companies announced a partnership last year to develop industry standards to fight the misuse of tracking devices. Apple applied updated protections against stalking in iOS 17.5, which is still in beta. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/googles-long-awaited-find-my-device-network-launches-today-160014930.html?src=rss

A GoPro Hero 12 bundle with a battery grip is $100 off

Mon, 2024-04-08 10:26

The GoPro Hero 12 already had the promise of a better battery life than its predecessors. When you toss a battery grip into the mix, the company says you'll get over five hours of continuous 4K recording at 30 frames per second (depending on conditions). That's bound to be pretty enticing for those who like to capture as much footage as they can during a day of action sports or travel vlogging. What's even better is that a bundle of the camera and battery grip is on sale for $499 at Amazon and GoPro directly. The bundle is $100 off the regular price and a record low.

Along with 4K footage, you can film in HDR at a resolution of 5.3K at up to 60 frames per second. You can shoot in 4K at up to 120 fps too, while there's 10-bit color support. A vertical capture feature makes it a cinch to shoot footage for apps like TikTok even while the camera is in a horizontal orientation.

GoPro's stabilization tech is in full force here as well, with the company claiming HyperSmooth 6.0 can give you "impossibly smooth footage no matter how rough it gets." A horizon lock option should keep the horizon steady as you move the camera.

There's directional audio support thanks to the microphone on the included Media Mod, which has a 3.5mm mic port and micro HDMI port too. You can also connect AirPods, Bluetooth earbuds and wireless microphones to the camera and even use voice commands..

The battery grip affords you single-hand control over the camera. It has a built-in tripod and you can remove it to operate the GoPro Hero 12 remotely from up to 30 meters (98 feet) away. Along with the battery grip and Media Mod, the bundle includes a self-explanatory Light Mod and Enduro Battery.

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/a-gopro-hero-12-bundle-with-a-battery-grip-is-100-off-142645942.html?src=rss

The Nintendo Switch Lite and 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' bundle drops to $179

Mon, 2024-04-08 09:10

If you want a solid but small portable game console to play as you travel around (or comfortably sit in bed), then you're in luck as our pick for best handheld gaming console for commuting is currently on sale. The Nintendo Switch Lite is discounted to $179, down from $200 — and it comes with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This sale at Walmart brings the bundle to a record-low price.

The Nintendo Switch Lite came out in 2019, and we gave it a 90 in our review. As the name suggests, it's lightweight and more comfortable to hold than the bulkier Switch. The Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch screen, compared to the regular Switch's 6.2-inch, and both have a 720p display. It also offers four hours and 15 minutes of continual use before the battery life runs out.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is all about creating a new civilization right on a deserted island. You can make your own "island paradise" and slowly build a relaxed world for yourself. Plus, the Switch Lite has a Timmy and Tommy Aloha theme to go with the game. A new Switch is rumored to drop in 2025, but this sale is a good opportunity if you've yet to pick one up or need a good gift for someone.

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/the-nintendo-switch-lite-and-animal-crossing-new-horizons-bundle-drops-to-179-131054703.html?src=rss

The Morning After: Apple allows game emulators on the App Store

Mon, 2024-04-08 07:15

Apple, in its latest update to its App Store developer guidelines for iPhones and iPads, flagged by 9to5Mac, says it will allow game console emulators – and even downloadable games.

Apple warns developers, however, they “are responsible for all such software offered in [their] app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.” So don’t expect to play Super Mario, Spyro, or a third game series that starts with an 'S'.

Meanwhile, we have a guide to watching (and recording) the total eclipse in North America later today. The best chance of good viewing along the path of eclipse totality is still in northeastern parts of the US (Buffalo, NY, Burlington, VT) and southeast Canada (Niagara Falls and Montreal).

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

iOS music apps in the EU can now send users to external websites for purchase

Best Buy’s Geek Squad agents say they were hit by mass layoffs this week

Meta asks a judge to throw out an FTC antitrust case

Polestar 4 first look: When no rear window means a better car

​​You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here!

OpenAI and Google may have transcribed YouTube videos to train their AI models If so, they violated YouTube creators’ copyrights.

OpenAI and Google trained their AI models using text transcribed from YouTube videos, potentially violating creators’ copyrights, according to a report from The New York Times. The report centers on how OpenAI, Google and Meta have attempted to maximize the data they can feed to their AIs and cites numerous people with knowledge of the companies’ practices.

Not that these companies relied on the auto-generated (hit-and-miss) auto-transcriptions provided by YouTube itself. Reportedly, OpenAI used its Whisper speech recognition tool to transcribe more than a million hours of YouTube videos to train GPT-4. The report, however, claims people at Google knew but did not act — because Google was doing the same to train its own AI models. Google told NYT it only uses video content from creators who have agreed to it.

