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10
Jun

Recommended Reading: Netflix trims its library of original shows


‘The Get Down,’ ‘Sense8’
Cancellations Signal
That Netflix’s Originals
Are ‘Destructible’

Daniel Holloway,
Variety

In the span of about a week, Netflix cancelled both The Get Down and Sense8 — two noteworthy series from its slate of original shows. The streaming service seemingly renewed everything, but now a couple of its more anticipated shows won’t return. Variety has a look at what this means for the company, including reasons why these two shows in particular won’t be coming back. It turns out producing a Baz Luhrmann show is even more expensive than initially anticipated.

First Interview With the Climber Who Scaled El Capitan Without a Rope
Mark M. Synnott, National Geographic

Yes, the same El Capitan that inspired a name for Apple’s macOS. Someone climbed it without a rope, and yes, that person may be insane.

The Second Coming of iPad
John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

This week Apple made its strongest case yet that its tablet could replace your computer. BuzzFeed has a look at how the company plans to convince you its slate is all you need.

How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News
Neil MacFarquhar and Andrew Rossback,
The New York Times

NYT breaks down how a piece of fake news spread from one website before making it on Fox News. It’s an interesting look at how misinformation spirals across the internet.

This Is How the NBA Makes Exclusive Shows for Millions on Snapchat
Kurt Wagner, Recode

A behind-the-scenes look at how the NBA creates content for millions of fans on Snapchat through the lens of the NBA Finals.

10
Jun

We’re live from E3 2017 in Los Angeles!


Oh, how time flies. We are back in Los Angeles to cover the world’s biggest gaming event, E3. As ever, you can expect the next week to be full of news about the latest video games and, of course, upcoming consoles like Microsoft’s “Project Scorpio.” This year though, we’re also going beyond that at the show. For the first time, Engadget will have a sleek stage inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, where we’ll be interviewing people from the industry, playing game demos and giving you a news roundup so you don’t ever miss a beat. It’s akin to what we’ve been doing at CES.

Among those joining us on the Engadget E3 stage are execs from Xbox, HTC Vive, Arkane Studios and Konami, to mention a few. We’ll have much more happening there from Tuesday, June 13th until Thursday, June 15th. That said, don’t forget the show unofficially kicks off today, with EA hosting its always entertaining conference at 12PM PT/3PM ET. If you’re not here in LA, grab some popcorn and bookmark this page so you can easily keep up with everything happening at E3 2017.

10
Jun

Hands on with the OPPO R11


OPPO has become a dominant force in the smartphone game in their home market of China and has even seen steady and impressive growth in countries like India. The company is hoping to continue this with their latest smartphone offering that features an increased focus on providing an excellent camera experience. What does this device bring to the table? We find out, as we go hands on with the OPPO R11!

In terms of design, the R11 retains the design language of its predecessor, with it featuring a full metal unibody construction and what OPPO calls the “arc curve” design, where the back of the phone is curved on all sides. With a metal body, there is always the risk of the phone being too slippery, but this curved back lets the phone sit very comfortably in the hand, and the curves along the sides make the phone easier to grip as well.

New in the design though is the Antenna 2.0 technology that OPPO is leveraging to reduce the number of antenna lines from three to two, while still being able to maintain functionality as expected with the use of a 4G signal enhancer and 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi. The antenna lines have also been colored to look the same as the rest of the device body, and they seem to meld seamlessly into phone and not stand out, making for a beautiful-looking smartphone.

As far as the specifications are concerned, the OPPO R11 comes with a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with Full HD resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor backed by 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of built-in storage (that is further expandable via microSD up to an additional 256 GB), and a 3,000 mAh battery. OPPO also unveiled a Plus edition of the R11 that bumps up the display size to 6 inches, increases the RAM to 6 GB, and features a larger 4,000 mAh battery.

The most notable aspect about the OPPO R11 is the camera setup though. The device comes with a 20 MP + 16 MP dual camera setup, with the 16 MP unit featuring 2x zoom, which means that you will now able to zoom without much loss in quality. OPPO was also proud to share the fact that they worked closely with Qualcomm to develop a customized imaging processor, with the key takeaway being that the R11 will be able to process images quickly, despite the high resolution capture.

