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Updated: 47 min 24 sec ago

GM will limit warranty transfers and ban buyers from flipping Hummer EVs

Sat, 2022-07-30 11:11

GM doesn't want people buying some of its newer and most sought-after models, such as the GMC Hummer EV, to quickly sell them for a profit. The automaker is implementing several aggressive measures meant to discourage the practice, even if it ends up losing the company some customers. In a letter obtained by Corvette Blogger, Steve Carlisle, GM President for North America, told the GM Dealership team that the company is "limiting the transferability of certain warranties" if the vehicle being resold was purchased within the past 12 months. Further, GM will ban the seller from "placing future sold orders or reservations for certain high demand models (as identified by GM)."

Carlisle said the models affected by this new rule are the GMC Hummer EVs (SUT and SUV), the 23MY Cadillac Escalade-V and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. GM has been struggling to keep up with the demand for its electric Hummer vehicles, and the company said it's because it was developed from scratch and was built on top of its new Ultium EV platform. According to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month, GM has only been producing up to a dozen electric Hummers a day. A spokesperson told the publication that the company's output will increase sharply in the second half of the year, but the automaker has over 70,000 reservations for the vehicle, and some people may run out of patience and just purchase from a reseller. 

"When vehicles are quickly resold, particularly by unauthorized dealers or other resellers that do not adhere to GM's standards, the customer experience suffers and GM's brands are damaged," Carlisle said, explaining the reason behind the automaker's decision. "These changes are being implemented to ensure an exemplary customer experience, to ensure our brands remain strong, and to help prioritize ownership by brand enthusiasts and loyal customers."

In addition to these particular measures, GM also recently announced that it's giving $5,000 in reward points to customers who keep their eighth-generation Corvette Z06 sports car for a year.

Samsung's 'Repair Mode' keeps your data hidden from technicians

Sat, 2022-07-30 10:37

With stories of hackers selling personal information in bulk on forums becoming more common, it can be stressful to send your device for repair. Yes, you could wipe your phone, but then you have to go through the hassle of restoring it afterward. Now, Samsung has introduced a solution for that issue in the form of a new function called "Repair Mode." 

According to a Korean announcement first spotted by SamMobile, you can activate the new mode under "Battery and Device Care" in Settings. Samsung didn't explain the technology behind the feature, but when activated, it will hide your personal information, photos, messages and linked accounts. Only the device's pre-installed apps will be visible to the technician. To regain access to your data, you simply have to disable Repair Mode and use pattern or fingerprint recognition to authenticate your identity. 

Seeing as Samsung has yet to announce the feature outside Korea, it's most likely safe to say that it's only available in the company's home country at the moment. Further, it's only available on the Galaxy S21 series phones for now. However, the company says it will roll out Repair Mode to other models — and hopefully to other regions — in the future. 

Recommended Reading: What's next for DALL-E 2?

Sat, 2022-07-30 10:00
Tech's new frontier raises a “buffet of unwanted questions”

Charlie Warzel, Galaxy Brain/The Atlantic

Warzel dives into questions about DALL-E 2 in his newsletter for The Atlantic, many of which have been voiced by others. Those include what it could mean for the future of art and the potential commercial ambitions of OpenAI, the company that created it.

Computer lab week

Polygon

Enjoy a bit of nostalgia this weekend with pieces like "Type to Learn became a battle royale in our computer lab" and "Artists somehow keep making masterpieces with Kid Pix and MS Paint." 

‘Operating with increased intensity’: Zuckerberg leads Meta into next phase

Mike Isaac, The New York Times

Before Meta's dismal earnings report this week, there was news of how CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to revitalize the company as it focuses on the metaverse. 

Facebook faces suspension in Kenya over ethnic-based hate speech

Sat, 2022-07-30 07:16

Kenya's National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), a government agency that aims to eradicate ethnic or racial discrimination among the country's 45 tribes, has given Facebook seven days to tackle hate speech related to next month's election on its platform. If the social media fails to do so, it faces suspension in the country. The agency's warning comes shortly after international NGO Global Witness and legal non-profit Foxglove released a report detailing how Facebook approved ads written to instigate ethnic violence in both English and Swahili.

The organizations joined forces to conduct a study testing Facebook's ability to detect hate speech and calls for ethnic-based violence ahead of the Kenyan elections. As Global Witness explained in its report, the country's politics are polarized and ethnically driven — after the 2007 elections, for instance, 1,300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands more had to flee their homes. A lot more people use social media today compared to 2007, and over 20 percent of the Kenyan population is on Facebook, where hate speech and misinformation are major issues.

