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Updated: 30 min 35 sec ago

Vizio’s new TVs don’t do apps the way you’d expect

33 min 40 sec ago

When Vizio unveiled its “new” 2017 P-Series and actually-new 2017 M-Series TVs on Tuesday, it seemed as though the company was making a quick return to the old smart TV approach of preloading apps like Hulu, Vudu, and others onto the sets. Last year, no apps were included on Vizio’s TVs out of the box; instead, they were designed as great looking displays that hooked into Google Chromecast, allowing owners to stream content from hundreds of apps using their own smartphone. But despite Vizio going so far as to bundle an Android tablet in the box, this concept likely confused some consumers.

So it is true that Vizio is making a change this year. A select few apps will come included out of the box to make things more convenient for people...

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Categories: Tech

Trump’s first 100 days: a visual review

45 min 41 sec ago

There’s a lot hidden in the pictures

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Categories: Tech

Tesla reactivated its automatic braking system after losing top Consumer Reports score

1 hour 42 min ago

Earlier this week, Consumer Reports lowered its ratings for Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles, because the company had yet to enable an automatic emergency braking safety feature, six months after it was announced. Following the rating downgrade, Tesla began rolling out the feature to its vehicles, but only at speeds of up to 28 miles per hour.

The magazine published its report on Wednesday, and deducted points from the two models because Tesla hadn’t activated the system. Tesla announced a suite of updates back in October, including the automatic emergency braking system, but noted at the time that its wouldn’t be activated until they were “robustly validated.”

The score will be updated once “vast majority” of owners get the full...

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New trailers: Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, Kingsman’s sequel, and more

3 hours 33 min ago

Looking for something to watch the other week, I took my colleague's suggestion and checked out Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, the first film from La La Land director Damien Chazelle. It's a scrappy, black-and-white, super-low-budget musical with the same interest in jazz but none of the production value.

I love getting to watch directors' earliest features and seeing just how far they've come. Moonlight director Barry Jenkins also started with a black-and-white, low-budget feature — Medicine for Melancholy — just a year before Chazelle did. Likewise, it's filled with the same kind of silences and simple, powerful moments as his latest, but it's a world apart terms of how well the pieces come together. (Though Roger Ebert was a big...

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Categories: Tech

Amazon is shutting down Underground, its free Android app program

3 hours 49 min ago

Yesterday, Amazon announced that it would be ending its Underground Actually Free Program, a shopping app that offers free versions of apps such as Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, Monument Valley, or Office Suite Pro 8 for Android phone and Fire Tablet users.

In its statement, Amazon said that as it launched the program in 2015, it was building its own Appstore, and decided to end the Underground program while it continued to “expand the Amazon Appstore experience.” The company noted that access to the store will continue through the end of this summer, and that it will end support for the app in 2019.

The program was launched in 2015

Fire Tablet users will be able to use previously installed apps from the program, but “access to the...

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Categories: Tech

20 percent off Apple’s Beats X earbuds and more deals from this week

4 hours 33 min ago

Mother’s Day in the US is quickly approaching on May 14th, and along with several other notable deals, we’ve got a handful of on-sale gifts that’d be great for the mothers of the world, including 20 percent off Apple’s Beats X earbuds. As my colleague Chris Welch mentioned in his review, these neckbuds are so comfortable that you’ll often forget they’re wrapped around your neck. For $120, why not gift your mom these reliable earbuds; after all, she did bring you into the world, so that’s the least you can do for her, right?

May the 4th is also approaching, and you probably already know what that means. ThinkGeek already launched their big Star Wars sale which features up to 60 percent off over 150 Star Wars-themed products, including a B...

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Logan’s black-and-white cut is coming to theaters on May 16th

4 hours 37 min ago

If you really liked James Mangold’s Logan, but wanted to watch it in monochrome, you’re in luck. The director announced on Twitter that the film would be getting a special black-and-white theatrical run on May 16th.

Mangold announced last month that he was working on a black and white cut, and told fans today that it would be coming to Blu-ray and DVD. He also confirmed that moviegoers will be able to see the film on the big screen one more time, but only in US theaters.

Suggestion. Hard core B&W loving LOGAN fans should not make any plans on the evening of May 16th.