Camera samples

There is also a slew of software features that OPPO has added in to further enhance the camera experience, which should translate to great looking images. In the short time that we were able to spend with the device, the rear camera setup does seem to perform well. Up front is a 20 MP shooter too, that allows for some high quality selfies and also takes advantage of software features to create a great looking self-portrait.

On the software side of things, we get the latest Color OS 3.1 based on Android 7.1 Nougat, and with the latest version of their custom OS, OPPO seems to be focusing on getting the smaller details right. For example, the software includes a payment protection mode, Wi-Fi security check, and cool features like OPPO Share, which allows for fast lossless file transfers.

However, it is very clear that this version of the software is intended solely for the Chinese market, with China-exclusive features and interesting UI changes that include having all the notification toggles in a separate control center view, instead of having them be a part of the notification dropdown. We’ll have to wait and see if these changes make their way over to the international variant as well, if and when the R11 is released in other markets.

So there you have it for this quick look at the OPPO R11! The R11 looks to be a very promising mid-range smartphone, with what should be a great camera experience being its biggest USP. While the R11’s camera-first concept is certainly exciting, unfortunately, it is unclear if the R11 will ever make to markets other than China. Of course, many are claiming the R11 is the blueprint for the upcoming OnePlus 5, which looks very similar but with some upgraded internals.

10
Jun

Is your iPhone frozen? Here’s how to do a ‘force restart’ to fix it


Updated: Added how to enter DFU mode.

Even though we’ve spent years with the iPhone, and discovered countless tips and tricks to get the most out of it, it’s always good to remind ourselves of the phone’s basic functions and when it’s best to employ them. Something everyone needs to know is how to restart an iPhone. The steps needed to do so were exactly the same on every device up to until the iPhone 6S Plus, but things changed a little with the recent release of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

If you upgraded from a previous iPhone model to the iPhone 7, but have never needed to restart it, you may be at a loss as to how to actually begin the process. It’s not radically different from how it was before, but if you’re used to the old way and have attempted to use it on the iPhone 7, you’ll quickly realize it doesn’t work. Don’t worry, we’re here to explain how to restart your iPhone, when you should restart it, and how to force a restart when your phone is not responding. We’ll also lay out the differences between a restart, or a soft reset, and a factory reset.

How to restart your iPhone (soft reset)

The easiest way to restart your iPhone is basically the inverse of turning it on. This method is often referred to as a “soft reset,” meaning you won’t lose any data and nothing will be deleted from your phone. The best time to perform a soft reset is when your phone is running a bit slower than usual, an app isn’t opening or working properly, or some other relatively small problem has occurred, but your iPhone is still responsive.

Step 1: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the “Slide to Power Off” slider appears. On the iPhone 6 and later models, you’ll find the Sleep/Wake button on the right side of the phone. On the iPhone SE, iPhone 5S, and earlier models, the Sleep/Wake button is found on the top.

Step 2: Rest your finger on the slider, then swipe to the right.

Step 3: Once there’s nothing on the screen and it goes black, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears.

How to force restart your iPhone

force restart iphone

Another way to restart your iPhone is to do what Apple officially calls a “Force Restart.” Once again, no important data will be lost. A force restart is recommended when your iPhone is completely unresponsive. Examples of this include times when your iPhone’s screen turns black (despite it being powered on), the screen freezes, or your iPhone encounters an issue during startup.

The exact way to perform a force restart differs between older iPhone models and the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Instead of a traditional Home button, the newer iPhones have a Home/Touch ID sensor, which isn’t used to trigger a force restart.

On the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus:

Step 1: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons until the Apple logo appears.

On the iPhone 6S and earlier:

Step 1: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together until the Apple logo appears.

