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Posts posted by NelsonG

  1. rightscorp-logoAt a time when a limited number of rightsholders were demanding thousands of dollars from alleged BitTorrent pirates, Rightscorp focused on the budget end of the market.

    By attaching settlement demands to DMCA notices sent to ISPs, Rightscorp hoped these would be forwarded intact to subscribers. Rather than demand large sums, Rightscorp requested a relatively small amount, typically around $20, an amount payable through a dedicated portal. Not all ISPs passed the notices on but, thanks to those that did, Rightscorp believed it had a strong base to build on.

    Over the next few years, the plan to turn piracy into profit failed to meet its key objective. At the time, Rightscorp was a publicly listed company but was hemorrhaging money. In 2014, the company revealed a $2.2m loss for the previous year, $6.5m in losses since the company launched in 2011.

    After reporting even more losses a year later, Rightscorp stared into the abyss, but then a key event threw it a lifeline. A federal court in Virginia found that, by failing to take appropriate action in response to Rightscorp notices, ISP Cox Communications became liable for subscribers’ copyright violations when they downloaded and shared music owned by music publisher BMG.

    Unprofitable But On the Money

    For at least five years Rightscorp had warned that ISPs risked huge liability if they failed to disconnect repeat infringers. The company hadn’t been able to turn that into profit but momentum was building for companies with access to Rightscorp’s historical piracy monitoring data.

    After being prompted by Rightscorp, the RIAA successfully sued Grande Communications and then won $1 billion in damages from Cox Communications, all underpinned by Rightscorp data.

    Can The Indie Market Give Rightscorp a Boost?

    Appeals in the above cases are still ongoing but Rightscorp’s earlier warnings were proven correct. The big question now is whether Rightscorp can somehow turn that prophecy into profit. In an announcement this week, Rightscorp said that it had joined A2IM (American Association of Independent Music), a non-profit trade organization representing the independent music industry in the United States.

    “This collaboration aims to combat illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) torrent digital copyright theft and safeguard the rights of creators and content owners in the ever-evolving digital landscape. A2IM represents over 600 independent music labels and businesses, advocating for their rights and fostering a sustainable and vibrant independent music sector,” Rightscorp’s announcement reads.

    Rightscorp says it joined A2IM with the intention to “educate and service the interests of independent musicians, songwriters, and music publishers” based on its “proven track record of successful initiatives” but whether independent labels have any interest in complex ISP liability lawsuits is unknown.

    Collaboration or Just Networking?

    It’s also unclear whether Rightscorp’s definition of “collaboration” with A2IM goes any further than the benefits usually enjoyed by ‘Associate Members’ of the organization, i.e. having access to the labels and being in a better position to offer relevant services.

    After Rightscorp became an A2IM associate member, A2IM did publish an outline of Rightscorp’s business proposals, which cover three main components: having pirates kicked off the internet, persuading pirates to pay a settlement, or using Rightscorp data to take legal action, presumably against intermediaries.

    “Once piracy has been detected, Rightscorp can provide termination notices to internet providers for their users who are infringing on copyrighted works. These notices serve as legal notification to internet providers of infringing activity from their customers,” the Rightscorp ‘spotlight‘ reads, alongside images from Ars Technica and TF.


    “Additionally, Rightscorp has established a Notice Settlement Model, which includes a 50/50 split for any amounts received, and ISPs will have the responsibility to forward our notices in adherence to DMCA requirements for termination of repeat infringement activity.”

    ISPs Are Now Acutely Aware of the Rules

    While there’s little doubt that ISPs are in a much more precarious position than they were six years ago, they have the benefit of knowing exactly what is required of them. The question is whether that will make them more – or less – cooperative.

    Rightscorp seems to suggest the former but the idea that it can send actionable “termination notices” to ISPs appears somewhat speculative on the cooperation front. Repeat infringer policies are for ISPs to determine and then actioned in a manner of their choosing. While that didn’t go as planned previously, they’re unlikely to make the same mistakes moving forward.

    As for the notice settlement model, that assumes that ISPs will forward cash demands to their customers along with DMCA notices. There is zero requirement for that under the DMCA but only time will tell how far ISPs will be prepared to go; the underlying threat for uncooperative ISPs is that Rightscorp data could be used to sue them.

    “Rightscorp also offers a Litigation Model, which is customizable based on the range of copyrights held in the data base. Successful litigation precedents have already been set by Rightscorp, and parameters of infringement within the data base can be tailored to your specific needs. Rightscorp’s fee for this service is proportional to the scope of the complaint,” the advert reads.

    There is no mention of the above on the Rightscorp website but we did find something unusual. Rightscorp.com has been the company’s domain for years but located at Rightscorp.co, a domain registered just recently, a shiny new website has appeared featuring the logos of major labels, publishers and industry groups.


    From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

    View the full article

  2. A man sits on a talk show sofa.

    The final season of Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher's Netflix high school comedy Never Have I Ever is nearly upon us, and it looks set to be as wonderfully messy as ever.

    And while Season 3 left us on a bit of a cliffhanger regarding Devi's love life (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), it sounds like Season 4 will be much more clean cut in that regard.

    "My character, Ben Gross, there's a bit of a love triangle," Jaren Lewison tells Kelly Clarkson in the clip above. "There will be a winner for that love triangle. I can't say who, but you will find out."

    Will it be team #Bevi or team #Daxton? We'll know soon enough.

    Season 4 of Never Have I Ever premieres June 8 on Netflix.

    View the full article

  3. Apple Vision Pro

    Apple's plans to conquer the augmented reality market with an AR headset called the Vision Pro, which costs three and a half thousand dollars a piece.

