posted about 14 hours ago on the verge
Alex Stamos, who recently stepped down from his role as Chief Security Officer at Facebook, published an op-ed in The Washington Post today, saying that Facebook could have responded Russian interference on its platform earlier. But he also says that the issue is much larger than Facebook: Congress should update its laws regarding political advertisers, and social media users need to “adjust to a media environment in which several dozen gatekeepers no longer control what is newsworthy.” Stamos opens with confirmation of one of the details in the recent New York Times report about how the social media company slowly dealt with Russia-linked activity — that she yelled at him after he had told Facebook’s board of directors that his team was... Continue reading…

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posted about 16 hours ago on the verge
Tumblr’s iOS app is missing from Apple’s App Store. Tumblr says that it is “working to resolve an issue with the iOS app,” but it’s not clear if the app is missing from the store because it was removed by Apple, or by Tumblr itself. Earlier this week, users reported that there were issues with searching in the iOS app while Safe Mode was off. According to PiunikaWeb, Users who deleted the app in an attempt to reinstall it discovered that it was now missing from the App Store, although some users reported that they could re-download the app by going to their purchases page. As of this afternoon, Tumblr noted that it was “still working on the issue with the iOS app.” It’s not immediately clear why the app isn’t available, although there... Continue reading…

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posted about 16 hours ago on the verge
Elon Musk’s Boring Company reached a new milestone this week: it completed digging out its first tunnel in LA. Musk posted a video of the breakthrough to his Twitter account, showing off the machine reaching the end point, which the company calls O’Leary Station. The video shows a crowd assembled at the end point watching as the machine breaks through. In October, the Boring Company Twitter account posted an image of the station, which ArsTechnica notes is named for a SpaceX/Boring Company employee who recently passed away. pic.twitter.com/TQhb9hQRxQ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 17, 2018 Work on the 2-mile test tunnel began last year, and earlier this month, Musk posted a time-lapse video of his walk down its length, saying... Continue reading…

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posted about 17 hours ago on the verge
Instagram has notified some of its users that their password might have been exposed due to a security bug, according to The Information (via Engadget). A spokesperson for the company says that the issue was “discovered internally and affected a very small number of people.” In this instance, the bug was tied to a feature that the company rolled out in April that allows users to download all of their data, implemented after European lawmakers rolled out its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). According to Instagram, some users who used that feature had their passwords included in a URL in their web browser, and that the passwords were stored on Facebook’s servers, Instagram’s parent company. A security researcher told The... Continue reading…

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posted about 19 hours ago on the verge
If you’re tired of those janky dockless electric scooters and ready for an upgrade, a new startup based in Oakland, California may have what you’re looking for. Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, but now it is also a stylish electric scooter for the luxury set. Electric scooters are fast becoming a convenient and fun way to commute for city folks. But not everyone lives in a city with dockless, shareable scooters like Bird and Lime. David Hyman, the former Beats Music CEO and co-founder of music startup MOG, says he was inspired to launch Unagi after finding the scooter-sharing services to be kind of a “drag.” Many of the scooters are broken, and they could be hard to find when you need them the most, Hyman said. “I walked... Continue reading…

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posted about 20 hours ago on the verge
There’s a really powerful category of recent films about teenage girls coming of age through cannibalism, vampirism, or other body-mutating horrors. They tend to be scary, discomforting, and uniquely descriptive takes on the challenges of adolescence, and I finally got around to seeing one of the buzzier names from this category in recent years, Raw. The film deserves its reputation; it’s perpetually unsettling, and it has one of the most striking sex scenes put on film. But what’s perhaps most bold about the movie is also what made me the most uncomfortable with it: usually, the cannibalism / vampirism / etc. is a direct metaphor for one thing or another. Here, I walked away unsure what that was. And the answer may well be nothing in... Continue reading…

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posted about 21 hours ago on the verge
When Disney’s Star Wars land Galaxy’s Edge opens next year, it’ll come with a familiar soundtrack — Entertainment Weekly reports that John Williams will provide the score, and has a preview of what to expect, along with looks at two of the park’s big experiences. The first of EW’s videos shows off a new behind-the-scenes look at the park’s construction, revealing an extensive array of buildings and landscapes, set to a music that is the “overarching theme” for Galaxy’s Edge. EW also previews a pair of videos that highlight the main rides for the parks — Smuggler’s Run, set aboard the Millennium Falcon, and Rise of the Resistance, set onboard a First Order ship. The construction video shows off a sprawling world called Batuu — which... Continue reading…

