posted about 2 hours ago on the verge
Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which only needs one dose and can be stored in regular refrigerators. It’s the third COVID-19 vaccine to get sign-off from the agency. The vaccine can be administered to people 18 years and older. It protects against serious disease, and clinical trials did not flag any dangerous safety problems. In the United States, it was 72 percent effective against severe and milder COVID-19. It was slightly less effective in South Africa, where a variant form of the coronavirus is widespread. Early data also suggested that the shot might prevent asymptomatic infections, but researchers need more data before they can say that for sure. The Johnson & Johnson... Continue reading…

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posted about 7 hours ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Microsoft is finalizing its Xbox Game Streaming app for Windows PCs, which includes access to streaming games from the company’s xCloud service. We’ve managed to get access to the latest version of the Xbox Game Streaming app for Windows, an unannounced and unreleased app. Once released, the app will let Windows users stream games from their Xbox Series S / X consoles, and from xCloud. Currently, you can’t stream games from the new Xbox consoles to Windows PCs, as this is unsupported in the existing Xbox Console Companion app. This new app will solve that, and also bring xCloud streaming to Windows PCs for the first time. We first got a look at this xCloud app for Windows last year, and it has improved a lot since then. scoop: here's... Continue reading…

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posted about 8 hours ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge A federal judge on Friday gave final approval to a $650 million Facebook class action privacy settlement and ordered the 1.6 million members of the class in Illinois who submitted claims to be paid “as expeditiously as possible.” Chicago attorney Jay Edelson sued Facebook in Cook County Circuit Court back in 2015, alleging that the platform’s use of facial recognition tagging was not allowed under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The lawsuit claimed that Facebook’s Tag Suggestions tool, which scanned faces in users’ photos and offered suggestions about who the person might be, stored biometric data without users’ consent in violation of the Illinois law. The case became a class action lawsuit in 2018. In 2019, Facebook m... Continue reading…

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posted about 9 hours ago on the verge
WandaVision’s first season is just about to end, but Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Loki, Justice League, Suicide Squad, The Batman, GCPD, and Peacemaker are just around the corner — and that doesn’t account for other series outside of the main Marvel and DC Universes like MODOK, Titans, or Harley Quinn. There are more superhero TV series and films debuting in 2021 than seemingly ever before, and it might have some people wanting to dive into comics. WandaVision has led a few people on staff to dig into past Vision and Wanda Maximoff-centered storylines, for example. I’ve started reading Kieron Gillen’s Eternals run leading up to Marvel Studios’ film. Whatever reason people may have for wanting to begin reading comics,... Continue reading…

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posted about 10 hours ago on the verge
Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images The best picture I’ve seen this week was a selfie from my father-in-law who just got his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Along with the shot, they gave him a sticker that says “I got vaccinated!” As the vaccine rollout continues, clinics and distribution centers across the country are embracing things like stickers and even selfie stations decked out with colorful backgrounds to help people celebrate getting the shot. The selfie stations are set up as colorful backgrounds, often with pro-vaccine messaging tiled with the name of the healthcare provider. It’s good branding. And hey, if social media-friendly backgrounds helped make some trendy restaurants popular, there’s no reason they couldn’t work for vaccine sites too. This is a... Continue reading…

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posted about 11 hours ago on the verge
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge An outage of Sony’s PlayStation Network that began Friday afternoon appeared to be persisting on Saturday morning. According to an update on the status page timestamped 6:33PM (not clear what time zone that is) on February 26th, the affected platforms are PS Vita, PS3, PS4, and PS5. “You might have difficulty launching games, apps, or network features. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience,” the update reads. Engadget reported that the outage may be affecting some games but not others; Fortnite appeared to be accessible but Minecraft and Call of Duty: Warzone were not. The PlayStation Network outage began a day after Microsoft’s Xbox Live service suffered a global outage for five hours. On... Continue reading…

