Day: May 15, 2019

Here's how Samsung may fix the Galaxy Fold's design flaws

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Chris Velazco/Engadget

When Samsung said it was delaying the release of the Galaxy Fold to fix its design issues, it didn’t really say how it would address the flaws. You might have a clearer idea after today, though. Yonhap News claims Samsung will tuck the protective display layer into the body, preventing users from peeling it off under the mistaken belief that it’s an everyday screen protector. It will also block the gaps at the top and bottom of the hinge to prevent debris from wrecking the foldable display, according to the South Korean news outlet.

The firm is supposedly testing the Fold on Korean networks, and the results would affect the timeliness of the release. It’s “expected” to arrive in June, Yonhap said, although that’s not set in stone.

If this is accurate, Samsung would do what many expected — directly address the design weaknesses reviewers found ahead of the originally planned April 26th launch. Whether or not these tweaks are enough for

'Super Mario Maker 2' has a story mode and online multiplayer

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Nintendo

Super Mario Maker 2 is an update to 2015’s level-creating masterpiece for the Wii U, and it features a slew of new tools. Nintendo broke down a few of these fresh features during a livestream today, including details about the game’s story mode and online multiplayer options.

Super Mario Maker 2‘s story mode has Mario helping Princess Peach rebuild her castle. He has to run through courses animated in a range of traditional Mario styles, collecting coins and learning new tricks as he finishes each one. Speaking of collecting coins — the entire game has fresh sound effects, plus new music from veteran Mario composer Koji Kondo.

Level-creation mode is more robust the second time around, too. First of all, the editing suite includes the style of Super Mario 3D World, enabling clear pipes, warp boxes, crates and, finally, Cat Mario. Players will be able to set the trajectory of objects like snake blocks, Banzai Bill, Piranha Creepers, Track Blocks and even auto-scrolling

White House requests reports of 'censorship' and your email address

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Bill Chizek via Getty Images

Following up on political arguments over charges of “censorship” on social media, the White House has linked to a questionnaire on TypeForm.com where it’s collecting reports of bias. In a tweet, the White House encouraged entries “no matter your views” although it doesn’t guarantee any response to submissions.* (If you’ve been suspended for explosive statements like “Boyz II Men Are Trash”, then you may also want to try contacting the EFF — or just contact the EFF, whatever you prefer.)

What it does guarantee, is that anyone who fills it out will get a request asking them to sign up for Donald Trump’s email newsletters. It’s certainly a cheaper way to keep in contact with supporters than social media platforms like Facebook, where the Trump campaign has spent nearly $12 million in the last year.

Sure, maybe you’ll be at the next hearing on Capitol Hill wedged between Jack Dorsey, Alex Jones and Diamond & Silk, but we’d

Trump declares 'national emergency' to make way for Huawei ban (updated)

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AP Photo/Andy Wong

The US government now has some pretext for outright bans on doing business with Chinese telecom firms like Huawei and ZTE. President Trump has signed an executive order declaring a national emergency banning sales and use of telecom equipment that poses “unacceptable” risks to national security, including critical infrastructure and the online economy. “Foreign adversaries” are exploiting more and more security holes through communications tech, Trump argued, and there were “potentially catastrophic effects” if this behavior went unanswered.

The order tasked the Commerce Department with drafting enforcement plans within 150 days. All US government agencies were expected to take “all appropriate measures” to follow the order.

While the emergency declaration doesn’t mention China by name, there’s no doubt that the country is the primary target. The US government has repeatedly deterred companies and institutions from working with firms like Huawei and ZTE over surveillance fears and has accused Huawei of receiving direct funding from Chinese state security. Its charges against Huawei

Watch the 'Super Mario Maker 2' Nintendo Direct here

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Nintendo

If you’re excited for Super Mario Maker 2, you’ll want to watch the dedicated Nintendo Direct livestream tonight at 6PM ET (3PM PT, 11PM GMT).

Super Mario Maker 2 is a follow-up to 2015’s Super Mario Maker for the Wii U, rather than just a port of the old game to the new console. Nintendo has promised fifteen minutes dedicated purely to the Switch exclusive, hopefully including lots of new details about what we can expect come June.