— Mangold (@mang0ld) April 28, 2017

Mangold explained that this version is more than just changing the settings on your screen: the entire film had to be “regraded...

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A hacker has leaked the upcoming fifth season of Orange is the New Black

5 hours 13 min ago

A hacker has stolen the upcoming fifth season of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, according to the Associated Press, and has reportedly released it via file-sharing websites.

The AP reports that a hacker called The Dark Overlord reportedly uploaded the first episode to file-sharing services earlier this morning and that they claim to have stolen shows from other studios. According to a release from the hacker, the remainder of the show’s stolen episodes have been made available through The Pirate Bay. The authenticity of the leaked episodes is not clear, and we’ve reached out to Netflix for comment.

Netflix released a statement to Variety, saying that it was “aware of the situation. A production vendor used by several major TV...

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SpaceX is about to launch its first big satellite for the US military this weekend

5 hours 33 min ago

This weekend, SpaceX is slated to do its very first national security mission for the US military — sending a spy satellite into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office. Dubbed NROL-76, the secretive payload is scheduled to go up on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket early Sunday morning from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After launch, SpaceX will attempt to land the Falcon 9’s first stage — the 14-story high core of the rocket that contains the main engines and most of the fuel — on solid ground back at the Cape.

Just like with other NRO launches, we don’t really know much about this satellite’s final destination or what the probe will do when it gets there. And typically, broadcasts of NRO missions are cut a bit...

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Categories: Tech

The memes of Trump’s first 100 days

6 hours 33 min ago

Clinging to laughter, from A to Z

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Categories: Tech

Yik Yak, once valued at $400 million, shuts down and sells off engineers for $1 million

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:49

Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging app for college students, announced today that it would finally be shutting down. The app first launched back in 2014 as a way to discretely communicate with others nearby, and it took off quickly for its gossip-centric role in American universities. Along the way, the team scooped up $73.5 million in venture capital funding. With today’s closure and an accompanying SEC filing issued last week, we’ve learned that mobile payments company Square looted Yik Yak for its engineering talent and some minor intellectual property to the tune of just $1 million. At one point, investors valued Yik Yak at $400 million.

Yik Yak was once valued at $400 million

“The time has come... for our paths to part ways, as we’ve...

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Categories: Tech

Blu is still outfitting phones with Android Marshmallow in 2017

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 16:39

There are some things that don’t belong in 2017, and a brand-new phone running Android Marshmallow is at the top of that list (well, near the top). Blu, the company that can’t stop producing mid to low-range smartphones, has released its latest device, the R1 Plus. The specs are mediocre at best, but given the $160 price tag, that’s totally acceptable:

  • 5.5-inch 720p display
  • 1.3 GHz quad-core Mediatek 6737 processor
  • 32GB of storage
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 13MP rear, 8MP front camera
  • 4,000mAh battery, dual SIM, and Android Marshmallow

Let me make this perfectly clear, no Android phone produced in 2017 should run Android Marshmallow. Given that Blu wants to keep this phone in 2015, our recommendation is that no one should buy it, unless you find...

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Categories: Tech

Someone please just let these Marvel fans plug their headphones into a Doritos bag

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:52

Marvel has partnered with Doritos to make a limited edition Guardians of the Galaxy 2-branded bag of chips, complete with a makeshift tape deck playing the film’s soundtrack. Good news for chip fans and movie fans, as far as we can see, right? But Marvel fans who were eager to snatch up a bag on Amazon today have so far been disappointed.

Doritos never announced a specific time when they would be made available for purchase, but the afternoon has dragged on and on with no sign of the world’s most desirable corn chips, and now fans who have been waiting for hours are getting worried. Also, angry.

They want answers! From Doritos, Amazon, Chris Pratt, Marvel, the #GuardiansoftheGalaxy2 hashtag or anyone who can provide them.

Trying to...

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Onkyo adds Chromecast support to tons of its AV gear with a firmware update

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:33

Google’s Chomecast is making its way to a whole bunch of new devices today as Onkyo releases a firmware update adding support to AV receivers and speakers under its various brands.

That includes Onkyo’s own branded gear, along with Integra and Pioneer, which are owned by Onkyo and also have products included in the update. Once installed, users will be able to easily stream music from Chomecast-enabled smartphone apps, as well as use Google Home and Google Assistant to start playing music through voice commands. For the full list of compatible devices, check the handy roundup over at HD Guru.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen devices get Chromecast support via firmware update, either. Unlike other wireless solutions like Apple’s...