    I don't believe that's really true.

    Yes, the Vision Pro appears to be better than the other headsets on the market. It looks alright on your head, if you don't mind wearing ski goggles. It's technically far more advanced than anything else we've seen. And it has the strength of Apple's ecosystem behind it, meaning there will be thousands of apps for this thing in about a year.

    But from the comments I've seen online, most people are stuck on the price. Rightfully so: At $3,499, the Vision Pro is far more expensive than comparable headsets, such as Meta's $499.99 Quest 3, and the $999.99 Meta Quest Pro. Frankly, it's not even in the same category, and I can imagine many a VR/AR enthusiasts throwing their hands up in disgust when they heard Apple's price tag for the Vision Pro. Even the price of Apple stock sharply declined during the Vision Pro announcement, likely because the market thinks that a very pricy headset is not something that will do wonders for Apple's revenue.

    The price is high for a reason, and it may not be what you think. Yes, the Vision Pro probably costs a fortune to produce. With an M2 and a new R1 chip inside, a dozen cameras, and a bunch of sensors, it surely costs Apple quite a bit of money to make this beast.

    But the real reason why Apple has launched a headset this powerful and this expensive, I think, is that this one is not meant for the masses. It's a device for developers, and perhaps a handful of enthusiasts, to play with. Apple surely doesn't expect to sell millions of these at $3,499 a piece.

    Apple Vision Pro
    No matter how sleek this looks in promo photos, Apple will surely be working on a way to connect the battery to the headset in a more elegant manner. Credit: Apple

    In fact, I bet that Apple doesn't even want to sell too many. The company may not be able to produce the headset at very high volume, but even more importantly, Apple probably doesn't want the Vision Pro to be in too many hands until the numerous new experiences it offers are significantly refined.

    Consider the launch date, too. According to Apple, the Vision Pro will launch "early next year." Reader, it's early June. This means that there's at least a six month wait until the Vision Pro is even available; possibly a few months more. Apple typically doesn't announce products this early before general availability. Another thing: The Vision Pro will initially be available only in the U.S., with more countries coming "later next year" according to Apple. That could mean that many potential users will have to wait a year or more until they can buy the headset.

    Prior to the launch of Vision Pro, we've heard rumors that Apple actually has one or even two more headsets in the pipeline. Now that the Vision Pro is out, this makes even more sense to me. A cheaper version of the headset – reportedly costing roughly as much as an iPhone – could come in 2024. And that one, launching when there's already a healthy third party app ecosystem for Apple's virtual world, will be the headset that Apple expects to sell by the millions.

    My point here is that there's little reason to get mad at the Vision Pro's exorbitantly high price tag. The Vision Pro is a technology showcase, a device that shows the world what can be done with AR when you have a lot of research and development money to spend (Apple says it filed over 5,000 patents related to the Vision Pro). The actual Apple headset that us common folks should even consider buying is the one that comes after the Vision Pro.

    View the full article

  4. An artist's conception of a near-Earth asteroid, or NEA.

    Off the baking Interstate 40 in Arizona, the evidence is clear: From time to time, sizable asteroids do pummel Earth.

    There, you'll find the 600-foot-deep "Meteor Crater," which landed 50,000 years ago. The culprit was likely some 100 to 170 feet across, creating a blast big enough to destroy Kansas City. While the space rock wasn't small, it wasn't nearly a "planet-killer" like the roughly six-mile-wide behemoth that wiped out most dinosaurs.

    Though the threat of another significant collision — whether from an asteroid 200 feet or 2,000 feet across — is inevitable, scientists have optimistic news to report. A new census of many of the largest asteroids that pass through our solar system neighborhood confirmed there's no known threat of collision for the next century, and the likelihood of an impact in the next thousand years is exceedingly low — though there are around 20 huge cosmic rocks researchers will keep tabs on, because their distant future trajectories aren't yet certain.

    Crucially, there's no alarm about these particular asteroids, which are a kilometer (0.6 miles) wide or even larger. But the new research underscored that a thousand years into the future some trajectories remain unsettled, and more observation is needed to completely rule out a potential impact.

    "We need more information about these asteroids, although the probability [for an impact] is still very low," Oscar Fuentes-Muñoz, a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder who led the new census, told Mashable.

    This planetary defense research, currently posted on the research-sharing platform arxiv, will be published in The Astronomical Journal, a peer-reviewed publication.

    The Meteor Crater in Arizona.
    The striking Meteor Crater in Arizona. Credit: Stephan Hoerold / Getty Images

    Why the threat of an asteroid collision is low

    NASA and other scientists are vigilantly watching the skies for "near-Earth objects," also commonly called "near-Earth asteroids."

    Astronomers have found nearly 10,000 nearby space rocks ("nearby" often means many millions of miles away) that span over 460 feet across, as of May 2023, with some 500 more such objects sleuthed from the dark skies each year. These have the potential to cause vast regional destruction, and an estimated 15,000 remain undiscovered. Fortunately, over 90 percent of the largest behemoths — over a half-mile across — have been found.

    A graph showing near-Earth asteroid discoveries. Discoveries have ramped up since the early 2000s.
    A graph showing near-Earth asteroid discoveries. Discoveries have ramped up since the early 2000s. Credit: NASA / Center for Near Earth Object Studies

    Future impact risk remains low, however, for two reasons: The evidence we have about the frequency of asteroids that hit Earth today and in the past, along with no proof of any known looming asteroid strikes. (Asteroid-sleuthing telescopes are trained on the skies each night.)

