posted about 4 hours ago on the verge
New icons unearthed in the latest iOS 11.2.5 developer build suggest you can disable the always-listening microphones on Apple’s HomePod speaker. Apple had never explicitly listed that as a feature of its delayed smart speaker, even though it’s standard fare on speakers offered by category leaders Amazon and Google (and even Sonos). The discovery was first announced by Filipe Espósito on Twitter (via 9to5Mac). While everyone loves the idea of room-filling compact speakers in their house, many are less enthusiastic about the idea of sprinkling internet-connected microphones around the home. Apple made a big deal about privacy, as it often does, at the unveiling of the HomePod in June, noting that nothing is sent to Apple until a “Hey,... Continue reading…

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posted about 13 hours ago on the verge
Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. We’re in a cultural moment where the impact of social media isn’t something that we just notice when we catch ourselves heads-down in our phones or computers. It’s something that’s underscored with almost daily news stories, with each new revelation seemingly more sinister than the last. It’s so ever-present that it can be easy to tune out, which makes the Sundance documentary The Cleaners pack such a devastating wallop. The film, from first-time documentary directors Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block, starts with one unseen corner of the internet: the content... Continue reading…

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posted about 14 hours ago on the verge
In August, Verizon split its unlimited data plan into three new options with some annoying limits and restrictions on video streaming. The basic of those three plans, Go Unlimited, will soon work in Canada and Mexico. But there’s still some annoying restrictions. If you’re a Verizon customer on the basic plan, you won’t have to pay for an additional data plan if you travel overseas, according to Droid Life (via Engadget), and the changes to the plan kick on on January 25th, 2018. The change brings Go Unlimited up to speed with the company’s other unlimited offerings, Beyond Unlimited and Business Unlimited Plans, which already included the international calling, texting and data. With the change, Verizon appears to be keeping pace with... Continue reading…

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posted about 15 hours ago on the verge
Add the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office to the growing list of government units around the world that are investigating Apple over the reduced performance of iPhones with older batteries inside. The company’s poor messaging about an iOS update intended to prevent unexpected shutdowns — a change that required throttling the processor and slowing performance of iPhones with chemically-aged batteries — led to widespread controversy and customer frustration late last year. As reported by Apple Insider, the new probe comes after Seol’s Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty filed a complaint against Apple that claimed the company is really slowing down iPhones to sway consumers towards upgrading sooner than would otherwise be... Continue reading…

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posted about 16 hours ago on the verge
If you’ve ever wondered what you’d look like with thicker eyebrows (or maybe even no eyebrows), there’s a new web app from Benefit Cosmetics that lets you try on the eyebrows of your dreams via AR. Called “Brow Try-On,” the site uses the webcam on your device to track your face and put a virtual imprint of eyebrows over you. You can also upload a photo, but real time is more fun. You can choose the shape and shade to your heart’s content, and (obviously) the app also recommends products you can buy. The app struggled with my face though (I have very thin brows, i.e. no eyebrows) and it kept trying to place the brows on my forehead. I had a bit more luck shifting around, but the brows overlaid on my face were still quite light for some... Continue reading…

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posted about 17 hours ago on the verge
Apple has released a new commercial for its iPhone X, which showcases the camera’s ability to take some great selfies, set to a monologue by Muhammad Ali. Ali’s words are appropriate here: he was brash and outlandish, and his assertion that he was the greatest is an attitude that’s often applied to those taking selfies of themselves. But while selfies can be condemned as self-aggrandizing and only for the vain, Ali’s words underscore the importance of one’s self confidence. So, take that selfie: you are great. Whether or not the iPhone X is the best camera for selfies is up for debate, however. Continue reading…

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posted about 17 hours ago on the verge
Near the end of the first episode of Netflix’s new anime Devilman Crybaby, high schooler Akira Fudo and his best friend, Ryo Asuka, find themselves in a rave-lit orgy full of neon and nude characters whose body parts flap wildly. The party spirals into a bloodbath when Ryo begins attacking strangers. As the scent of blood and debauchery attracts demons, people are ripped into pieces or transformed into hellions themselves. It’s impossible to look away from, and a perfect table-setter for the unflinching horror to come. Netflix’s last original anime about demon hunting, Neo Yokio, may have told its story through jokes about personal brands and fashion, but Devilman Crybaby is more interested in the apocalyptic implications. Devilman... Continue reading…

