posted 7 days ago on the verge
A screenshot of Project Challenge, a project management simulator. | Thinking Tools Popular “simulation games” like SimCity aren’t literally training players to run something like a city. But what would happen if they did? In the 1990s, SimCity studio Maxis tried to find out. In an exhaustively researched essay at The Obscuritory, librarian and writer Phil Salvador recounts the fascinating history of Maxis Business Simulations — a short-lived studio that designed simulations of oil refineries, power grids, project management tasks, and other systems for businesses and government agencies. As Salvador puts it: From 1992 to 1994, a division called Maxis Business Simulations was responsible for making serious professional simulations that looked and played like Maxis games. After Maxis cut the division loose, the company... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Zoom has temporarily disabled the integration of GIF platform Giphy in its chat feature, the company said in a blog post. “Once additional technical and security measures have been deployed, we will re-enable the feature.” Zoom didn’t offer any specifics beyond that on Giphy’s removal. The company mentioned the change as part of its latest list of security updates to the platform, which also includes limits on screen sharing, changes to muting and unmuting functions, and restrictions on logging in to meetings from multiple devices (for meetings that require registration). The move comes a few days after Facebook acquired Giphy for over $300 million, with plans to integrate it into Instagram. How that acquisition will affect Giphy... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Wikipedia plans to crack down on harassment and other “toxic” behavior with a new code of conduct. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, which oversees Wikipedia among other projects, voted on Friday to adopt a more formal moderation process. The foundation will draft the details of that process by the end of 2020, and until then, it’s tasked with enforcing stopgap anti-harassment policies. “Harassment, toxic behavior, and incivility in the Wikimedia movement are contrary to our shared values and detrimental to our vision and mission,” said the board in a statement. “The board does not believe we have made enough progress toward creating welcoming, inclusive, harassment-free spaces in which people can contribute productively and... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Grayson Blackmon / The Verge Massive PPE shortages pushed DIY volunteers to get creative Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
The last time a rocket launched from US soil, nearly one million people gathered to watch | Photo by Carla Cioffi/NASA via Getty Images Ahead of this week’s launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, NASA is working to keep the enduring threat of COVID-19 at bay during the historic launch. To protect its astronauts, ground crew, and potential visitors, NASA has adjusted their approach to this highly anticipated event. If successful, the launch will not only break the US’s nine-year drought of crewed launches to the ISS, but it will also make history as the first time a private spacecraft has carried people into orbit. “We’re taking extra precautions,” said Steve Stich, deputy manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, during a press call this month. On the ground, the agency is introducing temperature checks and physical distancing at Mission Control. A successful... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Virgin Orbit’s 747 Cosmic Girl and rocket LauncherOne | Image: Virgin Orbit Small satellite launcher Virgin Orbit — the sibling company to Richard Branson’s space tourism venture Virgin Galactic — plans to conduct the first test launch of its rocket today. The company has been developing and testing its vehicles for the last six years, but now it’s ready to finally send a rocket to orbit. Virgin Orbit’s primary rocket is called LauncherOne, capable of launching small to medium payloads, roughly the size of washing machines, to space. And the rocket takes a unique path to get there. Rather than launching upright from the ground — as the majority of rockets do these days — LauncherOne actually takes off from underneath the wing of a Boeing 747 airplane. Nicknamed Cosmic Girl, the 747 is designed to carry... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Renders of the Note 20 Plus come from leaked CAD drawings. | Credit: @OnLeaks / Pigtou Last year’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus was truly a thing of beauty, with an amazing screen and superlative industrial design. And, judging by some high-quality (and completely unofficial) renders of the Galaxy Note 20 Plus, it looks like Samsung won’t be changing too much in 2020. The only major difference is a new, bulkier camera module on the rear of the device. These renders come from noted leaker @OnLeaks in collaboration with phone-case maker Pigtou. As with all renders based on leaked CAD drawings, they should be taken with a pinch of salt, but the design they suggest for the Note 20 Plus seems reasonable enough. The most obvious feature is the big, nearly edge-to-edge display, with curved bezels, sloping sides, and a small, central... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge If your iPhone or iPad has dozens of apps needing unexpected updates, don’t worry: you’re not alone. For some reason, Apple appears to be reissuing recently-published app updates, resulting in users having to reinstall the latest version of some apps. Among the Verge team, the number of unexpected updates ranged from less than twenty to nearly 100, with updates dating back to the beginning of the month resurfacing from the depths of the App Store. Your experience will vary, of course, depending on how many apps you have and have frequently you update them. Exactly why these updates are being reissued isn’t clear, but, as MacRumors notes, it might have something to do with a bug that seems to be affecting apps as of iOS 13.5. This bug... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Realme’s explosive performance in India has made it one of the fastest growing smartphone brands in the world, and today the company is expanding into the nebulous “lifestyle tech” market with products in new categories. First up is Realme’s first smartwatch, imaginatively called the Realme Watch. It has a square design with a 1.4-inch 320x320 LCD display and runs what appears to be a custom version of Android. It can display notifications, control music, hang up phone calls, and do other typical smartwatch things. Realme is claiming 7 to 9 days of battery life from the watch, or 20 days in its power-saving mode. After my experience with the new watch from technological stablemate Oppo, though, I’d want to check that claim for myself. ... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Image: Sony Sony’s new flagship smartphone, the Xperia 1 II (pronounced “mark two”), will ship in the US starting July 24th for $1,199, the company announced. Pre-orders start on June 1st. And if you pre-order by June 28th, you’ll get a free pair of Sony WF-1000XM3 noise canceling earbuds. A major feature of the Xperia 1 II is its 12-megapixel triple-camera array, which Sony says can shoot up 20 fps in burst mode, make AF/AE calculations up to 60 times per second, and autofocus on the eyes of humans and animals for portrait shots, among other features. The phone also comes with the Photography Pro and Cinematography Pro apps, which give you more manual control over the camera settings for your photos and videos. The Xperia 1 II has a 4K HDR OLED... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Samara Ginsberg rocks the Knight Rider theme song on the cello | Samara Ginsberg/YouTube The 1980s show Knight Rider was about a guy who drove a talking car and solved crimes. I think. I (sort of) remember watching a young(ish) David Hasselhoff argue with the car, a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am named KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), voiced by William Daniels. KITT had a Cylon-like red light on its (his?) front grill which made the car seem vaguely menacing. Knight Rider was amazing ‘80s television and as such, had an equally spectacular theme song (sidebar: I would like us to get back to TV theme songs that explain the entire plot of the show either in the lyrics or via a voiceover like this one did. I miss you, 1980s). London-based cellist Samara Ginsberg, who among other things, produces “virtuoso arrangements of... Continue reading…

