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If you want a Metroid Lego set, you have the power to bring the idea closer to reality. User L-DI-EGO has submitted a design on Lego’s Ideas website that brings the block treatment to Samus and her gunship, but the site requires votes to get this concept in front of Lego itself (via Nintendo Life). Lego Ideas is an official site for users to submit their concepts and designs for the Lego company to consider, and where Lego fans can vote for their favorites. If a submission gets 10,000 votes, the Lego Group may turn it into a real product. Right now the Metroid concept has around 5,700 votes, so it’s just over halfway. If you like the concept, you can go to the website to put your thumb on the scale. Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas It’s worth noting, however, that many of the submissions that do get 10,000 votes don’t actually end up hitting store shelves. The program has been running since 2008, and only 33 sets have made it to production so far. Lego only guarantees that it’ll look at the idea, but usually fans will end up waiting to hear back from the company only to get a rejection. That isn’t to say it’s impossible. Lego has a page listing some of the Ideas that you can buy today. The list includes the truly awesome 1969-piece Saturn V rocket, and we’ve written about a Doctor Who set that started out as an Idea. Space ideas really seem to speak to Lego, as nearly a quarter of the sets produced (if you count WALL-E and Doctor Who) have been space-themed. This includes a Women of NASA kit and a recreation of the International Space Station. Maybe that’s a good sign, since Metroid is set in space? You wouldn’t see anything like this on Earth. Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas What would the official version of this look like? Still cool, I bet. Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas Despite the space examples, the program doesn’t operate at warp speed. It can often take over a year from an idea getting reviewed to it being something you can buy: that Doctor Who kit got to 10,000 votes on April 7, 2014, and hit store shelves in December of 2015. And even if the Metroid idea does end up being produced by Lego, there are no promises it’ll look the same as it does now. Lego will often make changes to the Ideas designs. You can see this by comparing the Back to the Future set from 2011. On the top is the Ideas version, and on the bottom is the retail packaging. Image by m.togami on Lego Ideas The hoverboard and Doc’s fit are clear
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In one of his first actions in office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order on a broad range of environmental protections that included stopping construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This is the second time a president has pumped the brakes on the embattled pipeline. Barack Obama denied a permit for the project in 2015. Then in 2017, Donald Trump reversed that decision and issued a permit. The order directed federal agencies to review environmental rollbacks made under the Trump Administration, according to the Huffington Post and The New York Times. That includes revisiting f
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Tim Apple, as Trump once called him, didn’t just give Donald Trump the opportunity to lie about bringing an Apple factory to the United States. He also gave him a $5,999 Mac Pro, according to Donald Trump’s final financial disclosure report today (via the NY Times’ David Enrich). The computer is described as the very first Mac Pro produced at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas. That’s also a lie: that factory has actually been producing Mac Pros since 2013. Either way, $5,999 would actually make it the least expensive version of the 2020 Mac Pro the company currently sells... with
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President Joe Biden recommitted the US to the Paris climate accord during his first day in office, fulfilling one of his earliest campaign promises. In 30 days, the US will once again be part of the global accord. Rejoining the agreement is as easy as sending a letter to the secretary-general of the United Nations. What comes after that will be much harder. The US turned its back on efforts to tackle the climate crisis together as a planet when Donald Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Trump decimated federal efforts to slash emissions within the US, and he stood by other right-wing leaders — like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who similarly dismantled environmental protections — even as their countries burned like never before because of climate change. Now, the US needs to regain the world’s trust and show that it means business when it comes to taking on climate change. “One of the things the world is very tired of is seeing the US make promises we don’t keep,” says Alden Meyer, a senior associate focused on US and international climate policy at E3G, a London-based think tank. “They want to know that whatever commitments we do make, we have not only the intention, but the wherewithal and the political support to pull off.” Biden has made big promises already, like pledging to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2035 and reaching a “100 percent clean energy” economy by 2050. But those promises still aren’t enough to set the US on a course to meaningfully engage with the rest of the world on climate change again. Biden will need to set more near-term goals and solidify a plan to dramatically slash US greenhouse gas emissions during his time in office. The clock is ticking. During Barack Obama’s administration, the US signed onto the Paris accord and promised to slash greenhouse gas emissions between 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. That’s a goal the US is not on track to meet. The US is now expected to bring an updated commitment to the global table before a United Nations Climate Conference planned for November. Other countries ratcheted up their pledges last year. The landmark Paris agreement, adopted in 2015, joined nearly every country on Earth in an effort to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. The planet has alre
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Hours after taking his oath of office on Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders overturning actions taken by the Trump administration regarding immigration, and tech is rallying behind the move. Biden signed two executive orders Wednesday that extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for another four years and overturn the Trump administration’s travel bans on largely Muslim-majority countries. It’s just the start of the Biden administration’s immigration reform efforts. The administration also plans to drop a new bill that would provide 11 million undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and an eight-year waiting period before they can become permanent residents, according to Politico. “We welcome President Biden’s commitment to pursuing comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the American values of justice, fairness and dignity. This effort will strengthen American communities and the pathways to opportunity this country has long fostered,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement Wednesday. “In the weeks and months to come, business leaders look forward to working with the Administration, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress, to achieve bipartisan, practical and comprehensive solutions to fix our broken immigration system, including a permanent solution for Dreamers that includes a path to citizenship.” We applaud @POTUS's quick action on COVID relief, the Paris Climate Accord, and immigration reform. Google has supported action on these important issues & we look forward to working with the new administration to help the US recover from the pandemic + grow our economy.— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) January 20, 2021 Google CEO Sundar Pichai also put out a statement in support of the Biden administration’s new immigration effort. “We applaud @POTUS‘s quick action on COVID relief, the Paris Climate Accord, and immigration reform. Google has supported action on these important issues & we look forward to working with the new administration to help the US recover from the pandemic + grow our economy,” Pichai said in a tweet. “We are thankful that President Biden and Vice President Harris are following through on their commitment to send a bill to Congress to fix our broken immigration system,” FWD.us president Todd Schulte said in a statement Wednesday. “What needs to happen in short order is the House and Senate must move legislation that is signed into law.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg helped found FWD.us, an immigration advocacy organization, in 2013. Twitter also put out a statement in support of the move. The “DACA Executive Order signed this evening delivers hope for #Dreamers. Diversity makes the US, our company, and our world better,” the company said in a tweet. Last summer, former President Donald Trump issued a proclamation suspending a number of visa programs, including guest worker visas, like the H-1B. Tech companies commonly use these visas to recruit talented employees from overseas. After this proclamation was issued, tech companies, from Apple to Google, put out statements admonishing the Trump administratio
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Our desperate plea for a Muppets adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been answered: documentary filmmaker Ben Crew has taken the public domain novel and turned it into a downloadable 104-page fan-made script that marries Muppet antics with existential angst. My request for an adaptation may have been ridiculous, but this script seriously vindicates me. Crew’s script, “Muppets Present ‘The Great Gatsby,’” may be a silly mashup of a novel you’re forced to read in high school and a puppet comedy variety show, but he said it became a meaningful project when January’s news cycle became too much to bear. “I knew that there was nothing I could do about what was happening in D.C. and that if I didn’t distract myself I was just going to waste away in front of the news again,” Crew wrote in an email to The Verge. “That’s when I dedicated myself to writing this script.” A mockup of the Muppet adaptations poster. Image: Benjamin Crew The final product is a script that plays to a lot of the Muppets’ strengths, while tossing in some fun additions original to Crew. Miss Piggy does karate, Gonzo and Fozzie Bear break the fourth wall frequently, and Kermit... well, Kermit is as exactly as good-natured as we expect. Since every good Muppets movie needs human characters, Crew imagines casting Tom Holland as narrator Nick Carraway and Taron Egerton as the abusive Tom Buchanan. The script also leans frequently into the meta-humor The Muppets is known for and, of course, features plenty of musical numbers. Crew pulled on his knowledge of The Muppets to write the script, which he says he built over years, bonding with his older brother over VHS tapes of The Muppet Show. That personal connection and a belief that there’s something genuinely, morally good about the characters made the script feel like an antidote to the anxiety that was ailing Crew. And based on the positive responses to his Reddit post sharing the script, it helped others, too. You can read an excerpt from the full script below: NICK CARRAWAY (CONT’D) I wonder what kind of a man Mr. Gatsby is. GONZO Technically he’s a frog. Nick’s eyes zero in on the massive windows of Gatsby’s home. A lone curtain is drawn open, could someone be watching? NICK CARRAWAY (V.O.) All this money, all this property - but are you in there alone right now, do you have anyone to share it with? RIZZO He’s inner monologuing again. GONZO Just unpack, we’ll snap him out of it if he’s still going by dinner. So the wheels are in motion. There’s a script written, a poster made, and a new subreddit (r/muppetgreatgatsby) devoted to the project. Disney could step in and make things official at some point, but we’ve gotten pretty far on sheer willpower and ridiculous demands alone, so let’s make another: we need this script to be made into a movie.
