Tech News Feed

PlayStation DualSense Edge review: Sony's pricey but powerful sidekick for the PS5

Engadget - Wed, 2023-02-15 08:00

The original Xbox Elite controller came out way back in 2015, so it's a wonder why Sony took so long to release its own take on a premium gamepad. But now that the PlayStation 5 is more widely available (kind of), the company is finally ready to show the world what it can do. While the $200 DualSense Edge costs a bit more than its rival, it offers a few nifty features you don't get on Microsoft's controller, combined with one potentially major shortcoming.


For the Edge, Sony didn't stray much from its default template. From the top, the Edge looks almost exactly the same aside from a black D-pad and face buttons and a black touchpad adorned with a subtle pattern featuring the company's signature ▲ ■ ● and ✖ icons. Where things get interesting is when you notice the two little nubs that stick out below the analog sticks, which are function buttons reserved for changing your controller's button assignments.

Can you tell which one is which? Hint: the Edge is on the right.Sam Rutherford/Engadget

In back, there are two switches on either side next to the shoulder triggers for adjusting their pull length, along with slots to accommodate the gamepad's removable rear paddles. The controller comes with two sets of rear paddles: longer, more traditional levers and short stubby half-domes, the latter of which ended up being my favorite. You also get a total of three different joystick nubs (standard, short-stemmed convex and long-stemmed convex) that can be swapped out on the fly, and a cable lock which can prevent the included USB-C cord from getting pulled out by accident.

Both the thumbsticks and the rear paddles attach magnetically, which makes it super simple to test out different layouts before finding a combo you like. The long-stemmed domed thumbstick can be helpful for snipers in shooting games, especially if you prefer playing at lower sensitivities. But I was less concerned with trying to get an edge than I was with making the controller as comfortable as possible.

The back of the DualSense Edge features switches for adjusting the pull length of the triggers and magnetic slots for accommodating the controller's rear paddles. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

One of the Edge's highlight features are those fully replaceable analog sticks. By sliding the release toggle in back, the shroud around the analog sticks lifts off, revealing removable modules that attach via USB-A and can be changed out in seconds. This means when you start to experience some controller drift (which you will, given enough wear and tear), you can simply buy replacement thumbstick modules that cost $20 each. For hardcore gamers that put in hundreds or thousands of hours into their consoles, this can represent huge savings over time. If one joystick starts to get a bit wonky, just switch it out, or replace both sticks at the same time and get almost a brand-new gamepad.

Finally, to round everything out, the Edge comes with a hardshell carrying case that looks and feels like an extra-large space egg. It has a lightly padded interior and a small mesh pocket for any additional accessories you might need (like the included charging cable). There's also a nifty velcro pass-through flap in back that allows you to route a cord inside so you can charge the controller while it remains tucked safely inside the case.

Software and featuresIn the PS5's settings menu, you can easily do stuff like remap the Edge's buttons or create a number of quick presets. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Another big advantage the Edge has over rivals (especially third-party offerings like Scuf's Reflex) is the ability to set custom button configurations. The PS5 supports four quickset options and has the ability to save even more in settings. Switching layouts takes less than a second and is as simple as pressing either one of the function buttons and one face button at the same time. I also appreciate that the PS5 pops up a simple walkthrough on how to set everything the first time you connect the controller. And whenever you want to revisit your button presets, all you have to do is open the console's settings menu.

Other handy features include the ability to customize your joystick sensitivity, adjust their deadzone and even set the actuation point for the triggers. So depending on your preferences, you can tell the controller to ignore shallow pulls to avoid inadvertent presses. This also works in conjunction with the slider on the back of the controller which can change the physical travel distance of the triggers to three distances (short, medium and long), which is nice when switching from a racing game, where you want the full analog feedback, and an FPS, when you want a real hair trigger setup.

In-gameUnlike the standard version, the DualSense Edge features a couple of small design tweaks including a black D-pad, black buttons, and a black touchpad with a subtle PlayStation icon pattern. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

When you get around to actually using the Edge, gaming with it almost feels like having a Swiss Army Knife. Sure, it looks and feels like a standard DualSense, but when you run into an awkward situation, the gamepad always seems to have a solution. For example: Some of my first console shooters were Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and Goldeneye on the N64, so I've always preferred what gamers often call a Southpaw joystick setup, which means aiming with the left joystick and moving with the right. Unfortunately, not every shooter supports this layout. But with the DualSense I can use it in whatever game I want.