    Impressively, every single day about 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles fall through Earth's atmosphere and promptly burn up. Every year, on average, an "automobile-sized asteroid" plummets through our sky and explodes, explains NASA. Impacts by objects around 460 feet in diameter occur every 10,000 to 20,000 years, and a "dinosaur-killing" impact from a rock perhaps a half-mile across or larger happens on 100-million-year timescales.

    In short, the chances of a major impact in our lifetimes is, as far as we know, extremely small, astronomers say.

    This latest census looked at 851 giant asteroids whose orbits at times pass through Earth's neighborhood, and who spend a longer time near us. Though they pose no threat in the next century, the researchers endeavored to see what the asteroids might do farther out, in a thousand years, after they're affected by the gravity of other planets and scorching heat from the sun. They ran new simulations of the asteroids' orbits, and found most pose no threat. But some 20 asteroids, whose orbits around the sun aren't as certain, didn't prove as predictable. More observation is necessary.

    For example, simulations of the asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1), which is two-thirds of a mile long, showed the rock passed through Earth's orbit around the sun (though not Earth) multiple times over the next thousand years. For now, 7482 (1994 PC1)'s impact risk can't be ruled out.

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    How scientists find nearby asteroids

    Sky surveys, as noted above, are regularly finding new asteroids. There's the NASA-funded Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) atop Maui, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona's Santa Catalina Mountains, and the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) with telescopes around the world, among other asteroid-watching programs.

    The surveys can provide crucial information about a potential strike and how it would affect Earth and its denizens. For example, would people in a certain region need to shelter indoors away from glass windows if an asteroid were expected to explode in the atmosphere? (For reference, see the Chelyabinsk meteor event.)

    "You need to know what's coming, when it's coming, and how hard it's going to hit," Eric Christensen, the director of the NEO-seeking Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, told Mashable last year.

    A visualization showing hundreds of near-Earth asteroids in our solar system (blue dots). Earth's orbit around the sun is also shown in blue.
    A visualization showing hundreds of near-Earth asteroids in our solar system (blue dots). Earth's orbit around the sun is also shown in blue. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

    What's more, giant new telescopes, like the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, located over 8,700 feet up in Chile's Cerro Pachón ridge, will soon come online and take inventory of millions of solar system objects, including new rocks that at times swing near Earth.

    "We're doing our due diligence to completely find them."

    It's not easy to find new points of moving light in our crowded solar system. But scientists are identifying these potential threats. "We're doing our job," said Fuentes-Muñoz. "We're doing our due diligence to completely find them." 

    And when we do find any that might veer toward Earth, we likely won't be helpless. The plan is to divert such an asteroid's trajectory. In an unprecedented September 2022 achievement, NASA's DART mission successfully crashed a refrigerator-sized spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos (which was not a threat to Earth) in an effort to prove that humanity could alter the path of an incoming space rock, should this effort become necessary.

    Today, we don't have the capability to readily deploy an asteroid-deflecting endeavor. But if the relentless march of technology is any hint, we might be well-equipped to deal with an imminent asteroid threat a century or so from now, if not sooner.

    "You expect we'll be a lot farther along," Fuentes-Muñoz said.

    This story originally published on June 3, 2023 and has been updated.

    View the full article

  5. Apple WWDC 2023 keynote

    Whew! It's finally over.

    We all survived Apple's 2023 Worldwide Developer Conference (or WWDC) keynote and lived to tell the tale. We got a boatload of updates about software enhancements to all of Apple's core products, as well as a look at the new Vision Pro headset. But we can't spend money on any of those things right now, so who cares?

    Here are the products Apple showed off at WWDC 2023 that you can pre-order right now.

    15-inch MacBook Air M2

    One of the most heavily rumored announcements ahead of the show turned out to be true. There's a new M2 MacBook Air in town, though it's not too different from the M2 model that Apple shipped last year.

    Essentially, this is the same laptop with a screen size upgrade, from 13.6-inches to 15.3-inches. That's a pretty substantial boost in display real estate for those who want it. It can also go up to 2TB of storage and 24GB of RAM. Combine that with an 18-hour battery and the same excellent M2-fueled performance as the previous model, and this should be a fine addition to anyone's MacBook collection.

    You can pre-order it right now on Apple's store website. It starts at $1,299 and begins shipping to customers on June 13.

    Mac Studio, including M2 Max and Ultra

    But that's not all! Apple also showed off a pair of beefy desktop computers at WWDC 2023.

    First up is the new Mac Studio. It can optionally include either the M2 Max or the new M2 Ultra chip, making it a good deal more powerful than a laptop. Apple says the M2 Ultra model is up to 3x faster than the M1 Ultra Mac Studio. It can connect to up to six Pro Display XDR monitors and includes a whopping four Thunderbolt 4 ports, alongside two USB-A ports. Add on two extra USB-C ports and an SD card slot on the front of the device, and you'll be all set for professional connectivity.

    Mac Studio starts at $1,999 and will ship to consumers next week. You can pre-order it on Apple's website.

    Mac Pro

    Last but certainly not least, let's talk about Mac Pro.

    This is a hoss of a machine that's meant for serious professionals, so chances are you probably don't need one. It's M2 Ultra-powered, has eight Thunderbolt 4 ports, three USB-A ports, two HDMI ports, two Ethernet ports, and a headphone jack to top it all off. People who buy this will use all of those things to render complex 3D images for animated movies and whatnot. It's not really meant for looking at Twitter.

    As such, this absolute beast starts at $6,999. You can pre-order it from Apple's website now.

    View the full article

  6. The planet Venus is shrouded in extremely thick clouds.

    It's a superb time to view our quirky planetary neighbors Venus and Mars.

