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Showing posts from March 3, 2018

Amazon offers free sound effects to Alexa skill creators

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Amazon is making it easier for developers to add a variety of sound effects to their Alexa skills. The tech giant has launched a library full of built-in audio clips people can use to add -- in Amazon's words -- "unique sounds" to their creations. Of course, by the time most developers are done tweaking their skills to add the audio clips, they'll no longer seem unique. In fact, you should probably probably get used to hearing the same thing again and again. But developers do have quite a wide selection to choose from with 14 categories that include sounds you'd usually hear in cartoons and sci-fi shows, as as well as sounds of nature, humans and animals.Amazon says developers can use those effects, say, to add applause for correct answers in a trivia game or spooky ghost-like moans for a horror/adventure game. The whole library is free for skill-makers, who can use the sounds on their own or combined with other files. If you'd like to get an idea of what cou…

Porsche starts work on flying passenger drones

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You might have to cross another item off of the list of things you never thought Porsche would do. Automobilwoche has claimed that Porsche is developing passenger drones, and is close to showing off its first design sketch. While there's clearly not much to show at this point, you would have some control over the machine but wouldn't need a pilot's license -- like other in-progress drones, a large chunk of the flight control would be automated.While it's not clear that Porsche is ready to confirm the details, it's clearly open to the idea. Company sales lead Detlev von Platen noted that it takes him "at least half an hour" just to drive from Porsche's plant in Zuffenhausen to the airport in Stuttgart, but just "three and a half minutes" with an aircraft.It may seem odd for Porsche to not only venture into flying vehicles, but hands-off vehicles. Isn't that anathema to enthusiasts used to taking the wheel? However, it's likely feeling…

Apple might offer lower-cost MacBook Air in spring

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Apple has left the MacBook Air mostly untouched for years, including its price. Ever since the 11-inch model disappeared in 2016, you've been looking at $999 or more for Apple's 'starter' laptop -- a tough sell given the aging design. It might become a better value before long, however. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (who has a mostly solid track record for Apple leaks and rumors) has claimed that Apple is preparing a MacBook Air with a "lower price tag" for release this spring.Details are scarce at the moment, but 9to5Macnoted that this corroborated a sketchy claim from Digitimes.This doesn't mean that Apple will redesign the MacBook Air. It gave the system just a modest spec bump in June 2017, and then only by using an older processor. It may have reasons to make a more substantial update this year, however. It might not have much choice but to upgrade to a modern processor thanks to Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. There's also the question of ports…

Google may launch Android P's developer preview in mid-March

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You might see a glimpse of Google's next mobile platform very, very soon. Evan Blass, a well-known source of tech leaks, has tweeted that Mountain View is targeting a mid-month release for Android P's first developer preview. We don't know what "P" stands for yet, but since March 14th is Pi Day, some people are speculating that Android's upcoming flavor is "Pie." According to previous reports, Android P will have the power to prevent idle apps from being able to access your camera and mic. That added security measure can protect you against against malware that can record background noise or take images without your consent.It will also reportedly support notches, which are cropping up on more and more Android phones ever since the iPhone X came out, and multiple screens. However, it apparently won't have a dark mode like earlier rumors said and will instead feature a toggle that makes it easier for developers to test a night mode for their app.…

FIFA rulemakers approve the use of video referees

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Like it or not, video assistant referees are about to become a mainstay of the beautiful game. The International Football Association Board, which sets rules for FIFA as well as UK associations, has unanimously approved the use of VARs in soccer (aka football) matches on a permanent basis. So long as they go through a "mandatory approval process," they can implement the play review technology if they like. The decision comes after an independent university study showed that VARs had a net positive effect.As elsewhere, the aim is to produce more accurate play calls when there are serious disputes, such as for goals, penalties, red cards (but not a second yellow card) and cases of punishing the wrong person. This theoretically prevents game-changing mistakes while keeping the downtime to a minimum, and real-world tests have shown that the technology can work. In the US' Major League Soccer, for instance, it decided the outcome for matches soon after its introduction.Not ev…

After a decade of resisting, I finally bought a Kindle

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Amazon launched the Kindle just after I graduated college in 2007, a device which Walt Mossberg called a milestone for the company. I remember seeing the first devices pop up at the time, but it wasn’t something I was interested in since I was firmly wedded to the paper book. A decade after Amazon debuted its revolutionary device, I finally broke down during last year’s Prime Day sale and purchased a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite.I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Amazon. My first purchases were facilitated by my high school librarian, who helped me keep up with the latest Star Wars novels. Amazon.com later proved to be useful for my textbooks in college. But I was also wary of the site: during and after college, I was a...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2GXvxwr"