The groups decided not to publish the exact ads they submitted for the test because they were highly offensive, but they used real-life examples of hate speech commonly used in Kenya. They include comparisons of specific tribal groups to animals and calls for their members' rape, slaughter and beheading. "Much to our surprise and concern," Global Witness reported, "all hate speech examples in both [English and Swahili] were approved." The NCIC said the NGOs' report corroborates its own findings. 

After the organizations asked Facebook for a comment regarding what it had discovered and hence made it aware of the study, Meta published a post that details how it is preparing for Kenya's election. In it, the company said it has built a more advanced content detection technology and has hired dedicated teams of Swahili speakers to help it "remove harmful content quickly and at scale." To see if Facebook truly has implemented changes that has improved its detection system, the organizations resubmitted its test ads. They were approved yet again. 

In a statement sent to both Global Witness and Gizmodo, Meta said it has taken "extensive steps" to "catch hate speech and inflammatory content in Kenya" and that the company is "intensifying these efforts ahead of the election." It also said, however, that there will be instances where it misses things " as both machines and people make mistakes."

Global Witness said its study's findings follow a similar pattern it previously uncovered in Myanmar, where Facebook played a role in enabling calls for ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims. It also follows a similar pattern the organization unearthed in Ethiopia wherein bad actors used the Facebook to incite violence. The organizations and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen are now calling on Facebook to implement the "Break the Glass” package of emergency measures it took after the January 6th, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. They's also asking the social network to suspend paid digital advertisements in Kenya until the end of the elections on August 9th. 

TikTok is testing more mini-games, including one from Aim Lab

Fri, 2022-07-29 16:19

TikTok is conducting a broader test of games in its all-conquering app. The company recently added a way for creators in some markets (including the US) to append one of nine mini-games to a video by tapping the Add Link button and choosing the MiniGame option. When viewers come across a video that links to a game, they can start playing it by tapping a link next to the creator's username.

“Currently, we’re exploring bringing HTML5 games to TikTok through integrations with third-party game developers and studios," a TikTok spokesperson told TechCrunch. One of the games is from Aim Lab, the maker of a popular aim training app of the same name. Its TikTok game is called Mr. Aim Lab’s Nightmare. TikTok's other partners on the initiative include developers Voodoo, Nitro Games, FRVR and Lotum.

Click here on mobile to play Mr Aim Lab's Nightmare! https://t.co/UTHBXLVJuK

— Aim Lab (@aimlab) July 28, 2022

None of the games have ads or in-app purchases at the minute and the project is in the early stages of testing. TikTok is looking to find out how (or if) creators craft content around them, and how users interact with the games. As The Verge notes, users can record their gameplay and share it in a fresh video.

Reports in recent months suggested TikTok was readying for a major push into gaming. Parent company ByteDance bought game developer Moonton Technology last year. TikTok teamed up with Zynga for an exclusive mobile game called Disco Loco 3D; a charity game called Garden of Good, through which players can trigger donations to Feeding America, became available on the US version of TikTok in June. TikTok previously tested HTML5 games in Vietnam.

Other major tech companies have made a push into mobile gaming, including Apple, Google and, more recently, Netflix. Zynga, of course, became a social gaming giant with the help of Facebook's massive reach, while Facebook moved into cloud gaming in 2020. It's no secret that Meta is trying to ape many of TikTok's features across its apps, so it's interesting to see TikTok taking a leaf out of Facebook's playbook on the gaming front.

Free AI tool restores old photos by creating slightly new loved ones

Fri, 2022-07-29 15:05

You can find AI that creates new images, but what if you want to fix an old family photo? You might have a no-charge option. Louis Bouchard and PetaPixel have drawn attention to a free tool recently developed by Tencent researchers, GFP-GAN (Generative Facial Prior-Generative Adversarial Network), that can restore damaged and low-resolution portraits. The technology merges info from two AI models to fill in a photo's missing details with realistic detail in a few seconds, all the while maintaining high accuracy and quality.

Conventional methods fine-tune an existing AI model to restore images by gauging differences between the artificial and real photos. That frequently leads to low-quality results, the scientists said. The new approach uses a pre-trained version of an existing model (NVIDIA's StyleGAN-2) to inform the team's own model at multiple stages during the image generation process. The technique aims to preserve the "identity" of people in a photo, with a particular focus on facial features like eyes and mouths.

You can try a demo of GFP-GAN for free. The creators have also posted their code to let anyone implement the restoration tech in their own projects.