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Even with Switch, Nintendo is still focused on the 3DS — for now

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:18

With the launch of Switch — a device that combines a home console with a portable tablet — you might think that Nintendo would be moving on from the 3DS line of handhelds. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. Just last night, Nintendo announced the New 2DS XL, a $149.99 device that sits between the budget-focused 2DS and the more robust New 3DS XL. And according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé, the company will continue to focus on the platform for the foreseeable future. “We believe this is a key addition to the line,” he says of the 2DS XL, calling the handheld line “a very important platform. It’s something that we’re going to continue to drive this year [and] next year.”

“A very important platform.”

The reasons...

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Some Airbnb hosts will face racial discrimination tests in California

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:16

California regulators will soon be able to test select Airbnb hosts to determine whether they’re discriminating against users of the app based on race, according to The Guardian. The state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing announced a first-of-its-kind agreement with Airbnb yesterday, which will apply fair housing testing — something that traditional housing providers (landlords) have long faced — to the home-sharing service.

Airbnb has for years grappled with claims of racial discrimination from users who’ve had bookings cancelled or worse. In late 2015, Harvard University researchers found that guests with African American-sounding names had a more difficult time renting rooms through the popular app.

Last September, Airbnb...

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Categories: Tech

Elon Musk’s futuristic tunnel system looks both amazing and impossible

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:06

Elon Musk wants to build intricate underground roadway systems beneath the country’s biggest and most sprawling urban centers. It may not be his most ambitious idea; let us not forget the plan to colonize Mars and turn humans into cyborgs. But The Boring Company, as the tunnel idea is called, is still pretty outrageous. For evidence, look no further than this brief concept video posted to YouTube today.

It shows a near-gridlocked, red Telsa-looking automobile weaving its way to the side of a busy street, only to wheel itself onto a futuristic metal platform that works like an elevator:

Down the car goes into what is presumably an underground Los Angeles — the Boring Company is currently working to solve that city’s...

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Amazon’s Alexa can now whisper, bleep out swear words, and change its pitch

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:54

Amazon is trying to make its Alexa voice assistant sound more humanlike. Up until now, the female-sounding voice maintained an even, monotone cadence whenever speaking, but with Amazon’s new Speech Synthesis Markup Language that the company introduced this week, Alexa can whisper, vary its speaking speed, and bleep out words. Developers can also add pauses, change the pronunciation of a word, spell a word out, add audio snippets, and insert special words and phrases into their skill.

Amazon says this will allow Alexa to provide a “more natural voice experience.” Honestly, I never thought about why Alexa can’t whisper, but I can definitely see how it’ll make its vaguely robotic voice sound more believable and human. Unfortunately, we...

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Mac DeMarco breaks the fourth wall of celebrity, asks to see all your fan fiction

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:17

Mac DeMarco, the reigning lovable goober of indie rock, has announced a new contest for members of his fan club: who can write the best fan fiction about Mac?

Whoever submits the best piece between May 1 and August 15 will win a drawing of themselves with Mac, made by artist Stefan Marx. The drawing will appear in the next issue of the Mac DeMarco fanzine.

Today’s contest announcement comes along with the debut of a new song, as well as a profile in The New York Times in which reporter Joe Coscarelli interrogates the idea of “why does everyone love this dude so much?” at length, referring to DeMarco as “a kind of pied piper for the blog crowd.”

someone made a mac demarco erotica fan fiction blog. i can't deal with the internet...

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Overwatch continues to grow at a mind-boggling pace

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:13

Blizzard’s team shooter Overwatch has added another 5 million players, for a total of 30 million worldwide, in the last three months. That might not be so remarkable of a milestone for the World of Warcraft creator, which makes some of the world’s most popular and enduring online games. What is interesting is that the growth rate for Overwatch — a title not even a year old that retails for around $40 and has no free-to-play component whatsoever — is not slowing down... at all.

The game, available only on consoles and PC, hit 20 million registered players back in October. It then notched 25 million players in January. Now, another three months later, it’s hit 30 million. So players are clearly jumping in for the first time in droves,...

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