Pornhub's owner reveals its age verification tool for the UK

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Pornhub owner Mindgeek has unveiled what might become the default gatekeeping tool for porn in the UK. AgeID will ask porn site visitors to create an encrypted login that verifies their age across any compatible site, saving them from having to prove they're 18 or older every time they want to view some racy material. The system will draw on third-party age verification companies, but Mindgeek promises that AgeID won't store any personal info -- it'll only keep "standard technical data" to prevent fraud as well as that protected login.The technology will be available to every porn site available inside the UK. It'll be free for independent UK porn studios, producers and bloggers, and will cost a flat fee for others depending on their volume of British traffic. It should be available when the Digital Economy Act, the law mandating age checks in the UK, takes effect in April.This isn't the very first implementation of AgeID. It's been in use in Germany …

Recommended Reading: The dark past of Jessica Jones

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The creator of 'Jessica Jones' serves up a dark mirror for our moment
Joy Press,
The New York TimesJessica Jones returns to Netflix in less than a week, and thanks to a couple of trailers, we know it's going to be dark and angry. The New York Times sat down with the creator of the show, Melissa Rosenberg, who has also penned the doom and gloom for Dexter and Twilight. Rosenberg opens up about how her own past helped her craft the show's protagonist.What I learned road-tripping across North America with one of those giant CD binders
Grayson Haver Currin, PitchforkRemember CDs? Barely? Pitchfork has a nostalgic love letter to the physical media that will remind you of the good times you had flipping through a Case Logic binder.How Rotten Tomatoes may have radically skewed the Oscars' Best Picture race
Daniel Joyaux, The VergeThere's been a lot of debate in recent months about the Rotten Tomatoes effect on the movie industry, but is it swaying awards shows, too?Do…

Apple is reportedly planning to release a cheaper MacBook Air later this year

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Apple hasn’t done much with its ultra-thin MacBook Air in recent years, opting to slim down some of its other offerings instead. But the computer is reasonably popular, and according to Apple analyst KGI Securities (via 9to5Mac), the company is reportedly planning to release a cheaper model at some point in the second quarter of 2018.According to 9to5Mac, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects that Apple will release a 13-inch MacBook Air “with a lower price tag,” later this year, and that the lower price could help boost Apple’s laptop sales.While the line celebrates its tenth year in 2018, the line has largely only received incremental updates, the last of which came last summer, when Apple updated it with a faster 1.8GHz Intel processor....Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2F97sGu"

Dota 2 Update - March 3rd 2018

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* Fixed Morphling benefiting from melee attack modifiers when returning from Metamorphosis
* Fixed Treant Protector's level 25 talent not affecting the Ancient via Steam RSS News Feed "http://ift.tt/2CX0PB0"

Dota 2 Update - March 3rd, 2018

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* Fixed Morphling benefiting from melee attack modifiers when returning from Metamorphosis
* Fixed Treant Protector's level 25 talent not affecting the Ancient via Steam RSS News Feed "http://ift.tt/2FPgyW6"

After a year, Nintendo Switch accessories are starting to get interesting

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The Nintendo Switch turns one year old today, and last week on Circuit Breaker Live, we looked back at some of the most interesting accessories for Nintendo’s new console that have come out this year.There’s a bunch of interesting stuff out now that you’ll want to pick up for your Switch. You can swap out that terrible kickstand with a sturdier aluminum one, for instance, or add on a pro controller for more comfortable long gaming sessions. Charging is also a super interesting place for Switch gear, since the console uses a standard USB-C port. There are full out charging cases for recharging on the go (an important thing for the portable Switch), giant USB-C battery packs that are almost too big to take on a plane, and portable...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2FOwLuu"

Daily Deal - Homefront®: The Revolution, 80% Off

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Today's Deal: Save 80% on Homefront®: The Revolution!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time
via Steam RSS News Feed "http://ift.tt/2tgtfXn"

These are a few of our favorite things (from MWC 2018)

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Mobile World Congress 2018 has finally come to a close, and while this year felt more low-key than usual, there was still plenty to see and appreciate on the show floor. Samsung was here in full-force, Sony outed a pair of surprisingly compelling flagship phones, Vivo showed up with yet another kooky concept -- the list goes on. As always, though, Team Engadget happened upon some other developments that captivated us more than we expected. That's MWC for you -- it'll always catch you by surprise.As we board our planes and begin our long treks home, join us for a final look at some of our favorite things -- not just gadgets -- from MWC. (Oh, and take a gander at our unnerving AR emoji while you're at it.)Edgar Alvarez, Senior EditorNokia x Kolon First Responders jacketI don't have to think about this once twice. My favorite thing from MWC 2018, by far, was Nokia's smart jacket for first responders.Not only does it have the potential to help cops or firefighters duri…