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Among Us was one of the smash hits of 2020 — it reportedly had nearly half a billion players in November — and there are some exciting updates announced for the game, including a new airship map and an account system. In a blog posted yesterday, developer Innersloth discussed how it has adapted in response to the game’s enormous popularity and why new features are taking a while to be released. “Among Us gained incredible traction pretty late into 2020 that we weren’t expecting, and that meant A LOT of change for us,” the developers said. Innersloth, which is comprised of just four employees, had to spend two months restructuring, figuring out processes, and working with new e
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In one of his first acts as president, Joe Biden walked back the former administration’s plan to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will participate in the organization’s executive meeting this week, according to a fact sheet released by the Biden-Harris transition team. Donald Trump announced plans to cut ties with the WHO in late May, claiming that China had “total control” over the global health organization. Experts widely criticized the move, saying that it would be catastrophic for public health in the midst of a deadly pandemic. The US is a major funder for the
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Firefighter Andrea Hall put accessible communication front and center at the presidential inauguration today when she led the Pledge of Allegiance in both spoken English and Signed English. The inaugural committee also hosted several separate accessible live streams of the event on its YouTube page, including one with audio description, one with live captions and American Sign Language interpretation, and one with Cued Speech transliteration (the use of hand shapes to signal speech sounds). But despite those efforts, many deaf and hard of hearing viewers still found the inauguration inaccessible. Most broadcast stations didn’t have an ASL interpreter on-screen and used automated caption
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This story is part of a group of stories called Only the best deals on Verge-approved gadgets get the Verge Deals stamp of approval, so if you're looking for a deal on your next gadget or gift from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and more, this is the place to be. JBL’s Google Assistant-powered smart display, the Link View, is on sale for $80 on Harman Audio’s (JBL’s parent company) eBay store. While its original price was $300, this smart display has been slowly getting cheaper since it debuted in 2018. Both the black and white color variants are on sale, and it comes with free standard shipping. The JB
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Twitch has “indefinitely” banned former President Donald Trump from its platform. The action comes two weeks after the site disabled Trump’s account, preventing him from streaming but leaving the account page live, in light of the mob attack on the Capitol. At the time, a company spokesperson told a Verge reporter that it would reassess his account after he left office — which happened today. “We have indefinitely suspended President Trump’s Twitch channel due to the ongoing risk of further incitement of violence,” a Twitch spokesperson wrote in an email to The Verge. The President’s statements continue to be interpreted as calls to action, and we are taking this action
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Today’s US presidential inauguration brought many good things, but the thing Twitter seems most excited about is a new crop of Bernie memes. The meme started with a wire photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), sitting on a folding chair watching President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The temperature in Washington, DC was in the 40s, so he’s bundled up with a coat and mittens, and he’s sitting socially distanced from everyone else, as his age and prior health issues put him at severe risk for COVID-19. Something about Sanders’ chilly body language, his oversized wool mittens, and the fact that he was sitting entirely alone made the photo irresistible as meme material. Of course, the se
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Amazon has offered to help the Biden administration meet its goal of completing 100 million coronavirus vaccinations within the next 100 days. “Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s worldwide operations leader, wrote in a letter to the administration. The company’s main interest appears to be in offering vaccinations through its own facilities. Clark writes that Amazon has “an agreement in place” with a health care provider to administer vaccinations on site, though he did not say which Amazon facilities were being considered. The company operates warehouses, Amazon-branded shops, and Whole Foods grocery stores. Clark said Amazon could “move quickly once vaccines are available.” Amazon could also provide technology and communications resources to help the new administration, Clark said. “We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts,” Clark wrote in the letter addressed to Biden. The letter was first reported by Reuters. Among the challenges of getting the US vaccinated is completing the “last mile” of distribution — getting the vaccines from distributors to patients. Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines need to be transported while frozen, with Pfizer’s requiring ultra-cold storage. Once they get to a facility, they need to be thawed and quickly distributed. Lately, distribution efforts in the US have been complicated by confusion over who’s eligible and fractured access to vaccine sign-ups and appointments. Amazon, of course, has one of the most expansive distribution systems in the United States, designed to rapidly ship packages from warehouses across the country. The offer marks a stark contrast to Amazon’s relationship with the previous administration, which was strained by former President Donald Trump’s ongoing grudge against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Trump also took a fairly hands-off approach to federal involvement in vaccine distribution, largely leaving states responsible.