This project is still bound by the limitations of current AI. While it's surprisingly accurate, it's making educated guesses about missing content. The researchers warned that you might see a "slight change of identity" and a lower resolution than you might like. Don't rely on this to print a poster-sized photo of your grandparents, folks. All the same, the work here is promising — it hints at a future where you can easily rescue images that would otherwise be lost to the ravages of time.

DeepMind's AI has now catalogued every protein known to science

Fri, 2022-07-29 14:51

In late 2020, Alphabet's DeepMind division unveiled its novel protein fold prediction algorithm, AlphaFold, and helped solve a scientific quandary that had stumped researchers for half a century. In the year since its beta release, half a million scientists from around the world have accessed the AI system's results and cited them in their own studies more than 4,000 times. On Thursday, DeepMind announced that it is increasing that access even further by radically expanding its publicly-available AlphaFold Protein Structure Database (AlphaFoldDB) — from 1 million entries to 200 million entries.

Alphabet partnered with EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) for this undertaking, which covers proteins from across the kingdoms of life — animal, plant, fungi, bacteria and others. The results can be viewed on the UniProt, Ensembl, and OpenTargets websites or downloaded individually via GitHub, "for the human proteome and for the proteomes of 47 other key organisms important in research and global health," per the AlphaFold website.

"AlphaFold is the singular and momentous advance in life science that demonstrates the power of AI," Eric Topol, Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, siad in a press statement Thursday. "Determining the 3D structure of a protein used to take many months or years, it now takes seconds. AlphaFold has already accelerated and enabled massive discoveries, including cracking the structure of the nuclear pore complex. And with this new addition of structures illuminating nearly the entire protein universe, we can expect more biological mysteries to be solved each day."

AlphaFold has been leveraged in a number of applications, from advancing Leprosy and Chagas Disease research to conserving honeybees and addressing plastic pollution. DeepMind has also developed AIs that can outmatch top human players, master games without even knowing the rules and even improve traffic patterns. DeepMind's co-founder, Mustafa Suleyman, left the company in January in order to launch a new venture, Inflection.AI, with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, shortly before accusations of ongoing sexual harassment were leveled at the company by a former employee.

Tim Hortons wants to settle location-tracking lawsuits with coffee and doughnuts

Fri, 2022-07-29 14:33

Tim Hortons has agreed to settle multiple class action lawsuits that accused the company of tracking customers' locations through its app without consent. Under the proposed settlement, which requires a judge's approval, eligible customers in Canada will receive a free hot drink and baked good. In other words, in exchange for your location data, the restaurant chain will give you coffee and a doughnut.

In an email to customers, the company said it will delete any geolocation data it obtained from them between April 1st, 2019 and September 30th, 2020, and tell third-party vendor Radar Labs to do the same. An investigation conducted by Canadian privacy officials determined last month that the Tim Hortons app was tracking and recording users' locations every few minutes, even when they didn't have the app open. The probe determined that the company and Radar Labs didn't have sufficient consent from users for that level of tracking. 

Tim Hortons has not admitted to any wrongdoing and isn't believed to have misused the data. It also avoided disciplinary action.

Valve says it will ship all current Steam Deck reservations by the end of 2022

Fri, 2022-07-29 13:33

If you’ve been patiently waiting for Valve to ship that Steam Deck you reserved months ago, you may not have to wait too much longer to get your hands on the device. The company claims it will be able to fulfill all current Steam Deck reservations by the end of the year.

Valve says that many of its supply chain issues are easing and it’s able to continue increasing production. It has moved some people’s scheduled deliveries up to the third quarter (i.e. between now and the end of September). All other outstanding reservations are now scheduled for delivery in Q4. People who lock in a reservation right now should still be able to get one in time for the holiday season. After Valve reaches its capacity for that period, it will start filling up the delivery queue for early 2023. 

The update comes a month after Valve said it was doubling the number of weekly Steam Deck shipments. This is a rare sliver of positive news for a sought-after piece of gaming hardware, given the supply chain problems that have stymied PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X production. Who knows? We might even see the Steam Deck on retail shelves before too long.

Great news: Everyone who currently has a reservation can get their Steam Deck by the end of this year! We’ve cleared up supply chain issues, a bunch of folks got moved up to Q3, and all other reservations are now in Q4.

More details here:https://t.co/Xj2yEHqpKZpic.twitter.com/floa2xZelK

— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) July 29, 2022

Blue Origin's next crewed spaceflight is scheduled for August 4th

Fri, 2022-07-29 12:46

Blue Origin has revealed when New Shepard's sixth crewed flight will take place. The NS-22 mission (New Shepard's 22nd launch overall) is set for August 4th, which is two months to the day after its previous spaceflight. The launch window opens at 9:30AM ET.