    June 2023 brings a number of enthralling celestial skywatching objects into view, and these two planets are especially easy to see. And that's not all. Other radiant planets, and stars, are visible, too.

    "The planets of war and love draw nearer each night, as the bright stars of Northern Hemisphere summer rise," writes NASA.

    How to see Mars and Venus

    It's simple. They're visible even in light-polluted places. You just need to look up on clear nights.

    "You can watch Mars and Venus draw closer together throughout the month in the western sky following sunset," explains NASA.

    Mars, with a reddish hue, will appear to the upper left of vivid Venus:

    Mars and Venus in the June 2023 sky.
    Mars and Venus in the June 2023 sky. Credit: NASA

    Venus, a hellish world with a surface hotter than a pizza oven (it's some 900 Fahrenheit), is especially brilliant. It's the second brightest object the night sky, second to the all-powerful moon. It's perpetually shrouded in thick clouds, largely made of toxic sulfuric acid, that reflect bounties of sunlight into space. That's why Venus has continually intrigued humans for at least thousands of years. "It was called the most beautiful star in the sky by Homer, author of 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey' — two of the oldest and most important works in Greek literature," NASA noted.

    Mars is the most explored planet, other than Earth of course, in our solar system. Planetary scientists think the Red Planet was once a warm, watery world, with vast oceans, lakes, and vigorous rivers. But over time Mars' atmosphere vanished, and it transformed into a profoundly dry desert land. NASA and other space agencies are intensely researching this world, as they look for hints of past habitability and evidence of extinct microbial life — should any ever have existed there.

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    How to see other intriguing objects in the night sky

    Beyond Mars and Venus, you'll have the opportunity to see other celestial curiosities:

    • Jupiter and Saturn: For early risers, or night owls, the gas giants will be visible before the sun rises. "Early risers will find them on the eastern side of the sky before sun-up all month long," explains NASA. "And you'll find Jupiter rising with the crescent Moon on June 14."

    • Huge, vivid stars: In June evenings, two brilliant stars will be visible to the south. Spica is a blue-white giant, and Arcturus, just some 37 light-years away, is an orange star older than the sun.

    • The Summer Triangle: Look east a couple of hours after dark. There you'll find three stars composing the "Summer Triangle": Vega, Deneb, and Altair.

    The bright stars Spica and Arcturus, visible after sunset.
    The bright stars Spica and Arcturus, visible after sunset. Credit: NASA

    Enjoy the celestial wonders above.

    View the full article

  7. illustration of college dorm room in black and white except for rainbow flag

    I wasn't out in college. Despite my obsession with lesbian Tumblr, the threesome that "came out of nowhere" my senior year of high school, and the endless stream of homoerotic "friendships" that consumed my being for so many years…I had no fucking clue I was gay until I was twenty four.

    Well, it's not so much that I didn't know I was gay, I just didn't know my way of being gay counted. I'll get to that later. I have spent a lot of time imagining what college might have been like for me had I been out — what I would have done, who I would have done, who I would be now if I had spread my bisexual butterfly wings while my prefrontal cortex was really starting to do its thing.

    I thought about it so much, in fact, that I wrote a queer campus novel. Old Enough (which publishes on June 20) follows the story of Sav Henry (she/her) during her second semester sophomore year. She's finally out as bi, meeting the cool queers in her dorm, and hurtling towards the person she wants to be after a lot of years of being told who to be. I talked to so many queer people while writing this book, many of whom were out in college — and many who, like me, have mused on what might have been. Through all those conversations, and quite a few years of hurtling into my own queerness, I think I've got some solid advice for queer collegiate life. Consider this Old Enough's guide to being queer in college:

    Labels are meant to liberate

    • There is so much rich queer history, and we owe everything to our elders who paved the way for us. There can be so much comfort, affirmation, and solidarity found by knowing our ancestry and those who came before us.

    • Queer people can be toxic too. Just because the cutie down the hall knows she has an avoidant attachment style doesn't mean she can ghost you and spend Thanksgiving break with her ex. 

    • Labels are meant to liberate. College is a time where people are trying everything on — redefining their politics, ethics, morals, getting bangs, etc. Queer lingo can feel overwhelming and exhausting, and you might wonder where the hell you fit in. Don't feel pressure to choose right away. Coming into your identity as a queer person can often feel very serious, but in my experience the best parts of being gay is leaning into queer joy. Approach labels that way, play around, and when you find one that feels light and airy and soft and safe — use it for a few more days. Alegra Kastens, a LGBTQIA+ affirming relationships therapist, adds: "At the end of the day, a label is a social construct. You don't need to fit neatly in one for your sexuality to count. It can change over time. It can be fluid. Labels are helpful for some, but at the end of the day it really is just a name."

    • No, you don't have to love cats. 

    • Black trans women are the trailblazers. May we forever protect their lives and their stories. May we never forget that we exist because they existed first.

    • Remember that fluidity is not something you should try to measure. It is such a beautiful thing to love without limits. Being attracted to many genders can feel confusing in a binary-obsessed world. Ditch percentages — gay people don't need to use math! 

    • Growing out an undercut is a test of patience and virtue — heed those clippers carefully.

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    There are many textures to being queer

    • You don't have to be up to date with queer culture to be a "good gay person." There are so many textures to being queer — watching Drag Race and staying up to date on the Gaylor news has nothing to do with the validity of your identity. 

    • It's not your responsibility to educate others about your identity. I always say that it is an honor to have anyone come out to you, and that it should be seen as a privilege. It is not an open-invitation to a crash course in queerness. Your identity is not a dissertation, you don't have to present anything to the class. Google exists for a reason!