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The official website of the White House, WhiteHouse.gov, has been completely replaced with a new version for the Biden administration, and it comes with some unexpected accessibility features: a high contrast mode, which serves as a dark mode, and a toggle to make the font size larger. Both options show up along the left rail as big, easy-to-click or tap buttons, and that’s the way you’ll need to toggle them. Even if your device has a system-wide dark mode, the White House website won’t switch over automatically. That’s because it’s really there to serve as an accessibility feature, meant to help anyone who would have trouble reading or looking at a bright white screen with black text. With dark mode being very popular among heavy computer users as well, people online were understandably excited to see the change. The large text mode — no surprises — makes the text on the site significantly larger, while still preserving the layout, something that may not be true when using a browser’s built-in zoom ability. The site in both high contrast and large text mode. Acting as a recruiting tool for anyone who’s looking into the site’s code, the HTML h
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At 12PM ET today, Jim Bridenstine officially stepped down from his role as NASA administrator. During his time at the agency, the former Oklahoma congressman and Naval aviator used his political chops to drum up bipartisan support for the Trump administration’s Artemis program, the agency’s cornerstone initiative to land humans on the Moon by 2024 — a deadline widely viewed as nearly impossible to meet. In anticipation of President Joe Biden taking office and the Senate transitioning to Democratic control, Bridenstine, a Republican, spent his final days as administrator making one last push for the Artemis program, a parting bid to insulate the program from potential cancellation. Last week, he met with top Democrats including Sen. Patrick Leahy, who’s expected to become the second-highest-ranking official in the Senate once Biden takes office. “We have done everything we can to build the consensus necessary for this program to be long-term sustainable,” Bridenstine told The Verge in an interview before heading out. “I think as hard as we’ve worked to build the consensus over the last three years, I think we’re in good shape.” The multibillion-dollar Artemis program will face a new administration focused on building consensus around other priorities, including battling the coronavirus pandemic and tackling climate change. Already, Congress has balked at the idea of a 2024 deadline for landing humans on the Moon: of the $3.3 billion NASA said it needed for next year’s budget to stay on track for 2024, Congress came up with $850 million. But Bridenstine still views that as a win: during a pandemic, NASA’s budget is billions more than what it was when he took office. The $850 million for NASA marks the first time Congress agreed to fund a human lunar lander since the Apollo program. “That’s notable,” Casey Dreier, senior space policy adviser at The Planetary Society, said in an interview. “It didn’t get that far during the constellation program, the last time we tried going to the Moon.” But it also shows NASA “couldn’t successfully make the case to Congress as to why they needed the money now, and why they needed it for
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Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess joined twitter Wednesday, and his first tweet was a light trolling of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “Hello @Twitter! I’m here to make an impact with @VWGroup, especially on political issues,” Diess wrote. “And, of course, to get some of your market shares, @elonmusk – after all, our ID.3 and e-tron have won the first markets in Europe. Looking forward to productive discussions!” Diess — who last year settled criminal charges related to his role in the Dieselgate emissions scandal — was referencing how the first mass-market electric vehicles of its VW and Audi brands performed well in Europe (and especially in Germany) in their debut year, causing Tesla to lose market share on the continent. (To wit, while writing this, Tesla dropped prices on the Model 3 in Europe.) Hello @Twitter! I’m here to make an impact with @VWGroup, especially on political issues. And, of course, to get some of your market shares, @elonmusk – after all, our ID.3 and e-tron have won the first markets in Europe. Looking forward to productive discussions!— Herbert Diess (@Herbert_Diess) January 20, 2021 Most automotive and other big-brand CEOs use Twitter in an obligatory manner. They issue stately comments on new products or initiatives but are otherwise absent from the daily churn. It’s hard to imagine Diess — who has praised Musk in the past — doing much else beyond tweeting playful jabs like the one on Wednesday, let alone actually engaging Musk on his terms with memes and snark and stock price-moving jokes. For one thing, Diess just barely survived a major power struggle that played out inside the Volkswagen Group. While he remains the top boss, he was stripped of his title of CEO of the VW brand in large part because of the major software problems the ID 3 has had during its rollout. Stranger things have happened, but the idea that Diess — who apparently once made his executives attend a “syntegration workshop” — would break edgelord seems unlikely. Musk, meanwhile, has spent nearly two years possibly violating a court order that says he’s supposed to have tweets about Tesla pre-screened by a lawyer. To Musk
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Streaming services are slowly turning into cable TV — complete with bundles, an ever-growing list of channels, and a reinvented TV guide. And a series of lawsuits could portend the return of something even worse: the hidden cable fee. Three municipalities in Georgia are suing Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming video providers for as much as 5 percent of their gross revenue in the district — joining a nationwide group of towns and counties that want these services regulated more like cable TV. It’s a small but growing front in the war over cord-cutting, challenging regulators to decide which matters more: the increasing role streaming services play in American media diets or their significant practical differences from traditional TV. The federal lawsuit, reported earlier this mon
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This story is part of a group of stories called Only the best deals on Verge-approved gadgets get the Verge Deals stamp of approval, so if you're looking for a deal on your next gadget or gift from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and more, this is the place to be. Last October, Lenovo unveiled its new Google Assistant-powered alarm clock, the Smart Clock Essential. At just $50, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is slightly smarter than your average bedside clock. Not only does it display time, weather conditions, and current alarms, but its compact design won’t take up much space on your nightstand or bedside table. The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is currently $25 at Best Buy. And if you want to take full
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Netflix’s Shuffle Play feature, which the company was spotted testing last year, is getting a widespread launch in the first half of 2021. Variety reports the company made the announcement as part of its latest financial results. In its testing phase, Shuffle Play has worked by picking content based on your viewing history, helping you avoid feeling overwhelmed by Netflix’s home screen full of content. Netflix’s COO and chief product officer Greg Peters said the feature is designed for users to “indicate to us that they just want to skip browsing entirely, click one button and we’ll pick a title for them just to instantly play.” During its tests of the feature, Netflix has experimented with including a “Shuffle Play” button on its profile select screen, and a “Play Something” option in its menu. Here’s how that ended up looking: Photo by Julia Alexander / The Verge The big question now is what Netflix will end up calling the feature. During its earnings presentation, co-CEO Reed Hastings joked that they might call it “I’m Feeling Lucky,” a
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. There are two reasons to buy the ExpertBook B9450: the weight and the battery life. Pick up the Asus ExpertBook B9450, and you’ll wonder where the rest of it is. Asus is touting it as the world’s lightest 14-inch commercial laptop, and it is light. Carrying it around, I felt like I was carrying nothing. My test unit is 2.19 pounds, but models go as low as 1.91 pounds. Inside the 0.6-inch chassis, though, Asus has still managed to include some decent specs. Models start at $1,699, and the base includes 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a Core i7-10510U with Intel’s UHD Graphics 620. The model I’m using, which costs $1,799, has the same processor but bumps the storage up to two 1TB drives. Asus says the keyboard has a lifespan of up to 10,000,000 keystrokes, per its durability testing. But the ExpertBook’s battery life is just as (if not more) impressive than its weight. In my testing, it lasted an average of 10 hours and 47 minutes — and that was while multitasking with a decent load of Chrome tabs and apps at 200 nits of brightness. That means the ExpertBook isn’t the longest-lasting business laptop I’ve ever tested (the $3,000 Dell Latitude still holds that crown), but it’s certainly in the hall of fame. That’s my quick take on the ExpertBook. Those are the two standout features (in addition to the storage capacity). Together, they make it a great option for business users who need a portable device with quite a bit of storage, but pot
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Microsoft may have killed off its flagship MP3 player nearly a decade ago, but these fans are keeping their enthusiasm alive By Jan 20, 2021, 9:00am EST It was weird to own a Zune in 2005. It is even weirder to own a Zune in 2021 — let alone 16 of them. And yet, 27-year-old Conner Woods proudly shows off his lineup on a kitchen table. They come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, and each can be identified by that telltale black plastic D-pad just below the screen. He owns the entire scope of the brief Zune lineup — from the svelte Zune 4 to the chunky Zune HD — and among the microscopic community of people who still adore Microsoft’s much-derided MP3 player, no collection of dead tech could possibly be more enviable. Woods picked up his Zune foraging habit during the pandemic, while he was furloughed from his job working security at Best Buy. “I taught myself to solder, began buying up dead Zunes, and repairing and flipping them for a profit,” he says. “At some point I ran across some rare ones and couldn’t bring myself to part with them.” He counts a particularly
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Nvidia is updating its Shield Android TV software to include support for the latest next-gen console controllers. If you own a Shield TV or Shield TV Pro device, you can now pair the PS5 DualSense or Xbox Series X controllers to play Android games or PC titles through Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service. To pair a PS5 DualSense controller, you can head into the Bluetooth section of the Shield TV, and then hold down the PlayStation button until the light pulses blue. For Xbox Series X / S controllers, you can hold the pairing button until the Xbox button starts blinking. Alongside the c