Additionally, while the DualSense's deep triggers are great for racing games, that long pull is kind of annoying in fighters or beat 'em ups like Streets of Rage 4. But simply by moving the toggles in back, I can significantly shorten the pull, making things feel snappier and more responsive.

A highlight feature on the DualSense Edge is replaceable joystick modules that can be swapped out for just $20. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Now I should mention that some other premium controllers like the Xbox Elite Series 2 offer multiple D-pad options, but in my opinion, both of them are worse than Sony's arrow-shaped version. And while I'll probably never use the cable lock, I can see it being useful in tournament settings where you want the confidence of a wired connection but don't want to worry about your USB cable getting yanked out by accident.

My one small complaint is that I wish you could assign custom actions to the little function nubs. Right now they're dedicated to switching button presets and there's no way to change that, which seems like a bit of a waste. There are two nubs, at least let me use one of them as an extra button, especially since I feel like they're in the perfect location for launching grenades in shooters.

Battery LifeWhile it may not be an important feature to everyone, the DualSense Edge comes with a cable lock that can be used to ensure its USB cord isn't yanked out by accident. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The DualSense Edge's biggest weakness is its battery life, which is somehow worse than the standard PS5 controller. On average I was getting around five to six hours of use on a single charge, compared to six or seven for the regular DualSense. And that's just frustrating because not only does the Edge cost more than twice as much, the type of people that would pay big money for a premium controller are also quite likely to engage in marathon gaming sessions. And there are few things more annoying than having to scramble for a USB cord when your controller dies in the middle of the firefight. Thankfully, the Edge comes with a lengthy 10-foot USB cable, so even if it runs out of juice, you'll probably still be able to plug it in and have the cable reach your couch.

Wrap-upAt $200, Sony's DualSense Edge is the company's take on a premium gamepad for the PS5. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

While the idea of paying $200 for a fancy controller might seem like a bit much (and it kind of is), after using the DualSense Edge I can see the appeal. It offers a familiar design with a handful of extra features including easy button remapping, multiple joystick nubs, customizable rear paddles and more. And the Edge is actually a tiny bit cheaper than some third-party options like those from Scuf, which doesn’t have replaceable joystick modules. Its short battery life is definitely a downer and I would have liked to see Sony include support for a second pair of paddles in back, like you get on of other premium gamepads. But if I had to choose just one controller to use with my PS5 until it dies, the DualSense Edge would be it.

Happy Anniversary to SNL's Happy Fun Ball Skit. Do Not Taunt This Toy - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-02-15 08:00
Commentary: Thirty-two years ago, Phil Hartman and SNL introduced us to the best, most terrifying toy ever.

Male Birth Control Stopped Sperm In Mice, Study Found

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-02-15 08:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Wall Street Journal: A drug aimed at treating eyes immobilized sperm and prevented pregnancy in mice, encouraging researchers that it might work as a contraceptive for men. Injected into male mice, the drug was 100% effective in preventing pregnancy for 2 1/2 hours and about 91% effective for up to 3 1/2 hours, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The male mice were fertile after a day, the study found. The new approach is appealing for how quickly the contraceptive acts. The researchers said they would test the drug in other animals and aim for human trials in the coming years. The drug presented in Tuesday's study acts by deactivating an enzyme in mice and men that make sperm swim. "It's like your on-switch on your TV," said Jochen Buck, a pharmacologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, an author of the study. When the researchers added the drug to human and mice sperm in a dish, the cells stopped moving temporarily. Lower doses of the drug resulted in progressively more mobile sperm cells, Dr. Buck said. The drug took about 15 minutes to take effect. Male mice injected with the drug didn't alter their mating behavior. Allowed to mate in the 2.5 hours after injection, none of 52 pairs of mice produced offspring. A third of mice partners in a control group of 50 had pregnancies. Mice given the drug were later able to father healthy pups, the study said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tomorrow's Top-Tier Android Modem Promises to Boost Lackluster 5G Signals - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-02-15 07:30
With the Snapdragon X75 5G modem, Qualcomm wants to help you keep your high-speed signal when in elevators and subways.

The Morning After: Amazon still plans to 'go big' on grocery stores

Engadget - Wed, 2023-02-15 07:17

Despite recently saying it would lay off more than 18,000 people, Amazon is still looking to expand its empire – which could mean more physical stores. CEO Andy Jassy told the Financial Times that Amazon still plans to “go big” on its brick-and-mortar grocery store business.