The company recently announced the passengers who will travel to the edge of space this time around. Among them are engineer Sara Sabry and entrepreneur Mário Ferreira, who will be the first Egyptian and Portuguese people to visit space, respectively. Mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, meanwhile, will become the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, venture to Challenger Deep (believed to be the deepest point of the ocean) and cross the Kármán line — the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space.

The crew also includes Coby Cotton, a cofounder of the popular trickshot and comedy YouTube channel Dude Perfect, and telecoms executive Steve Young. The sixth passenger is Clint Kelly III, who started the Autonomous Land Vehicle project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the 1980s. Blue Origin notes that Kelly is credited with creating the technology base that paved the way for modern self-driving vehicles.



The Pyramids of Egypt represent Sara Sabry’s heritage and celebrate her accomplishment as the country’s first astronaut.  

The Mariana Trench represents Vanessa O’Brien’s feat in reaching Challenger Deep, Earth’s deepest point.  

The crew capsule is depicted as a basketball, symbolizing Dude Perfect’s trick shots and Coby Cotton’s role in co-founding the company. 

Magellan’s ship represents Mário Ferreira’s Portuguese heritage and lifelong passion for adventure.  

The fish swimming below Magellan’s ship symbolize Steve Young’s passion for fishing. 

The stagecoach represents Clint Kelly III’s aspirations for humanity’s reach into the new frontier of space.  

New Shepard’s booster and the West Texas mountains are also represented in the patch.Blue Origin

Twitter warns of 'record highs' in account data requests

Fri, 2022-07-29 12:40

Twitter has published its 20th transparency report, and the details still aren't reassuring to those concerned about abuses of personal info. The social network saw "record highs" in the number of account data requests during the July-December 2021 reporting period, with 47,572 legal demands on 198,931 accounts. The media in particular faced much more pressure. Government demands for data from verified news outlets and journalists surged 103 percent compared to the last report, with 349 accounts under scrutiny.

The largest slice of requests targeting the news industry came from India (114), followed by Turkey (78) and Russia (55). Governments succeeded in withholding 17 tweets.

As in the past, US demands represented a disproportionately large chunk of the overall volume. The country accounted for 20 percent of all worldwide account info requests, and those requests covered 39 percent of all specified accounts. Russia is still the second-largest requester with 18 percent of volume, even if its demands dipped 20 percent during the six-month timeframe.

The company said it was still denying or limiting access to info when possible. It denied 31 percent of US data requests, and either narrowed or shut down 60 percent of global demands. Twitter also opposed 29 civil attempts to identify anonymous US users, citing First Amendment reasons. It sued in two of those cases, and has so far had success with one of those suits. There hasn't been much success in reporting on national security-related requests in the US, however, and Twitter is still hoping to win an appeal that would let it share more details.

Calls for data spiked starting in early 2020, and this latest transparency report indicates that they're only continuing to climb. Twitter sees the attempts to target journalists as a mounting threat to freedom of the press. We'd add that the situation is volatile, at least in the near term. Russia cut off access to Twitter following that country's invasion of Ukraine, and the company is suing India to resist an order to block accounts. Don't be surprised if the next report paints a significantly different picture.

How easy is it to upgrade a Framework laptop?

Fri, 2022-07-29 12:00

Framework sold its eponymous laptop on the promise that end users should feel comfortable enough to fix almost any hardware problem themselves. Replacing a component shouldn’t be the reserve of dedicated service professionals if all you need is a T5 screwdriver and patience.

When the company released its new 12th-generation Intel Core mainboards, it couriered over a new board which could be inserted into last year’s model. And given that I don’t consider myself to be a very confident DIY-er, it made sense for me to put Framework’s promises to the test.

As you can see in the video below, laptops aren’t yet at the stage where you can pull components out as if they were Lego bricks. Although I think the industry is missing a trick by not making these components a lot simpler to assemble by standardizing the connections.

That said, one of the biggest hurdles was the ZIF connectors, which briefly made me wonder if I was really cut out for tech journalism. Those little lay-flat ribbons may be great for space but they’re a nightmare if you’ve got big hands and poor eyesight.

But, as I said when the new hardware was released, it’s empowering just how easy this stuff can be, more or less, if companies make even the smallest bit of effort. I was able to do this, talk to the camera (which probably slowed me down by quite a bit) and not blow myself up. And if I can do this, then surely you can too.