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President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are set to make history today when they will be sworn into office as president and vice president. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and heightened security following this month’s deadly attack on the Capitol, Inauguration Day will be unlike any other before. Here’s how to watch and participate in the historic day’s events from home: When is the presidential inauguration? The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will begin on Wednesday, January 20th, in Washington, D
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Valve and five PC video game publishers have been fined a total of €7.8 million (around $9.5 million) by the European Commission for restricting cross-border game sales in the European Economic Area. The Commission said that the companies geo-blocked around 100 PC video games, preventing them from being activated and played outside certain EU countries. This broke the EU’s Digital Single Market rules which prohibit those types of barriers. The European Commission says the geo-blocking was to prevent games being activated outside Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latv
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Google is releasing a new version of Chrome this week that will improve its dark mode support, alongside removing FTP and Adobe Flash support. The dark mode improvements can be found on both Windows and Chrome OS. There are refinements to both the light and dark modes in Chrome OS, with the themes updated for the app launcher, quick settings, and shelf parts of Chrome OS. How To Geek also reports that the Windows 10 dark mode is improved with Chrome 88, with scroll bars finally appearing dark. Unfortunately, these are currently limited to the settings, bookmarks, history, and new tab pages of Chrome 88 and not across all websites with dark themes. Elsewhere, Google is also removing some old web technology in Chrome 88. The File Transport Protocol (FTP) is officially disabled with this
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Google is investigating artificial intelligence researcher Margaret Mitchell, who co-leads the company’s Ethical AI team, and has locked her corporate account, Axios reports. The news comes a little over a month after another prominent AI ethicist, Timnit Gebru, said she was fired by the company. Mitchell’s account has now reportedly been locked for “at least a few days” but she hasn’t been fired, according to a tweet from Gebru. Mitchell did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement given to Axios, Google said it was investigating Mitchell after its systems detected an account had “exfiltrated thousands of files and shared them with multiple external accounts.” According to an Axios source, Mitchell had been using a script to go through her message
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LG is considering exiting the smartphone market in 2021. After losing around $4.5 billion over the past five years, LG’s smartphone business has been struggling to compete with rivals. Now LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok has notified employees that the company is considering making big changes to its smartphone business. The Korea Herald reports that Kwon Bong-seok sent out an internal memo to staff on Wednesday, hinting at a change in direction for LG’s phone business. “Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice,” says an LG official in a statement to The Korea Herald. “The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone bu
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Mercedes-Benz threw back the curtain on the EQA crossover, its latest electric vehicle as part of a slate of new EVs that are being planned for the coming years. The compact SUV will have a range of less than 300 miles, a 66.5kWh battery pack, and a net list price of €39,950 ($48,442). The EQA, which is based on the German automaker’s GLA-class of SUVs, is scheduled to go into production this year in Europe, but likely won’t make it to the US anytime soon. That said, a spokesperson for Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, said the EQA is still being considered for the US market. American car buyers would do better waiting for the EQB electric crossover, which will be closely related to the boxier GLB-class vehicle. The EQB is also scheduled to go into production later this
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One of President Trump’s final acts in office is to pardon a former Google engineer who was convicted of stealing trade secrets. Anthony Levandowski worked for Google’s self-driving car division, now called Waymo, before leaving to found Otto, a self-driving truck company that was acquired by Uber. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison in August, with judge William Alsup describing the incident as the “biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen.” Levandowski was found to have downloaded thousands of files to his laptop before he left Google and entered into sale discussions. Uber ultimately fired him after Google sued, and Levandowski remains in a legal battle with the ride-hailing company, claiming it should be liable for the $179 million he was ordered to pay Google. In a
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Mark Harris has put together an amazing report for TechCrunch on the legal troubles that have befallen buyers of the Boring Company’s flame-throwing device. Part of what makes it worth a read is that it digs up stories you may have not heard about yet: a police raid in London, an American doing time in an Italian prison, and how they’ve turned up in narcotics hauls alongside real guns and bags of cocaine. While the Not a Flamethrower name may actually be accurate, the story shows that when police the world over see you with a gun-shaped device, especially one that shoots flames, they may not join you in laughing about Elon’s zany project ideas. They may just end up arresting you. The biggest “what the heck” moment of the story for me was when a lawyer says of the Not a Flame
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Minecraft Dungeons’ dedicated launcher on PC is being retired in favor of a new “Unified Launcher” that lets you launch Dungeons and Minecraft: Java Edition from the same place, reducing the number of places where you can play Minecraft on PC by one (via Windows Central). Minecraft Dungeons is the hack-and-slash loot collecting cousin of Minecraft that, until this change, had its own launcher unless it was purchased from the Microsoft Store. As of January 18th, the non-Microsoft Store version of Dungeons on PC can only be launched from the new Unified Launcher (which itself is an update to the Java launcher). Mojang says the change shouldn’t affect save files and that either a Microsoft account (soon to be required to play on PC) or a Mojang account can be used to log in to the
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Last week, we told you how Wattpad has become a place where budding authors can sometimes turn their work into Hollywood film and TV, with Hulu, Netflix and others adapting Wattpad writers’ labors into titles like The Kissing Booth, Light as a Feather and After We Collided. But it looks like Wattpad may no longer be trying to become an entertainment tastemaker all on its own — South Korean web company Naver is buying Wattpad for over $600 million, the companies announced today. While details are scarce, it seems like Naver already sees Wattpad as a natural pairing with one of its other brands — Webtoon, an online webtoon publishing portal that similarly allows artists to upload their own work and similarly spawns TV and anime adaptations.(Here’s a handy list of those adaptations
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Nintendo has announced that it’s collaborating with cosmetics brand ColourPop on a makeup collection inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The collection looks to be relatively extensive, including four powder palettes that are themed after characters in the game. Obviously, Isabelle is fabulous enough that she doesn’t have to share with anyone and gets her own. ColourPop is no stranger to pop culture collaborations. It has lines inspired by Disney princesses, The Mandalorian, and even Sailor Moon. The Animal Crossing venture won’t even be the first collab it’s done with a gaming brand, as there’s also a Candy Land x ColourPop line. The collection shows that, even though the game has been out for 10 months at this point, the game still has some cultural significance.
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One of the biggest trends coming out of this year’s CES wasn’t something people will necessarily notice at first glance unless they look closely. After enduring years of cramped, “widescreen” laptop displays, it looks like we’re finally starting to say goodbye to the 16:9 aspect ratio. Here’s the new Dell Latitude 9420. Image: Dell An aspect ratio is the ratio of a display’s width to a display’s height (in that order). For example, a screen with a resolution of 500 x 500 would have an aspect ratio of 1:1. Think of it like simplifying a fraction: a 1080p screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which divides down to 16:9. The aspect ratios you
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Vrbo has changed its stance on people making reservations in the Washington, DC area during the week of the inauguration. The company announced on January 19th, the day before the event, that it will block any new reservations through Friday, January 22nd. Vrbo previously stated it was evaluating new bookings and that it would “take appropriate action in coordination with law enforcement” if necessary. The news was tweeted by Expedia Group (which owns Vrbo) and from the official Vrbo Twitter account. It comes in light of DC officials encouraging people to stay home and participate in the inauguration virtually. Based on updated guidance provided by government officials regarding security threats, and as part of ongoing efforts to protect the safety of travelers, partners and commu
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Photo by Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Ripples from the Capitol riots could be spreading across the country By Jan 19, 2021, 5:05pm EST When thousands of insurrectionists descended on Washington, DC, from all over the country in early January, it had the makings of a COVID-19 superspreader event: people packed in close quarters, chanting and cheering, all un
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The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3, announced globally in September of last year, is now available in the US starting at $489.99. It’s a rugged 8-inch Android tablet designed primarily for manufacturing, retail, and job sites, with an IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating. Samsung even says it passed tests against 23 environmental conditions, including vibrations and high altitude, to meet the MIL-STD-810 military-grade standard. An IP68 S Pen stylus is included in the box, as is a case that protects against drops up to 1.5 meters. The Tab Active 3’s touchscreen is designed to be used even when wearing work gloves, though not “extremely heavy duty gloves or mittens.” It also offers three physical navigation buttons as well as two programmable buttons that can act as shortcuts to certain apps. The Tab Active 3’s rear 13-megapixel camera. Image: Samsung Its rear 13-megapixel and front-facing 5-megapixel cameras are optimized for scanning barcodes, and a removable 5,050mAh battery is included. While it will ship with Android 10, Samsung says an upgrade to Android 11 will follow. It will sell with either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, expandable by microSD card slot. The Galaxy Tab Active 3 is available now from Samsung’s partner distributors and at Samsung.com. It starts at $489.99 for a Wi-Fi-only version and $589.99 for the LTE model. Samsung says it will remain available for purchase for three years.
