Year: 2019

What's on TV this week: 'Watchmen'

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‘Watchmen’ Mark Hill/HBO

This week YouTube kicks off its book club series with a Malcolm Gladwell roundtable interview on Booktube. The MLB playoffs continue, and Netflix has a slew of new series. Movie fans can stream Hobbs & Shaw or snag Scarface in 4K on Ultra HD Blu-ray, while gamers can help death find romance in a puzzle game called Felix the Reaper. Our most anticipated release this week, however, is the premiere of HBO’s Watchmen series on Sunday night. Look after the break to check out each day’s highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

Blu-ray & Games

Scarface (4K) Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (VOD) American Gangster (4K) Hellboy (4K) The Haunting of Hill House (Extended Director’s Cut) Stuber (4K) Ultraman: The Complete Series Twin Peaks: The Television Collection Crawl Felix the Reaper (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) The Jackbox Party Pack 6 Just Ignore Them (Xbox One, PS4) Outer

California wildfires are no match for Tesla’s advanced ‘Bioweapon Defense Mode’

Tesla’s “Bioweapon Defense Mode” feature is proving to be quite effective for California Tesla owners when it comes to withstanding the ongoing wildfires out west. As a quick refresher, the “Bioweapon Defense Mode” feature works to diminish the impact polluted air can have on a vehicle’s occupants.

Tesla notes that the feature was “inspired by the air filtration systems used in hospitals, clean rooms, and the space industry” and boasts that it’s capable of removing pollen, bacteria, and other types of outside pollution from the air before it enters the car.

“The end result,” Tesla notes, “is a filtration system hundreds of times more efficient than standard automotive filters, capable of providing the driver and her passengers with the best possible cabin air quality no matter what is happening in the environment around them.”

Tesla is certainly no stranger to making ambitious claims that don’t necessarily hold up, but the company’s “Bioweapon Defense Mode” feature really appears to be living up to the hype.

With the air quality in California getting increasingly worse, a Tesla owner over the weekend posted a video of the feature in action.

Teslerati adds:

The Tesla enthusiast mentioned that Bioweapon Defense Mode significantly helped with the air quality in the cabin as they passed through an area that was practically surrounded by fires. The vehicle’s Autopilot system reportedly functioned normally, following lane lines without any difficulties despite the conditions on the road.

Of course, nothing overt or dramatic happens in the video but it does illustrate the type of conditions the feature is designed to help combat.

Another Tesla owner in California posted the following to Twitter a few days ago:

Image Source: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro are receiving OxygenOS 10.0.1 update based on Android 10

OnePlus has initially sent out the update to Android 10 in its stable form to the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro back in September, but then not a lot of people actually received it. As it turns out, the company at some point halted the rollout of OxygenOS 10 “due to certain bugs”.

The good news is that it’s now back, this time rolling out as OxygenOS 10.0.1. The update brings with it everything Google packed into Android 10, of course, as well as a brand new UI design, and Google’s new full screen gesture system where you swipe from the left or right to go back and get a thin bottom navigation bar to switch left or right for recent apps.

The usual unnamed general bug fixes and improvements are in too, and there’s also a new customization feature in Settings that lets you choose icon shapes to be displayed in the Quick Settings, and Ambient Display now gives you intelligent info based on specific times, locations and events.

Game Space promises a better gaming experience by joining all your favorite games in one place for easier access. There’s improved camera photo quality too, and you can now block spam by keywords for Messages.


Razer just introduced a first-of-its-kind ‘optical’ laptop keyboard

If you’ve got a little more than $2,600 to spend, the world’s first optical keyboard for a gaming laptop can be yours.

Razer announced the new hardware today which works, for now, only with its Razer Blade 15 Advanced laptop — bringing what the gaming brand promises are next-generation optical switches to the laptop. The keyboard has been designed specifically with gamers in mind who want “near-instant actuation, satisfying tactile feedback, and rapid-fire inputs.”

The way it works: The laptop and keyboard use light to result in a faster register and implementation of its keypress on the keyboard. Said another way, this is a clickier keyboard that responds to your inputs much faster, which should allow players to input more commands more quickly when they’re in the middle of an intense gaming session. Since light is what’s measured as the input source for this optical keyboard instead of physical contact with the keys, Razer is also promising zero “debounce” to ensure that each individual stroke is registered instantly, with no delay.

