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Moto Folio is an inexpensive folio case Moto Mod that costs $14.99

The Moto Folio protects your phone and has a slot for holding a credit card or ID.

Since the first Moto Z came out in 2016, Motorola’s been building its Moto Mod collection at a pretty steady rate. Motorola used CES 2018 to show off two of the most interesting Mods to-date, but ahead of that, it’s released another one that might be one of its most practical – the Moto Folio.


Folio cases for phones aren’t anything new, but since this is a Moto Mod, the Moto Folio easily attaches to the back of your Moto Z handset using its magnetic connection system. The back and front of your phone are protected from any drops or scratches, and on the inside of the Moto Folio is a slot for storing either a credit card or ID.

The Moto Folio is available in three colors, including Super Black, Fine Gold, and Grape Juice. It has a retail price of $14.99 (making it the most inexpensive Moto Mod to date), but you can purchase it now from Motorola’s website for just $11.24.

See at Motorola


Google’s Arts & Culture face matching doesn’t work in Illinois or Texas

The culprit might be privacy laws in the states.

By now, chances are you’ve heard about a new feature in Google’s Arts & Culture app that scans your face and matches it with a famous painting. It’s blown up over the past couple of days, but users in Illinois and Texas have reported that they’re unable to use it.


Google confirmed to CNN that the face matching feature doesn’t work in these two states, and while it declined to comment about why this is, it would appear that it has to do with privacy laws that exist there.

Back in 2008, a law was passed in Illinois that made it so companies had to let users know when biometric data was being recorded and what it would be used for. A year later in 2009, a similar law was passed in Texas. The Arts & Culture app does tell users that it scans their face and consent must first be given before the feature will work.

Some people are of the mindset that Google is in violation of these laws, but others beg to differ. Speaking to CNN, Director of Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology, Alvaro Bedoya, said:

This app isn’t being rolled out in these states because of privacy law. It isn’t being rolled out in these states because powerful companies want those privacy laws to go away. They’re trying to prove a point by not letting consumers in those states use the app.

It’s unclear if Google will remove the restrictions in place for users in Illinois and Texas, but if you live in either of these areas and really, really want to try the face matching feature for yourself, you can download a VPN to get around them.


Korg finally has a mixer to link up those tiny Volca synths

Korg has been producing a ton of little synths in its Volca series over the last several years. Announced back in 2013, the initial Volca Beat, Bass and Keys started a run that eventually included an OK Go sample box, an ’80s-style FM synth and an oscillator-driven drum sequencer, the Volca Kick. Now the company wants you to be able to chain a few of these tiny devices together for live performance with a new four channel mixer, the Volca Mix, announced at NAMM this year. According to FactMag, the Mix will run $170 and will release later this month.

The Volca Mix has two mono inputs and one stereo input, each a handy 1/8-inch size so you’ll need fewer adaptors. That gives you three spots to connect Volca units via their individual headphone jacks. Each channel gets its own vertical fader, lo/hi cut filter and mute button to help you create the perfect analog mix on the fly. The Mix has RCA stereo outputs to connect to your sound system as well as a master LED meter to show you how loud your signal is getting and a headphone output so you can monitor the sound on stage.

Volca Mix has its own little speakers onboard, making this a great little portable package. Further, there’s an analog sync signal to make sure all your Volca units play nicely together, and an effects channel that lets you connect any sort of device to change the sound (like one of Korg’s own Kaoss pads). Finally, there’s a whole DC power system that turns the Mix into a three-device charging station, which is essential when you can only find one plug on the stage.

Source: Korg


Peugeot embraces electric cars in bid to return to US market

Carmaker Peugeot has announced a raft of ambitious plans that will see it re-enter the US market and offer an all-electric fleet by 2025. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress, Peugeot chief executive Carlos Tavares said the company plans to use its recent acquisition of GM’s European Opel and Vauxhall operations as a springboard for global expansion — namely into the US, which it left over 20 years ago due to competition from Japan.

The company also plans to follow in the footsteps of Mercedes by giving its entire fleet an electrification option (which could mean 100% electric or hybrid). Other carmakers are making similar moves — Toyota plans to offer 10 EV models by the early 2020s while GM is aiming for 20 — in part due to legislation worldwide banning fossil fuel vehicles. France, UK, and Germany already have measures in place, while some states in the US are exploring the option. Tavares also hinted at plans for autonomous vehicles, adding that by 2030, 80 percent of Peugeot’s fleet will be able to pilot itself under limited conditions, and 10 percent will be capable of autonomous driving.

The company blames its departure from the US market — in addition to Japanese competition — on shifting customer tastes, so it makes sense that its re-entry bid comes with a focus on future-proofing. EVs and autonomous technology come with a price tag, but if Peugeot can deliver them affordably, it could become a serious contender in the US vehicle industry.

Source: Reuters


Instagram DMs now show when you were last active

Less than 24 hours since we learned of Instagram’s new text fonts for Stories, the Facebook-owned app has added another feature. But this one may not be to everyone’s liking. Taking inspiration from its parent company’s Messenger service (instead of Snapchat, for once), Instagram is rolling out an activity status in direct messages. With it, your pals on iOS and Android will be able to peep the last time you were online and using the app. The feature, which indicates when a person was active underneath their username, appeared with the latest version of Instagram, according to The Next Web.