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posted about 18 hours ago on the verge
Trucks, SUVs, and glimpses of what lies ahead Continue reading…

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posted about 19 hours ago on the verge
In our biweekly column, Short Play, we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend. Because we know it can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. Continue reading…

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posted about 19 hours ago on the verge
It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our new biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend. Writing believable teenage characters is a tricky proposition. If you go too hard in one direction and really lean into teenspeak, it can feel forced and unrealistic. But go too far the other way and they sound generic or too old. Butterfly Soup, a visual novel from developer Brianna Lei, doesn’t have either of these problems. Its cast feels like a real group of teens. They’re people still trying to figure themselves out intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. Butterfly Soup is about four queer... Continue reading…

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posted about 20 hours ago on the verge
Thinking of adolescence as lasting until age 24 “corresponds more closely” to how the lives of young people today work, writes an expert in adolescent health. Compared to earlier generations, youth today are staying in school longer, marrying and having kids later, and buying a house later, writes Susan Sawyer, the chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne, in an op-ed published today in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. The transition period from childhood to adulthood lasts far beyond age 19, when it is popularly thought to end. As a result, she writes, we should change our policies and services to better serve this population. Sawyer is hardly the first to notice these lifestyle changes. In 2010, The... Continue reading…

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posted about 21 hours ago on the verge
Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. When filmmakers turn their cameras on themselves and their families, the results are rarely as fascinating to the viewers as they are to the participants. Family documentaries come with a lot of emotional baggage that the audience doesn’t get to share, and while it’s possible to get a broad overview of a family’s dynamics, the full background and context is always going to elude outsiders. There are exceptions to the rule, like Sarah Polley’s unfolding-mystery doc Stories We Tell, or Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s animated personal history Persepolis.... Continue reading…