As a reminder, the side-scroller is both a game and a level creator, which lets you combine items and features from across the Mushroom Kingdom into your own dream courses. We’ve already spotted items from the amazing Super Mario 3D World in Nintendo’s previous Direct about the game.

There’s not long to wait for the launch, either: Super Mario Maker 2 will be out a few weeks after E3 wraps, on June 28th.

Source: Nintendo In this

Ubisoft delays 'Skull and Bones' until at least mid-2020

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Ubisoft

We hope you didn’t base your gaming calendar around Skull and Bones, the other multiplayer-focused pirate title. Ubisoft has revealed that the game has been delayed again, this time until sometime after the company’s fiscal 2019-2020 (that is, after March 2020). The game won’t be showed at E3 2019, either. The company didn’t go into great detail explaining the move, although producer Karl Luhe noted in an explanatory video that the team was focused on “quality first.”

That’s a long time to wait for a game that was first unveiled in 2017. This latest delay might be easier to understand than the last, however. Ubisoft’s main competitor, Sea of Thieves, struggled in part because there wasn’t much to do at first — it took months of updates before the game had a lot of variety for digital swashbucklers. The additional time might ensure that Skull and Bones has a smoother start and lives up to its potential relatively quickly.

We’re going

Google recalls some Titan security keys after finding Bluetooth vulnerability

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Google is recalling its Bluetooth Titan security keys due to a vulnerability that could allow attackers to connect to your device. No need to panic — the bug only seems to apply to a very narrow set of circumstances, according to a blog post published by Google on Wednesday. The attacker would have to be within 30 feet of you during the moment you press the button on your Titan Key to activate it, and also know your username and password. In this scenario, the attacker could then use their device to act as your security key and access your device.

Not all Titan Security Keys have the bug, which Google says is due to a misconfiguration in the key’s Bluetooth pairing protocols. Only the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) model is impacted. If your Titan Security Key has a “T1” or “T2” on the back of it, it means it has the security bug and is eligible for a replacement from Google.

But

Google's Translatotron can translate speech in the speaker's voice

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NurPhoto via Getty Images

Speaking another language may be getting easier. Google is showing off Translatotron, a first-of-its-kind translation model that can directly convert speech from one language into another while maintaining a speaker’s voice and cadence. The tool forgoes the usual step of translating speech to text and back to speech, which can often lead to errors along the way. Instead, the end-to-end technique directly translates a speaker’s voice into another language. The company is hoping the development will open up future developments using the direct translation model.

According to Google, Translatotron uses a sequence-to-sequence network model that takes a voice input, processes it as a spectrogram — a visual representation of frequencies — and generates a new spectrogram in a target language. The result is a much faster translation with less likelihood of something getting lost along the way. The tool also works with an optional speaker encoder component, which works to maintain a speaker’s voice. The translated speech is still synthesized

'To Live and Die in LA' shows how much Google knows about you

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In episode five, season one of the podcast Serial, Sarah Koenig navigates the strip malls and parks of Baltimore, attempting to fulfill a challenge set down by Adnan Syed — the convicted murderer whose case she’s investigating. Over a prison phone, Syed tells Koenig the state’s timeline of the murder is impossible, so she gathers reams of call logs and cell tower records, and pieces together the route he supposedly took the night he killed his girlfriend in 1999. Memories from witnesses have changed over the years, but the data points on the cell tower map tell the same story every time.

Still, it takes a lot of guesswork. Koenig drives between Woodlawn High School, Best Buy and Leakin Park, trying to match the stories of professed witnesses to the pings from Syed’s phone. The Serial map shows 10 cell towers covering a six-mile stretch of Baltimore, and as Koenig drives around the area, she notes the pings don’t match the story told

Parents may be able to spot ear infections with a paper cone and an app

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Dennis Wise/University of Washington

Researchers are working on a smartphone app that could help diagnose ear infections. As NPR reports, the app uses the phone’s microphone, its speaker and a small paper cone. In its current form, the app sends short, sound pulses through a funnel and into the ear canal. It then measures the echo of that sound, and an algorithm uses the reading to predict if there’s fluid behind the eardrum, one of the common symptoms of infection.

The team of researchers — from the University of Washington and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute — released their initial findings in Science Translational Medicine today. In their study, about 50 children had their ears checked with the app, and the tool was correct about 85 percent of the time, which is comparable to technology used in clinical settings. But as NPR reports, the app is still in development, and it will need FDA approval before it hits the market.