What do you do if a restart doesn’t work? Use Force Restart to enter DFU mode

iPhone recovery
drfone.wondershare

DFU stands for Device Firmware Update. This mode will allow the iPhone to interact with iTunes without loading the operating system. If your iPhone’s operating system is in a state of failure, where you really can’t do anything with your phone and the iPhone is completely unresponsive, entering DFU mode allows you to restore the iPhone. This process will delete everything you had on your device, but sometimes this may be the only way to bring your iOS device back to life. Hopefully you followed our guides on how to backup your iPhone, with or without iTunes, so that you can recover your data after you erase your iPhone.

Here’s how to enter DFU mode.

For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

force restart iphone

Step 1: Plug in your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes.

Step 2: Perform a Force Restart by holding down the Sleep/Wake button and the Volume Down button at the same time for 10 seconds.

Step 3: Let go of the Sleep/Wake button.

Step 4: Keep holding down the Volume Down button for an additional 10 seconds.

Step 5: Your iPhone’s screen should remain black.

Step 6: You will see a message on your computer screen saying iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.

Step 7: Click OK on this message to begin restoring your iPhone.

For iPhone 6s and lower

force restart iphone

Step 1: Plug in your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes.

Step 2: Perform a Force Restart by holding down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time for 8 seconds.

Step 3: Let go of the Sleep/Wake button.

Step 4: Keep holding down the Home button.

Step 5: You will see a message on your computer screen saying iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.

Step 6: Click OK on this message to begin restoring your iPhone.

What’s the difference between a soft reset, a force restart, and a factory reset?

Restarting your iPhone using the software option, or a soft reset, will not result in the loss of any data. The same is true of a force restart, which allows you to use the hardware keys to restart your iPhone when the touchscreen isn’t responsive. A Factory Reset is a completely different beast, however. It essentially reverts your iPhone back to the way it was when it first came out of the box — it wipes all content, settings, and personal information from the device.

We often recommend factory resetting your iPhone as a last resort if you’re having issues that you can’t solve, but it can also be used when you’re trading your iPhone in, giving it to a friend, or if the phone has been lost or stolen. It’s not a permanent process, however, since a previous backup can be used to restore everything that was once on your phone. If you need to perform a factory reset, read our guide on how to factory reset an iPhone, which also includes a breakdown of the reset options found in Settings > General > Reset.




10
Jun

Amazon’s deep-learning software can now help developers recognize celebrities


Why it matters to you

Image recognition software keeps getting better and better, and now, it can even pick out famous faces.

Not sure why that face looks so familiar? It may just be that it belongs to a famous person. And now, Amazon can help tell you who that famous person is, thanks to an update to Amazon Rekognition. The Seattle-based tech giant introduced its image recognition software, which incorporates deep-learning technology, last year, and has already been used to search, verify, and organize millions of images. And now, it can recognize celebrities.

Geared at developers, this deep-learning software promises to make it “easy to add image analysis to your applications.” Previously, Amazon made it possible to detect objects, scenes, faces, and even identify inappropriate content. It also allowed users to search and compare faces. And as per its latest update, it can “identify hundreds of thousands of people who are famous, noteworthy, or prominent in fields that includes politics, sports, entertainment, business, and media.”

The global list is said to be updated frequently, and developers can access the feature by calling the RecognizeCelebrities function. Amazon explains that aside from the bounding box and facial landmark feature already returned by the DetectFaces function. This new addition will give you relevant information about any famous person it recognizes. Currently, it will link to a celebrity’s IMDB page, if applicable, though Amazon notes, “We may add other sources in the future.”

With the new function, developers can also now index image archives by celebrity. Further, they have the option to use a combination of celebrity recognition and object detection to build a wide range of search tools.

As TechCrunch points out, Microsoft’s Cognitive Services also offers celebrity recognition, and claims to be able to identify around 200,000 famous folks. Cognitive Services also gives users additional information about an image containing a celebrity, like what he or she is wearing or doing.

You can take Amazon Rekognition for a test run yourself by going here.




10
Jun

They took our jobs! How to prepare for the ‘second machine age’


Earlier this year, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brushed off questions about automation, claiming AI wouldn’t truly impact jobs in the United States for another 50 or 100 years. “As it relates to artificial intelligence taking over American jobs,” he said, “I think we’re so far away from that it’s not even on my radar screen.”

