Tech News Feed

Pfizer Seeks FDA Emergency Authorization For Omicron BA.5 COVID Vaccine Booster - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 11:44
The mRNA vaccines target the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variant and are suited for everyone ages 12 and up.

Engadget is looking for contributing writers in the US

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 11:30

If you love technology as much as we do and have writing chops to boot, we want to hear from you. Engadget is looking for freelance news writers in the US! Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume and links to three writing samples to jobs at engadget dot com. Here’s the deal:

Contributing writer

Engadget is looking for ambitious and enthusiastic freelance writers capable of telling compelling stories about technology, science and the future of everything. The ideal candidate will put important news in proper context with minimal fluff, find an interesting and original angle from which to tackle a story, explain complicated subjects simply and clearly, and do this all reasonably quickly.

As a writer at Engadget you'll be an essential part of our dedicated and passionate news team. Our ideal candidates will have some solid professional media experience under their belt, but we're also open to early-career writers who are ready to hustle. You'll gain valuable experience and exposure in a fast-paced, online newsroom. Plus, you'll have access to some of the finest writers and reporters in the business who can offer invaluable lessons on how to thrive in the modern media landscape.

Freelance contributing writers will take on between three and five assignments per day (sometime between 8AM and 9PM ET, but your exact schedule is negotiable). We are currently looking for writers located in the US, or anyone willing to work during US business hours. Shifts will be a minimum of four hours.

We're looking for:

  • Preferably someone who already has some professional tech/science/auto bylines under their belt.

  • A familiarity with and sincere interest in consumer technology.

  • A writer with a strong, lively voice who can turn in clean copy quickly.

  • Works well with others, and is receptive to feedback.

  • Experience with Photoshop or other photo editing software is a plus.

Encrypting Facebook Messenger Could Be a 'Grotesque Betrayal', Says Top UK Politician

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-08-22 11:25
Facebook's parent company Meta is heading into another political battle over the planned introduction of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in its Messenger chat platform. From a report: The UK's home secretary, Priti Patel, makes this clear in an op-ed for Tory mouthpiece The Telegraph this week, saying it would be a "grotesque betrayal" if the company didn't consider issues of child safety while introducing E2EE. Similar arguments are likely to be raised in the US, too. Meta has been working on adding E2EE to Messenger for years, and recently confirmed that it aims to encrypt all chats and calls on the platform by default next year. (It currently only offers default E2EE on its other big chat platform, WhatsApp, though users can opt-in to E2EE on Messenger on a chat-by-chat basis.) The move is reigniting decades-old debates in politics and tech about the right way to balance user privacy and safety. In the US, these arguments have been heightened by the potential for police to issues search warrants for user chats in order to enforce new abortion laws after the overturn of Roe v. Wade. In the UK, arguments over encryption tend to focus on child safety and the dissemination of of child sexual abuse material, or CSAM. "A great many child predators use social media platforms such as Facebook to discover, target and sexually abuse children," writes Patel in her op-ed. "It is vital that law enforcement have access to the information they need to identify the children in these images and safeguard them from vile predators."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How Bad Are the Chemicals in Your Mattress? - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 11:00
Ah, that new mattress smell. Turns out it could be potentially toxic chemicals. Learn how to avoid mattress chemicals here.

Why Stacking Chips Like Pancakes Could Mean a Huge Leap for Laptops - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 11:00
By packaging "chiplets" into a single, larger uberprocessor, Intel hopes to bring to the masses the kind of premium speeds found in the Apple M1 Ultra.

MoviePass will return on September 5th with plans starting at around $10 per month

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:49

MoviePass is about to write the next chapter in its turbulent history. A beta of the revived service will launch on or around September 5th (Labor Day). Pricing will vary depending on each market, but it will be a tiered system costing around $10, $20 or $30 per month. Insider, which first reported the relaunch details, notes that users will get a number of credits each month to see movies in theaters. There won't be an unlimited plan at the outset.

MoviePass cofounder Stacy Spikes announced at a launch event earlier this year that users will be able to transfer credits. There was no mention of that in an FAQ, though it says more details will be revealed later. The FAQ does not provide details of the Web3 framework Spikes said the service would use, nor was there any mention of the eye-tracking tech the app will supposedly employ to reward users with credits for watching ads.

Those who want to try out the revamped MoviePass can join a first-come, first-served waitlist, which will open at 9AM ET on Thursday on the company's website and close at 11:59PM on Monday. The beta will have a limited number of users and MoviePass will start sending invites on September 5th. If you're selected and you become a member, you'll receive 10 invites that you can send to friends. Returning users who are on the waitlist will receive extra credits when they join.

