posted 2 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge After pressure from activist group Sleeping Giants, Amazon has banned groups tied to the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters militia movements from its AmazonSmile charity program, the company tells The Verge. Members of the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters have been arrested for their suspected involvement in the January 6th attack of the US Capitol. Through its AmazonSmile program, Amazon donates 0.5 percent of eligible purchases on the site to a user’s chosen charity. Users can pick from more than 1 million charities — a list that, until recently, included the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters groups. AmazonSmile’s participation agreement says that groups that engage in or support hate, terrorism, or violence aren’t eligible... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge When it comes to whether MagSafe-enabled iPhones are safe around pacemakers or other implanted medical devices, Apple and medical device makers have the same advice: it should be okay, but it’s best not to risk it. MacRumors spotted an update to one of Apple’s support documents, where the company advises that iPhones should be kept at least six inches away from a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator during normal use and a foot away if the device is actively using wireless charging (via 9to5Mac). This advice isn’t specific to the MagSafe phones. Apple says the additional magnets shouldn’t make the phones any more likely to turn off your implanted medical device than any other phone, a sentiment Medtronic, the manufacturer of such... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge Facebook is aiming to improve transparency around political advertising on its platform by opening up more data to independent researchers, including targeting information on more than 1.3 million ads that ran in the three months prior to the US election on November 3rd of last year. Researchers interested in studying the ads can apply for access to the Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) platform here. The move is significant because Facebook has long resisted willfully allowing access to data around political advertising, often citing user privacy. The company has gone so far as to even disable third-party web plugins, like ProPublica’s Facebook Political Ad Collector tool, that collect such data without Facebook’s express... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images The market, like Soylent Green, is made of people. That’s never more clear than when there’s something bonkers happening — like what’s happened with video game retailer GameStop’s stock since last September. Back then, it was trading at around $6.68; by this morning, however, it was trading at $146.97. (Since that astounding high, it fell to $61.13 as of 12:26PM EST.) What happened? For that, check out this wild story from Bloomberg, which reported exactly how the subreddit r/WallStreetBets grabbed hold of a huge opportunity — found, naturally, in the mass shorting of GameStop stock. As writer Brandon Kochkodin explains, the stage for the rise was set in 2019, when two important things happened. “One was Michael Burry — of Big Short... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Cyberpunk 2077’s big new 1.1 patch has introduced a game-breaking bug. Eurogamer reports that the “Down on the Street” quest appears to be broken for some players. The quest includes a holocall that’s supposed to trigger progress through the main part of Cyberpunk 2077’s storyline. Unfortunately, some players are reporting that the call remains silent, and it blocks progress of the game. Developer CD Projekt Red has published a workaround for the issue, but it requires players to have an earlier save of the game to try to get the holocall to work correctly. Here are the steps: Load a gamesave before Takemura and V leave Wakako’s office Finish the conversation with Takemura outside the office right away Right after the finished... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Image: 7-11 If you reside in Dallas County, Texas, you have a chance to spend the night in what I think is the ultimate gamer’s paradise: a 7-Eleven complete with snacks, a Slurpee machine, and the hard-to-find PS5 available to use during your stay. Starting February 1st, residents who are 18 years or older will have the chance to spend $11 for one night in the utopia for gamers before it opens to the public. However, the rules are a bit strict as two gamers from the same household who book the experience through Airbnb’s website will have the chance to spend the night. Only two dates are available: February 26th and February 28th. During their stay, two lucky guests will have access to the store, which has a futuristic gaming aesthetic, and it is... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge A consumer advocacy group in Europe has filed the latest class action lawsuit against Apple saying the company intentionally throttled older iPhones in Italy. First reported by TechCrunch, the new lawsuit seeks €60 million (roughly $73 million) in compensation — or about €60 per device — for owners of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus models sold in Italy between 2014 and 2020. Euroconsumers, an umbrella advocacy organization in the EU that includes Italy’s Altroconsumo, says the €60 compensation is the average amount consumers paid to replace their devices’ batteries. “When consumers buy Apple iPhones, they expect sustainable quality products. Unfortunately, that is not what happened with the iPhone 6 series” Els Bruggeman, head of... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Spotify Spotify isn’t limiting its audio ambitions to podcasts and music. Today the company announced it’s furthering its audiobook experiments with the release of nine new audiobooks available exclusively in the app. As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, among the works, which are all part of the public domain, are David Dobrik narrating Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Forest Whitaker reading Frederick Douglass’ memoir Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; and Hilary Swank narrating Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. It’s also releasing an accompanying audio series called Sitting with the Classics on Spotify, a show in which Harvard professor Glenda Carpio explains the stories’ histories and narratives for a modern... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge The competition for streaming services is playing out in the same way the tech industry has over the past decade: a small handful of big names, backed by a lot of money. But for every Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and Hulu, there are a dozen smaller, more obscure streaming services — many of which you’ve likely never heard of. In fact, let’s see if you can tell the difference between the names of real streaming platforms and ones we’ve made up. Take the quiz on The Verge For every household streamer — Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus — there are a dozen that few users would likely recognize. How many people can explain what Xumo, Tubi, Vudu, and Pluto TV are? How about Acorn TV, Ovid, and Popcornflix? But all of these obscure services... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge If you’ve found yourself wanting some peace and quiet, whether it’s from the upstairs neighbor’s kid stomping around above you or just to silence other distractions, today’s marquee deal has your name written all over it. The Sony WH-1000XM4 are $72 off at Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers — matching the lowest price yet that we’ve seen happen a few times now. We first saw this price drop occur during Prime Day last October, and it went on to become one of the most popular deals of 2020. This model is almost identical to the previous generation (WH-1000XM3), with its similarly sublime audio quality and noise cancellation effect. What’s new in this set, though, is a sensor that automatically pauses music when you remove them, then... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images AMC Theatres has raised nearly $1 billion in funding since December 14th, staving off bankruptcy for several more months, the company announced today. The announcement comes just days after several major studios, including Paramount, Sony, and Disney’s Fox, all delayed many of their films to the latter half of the year. In total, AMC raised $917 million, according to public documents. More than half of that capital arrives in the form of equity that comes with selling 164.7 million new common shares. AMC raised another $411 million in incremental debt that is scheduled to be paid off by mid-2023, according to the filing. As such, AMC Theatres executives now believe they have a new “financial runway” that extends “deep into 2021.” “This... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge WWE Network, the standalone video service from World Wrestling Entertainment, won’t be going it alone for much longer — at least in the United States. Today, WWE and NBCUniversal announced that the service, which offers live streams of pay-per-view events, a large roster of original shows, and a massive vault of past WWE programming, will be integrated into Peacock starting in March. The US version of the WWE Network app will be shut down as part of the deal, which The Wall Street Journal is putting at over $1 billion. The new tag team results in positives on both sides: WWE will find itself with a wider streaming audience after seemingly hitting a ceiling on WWE Network growth, and Peacock gets a differentiator in the... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
8BitDo is best known for its affordable retro controllers, but its latest product is quite a bit more ambitious. It’s a wireless arcade stick for the Nintendo Switch and PCs, simply called the 8BitDo Arcade Stick, and at $89.99 it’s now the most expensive controller in the company’s lineup. Arcade sticks can be pretty pricey, though. Hori sells a $199.99 PlayStation-licensed PS4 model, for example, so 8BitDo is still at the more accessible end of the market if you do want an arcade stick. And if you do want one for the PC or Switch, I think this one is actually a great place to start. 8BitDo’s stick is specifically designed for the Switch and PC (via XInput), and it manages to feel native to both platforms thanks to a neat little trick:... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge Microsoft has a habit of reigniting the Mac vs. PC conflict for its Surface ads, and this time it’s going after Apple’s Touch Bar. In a new TV commercial, aired during Sunday night’s NFL championship games, Microsoft pits Apple’s MacBook Pro against the company’s Surface Pro 7. It’s a chance for Microsoft to mock Apple’s Touch Bar in a TV commercial for the first time. “Mac gave me this little bar, but why can’t they just give me a whole touchscreen?” asks a boy comparing the two laptops. That’s something that some MacBook Pro users have been calling for, or just the removal of the Touch Bar altogether. Apple is now reportedly planning a redesign for the MacBook Pro later this year, with the Touch Bar rumored to be replaced by physical... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Netflix has detailed an upgrade to its Android app which should reduce buffering and make audio sound better and easier to hear over background noise. It’s been made possible thanks to the adoption of the xHE-AAC codec, which a Netflix blog post says should “improve intelligibility in noisy environments, adapt to variable cellular connections, and scale to studio-quality.” Netflix’s use of the codec was announced earlier this month, and is available on devices running Android 9 and above. xHE-AAC uses metadata to solve a few different audio problems people have when watching shows on mobile devices. Netflix explains this is often a problem of loud background noise making content hard to hear, combined with weak and tinny phone speakers... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Google workers across the world are coming together to form a global union alliance. The newly formed coalition, called Alpha Global, is comprised of 13 different unions representing workers in 10 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Switzerland. The announcement comes weeks after workers in the US and Canada launched the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), a minority union affiliated with the Communications Workers of America. AWU grew from 230 members to more than 700 within a week after it launched. Alpha Global is affiliated with the UNI Global Union, a federation of labor unions representing 20 million people worldwide, including workers at Amazon. “We know that organizing for justice at a global company like... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Newell during a recent interview with 1 News. | Image: 1 News Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell talks about Valve’s exploration of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) for gaming and beyond, in an interview with New Zealand’s 1 News. Although Newell admits that the idea of having your brain interface directly with a computer sounds “indistinguishable from science fiction,” he says developers would be making a “silly mistake” if they ignore the area. Newell says that Valve is currently working with OpenBCI headsets to develop open-source software with the aim of making it easier for developers to understand the signals coming from people’s brains. At its most basic, this could allow software to understand whether a player is enjoying a game, and adjust the experience accordingly. For example,... Continue reading…