Instagram now can see who is active 💀

— Den (@dxnlls) January 18, 2018

For those turned off by it, you’ll be glad to hear you can disable the feature via the settings menu. Alas that also means you won’t be able to pry on the activity status of others either.

Source: The Next Web


Essential is working to fix its sluggish touchscreens

The Essential Phone launched last August, but five months later, there are still some issues with the phone that remain unfixed. One of those is the lagging touch latency. If you have a PH-1, though, know that Essential hasn’t forgotten about the problem and it’s not just brushing it aside. As 9to5Google reports, during a recent Reddit AMA, Essential engineers said that they have dedicated resources specifically aimed at improving touch latency. “There are trade offs we are testing internally and our goal is to provide something in the 8.1 release we just need to make sure by fixing the jitter issue that we are not creating another problem,” they said. “Sorry this is taking so long, we just want to get it right given how vocal our audience is.”

So the good news is there’s a fix on the way. The bad news is you’ll have to wait a little while for it. Essential’s Oreo software is still in beta, so the Android 8.1 release is going to take that much longer.

Via: 9to5Google

Source: Reddit


NASA: 2017 was Earth’s second-warmest year since 1880

After careful analysis, NASA has declared that 2017 was the second-warmest year since the end of the 19th century. In a separate study using different analytical methods, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ranked last year as the third-warmest in their records. But both agree that the globe has experience its five hottest years since 2010.

“Despite colder than average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we’ve seen over the last 40 years,” NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) director Gavin Schmidt said in a statement.

As we noted last year, 2016 was — and remains — the hottest year on record. But the first third of it experienced an El Niño effect flowing in from 2015, which messed with weather patterns and caused global average temperature to fluctuate. But if you removed those effects (a La Niña pattern emerged late last year), 2017 would have been the warmest we’ve ever seen.

Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century, NASA said, though weather dynamics mean not all regions around the globe were equally warmed. The increased amount of carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions released into the atmosphere are mostly to blame, and the effects have been obvious. Arctic regions have been warmed the most, which has caused a loss of sea ice.

NASA uploaded its 2017 data set here, if you’re curious. The agency tracks global temps using a network of 6,300 weather stations, nautical observations from ships and buoys, and measurements from Antarctic research facilities. The institution compares current deviations from a baseline of temps recorded from 1951 to 1980. NOAA uses a different analytical method and temperature record, and its 2017 reports can be found here.

Source: NASA, NOAA


Twitch’s new tools help streamers hype pre-recorded videos

Twitch has introduced a set of tools called Video Producer to help streamers “maximize excitement and engagement” around their pre-recorded uploads. Sometime today, broadcasters will be able to use those tools to create shareable landing pages and countdown videos (trailers!) to drum up interest for their latest upload’s premiere. The tools will also give them a way to easily schedule re-runs, where viewers can still chat with each other like they can on lives instead of being stuck with watching conversations from the initial showing.

While Twitch is still mostly known for its gaming livestreams, the platform launched the ability to broadcast pre-recorded videos back in 2016 as part of its efforts to become a more viable YouTube competitor. Twitch has added these tools for creators who regularly take advantage of the capability to upload content, those who prefer making edited videos with production values instead of doing live broadcasts. It had to, if it wants to entice more creators to join and help grow its offerings.

Speaking of growing its repertoire, the company has also forged a partnership with the Disney Digital Network. Jacksepticeye, LuzuGames, Markiplier and Strawburry17, four of the network’s biggest contentmakers, will create exclusive video-on-demand shows for Twitch, which will debut starting today.

Source: Twitch (1), (2)


Facebook Messenger bug caused the app to freeze on some iPhones (updated)

Just a few days after Facebook announced that its 2018 goal was to make Messenger less clunky, now there’s an iPhone bug that makes the app almost unusable for some people. The app apparently freezes up after typing a few words. TechCrunch reports that closing and reopening the app didn’t fix the issue. I was unable to replicate the bug within my own Messenger app on iOS.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on whether the bug will be patched soon. It appears the company is aware of the issue, though. According to Facebook’s report earlier this week, the service has 1.3 billion monthly active users. If even a fraction if iPhone users are affected by this bug, that’s not an insignificant portion of its user base.

Update: Good news: The issue has been fixed. Shortly after publication, Facebook confirmed the patch to Engadget. This post has been updated to reflect that confirmation.

“On January 17th, we learned that a very small number of people who were using Messenger on iOS had some trouble in typing messages,” a Facebook spokesperson explained to Engadget.”We investigated and the problem is resolved. We are sorry for any inconvenience.”

Source: TechCrunch


Facebook adds its first African American board member

Today, Facebook announced that the Chairman and CEO of American Express, Kenneth I. Chenault, has joined the company’s Board of Directors. It will be effective starting February 5th. It’s notable because Chenault will be the board’s first African American member.

In addition, adding the CEO of American Express to the board is valuable for Facebook as they are trying to step into the payments space. Chenault has been the CEO and Chairman of AmEx since 2001, and has been with the company since 1981. He’s on multiple boards, including IBM, Procter & Gamble and the Smithsonian’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

This appointment fulfills a promise that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, made back in October, according to The Wall Street Journal. In a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, Sandberg told the Congressional Black Caucus that the company was making strides to improve diversity across the company, including at the highest levels, and made a commitment to add an African American board member.

Source: Facebook

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