It was a strange thing to say, and worrying for anyone who’s even remotely aware of emerging tech.

A Ball State study from 2015 blamed robots and AI for around 87 percent of U.S. job loss between 2000 and 2010. 38 percent of American jobs may be at risk by the 2030s, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, and 35 percent in Germany, 30 percent in the United Kingdom, and 21 percent in Japan may face a similar fate. The Executive Office of the President even compiled a 55-page report titled Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy, which outlined the impact of the technologies on the job market and warned that millions of workers may be displaced.

Mnuchin must have missed the evidence (or simply not read it), so it’s no big surprise that a recent 184-page report by an expert panel made up of researchers from MIT and Carnegie Mellon concluded, “[Policymakers] are flying blind into what has been called the fourth industrial revolution or the second machine age.”

The topic of automation is terribly unsexy and the facts are pretty ugly, so it’s easy to look away and pretend they don’t exist. It’s even easier to point to other causes of American job loss and make those the talking points. But AI is advancing at a breakneck pace, robots are becoming increasingly more competent at human tasks, and many of us may be out of a job sooner than we can react.

What’s at risk?

Last December, a manager at Apple’s supplier FOXXCON shared his company’s plan to lay off thousands of factory workers while making their tasks automated. And although the boss’s job is safer than the little guy’s, automation comes in all shapes and sizes. Orange KUKA industrial robots — the poster children of the second machine age — are the most obvious examples. But they aren’t the only ones, and they probably won’t have the biggest impact.

In the next couple of decades, AI will impact every occupation, automating tasks for accountants, attorneys, and journalists.

warehouse robots invia robotics feat

Trucking will probably be the first job to go, as more and more autonomous vehicles hit the roads in the coming years. Taxi cab drivers may soon follow. Between 2.2 and 3.1 million existing jobs are threatened by self-driving systems, according to White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Between 2.2 and 3.1 million existing jobs are threatened by self-driving systems.

For years now, hotels have used robots to deliver room orders and fresh towels to guests, while Silicon Valley firms have invested in robot security guards. Physical robots like this are definitely more visible evidence of automation’s impact on the service industry, but invisible, conversational computer programs will have one of the most sweeping impacts. Gartner predicts that chatbots will automate over 85 percent of interactions between customers and companies by 2020. In the not-so-distant future,  the chance to get a human operator on the line may no longer exist.

A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute painted a more optimistic picture, suggesting new tech will transform jobs rather than eliminate them entirely.  According to the report, only five percent of jobs could be completely automated with today’s technologies, but 45 percent of all individual activities –things like checking email, taking calls, and filing paperwork– could be automated by current technologies. “The right way to look at automation is at the level of individual activities, not entire jobs,” said McKinsey Partner Michael Chui.

Why it’s such a problem?

In some ways, automation is a blessing since machines will take over many of the tasks we’d rather not do anyway, while AI alone could double annual economic growth rates for some countries by 2035, according to analysts at Accenture.

But overall economic gain won’t necessarily trickle down to the individual. Although emerging tech will create some new jobs, even conservative estimates project that automation tech will put billions of people out of work, while potentially creating even more economic inequality.

The Obama Administration’s automation review refers to superstar-biased technological change. “Rather than everyone receiving at least some of the benefit,” the council explained, “the vast majority of that value will go to a very small portion of the population.” Without careful preparation, scenarios like this are bound to occur.

What can be done?

Short of a Butlerian Jihad, there are a few ways we can respond to automation. Some people – like Elon Musk — call for augmenting human beings to compete with machines. Others say a universal basic income is necessary to maintain a society with an acceptable standard of living. Although some countries are experimenting with basic income, both of these solutions are still a long way off. There are, however, things that we can do, right now, to help alleviate these problems.

For starters, the education system will need to consider a shift from training students for professions to teaching skills suitable for a constantly changing work environment.

“I try to be optimistic because I do think there are some valuable roles that humans can still play

“I would try to develop complex social interaction skills and leadership, artistic and scientific interests, creativity, and in general a mind set out to solve complex problems and be flexible, a mind that likes to learn constantly,” said Rodica Damian, whose recent study showed that personality traits, such as extraversion and interests, could be used to predict whether someone will select an easily automated job. “I would also try to target people’s openness to experience and flexibility, and an understanding that in the future job requirements might change so quickly that people will have to be open to flexibly switch tasks and learn new skills constantly.”