The researchers hope this

You can finally buy the first 1TB microSD card

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SanDisk

Have you been salivating at the thought of stuffing a 1TB microSD card into your phone? You can finally act on that impulse. SanDisk has made the record-setting Extreme card available both through its own store and (when it’s in stock) through Amazon, giving you a cavernous amount of space for your phone’s media collection. It’s a U3-rated card, too, so it shouldn’t have trouble keeping up with your 4K video recordings.

As you may have seen at the February unveiling, though, there’s a catch: the price. The 1TB card will currently set you back $450 (£454 on Amazon UK), or more than twice as much as the $200 for the 512GB card. That’s a lot to pay for a card you could easily lose in the wash, and economies of scale are almost certainly going to drive the price down if you wait a while. Still, this is your best bet if you think that a 1TB Galaxy S10+ doesn’t have nearly

Over 34 million people use Amazon Fire TV

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Dia Dipasupil via Getty Images

Amazon Fire TV has over 34 million monthly active users, further widening its lead over competitor Roku. Jenn Prenner, head of global marketing, growth and engagement for Fire TV, confirmed the numbers this week in a panel on the Pay TV Show. Furthermore, Fire TV has become the most popular streaming player in the US, UK, Germany, India and Japan, at least according to Amazon’s metrics. It’s a big leap for Fire TV, which back in October announced it had 25 million active users.

For a few years, Roku’s easy-to-use interface, wide selection of apps and integration with popular smart TVs like Phillips, Sharp and TCL made it the favored candidate for most households. But Amazon strived to catch up, expanding its content offerings and partnering with Best Buy to sell house-brand Insignia and Toshiba Fire TVs that work with Alexa. Roku’s 29.1 million active users is nothing to sneeze at, though. Earlier this month, Roku announced it was

ARM display chip design could lead to better stand-alone VR

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Brian Oh/Engadget

Now that stand-alone virtual reality has become more of a… reality, ARM wants to eliminate some of the technology’s remaining headaches. It’s launching a new display chip design, the Mali-D77, that aims to both fix visual artifacts and improve performance. It can reduce motion sickness by re-projecting scenes (to adjust for the headset’s position) and correcting lens artifacts like distortion and chromatic aberration. Your VR headset might also last longer on battery power — ARM expects a 12 percent power savings and a 40 percent drop in bandwidth.

The design is optimized for common VR hardware running at a 3K resolution and 120 frames per second. It might not help with some future headsets, then. However, ARM hopes it’ll lead to “lighter, smaller” gear that’s more comfortable to wear.

You will have to wait a while to see any benefits. The Mali-D77 is just architecture at this point. Chip makers will have to implement the design in shipping processors, and you’ll have

Ticketmaster fights ticket fraud with 'refreshing' barcodes

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cmannphoto via Getty Images

Ticketmaster is trying a new way to combat ticket fraud: make the ticket change on its own. It’s introducing a SafeTix system that gives ticket buyers a unique, encrypted barcode that refreshes every few seconds. You can’t copy the ticket by taking a screenshot or otherwise copying the barcode data. The barcode will continue refreshing if you sell or transfer your ticket — the recipient just gets a new ticket linked to their account and cellphone.

You’ll likely first see SafeTix in use during the NFL’s 2019 season, although it’ll also be used for a number of concert tours. It should be in use with 500 venues by the end of the year. It should also support NFC tickets later in 2019, and will also allow Apple Wallet ticket scans.

This won’t be great news if you prefer paper tickets. It could, however, reduce the likelihood of scammers selling you bogus tickets that give you a rude surprise at the

The Galaxy S10 5G goes on sale in the UK June 7th

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Chris Velazco/Engadget

Samsung has revealed the Galaxy S10 5G will go on sale in the UK June 7th, initially on Vodafone and EE, and it’ll be available in its majestic black and crown silver finishes. Pre-orders will open on May 22nd, though pricing is not yet clear.

You’ll need a 5G network to get the most out of it, of course. Vodafone’s 5G network is set to go live on July 3rd, while EE will switch its one on “imminently.” Glastonbury festival-goers will be among the first to try EE’s 5G network.

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