Amazon's Echo drops to $60, plus the rest of the week's best tech deals

Fri, 2022-07-29 11:45

We saw a number of gadgets go on sale this week as July comes to a close. Both Amazon's Echo smart speaker and the Echo Show 5 have been discounted, with the Echo now down to the same price as it was on Prime Day earlier this month. The Apple TV 4K is nearly $50 off and down to $130, and you can save $300 on the 16-inch MacBook Pro as well. DJI's Action 2 combo pack remains on sale for $279, and if you're on the market for a new smartphone, Amazon will give you a free $50 gift card when you buy the new Google Pixel 6a. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

Amazon Echo

Amazon's full-sized Echo speaker is down to $60, which is a return to its Prime Day price. We gave it a score of 89 for its solid audio quality, handy Alexa capabilities and its built-in Zigbee smart home hub.

Buy Echo at Amazon - $60Echo Show 5

The Echo Show 5 smart display is on sale for $40 right now, or only $5 more than it was on Prime Day last week. We gave the device a score of 87 for is compact, minimalist design, good audio quality and tap-to-snooze feature.

Buy Echo Show 5 at Amazon - $40Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4K is back in stock at Amazon and on sale for $130. While not quite as cheap as it was on Prime Day last week ($109), this remains one of the best prices we've seen no our favorite high-end set-top box. We gave the device a score of 90 for its fast performance, Dolby Vision and Atmos support, HomeKit integration and much-improved Siri remote.

Buy Apple TV 4K at Amazon - $13016-inch MacBook Pro

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is down to $2,199, or $300 off its usual price. We gave it a score of 92 for its powerful performance, lovely Liquid Retina XDR displays and new bevy of ports.

buy 16-inch MacBook Pro at Amazon - $2,199Blink Outdoor + Blink Mini

Amazon includes a free Blink Mini camera when you buy a Blink Outdoor kit, so you'll save $35 in total on the bundle. Blink cameras are a relatively affordable way to outfit your home with security cameras — all of them record 1080p video and support two-way audio and motion alerts. The Outdoor cameras are wireless and weather-resistant, while the Blink Mini is a smaller, wired camera that's designed to fit into tight spaces inside your home.

Buy Blink Outdoor + Blink Mini at Amazon - $100Echo Show 15 + Echo Show 5

A bundle that includes the Echo Show 15 smart display and the Echo Show 5 is on sale for $250, which essentially means you're getting the Show 5 for free. The Show 15 is the most unique of Amazon's smart displays as it's a large TV-like device that you can mount on the wall and that will show you things like calendar events, reminders, shopping lists and more. It also lets you video chat and watch shows and movies from services like Netflix, Prime Video and others. The Echo Show 5 is one of our favorite smaller smart displays thanks to its compact design, decent audio quality and useful tap-to-snooze feature.

Buy Echo Show 15 bundle at Amazon - $250DJI Action 2 Power ComboDJI Action 2 cameraDJI

DJI's Action 2 Power Combo bundle is still 33 percent off and down to $279. The pack includes the Action 2 camera, a magnetic protective case and a battery module. DJI introduced the Action 2 last year as a total redesign of its Osmo Action cams, and it has a super compact design along with a 12-megapixel sensor that can capture 4K video at up to 120fps.

Buy DJI Action 2 bundle at Amazon - $279Google Pixel 6a + Amazon gift cardGoogle Pixel 6a rear camerasSam Rutherford/Engadget

Google's newest smartphone, the Pixel 6a, comes with a free $50 Amazon gift card when you order the handset through the online retailer. From now through August 7, you'll get the gift card at no extra cost — just click the "Add both to cart" option under the "Special offers and product promotions" section that's underneath the phone's description. We gave the Pixel 6a a score of 89 for its attractive design, great cameras and long battery life.

Buy Pixel 6a + gift card at Amazon - $449Instant Pot Vortex Plus air fryerInstant Pot Vortex Plus air fryerInstant Pot

The 6-quart Instant Pot Vortex Plus air fryer is still 38 percent off and down to only $99. This is a slightly older version of one of our favorite air fryers, and we like that it has six different cook modes including air fry, broil and dehydrate, and that it has a clear window on its drawer that lets you check out your food while it's cooking.

Buy Instant Pot Vortex Plus at Amazon - $99Logitech Litra GlowLogitech's new Litra Glow streamer light gets its first discountMark Anthony Reyes/Engadget

Logitech's Litra Glow soft light for streaming is on sale for $50 right now, or $10 off its normal price. Unveiled earlier this year, the Litra Glow is produces light that's designed to be easy on the eyes so you can keep it on for multi-hour streams. It comes with five different brightness and color temperature presets, but you can also create your own using Logitech's G Hub software.