The transition will be more difficult for people already in the workforce, like truckers who’ve specialized in skills that aren’t easily transferred to other professions. Experts like Tom Davenport, co-author of Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines, suggest that workers focus on developing skills that can’t easily be replicated by machines, such as creativity and high-level social skills.

a brief explainer on automation and how it will impact economy robot typer

“I try to be optimistic,” Davenport said, “because I do think there are some valuable roles that humans can still play relative to these smart machines, but I don’t think it’s a time to be complacent about it. Any type of worker will need to work hard to keep up the right kinds of skills and develop new skills.”

And, although AI is off Mnuchin’s radar, the government will need to begin preparing now for a fast approaching future. In the expert panel’s 184-report, researchers suggested that governments develop a sort of AI index to monitor how these emerging technologies are developing. “A comprehensive index of AI would provide objective data on the pace and breadth of developments,” wrote panel co-chairmen Tom Mitchell and Erik Brynjolfsson.

Automation may indeed lead to the end of work, for better or worse. Better because we’ll have more free time; worse because it could lead to more inequality. Regardless, it’s vital that the future workforce, educators, employers, and policymakers acknowledge the facts and prepare accordingly.




10
Jun

The show must go on with these Broadway wallpapers


sunset-boulevard-wall-weekly.jpg?itok=RV

I wish life were a musical.

Music makes us feel better. It conveys our thoughts and dreams better than spoken words alone, and our favorite songs liven up droll days while making chaotic nights bearable. But since we can’t live in a musical, at least we go visit one for a few hours.

Musical theater is an escape from reality into fantastical worlds of passionate love, myriad colors, and heart-rending melodies. This weekend is the Tony Awards, which honors the plays and the wonderful, wonderful musicals that debuted on (or returned to) the Great White Way this year. Here are a few wallpapers to honor the bright lights — and brighter songs — of Broadway.

anastasia-musical-once-upon-a-december.j

Bringing childhood classics to Broadway and melting our hearts with a mix of nostalgic devotion and new complexity is a trend that I personally hope never ends, but there are few childhood classics left that could possibly hope to top the latest show in this trend: Anastasia! This has been a long, long, LONG time coming, and the show has been majorly reworked for the stage, taking into account a more mature audience, more Russian history and culture than the original incarnation, and a passionate band of cast and creators. The cast album dropped on Friday, just in time for you to binge before Sunday’s awards, and I’ll be off in the corner, bawling my way through it wishing for tickets to New York to watch it.

Anastasia

glenn-close-as-norma-desmond-photo-by-ni

Sunset Boulevard is such an iconic show, and a piece of cinema history, and no woman quite embodies that egomaniacal diva Norma Desmond quite as perfectly as Glenn Close (and I mean that in the best way possible). She can cackle like Cruella, but give me “I am ready for my close-up” and she’ll stop every heart in the hall. Other women may have originated the role and tried to own it in different eras, but Glenn Close owned the role over 20 years ago on both coasts and she owns it today on both sides of the Atlantic. What can we say? Glenn Close rules.

Sunset Boulevard

bandstand-production-photos-broadway-201

Bandstands have largely faded from the American scene outside of the occasional dance hall or vintage affair, replaced with playlists and DJs, which is a shame, because there’s nothing like live music that can change and evolve and breathe with the beat of its audience. But make no mistake, Bandstand isn’t just a jazzy ode to yesteryear, it’s a high-stakes, high-strung musical that digs deep into the issues veterans faced (and continue to face) coming home from war and finding a new place in the world they’ve returned to. It reminds us all once again how music has the power to connect and heal hearts when nothing else can.

