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01-17-2020 Science&Technology
Marijuana delivery giant Eaze may go up in smoke

he first cannabis startup to raise big money in Silicon Valley is in danger of burning out. TechCrunch has learned that pot delivery middleman Eaze has seen unannounced layoffs, and its depleted cash reserves threaten its ability to make payroll or settle its AWS bill. Eaze was forced to raise a bridge round to keep the lights on as it prepares to attempt a major pivot to “touching the plant” by selling its own marijuana brands through its own depots. TechCrunch spoke with nine sources with knowledge of Eaze’s struggles to piece together this report. If Eaze fails, it could highlight serious growing pains amid the “green rush” of startups into the marijuana business. Eaze, the startup backed by some $166 million in funding that once positioned itself as the “Uber of pot” — a marketplace selling pot and other cannabis products from dispensaries and delivering it to customers — has recently closed a $15 million bridge round, according to multiple sources. The funding was meant to keep the lights on as Eaze struggles to raise its next round of funding amid problems with making decent margins on its current business model, lawsuits, payment processing issues and internal disorganization. An Eaze spokesperson confirmed that the company is low on cash. Sources tell us that the company, which laid off some 30 people last summer, is preparing another round of cuts in the meantime. The spokesperson refused to discuss personnel issues, but noted that there have been layoffs at many late-stage startups as investors want to see companies cut costs and become more efficient. From what we understand, Eaze is currently trying to raise a $35 million Series D round, according to its pitch deck. The $15 million bridge round came from unnamed current investors. (Previous backers of the company include 500 Startups, DCM Ventures, Slow Ventures, Great Oaks, FJ Labs, the Winklevoss brothers and a number of others.) Originally, Eaze had tried to raise a $50 million Series D, but the investor that was looking at the deal, Athos Capital, is said to have walked away at the eleventh hour. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Crunch

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01-17-2020 Games
'Magic: The Gathering' Bans Some Powerful Cards in Modern

Oko, Thief of Crowns, Mycosynth Lattice, and Mox Opal are now banned in the Modern format of Magic: The Gathering (MtG). As announced on the Jan. 13, Banned and Restricted Announcement blog post by Wizards of the Coast, the ban is effective immediately in competitive play, and on Jan. 14 in Magic Online. Oko, Creator of Elks The card 'Oko, Thief of Crowns' from MtG's latest expansion Thrones of Eldraine, has been the subject of bans in other formats prior to this. The card's dominance in tournament play led to it becoming banned in both Standard and Brawl formats. Standard and Modern formats are currently the most widely-played formats in MtG. The card, which depicts a fey planeswalker (powerful beings in the MtG universe that could use magic and bend the rules of reality) named Oko is deemed too powerful in constructed formats. One of its abilities allow it to turn any artifact or creature card into a powerless elk. Oko's ability to render threatening cards useless, along with its ability to create food tokens (cards that could give the player extra life points in exchange for mana), makes it very imbalanced, leading to the ban. Death to Artifacts Meanwhile, two older cards Mycosynth Lattice from the 2004 expansion Darksteel'and Mox Opal from the 2010 expansion Scars of Mirrodin also received the ban in Modern. Mox Opal allows players to do explosive combos seemingly out of nowhere, ending games abruptly. Although Mox Opal has been part of strong decks in the past, it only received banning now with its interactions with the card 'Urza, Lord High Artificer'. Mycosynth Lattice, on the other hand, effectively locks out the opponent from doing anything as long as it's onboard with the card Karn, the Great Creator. The one-two combo gives very small room for opponents to react in time. The two cards also affect a wider range of decks in Modern, most especially Affinity decks. Affinity decks make use of powerful artifacts to accelerate their mana generation, allowing players to cast strong spells early into the game. Possible Bans In Pioneer The Pioneer format, the newest format in competitive Magic that only allows cards released from the 'Return to Ravnica' expansion to be played, is still in its honeymoon period. Launched just last October, Wizards of the Coast is still monitoring the performance of cards and decks right now, and are thus not yet giving bans and restrictions on any cards in the format. However, the community is currently up with their pitchforks against Walking Ballista, a card that allows it to trade its power and toughness for damage. An upcoming card in the new expansion Theros: Beyond Death' called Heliod, Sun-Crowned that could give the Walking Ballista infinite charges for infinite damage. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Techtimes