Mazda rotary engine returning in 2019 as EV range extender, exec says

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It seems that a range-extended Mazda electric car with a rotary engine is for real, and coming sooner than expected. An automotive news outlet from the Netherlands called AutoRAI spoke with Mazda's European vice president for sales and customer service. He told the outlet that Mazda has an electric car coming In 2019, and it will be available with a rotary engine as a generator.Among the details about this car and its powertrain, he said it would be similar in size to the Mazda3, and it might even be a crossover. It will also be based on Mazda's upcoming modular small car platform. The rotary engine will only generate electricity and will only have one rotor. Not only that, it will be mounted horizontally. This is particularly unusual as every rotary Mazda has had the engine mounted upright.

We've reached out to Mazda representatives in the U.S. and Europe. An American representative couldn't comment on what type of range-extender options may be coming in the future. W…

Invite me into your home; let me free you from advertisements

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I am not a rich man, but I’m rich in content subscriptions. I pay for ad-free Hulu. I pay for YouTube Red. I have Twitch Prime, and before that, I had Twitch Turbo. I pay for Spotify.Basically, I hate ads, and if you have content I enjoy and you additionally offer me an ad-free experience for a reasonable monthly cost (let’s say $10 or so), then I will gladly tell you my credit card number.Sadly, the entire world has not adjusted to my preferences. When I watch Hulu with my roommates on their TV, I see ads. When a friend shows me a must-see YouTube video, I see ads. When I’m at a party and the host is playing her party’s bespoke Spotify playlist, I hear ads.But when I gather with my fellow New York Excelsior fans in Ridgewood, Queens,...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2HZnaSx"

Samsung Galaxy S9 deals and an exclusive discount on our favorite wireless charger

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Wireless charging is pretty en vogue right now. Just about every major new phone supports wireless charging and a number of companies have released their own wireless charging pads. Of the dozens of options on the market, we ranked the RAVPower Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad as the best, giving it a 9 out of 10 in our review in October. Verge readers are being offered an exclusive discount on this charger until 11:59 PM PT on Monday, March 5th with the code 34CHARGE, which brings the price from $44.99 down to $29.99.In other smartphone deals news, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are now available for preorder and Samsung is offering a pretty great deal on its new flagship phones. If you missed the Best Buy deal on March 2nd, Samsung is...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2F8KvDb"

Amazon will soon stop selling all Nest products

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Nest products won’t be sold by Amazon.com any longer once current stock runs out, according to a report from Business Insider. Amazon last year declined to offer some of Nest’s newer products like the Nest Cam IQ and latest-generation smart thermostat. After weeks of simply ignoring the products and being unresponsive to Nest, Amazon informed the company of its decision by phone late in the year and said the directive “came from the top,” something Nest took to mean it had been handed down by CEO Jeff Bezos. There has been no direct confirmation of this, however.As a result, Nest has decided to halt further restocks at Amazon once remaining product inventory is exhausted. It’s unclear whether third-party sellers will continue selling...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2FPA7h4"

For this iPhone clone maker, it's all about survival

How to choose the best TV streaming device for you

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DIY Find the right dongle.To stream content to your television, you'll first have to choose between the dongles offered by Amazon, Apple, Google, Roku, and others. Here's how to pick. via Popular Science "http://ift.tt/2CWaLuH"

The Morning After: Weekend Edition

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Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.Welcome to the weekend! It's the perfect time to catch up on everything from Mobile World Congress along with Friday's big news stories. An AWS outage knocked out Alexa (and Engadget) while we took Samsung's Galaxy S9+ out for some "late night photography testing."Fight!Google vs. Amazon = no more Nest on AmazonAccording to Business Insider, Amazon informed Nest it wouldn't stock the company's new devices. In response, Nest apparently won't restock any of its goods with the retailer, so once they're sold out, that's it.And Engadget too.Amazon server outage pulled the plug on Alexa for a few hoursAn outage in Amazon's cloud services muted the voice assistant for many people on March 2nd, producing error messages when you spoke commands to Echo speakers and other Alexa-equipped devices. It also prevented us from updating Engadget for a couple of hours before everything was restored -- hopefully, everyone …