Bandstand

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Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812 brings together War and Peace and Broadway, and it — HEY, COME BACK! Josh Groban is in it! Arguably one of the world’s greatest vocalists made his Broadway debut with this inventive and immersive musical that takes us into the lives of two lost lovers looking for the spark of passion they need to reignite their lives. If you’re ready to have your heart shredded and your eyes cried to nothing, go queue up the cast recording. And maybe clear the afternoon. You’re gonna need some time.

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

hamilton-wrote-my-own-deliverance.png?it

Hamilton will forevermore be a cornerstone of Broadway, a pinnacle of blended talents and musical genres and historical intricacies that has stolen the hearts of at least one generation and promises to capture the generations to come. Hamilton is truly an epic, and it’s helping to dispel the notions of all stripes: musicals aren’t just dopey showgirls in gooey gowns, rap is most certainly a high artform, HISTORY IS NOT BORING, and living is harder than dying and it is so worth it.

Wrote My Own Deliverance

10
Jun

Visa dreams of turning your entire home into a cash register


In a world where you can pay for goods with the tap of your phone, send money to anyone with an app and do most of your shopping online, credit cards seem a bit long in the tooth. Visa is looking to toss them almost completely, replacing them with a process that makes paying for stuff online as simple as tapping any internet-connected device in your house, no credit card terminals or filling in of forms needed.

Last year the company showed off a contactless ring that could be used to pay for items with a wave of your hand. The ring was distributed to Visa-sponsored athletes for use at the Rio Olympics, but there were no plans to make it commercially available. Since that initial proof of concept Visa has worked to make the technology even smaller and cheaper, putting it into a small plastic sticker that a company rep affixed to the back of my hand for a demo. It’s so small and unobtrusive that it feels like we’re not far from more-permanent subdermal implants.

The unobtrusiveness helps to make the technology something that you could theoretically keep on you at all times, including in your own home, which is likely populated with tons of connected devices. And it’s not only phones or laptops we keep around but also an ever increasingly large number of smart devices like light bulbs or speakers like the Echo Dot. However, shopping with those means you’re restricted to what you can buy from Amazon and other approved retailers. Visa’s system ideally would let you use any of your connected gadgets to shop online and just tap to order from whatever site you want instead of having to whip out a credit card.

The Visa system is super easy to use, making it an easy sell to retailers looking for a better checkout experience. We only think of ordering from sites like Best Buy as simple because we’ve set up our credit card info beforehand. But ever tried to switch shipping addresses at Amazon? I do this fairly often to send packages to the office instead of my home or to my parents’ house, and every single time I have to re-enter the credit card number for security reasons. In fact, I’m often hesitant to shop at new or unfamiliar sites due to the need to re-enter all of my shipping and billing info. Plus, it’s one more place hackers could potentially target and scoop up my data.

Visa lightens some of these security concerns by using tokenization, which replaces all of your sensitive info with a randomly generated digital identifier. It’s just tap and go, and if the ring or sticker or whatever that contains the token is lost, you can easily turn it off using the Visa app. That’s a lot easier than having to call a customer service number to disable a stolen credit card. Plus, you can turn it back on if you find it later. If a retailer is compromised, it never had any of your billing info in the first place: The digital identifier is useless by itself.

The sticker Visa gave me required little more than my name and address to set up, though the final product would come from a credit provider and be connected to an account. I was able to use it to purchase a coffee press and some time in a “hospitality pod” by tapping the back of my hand against a panel. It was a huge improvement over the ring, which was finicky about how it was pointed at a contactless reader, usually requiring a little effort and multiple tries to register.

It was a little too easy, actually: The demo didn’t ask me to confirm the purchases, so I couldn’t back out or otherwise change my mind once I tapped the terminal. In the wild there will probably be a few more steps or some further protection, just like how you can’t repeatedly mash an Amazon Dash button to end up with duplicate orders.

I asked what kind of protections would be put in place to keep kids from swiping their parents’ payment token and going on a spending spree. The ring, sticker and any other item Visa develops probably won’t have biometric identification, because it makes the product more complex and more expensive. While there’s no sure way to protect your account from errant purchases by children (or malicious thieves), Visa SVP Avin Arumugam pointed out that it’s easy enough to temporarily turn off the tokens in the app.