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01-17-2020 Science&Technology
Samsung has a mystery new smartwatch in the pipeline

Samsung's first-ever smartwatch saw daylight back when today's heavyweight champion of the booming wearable device industry was not yet a thing, but the company had to wait several years to be taken seriously as a direct Apple rival once the Cupertino-based tech giant took over the reins. The high-end Galaxy Watch earned pretty great reviews when it was released around a year and a half ago, which made Samsung's next two moves in the Apple-dominated market very surprising. Instead of a Galaxy Watch 2, we got a budget-friendly Galaxy Watch Active in February 2019 and a slightly pricier Watch Active 2 roughly six months later. While the latter model certainly proved to be a serious Apple Watch contender in terms of health and wellness functionality, its design and raw power were still not what many hardcore Samsung fans expected from a sequel to the original Galaxy Watch. You may not want to give up all hope of seeing a premium Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 released sometime soon, though, as the folks over at GalaxyClub (translated) can "confirm the existence" of an unannounced wearable device that might be just that. Unfortunately, all we have to report right now about this mysterious gadget is its model number and battery capacity. The former hints at a clear family relation to both the OG Galaxy Watch and the still-fresh Watch Active 2. If history is any indication, the SM-R840 will designate the larger version of this upcoming smartwatch, following in the footsteps of the SM-R800, aka 46mm Galaxy Watch, and SM-R820, aka 44mm Galaxy Watch Active 2. The 42 and 40mm Galaxy Watch and Watch Active 2 models respectively also go by the SM-R810 and SM-R830 labels, strongly suggesting a smaller SM-R850 variant of the SM-R840 is in the works too. Of course, this could always end up as a third edition of the fitness-centric Galaxy Watch Active, a theory seemingly supported by the 330mAh battery size rumored today. If this turns out to be accurate, it would put the SM-R840 on largely equal ground as the 44mm Watch Active 2, but well below the 46mm Galaxy Watch, which packs a significantly larger 472mAh cell. Whatever this device is, it's unlikely to go official alongside the Galaxy S20 smartphone lineup and Galaxy Buds+ next month simply because we know far too little about it.

Read Original Article     ON:   Phone Arena

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01-17-2020 Science&Technology
What Google’s Latest Data Privacy Announcement Actually Means

When Google announced on Tuesday that it will bolster privacy protection online by eventually scrapping third-party cookies, the immediate response was almost equal parts praise, skepticism, and cynicism. The cacophony is fitting given the competing interests of the three largest stakeholders involved: internet users, advertisers, and Google itself. According to a blog post by Chrome Engineering Director Justin Schuh, Chrome will phase out all third-party cookies on the browser by 2022. Until then, Google intends to make third-party cookies more secure and to continue to find (and crowdsource, apparently) less invasive alternatives for advertisers so that, as Schuh puts it, we can all have a “healthy, ad-supported web.” Cookies are bits of data that websites can leave behind in a user’s browser. Third-party cookies, set by domains other than the website you’re currently on, serve as a trace for advertisers. For example, if you’re browsing a shopping site that leaves a cookie from an advertising company, that cookie can later be picked up again, letting that ad company know what pair of sneakers you were looking at earlier. Over time, ad companies use those third-party cookies to create a rich profile of what sites you visit, your interests, and more. Chrome will already be limiting insecure tracking come February, as part of the Privacy Sandbox initiative Google announced last August. But this latest move is significant because it locks down a timeline for finally cracking down on third-party cookies, which Schuh argues will enhance privacy. Google’s motives are perhaps not as benevolent as Schuh claims. Chrome, which has almost 66 percent of the market, is not only under pressure from competing browsers—Safari and Firefox already blocked third-party cookies in 2017 and 2019, respectively—but also from data privacy laws. Gaia Bernstein, a Seton Hall law professor and director of the Institute for Privacy Protection, told me that changes to the legal landscape—like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and the newly implemented California Consumer Privacy Act—are forcing companies like Google to portray themselves as leaders in privacy. According to Bernstein, Google may be essentially saying “Hey! We’re regulating ourselves, there’s no need to regulate us.” “On its face, it sounds great,” Bernstein said. “I think the problem is we don’t really have enough information of what they’re doing,” ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Slate

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01-17-2020 Science&Technology
PlayStation 5: Sony's PS5 console up close