    • It's normal to experience a regression when you're home from school or with folks you knew before college. I had a therapist coin this experience as "revertigo" — essentially when you revert to behaviors or ways of being you thought you grew out of or wanted to leave behind. Especially for queer folks, who have often had to mask parts of their identity or the way they think, it can feel really difficult to squeeze yourself into shoes that no longer fit. Remember that it is often a survival technique and temporary. And even if it is something you always have to do, for your safety, it does not make you any more valid than the people who live really loudly. 

    • Queer people are not a monolith, so just because someone is gay does not mean that you will feel connected or aligned with them. It takes time to find your community — don't feel discouraged if you don't click with people right away. It is not a reflection of how much you "fit in" with the community. We're all just little gay snowflakes looking for folks to weather the storm with.

    • For some queer people self-expression through style is a major part of their identity. For others it isn't at all. Both ways of walking through the world as a queer person are wonderful. You do not have to "look gay" to be gay!

    • Imposter syndrome is so real. I don't know a single queer person who hasn't experienced it at some point or another. It kind of feels like a prerequisite for being queer. If you find yourself wondering if you're "gay enough" — you're definitely gay enough.  

    • It can feel overwhelming to be asked questions like "when did you know you were gay" or "what was your gay awakening?" because it can feel like there are right or wrong answers to these questions. As someone who really didn't clock I was bisexual until the moment I fell in love with a woman, these questions used to make me self conscious. 

    • Queerness is a celebration of otherness, not sameness.

    • Bisexuality is not a pit-stop! There is no final destination! 

    • Being "out" can be complicated for many people. There are real safety risks for some folks, and everyone is on their own journey of self-discovery. Being closeted can be painted really harshly in the media, or insinuate a kind of naivete or hiding. Being proud of your queerness is not always synonymous with being out and that is okay. Queer therapist Dana Savage says "Coming out is for you and you alone. Safety is an important and valid reason to choose when and where you are out."

    Bad gay sex is normal

    • Bad gay sex is normal! Don't discount your queerness because you got the ick from your first gay kiss! Not everyone has chemistry, and it is so silly to assume that just because the person you're muddling spit with is gay means that you'll be automatically attracted to them.

    • Monogamy is still cool, I promise ❤️.

    • Compulsory heterosexuality is so exhausting, and untethering from it is really overwhelming. It's easy to get in your head about whether or not you're doing something for the male gaze. It's okay to cut yourself a lot of slack — it's hard to unhook from societal brainwash and it takes time. 

    • It's an especially scary time to be queer. With anti-trans and anti-queer legislation sweeping the country, it can feel really hard to be hopeful. And while I wholly wish that the folks reading this guide are attending the cool liberal arts schools like the one I dreamed up for my book — I know that isn't necessarily true. It's okay if college isn't the right time to explore the richness of your identity. It's also okay to grieve that. Your story is your own, and you get to decide how to tell it.

    Even though I wasn't out in college, I continue to experience so many milestones as a queer adult. Coming out later in life can be like a second puberty — exhilarating, awkward, confusing, and new. So even though I didn't join a sapphic sorority or binge every season of The Real L Word in one weekend with my suitemates, my queerness often feels wholly youthful. Not in the sense that it feels new to me, but in the sense that queerness always offers me something new. A new lens to look through, a different choice to make, a constant questioning of how I want to live in alignment with my truest self. What I know for certain is that it is never too soon, or too late, to come into yourself. 

    View the full article

  8. person holding nibble gaming console next to laptop

    TL;DR: As of June 6, Nibble — an educational DIY game console — is on sale for just $79.99 instead of $109. That's a savings of 27%.

    School's almost out for summer. Are you ready to keep them entertained every day? There's a fun way to encourage them to do something educational without even knowing it, thanks to Nibble, an Educational DIY Game Console designed for kids nine and up. 

    Nibble was made for kids to have fun and learn something in the process. It can be your go-to for filling up those long summer days before school is back in session. And you can currently snag this educational tool for just $79.99 (reg. $109) for a limited time. 

    Nibble is a learning tool that looks like a retro game console. This new and improved version of MAKERbuino helps kids learn about electronics and programming as they play. Let the kiddos assemble the kit with help from the build guide, and then pop in some batteries and watch them enjoy the four preloaded retro-inspired games.

    They'll get to enjoy Bonk, a game that's an homage to Pong; Invaderz, a space shooter game; Snake, just like that vintage classic on old phones; and SpaceRocks, where they can shoot asteroids and earn points. Once they tire of those, they can practice their programming skills by coding their own games in the CircuitBlocks code editor. 

    Give the kids an educational tool disguised as a fun game and help them keep busy over the summer.

    Nibble, a fun Educational DIY Game Console for kids ages nine and up, is on sale now for just $79.99 (reg. $109). 

    Prices subject to change.

    View the full article

  9. plane flying over palm trees

    TL;DR: As of June 6, you can score a lifetime subscription to OneAir's Premium Plan for $59.99 or Elite Plan for $109.99 — that's a savings of 79% and 86%, respectively.

    If your budget isn't quite as prepared as you are to jet off with the fam, a OneAir subscription might help. This app offers some exclusive deals and promos while utilizing the power of AI technology and personalized deal alerts to help you save money on your travel staples.

    You can choose between a lifetime subscription to OneAir's Premium Plan for only $59.99 or a lifetime subscription to their Elite Plan for $109.99, depending upon your needs. Both are designed to help you spend less on your travels for the summer and beyond. 