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posted 8 days ago on the verge
Photo: Aaron Epstein / Netflix One of the new streaming shows I’ve been looking forward to most, Netflix’s Space Force with Steve Carell, debuts this week. I definitely need something funny and smart in the lineup— I started watching I Know This Much is True and now catching up on Ozark, so a less morbid/bleak show will be a welcome change. Here are three shows on the lighter side (or at least, the less-dystopian side) coming to streaming this week: Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (Netflix, May 26th) Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, probably best known for her stunning, Peabody Award-winning standup show Nanette, is back, bringing her latest comedy standup show Douglas to Netflix (fwiw, Douglas is the name of one of her dogs). Ramy, Season Two (Hulu, May 29th) E... Continue reading…

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posted 9 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge A new tool by hacking group Unc0ver can jailbreak iOS 13.5, the just-released version of Apple’s mobile operating system, Wired reported. The group says the jailbreak, which works on iOS 11 and higher, is built on a zero-day vulnerability, doesn’t drain a device’s battery life, and doesn’t affect the use of Apple services or undermine the iOS sandbox security, according to Wired. Unc0ver’s lead developer told Wired the jailbreak adds exceptions to existing rules, and “enables reading new jailbreak files and parts of the filesystem that contain no user data.” The jailbreak tool is not open source, and the group didn’t say which vulnerability in iOS it exploited to build the tool. Jailbreaking gives a user more control over a device’s... Continue reading…