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posted about 21 hours ago on the verge
Microsoft has now started selling Amazon’s Echo devices in its retail stores. Twitter user WalkingCat spotted that Microsoft is selling the latest Echo Dot and second generation Echo. Both devices are available online and in Microsoft Stores in the US. The move follows Microsoft forming a partnership with Amazon to integrate Alexa and Cortana, and previewing this feature earlier this year. Microsoft has been increasingly focusing on its Amazon partnership and Alexa integration, all while Cortana has fallen behind its main rivals this year. The Xbox One now supports Alexa, and Amazon has even launched its own Alexa Windows 10 app to bring the digital assistant to all PCs. Cortana now seems to be in a strange spot at Microsoft, with the... Continue reading…

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posted about 21 hours ago on the verge
YouTube recently began to roll out a series of feature films that viewers can watch for free, supported by ads. While the selection isn’t large, there are some notable ones to catch, like The Terminator, Legally Blonde, and Rocky. According to AdAge, the video platform began releasing the movies in October with a “Free to watch” category in its movie section, where users have traditionally purchased or rented movies. The films come with commercial interruptions, with pop-up ads that appear at regular intervals. Rohit Dhawan, YouTube’s director of product management, told AdAge that the company saw an opportunity for consumers and advertisers, and notes that there might be a way for advertisers to “sponsor” films or hold exclusive... Continue reading…

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posted about 22 hours ago on the verge
Giving up a time capsule of a decade of my life Continue reading…