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Bats are elusive little creatures, which makes them the perfect subjects for scientists to try out new animal tracking systems. This is great news for me specifically, because I love both bats and seeing images of animals with goofy little trackers on them. How can you look at these seals with ridiculous antenna hats and not laugh at least a little? One of the latest innovations in tracking wearables is the dulog system, a wireless sensor network built by biologist Simon Ripperger and engineer Niklas Duda, which was put to the test in several bat-tracking studies over the past few years. Now that the dulog has proven its mettle with bats, which are tiny, nocturnal, and generally tough to observe, the pair believe it could be useful in monitoring all kinds of animals. “If your project can succeed with bats, it can probably work with most species,” says Ripperger in a recent Silicon Labs blog post. When he first got started in the bat-tracking business, he saw that his adviser was “essentially running behind bats, chasing them with an antenna.” I will be holding that image in my mind for a while, but Ripperger and Duda think the dulog’s tiny sensors will make animal studies easier — less chasing required. A tiny common noctule bat wearing the latest in sensor fashion. Image: dulog The data collected with dulog tags can be downloaded remotely, meaning after the initial attachment, scientists don’t have to wrangle animals to retrieve data from their tags. They’re also smaller and lighter than current GPS tracking systems that ena
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For the first time since October 13th, 2017, The CW’s app sat atop the list of free apps available on iOS devices, passing YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and more. Airing the shows on the app isn’t new: The CW has routinely run its series in-season on its apps and digital networks. Riverdale has seen several season premieres since October 2017, but it never catapulted The CW app to the top of the iOS store. All American and Batwoman are relatively new, but even their past seasons didn’t contribute to massive download spikes. The CW noted in a statement to The Streamable that this is the third year in the row it reached the top of the charts during a premiere week, although SensorTower’s data claims it was the first time in three years. There’s one immediate possibility: many of The CW’s top shows are returning this week. For people without a cable subscription who want to watch Riverdale, All American, Batwoman, and more, The CW’s free, ad-supported app is one option. On January 18th, the app saw approximately 36,000 installs in the US App Store and Google Play, according to SensorTower. That’s seven times as high as the week before it, a spokesperson for SensorTower added. Most importantly, it’s impossible to say for certain whether one particular show drove mass downloads of the app because that data isn’t shared publicly. Like most things in the entertainment industry these days, some of the answers may lie in Netflix and the pandemic. After many of those shows air their season finales, they end up on Netflix about a week later — and having people discover series via the streamer has created a Netflix Effect, according to CW chairman Mark Pedowitz. Just last week, Pedowitz told Variety that its free, ad-supported CW streaming platform “has been enormously successful for us,” although he didn’t say exactly how many viewers the app was actually drawing. Pedowitz added that The CW has seen “great increases in Batwoman, Nancy Drew, and Stargirl in terms of what we would have done in a rolling five [most recent five episodes of a season that aired on TV] for Netflix.” A couple of important notes about The CW: it’s not a ratin
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iFixit’s long in the making AirPods Max teardown is finally complete, giving an exhaustive look at the internals of Apple’s debut over-ear headphones and an idea of how easy they are to repair. iFixit even went as far as to teardown Sony’s WH-1000XM4 and Bose’s NC 700 headphones for comparison. Until now, iFixit has refused to grant Apple a single repairability point for any of its AirPods, but the AirPods Max buck the trend with a surprisingly high score of six out of ten. Why so high? Well, for starters, its ear cushions attach via magnets, making them easy to swap and replace when they inevitably get worn out. There are also plenty of internal components held together with screws rather than messy glue, which should make it easy for would-be repairers to swap them out if they break. iFixit is particularly fond of the headband hinge mechanism found between the band and the ear cups, which it notes can be detached “with just a SIM card removal tool or paperclip, without even opening the ear cup.” It calls this “perhaps the most elaborate part of the AirPods Max” and notes that it’s “both intricate and overbuilt, and might make the AirPods Max’s price tag a little easier to swallow.” The headphones aren’t perfectly repairable by any means. Opening
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Netflix has surpassed another major milestone: 203.6 million subscribers around the world. The achievement comes after Netflix saw spectacular growth in the first half of 2020. But as it celebrates passing the 200 million subscriber mark, Netflix is also acknowledging that 2021 likely won’t see as many net subscriber gains every quarter, starting in the first quarter of 2021. Netflix added a total of 8.5 million paid net subscribers in Q4, bringing in a record breaking 37 million paid memberships in 2020. Netflix “achieved $25 billion in annual revenue,” according to the earnings report. Still, Netflix is warning that “we expect paid net adds of 6 million” in Q1 2021 compared to last year’s “15.8 million, which included the impact from the initial COVID-19 lockdowns.” Most importantly, however, Netflix executives are telling shareholders that “we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations.” Or, more simply put, Netflix no longer needs to borrow substantial amounts of cash. Coming off a less than stellar third quarter in terms of subscriber gains (2.2 million added compared to the 6 million expected), the current uptick in growth is a sign of what Netflix can achieve with a string of must-watch content. In the fourth quarter, new shows like The Queen’s Gambit and Emily in Paris found a sizable fan base right away. Plus, strong returns for popular shows like The Crown helped make Netflix a destination streamer, even amid competition from Disney Plus (The Mandalorian’s second season premiered at the end of October) and HBO Max. More than 62 million households watched The Queen’s Gambit within the first four weeks of its release, making it the second most watched limited series on Netflix. The only show that beat it was Tiger King. Toward the end of the quarter, Netflix also saw another big hit with Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton, which Netflix projected would amass more than 63 million household views within its first four weeks. If true, that would make Bridgerton Netflix’s fifth most-watched series to date. The Crown’s fourth season also remained one of the most-watched shows for weeks. George
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Much has been made of Search Party as a uniquely millennial show, like it’s a brunch line you can watch other people stand in. It’s true that the HBO Max comedy — initially about finding a missing acquaintance — is absolutely drenched in the iconography of privileged millennials; their world is Instagram-friendly and the characters are all in a self-serving relationship with New York City. But it’s also a show with a uniquely online worldview: where everything, no matter how remote, is happening to you, personally, all the time. The new season of Search Party, which premiered last week, starts in a wildly different place than the series began. Unbeknownst to her friends, protagonist Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat) is being held hostage by an obsessed fan, imprisoned in his basement. Her friends, on the other hand, are frankly too busy to notice she’s gone missing. They’re dealing with a rush of newfound notoriety after literally getting away with murder, which happened in the show’s first season. (Later seasons have chronicled that fallout.) The very public trial in season 3 has granted Dory and her friends — her ex Drew (John Reynolds), and her best friends Elliott (John Early) and Portia (Meredith Hagner) — a degree of fame they’ve never had before, and this latest crop of episodes shows them getting used to it. For Portia and Elliott, this notoriety is all they’ve ever wanted, and they happily use it to sell themselves: the former for a role in the film adaptation of their ordeal, the latter as a conservative pundit. Drew, wracked with self-pity, leaves the city in an attempt to live in obscurity. Dory, on the other hand, languishes alone. It’s a pretty good joke to pin a protagonist’s survival on her hopelessly narcissistic friends. Despite this season leaning more into the show’s thriller aspects, Search Party is still resolutely a comedy that keeps its knives out for its subjects — the coddled, internet-ruined millennials who love to post. While most of the show’s plot is concerned with IRL actions like going places and talking to people, its allure is closely related to the thrill of posting and the intoxicating effect of
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A few weeks ago, our furnace (technically a ductless heat pump) stopped working at the worst possible time of the year. But at least one room stays nice and toasty all winter long — thanks to my gaming PC. Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting this might actually be a trend: some bitcoin miners and gamers are warming their rooms, growing tomatoes, and even heating a chicken coop during the pandemic. It made me wonder: how many Verge readers are doing the same? Poll Are you (intentionally) heating your home with gaming hardware?