The beta won't go live across the entire US at once. In the FAQ, MoviePass says the "launch determination will be weighted on level of engagement from the waitlist in each market as well as locations of exhibition partners." It added that the service will be available at all major theaters in the US that accept major credit cards. The company says it has officially partnered with a quarter of US theaters.

There will be a physical card again, though it will be black instead of red. You can use it to pick up tickets at a theater's box office. Alternatively, you can book tickets through the MoviePass app.

Spikes, who regained control of MoviePass last November, created the service with Hamet Watt in 2011. Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY) bought the service in 2017. A subscription plan introduced that year offered users a movie ticket a day for $10 per month. That approach unsurprisingly proved unsustainable despite the plan's popularity. The app shut down in 2019.

HMNY filed for bankruptcy the following year amid investigations from the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, several district attorneys in California and New York's attorney general. Among its other questionable business practices, MoviePass at one point forced those on an annual plan to renew their subscription three months early if they wanted to keep it. Former CEO Mitch Lowe suggested that the app was tracking users' locations too. Lowe, fellow principal Theodore Farnsworth and HMNY reached a settlement with the FEC last year over charges that they prevented subscribers from using the service and didn't do enough to secure users' data.

The revival of MoviePass comes at a time when theaters are still struggling to drum up business in the wake of pandemic-imposed closures. Regal Cinemas owner Cineworld, the second-largest movie theater chain in the world, said today that it's considering filing for bankruptcy. The company has around $5 billion in debt. It claimed that the relative lack of blockbusters this year has left it struggling to draw movie fans back to theaters. Global box office revenue this year is down by a third compared with 2019.

Return to Westeros Anytime With Over $100 Off Game of Thrones Box Sets - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:45
To celebrate the series premier of House of the Dragon, Amazon is offering big discounts on both DVD and 4K UHD Game of Thrones collections.

Apple Expands Self-Repair Support To MacBooks

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:45
Apple said on Monday it would offer customers tools and know-how to repair and service their MacBook laptops at home, months after launching the service for iPhones. From a report: Apple said genuine parts and service tools will be available starting Aug. 23. Customers can buy the repair kits or rent it for one-time use for $49. Self repairs are possible only on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models with the M1 chips. In April, Apple launched self-repair services for select iPhones models in the United States, with plans to expand the service to Europe this year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

James Webb telescope captures surreal images of Jupiter's auroras

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:37

The James Webb Space Telescope team is still flexing its ability to capture detailed images close to home. Webb has snapped a pair of near-infrared photos showing Jupiter's polar auroras. You can also see the planet's extremely faint rings and two of its smaller moons, Amalthea (the bright spot to the far left) and Adrastea (the dot at the left edge of the central ring).

The pictures were taken using NIRCam's widefield view on July 27th. As for the trippy visuals? Astronomers created composites using several images produced with filters mapped to multiple colors (particularly visible in the image below). The Great Red Spot and other cloud formations are white as they reflect large amounts of sunlight.

Jupiter auroras captured by James Webb Space TelescopeNASA, ESA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Judy Schmidt

The James Webb crew didn't just create these images for the sake of bragging rights. The observations should provide more insights into Jupiter's "inner life," according to the European Space Agency. That, in turn, could help scientists understand the behavior of gas giants beyond the Solar System. In other words, Webb's data could soon prove useful on multiple levels.

This 1-Day Zulily Sale Takes up to 45% Off Tarte Cosmetics - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:27
Check out this epic sale on Tarte's bestsellers for less.

Neobanks Are Struggling To Make Good on Their Lofty Promises

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:09
Some offers of high rates and low fees have strings attached. From a report: Digit is a trendy financial technology company in San Francisco that offers traditional banking services online, complete with a tool that can automatically allocate a portion of customers' deposits to a savings account to match their investing goals. The service comes with a "no overdraft guarantee." Sound too good to be true? According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some of it is. Earlier this month the regulator hit Digit, now part of Oportun Financial, a lender in San Carlos, Calif., with a $2.7 million fine for falsely advertising the no-overdraft guarantee. Turns out, the algorithm Digit used to move funds around drained some customers' checking accounts, triggering the overdraft fees. Even after customers complained, Digit failed to reimburse them, despite saying it would, the CFPB found. "While we disagree with the CFPB on this matter, we are happy to have it settled," says an Oportun spokesperson. The company says fewer than 2,000 customers were overcharged. Digit isn't the only consumer finance company failing to meet the lofty expectations its own advertising sets. There are about 60 other such fintechs, known as "challenger banks" or "neobanks," in the US, offering a similar suite of products. They have about 23 million customers, a figure that's expected to more than double -- to 50 million -- by 2025, according to consumer finance website Despite the name, they aren't banks but technology companies that form partnerships with obscure, conventional banks to give customers digital access to their money. In doing so, neobanks can offer Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection to checking and savings accounts. In Digit's case, its banking-services partner is South Dakota-based MetaBank, which says it wasn't involved in the CFPB matter.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Saints Row Takes Big Step Back, Becoming Unremarkable GTA Clone - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:02
Commentary: Volition's reboot of its franchise comes off as uninspired and a bit of a hot mess.