Right now there’s no set date for new token products or appliances with built-in readers. Visa is currently working with payment platforms to expand its reach so it’s not just limited to Visa customers. This should make it more attractive to device manufacturers, encouraging them to build the tech into their new products. Maybe it won’t be too long before you can buy bread with a wave at your toaster.

10
Jun

The Morning After: Weekend Edition


Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to the weekend. Of course, with E3 unfolding it’s hardly a regular weekend. Before the press conferences kick off, however, we’ll tell you what to expect and recap Apple’s big news for the week.

Ready?Watch EA’s E3 2017 event live right here at 3PM ET

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The first E3 2017 event is upon us. Check this link at 3PM ET and we’ll have the live stream for EA’s big press conference. It’s time to hear more about Star Wars Battlefront II, Madden 18/NBA Live 18, Need for Speed: Payback and probably a few special surprises.

It’s going to be a busy week.What to expect at this year’s E3

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E3. It’s the gaming world’s equivalent of the Super Bowl, the Oscars and a presidential election rolled into one. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo stand out as the hardware heavyweights, while EA, Ubisoft and Bethesda lead the third-party-publisher tussle. Throw in Square Enix, Activision and the occasional Capcom appearance, and you have the makings of a truly special show. Did we mention the army of indie developers that show up too? Nick Summers breaks down all the rumors and teasers in the run up to E3 2017.

Coming soon.Windows 10 preview shows significant changes are coming

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Insiders testing new versions of Windows 10 in the fast ring have a lot of new features to try out, including the application of Microsoft’s new Fluent Design System to the Start Menu. Other adjustments affect Cortana and handwriting recognition — it’s one of the biggest updates yet, so take a look at all the new changes.

Welcome to WakandaWatch the new ‘Black Panther’ teaser trailer

We’ve seen plenty of futurist visions, but director Ryan Coogler is showing a slightly different kind of style in Black Panther. This movie will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in February, so you have plenty of time to find out about the fictional African nation and technologically advanced society at the center of its story.

There’s a lotWWDC 2017 recap

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New iMacs, new iPads and so much more. We cut down the WWDC keynote to 15 minutes so you can get just the highlights, and you can check out all of our coverage right here.

And you thought the trade-in prices were a rip offGameStop confirms extensive credit card data breach

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It appears that hackers compromised Gamestop’s credit card processing systems for about six months. If you shopped there between August 10th, 2016 and February 9th, 2017, then expect a letter.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Samsung’s beastly 49-inch QLED display is built for gaming
  • A piracy lawsuit is tearing through Kodi’s add-on community
  • Of course the ‘Stranger Things’ soundtrack is coming to cassette
  • Stream live performances from Bonnaroo this weekend on Red Bull TV
  • Elon Musk says all Superchargers will run on solar and battery power

The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t subscribe.

10
Jun

The best flashlight


By Doug Mahoney

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After spending three weeks in the New Hampshire woods with 23 flashlights, draining almost 80 batteries, researching the topic for over 50 hours, reading through countless threads at flashlight enthusiast forums, and speaking to a man who has personally reviewed almost 200 flashlights, the best one for most people is the ThruNite Archer 2A V3.

How we picked and tested

We tested a lot of lights … and drained a lot of batteries. Photo: Doug Mahoney

Flashlights can get very expensive, so we set a price limit of about $40. At this price, we hoped to find an entry-level light that offered some of the most important features standard on higher-end lights. Those included a wide, consistent beam, a selection of brightness levels that included a very low “moonlight” setting (aka “firefly” in some models), and a strobe feature that was easy to avoid cycling through in regular use—it’s useful in emergencies, but unnecessary and blinding the rest of the time. We sought models that use common, widely available AA batteries, as well as a waterproof design that could withstand a short drop and wouldn’t roll off a table.

Flashlights have either a reflector or a zoom lens, which dictates the light’s beam pattern—basically, how the light looks as it projects from the flashlight. We prefer reflectors over zoom lenses. Reflectors produce both a center hot spot of concentrated light and a lesser wide-diameter light around it (called the spill beam). Unlike a reflector, the zoom can’t show both the concentrated hot spot and spill beam at the same time. (It’s pretty telling that zoom-style lenses are disparagingly referred to by enthusiasts as “zoomies.”)