An infrared light beam under each key on the keyboard measures when the key is actually pressed, something Razer says allows for greater precision and speed compared to traditional laptop keyboards. The keys are also individually backlit with Razer Chrome RGB lighting, with several million possible color options and a variety of pre-programmed designed and custom patterns for users to choose from.

Image Source: Razer

“Razer is a company built on firsts, (and) we focus on pushing the envelope to provide gamers with the best-in-class hardware,” says Brad Wildes, Senior Vice President of Razer’s Systems Division, as part of Monday’s announcement. “Our Razer Blade 15 laptop with the new optical laptop keyboard is the first of its kind, providing gamers with the most advanced switch technology on the market anywhere they go.”

The new keyboard is available starting today from, as well as select retailers in the US, Canada, and China. It will be coming to more keyboard models in addition to the Razer Blade 15 Advanced in 2020.

Image Source: Razer

Air pollution is killing fetuses before they’re born

There’s no shortage of scientific evidence to show that air pollution can have seriously harmful effects on each and every once of us. Recent research suggests that the air quality in some major cities is so bad that it’s the equivalent of a pack-a-day smoking habit. Now, a new study out of China reveals that the dangerous effects of poor air quality extend to unborn fetuses as well.

The study, which was published in Nature Sustainability, focused on the patient records of over 255,000 pregnant women in Beijing between 2009 and 2017. The researchers examined the rates of miscarriage as well as the individual exposure of each expectant mother to various types of air pollution.

Beijing isn’t exactly known for air cleanliness, but the impact of the poor air quality on pregnant mothers hasn’t been well researched. When the scientists crunched the numbers, some interesting links began to reveal themselves, with increased exposure to air pollution correlating to a higher risk of miscarriage overall. The researchers accounted for factors such as age and occupation to isolate the effects of air quality on miscarriage rates, further cementing the link.

Of note, the study shows that air pollution may have an even more specific link to so-called “silent” miscarriages that occur early on in a pregnancy. These miscarriages produce few or no symptoms, and a mother may not even realize that she has miscarried until much later.

Going forward, the researchers involved in this study suggest that more work will need to be done in order to draw links between miscarriages and specific types of air pollution. Air quality can be impacted by a number of different compounds and particulate matter, so it would make sense to dive deeper and figure out if specific chemicals or gasses are responsible for the increased risk.

Image Source: Sipa Asia/Shutterstock

Ford's remote car starting and unlocking are available for free

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Until now, all of FordPass’ connected car features have been locked behind a subscription, no matter how basic — while you could get up to five years of ‘trial’ service, it wasn’t fun to lose remote unlocking simply because you didn’t want to pay up. Now, however, you won’t even have to think about it. Ford has scrapped trial subscriptions and made the most common features available for free. You can unlock your doors, start up the motor or schedule a maintenance visit so long as your vehicle supports FordPass Connect in the first place.

This unsurprisingly doesn’t include the WiFi hotspot service, since that requires an LTE connection (AT&T in the US). All the same, Ford is eager to rub this in the nose of competitors. GM’s OnStar can cost up to $15 per month, and your trial only lasts three months. Toyota charges $8 per month with a similar trial period. While free FordPass service isn’t a huge savings in the

You really have to hear these jaw-dropping wireless speakers to believe them

I test a lot of speakers these days, so it takes a lot to impress me. But when I first heard the Edifier S3000Pro Audiophile Active Speakers, I was definitely impressed. What’s even crazier is that I continued to be blown away each and every time I turn them on. There are no other wireless speakers in this class that achieve the accuracy and crisp audio quality that Edifier has managed to pull off with these fantastic wireless speakers. If you have the means, I strongly suggest checking them out.

Here’s some additional info from the product page:

WIRELESS LEFT/RIGHT SPEAKER SETUP – Edifier’s first plug-in speaker system that offers wireless left and right speakers — creating new possibilities for more pleasing, practical audio setups. KLEERNET WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY – For vastly improved efficiency and quality over traditional Bluetooth speakers. Near lossless audio quality at up to 328ft (100m) HIGH QUALITY STREAMING AND EASY CONNECTIVITY – Certified Hi-Res audio and Bluetooth 5.0 support with aptX HD Decoding. Together, they provide airy, transparent studio-quality sound from USB audio bitrates of up to 24Bit/192KHz for near lossless sound quality. Perfect for enthusiasts, artists and industry professionals alike. CLEAR MORE NATURAL SOUNDING HIGHS – Edifier’s signature planar diaphragm tweeter provide clearer, better highs than the competition. Discover new sensations from old songs. POWERFUL ROOM-SHAKING BASS – Courtesy of a 6.5″ aluminium alloy diaphragm bass unit. Get the strong distortion-less bass you need for everything from movies to music.