    There's an app for nearly everything, so it's only natural that apps can help us battle the rising costs of travel. OneAir is a travel app that is designed to find the best flight deals out there, using AI technology to scan and track millions of fares in real time. They also offer exclusive access to pre-negotiated private and corporate discounted fares, which on average, can save members $500 on international economy flights and up to $2,000 on business class flights, according to OneAir.  

    Personalized deal alerts sent straight to your inbox help you discover the perfect flight deals for your upcoming vacations, while OneClub Exclusive enables you to score deals on other big travel costs. You'll enjoy wholesale rates, saving up to 60% on hotels, 25% on rental cars, and 25% on activities. 

    Wondering whether to pick Premium or Elite? With Premium, you can choose up to five departure airports. If you select Elite, you'll be able to choose up to 10 departure airports while also enjoying the extra perk of personal one-on-one business and first-class flight planning support.

    Travel more and spend less with exclusive savings on flights, hotels, and more with lifetime memberships to OneAir:

    A lifetime subscription to the OneAir Premium Plan is on sale for $59.99 (reg. $290)
    A lifetime subscription to the OneAir Elite Plan is on sale for $109.99 (reg. $790)

    Prices subject to change.

    View the full article

  10. people in a business meeting around a table

    TL;DR: As of June 6, you can get a lifetime license to Microsoft Office Pro 2021 for Windows and an Entire MBA in 1 Course for just $39.99.

    A part of being in business is reducing overhead costs to maximize profit, and that could mean cutting corners where you can. But it's tough to scrimp on things that allow you to carry out your business in the first place. Now, you can save money on premium software that's made to keep your work on track: Microsoft Office Pro.

    Licenses to Microsoft Office Pro often run up to hundreds of dollars, but with this deal, you can get a lifetime license for only $39.99, with no coupon necessary. And you even get a business course taught by an award-winning business school professor.

    For this price, you're getting the entire Microsoft Office 2021 Professional suite, which you can install on one computer. The tools within the suite enable you to execute just about any business-related task, from processing paperwork to putting together presentations to setting up video conferences with a distributed team. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and even Skype for Business, and the best part is you only have to pay once to utilize all these programs for life.

    The business course makes the deal even sweeter. You'll get the MBA course spearheaded by Chris Haroun, a Columbia University alum, VC, and former Goldman Sachs employee, who can give you a taste of what business school is actually like. Through seven hours of expert-led content, you'll get a condensed version of an MBA program that's designed to teach you concepts and skills like creating financial models, analyzing company financials, and dissecting entire markets and companies from a qualitative and quantitative perspective.

    Get Microsoft Office Pro and a bonus business course with this limited-time-only deal. The bundle usually retails for $419, but you can get it on sale for only $39.99.

    Prices subject to change.

    View the full article

  11. Five stills: A distraught young woman in winter clothes in the snow, a smiling woman in a purple sweater, a bearded man with a gun, a confused looking woman in winter clothing, a woman in an elaborate white fur dress coat

    Looking for some TV episodes that will stop you right in your tracks? That will have you rewatching over and over again? Then you've come to the right place.

    2023 has gifted us a lot of outstanding TV shows, and with those have come episodes that became more than just weekly installments of a series. They were events that dominated the cultural conversation. We've picked some of our favorites of these "events," as well as some underrated gems that everyone should check out.

    From apocalyptic love stories to cannibal banquets, musical numbers to Muppet backstories, here, in order of U.S. release date, are the 17 best TV episodes of 2023 (so far).

    1. The Last of Us, Season 1, episode 3, "Long, Long Time"

    Two old men in suits hold hands at a piano.
    Credit: Liane Hentscher / HBO

    Television episodes don't come much more perfect than this. Acting as its own contained story, The Last of Us' third episode introduces Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), a couple hunkering down in an abandoned town while the post-Cordyceps world spirals into deeper chaos around them. Spanning 20 years from the couple's first meeting to them dying together by suicide in Bill's bedroom, the story is a mixture of hopeful and heart-wrenching, proving love is still possible in a ruined world before forcing us to watch as it's eventually snuffed out. The little details, from the clever jumps forward in time to the poignant use of Linda Ronstadt's "Long Long Time" — a song which bookends the couple's story — make this an episode to remember. — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

    How to watch: The Last of Us is now streaming on Max.

    2. The Legend of Vox Machina, Season 2, episode 10, "The Killbox"

    An axe-wielding barbarian charges out of a cloud of smoke.
    Credit: Courtesy of Prime Video

    The Legend of Vox Machina knows the power of a good fight, and it brings that knowledge to the forefront in the absolute barn-burner of an episode that is "The Killbox." The episode centers on a fight to the death between Grog (Travis Willingham) and his Uncle Kevdak (Ralph Ineson), which inevitably escalates to a full-on brawl between Vox Machina and the Herd of Storms. Vox Machina doesn't hold back on its heroes' epic fighting prowess, nor does it pull punches on the gore. But it's the way in which this fight ties up season-long plotlines that really makes the episode pop. Not only do we get a majorly satisfying resolution to Grog's character arc; we also get to see the adventurers of Vox Machina reunited for the first time in several episodes. The only thing better than winning a battle? Winning a battle with your very best friends! — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

    How to watch: The Legend of Vox Machina is now streaming on Prime Video.

    3. Abbott Elementary, Season 2, episode 16, "Teacher Conference"

    A man and a woman laughing and smiling over drinks at a bar.
    Credit: ABC / Gilles Mingasson

    "Teacher Conference" teaches us that you can take the teachers out of Abbott Elementary, but you can't take the many delights of Abbott Elementary out of the teachers. This episode removes the Abbott crew from school as they attend a Pennsylvania teaching conference for the weekend. With no kids to teach, chaos ensues — with instantly memorable results.