As anticipation hots up for the launch of Sony's PS5 next-gen console later in 2020, we're gathering together all the best PlayStation 5 information that we know already, which is actually a lot, as well as all the freshest leaks, rumours, news and gossip. Here at T3 we can't wait to get our hands on the PS5 and as each new announcement reveals more about the system our excitement increases. And, from everything we've heard so far, the PlayStation 5 is going to absolutely blow gamers away with its top-level specs and eye-catching design, though nothing is certain until Sony makes the console official. Right now, at the start of 2020, that looks like it could take place within a matter of months, so we really are approaching crunch time. As well as an official PS5 release date window, we've also got an absolute ton of official details already in the bag, as revealed by PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny in April last year, and you can consider our appetite well and truly whetted for what the PlayStation 5 is going to bring with it. For the absolute latest on the PlayStation 5 release date, price, specs, design, features or anything else about the super-powerful video gaming machine, then you've come to the right place. We've even got a fantastically detailed guide to some of the PS5 games gamers can look forward to playing on the new console, too. We've even got the latest analysis on whether or not the PS5 will be a match for Microsoft's next Xbox flagship, the Xbox Series X. We start, though, with a list of all the official PS5 information we've already received.

Read Original Article     ON:   T3

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01-17-2020 Religion
Trump Defends School Prayer. Critics Say He's Got It All Wrong

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET President Trump on Thursday defended students who feel they can't pray in their schools — and warned school administrators they risk losing federal funds if they violate their students' rights to religious expression. Trump held an event in the Oval Office with a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim students and teachers to commemorate National Religious Freedom Day. The students and teachers said they have been discriminated against for practicing their religion at school. The U.S. Supreme Court banned school-sponsored prayer in public schools in a 1962 decision, saying that it violated the First Amendment. But students are allowed to meet and pray on school grounds as long as they do so privately and don't try to force others to do the same. Trump said the government must "never stand between the people and God" and said public schools too often stop students from praying and sharing their faith. "It is totally unacceptable," Trump said. "You see it on the football field. You see it so many times where they are stopped from praying and we are doing something to stop that." The group included William McLeod, a 9-year-old Utah boy who was forced to remove the cross of ashes from his forehead on Ash Wednesday. "I just don't want anyone to feel like that," McLeod said. Malak Hijaz said her school failed to protect her from anti-Muslim bullying. "I would bring the hijab to cover my hair and kids would make fun of me, harass me and attack me," she said. "And I would tell the principal." 'Real problem is just the opposite' A non-profit group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation said Trump was blurring the separation between church and state with his actions. It said there has been an increasing number of reports of schools promoting prayer in ways that cross the line — such as an Alabama high school where a student football team was baptized at school. The group has sent complaint letters to more than 500 schools during the past three years. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation, said Trump left the impression that there is "this terrible suppression" of religion expression, but she says the "real problem is just the opposite." "It's about proselytizing to a captive audience," Gaylor said. Trump did not propose changes to existing law or regulations, but the White House says it wants to empower students and teachers to exercise their rights. The Department of Education will send a letter to education secretaries and officials in all 50 states reminding them that students and teachers can't be discriminated against for practicing their First Amendment religious rights.

Read Original Article     ON:   NPR

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01-17-2020 Politics
Andrew McCarthy: Trump impeachment trial ushers in era of hyper-partisanship the Framers feared

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.” That is the reasoning of the Government Accounting Office, which has just concluded that President Trump’s budget office violated federal law in freezing U.S. aid to Ukraine. It certainly would have been nice to hear this from the GAO when President Obama was imposing his own immigration policy priorities by executive edict and as a substitute for contrary priorities Congress had enacted into law. In any event, the finding is in an eight-page report by which the reputedly non-partisan CBO has plunged itself headlong into the deeply partisan impeachment controversy just hours before the Senate impeachment trial is to commence (at least ceremonially; the substantive commencement of the trial will occur next Tuesday). ANDREW MCCARTHY: TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL SHOULD BE POSTPONED UNTIL HOUSE FINISHES INVESTIGATION So … what is the upshot? Are Democrats preparing the ground for another article of impeachment? Obviously, the law that President Trump is said to have violated is not a criminal statute. And it is simply not true that the president never has the authority to countermand a congressional statute prescribing foreign aid; Article II of the Constitution gives the president nigh plenary power over the conduct of foreign relations; and other congressional statutes (such as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act) confer sweeping power on the president to regulate foreign commerce if the nation is under threat or in a state of emergency. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Fox News