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Disney+ Tweets All Movies and TV Shows Arriving on Day 1

Disney+, a new streaming service that will feature many series and films, including The Mandalorian and Avengers: Endgame, is debuting on November 12.

On Monday, Disney+ unveiled all the movies and TV shows you can watch at launch on Twitter and the list features some noteworthy titles. If you don’t have time to jump on the extremely long Disney+ Twitter feed, you can check out this YouTube video, which shares all the good details.

First, there are so many old-school films coming to Disney+, including Sammy, the Way-Out Seal (1962), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977).

Sammy, the Way-Out Seal (1962)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

If you want to explore ancient temples, space, or Mother Nature, Disney+ has National Geographic content that will be available to stream, such as Mars Inside SpaceX (2018), Lost Treasures of the Maya (2019)and Into the Grand Canyon (2019).

Mars: Inside SpaceX (2018)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

Lost Treasures of the Maya (2019)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

Into the Grand Canyon (2019)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

Lastly, there are great Star Wars TV shows and Marvel-focused movies for your weeknight or weekend binge-watching sessions: Star Wars Resistance (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), and Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (2018) are a handful of titles coming to Disney+.

Star Wars Resistance (2018)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

Captain Marvel (2019)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (2018)

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019

For more details on Disney+, including subscriptions and features, visit the streaming service’s website here.

More on

Smartphones with true all-screen designs might be closer than we thought

The smartphone design we all want is almost here, but handset vendors still have to iron out a few issues that prevent this perfect phone from existing. The phone we’re describing is truly all-screen, not with the kind of compromises we have now. As it stands, we have to accept workarounds like the notch (iPhone X and many others), hole-punch displays (Galaxy Note 10), sliding cameras (OnePlus 7T Pro and others), waterfall displays (Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha and Mate 30 Pro), and dual-screen designs (Nubia Z20), because there still are several elements on the front side of the screen that can’t be hidden.

The selfie camera is really what these design compromises are all about, but there are also other components that need to be adapted, including 3D face unlock components on some devices, as well as light and proximity sensors on others. Smartphone makers, however, are already developing actual all-screen devices where the front cameras and sensors are hidden under the display.

One of the companies that already demoed a phone with an in-screen selfie camera is Oppo, a Chinese smartphone maker that has introduced a few additional innovations in the past few years, including even faster charging technology and the kind of optical zoom that’s not available on many modern phones. It turns out that Oppo is now studying phones with four curved edges, as well as devices that incorporate light and proximity sensors inside glass-made edges rather than the top bezel.

Dutch blog LetsGoDigital discovered patents describing these technologies.

Image Source: LetsGoDigital

The image above shows a phone with curved side edges similar to what Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, and Nokia have launched in recent years, with Samsung being the company that first brought dual-edge displays to smartphones. But the handset in the render also features curved edges at the top and bottom. This is one example of that perfect smartphone design, although it’s unclear when such a device will be available to buyers.

A second Oppo patent describes a similar technology for a device with a flat display, but the screen doesn’t curve around the edges and features an ultra-thin glass border that’s able to allow light to shine through.

Image Source: LetsGoDigital

Light and infrared sensors would be placed on the sides of the device, as seen in the image above. The light sensor would be placed under the screen, with a light-conducting element delivering light to it. The sensor would then determine the brightness in the room and gradually adapt the lighting of the screen.

The infrared sensor, meanwhile, has the purpose of reading heat, which comes in handy for calls. The infrared sensor would replace the proximity sensor and would detect when the phone is held near the user’s ear, and turn off the screen during calls. These technologies can be used both with OLED and Micro-LED screens,

Google Pixel 4 leaks on UK retailer's site, confirming three color options

The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are going to be announced tomorrow at a Google Hardware event in New York City. We’ve seen pretty much all the specs and features of the new phone leak unofficially, so there isn’t much left to reveal. If anything, the latest leak confirms Google is launching the Pixel 4 in three colors.

UK retailer Carphone Warehouse has already listed its Pixel 4 landing page, complete with specs, color options, and feature posters. We’ve already seen the specs leak from Best Buy Canada, but that page didn’t include the color options. At the time of this writing, Best Buy’s page is no longer reachable, but Carphone Warehouse is up and running.