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Despite a whirlwind of electric vehicle SPAC mergers in the last few months, there’s still one startup flying solo that’s arguably the best-positioned. Yes, Faraday Future is still on the market — though maybe not for long. Sure, Faraday Future is distressed and its electric SUV is outrageous, but it developed valid technology over the last few years that is further along than what some competitors have. It will take a lot of money to get that vehicle over the proverbial finish line. Lucky for Faraday Future, though, money is now incredibly easy to come by. In the last seven months a
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Brave has just taken a step towards supporting a decentralized web, by becoming the first browser to offer native integration with a peer-to-peer networking protocol that aims to fundamentally change how the internet works. The technology is called IPFS (which stands for InterPlanetary File System), a relatively obscure transport protocol that promises to improve on the dominant HTTP standard by making content faster to access and more resilient to failure and control. This explainer from TechCrunch offers a good overview of how the protocol works. But here’s the short version: While HTTP is designed for browsers to access information on central servers, IPFS accesses it on a network of distributed nodes. Vice likens it to downloading content via BitTorrent, rather than from a central server. You type in a web address like normal, and the network is able to find the nodes storing the content you want. Benefits of the new approach include faster speeds, because data can be distributed and stored closer to the people who are accessing it, as well as lower server costs for the original publisher of the content. But perhaps most importantly, IPFS has the potential to make web content much more resilient to failures and resistant to censorship. Brave, which currently boasts 24 million monthly active users, has been an early supporter of IPFS, working on the standard since 2018. But with version 1.19 of the Brave browser releasing today, Brave users will be able to access IPFS content directly by resolving URIs that start with ipfs://. They can also opt to install a “full IPFS node in one click,” making their browser a node in the peer-to-peer network. “IPFS gives users a solution to the problem of centralized servers creating a central point of failure for content access,” Brave’s CTO Brian Bondy said in a statement, adding that this gives Brave users “the power to seamlessly serve content to millions of new users across the globe via a new and secure protocol.” IPFS project lead Molly Mackinlay adds that IPFS’ enablement of the decentralized web can overcome “systemic data censorship” from governments and Big Tech. “Today, Web users across the world are unable to access restricted content, including, for example, parts of Wikipedia in Thailand, over 100,000 blocked websites in Turkey, and critical access to COVID-19 information in Ch
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This story is part of a group of stories called Only the best deals on Verge-approved gadgets get the Verge Deals stamp of approval, so if you're looking for a deal on your next gadget or gift from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and more, this is the place to be. Apple’s MacBook Pro with the new M1 processor is one of the best-performing laptops on the market for the cost, and that cost is a little less than usual today. Amazon and B&H Photo have each knocked $80 from the base model’s normal $1,299 price. At checkout, you’ll pay $1,219, which is just $20 more than the lowest price yet. In other words, if you’ve been waiting for a deal, today’s not a bad day to go for it. Though, this price is only set for the silver-colored option. Unlike the M1-equipped MacBook Air, this base model Pro features a fan, as well as an eight-core GPU instead of seven in the Air. Looking to change your music streaming service or jump onto one for the first time? Tidal’s HiFi service delivers high-bitrate audio and support for formats like Sony’s 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos Music. Whether you intend to fully take advantage of this service’s audiophile-friendly features or just want to join something that’s cheap, Best Buy has a one-year HiFi subscription for just $50 (normally $120 per year). Note that it’s auto-renewing, so you’ll need to manually tick it not to renew if you don’t want that to happen.
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DC is shaking up its comics app on January 21st and relaunching it as DC Universe Infinite. The original DC Universe featured television shows and comics, but now that DC shows have moved to HBO Max, the company has decided to refocus the app on comics and the “fan community,” while keeping the same $7.99-a-month price. DC Universe Infinite will have DC’s catalog and early access to comics six months after they’re released physically in stores. Additionally, DC says the comic reader in its app has been improved, and users will have more options to curate custom lists of titles. The app will also have a customizable icon and a widget for iOS 14 so you can get back into whatever you were reading faster. In terms of features, DC Universe Infinite is most similar to Marvel Unlimited, which is Marvel’s $9.99-a-month take on an exclusive comics service. Infinite undercuts Marvel by keeping its cost at $7.99 a month (or $74.99 a year), and it might help to make it popular as WarnerMedia rolls out its plans for the DC universe(s) in film and TV. As extended universes expand, comic apps are as much for comic book fans as they are for anyone trying to appreciate all of the lore that’s layered into each new superhero outing. Now that HBO Max is the home for DC superheroes in film and TV, and DC Universe Infinite for comics, WarnerMedia’s plans are starting to make more sense. Whether fans will be willing to pay a combined $22 a month for both services will be the real
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Adam Mosseri has a broad view of Facebook, its capabilities, and its challenges. And Facebook has a lot of challenges right now: the attack on the Capitol was at least partly driven by conspiracy theories and misinformation on social media; all of the major platforms have banned or restricted Donald Trump, prompting a reckoning about content moderation; the Federal Trade Commission and 48 attorneys general across the US have filed a major antitrust lawsuit that seeks to break Facebook up entirely; and there is new competition from TikTok, which has taken over Instagram’s relevance to culture in surprising ways. Mosseri is my guest on this week’s Decoder. Currently the Facebook executive in charge of Instagram, he started at Facebook over a decade ago as a designer, and he’s held a number of important roles since then — at one point he was responsible for Facebook’s News Feed and the algorithms behind it. He came to Instagram as head of product and then took over the platform when founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left in late 2018. Mosseri and I talked about all these challenges, but of course we spent most of our time talking about how to run a creative platform like Instagram at scale while keeping users — and democracy — safe. Mosseri told me he agrees with the decision to ban President Trump from Facebook. He’s worried about the fallout and isn’t happy the decision had to be made, but he agrees with it. We also talked about how much responsibility the platforms have for what their ranking algorithms promote, and where he thinks the government should step in and set clear rules. And, of course, we talked about Instagram as a product. Mosseri told me he’s not yet happy with how the TikTok competitor Reels is doing, and that there are too many video formats on Instagram between Reels, stories, the feed, and IGTV. It sounds like things are going to get simplified this year. One thing that really jumped out at me about this conversation is how Mosseri is trying to manage a three-part feedback loop: Instagram not only gives people the creative tools to express themselves in new ways, but also a huge distribution platform with access to a massive audience — and that means Instagram also has to police what people share and what it amplifies. Pay attention to how the first half of this conversation is about content moderation and making certain things harder to share, and how the second half is about competing with TikTok and making video easier to create and share. The balance between the two feels like the hardest problem for social platforms to solve in the years to come. Okay, Adam Mosseri, head of instagram. Here we go. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. Social platforms are in the news in a lot of different ways lately, but I like to start by asking people for their decision-making frameworks. You have been at Facebook for 12 years. You’ve had a number of roles there; I’m assuming your framework has evolved over time. You’re now the head of Instagram. Give me a sense of how you make decisions and how that has changed as you’ve moved through y
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Microsoft is joining forces with Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of General Motors, to help speed up the commercialization of autonomous vehicles. The software giant is also chipping in on a new equity investment of $2 billion for Cruise, along with previous investors Honda and GM, bringing the AV company’s valuation up to a whopping $30 billion. Microsoft and Cruise are entering “a long-term strategic relationship” — though the partnership won’t be exclusive. It is Microsoft’s first partnership with an autonomous vehicle company. As part of the deal, Cruise will use Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, to help speed up the process of making money off its fleet of autonomous vehicles. For its part, Microsoft will leverage its relationship with Cruise to expand more into the transportation sector. “Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “As Cruise and GM’s preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.” Cruise has demonstrated an impressive knack for fundraising over the last few years, despite being seen as lagging behind its main rival Waymo in terms of technical achievements. In 2018, Cruise secured a $2.25 billion investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund. Later that year, GM teamed up with Honda to design a purpose-built self-driving car. The Japanese automaker said it would devote $2 billion to the effort over 12 years, including a $750 million equity investment in Cruise. In 2019, Cruise secured a $1.15 billion investment from GM, SoftBank, Honda, and T. Rowe Price Group. That last investment valued Cruise at $19 billion. Meanwhile, Waymo has only participated in one external fundraising round of $3 billion. But the Alphabet company has arguably made more strides in terms of commercializing its technology. Last October, Waymo announced it would begin offering rides to paid customers in its fully driverless vehicles without safety drivers in Phoenix, Arizona. Cruise recently began testing its fully driverless vehicles in San Francisco for the first time. But the company doesn’t allow non-employees to ride in its vehicles. The company had planned to launch a commercial taxi service in 2019 but failed to do so, and it has yet to publicly commit to a new date. Last year, Cruise unveiled the Cruise Origin, a fully driverless prototype vehicle without a steering wheel, pedals, or any controls typically associated with human driving. The vehicle, which will go into production at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant, is built to be shared by multiple passengers — though it remains to be seen how much appetite there is for shared vehicles in a post-COVID world. Cruise recently unveiled a new set of safety protocols intended to keep people socially distant during trips and the vehicle sanitized between fares. Microsoft has been mostly absent from the race to develop autonomous vehicles among the world’s big tech companies. But the