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posted 9 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge An analysis of the latest update to Google Messages suggests it may be moving closer to having end-to-end encryption for RCS, according to 9to5 Google (via APKMirror). Rich communication services, or RCS, is the successor to SMS messaging and does what most other texting services do, but without the end-to-end encryption that apps like Signal and iMessage have. Its widespread adoption has been a bit of a mess, but the major US cellular carriers announced late last year that they would offer RCS in 2020. Google first unveiled RCS chat as Android’s primary texting platform in 2018, and in November, announced it was actually rolling it out to users in the US. An internal build of Google Messages v. 6.2 has several lines of code that offer... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
President Trump held a “social media summit” at the White House last summer. | Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images President Trump wants to create a panel that would look into complaints of bias against conservatives on social media and other online platforms, The Wall Street Journal reported. What authority the panel would have, and under what department it would be based were not clear. But the Journal’s sources said the plans may include establishing a “White House-created commission” that would work in conjunction with agencies like the Federal Elections Commission and Federal Communications Commission to examine bias and censorship online. A White House official told the WSJ that “left wing bias in the tech world is a concern that definitely needs to be addressed.” The president tweeted a similar opinion last week, that “The Radical Left is in... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Image: Warner Bros. I forgot to write about Westworld after its third season wrapped up the other week. In a lot of ways, I enjoyed the third season more than the earlier ones — it was far more coherent, it built out some cool sci-fi worlds, and Aaron Paul was a great addition to the cast. But the season also left behind what was, arguably, the thing that made Westworld tick: overly complicated and gimmicky narrative tricks that leave the viewer perpetually trying to make sense of what they’re watching. The best part of Westworld’s first two seasons wasn’t even watching the show, it was talking about it later and trying to decipher the twists it was trying to pull off. In a lot of ways, yes, it was very gimmicky, but it was also fun. Westworld season 3 was... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge After resisting pressure from the US for months, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is apparently preparing to phase out the use of Huawei equipment from the UK’s 5G networks, the Financial Times reported. Citing national security concerns, members of the UK’s Tory party have pushed for Huawei technology to be removed from the UK’s 5G infrastructure and the rest of its telecom network by 2023. The Trump administration has banned government use of Huawei’s technology, and the president signed an executive order last May blocking US companies from buying foreign-made telecommunications equipment that may pose national security risks. The order doesn’t single out any one company, but is viewed as a way to exclude Chinese firms like ZTE and Huawei... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge It’s Memorial Day weekend in the US. Several retailers are offering some of the best deals that we’ve seen in months, spanning several categories of tech. There’s quite a lot to look at today, so we’ve included a selection of promotions below. Now is about the time when we hear something from Amazon about when its annual Prime Day will happen. For what it’s worth, Amazon may be planning to delay its Prime Day shopping event, usually in July, to September. So, it’s possible that some of these deals might not come back for a few months. Then again, since we’ve seen many of these discounts below making repeat appearances, some of them may be here to stay. Headphones Computing Photo by Avery White for The Verge ... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Twitter is testing a new feature that lets users decide who can reply to their tweets, the company announced on Wednesday, and some accounts are already using it in some interesting new ways. Previously, anybody could reply to anybody on Twitter (as long as their profile wasn’t private or blocked). But now, if you’re part of the test, you can decide if you want to allow replies from everyone, only people you follow, or only people you tag — which, if you don’t tag anyone, means that no one can reply at all. Deciding who can reply to which tweet on a tweet-by-tweet basis could change how some people use the social media platform in significant ways. Interviews on Twitter, for example, could be much more streamlined, and NBC’s Twitter... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images Seven months after he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to deal with $3.6 billion in personal debt, the reorganization plan laid out by Jia Yueting — the tycoon founder of troubled EV startup Faraday Future — has been approved by a judge. In overly simple terms, the majority of the many people and companies he owes money — largely thanks to the collapse of LeEco, the overly-leveraged tech conglomerate he built his fortune with in China — have agreed to swap their debt claims for pieces of Jia’s ownership stake in Faraday Future. They now only have a shot of being made whole if and when the struggling startup successfully completes a public listing on a major stock exchange. Founded in 2014, Faraday Future has spent more than $1.7 billion... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Glitch laid off “a substantial number of employees” on Thursday in an effort to cut costs and ensure “long term viability,” the company confirmed in an email to The Verge. Glitch said it had to “significantly cut operating costs” due to market conditions. At least 18 people were laid off, according to two former employees who asked to remain anonymous. Glitch had about 50 employees before the layoffs, the sources said. Glitch declined to comment on how many employees were laid off. The company said it is offering “severance, health insurance, and support in finding new employment” to employees who were laid off. Glitch CEO Anil Dash tweeted that the layoffs came as a result of being a “small company in a fiercely competitive space in a... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
After two days of intense reviews, NASA is giving its commercial partner SpaceX the thumbs-up to launch its first astronauts to space next week. There’s still more work to be done by both the agency and SpaceX, including another review on Monday, but officials decided there were no major issues standing in the way of the launch. “It was a good review, great discussion,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference. “I think everybody in the room was very clear that now’s the time to speak up if there are any challenges.” Bridenstine noted that many people did speak up, and they had a lot of discussions about various aspects of the mission. “At the end we got to a ‘go,’” he said. “So we are now preparing for a launch... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
A new leak hints at what to expect from Sony’s WH-1000XM4, the upcoming successor to the WH-1000XM3, one of the best wireless headphones on the market. The details come from Twitter user justplayinghard, who tweeted out information they obtained from a recent teardown of Sony’s Headphones Connect app. The code hints that the M4 headphones may be able to simultaneously pair with two devices, a feature not present in its predecessor. On the current model, you have to reconnect if you want to use a different device. The M4 may also include a feature called “Smart Talking,” allowing the headphones to detect voices and adjust the ambient sound so you can hear conversations without taking off the headphones. Its predecessor has something... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Microsoft’s Xbox Live service is experiencing issues today, marking the fourth time in recent weeks. Xbox One users are currently reporting problems with signing into Xbox Live, accessing friends, and joining parties. The issues started at around 3:15PM ET, and are also affecting some multiplayer games. “We are aware that some users may be experiencing issues when attempting to sign in on Xbox One & Windows 10,” explains Microsoft. “Our teams are aware & working on a fix. Please follow here & on our status page for updates.” Microsoft says it’s also investigating issues affecting “multiple Microsoft 365 services,” suggesting the outage issues go further than just Xbox Live. Microsoft has experienced multiple outages with Xbox Live... Continue reading…

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posted 10 days ago on the verge
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge They’re pulling the plug on the New York Auto Show. The show, which is typically held in April and draws over 1 million attendants, was delayed until August due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But organizers are now saying they won’t be able to meet that deadline and are focused on reviving the auto show in spring 2021. The Javits Center, which houses the auto show, is still being used as a field hospital The Javits Center, which houses the auto show, is still being used as a field hospital for patients with COVID-19. Currently there are no patients being treated there, though the convention remains in “standby mode” in case of future emergency. New York City was particularly hard hit by the virus, with over 196,000 confirmed cases and... Continue reading…

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