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posted 2 days ago on the verge
Google Google is launching an initiative to provide more than $150 million to promote education and equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines, the company announced today. It’s going to make some Google facilities — buildings, parking lots, and open spaces — available as vaccination clinics, with plans to open sites in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kirkland, Washington, and New York City first, and expand nationally as vaccines become more widely available. Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai says in a blog post that the company would give $100 million in ad grants to the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and other nonprofits. It also plans to invest $50 million in partnerships with public health agencies to help get... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images ESPN Plus says it will issue partial refunds to customers who paid for a UFC pay-per-view event Saturday only to run into technical problems. Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier was the headline match of the UFC 257 main card, which was set to get underway at about 10PM ET Saturday. To watch, ESPN Plus subscribers, who pay $59.99 per year for the streaming service, also paid $69.99 for Saturday’s event. But users in the US began reporting a blackout on the ESPN Plus app Saturday evening that lasted through some of the earlier fights on the main card. A spokesperson for Disney, which owns ESPN, said in an email to The Verge on Sunday that the company was “aware that a technical issue prevented a portion of users from accessing the early... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Godzilla vs. Kong | Warner Bros. I finally finished Ted Lasso last night and I get why everyone loved it so much. I was totally prepared to not like the earnest, goofy Ted but Jason Sudeikis won me over. I won’t spoil in case you haven’t seen it, but Ted Lasso has plenty of plot developments you expect will turn out a certain way —because we’ve been conditioned to have plots drawn out as long as possible and with as much unnecessary drama as possible— but then the characters behave like actual people! They’re smart and funny and nuanced and I can’t wait to see them again in Season 2. But look what just dropped this morning: The Godzilla vs. Kong trailer! Let’s gooooo Godzilla vs. Kong The trailer for the long-awaited flick about the showdown between Kong and... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Tesla is suing a former employee for allegedly stealing company information, CNBC reported. The company says software engineer Alex Khatilov stole files from Tesla’s internal network related to its Warp Drive software, used to automated many of the company’s business processes. Tesla alleges in the lawsuit that Khatilov moved files to his personal Dropbox account, and that he was one of only a few Tesla employees who had access to the files. According to the lawsuit, Khatilov told Tesla investigators he “forgot” about moving the files to his personal Dropbox when they confronted him. He told the New York Post in an interview that he had unintentionally moved the files to Dropbox, and, had been unaware that Tesla had filed a lawsuit... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Uber has laid off about 185 Postmates workers, and plans to further integrate Postmates’ infrastructure within its Uber Eats segment, The New York Times reported. Uber acquired Postmates in July for $2.65 billion, following a failed attempt to buy rival food delivery service Grubhub. Meal delivery has been one bright spot for Uber amid the pandemic, as bookings in its Uber Eats division rose 135 percent year-over-year in the third quarter while its ride-hailing segment dropped 50 percent over the same time period. It’s consolidated other parts of the company in a bid to become profitable by the end of 2021, selling its autonomous vehicles segment to Aurora Innovation in December, the same month it sold its Uber Elevate flying taxi... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
143 spacecraft inside Falcon 9’s payload fairing | SpaceX SpaceX launched a batch of 143 spacecraft to space from Florida on Sunday morning under the company’s new cost-cutting SmallSat Rideshare Program, breaking the record for the most satellites lofted into space on a single launch. The Transporter-1 mission kicks off a potentially lucrative business line for SpaceX, which unveiled in 2019 its SmallSat Rideshare Program, essentially a carpool for dozens of satellites of different shapes and sizes. The program offers relatively cheap access to space for small satellite companies starting at $1 million for the first 485 pounds. Much like a rideshare Uber, a company’s small satellite can hitch a ride to space with other spacecraft instead of buying an entire rocket at a much higher price. After... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge Microsoft’s flagship Xbox Series X is one of the most powerful gaming consoles available right now. If you are having difficulty finding it, Target has restocked the Xbox Series X today, so you may want to check it out while supplies last. Given the challenge it has been to secure a unit, inventory will likely not last long. Although no walk-in purchases are available, you will have the option to either have it shipped to your home or request an in-store pickup. Like every major hardware launch, the demand for the Xbox Series X and its competitor, the PlayStation 5, is through the roof, and the usual problems of supply and demand are exacerbated by the fact that both next-gen consoles launched during a pandemic. Many retailers have... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Italy’s data privacy authority has ordered video sharing app TikTok to temporarily block the accounts of any users whose ages can’t be confirmed, Reuters reported. The order comes after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Palermo, whose parents told authorities their daughter was participating in a “blackout challenge” she saw on the app. The child died of asphyxiation, and authorities are investigating whether anyone invited her to try the challenge. The Italian Data Protection Authority ordered TikTok to block unverified users in Italy until at least February 15th. The company told The Guardian it had not found content on its platform which would have encouraged the child to participate in the challenge, but said it was cooperating... Continue reading…

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