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Someone had to do it: there’s now a bot that turns Reddit arguments into scenes from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, complete with music and the iconic “OBJECTION!” intercuts. It’s from those moments that it draws its name: objection-bot. Users can summon the bot by typing “!objection-bot” under a thread that would work as an Ace Attorney courtroom scene, and the bot will generate a video based on the posts. It feels a little like shouting “worldstar!” but on Reddit. You can see an excellent Cyberpunk 2077-related example below: The genius behind the bot is Reddit user oppai_suika, who was kind enough to also post the source code. They also note in a comment that the numbe
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Fortnite developer Epic says that, for 2021, the game’s competitive scene will have a prize pool of $20 million. That’s a step up from last year’s total of $17 million — though it’s not as massive as the 2019 World Cup, where $30 million was on the line. The news comes as Epic provided details on the latest season of the Fortnite Champion Series, the game’s highest level of competition. The developer previously said that all competitions would take place online, and today, it revealed more details about the schedule: qualifiers will kick off on February 4th, with the finals starting on March 12th. In a nod to the global nature of the game, there will also be three new, separat
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I picked up a new MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 chip, and I’ve absolutely loved it so far. It’s really speedy and the battery is fantastic. But I’ve been dealing with one nagging issue. Every once in a while, for reasons that I haven’t been able to figure out, a screensaver will suddenly take over the entire computer — despite the fact that I never use a screensaver. And frustratingly, the screensaver renders my laptop inoperable until I completely close the screen and reopen it. It seems I’m not the only one seeing this bug, according to this MacRumors article. Others have shared similar issues with M1-equipped MacBook Airs, Pros, and Minis on MacRumors’ forums, Reddit (in
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All five seasons of The Muppet Show will stream on Disney Plus beginning February 19th, Disney announced today. With the addition, Disney Plus is now home to nearly every Muppets title — except two. While Disney owns the rights to The Muppet Show, Muppets Most Wanted, The Muppet Movie, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Muppets, and The Great Muppet Caper, all of which are streaming on Disney Plus, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets from Space are owned by Sony. As such, Disney can’t host the entire Muppet movie collection. Disney will also make the fourth and fifth seasons of the series, previously never available to purchase through home video offerings, av
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Amazon-backed electric vehicle startup Rivian has raised another $2.65 billion, bolstering its position as one of the most well-funded EV startups in the world. The investment round was led by T. Rowe Price and included Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and investment firms Coatue and D1 Capital Partners, along with “several other existing and new investors,” according to the startup. It’s hard to say how much Rivian has in the bank, given that it has spent a lot already to hire a massive team while also developing at least three vehicles that we know of. But after this new funding round, the EV startup’s war chest likely rivals that of Chi
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Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, isn’t thrilled with the platform’s TikTok competitor Reels. He discussed the format, which launched in the US in August, during an interview with The Verge’s Decoder podcast today. “I’m not yet happy with it,” he says. “We’re growing both in terms of how much people are sharing and how much people are consuming, but we have a long way to go. And we have to be honest that TikTok is ahead.” He went on to say the team is mostly focused on “table stakes” right now, and not honed in on how to differentiate itself. Specifically, he calls out TikTok’s innovative creative tools, like filters and effects that spur new video meme formats
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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic took everyone, including the IRS, by surprise. Because of the issues people were dealing with last spring, the filing deadline for federal tax payments was moved from the usual mid-April date to July 15th. This year, despite the still-very-present pandemic and various upheavals in our nation’s capital, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get the same tax vacation. As a result, and considering the pandemic might still slow down the processing of refunds and other issues, it might not be a bad idea to start working on those taxes as soon as possible. And whether you’re a full-time worker dealing with a single 1040 or a freelancer / gig worker getting a series of 1099s, the fastest way to pay the piper these days is to do it online. The IRS offers a series of directions on its website to help US citizens figure out their taxes, report those taxes, and send in payments (or ask for refunds) using its e-file online method. Here’s a rundown of what’s available and where you can find it. Your first stop: IRS.gov. How do I file online? There are several ways to file online, depending on your income and your comfort level in dealing with the whole income tax process. If your adjusted gross income was $72,000 or under, you can use the IRS Free File option. The site offers a number of third-party services that can help you put together and file your taxes free of charge. Of course, that is assuming the third party doesn’t try to scam you into paying more than you have to; back in April of 2019, ProPublica revealed that TurboTax and other suppliers were deliberately hiding the pages for their free services in order to convince taxpayers to purchase additional features. As a result, in early 2020, the IRS published rules prohibiting these practices. Still, it pays to be careful. Free File is available for those whose income is $72,000 or under. If your income is above $72,000, you can still use fillable forms provided by IRS Free File, but you don’t get the support of the free software, and you can’t do your state taxes through this method. The forms will be available starting on January 25th. (If you’re really into doing your own taxes, you may want to check out the IRS page on tax tips, which includes how to handle things like a recovery rebate credit.) If you’re not a pro at filling out taxes, you’re going to either have to use e-file with one of the available software solutions or find a tax preparer who can do it for you. In the case of the latter, the person or company who does your taxes needs to be authorized to use e-file; if you don’t already have a tax professional, you can find one at the IRS site. How do I pay online? The IRS lists a variety of ways you can pay your taxes online. If you use tax preparation software or have your taxes prepared by a tax professional, you can have the IRS pull the funds directly from your bank account via Electronic Funds Withdr
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With an ongoing pandemic and an unprecedented lockdown of the nation’s capital, Joe Biden’s inauguration will look different from those that came before it. The Biden inaugural committee has already planned a week of extensive televised events — like live performances from Lady Gaga and Fall Out Boy — but to try to recreate the camaraderie of a live event, the team has also come up with a new way for supporters to participate virtually. On Wednesday, Biden’s team will launch a Snapchat filter that transports users to the Capitol to participate from home. Once the inaugural filter
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Samsung’s 860 SSD has been one of the standards for PC parts since it was released in 2018. Now, the company is announcing its successor, the 870 Evo, its latest SATA SSD designed for consumer use that brings faster speeds and lower prices. The new drive is apparently so fast that it can actually reach the maximum possible speed for sequential read and write on a SATA drive, with 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write speeds. The new model also represents a nice improvement compared to the 860 Evo, with Samsung promising roughly 38 percent better random read speeds and a 30 percent improvement i
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Acer is announcing five new laptops aimed at schools today, consisting of four Chromebooks and one Windows convertible. Two of the Chromebooks are Intel-based convertibles, with screens that spin around to turn them into laptops, while the other two feature a more traditional design and are powered by Arm-based processors. All five laptops are designed to be durable, with spill-resistant keyboards and components tested to MIL-STD 810H military durability standards. The two convertible Chromebooks are the Acer Spin 512 and Spin 511. They’re powered by Intel processors (specifically the N4500 and N5100). The Spin 511 has a 11.6-inch HD 16:9 display, while the Spin 512 has a 12-inch HD+ 3:2 display. Both come with up to 64GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM, while battery life is rated up to 10 hours. The Spin 511 starts at $399.99 and will be available in North America from April. Image: Acer Both the Spin 512 and Spin 511 have antimicrobial scratch-resistant displays, but the Spin 512 also features a similar antimicrobial coating on its keyboard and touchpad. The Chromebooks will be available in Europe in March and North America in April. The Spin 512 starts at $429.99 (€399), while the Spin 511 is slightly cheaper at $399.99 (€369). Next up are the 11-inch Arm-based Chromebook 511 and Chromebook 311, which also have durable designs. The 511 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor, features 4G LTE connectivity and can go for up to 20 hours on a charge. Meanwhile, the 311 has a Mediatek MT8183 processor and also runs for up to 20 hours on a charge. The 311 launches this month in North America and is priced starting at $299.99, while the 511 is coming in April starting at $399.99. They’ll launch in Europe in March for €269 and €399 respectively. The TravelMate Spin B3 is an Intel-based convertible that runs Windows. Image: Acer Finally, there’s a $329.99 (€409) Windows laptop, the TravelMate Spin B3. It also includes a durable keyboard that can flip around to turn the laptop into a tablet, and is powered by up to an Intel Pentium Silver processor with as much as 12 hours of battery life. The Spin B3 comes with an antimicrobial display as standard, and the option of having a similar coating on its keyboard and touchpad. The laptop will launch in North America in April, and Europe at some point in Q2.