To look at battery drain over time and comparative light output, we set up a simple “bounce test.” Using an Extech LT45 LED Light Meter and flashlights loaded with new Energizer Max batteries, we positioned each light inside a large sealed box with the flashlight at one end shining across the box onto its opposite wall, and took readings at regular intervals. To learn more about this test, please read our full guide.

We had other ideas for structured tests, but we took a step back and decided on a more holistic approach to our testing. Instead of taking more meter readings in a sealed lab-like dark room, we spent night after night after night wandering around the dark New Hampshire woods. We felt this unstructured testing gave us the most useful gauge of overall usability, beam spread, and beam distance.

Our pick

The ThruNite Archer 2A V3, the best flashlight for most people. Photo: Doug Mahoney

The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 is in many ways like a high-end flashlight at an affordable price. It has four brightness levels—one of which is the very useful, very low firefly mode. The strobe setting is not part of the brightness toggle so it doesn’t get in the way of regular use. Like most of the better lights we found, the beam simultaneously projects a long-distance hot spot and a dimmer wide-angle light, which gives a great view of the surroundings. It has a two-year free replacement if “problems develop with normal use.” Beyond that is a lifetime limited maintenance policy.

The ThruNite has an interesting two-button interface. At the rear of the light is a “tail switch” that turns it on and off. Once the light is on, the brightness levels are controlled by a second button up at the head of the light. The ThruNite also has what’s called “momentary on,” which means that the light activates with a half press of the tail switch and stays on for as long as the switch is held.

For durability, the ThruNite has a high-quality fit and finish and can handle full submersion in water and a 1½-meter drop. We also like that the body is designed so that it can stand on its end, or “tailstand,” and won’t roll off a table.

Similar design, slightly limited

The Manker E12, very similar to our main pick. Photo: Doug Mahoney

If the ThruNite is not available, we recommend the Manker E12. Almost everything we like about the ThruNite is present in the Manker, and in fact it has a few minor aspects to it that we even liked a little better. But we felt that the wider range of brightness levels found in the ThruNite offers more flexibility. The Manker’s lowest moon mode is also visibly brighter than the ThruNite’s. We’re convinced that these fairly minor points would be noticed only with the lights side by side and that anyone ending up with the Manker will be wholly satisfied.

The Manker has the same two-button interface with the four brightness levels and the hidden strobe function. It has the same momentary-on feature. It also has a similar high-quality look and feel, including the knurled body, the antiroll design and the ability to tailstand. We liked that the Manker is about ½-inch shorter than the ThruNite and that the pocket clip has a little more heft to it. According to the manufacturer specs, the Manker also has a slightly deeper waterproof ability, going to 2 meters, instead of 1½ meters like the ThruNite.

A basic flashlight for about $25

The Mini Maglite Pro, less expensive than our pick, but it doesn’t put out as much light and has only one brightness level. Photo: Doug Mahoney

If the ThruNite and Manker are priced too high, or if you just want a no-frills, regular old flashlight, we recommend the Mini Maglite Pro. This two-AA light has a reflector, so it provides the wide beam with the center spot that we like. Compared with the ThruNite, the Maglite is not nearly as bright, and it lacks much of what we like about our main pick—it doesn’t have multiple brightness settings, nor a two-button interface, and it has fewer features overall.

The Maglite’s modes consist of on and off, with a single brightness level and no strobe feature. It’s also missing a pocket clip, the antiroll design, and the consistency of the light output (our tests showed a steady fading of the light). It has no buttons, so it activates with a twist of the head, a design that often caused the light to turn on in a pocket. Twisting to turn it on is an awkward motion and can be done with one hand after a little practice, but it’s done more easily with two.

We believe most people would be happier with our pick or runner-up, but the Maglite is adequate if you want to spend around $25. We wanted to be able to suggest an even more affordable option, but there wasn’t a model we could reliably recommend—for the details on why, please see “why we can’t recommend a cheaper flashlight” in our full guide.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

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