The company's physical store division accounts for 3.4 percent of the overall business and has grown only around 10 percent since the Whole Foods acquisition. Jassy noted that many Amazon Fresh locations opened in the COVID-19 pandemic, so Amazon hasn't "had a lot of normalcy" to see what works. That’s also been true for other facets of its physical retail business. Almost a year ago, Amazon said it was closing all of its pop-ups, bookstores and four-star shops across the US and UK.

In the interview, Jassy said: “We have a history of doing a lot of experimentation and doing it quickly. And then, when we find something that we like, doubling down on it, which is what we intend to do.”

– Mat Smith

The Morning After isn’t just a newsletter – it’s also a daily podcast. Get our daily audio briefings, Monday through Friday, by subscribing right here.

The biggest stories you might have missedUpdate your Apple devices now to patch a security flawThe issue “may have been actively exploited,” according to Apple.

Apple released security updates to its operating systems on Monday to resolve a security flaw. The company said the issue “may have been actively exploited,” meaning hackers could’ve taken advantage of the issue to access devices. However, Apple does not have additional details to share on the exploits beyond the update release notes, spokesperson Scott Radcliffe told Engadget.

Continue reading.

IKEA made a smart air quality sensorIt gauges particulate matter levels humidity, temperature and more.

IKEA is introducing a smart indoor air quality sensor, the Vindstyrka, which gauges pollutant levels. Vindstyrka works by itself, but it unsurprisingly becomes more useful when connected to IKEA's Dirigera smart home hub. You can check air quality through the company's app and have the monitor control other devices, like telling IKEA’s Starkvind purifier to increase fan speed based on particulate levels. There’s no price yet, but the sensor will launch in April.

Continue reading.

Watch the teaser for 'Ted Lasso' season 3The biggest show on Apple TV+ returns March 15th.TMAApple

Apple has revealed the third season of Ted Lasso will premiere March 15th, with a new episode (12 in total) arriving every week. In season three, AFC Richmond is now in the Premier League but pitted against one of its former allies — Nate is now working for Rebecca's ex, Rupert, at West Ham United.

Continue reading.

Google Fiber launches 5Gbps service for $125 per monthBut it’s only available in four cities at launch.

Google Fiber is finally launching its 5Gbps internet plan in Kansas City, West Des Moines and Utah. Google says the $125-per-month service will expand to other areas later this year. The service offers symmetrical upload and download rates, an upgraded 10 Gig Fiber Jack and includes professional installation, a WiFi 6 router and up to two mesh network extenders. For comparison: Comcast already offers 6Gbps service in some areas, which costs $300 a month and doesn’t include symmetrical uploads.

Continue reading.

James Webb telescope captures a Milky Way-like galaxy a billion light-years awayA spiral star system like ours.

Astronomers at the European Space Agency (ESA) used the James Webb Space Telescope to capture an image of a spiral galaxy that resembles our home, the Milky Way. The star system, LEDA 2046648, is a billion light-years away and comprises thousands of galaxies, trillions of stars and countless planets. Of course, an image of anything one billion light-years away means we’re viewing the galaxy’s light from a billion years ago.

Continue reading.

Sony STR-AN1000 Review: Sony's Receiver Learns 8K Tricks, Sounds Great - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-02-15 07:00
The receiver offers everything you'd want from an 8K receiver including Dolby Atmos, a ton of streaming options and great sound.

Best Accessories for Better Video With Mirrorless Cameras - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-02-15 07:00
Whether you're an enthusiastic amateur or seasoned pro, these accessories will help bring flair to your video footage.

Tesla will open up 7,500 charging stations to other EVs by 2024

Engadget - Wed, 2023-02-15 06:55

The Biden administration has unveiled new initiatives in its $7.5 billion plan to install 500,000 EV chargers on US roads by 2030. As part of that, it announced that Tesla has committed to to open up 7,500 of its charging stations to non-Tesla vehicles by the end of 2024. 

In 2021 Tesla announced that its open-access Supercharger program (currently being piloted in 16 European nations) would be coming to the US. With a firm date now in hand, the White House has revealed details of the plan. Of 7,500 chargers available for all compatible EVs, 3,500 will be new and existing 250 kW Superchargers along highway corridors. The rest will be Level 2 Destination Charging stations (22 kW max) at hotels, restaurants and other urban and rural locations. Tesla will also boost its US Supercharger network by 300 percent, officials said. 