All the Pixel 4 infographics on Carphone Warehouse

Both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will come in Just Black, Clearly White, and an orange shade rumored to be called “Oh So Orange”. A previous report claimed the phone would also come in “Slightly Green”, “Really Yellow”, and “Sky Blue” but we were skeptical considering Google never launched a pixel with more than three colors.

The Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch FHD “OLED Smooth Display” while the 4 XL has a larger 6.3-inch QHD+ display. Both are 90Hz panels and rock a Snapdragon 855 with 6GB of RAM. This is the first time Google has updated the RAM on its devices since the original Pixel, which launched with 4GB of RAM. Base models will come with 64GB.

One of the newest, but arguably useful features, is the Motion Sense camera. Aside from 3D face authentication, it can also interpret hand gestures to trigger certain controls like changing music or swiping between photos. Sadly, the feature won’t be usable in all markets.

Google’s hardware event is less than 24 hours away. The event kicks off on Tuesday morning at 10AM (local time) in New York City. We are expecting to see a new Pixelbook Go, Nest hardware, the Pixel 4 devices, and we’ve heard rumors of updated Pixel Buds.

Thanks for sending this in, Roland!

Source | Via

Facebook's Libra loses one more member as its council becomes official

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Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook couldn’t avoid losing another Libra Association member before it formalized the cryptocurrency’s council. Booking Holding, the company behind, Kayak and Priceline, has withdrawn from the Libra Association just before the organization’s members signed the council charter, elected its Board of Directors and appointed executive team members. The move leaves 21 initial members, including Facebook’s own Calibra wallet as well as Lyft, Uber, Spotify and telecoms like Iliad and Vodafone.

PayPal, eBay, Mastercard, Visa and Stripe were some the most prominent companies to pull out, each of them leaving within days of each other.

Not that Facebook is deterred. Libra Association policy head Dante Disparte told Reuters that the departures were a “correction” and “not a setback.” The outfit also touted the number of potential members that could fill the exiting partners’ shoes, noting that about 180 entities met the initial membership requirements.

The formalization suggests the Association should be more stable going forward, and the remaining 21

Apple says its new Jason Momoa show ‘See’ will be as good as ‘Game of Thrones’

Everybody is familiar by now with the strategy of presidential campaigns in the run-up to the first of three head-to-head debates in the final days of the race. It’s when campaign surrogates try to dramatically amp up expectations about the other side (“Our guy will do good to just still be standing at the end”) so that their candidate looks even better after they exceed those expectations. It’s something of a game, in other words — one that not everybody believes in playing with the press. Apple appears to be following a similar path with Apple TV+.

Ahead of its launch next month, the company has decided to go ahead and try to raise expectations sky-high for the service. Take See, the new Jason Momoa-led series coming to Apple TV+, which presents a dystopian future of humanity in which the gift of sight is essentially wiped out.

In the new issue of Emmy magazine, Apple vice presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack van Amburg give an interview about See in which they rave about the series: “Can it be as epic as, say, a Game of Thrones? We answer that question early on with a resounding yes!”

Is that a too-lofty description for the show to live up to, comparing it to one of the most celebrated TV series in modern memory? Maybe, maybe not. But it does follow similar hype from Momoa himself, who in two separate Instagram posts describes the series as “the greatest” show he’s ever worked on, which is a roundabout way of saying it’s better than Game of Thrones. It’s easy to dismiss this as an overeager bit of promotion in advance of a new shoe on a likewise new and untried streaming service — but there’s one additional wildcard in the mix that makes us add “Not so fast” to anyone who wants to pooh-pooh this.

That wildcard is See creator and writer Steven Knight, who’s also the creator of what we would argue is one of the best TV series showing right now anywhere, across any streaming service. That show is Peaky Blinders, a British gangster drama streaming in the US on Netflix, and without getting off on too much of a tangent, we are going on the record here and now: Steven’s hand in creating See makes it worth checking out for that reason alone.

Of course, for those Emmy magazine readers who aren’t moved by the Game of Thrones comparison, maybe the trial voucher included with the magazine will spur them to sign up for Apple TV+ and check out See:

As a reminder, Apple TV+ launches November 1, starting at $4.99/month.

Watch Live: Google's Pixel 4 Hardware Event

If you’ve been waiting for a new Pixel device, Tuesday is the day to send the kids to your mother’s, drop a note in the #WFH Slack channel, and ask Google Assistant to hold your calls.

