posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Amazon.com appears to be down for many people in the US. A number of Verge staffers are unable to access the site, and there are countless user reports of an outage across the country pouring in on Downdetector. It’s not unprecedented for Amazon’s internet services to have an outage. In 2017, Amazon’s widely used cloud computing division, AWS, had an outage that took down many other services and websites that relied on it. But it is exceedingly rare for Amazon’s main e-commerce site to go down like this. We’ve reached out to the company for more information, including whether this outage is extending beyond the US and whether it affects other platforms like AWS, Prime Video, or Twitch. Developing... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge Owners of the excellent Jabra Elite 75t (and Elite Active 75t) earbuds can now customize controls for the physical buttons on each earbud. With a new update to the company’s Sound Plus smartphone app available today, you can pick what you want a single, double, or triple press to do for each earbud. For example, I’ve now customized mine so that a double press of the right earbud button will skip forward a track and a double press on the left will go back. (By default, track controls are only on the left earbud.) There’s also now a triple tap option, which I’ve set as a voice assistant shortcut on the right and for hear-through / ambient sound mode on the left. Volume controls remain the same: you press and hold to adjust how loud the... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Image: Netatmo Netatmo has released an updated version of its outdoor security smart camera with a powerful alarm to scare off uninvited guests. The revised security camera remains mostly unchanged from Netatmo’s previous outdoor model. However, this version includes a built-in 105dB siren, meant to scare off any intruders. The siren can be manually activated by using the Netatmo app after you receive an alert that a person or vehicle has entered your property. Of course, not every person entering your property is coming uninvited. You can edit the alerts the camera gives you through the Netatmo app, so the camera will only send you urgent notifications. You can also use the Alert-Zones feature to specify what areas set off motion alerts, so it can... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images The internet is a magical place, somewhere where you can, for the right price, get anything you want. And if that something is a decommissioned nuclear reactor control panel — well, have I got some good news for you! Today, author Warren Ellis posted on his blog about an auction being held in England where one of the lots for sale was a decommissioned nuclear reactor control panel. Yes, this thing: If you’ve seen the hit miniseries Chernobyl or ever looked up pics of nuclear reactors online, this should look pretty familiar. And it’s gorgeous! Look at all those CRTs, that industrially gray metal, the huge number of knobs and dials that actually did something, probably, at one time. Who wouldn’t want it? The best part is... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google announced on Thursday that it will bring its SameSite cookie update back starting July 14th, alongside the launch of Chrome 84. The update will roll out gradually to Chrome 80 and later versions. When Chrome 80 launched in February, Google started rolling out its SameSite update, which is intended to change how cookies are handled by the browser. In April, Google announced it would be rolling back that update in order to keep essential websites working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The update will resume starting July 14th, alongside the launch of Chrome 84 Chrome used to accept cookies by default, but with the introduction of its SameSite labeling policy, Chrome will block cookies from functioning in a third-party context,... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
As promised, Disney now gives subscribers of Disney Plus the option to watch over 19 seasons of The Simpsons in the show’s original 4:3 aspect ratio. When the subscription streaming service first launched, it only presented The Simpsons in a remastered, 16:9 aspect ratio — and this resulted in audiences missing out on some visual gags that were near the top or bottom of the frame. It didn’t take long for Disney to address viewer complaints by announcing it would give subscribers a choice between 16:9 (optimized for modern widescreen TVs) and the original 4:3 aspect ratio to see episodes true to the way they originally aired. Open Disney Plus and go to The Simpsons page. This link should get you there on the web version. Choose the... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Erin Schaff for The Verge Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is calling Donald Trump’s proposed executive order “plainly illegal” in a new statement on Thursday. The draft executive order would pare back platform liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a bill Wyden coauthored in 1996 with Sen. Chris Cox (R-CA). Under Section 230, internet companies have broad immunity from liability for the content created by their users. The draft order, announced on Wednesday, would open the door for the Commerce Department and the Federal Communications Commission to reinterpret the law, and authorize the Federal Trade Commission to craft a tool for reporting bias online. The Communications Decency Act was approved in 1996 and authored by Sens. Chris Cox... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Elon Musk often brags about how he’s built up Tesla with “zero advertising spend.” But advertising is just one form of marketing, and the billionaire CEO sure knows how to market his companies. The latest example comes from a new episode of Jay Leno’s show on CNBC, where the former talk show host and notorious car collector visits SpaceX headquarters to drive a prototype of Tesla’s Cybertruck through the mile-long “test tunnel” Musk dug under Los Angeles by another one of his efforts, The Boring Company. The appearance, which CNBC has spent the last two weeks promoting, is pretty straightforward. Leno drops into Tesla’s design studio (which is tucked into SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, California). Musk arrives in the Tesla Semi, the company’s... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge YouTube sparked widespread speculation about its moderation policies this week after it admitted to accidentally deleting comments that contained phrases critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Today, the company told The Verge that the issue was not the result of outside interference — an explanation for the error floated by many. The phrases that triggered automatic deletion included “communist bandit” and “50-cent party,” a slang term for internet users paid to defend the CCP. Some speculated that an outside group, perhaps connected to the CCP, manipulated YouTube’s automated filters by repeatedly reporting these phrases, causing the algorithm to tag them as offensive. Speaking to The Verge, YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Earlier seasons of The Simpsons are finally available to stream in its proper 4:3 aspect ratio, a task Disney Plus’ product team had to spend some time figuring out. Aspect ratios are a big deal in The Simpsons. Fox originally aired the show in 1989, and at the time used a 4:3 aspect ratio. The show, as any fan will explain, relies heavily on visual gags — an aspect of joke-telling that wouldn’t become an issue until near the end of 2009, about a third of the way through The Simpsons’ 20th season — when the show’s aspect ratio switched from 4:3 to 16:9. When Disney uploaded all 30 seasons of the show to Disney Plus in November 2019, every episode was only available in 16:9, meaning older episodes looked stretched out, and jokes that... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / Th The American Civil Liberties Union is suing controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI for violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), alleging the company illegally collected and stored data on Illinois citizens without their knowledge or consent and then sold access to its technology to law enforcement and private companies. The full complaint is available here. “Unbeknownst to the public, this company has offered up this massive faceprint database to private companies, police, federal agencies, and wealthy individuals, allowing them to secretly track and target whomever they wished using face recognition technology,” writes ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler in a blog post outlining the lawsuit. “That... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
On mobile, YouTube’s new chapters feature provides haptic feedback when you reach a new chapter | Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge YouTube is releasing its new video chapters feature today to all users on desktop, phones, and tablets. The chapters, which soft-launched in early April, make it easy to skip to precisely where you want to go in a video, like a book. It’s not rocket science. It helps me get exactly where I want to go, then it gets out of the way. On desktop, a video with chapters won’t look all that different from how videos have always looked. In fact, the biggest change is barely noticeable: the bar used to show video progress will have little black breaks in it to indicate where each chapter ends and a new one begins. When you scrub over a section with your mouse, you’ll then see the title of the chapter it’s in. Chapters rely wholly on timestamps T... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Hulu Watch Party | Image: Hulu Hulu is starting to test a Watch Party feature that’ll allow subscribers to simultaneously watch a show or movie while hanging out in a group chat room. Watch parties have grown increasingly popular over the past couple of months as friends and family who are social distancing look for new ways to connect. The services that enabled those watch parties have tended to be third-party offerings, though. There isn’t a built-in way to stream Netflix or Disney Plus with a friend. Hulu’s the first major service to build the feature in on its own This makes Hulu the first of the major streaming services to really tap into this growing trend. The feature begins launching today, but its availability is unfortunately very limited for the time being:... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Image: Epic Games Fortnite’s upcoming end-of-season live event has been delayed by one week, Epic Games announced today. It will now take place on June 6th at 2PM ET. Epic began teasing the event, which it is calling “The Device,” last weekend. Ominous countdowns appeared in the game’s lobby and in a screen in the game’s battle pass menu. Mysterious hatches have also appeared in the water near the Agency building in the game, which sits on a central island on the map. The start of Fortnite’s next season, Chapter 2 Season 3, has also been pushed a week, meaning it will now launch on June 11th. This is the second delay for the start of the new season. Epic hasn’t specified reasons for the delays, but it could be due to unexpected development setbacks due to... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images There’s a growing divide at the Federal Communications Commission over a proposed executive order by the Trump administration to regulate speech on social media platforms. In statements made Thursday, Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr took opposing sides over an executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Democrat Rosenworcel said that the order “is not the answer” while Republican Carr suggested that the proposal “makes sense.” If the current draft order is signed, the FCC would be at the helm of adjudicating complaints of social media bias online. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced plans to sign an executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The law... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google will change how its algorithms rank websites in search results, the company announced today. Starting sometime early next year, if your website has a poor “page experience,” it may show up lower on search results. “Page experience” is a fuzzy term, of course; Google is using it as shorthand for a set of metrics the company is developing that go beyond how quickly the page loads. Lots of aggravating things on the web aren’t necessarily captured by a simple speed test, like pop-ups, delays in certain content appearing, content jumping around the page, and other annoyances. Google won’t be able to accurately measure all of those things, but it is attempting to quantify some of them. Changes are also coming to the “Top Stories”... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Plus Codes consist of six digits, and can represent locations when street addresses aren’t in common use. | Image: Google Google Maps is launching a new feature that generates a unique six-digit code based on your location. This code can be given to others and used when you’re located away from a traditional street address. It’s called a “Plus Code,” and it’s available with a tap of the blue circle icon that represents your location in the app. Plus Codes are designed for countries where a lack of street names can make it difficult to identify addresses. Google says this can cause problems when emergency services are trying to respond to incidents, and it has implications for everyday needs like postal deliveries. According to the company, over 2 billion people worldwide either don’t have an address or have one that’s not easy to locate. G... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Qualcomm is announcing its first chips with support for Wi-Fi 6E, the brand-new version of Wi-Fi that should be faster and more reliable thanks to its access to an expansive additional range of airwaves over which to broadcast. Two sets of products are being announced today: one for phones, which should ship in the second half the year, and one for routers, which will start shipping immediately. The key feature of all these chips is support for Wi-Fi 6E, which takes advantage of the 6GHz spectrum that was newly opened up for Wi-Fi in the US by the Federal Communications Commission last month. It’s the largest expansion of Wi-Fi spectrum ever, which should result in some big performance gains. The phone chips fall under Qualcomm’s... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Tidal is vastly expanding its support for Dolby Atmos Music today to include living room set-top boxes, TVs, and speaker systems for subscribers to its $19.99-per-month Tidal HiFi service. Or, depending on how you feel about the mobile version of Atmos, Tidal is launching its first “real” implementation of Dolby Atmos Music today. Technically, today’s launch marks the second rollout for Atmos on Tidal. The company initially launched the feature back in December for the few Android smartphones and tablets that supported the mobile version of Atmos, but the living room version of the feature (with the far better speaker systems that it offers) will likely offer a much better experience than the mobile one. You’ll need Atmos speakers,... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Image: HP HP and Microsoft have announced a new version of their high-resolution Reverb virtual reality headset, aimed at VR gamers rather than businesses. The Reverb G2 is slated to launch this fall at $599, with US preorders opening today. It’s got the same resolution and field of view as the first-generation Reverb, but it features more tracking cameras, a redesigned controller, and new lenses and speakers from VR pioneer Valve. The Reverb G2’s resolution is still its clearest selling point. At 2160 x 2160 pixels per eye, it’s far higher than the high-end Valve Index, which has 1440 x 1600 pixels. The original Reverb suffered from cloudy visuals, but HP is promising that new lenses and panels will clear that problem up. While the G2 uses the... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Sony’s WH-1000XM3 can lay flat, and also fold up into its compact hard case. | Photo by James Bareham / The Verge Sony’s WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones and the truly wireless WF-1000XM3 are both solid choices if you want great sound quality and noise cancellation, though they’re definitely not the most affordable at the store. If you’re willing to forgo buying them new, Back Market is offering them refurbished for up to 42 percent off their regular prices. The WH-1000XM3 are $200, which is a whole $150 off the price you’d pay for a new set. The truly wireless option are just $110, which is $80 off. What’s important to note is that both include a one-year warranty. The WH-1000XM3 model in today’s deal are said to be in “mint” condition, so you can expect it to look like-new with no scratches. We haven’t seen the price fall further than $70 off for a... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
The Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is a pricey laptop for creative professionals. | Image: Razer Razer has announced its new Blade 15 Studio Edition, a high-powered, high-priced laptop for creative professionals. Razer calls it “a mobile workstation tailored to meet the needs of every type of creator from audio engineer to VFX artist.” There are a couple of spec bumps to note, but the feature that I’m most excited about is the updated keyboard layout. A source of grief for some Blade owners over the past year has been Razer’s keyboard layouts. Specifically, Blades have been notorious for squeezing the up directional key to the left of the shift key. This may sound like a small design choice, but Verge reviewer Cameron Faulkner found himself accidentally hitting the arrow when he meant to hit shift or question mark all the time... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
While we’re waiting for the eventual release of Monument Valley 3, developer Ustwo has just launched another surprise: a cyberpunk climbing game called Go Go Bots. Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, is that the new game is exclusive to Facebook. Go Go Bots is available today through Facebook’s Instant Games platform, which means it’s playable inside the Facebook app and through Facebook’s gaming tab, without any extra downloads. (You can check it out now at this link.) Facebook says that the company worked on the game alongside Ustwo to flesh out the social elements. As for the game itself, Go Go Bots lets players choose from five adorable robot characters, while competing with others to navigate climbing courses in the fastest time.... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Many VR games are about portraying impossible exaggerated versions of reality, whether it’s sci-fi table tennis or a shooting range with actual zombies. The new Topgolf-branded Oculus Quest game, however, goes in another direction: it’s actually more like real golf than Topgolf. If you haven’t been to Topgolf before, it’s kind of what can be expected out of a VR golf game, only for real. You’re basically in a bar with a massive driving range, and you’re whacking microchipped balls at far-off colorful targets. Topgolf’s technology tracks the balls on video screens so you can see how accurate your shots were — or, more likely, weren’t. I went to the Las Vegas location with some Verge co-workers after CES this year, and it was a good time... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP via Getty Images Today, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that would give the government huge new powers over the internet. As reported yesterday by The Washington Post, Trump will order the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to roll back the liability protections enjoyed by tech companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. It’s a hugely ambitious proposal, arguably the biggest single attempt to regulate internet platforms, and for better or worse, it signals the beginning of an all-out war between Trump and any platform that tries to fact-check him. As Trump ominously put it on Twitter, “This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Sometimes called the most important law on... Continue reading…

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