    Every plotline this episode is firing on full cylinders, from Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) and Barbara's (Sheryl Lee Ralph) attempts to party hard to Jacob's (Chris Perfetti) cringe-worthy run-ins with other overly eager, privileged, and yes, corny young teachers. But the storyline of the episode — and the reason it's so iconic — goes to Janine (Quinta Brunson) and Gregory (Tyler James Williams). The two connect even more at the conference, where they share their first kiss in a classroom full of flowers. While the two try to brush it off, that kiss is the moment Abbott Elementary viewers have been waiting for since the beginning. The slow burn is heating up, people! — B.E.

    How to watch: Abbott Elementary is now streaming on Hulu.

    4. Poker Face, Season 1, episode 9, "Escape from Shit Mountain"

    Two men, one holding a gun, stand over an unconscious body in the snow outside a motel.
    Credit: Phillip Caruso / Peacock

    Honestly, you could make a case for any of Poker Face's episodes being one of the best of 2023 — each presents an intricate, satisfying puzzle box with its own rules and a new cast of guest stars. However, I have to give the title to Season 1's penultimate episode, "Escape from Shit Mountain."

    After eight episodes of human lie detector Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne) solving other people's murders, she becomes a murder victim in her own right — well, almost. Our intrepid outsider survives a hit and run and being buried alive, only to find shelter at a snowed-in motel with a group of shady characters played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Castañeda, and Stephanie Hsu. There, she'll endeavor to solve her own attempted murder as well as a decades-old cold case. With its isolated environment and truly despicable villain, "Escape from Shit Mountain" puts a fun twist on Poker Face's already-twisty formula that dials its suspense up to new heights. — B.E.

    How to watch: Poker Face is now streaming on Peacock.

    5. Swarm, Season 1, episode 6, "Fallin' Through the Cracks" 

    A distraught young woman in a church.
    Credit: Courtesy of Prime Video

    Every episode of Swarm beckoned a "WTF is going on," but episode 6 was arguably the one that had you Google searching for answers the most. Janine Nabers and Donald Glover's hit show takes a jab at stan culture by parodying a specific fandom, following the unruly heights one fan, Dre (Dominique Fishback), takes to get close to her favorite pop star and deal with her haters. While every episode of Swarm follows Dre's journey, episode 6 shifts gears by cutting to a true crime mockumentary of Dre hosted by a detective who's untangling her case. The episode is made to feel real, with new actors playing Dre's role (among others), including a red carpet cameo of Glover talking about making a show about Dre's case. 

    While Swarm is loosely inspired by real-life events — the Beyoncé satire of it all is very lucid — the show is a work of fiction. But episode 6 makes it feel like its plot is entirely plausible in real life, which is terrifying. The mockumentary twist was an excellent experiment in storytelling, and helped land the show's point on stan culture triumphantly. We can now totally imagine someone like Dre making headlines in our world, and episode 6 even gave us more insight into why Dre is the way she is and what really happens in the show's ambiguous ending. After watching episode 6, I googled whether or not Dre was actually a real person — that's how good the show's shift is. — Yasmeen Hamadeh, Contributing Entertainment Writer

    How to watch: Swarm is now streaming on Prime Video.

    6. Yellowjackets, Season 2, episode 2, "Edible Complex"

    A group of young women in winter clothes look at the corpse of a young woman on a funeral pyre.
    Credit: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

    We finally watched the Yellowjackets do the thing. THE thing. The moment we've all been waiting for since the show's very first episode — the moment their special wilderness menu finally included humans. While a lot went down at camp Yellowjackets this season, episode 2 was a massive turning point for the show as a whole. With Jackie (Ella Purnell) dead, and Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) clinging onto her corpse, the team decide to finally intervene and let Jackie's body rest by cremating it on a pyre. But the wilderness had other ideas (naturally), and sends a gust of snow that blankets Jackie's body, and yes, slow-roasts her instead. What ensues is a Grecian-inspired fest with the entire team, save for Coach Ben (Steven Krueger), hounding around Jackie's corpse and munching it right up, bones and all. 

    Like the ringing chorus in Yellowjackets' theme song, episode 2 was the point of no return for the team. From first acknowledging that this might be a thing they need to keep doing to sustain themselves to the more jarring realization that they actually enjoyed it, eating Jackie was the moment the Yellowjackets' time in the wilderness officially switched gears and became the haunting experience we know they're still grappling with as adults. There's no going back for them anymore, and it's all thanks to "Edible Complex." — Y.H.

    How to watch: Yellowjackets is now streaming on Showtime.

    7. Succession, Season 4, episode 3, "Connor's Wedding"

    Three siblings in black formal wear hug each other.
    Credit: Courtesy of HBO

    If you're going to kill off a character as central to a show as Logan Roy (Brian Cox) was to Succession, you need to deliver. Thankfully, Succession did so, producing a show-stopping, show-defining episode that changed the entire course of Succession's final season.

    "Connor's Wedding" is a brilliant Trojan horse of an episode: It lures us in with promises of Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa's (Justine Lupe) nuptial drama, only to sucker punch us with Logan's death. While his body lies on a plane floor thousands of miles from New York, all the Roy siblings can do is huddle around their phones and try to process a torrent of complex emotions. Thanks to excellent performances and restraint about what parts of Logan's death we actually get to see, "Connor's Wedding" is an instant classic, and a remarkable episode for the history books. — B.E.