Select Tesla Superchargers across the US will soon be open to all EVs

— Tesla Charging (@TeslaCharging) February 15, 2023

In order to tap into the $7.5 billion in funding, companies must adopt the Combined Charging System (CCS) that dominates in the US, while offering smartphone-friendly payment options. "No matter what EV you drive, we want to make sure that you will be able to plug in, know the price you're going to be paying and charge up in a predictable, user-friendly experience," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters. Tesla currently uses proprietary chargers, but has committed to adding the CCS standard as well.

Tesla's commitment is part of the White House's larger plan to have at least 500,000 EV chargers on US roads by 2030. To hit that goal, the administration has received commitments from EV manufacturers like GM and Ford, along with ChargePoint and other EV charger manufacturers. Those will add more than 100,000 public chargers available to all EVs. 

For example, GM has already committed to install up to 40,000 Level 2 stations across the US and Canada as part of its Ultium Charge 360 network. It will also install a coast-to-coast network of 2,000 350 kW fast chargers along US roads in partnership with Pilot Company and EVgo. Ford, meanwhile, plans to install DC fast chargers at 1,920 dealerships by January 2024. Hertz also plans to install thousands of BP's Pulse chargers in US cities for Hertz customers and the public. 

Early last year, the White House revealed its plan to ensure that 500,000 EV chargers are publicly available in the US as part of $7.5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. That's motivated by an overall plan to convert half of all new US vehicle sales to zero-emissions by 2030. There are now over 130,000 public chargers serving over three million EVs now on the road — still not nearly enough, critics have said. The first tranche of NEVI funds will be delivered to states in the coming weeks.

Do Repeat COVID Infections Increase the Risk of Severe Disease or Long COVID?

Scientifc America - Wed, 2023-02-15 06:45

Many repeat infections are mild, but some studies suggest people who have been infected with COVID more than once are at a greater risk of severe disease or long COVID

Netflix Drops 'Surprise Me' Shuffle-Play Button

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-02-15 06:30
Netflix has removed its "Surprise Me" button, a feature introduced in 2021 to alleviate the modern burden of choosing something to watch from thousands of titles. MarketWatch reports: The company discontinued the feature last month because of relatively low use, according to a spokeswoman. Netflix found that users tend to come to the service with a specific show, movie or genre in mind, undermining the appeal of a function such as "Surprise Me," the spokeswoman said. "We will continue to explore other ways to give members more options and ways to explore and discover content they want to watch," she said in a statement.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Virgin Orbit confirms a dislodged fuel filter caused its first UK launch to fail

Engadget - Wed, 2023-02-15 05:25

In a new update, Virgin Orbit has confirmed that the launch failure of its first UK mission was likely caused by a fuel filter that had been "dislodged from its normal position." That created a cascade of events that led to the shutdown of the second stage rocket, which ultimately fell back to Earth along with its payload, according to data gathered so far. The investigation is being led by United Launch Alliance's Jim Sponnick and Virgin Chief Engineer Chad Foerster, with oversight from the US FAA, UK Air Accidents Investigation branch and other authorities. 

The company's historic "Start Me Up" mission launched from Spaceport Cornwall on January 9th and Virgin confirmed things went well at the start. "The ignition, first stage flight, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing deployment of the LauncherOne rocket were nominal," it wrote. "Each of these milestones constituted a first-of-its-kind achievement for any orbital launch attempt from western Europe."

We’ve been investigating the #StartMeUp mission anomaly. Read this update for more details on our findings so far, or follow the link:

— Virgin Orbit (@VirginOrbit) February 14, 2023

That pesky $100 filter highlights the challenges of spaceflight, though. After it dislodged from its proper place in the fuel feedline, a downstream pump was starved for fuel and began operating at a significantly higher-than-rated temperature, investigators found. Parts downstream of that and in the vicinity eventually malfunctioned, causing the engine to stop. "The early thrust termination ended the mission, and the second stage and its payloads fell back to Earth, landing in the approved safety corridor in the Atlantic Ocean."

Virgin Orbit is portraying the failure as a learning experience, but as the first UK orbital launch ever, the timing wasn't ideal. The company noted, however, that all four prior operational flights succeeded, sending 33 payloads to their required orbits. 

The company is now creating a plan to replicate flight conditions to determine the root cause or causes of the failure, it said. "Numerous tests are underway to support the investigation and help lead to definitive conclusions. Ultimately, all credible causes of the failure will be addressed prior to the next LauncherOne mission."