Use This Old Navy Flash Sale to Load Up on Fall Clothes at 40% Off - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:50
With tons of options available for the whole family, you won't want to miss out on this one-day sale.

Apple's Self Service Repair program now includes some recent MacBooks

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:33

Apple's Self Service Repair program is no longer limited to iPhones. The company is adding M1-based MacBook Air and Pro systems to the program on August 23rd, giving you access to official parts and tools to fix your laptop at home. You can replace the display, the battery (plus the top case), trackpad and other major components. As before, you're using "many" of the same resources you'd find at an Apple retail store or authorized repair shop.

You'll pay $49 to rent a repair kit. TechCrunchnotes part pricing is the same as for third-party service centers, ranging from $12 for an audio board through to $580 for a motherboard. You'll have to trade in your old parts to get these prices (a motherboard costs three times as much otherwise), but Apple will recycle anything it can't rescue. Don't expect to use this as a memory or storage upgrade — Apple will charge the full amount if you buy a board that doesn't match the computer you bought.

The program will expand to more Macs and countries later this year. As usual, Apple recommends repairs only to experienced users. It's still pointing the "vast majority" of customers to approved repair facilities.

The program kicked off in April, and is widely seen as Apple's response to Right to Repair laws and regulations, including at the federal level. It won't necessarily reduce government scrutiny, and may not change much for DIY repair fans who've turned to unofficial sources like iFixit. Still, this could be welcome news if you'd rather not rely on a technician to maintain your Mac.

YouTube kicks off its podcast push with an Explore page

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:20

YouTube's interest in podcasts appears to extend beyond paying creators to make videos. 9to5Googlenotes YouTube has quietly launched a podcast Explore page. Only some people can access it on desktop or mobile, but those that can will see popular channels, episodes and playlists as well as categories and recommended shows. At present, you'll see standard video thumbnails and playback controls, even if you're a YouTube Premium subscriber who normally sees listening-oriented options.

We've asked YouTube for comment. The Explore page appears to have gone live near the end of July, but is only now becoming more widely available. It's not clear what (if anything) will happen to Google Podcasts.

YouTube podcasts Explore pageEngadget

While YouTube's longer-term plans aren't evident, the new area suggests the Google brand is positioning itself as an alternative to major podcast clients like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. That wouldn't be surprising if so. YouTube already hosts numerous podcasts, particularly those that have video versions. The Explore page could draw more attention to those productions and encourage more podcasters to publish their work on YouTube.

The best Apple AirTag accessories you can buy

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:15

Apple lovers who constantly lose their keys got a new way to keep track of them with the launch of AirTags. But despite how easy they are to set up, Apple’s tiny Bluetooth trackers have one critical flaw: no built-in keychain hole. That means anyone who buys AirTags will have to buy holders or cases to attach them to their stuff.

Despite how backwards this seems, it’s a very Apple move since many will simply buy the company’s own AirTag holders to make things easy for themselves. But those aren’t the only options available as plenty of accessory companies have hopped on the AirTag train with their own cases, holders, straps and more. If you already bought an AirTag or two, you probably know where you want to put it – and that placement will dictate the type of case you should get for it. These are some of our favorite AirTag cases that will work for a variety of items.

Spigen ValentinusSpigen Valentinus for AirTagSpigen

Spigen’s Valentinus AirTag cover is one of the best alternatives I’ve found to Apple’s own leather key rings. It has a very similar design to the first-party accessory (albeit made with pleather) , but it comes in much cheaper at only $8. Your AirTag nestles into the perfectly-shaped leather circle and snaps shut, and since the leather extends slightly over both sides of the tracker, there’s very little chance it will pop out unexpectedly. I also appreciate that it comes with a carabiner-style key ring, which makes it easier to secure to your belongings.

Buy Spigen Valentinus at Amazon - $8Orbitkey Leather HolderOrbitkey Leather Holder for AirTagOrbitkey

Orbitkey’s Leather Holder for AirTag is a more elegant version of Apple’s accessory. It’s a genuine leather sleeve that opens just wide enough for you to slide your AirTag into its pocket. Attached to it is a quick-release ring that takes some getting used to, but once you know how to open it up, it’s easy to secure onto your keys. You essentially just have to push in one direction on the holder’s ring to unlock it, which then allows you to secure the AirTag to a lanyard, your car keys and the like. It’s a good option if you prefer that your accessories have a more polished look.