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posted about 11 hours ago on the verge
Image: Square Enix This week’s batch of deals runs the gamut of gadgets and games. Whether you’re a music fan who’s looking to outfit their tech repertoire with new headphones or a big, powerful Bluetooth speaker, or a gamer, this roundup is for you. There still aren’t any deals on hard-to-find graphics cards, but the good news is at least AMD’s powerful Zen 3 processors are in stock right now (but perhaps not for long). If you aren’t finding what you’re looking for in today’s roundup, keep a lock on our Verge Deals coverage throughout the week and follow us on Twitter for the moment-to-moment deal alerts. Get the best-ever price on Beats Solo Pro on-ear headphones Beats Solo Pro noise-canceling headphones are still available for $150 through Woot. You... Continue reading…

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posted about 24 hours ago on the verge
Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images A new report from The New York Times’ Andrew Jacobs digs into how mask policies on tech platforms that have allowed novelty masks like scrunchie masks to flourish while some mask-makers making high-filtration masks have had trouble selling their wares. Even if you’re vaccinated, wearing a mask is still recommended. It seems like a problem, then, that many masks widely advertised on Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon are novelty varieties that might be less safe than medical-grade N95s. Facebook and Amazon say they are following guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Facebook prevented mask sellers from advertising and selling masks to the masses early in the pandemic, when they were in short supply. The idea was to... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Image: Re-Logic Earlier this month, Terraria co-creator Andrew Spinks announced that his studio Re-Logic would cancel a Google Stadia port. However, the developer announced today that the Stadia port is now back in development. ”As you may have noticed, we had a ton of issues to kick off the year stemming from the locking-down of Redigit’s entire Google account in early January,” Re-Logic said in a recent Terraria forum post. “After a month of pushing (and with the immense support of our fans), Google finally reached out and was able to provide a lot of transparency around the situation and to restore access to all of our accounts.” Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On February 8th, Spinks fired off a series of tweets... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Not pictured: Tom Cruise | Image: @deeptomcruise on TikTok What’s better than an ultra-high-tech, Mission: Impossible-style mask? The deepfake technology this TikToker is using to impersonate Tom Cruise, apparently (via The Daily Beast). The deeptomcruise account appears to feature someone who’s pretending to be the famous actor, and the impression isn’t just jaw-dropping because of how well the person replicates Cruise’s famous laugh. @deeptomcruise Sports! ♬ original sound - Tom How can you tell it’s not actually Tom Cruise using some sort of strange Twitter name? First, his voice is close, but it’s not quite there, especially since the lip-syncing is a tiny bit off at some points. You can hear what the real Cruise sounds like in this video (unless, of course, James Corden also... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Atlus is a master of weird spinoffs. In the past, the developer has revamped its RPG series Persona as dungeon crawlers, brawlers, and rhythm games. Heroes have bounded through space and time for fanfiction-worthy team-ups, all in service of giving players a reason to see their favorite characters again. Persona 5 Strikers goes one step further, turning an action-heavy adventure into a road trip that feels right at home with the original game. Persona 5 Strikers is a direct sequel to Persona 5, set months after the Phantom Thieves hung up their masks. The gang reunites for a long-overdue vacation, only to have it interrupted by the appearance of Jails — warped versions of reality where one person rules, not unlike the Palaces they... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images An independent committee of vaccine experts has unanimously recommended that the Food and Drug Administration authorize the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 and older, taking it one step closer to use in the United States. The FDA is expected to authorize the vaccine within days. “I think it’s a relatively easy call,” said committee member Eric Rubin, an immunologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “It’s nice to have a single-dose vaccine.” The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met today to discuss the data from clinical trials of this vaccine, which the FDA evaluated over the past three weeks. The FDA’s analysis, released earlier this week, showed that the... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Image: TriStar Pictures Netflix is pairing up with renowned Japanese anime studio Production I.G for an animated TV series set in the Terminator universe. The company is billing the project as a team-up between Matt Tomlin, the writer of the Netflix superhero film Project Power, and the studio best known for producing TV adaptations of legendary manga Ghost in the Shell, though little else is known about the show or when in the complex Terminator timeline it may take place. This isn’t Netflix’s first time working with Production I.G. Beyond its Ghost in the Shell work, the studio is known as the animator of the Psycho-Pass series and the wildly popular sports anime Haikyu!! But with Netflix, Production I.G produced an original series called B: The Beginning (... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Image: BARS Despite being an annoying hipster, I definitely did not see this one coming: Facebook is releasing an app that will let users post and share videos of them rapping over beats, which are provided by the app (via TechCrunch). The app is called Bars, and its main selling point is it provides the beats and lets you create 60-second rap videos over them. According to TechCrunch, you can then post the video to a TikTok-style feed, where people can watch it and mark it as “fire” (that is, of course, if your skills are up to par). The app also promises “studio quality vocal effects,” including actual, honest-to-goodness AutoTune. I hope there’s a slider that goes from “making my voice passable” to “T-Pain.” The app also promises an auto-rhyme... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Two new reports from Bloomberg and Wired have shed light on some of Google’s failures in building its Stadia cloud gaming service. The reports come just a few weeks after Google announced it would be shutting down its in-house Stadia game development studios. One key issue, according to Wired, is that Google may not have put as much investment in its internal studios as its much-hyped plans for Stadia may have suggested. Stadia chief Phil Harrison announced Google’s Stadia Games and Entertainment studios at the Game Developers Conference in 2019, when Google made its first big splash with Stadia. However, according to Wired, “it would be months until Google would actually hire the bulk of” the studio’s developers. Google’s goal was to... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Volunteers with the Living Hope Wheelchair Association distributed water and supplies to people after Texas’ deep freeze. | Image: Living Hope Wheelchair Association Disaster response plans often fail to include people with disabilities, and the deadly deep freeze that swept across Texas and much of the mainland US last week was no exception. “A lot of people in our community, they’re like, ‘I’m so damn tired that I have to be resilient. This isn’t our fault,’” says Tomás Aguilar, disaster recovery coordinator for the Living Hope Wheelchair Association in Houston, a group that provides services to immigrants with disabilities. “No, we don’t need a cheerleader. We need water.” “We don’t need a cheerleader. We need water.” The winter storms that froze up power and water systems last week left a humanitarian disaster in its wake. First, people were left in the brutal cold without power or heat. Then... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge If you’re moving from LastPass (or another password manager you’re dissatisfied with), you may be tempted to simply go with the password manager that comes with your browser or operating system. It’s certainly an easy solution, and a reasonable one, depending on your point of view. Until recently, third-party password managers were known to be more secure, but Apple and Google have been working to make their built-in password managers more secure, while Microsoft is adding one to its authenticator app. So it could be a viable choice. One way, however, that these built-in password managers don’t stand up to their independent competitors is how tricky it can be to get preexisting passwords into their systems. If you tend to hang out in... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Henrik Fisker has abandoned his electric vehicle startup’s effort to create a solid-state battery, the Fisker Inc. founder told The Verge in a recent interview. “It’s the kind of technology where, when you feel like you’re 90 percent there, you’re almost there, until you realize the last 10 percent is much more difficult than the first 90,” he said. “So we have completely dropped solid-state batteries at this point in time because we just don’t see it materializing.” Fisker spoke with The Verge in late January, though a lot has happened since then — most notably, the startup announced a partnership with iPhone-maker Foxconn. The two companies plan to make an electric vehicle that Fisker says will cost much less than the $37,500 base... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Photo by Cheriss May / NurPhoto via Getty Images Celebrated author and essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing a new Superman film that will be produced by J.J. Abrams, Shadow and Act reports. The project has no release date or director attached yet, and there’s still no word on whether Henry Cavill will reprise his role. Shadow and Act suggests a search for a new actor to play Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman has yet to begin. Coates is perhaps best known for his books Between the World and Me and The Beautiful Struggle, but he also has comics experience, writing popular runs on both Black Panther and Captain America. Coates is also working on several other in-development film and television projects, including a television series for HBO and a feature film adaption of a New Yorker article... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Sony PS5 | Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge Sony’s latest gaming console, the PS5, is one of many gaming gadgets that are pretty hard to find in stock right now due to mostly online-only sales. If you are trying to get your hands on one, Best Buy has restocked the PS5 and PS5 digital edition right now, while supplies last. Similar to today’s Xbox Series X / Series S restocks, the retailer is releasing small waves of PS5 stock right now. After you secure your PS5, you should consider picking up a few items that will help you get the most out of your next-gen console. I strongly suggest buying a one-year membership to PlayStation Plus and purchasing an extra DualSense controller. A one-year membership to PS Plus also gives you access to the PlayStation Plus Collection, a digital... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
The path to WandaVision hasn’t been an easy one for Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team. Well, at least the path to Wanda Maximoff. Wanda Maximoff, one of the most powerful characters both in the MCU and the comics, found herself the child of divorced parents. There was Disney on one side that wanted to use the character in its Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and 20th Century Fox on the other that technically owned her rights. Marvel’s team found a way to make the character work, but something always felt off. Following Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, and everything becoming one giant family, things have changed — and so much of how this can benefit the MCU became clear in WandaVision’s penultimate episode. [We’re seven... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio This week, NASA released a grim four-minute timelapse of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, a mesmerizing display of last year’s record-breaking string of tropical commotion. 2020’s season “smashed records with an unprecedented 30 named storms, marking the fifth year in a row with above-average hurricane activity,” NASA said in a blog accompanying the video. The agency’s Scientific Visualization Studio used a complex algorithm to process and merge hordes of data from an array of weather satellites in orbit, combining it with estimates and observations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center. The product is a fascinating four-minute and 26-second look at... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
DC Comics and Fortnite developer Epic Games are joining forces on a new Batman and Fortnite-themed crossover comic book. The six-issue miniseries, titled Batman / Fortnite: Zero Point, will debut on April 20th. Two issues will then launch in both May and June before the series concludes with a final issue on July 6th. Longtime Fortnite fans might have perked up at the mention of the Zero Point, a reality-warping ball of energy that is hovering over the middle of the Fortnite island and is the catalyst for this season’s many brand crossovers. (Just yesterday, Ellen Ripley and the Xenomorph from the Alien series were added to the game.) It seems the Zero Point will play a key role in this comic miniseries, according to this plot summary: A... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge Best Buy has restocked both of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles the Xbox Series X and Series S. Like some other gaming gadgets released late last year, these consoles are extremely difficult to buy, but if you move quickly, you have another chance to buy one right now. Whether you buy the digital-only Series S or the more powerful Xbox Series X which includes a disc drive, you may want to consider picking up a few accessories that will help you get the most out of your new gadget, such as an extra controller if you are playing a game with a local co-op with a friend or family member. As far as storage goes, both consoles have rather limited storage — 512GB on the Series S, 1TB on the X. If you plan to download some older games that do... Continue reading…

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posted 1 day ago on the verge
Netflix is constantly looking for its next big franchise hit — a new Stranger Things or The Witcher. And the trailer for Shadow and Bone teases that the upcoming fantasy series could be next. The first trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of the series showcases the series’ main protagonist, Alina, a map maker who discovers that she harbors a special power that can prevent the world from being swallowed up in darkness threatened by a terrifying sea-of-sorts called the Fold. Shadow and Bone is Leigh Bardugo’s fantasy series that has swept readers by storm. The book, which introduces readers to the Grisha universe — a world inhabited by special people who practice a form of spell work known as small sciences — has become immensely popular on... Continue reading…

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