Lufthansa Says IT System Issues Are Grounding All Its Flights

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-02-15 05:05
Deutsche Lufthansa has grounded all of its flights because of company computer issues. From a report: A Lufthansa spokesman said Wednesday the company is urgently investigating the matter. It wasn't immediately clear whether Lufthansa flights that were already airborne were instructed to land. Lufthansa's stable of airlines includes its namesake brand and the national flag-carriers Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss. The company also operates low-cost carrier Eurowings as well as other smaller airlines. In total, the group operates around 700 aircraft, making it Europe's largest airline by fleet size.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Fiber Launches 5Gbps Service

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-02-15 05:00
Google Fiber is launching the 5Gbps internet plan it began testing in October. Engadget reports: The service will initially cover four cities, but Google says the $125-per-month service will expand to other areas later this year. The new plan is available today in Kansas City, West Des Moines and Fiber's Utah cities. It has symmetrical upload and download rates, an upgraded 10 Gig Fiber Jack (the small box housing the fiber cable's entrance into your home), professional installation, a WiFi 6 router and up to two mesh network extenders. The upgraded speeds are part of Google's rejuvenated focus on Fiber. The company also recently announced its first network expansion in years. But, perhaps more crucially, it reestablishes Fiber as an industry disrupter pushing competitors to upgrade speeds and lower prices (maybe) on existing plans. Comcast already offers 6Gbps service in some areas, but it costs a whopping $300 and doesn't include symmetrical uploads. Google also reiterated that Fiber's 8Gbps option, also announced late last year, is still "coming soon." That service will also include symmetrical uploads and downloads.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple's pay later service approval might depend on your purchase history

Engadget - Wed, 2023-02-15 04:04

Apple will rely on your previous purchases and spending habits to decide how much it will lend you for its upcoming "buy now, pay later" service, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apparently, the tech giant intends to evaluate your eligibility based on your purchases at its retail stores, your App Store transactions and even the peer-to-peer transfers you've made using Apple Cash. 

Whether or not you've applied for an Apple Card in the past will also reportedly factor into the amount the company will lend you, along with your spending habits using any other card linked to your Apple Pay. The company will take which Apple devices you own into account, as well, Bloomberg says. Apple Financing, the subsidiary the company established last year, is expected to be in charge of conducting customer background checks and loan approvals. 

The tech giant first announced the "buy now, pay later" functionality for Apple Pay at its WWDC event in June 2022 with the intention of launching it later that year. While Apple didn't explain why it didn't arrive with iOS 16 like it originally intended, Gurman said at the time that the delays were caused by "fairly significant technical and engineering challenges in rolling out the service." To test the feature, Apple reportedly gave its retail employees access to it for their own purchases. In Gurman's latest report, he says testers have been seeing loan approvals for as much as $1,000. 

When it first announced the pay later offering, Apple said it will give you a way to split the cost of purchases into four equal installments that you can pay over six weeks. That's a short amount of time, but you at least won't incur any additional interest or fees. The company reportedly plans to offer another option later on that would let you pay for larger purchases over several months, though that one will charge you interest on top of the base amount. 

The Impressive New Eufy Mach V1 Ultra Cordless Vacuum Has a Built-In Steam Mop (Hands-On) - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-02-15 03:00
Billed as the world's first cordless stick vacuum with a steam mop, the Eufy by Anker Mach V1 Ultra is available now for $700.

WHO Abandons Investigation Into Origins of COVID-19 Pandemic

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-02-15 02:00
Bruce66423 shares a report from Nature: The World Health Organization (WHO) has quietly shelved the second phase of its much-anticipated scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing ongoing challenges over attempts to conduct crucial studies in China, Nature has learned. Researchers say they are disappointed that the investigation isn't going ahead, because understanding how the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 first infected people is important for preventing future outbreaks. But without access to China, there is little that the WHO can do to advance the studies, says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. "Their hands are really tied." [...] "There is no phase two," Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, told Nature. The WHO planned for work to be done in phases, she said, but "that plan has changed." "The politics across the world of this really hampered progress on understanding the origins," she said. Researchers are undertaking some work to pin down a timeline of the virus's initial spread. This includes efforts to trap bats in regions bordering China in search of viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2; experimental studies to help narrow down which animals are susceptible to the virus and could be hosts; and testing of archived wastewater and blood samples collected around the world in late 2019 and early 2020. But researchers say that too much time has passed to gather some of the data needed to pinpoint where the virus originated. "The ending of the investigation is not a surprise," adds Bruce66423. "But why 'quietly'?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Musk Reportedly Pushed Algorithm Change to Boost His Tweets - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-02-15 01:53
The tech billionaire was upset that his Super Bowl tweet dropped the ball compared with one from President Biden, according to the Platformer.