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01-17-2020 Business
Google parent Alphabet is now a $1 trillion company

Google’s parent company Alphabet ($GOOG) is now the fourth US company to hit a market cap of $1 trillion. It hit the number just before markets closed on Thursday, ending the day’s trading at $1,451.70 per share, up 0.87 percent. Google CEO Sundar Pichai took over as CEO of Alphabet in December, after Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin relinquished control of Alphabet. It’s been a bumpy couple of years at the company that included allegations of sexual misconduct by executives and a 20,000-person Google Walkout employee protest. Alphabet is slated to report fourth-quarter earnings on February 3rd, and Wall Street analysts are expecting it to report revenue of $46.9 billion, a year-over-year uptick of almost 20 percent. Apple was the first US company to hit a $1 trillion cap in 2018, followed later that year by Amazon (which has since dropped below that figure), and Microsoft hit the $1 trillion mark in April 2019. The first company ever to hit a $1 trillion market cap (briefly) was PetroChina in 2007. And late last year, Saudi Aramco became the first $2 trillion company shortly after its debut on the Riyadh stock exchange in December. Of course, a trillion-dollar valuation doesn’t tell the complete story of the overall economic health of a company, and isn’t used in any meaningful way by investors; it’s mostly a cool-looking vanity metric. The trillion-dollar companies were still among the most-profitable companies in the world last year according to Fortune, however, with Saudi Aramco at the top of the list, Apple second, and Alphabet 7th. The next company expected to hit the $1 trillion market cap is Facebook, which, as of the closing bell Thursday, was at about $620 billion.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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01-16-2020 Science&Technology
Google gives Chrome OS Apps a shutdown date

Chrome's Packaged Apps have been a dead platform for a while now, after a 2016 announcement that the "App" section of Chrome's Web store would be pulled from Windows, Mac, and Linux, leaving Chrome OS as the only supported OS. Today, Google announced that the last supported platform, Chrome OS, is losing access to Chrome apps, too, along with dates to strip the app feature out of Chrome's code base. Google writes it "will begin phasing out support for Chrome Apps across all operating systems as follows:" March 2020: Chrome Web Store will stop accepting new Chrome Apps. Developers will be able to update existing Chrome Apps through June 2022. June 2020: End support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Customers who have Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade will have access to a policy to extend support through December 2020. December 2020: End support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. June 2021: End support for NaCl, PNaCl, and PPAPI APIs. June 2021: End support for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS. Customers who have Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade will have access to a policy to extend support through June 2022. June 2022: End support for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS for all customers. Most Windows, Mac, and Linux users haven't been able to use Chrome packaged apps for years now, as the Web store was shut down for them in 2017. Users on those OSes shouldn't notice a thing, unless they were sideloading packaged apps or getting them though an enterprise management feature. Chrome OS is the real news here, and it will continue to cling to the feature until June 2022. Chrome OS supports a number of platforms that get presented in the "app" style, so keep in mind only the "Chrome Packaged Apps" are going away. Chrome OS will still keep its app-like shortcuts to websites, along with support for "Progressive Web Apps (PWA)"—Web APIs that support app-style features like push notifications and offline functionality. There's still going to be support for Android apps, which bring the nearly 3 million apps in the Play Store to Chrome OS. Google also points out that "This change does not impact support for Chrome Extensions" and that "Fostering a robust ecosystem of extensions is critical to Chrome's mission, and we are committed to providing a useful extension platform for customizing the browsing experience for all users." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Ars Technica

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01-16-2020 Science&Technology
If you thought you were excited about the PS5 before, wait until you see the latest leak