Continue reading.

Tesla will unveil a robotaxi on August 8 Musk made the announcement on X.

Hours after Reuters published a report about the automaker scrapping its plans to produce a low-cost EV, Tesla boss Elon Musk took to X to say the company would unveil a robotaxi on August 8. The same report said Musk’s directive was to “go all in” on robotaxis built on the company’s small-vehicle platform.

In response to the report, the Tesla chief tweeted “Reuters is lying (again).” Given he confirmed the robotaxi plans, he could have meant a more affordable Tesla EV was still on the table, at least for now.

Continue reading.

One of these concept lunar vehicles could join NASA’s next moon mission Three companies are in the running. TMANASA

Three companies are pitching lunar vehicle designs to support NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions. The space agency announced this week that it’s chosen Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Venturi Astrolab to develop their lunar terrain vehicles (LTV) in a feasibility study over the next year. The LTV will need to function as both a crewed and uncrewed vehicle, serving sometimes as a mode of transportation for astronauts and other times as a remotely operated explorer. NASA says it’ll contract the chosen vehicle for lunar services through 2039. Take a look at the options.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-apple-allows-game-emulators-on-the-app-store-111454837.html?src=rss

Spotify tests AI-generated playlists based on text prompts

Mon, 2024-04-08 06:31

Spotify is following the lead of many companies over the last year and dipping its toe into the world of AI prompts. The platform has announced AI Playlist, a new beta feature that lets you create playlists with a few words that get into the music vibe you want, such as "an indie folk playlist to give my brain a big warm hug." 

According to Spotify, the AI playlist will accept prompts involving things like animals, movie characters, colors, places, activities and emojis. Examples from Spotify include everything from "sad music for painting dying flowers" to "relaxing music to tide me over during allergy season." It recommends using a mix of characteristics in your prompt to create the ideal playlist for your vibe. 

The AI Playlist beta is available to Premium subscribers on Android and iOS devices in the United Kingdom and Australia. If you fall into that group, access it through the "+" button in the top right of your library. Click AI Playlist and choose an existing prompt or create your own. Spotify will create the playlist, and you can preview it, delete tracks, and provide notes. Once you're happy, click Create, which will save to your library. 

Spotify's AI Playlist comes over a year after Spotify unveiled its AI DJ, which pulls together a selection of music you're currently listening to, previously played and songs it thinks you'll like based on your history. If the songs playing aren't precisely what you're in the mood for, then you can ask the DJ to switch things up. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/spotify-tests-ai-generated-playlists-based-on-text-prompts-103115117.html?src=rss

One of these concept lunar vehicles could join NASA’s Artemis V astronauts on the moon

Sun, 2024-04-07 16:24

Three companies are vying for the opportunity to send their own lunar vehicle to the moon to support NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions. The space agency announced this week that it’s chosen Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Venturi Astrolab to develop their lunar terrain vehicles (LTV) in a feasibility study over the next year. After that, only one is expected to be selected for a demonstration mission, in which the vehicle will be completed and sent to the moon for performance and safety tests. NASA is planning to use the LTV starting with the Artemis V crew that’s projected to launch in early 2030.

The LTV that eventually heads to the moon’s south pole needs to function as both a crewed and uncrewed vehicle, serving sometimes as a mode of transportation for astronauts and other times as a remotely operated explorer. NASA says it’ll contract the chosen vehicle for lunar services through 2039, with all the task orders relating to the LTV amounting to a potential value of up to $4.6 billion. The selected company will also be able to use its LTV for commercial activities in its down time.

Lunar Outpost's Lunar Dawn LTV concept is pictured in a rendering showing it driving on the moonLunar Outpost Venturi Astrolab's concept lunar terrain vehicle, Flex pictured alongside renderings of a solar powered rover and lander on the moonAstrolab

Intuitive Machines, which will be developing an LTV called the Moon Racer, has already bagged multiple contracts with NASA as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, and in February launched its first lander, Odysseus, to the moon to achieve the first commercial moon landing. Venturi Astrolab will be developing a vehicle it’s dubbed Flex, while Lunar Outpost will be working on an LTV called Lunar Dawn. All must be able to support a crew of two astronauts and withstand the extreme conditions of the lunar south pole. 

 “We will use the LTV to travel to locations we might not otherwise be able to reach on foot, increasing our ability to explore and make new scientific discoveries,” said Jacob Bleacher, a chief exploration scientist at NASA.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/one-of-these-concept-lunar-vehicles-could-join-nasas-artemis-v-astronauts-on-the-moon-202448277.html?src=rss

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