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ViacomCBS is set to relaunch its CBS All Access service as Paramount Plus on March 4th, with a special event to introduce the new streamer on February 24th, the company announced today. The service will also launch in Latin America on March 4th, followed by the Nordics on March 25th and Australia in mid-2021. The version of CBS All Access that is currently available in Canada will rebrand to Paramount Plus on March 4th, with an expanded offering being made available to subscribers later in the year. To better introduce Paramount Plus, and give a more comprehensive look at ViacomCBS’s overall streaming portfolio (that includes Pluto TV and Showtime’s OTT service), the company will host a two-hour event on February 24th following the company’s earnings call. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish previously announced in September that CBS All Access would rebrand to Paramount Plus, and noted in a later interview that executives decided upon the name because Paramount had more brand recognition than CBS. Paramount certainly has more name recognition internationally where the label has been used on more products (Paramount Plus already existed in some capacity in parts of Europe), but Paramount in 2021 isn’t exactly Disney or Warner Bros. As The Verge previously noted: It would be one thing if the Paramount name was going to drive hordes of people to sign up because Paramount is synonymous with big franchises in 2020. Franchises like Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm are synonymous with Disney (alongside Disney live-action and animated films), so Disney Plus works. How many people are walking around going, “Oh right, the studio I closely associate with Mission Impossible, Transformers, and Sonic the Hedgehog movies.” Still, ViacomCBS is going to try very hard to sell Paramount Plus as a must-have service for people. Or, more accurately, ViacomCBS is hopeful that Paramount Plus will take some attention away from Disney Plus, Netflix, Peacock, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and wherever else people are streaming. To do so, ViacomCBS is introducing a number of new originals for Paramount Plus. Those include The Offer, a 10-episode scripted miniseries about the making of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, a new iteration of MTV’s Behind The Music, and a revival of The Game. Plus, more than 30,000 additional episodes and movies from ViacomCBS’s various content houses (BET, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central) are headed to the streaming service. This could only be done because of the merger between CBS and Viacom in 2019.
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Epic has partnered with some of the biggest soccer clubs in the world for its latest set of Fortnite skins. Today, the developer unveiled the new “kickoff set,” which lets players swap between 23 different kits. There are some big names not featured — sorry, Bayern Munich fans — but the list is impressively global, with popular teams from Europe, alongside squads from the US, Japan, Australia, and Brazil. Here’s every club available: Manchester City FC Juventus AC Milan Inter Milan AS Roma Seattle Sounders FC Atlanta United FC Los Angeles FC Santos FC Wolverhampton Wanderers FC West Ham United FC Sevilla FC Sporting CP Borussia Mönchengladbach FC Schalke 04 VFL Wolfsburg Rangers FC Celtic FC Cerezo Osaka Melbourne City FC Sydney FC Western Sydney Wanderers EC Bahia In addition to the skins, Fortnite is also getting a new emote based off Pelé’s iconic air punch goal celebration. Both the skins and the emote will go on sale starting January 23rd, but players can also unlock them early — and for free — by placing in the “Pelé Cup” Fortnite tournament on January 20th. That’s not the only tournament on the way either. On January 21st, esports organization Faze Clan and Manchester City are joining forces for the “Faze City Cup,” which will similarly give players a chance to unlock the skins early. (City and Faze announced a partnership back in 2019.) Faze players Nate Hill and Kyle “Mongraal” Jackson will be among those participating. Epic is also introducing a new soccer-themed game in Fortnite’s creative mode. Here’s the description: Players will use their bodies, pickaxes, power-ups, speed boosts, and more to try to outscore their opponents and come out the winner in this 4v4 bracket style game mode. Each game features two rounds, with the winners advancing to face off against and the other team battling for 3rd and 4th in the other match. This isn’t the first time Fortnite has crossed over with real-world sports; in 2018, the game introduced a line of NFL skins.
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Qualcomm has announced a new mobile phone processor: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, a successor to last year’s Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus models. To be clear, the 870 isn’t a new next-gen design — that title goes to the Snapdragon 888, which makes far more substantial improvements in performance and new features. The 870, on the other hand, is virtually identical to the 865 and 865 Plus, with the same design right down to the Kryo 585 CPU and Adreno 650 GPU cores. The 870 is clocked at 3.2GHz, however, making it about 10 percent faster than the original 865’s 2.84GHz and about 3 percent faster than the 865 Plus (which offered 3.1GHz speeds). Think of it almost like a Snapdragon 865
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With each new satellite that reaches orbit, the space above our heads gets a little more congested. There are about 3,000 active satellites in use today, but that number is changing quickly, especially as companies like Starlink send up 60 small satellites in a single launch. Add the 20,000 or so bits of orbital debris that authorities are actively tracking, and the image of a limitless expanse of space above the Earth starts to feel a little different. Moriba Jah is a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin who’s on a mission to make the stakes of orbital congestion abundantly clear. He built a visualizer called AstriaGraph that displays the positions of all actively-tracked ob
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The latest update to ubiquitous open-source media player VLC is here, and it comes with native support for Apple silicon Mac computers — the new versions of the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air, and the Mac mini with Apple’s own M1 processor. VLC 3.0.12 also includes some visual tweaks to bring it further in line with Big Sur, the latest version of macOS. Mac apps don’t strictly require native updates to work with the M1 processor, since Apple silicon Macs include Rosetta 2, a translation layer that lets software compiled for x86 processors run surprisingly well on the newer Arm-based hardware. But for an app like VLC, which many users rely on for playback of hefty 4K or 8K video files,
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