Backward compatibility will be one of the main selling points for the upcoming PlayStation 5 console, something that Sony addressed a few times in the past year without revealing any specifics. Being able to play the titles gamers already own would make it a lot easier to upgrade from the PS4 to the PS5, and Sony already confirmed it’s planning to make that transition as seamless and fast as possible. A recent leak that included a supposed release date, pricing details, as well as a date for the PlayStation 5 launch event also contained some interesting information about the PS5’s backward compatibility features. As it turns out, Sony’s backward compatibility features might end up being even better than we thought. The anonymous leaker said on 4chan a few days ago that backward compatibility will be a “big” PS5 feature: Backwards compatibility with all PS4 games is also a big feature. Through a new transferring features, users will easily transfer their PS4 games to the PS5 if those games are downloaded. Save data/backups for PS4 games will also be transferable. In a second comment, he said the feature is even more impressive than that, allowing PS5 owners to load a lot more games than just PS4 releases: Backwards compatibility is such a major feature that games from all 5 PlayStation platforms (PS1, PS2, PSP, PS3, and PS4) will be compatible with PS5, making it an “ultimate PlayStation console,” putting an emphasis on past and present gaming. More details about backwards compatibility will be discussed at a later date, especially at E3. In addition to playing old PlayStation games, this “ultimate” console would also support existing PS4 accessories, including DualShock 4 controllers, PSVR, as well as other devices, the leaker said. That’s also a factor that might play a huge role in convincing PS4 owners to upgrade to the PS5. Already having a bunch of compatible DualShock controllers would definitely help, especially if you playing a lot of games with friends. Come to think of it, Sony’s recent launch of a DualShock 4 accessory that adds rear buttons to the controller makes even more sense in light of this new information. If the DualShock 4 controllers will work on the PS5, then Sony would probably want them to be able to offer almost the same overall experience as the newer DualShock 5 controller, but needing an accessory to add those extra buttons means Sony will still make some money. As a reminder, this is all just a rumor from an unverified source. No matter how exciting it all sounds, we’re still going to need Sony to confirm everything. And Sony has yet to announce the PS5 launch event. If true though, this could be huge for the PS5. We will point out that Sony has announced it’s not attending E3 2020 this year, which means it’ll need to pack a whole lot of info into next month’s expected announcement event.

Read Original Article     ON:   BGR

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01-16-2020 Science&Technology
More than 600 million users installed Android 'fleeceware' apps from the Play Store

Security researchers from Sophos say they've discovered a new set of "fleeceware" apps that appear to have been downloaded and installed by more than 600 million Android users. ` The term fleeceware is a recent addition to the cyber-security jargon. It was coined by UK cyber-security firm Sophos last September following an investigation that discovered a new type of financial fraud on the official Google Play Store. It refers to apps that abuse the ability for Android apps to run trial periods before a payment is charged to the user's account. By default, all users who sign up for an Android app trial period, have to cancel the trial period manually to avoid being charged. However, most users just uninstall an app when they don't like it. The vast majority of app developers interpret this action -- a user uninstalling their app -- as a trial period cancelation and don't follow through with a charge. But last year, Sophos discovered that some Android app developers didn't cancel an app's trial period once the app is uninstalled and they don't receive a specific request from the user. Sophos said it initially discovered 24 Android apps that were charging obscene fees (between $100 and $240 per year) for the most basic and simplistic apps, such as QR/barcode readers and calculators. Sophos researchers called these apps "fleeceware." In a new report published yesterday, Sophos said it discovered another set of Android "fleeceware" apps that have continued to abuse the app trial mechanism to impose charges to users after they uninstalled an app. These apps were installed by more than 600 million users. The number seems high, but Sophos mobile malware analyst Jagadeesh Chandraiah said he suspects the apps might have used third-party pay-per-install services to boost install counts and then bought fake five-star reviews to boost their ranking on the Play Store and attract a large number of users. It's very likely that not all users who installed these apps signed up for a trial period, but those who did might want to check their Play Store payment history for any charges coming from past, now-uninstalled apps. The table below contains the names and other indicators for the 25 Android apps which Sophos says are engaging in fleeceware behavior. One of the apps -- the GO Keyboard Lite keyboard app -- has a history of shady behavior. Back in 2017, this app was caught sending back the text users were typing on their devices to servers in China. The term fleeceware is a recent addition to the cyber-security jargon. It was coined by UK cyber-security firm Sophos last September following an investigation that discovered a new type of financial fraud on the official Google Play Store. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   ZdNet

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01-16-2020 Entertainment
‘Game of Thrones’ prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ gets release date