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posted about 22 hours ago on the verge
This weekend, US spaceflight startup Rocket Lab successfully launched its second Electron rocket for a crucial flight test — and reached orbit for the first time. The Electron took off from the company’s New Zealand launch facility at 2:43PM local time on Sunday (or 8:43PM ET on Saturday), and about eight and a half minutes later, the rocket deployed three small commercial satellites. It marks the first time the Electron has completed a full mission, and that may mean Rocket Lab is ready to start commercial flights of the vehicle. “Reaching orbit on a second test flight is significant on its own, but successfully deploying customer payloads so early in a new rocket program is almost unprecedented,” Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s CEO, said in... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced that he has signed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 into law. The current authorization will expire in December 2023. In an official statement, President Trump says that the bill allows the intelligence community to “collect critical intelligence on international terrorists, weapons proliferators, and other important foreign intelligence targets” outside of the US. He also says that he would have preferred to have signed a permanent reauthorization bill, rather than one that would expire. Just signed 702 Bill to reauthorize foreign intelligence collection. This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election. I will always do the right thing for our... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
There are a ton of Star Wars books out there, ranging from novels to official reference books to unofficial histories and biographies. The New York Times has recently released a Star Wars book of its own: In a Galaxy Far, Far Away, which compiles most of the publications’ coverage on the franchise. The coffee table book begins its coverage in 1973 with a feature about George Lucas, which revealed that he was working on a space opera film. The Times describes the book as the “ultimate anthology” of its coverage of the franchise, containing its articles, reviews, obituaries, photographs, and more, from the beginning of the franchise all the way up to the recently released Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Image: New York Times ... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Here’s what’s going on in Park City, Utah this year, as the year’s kickoff film festival brings together virtual reality experiments, independent cinema from around the world, and first-look sneak peaks from Netflix, Amazon Studios, HBO, and other distribution services. Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The unspoken hope of attending a film festival like Sundance is that you could just stumble upon some small, incredibly effective film that might otherwise have never crossed your radar. That’s precisely the case with The Guilty, an engrossing Danish thriller from first-time feature director Gustav Möller that’s playing in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category. The story of an emergency dispatcher who’s suddenly caught up in trying to solve a kidnapping from behind his desk, the movie takes place entirely in real time, and is set in just two tiny... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Specialty Yu-Gi-Oh! cards can be expensive and run in the thousands of dollars, like Doomcaliber Knight, worth about $700, and the first Japanese promo version of Dark Magician Girl, which could set you back about $1,100, but they don’t come close to the price of one particular card currently on the market. Card Shop Spiral specialty store of Tokyo is selling a card called Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon for a whopping 45 million yen ($406,800). The card is a one of a kind, which is why it’s being offered up at such a staggering price. It was a prize for an Asian Championship Series, and also comes with a signboard that has a signature from Kazuki Takahashi, the original creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! As pointed out on Reddit, exclusive cards as prizes... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
The Sundance Film Festival kicked off on Thursday, so this week has been absolutely packed with trailers as distributors try to hype movies headed to the festival that they’ve already scooped up in pre-show negotiations. I’ve included a few of the bigger films and more striking trailers here, but I’d encourage you to check out The Film Stage’s roundup if you want to see a lot more. Most of these films won’t be playing widely for some time though, so consider it a very early preview of what’s to come. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled to The Verge this week as Sundance really gets rolling: we’ll have our reviews and reports coming in from the festival throughout the show. Lately, Sundance hasn’t just been a film festival either — it’s also... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Super Bowl 52 is coming up in a few weeks and if you’re hosting a party for it, I have good news for you. Right now, there are great deals going on for everything you’d need for your viewing party: A TV, some speakers, food, and a little help with the clean-up. Retailers are marking down TVs of all sorts, including 4K Ultra HD TVs and Roku Smart TVs, so you can see every blade of grass that’ll be trampled underfoot. For the audio, brands like Bose are marking down home theatre speakers. There’s also an Alexa-enabled smart speaker on sale at Amazon that you could use to order pizza for the game and you can pick up a discounted Eufy RoboVac while you’re there to clean up the crumbs. Every step of the party is taken care of at a great... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, news sites began reporting that pages for LGBT rights, climate change, and other key issues had been scrubbed from the White House website. This wasn’t quite accurate. The Obama White House’s entire site had been rolled over to an archived address, and replaced with a bare-bones Trump administration version. An administration official said the site was still would be expanded over time. A year later, though, that original alarm seems well-placed. The Trump White House site has indeed been expanded somewhat over the past year. Its original issues list — sprinkled liberally with “America First” slogans — included energy, jobs, foreign policy, law enforcement, the military, and trade... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
If you listen to audiobooks, chances are that you’ve probably purchased it from Audible. Now, it looks as though Google will begin selling audiobooks trough its Google Play store. 9to5Google is reporting that the company has begun advertising audiobooks, and that a user’s first audiobook purchase will be 50 percent off. The hub isn’t currently accessible, and 9to5Google says that there’s no indication of when the store will go live. But it seems that the company is laying the groundwork for an audiobook store. Android Police found references to Audiobooks in an APK teardown of the Google Play app back in November, and The Android Soul conducted an APK teardown of the latest update to the Google Play Books app, and found code for several... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Every year we get served up a heaping portion of concept cars from automakers at CES and Detroit. Weird headlights, huge screens, and a bevy of doors that can’t be bothered to open in a traditional manner. But lately there’s a sense that car companies are just going through the motions. They give us playful ideas like augmented reality and a koi fish that’s your virtual personal assistant, but in the end they dump all their money into more trucks and SUVs. Which is why I’ll take these automotive designs from a group of 11-year-olds any day of the week. GoCompare, a Wales-based car insurance comparison company, asked a handful of London school children to design the automobile of the future, and then had an illustrator bring their... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
There’s a new Android app called Skyline that will turn your current location into your wallpaper, as first spotted by Lifehacker. Skyline uses 3D terrain data from Mapbox to show either your current location or specific coordinates to create wallpapers in full detail. The app can shift the image when you unlock your phone or swipe through your launcher pages, and it features a parallax effect that’s visible when you tilt your phone. You can toggle the depth effects in settings and choose the right framing for your map / wallpaper. Skyline will cost you $1.99 in the Google Play Store, which isn’t bad for a pretty inventive wallpaper app. Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
The popular myth that strong earthquakes happen during certain Moon phases has no basis in science, according to new research. Susan Hough, a scientist at the US Geological Survey, pored over 400 years of data from over 200 earthquakes of magnitude eight or larger. She looked at the day the earthquakes occurred, and what phases the Moon was in. And she found no link between the ground shaking and the position of the Earth and the Moon in the sky, according to a study published this week in Seismological Research Letters. 400 years of data from over 200 large earthquakes Previous research has shown that tides — which are influenced by the Moon — can nudge faults to unleash earthquakes. “But if you read those papers, you’ll see that the... Continue reading…

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