Buy Litra Glow at Amazon - $50Solo StoveA Solo Stove fire pit sitting on grass next to fire wood and an American flag at a backyard party.Solo Stove

Solo Stove's summer sale knocks up to $350 off fire pits, so you can grab one for as low as $200. The discounts translate to $100 off the Ranger, $180 off the Bonfire and $350 off the Yukon. We like these fire pits because their double-walled designs minimize smoke while keeping the fire hot, and they're sleek and relatively portable, too.

Shop fire pits at Solo StoveSamsung 980 Pro SSD

The Samsung 980 Pro SSD in 1TB that comes with a heatsink is on sale for $150, or 35 percent off its usual price. We like this PS5-compatible drive for its standard design, sequential read speeds up to 7,000MB/s and handy optimization software.

Buy Samsung 980 Pro (1TB, with heatsink) at Amazon - $150Crucial MX500 SSD

Crucial's MX500 in 1TB is on sale for $85 when you clip the on-page coupon that knocks $5 off its $90 sale price. It’s a good option if you need a standard 2.5-inch drive that works with both laptops and desktops. It also has AES-256 bit hardware encryption and integrated power loss immunity to protect your data.

Buy Crucial MX500 (1TB) at Amazon - $85PNY XLR8 CS3040 SSD

Another one of our favorite PS5 SSDs, the PNY XLR8 CS3040, has dropped to $105. It's an already affordable drive made even better by this sale, and we like its 5,600 MB/s read speeds and its five-year warranty.

Buy PNY XLR8 CS3040 (1TB) at Amazon - $105OnePlus 9

The OnePlus 9 smartphone is 32 percent off and down to $500, which is the lowest price we've seen for it. We gave the handset a score of 88 when it came out last year for its fantastic display, excellent performance and improved main camera.

Buy OnePlus 9 at Amazon - $500

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Twitter trial against Elon Musk begins October 17th

Fri, 2022-07-29 11:37

Twitter now has an exact start date for its trial against Elon Musk over his attempt to withdraw from his $44 billion purchase offer. The Vergenotes Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Kathaleen McCormick has scheduled the lawsuit's trial for October 17th. The courtroom showdown will last the promised five days, wrapping up on October 21st.

The timing represents a slight compromise. Twitter had pressed for a four-day trial starting in September. The social media firm's shareholder vote on the takeover is slated for September 13th. Musk's attorneys wanted to push the trial to February 2023, arguing that they needed more time to collect and interpret data on Twitter's volume of fake accounts and bots.

The move ultimately favors Twitter. It only has to wait a few months for a ruling. If Musk's team isn't finished combing through data by October, the company may also strengthen its argument that the Tesla chief rushed his offer and doesn't have enough information to level accusations of deceit. That, in turn, may let Twitter either force completion of the deal or demand compensation for a broken agreement.

Analogue Pocket's first major update should finally unlock its potential

Fri, 2022-07-29 11:00

It’s been a longer wait than we’d hoped, but the first major software update for the Analogue Pocket is finally here. It’s still a beta version so not everything is fully fleshed out, but you’ll at least be able to get a taste of the company’s vision for its fledgling OS. The beta does include a taste of the “reference” Library, much-improved game saves and, most excitingly, a glimpse at how third-party developers can use the Pocket to emulate consoles beyond the ones it already does.

Analogue OS 1.1

“Memories,” as Analogue calls save-states, still aren’t complete, but you can at least save a respectable 128 different game states which is a vast improvement on the minimal offering at launch (one slot for just one game total). You can create saves for any game, be that physical cartridge, or any “.pocket” GB Studio files you have (like Deadeus). The method for making a save is the same as before (Up+Analogue button) and you can recall a list of saves during play with Down+Analogue button. If you prefer to start from the last save point immediately, you can activate that in options also (rather than choosing from a list).

What you can’t do is keep updating the last save as you go along (think “save slots” in most emulators). Every new save will be a separate file and you’ll manage them individually. They show up in a long list which details the platform for the game you were playing (Game Boy, Game Gear etc.) the game’s title and date/time of the save.

Right now you can pull up Memories from the main menu (before loading a game), but choosing a save that corresponds to the cartridge in the slot doesn’t take you directly there (it’s grayed out), you have to load the game first. Analogue says that saves/Memories will soon have a screenshot attached and will be sortable in a variety of ways to make the experience much smoother in the full release this September.

The Analogue Pocket gaming handheld showing the new James Trew / Engadget

What wasn’t in the OS at launch at all was the “Library” feature. All we knew was that it had the lofty goal of being a complete reference of all gaming history. From within that you’d see artwork for titles along with what company made the game, for what platform, what year and even what region or version you had inserted in the cartridge slot. In today’s beta, the Library is more of a splash screen before the game loads. Analogue says you’ll even be able to add your own image to a game in the Library, but again, expect that in the final release.