“House of the Dragon,” HBO’s straight-to-series prequel to “Game Of Thrones,” is on track for a 2022 debut, HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys said in an interview with Deadline during TCA. “My guess is sometime in 2022,” he said about when the series will debut, stressing that it is too early to be more specific than that. “They are starting writing,” Bloys said of the project from George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal. Written by Condal based on Martin’s based on Martin’s “Fire & Blood” book, “House of the Dragon” is set 300 years before the events of “Game of Thrones” and tells the story of House Targaryen, rich in the dragonlord ancestors of Daenerys. “Obviously it’s a big, complicated show,” Bloys said, adding that there are no casting news yet. “GoT” veteran Miguel Sapochnik and Condal have partnered as showrunners and serve as executive producers on “House of the Dragon” along with “GoT” co-executive producers Martin and Vince Gerardis. “House of the Dragon” was one of the four remaining “GoT” spinoffs in the works at HBO. The others are on hold, which could be indefinite — or temporary. “For me for right now, I think getting ‘House of the Dragon’ on the air will be the number one priority,” Bloys said. “There are no other blinking green lights or anything like that. Sometime down the road who knows, but there are no immediate plans. We are all focusing on ‘House of the Dragon.’ ” “House of the Dragon” was the second “Game Of Thrones” prequel to receive a green light, following a project written by Jane Goldman, which went to pilot starring Naomi Watts but was not picked up to series. Bloys explained to Deadline why. “In development, in pilots, sometimes things come together, some time they don’t,” he said. “One of the things I think Jane took on beautifully, which was a challenge, there was a lot more role creation because she set hers 8,000 years before the (mothership) show, so it required a lot more. That is a big swing. One of the things about ‘House of Dragons,’ there is a text, there is a book so that made it a little bit more of a road map for a series order.” ...

Read Original Article     ON:   NY Post

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01-01-2020 Science&Technology
Hands-On With Salt's Apple TV Remote Replacement

The Apple TV 4K is a fantastic little set-top box that has an easy-to-use interface, an App Store, and options to watch all kinds of content, but there's one major flaw with the device - the Siri Remote. Apple unveiled its ¿Siri¿ (or ¿Apple TV¿) Remote with touch surface in 2015 alongside the fourth-generation ¿Apple TV¿, and it's never been a particularly popular accessory. With that in mind, Swiss company Salt created an alternative ¿Apple TV¿ Remote, which we managed to get our hands on. Salt is a Swiss telecommunications company that offers the ¿Apple TV¿ 4K in a broadband TV bundle for its customers. There's no way to order this remote in the United States or countries other than Switzerland - it's designed only for Salt customers. According to Salt, the Salt Remote was designed in close collaboration with Apple after the Salt TV customer base complained about the poor usability of the default remote that comes with the ¿Apple TV¿. Available for just under 20 Swiss francs, the Salt Remote looks more like a traditional remote than Apple's version, and it's made from a simple black plastic with buttons for controlling multiple functions. It is designed to connect to the ¿Apple TV¿ out of the box and requires no pairing to set up. It's both wider and longer than the ¿Siri¿ Remote, so it's harder to lose, which is probably a good thing for most people given how easy it is to misplace the ¿Siri¿ Remote. ...

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01-01-2020 Games
Pokémon GO Buddy Adventure: How to Increase Buddy Levels and Unlock Other Perks