Google is expected to unveil the Pixel 4 at a media event in New York City on Tuesday, October 15. The show kicks off at 10 am Eastern, which is an early 7 am on the West Coast. You can watch a livestream of the event right here on this page. Tune in a little early, since Google often provides some pregame color.

In addition to the new phones—like past years, we should see a normal Pixel and a larger XL model—we’re also expecting some other hardware from Google’s Pixel and Nest sub-brands. A new Pixelbook is likely, and rumors of a revamped Pixel Buds are swirling through the blogosphere. We should also see some new hardware for the smart home, and now that Google has been busy pulling all of its smart devices under the Nest brand, if new smart speakers and mesh Wi-Fi routers are announced at Tuesday’s event, they should also carry the Nest name.

But the big news will be the phones. One Pixel model or another has consistently lived at or near the top of our list of the best Android phones since the Google-made handsets first launched in 2016. This year’s version is expected to introduce a set of competitive features to the Pixel line, including an improved camera, a new face unlock mechanism, and a set of gesture controls built upon Google’s long-running Soli project. Oddly, we already know what it will look like, since Google intentionally leaked the Pixel 4 months ago in a tweet.

Since the phones will come with Google Assistant preinstalled, it will be interesting to see how they incorporate all of the enhancements to the Assistant that Google showed off earlier this year at its IO developer conference.

One thing we likely will not see is a lower-priced version of the Pixel 4. The Pixel 3A, our current top cheap phone pick, was just released in May. We probably won’t see a new A-version Pixel handset until next spring.

Come back at 10 am EDT on Tuesday for the big show. If you miss it, the presentation will be archived in the player at the top of this story, so you can watch all the mobile and smart-home announcements at your leisure.

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The UK likely got more power from renewables than fossil fuels last quarter

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PAUL ELLIS via Getty Images

The UK generated more power from renewable sources than from fossil fuels in the third quarter of 2019. This is the first time that’s happened since the UK opened its first public electricity-generating station in 1882. The findings, revealed in an analysis by Carbon Brief, speak to progress the country has made in transforming its electricity system over the past decade.

According to the analysis, from July through September, renewables generated 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh) while fossil fuels generated 29.1 TWh. As Gizmodo points out, a 0.4 TWh may sound small but it represents the electricity used by hundreds of thousands of customers. For context, in the third quarter of 2009, the UK generated twice as much electricity from fossil fuels (60.4 TWh) and only 5.7 TWh from renewables.

Of the energy produced last quarter, 20 percent came from wind, 12 percent from biomass (which isn’t a perfect source) and six percent from solar. Wind power got a boost

Amazon Prime members can now get any cheap item with free one-day shipping

Amazon is already the most popular digital retailer on the planet, but that doesn’t mean Jeff Bezos and the rest of the team are satisfied with their success. The site is always looking for any edge it can get, and according to Recode, that now includes free one-day shipping on almost any cheap product for Amazon Prime subscribers.

As Recode’s Jason Del Rey notes, Amazon used to make it difficult to pick up a single tube of toothpaste or a stick of deodorant, forcing consumers to bundle it with other items and spend at least $25 in order to qualify for quick shipping with Prime. But the barriers to purchase a singular item worth $1 or $2 have been lifted throughout the year, and it is now just as easy to buy a single package of floss with fast shipping as it is to buy a TV.

Recode goes on to cite a September research note from Edgewater Research, in which analysts acknowledge that Amazon has “essentially turned off its Add-On program in recent months.” This may not appear to be a drastic move on its surface, but as Recode points out, many people visit their local Target, CVS or Rite Aid for random items such as this. But now that they can tap a single button and have a brush or a pack of Q-Tips or virtually any other cheap household good delivered to them free of charge in 24 hours, why ever stop in Walgreens again?

Unsurprisingly, this has also raised concerns from antitrust groups, who believe Amazon is taking whatever temporary loss it deems necessary in order to snuff out the competition and build out its monopoly even further.

“There’s no way that shipping costs are less than 75 cents, and there’s no way any other company that wants to sell a makeup brush could deliver that for free,” Sally Hubbard of Open Markets Institute told Recode. “It’s not possible and it highlights how pricing strategies can be used to drive rivals from the market. But antitrust law currently misses this anticompetitive conduct with its obsession on low prices.”

And perhaps most hypocritically of all, these revelations come just as Bezos himself pledged that Amazon would be carbon-neutral by 2040. If single sticks of deodorant are going to be shipped out on trucks every day for the foreseeable future, that seems at least somewhat counterproductive to saving the environment.

Image Source: AP/Shutterstock