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posted about 23 hours ago on the verge
Of all the original 151 Pokémon, Eevee’s name might just be the easiest to pronounce. E-vee. Eee-vee. It’s exactly what it looks like. Or so I thought, until I started playing Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, where I listened my little fuzzy friend pronounce its own name as eh-vie for 30-something hours. Have I been saying its name wrong? Is Eevee saying its name wrong? Do pokémon have accents? Pokémon: Let’s Go is modeled after Pokémon Yellow; the game is set in the series’s original region, Kanto, with the first 151 pokémon. Your starter, either Pikachu or Eevee, is chosen for you, depending on which version of the game you bought. Your furry little friend rides around at all times with you, and you can spend extra time rubbing its cute... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Pretend for a moment that you run a large and successful company. After years of outsized success, the company is confronted with a crisis. Public perception has begun to turn — against your company in general, and against you specifically — and your leadership team is now presented with the question of what to do. Your head of communications is charged with managing the public response. In time it will come out that this response including hiring a public relations agency whose work includes what is euphemistically referred to as “opposition research” and is more commonly understood to involve smear campaigns. These campaigns target you critics with attacks that are tinged with anti-Semitism and employ the services of a partisan “news”... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Xiaomi has a couple of new products out in Walmart and gave press the rundown today at an event in New York City. The first is a 150-inch projector going for $1,999.99 at Walmart doubles up as a television with Android TV. It’s strangely overpriced for what it is, but it also marks one of Xiaomi’s infrequent expansions into American offerings. There are a couple of things to break down here, namely that projector is oddly expensive for a 1920 x 1080p screen. Xiaomi says it has no concrete plans to bring a 4K version to the US, and that this is the same model it’s sold in China. You could have found cheaper 1080p projectors back in 2016. Still, the projector has a number of positives including an ultra-short throw, so it can be placed 20... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Verily, previously Google Life Sciences, is putting a hold on its program to build a contact lens that can monitor glucose in tears. First announced in 2014, the glucose lens has been one of Verily’s highest-profile projects, even as experts suggested the entire project was a pipe dream. The lens — which was supposed to contain a tiny wireless chip and glucose monitor — was intended to help diabetic patients. People with diabetes need to carefully monitor their glucose levels, but all the existing monitoring options involve needles and can be painful. For many life science companies, building a needleless blood monitor is the holy grail of the industry, especially because 592 million people worldwide are expected to have diabetes by... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
In the wake of WarnerMedia’s decision to shutter FilmStruck, The Criterion Collection is planning to launch its own standalone streaming service in spring 2019. The new service, “The Criterion Channel,” will allow subscribers to stream the company’s library of celebrated films, ranging from Hollywood classics to arthouse cult films and foreign pictures. A blog post on the company’s site confirms The Criterion Channel will also be available on “WarnerMedia’s new consumer platform when it launches late next year.” The decision to launch The Criterion Channel follows the heartbreaking news for cinephiles that FilmStruck, Warner Bros.’ classic Hollywood movie streaming service, would shutter at the end of November. FilmStruck had an... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Sometimes, people can have really astounding weeks: they get engaged, promoted, and win their local karaoke competition all within a few days. Other times, they can have really terrible weeks: they go through a rough breakup, get fired, and are forced to listen to seven horrible rendition’s of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at their local karaoke competition. Danny DeVito had a legendary week — on the internet, at least. DeVito, who has become best known in recent years for his portrayal of Frank Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, has long been a staple of internet culture. People adore DeVito and his strange character roles or commercials he stars in, but this week has seen an influx of strange DeVito stories celebrating... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Yesterday at a small, business-focused GSMA event in New Jersey, Verizon’s SVP of consumer products, Aparna Khurjekar, announced that Verizon will launch support for RCS messaging in “early 2019.” The move is potentially significant as RCS is the new texting standard set to replace SMS just as soon as carriers around the world update their systems to support it. More specifically, RCS Chat will replace SMS if carriers update their systems to support the “Universal Profile,” the version of RCS technology that allows messages to interoperate cleanly between carriers. Currently, very few do; in the US, that list includes Sprint, US Cellular, and limited support on T-Mobile. Other carriers like AT&T and Verizon use a proprietary texting... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Surely you remember the fateful week when Google’s big day was spoiled — when Russian bloggers revealed the Pixel 3 phone to the world in all its glorious detail? We still don’t know how, exactly, a batch of phones fell into their hands, but it may have just happened again: Russian tech blog Rozetked claims that you’re looking at the first images of the “Pixel 3 Lite.” And unless our eyes deceive us, this phone comes with a bona fide headphone jack. According to the publication, this Pixel 3 Lite has a 5.56-inch, 2220 x 1080-pixel IPS display, a plastic case, and a Snapdragon 670 processor, all of which would make it a cheaper Pixel but probably not a smaller one. The existing Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch screen, too — but G... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Microsoft has launched a free Windows app that uses machine learning to guess the facial expression you’re making when imitating an emoji. Called Emoji8, the app gives you a score for how well you recreate the emoji, and it’s mostly meant to show off the capabilities of this brand of artificial intelligence in an accessible way. The app serves up an emoji for you to mimic, analyzes the video feed from your computer’s webcam, then tells you your percentage of accuracy. Then, oddly, it gives you the option of creating a gif with some of your “craziest facial expressions” to share on Twitter. On Microsoft’s end, Emoji8 is supposed to show how quick and flexible its machine learning prowess is. From a user end, it’s a bit weird to show off... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
As Facebook reels from a bombshell New York Times report published this week, much of the focus has been on a controversial public relations firm hired by the company. Definers Public Affairs, a DC organization, pressed reporters with information favorable to Facebook, including by linking liberal billionaire George Soros to the funding of anti-Facebook activities. Since the report was published, a fuller scope of the group’s activities has been established. The group also pitched reporters on negative articles about other tech companies: the Times and Business Insider have noted that the firm sought to portray Google and Apple in a negative light, and similar emails were also received by The Verge. According to CNN, one pitch about... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
There’s a moment about two-thirds of the way through Netflix’s creepy new tech thriller Cam where audiences will think they have a pretty good handle on where the movie is headed. Alice (Madeline Brewer), a cam girl who goes by the online name “Lola,” is trying to figure out what’s going on with her account. It’s been hijacked by a woman who appears to be her doppelgänger, someone regularly performing live broadcasts in her name. And none of the fans who send her money can tell the difference. Given the timely concerns about deepfakes and altered video, it’s natural to assume the film will eventually head toward some sort of explain-it-all climax, using technology and machine learning as a boogeyman, and dissipating all the tension and... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Today the internet is a quagmire of captial-c Content, made navigable by retweets, likes, and favorites; everything posted can be quantified by its corresponding reactions. Though in aggregate it may seem like noise, to people in the business of disinformation, there’s a valuable signal there to be picked apart and studied. Our activity on social platforms — those favorites and likes and retweets — are a form of metadata that can help manipulators and their bots appear human to the algorithms that police social networks. And that problem is about to get a lot worse: bots are starting to mimic your social media activity in order to look more human. “For users and platforms alike, it is getting harder to discern ‘real’ users and authentic... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Do you use the default Mail client on your PC, the one that comes with Windows 10, to read your email? How would you feel if Microsoft decided to throw in a few ads right at the top of your inbox? These aren’t rhetorical questions — as Windows news site Aggiornamenti Lumia noticed today, Microsoft is already testing that exact idea in a number of countries around the world. According to Microsoft’s FAQ, what we’re seeing is a pilot program, an experiment, a test that’ll theoretically help the company decide if it should actually roll out the feature for real. But it’s pretty unusual for a simple A/B test to have such a well thought out plan for getting your dollars: if you want to opt out, Microsoft says it’ll only cost you the typical... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Russia’s state space corporation, Roscosmos, successfully launched a cargo capsule to the International Space Station this afternoon — using the same type of rocket that failed more than a month ago with two astronauts on board. It’s a sign that Roscosmos has potentially fixed the issue that led to the failure and that the rocket may be ready to carry people again. And that’s good news, since the vehicle’s next crewed launch is coming up on December 3rd. The rocket that launched today was the Soyuz FG, which sent up a Progress capsule filled with food and supplies to the three crew members on board the ISS. It’s technically not the first Soyuz launch since the accident, though. Roscosmos has already launched versions of the Soyuz rocket... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
A day full of mutants, mistakes, and honey tea Continue reading…

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