All the cartridges I tested had the correct details with a screenshot, but the information is limited (no mention of what year or version of the game I have etc.). Of course we’re excited to see how this scales up once it’s fully integrated, but for now it’s a pleasant stop along the way to playing a game. It’s worth noting that, as is, it only applies to cartridges and not titles launched from the GB Studio section (such as the aforementioned Deadeus which is a full game that Analogue made available for the Pocket at launch).

On a more practical note, Analogue has added support for more third-party controllers for when playing through the TV via the dock. To be fair, even though the officially supported list at launch was short (three 8Bitdo models plus the PS4 and Switch controllers), many more did still work. As of this release the number of 8Bitdo controllers supported jumps to 15 and PS5 owners can now use their DualSense, too, if they wish.

OpenFPGA

One of the more interesting features of the Pocket at launch was the presence of a spare FPGA chip. Analogue’s hardware doesn’t use software emulation, instead it uses a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) to emulate consoles at the hardware level with cores — instructions for the FPGA that configure it to mimic a specific system. Analogue pledged that others would be able to develop cores for the Pocket, and today we see the first example of that.

The Analogue Pocket gaming handheld shown with the first third party-developed core. This core allows Pocket owners to play one of the first every videogames - Spacewar!James Trew / Engadget

A core for the PDP-1 has been created for the Pocket allowing you to play one of the very first videogames — Spacewar! — from 1962. As you can imagine, the game is very simple and doesn’t really tax the Pocket, but it’s a fitting first example for a console that wants to celebrate the history of gaming. And this should really just be the start of something more exciting as other developers – which can be anyone – get onboard.

What’s more of a surprise is that the entirety of the Pocket’s hardware appears to be open to developers. Initially, it was thought that the Pocket’s main FPGA would be kept for Analogue and the less powerful second FPGA was there to be tinkered with. But the company's founder, Christopher Taber, confirmed to Engadget that "developers will be capable of implementing totally decentralized cores as far as they can push Pocket's hardware ... roughly up to the 32-bit generation.”

Best of all, we might not even have to wait very long to see what comes along. “Many third-party developers have had their hands on openFPGA for some time now and you can expect a plethora of new amazing things being publicly released by them shortly on/after July 29th”, Taber told Engadget, before concluding: “We are not f***ing around with this.”

Senate bill aims to restore net neutrality, including throttling safeguards

Fri, 2022-07-29 10:45

Politicians are making another attempt to restore net neutrality rules. Democrat Senators Ed Markey and Ron Wyden have introduced a Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act that would classify broadband internet as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act. The move would let the FCC restore net neutrality protections repealed by the Ajit Pai-era Commission in December 2017, including safeguards against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization for data traffic.

The bill would also help the FCC institute policies that improve accessibility, safety and "close the digital divide," according to Markey's statement. Another 28 senators, including independent Bernie Sanders and prominent Democrats like Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, are co-sponsors. California Representative Doris Matsui is sponsoring an equivalent bill in the house. The measure has the endorsement of civil rights and activist groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

I am excited to introduce the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act, legislation that will codify what we already know to be true: in 2022, broadband isn't a luxury. Broadband is essential. pic.twitter.com/V8q19y4AwP

— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) July 28, 2022

Democrats have tried to revive net neutrality before with efforts like 2019's Save the Internet Act. As Markey explained to The Register, though, they're trying a different strategy. The new bill is purposefully short at just two pages long — that brevity gives the FCC the regulatory power to adapt to the "changing nature of the internet," the senator said. Previous attempts tried to enshrine specific rules in law.

The Act's survival is far from certain, though. It needs to advance beyond a Senate committee, and Congress will go into recess during August. A Senate vote might not succeed unless Democrats can pass the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster, and the House bill isn't guaranteed to pass if it comes up for a vote after the November midterm elections.

The FCC isn't guaranteed to resurrect net neutrality even if the bill becomes law, for that matter. The Commission is currently deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans. Nominee Gigi Sohn still hasn't been confirmed. An FCC vote on neutrality-related policy changes could easily fail, even though the agency would have the authority (and effectively the obligation) to reinstitute consumer protections.

Snapchat will pay indie musicians up to $100,000 per month for popular songs

Fri, 2022-07-29 10:32

Snap has set up a new grant program to pay indie musicians behind popular songs on Snapchat. It created the Snapchat Sounds Creator Fund to "recognize emerging, independent artists for the critical role they play in driving video creations, inspiring internet trends and defining cultural moments," according to a blog post.