In a December blog post, Niantic introduced an all-new feature on their hit AR video game: the Pokémon GO Buddy Adventure. Set to roll out worldwide in 2020, the Buddy Adventure feature lets Trainers explore the Pokémon GO universe side by side with their Buddy Pokémon like never before. "Since launching Pokémon GO, this might be the most collaborative feature we have had with The Pokémon Company," said Ryuta Hiroi, Niantic's lead product manager on the project. "Even with your phone in your pocket, you'll feel like your buddy is right beside you!" Lena Verstappen, their tech artist on the project, shared that they created each Pokémon in a "deeply respectful way." "It's almost as if each Pokémon were a family member!" she said. "How they eat, how they walk, and even where the Best Buddy Ribbon should be placed on each Pokémon's body-all of this and more was taken into account when crafting an as-immersive-as-possible experience." Buddy Adventure in a Nutshell In a press release published by the Pokémon GO Team, Buddy Adventure is an elevated bonding experience where Trainers and their chosen buddies can explore the world and grow side by side as they journey in a richer Pokémon world. Watch the promo video below: The Buddy Levels Here are the Buddy Levels you can unlock: Good Buddy: On this level, you'll see your buddy on the map following right behind you. Great Buddy: On this level, you'll be able to tap your buddy for help, like bringing your items in Pokémon encounters. Ultra Buddy: On this level, your buddy can point you to interesting places nearby and bring you Souvenirs. Best Buddy: On this level, you and your buddy will have a Best Buddy Ribbon. Your Best Buddy can get a CP boost in combat as long as they're assigned as your Buddy Pokémon. How to Increase Buddy Levels For starters, Trainers have to feed their buddies Berries to increase their Buddy Level to Good Buddy. You can increase your Buddy Level by doing the following: Playing With Your Buddy Pokémon Feeding Your Buddy Pokémon Treats Battling and Exploring With Your Buddy Pokémon How to Unlock Other Buddy Adventure Perks Your buddy has various moods. When you reach the highest mood (excited), you as a Trainer can unlock the following Perks: Cut the Distance It Takes for Your Buddy to Find Candy Double the Number of Hearts Earned per Action Earn Bonus Hearts Buddy Adventure Playing Tips Feed Your Buddy - To feed and interact with your buddy, click the Play button on the new buddy profile page. Play With Your Buddy - Apart from feeding them, you can also play with your buddies. Turn on your AR+ feature to see what your buddy does when you interact with it. Each Pokémon has its own quirks and ways to express itself, so watch closely to get acquainted with their expressions and movements. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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12-16-2019 Cars
Watch Ford F-250 Diesel 4x4 In Tug Of War Battle Against Tesla Model X

Can the diesel Ford-250 Super Duty out tug the Model X? While we wait for the official rematch between the Ford F-150 and Tesla Cybertruck, this tug of war challenge shows the Model X against Ford's F-250 four-wheel-drive diesel truck. The switch to a 250 instead of a 150 comes after news of the Cybertuck being classified as medium-duty surfaced. When Tesla debuted its Cybertruck, it released a video showing it beating a Ford F-150 in a tug-of-war contest. The challenge was not without controversy though and Tesla CEO Elon Musk agreed to repeat the test at a later time. Ford even chimed in and then the automaker backed down from the challenge. The official rematch has not taken place yet and perhaps it won't, but there's been no shortage of attempted retakes at pitting a Tesla against a Ford truck in some form or another. The video (skip forward to 3:30 for the tug of war action to begin) clearly shows us that this is indeed a four-wheel-drive Ford F-250 diesel truck. Perhaps even more importantly, the truck is put into 4-wheel-drive low, which provides it with the best chance of beating the Model X. Two tug-of-war challenges are shown in the video and each one has a different result. In the first tug off, the Model X, with its instant torque, wins the matchup. To make the second attempt a bit more fair (or unfair, as some will say), the diesel truck is revved up while holding the brake down. This puts the truck in its powerband. At go, the brakes are released and the F-250 easily takes the win. One win for the Tesla and one for the Ford. After watching the video it seems safe to conclude that the Cybertruck would likely beat the F-250 due to the fact that it should weigh considerably more than the Model X. At least that's how we see it, but let us know your thoughts in comments.

Read Original Article     ON:   Inside Evs

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12-14-2019 Games
Microsoft’s next Xbox is Xbox Series X, coming holiday 2020

Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox is officially called Xbox Series X. Microsoft revealed the name and console design on stage at the Game Awards today. The console itself looks far more like a PC than we’ve seen from previous Xbox consoles, and Microsoft’s trailer provides a brief glimpse at the new design. The console itself is designed to be used in both vertical and horizontal orientations, and Microsoft’s Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, promises that it will “deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.” Microsoft used the Xbox Series X to showcase Hellbade 2, a new game from Ninja Theory that is being developed for its next Xbox console. While Microsoft has revealed the design here, the company isn’t revealing exact specs beyond what has been discussed previously. The Xbox Series X will include a custom-designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture. Microsoft is also using an SSD on Xbox Series X, which promises to boost load times. Xbox Series X will also support 8K gaming, frame rates of up to 120 fps in games, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate support. Microsoft also revealed a new Xbox Wireless Controller today. “Its size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people, and it also features a new Share button to make capturing screenshots and game clips simple,” explains Spencer. This updated controller will work with existing Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs, and will ship with every Xbox Series X.

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