Buy Orbitkey Leather Holder at Amazon - $39Caseology VaultApple AirTag with Caseology VaultValentina Palladino / Engadget

Caseology’s Vault has a more utilitarian design, made with tough, textured TPU. The oval-shaped holder has an opening on one side into which you pop your AirTag. The other side has a smaller opening that attaches to the included carabiner, which is one of the best clips I came across in my testing. It’s pretty basic as far as carabiners go, but it’s better than a standard key ring — especially if you want to easily attach your AirTag to something other than your keys like straps on a backpack, or even a pet collar. Overall, the Caseology Vault is one of the most attractive holders I tested and it will be a solid choice for anyone who doesn’t need leather.

Buy Caseology Vault at Amazon - $20Incase Woolenex AirTag Key ClipIncase Woolenex AirTag Key ClipIncase

Incase's Woolenex AirTag holder is one that is just as attractive as it is durable. The company's Woolenex fabric is made of a woven blend of polyester fibers that make the accessory lightweight, water repellant and fade- and tear-resistant. Incase makes a bunch of accessories out of this material, and those who like premium fabrics that can also handle a bit of wear-and-tear will gravitate to it. The holder has a TPU snap closure and circular cutout so it won't interrupt the AirTag's signal — plus, it lets you see any cute engraving you may have on your tracker.

Buy AirTag Key Clip at Incase - $20Belkin Secure Holder with StrapApple AirTag with Belkin Secure Holder and StrapValentina Palladino / Engadget

AirTags can also help you keep track of larger bags and luggage, and you could easily slip one into an interior pocket and call it a day. But if you’d rather hook the tracker to the outside, you’ll need something a bit larger and more flexible than a standard key ring. Belkin’s Secure Holder with Strap is a good option, and it’s budget friendly at only $13. The case opens up into two pieces, allowing you to sit the AirTag inside the circle and twist and snap the two halves together to lock it in. You can then attach the AirTag to your luggage handle, water bottle or other item with the strap, which feels quite strong.

I appreciate the unique design of Belkin’s Secure Holder, although it was hard to twist open when the AirTag was inside of it. But that’s a good thing for daily use; your AirTag isn’t going anywhere when in the Secure Holder. I also liked its slightly raised edges, which provide extra protection against impacts and bumps.

Buy Belkin Secure Holder w/ Strap at Amazon - $13Elago silicone casesElago AirTag caseElago

Whether you’re attaching an AirTag to your house keys or clipping one to your kid’s backpack, you don’t need to settle for a boring holder. There are a number of fun AirTag cases available now and some of our favorites come from Elago. The accessory company makes a bunch of minimalist AirTag holders – which are good options if you’re looking for something simple and cheap – but it also has cases in the shapes of avocados, ice cream bars, floppy disks and even retro game controllers. The best part is that, unlike other brands that can quickly raise prices when you want a fancily-shaped case or a holder with your favorite character on it, Elago’s playful cases will run you no more than $15 apiece.

Shop Elago AirTag cases at AmazonPelican Protector Sticker MountPelican Protector Sticker Mount for AirTagPelican

Keyrings and straps aren’t the best way to attach an AirTag to anything and everything. Things like bikes, coolers, luggage and other items would be better served by an adhesive mount. Pelican makes one of the most protective ones available at the moment – the Protector Sticker Mount case has a two-piece design that you pop open to insert your AirTag inside. It basically acts as a little box in which your AirTag lives while it’s tracking your stuff. You can stick it to your items using the strong adhesive panel on the back of the case, and Pelican even includes an extra adhesive pad in the package as well, just in case you need another one. While the case itself is a bit tough to get open at first, that just shows how hard it would be for your AirTag to accidentally pop out of it.

Buy Pelican Protector Sticker Mount at Amazon - $20Moment Stretch Fabric MountMoment Stretch Fabric Mount for AirTagMoment

Similar to Pelican’s Protector, Moment’s Stretch Fabric Mount for AirTag sticks to surfaces – in this case, any fabric – and keeps your tracker enveloped in its double-hemmed, powermesh design. It’s a good alternative if you don’t want your AirTag sliding around inside the interior pocket of your backpack, or worse, the less-secure pockets of your coat. And since Moment’s wrap is quite thin, it blends into the lining of bags, jackets and other things better than bulkier options.

Buy Moment Stretch Fabric Mount at Amazon - $25

Thor: Love and Thunder Hits Disney Plus on Sept. 8 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:15
The Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and a making of documentary are among the Disney Plus Day additions coming to the streaming service.

Mortgage Refinance Rates on Aug. 22, 2022: Rates Increase - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:00
Several important refinance rates trended upward today. See how the Fed's interest rate hikes could affect refinancing your home this year.

Today's Mortgage Rates for Aug. 22, 2022: Rates Move Up - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:00
Today a handful of important mortgage rates moved up. If you're shopping for a mortgage, see how your payments might be affected by inflation.