Starting in August, the fund will give artists who distribute music on Snapchat Sounds via DistroKid up to $100,000 in total each month. For now, the program is limited to 20 songs each month. The artists behind each of the songs Snapchat selects will receive $5,000. "We want to support the independent and emerging artists that are driving creation on Snapchat," said Snap's global head of music partnerships Ted Suh said. 

Artists need to be at least 18 years old to be eligible (or 16 if they have written consent from a parent or guardian). Snap says artists can't apply for a grant and it will decide recipients at its own discretion.

Snapchat started letting users attach music to snaps through the Sounds feature in October 2020. Creators have made more than 2.7 billion videos with music from Sounds and have accrued more than 183 billion views in total. The Snapchat Sounds Creator Fund seems like a reasonable way to reward musicians whose work has become a viral hit on the platform or helped creators to express themselves.

Nike Training Club adds adaptive workouts to make exercise more accessible

Fri, 2022-07-29 09:30

Nike wants to make fitness apps accessible to more people with disabilities. The athletics gear maker has introduced adaptive workouts to the Nike Training Club app (available for Android and iOS) that you can perform whether or not you have a disability. The seven classes in this set target a wide range of movement and equipment, ranging from upper-body strength training with dumbbells to yoga.

A Nike athlete with limb loss, Amy Bream, leads all the classes. You'll also find guidance from an adaptive training-focused physical therapist. Training Club already offers an exercise program for expecting and recent mothers.

The company isn't alone in making these apps more accessible. Apple added Fitness+ workouts for pregnant people and seniors last year and has Apple Watch wheelchair workout tracking, for instance. Still, Nike's move is an important step that could bring exercise apps to a wider audience.  

YouTube's new tool makes any video a TikTok-like Short

Fri, 2022-07-29 09:05

YouTube has introduced a new tool that makes it easier for creators to turn regular videos into Shorts, it announced in a community update. If you have any of your own videos loaded up, you'll see a new tool under "Create" called "Edit into a Short" right inside the main app. It lets you select up to 60 seconds of the video and bring it directly into the Shorts editor, where you can add text filters, or additional video, then upload it as a Short. 

After you upload the Short, it links to the full video it was taken from via "Created from" link at the bottom of the video. That lets creators use Shorts as promo tools for the main video, helping drive views and engagement. However, the tool only works on your own content, unlike Cut, which lets you remix content from any video. 

YouTube's new tool transforms regular videos into TikTok-like ShortsYouTube

I tried the tool out by creating a 10-second Short out of a longer video I created back in 2010 and it was as easy to use as advertised, letting me grab the best part of the video, embed text and add a filter. 

The immense success of TikTok has forced all social media networks to respond in some way. However, Instagram recently backpedaled on its TikTok like full-screen feed and recommended posts features following a significant backlash from users. YouTube is arguably less threatened by TikTok as it offers longer-form content that draws a different audience. The new tool shows that it can have its (Short?)cake and eat it too, though, by letting creators offer Shorts as a form of publicity for their primary content. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 revealed in leaked renders

Fri, 2022-07-29 08:45

Samsung vowed to make foldable phones mainstream last year, and so far, more and more people have been embracing the form factor. In fact, the tech giant previously said that more people switched brands for the Galaxy Flip 3 than for its flagship devices. The company is set to unveil its next foldable phones in just a few days, but those who want to know what to expect can get a look at the upcoming phones through what seems to be marketing photos leaked by Evan Blass. He posted images of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 in different colors and posed in different angles on 91Mobiles.

Based on the renders, the Z Flip 4 will be available in purple, blue, black and gold. Meanwhile, the Z Fold 4 will be available in black, dark gray and what seems to be beige. On the surface, they look pretty much identical to the current generation of foldables, and there's no glaringly obvious difference in design. We'll likely find out the subtle differences between them after Samsung officially launches the devices. 

As The Verge notes, the images don't exactly show whether the Fold 4 has its predecessor's under-display selfie camera and whether it will finally have a slot for the S Pen. Since the Fold 3 supports input from Samsung's S Pen, there were speculations that the next version will have a slot for the stylus. However, the most recent reports say that it may not have one after all. 

We won't know for sure until Samsung launches the devices. The good news is that we won't have long to wait: Its next Unpacked event is scheduled to take place on August 10th. For now, you can check out the Fold 4's and Flip 4's leaked renders below:

SamsungSamsung/Evan Blass/91MobilesSamsungSamsung/Evan Blass/91Mobiles

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