    How to watch: Succession is now streaming on Max.

    8. Am I Being Unreasonable?, Season 1, episode 6, "Episode 6"

    Two women sit on a chair. One has her hand on the other's shoulder.
    Credit: Alistair Heap / BBC Studios / Boffola Pictures

    Daisy May Cooper and Selin Hizli's comedy/drama is fantastic throughout, but the reveals in the final episode really take things up a notch. Taking place at the memorial of Alex (David Fynn), her husband's brother and the man Nic (Cooper) has been having an affair with, we cut between Nic's stumbling attempts to give a speech in the present day and her repressed memories of Alex's death, which finally show us what really happened between the two of them when he died. Like the series as a whole, episode 6 deftly mixes comedy, drama, mystery and psychological thriller.  A brilliant, twisty conclusion to a twisted and brilliant series. — S.H.

    How to watch: Am I Being Unreasonable? is now streaming on Hulu.

    9. Schmigadoon!, Season 2, episode 3, "Bells and Whistles"

    A woman in a gold dress does the splits in front of a jury while holding sparklers.
    Credit: Apple TV+

    Season 2 of Schmigadoon! sees harried lovers Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) return to the fantastical village, where musical numbers and whimsy flourish. But it's not as they remember. Inspired by darker musicals like Sweeney Todd, Chicago, and Jesus Christ Superstar, this season sees Josh framed for murder and Melissa on a quest to clear his name.

    In "Bells and Whistles," Josh makes friends with a bunch of dippy hippies, led by a swaggering and spiritual Aaron Tveit, who lives for love, facepaint, and nudity. (Cue "Everybody's Got to Get Naked!") Meanwhile, Melissa finds Kristin Chenoweth, who's been recast this season as a combination of Mrs. Lovett and Miss Hannigan, making for a salty comedy number "Worst Brats in Town." Next comes Alan Cumming in full-on Sweeney mode, a pale butcher covered in blood as he belts in "Worst Brats in Town." (Brats like the sausage, get it?) And that's not all! This crowd pleaser of an episode climaxes with Jane Krakowski doing her best Billy Flynn in a Fosse-inspired courtroom song-and-dance. "Bells and Whistles" is a "Razzle Dazzle" spoof with jazzy staging and a verse that's ruthlessly speedy and wordy in a way that feels strictly Sondheim. Simply put, this episode deserves a standing ovation. — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor

    How to watch: Schmigadoon! is streaming on Apple TV+.

    10. Dead Ringers, Season 1, episode 5, "Five"

    Two doctors in red scrubs and masks look at a newborn baby.
    Credit: Niko Tavernise / Prime Video

    Dead Ringers trades New York for Alabama in "Five," where it quickly delivers one of 2023's most disturbing episodes. There, twin obstetricians Beverly and Elliot Mantle (both played by Rachel Weisz) encounter gynecologist Marion (Michael McKean), the head of an all-twin family who lectures the Mantles on the beginnings of the field of women's health. He discusses the "father of gynecology" J. Marion Sims, whose experiments on enslaved Black women root the field in a disturbing, racist history.

    That history lurks beneath the surface of "Five" until Beverly has a ghostly vision of Anarcha, one of the young Black women Sims tortured. Played by Brittany Bradford, Anarcha delivers a hauntingly circular monologue that digs deep into the parts of Sims's story that McKean's Marion so casually brushes aside. Thanks to Bradford and director Karyn Kusama, this deeply captivating, relentless sequence proves the perfect climax to "Five" and elevates it to one of the year's best episodes. — B.E.

    How to watch: Dead Ringers is now streaming on Prime Video.

    11. Barry, Season 4, episode 4, "It Takes a Psycho"

    A group of men take a selfie in a silo full of sand.
    Credit: Merrick Morton / HBO

    One of Barry's best episodes ever, "It Takes a Psycho" barely features the show's title character — but that's the point. Barry's (Bill Hader) escape from jail sends his L.A. connections like Sally (Sarah Goldberg) and Gene (Henry Winkler) into a tailspin of paranoia. Since no one — including the audience — knows where he is, Barry lets our worry simmer all the way to the episode's final, horror-tinged scene.

    But it's the narrative risks "It Takes a Psycho" makes that allow it to stand out. Take Hank's (Anthony Carrigan) brutal move to eliminate his competition. (I will never look at sand the same way again.) And what about the massive time jump at the episode's end? These are some of Barry's wildest swings to date, and the show executes them flawlessly to set up Barry's brutal endgame.B.E.

    How to watch: Barry is now streaming on Max.

    12. Bupkis, Season 1, episode 2, "Do as I Say, Not as I Do"

    A priest wearing glasses.
    Credit: Peacock

    The first episode of Pete Davidson's semi-autobiographical series, Bupkis, is crass to the point of unbearability, so much so that if you didn't want to watch more after that, I wouldn't blame you. Luckily, the show's second episode, "Do as I Say, Not as I Do," steps in to provide a thoughtful examination of Davidson's youth, all without sacrificing an ounce of humor.

    The episode takes place at Pete Davidson's (played by himself) Uncle Tommy's (Bobby Cannavale) wedding, not long after Pete's father died in the 9/11 attacks. Pete and his family's grief allows for far more introspection than we got in the first episode, including a poignant look at how he uses humor as a kind of coping mechanism, as well as his relationship with Tommy in both the past and present. "Do as I Say, Not as I Do" also offers some wildly funny moments, like a misguided speech about mortality from a priest (Steve Buscemi). These moments, combined with the episode's thoughtfulness, help provide a better roadmap for what Bupkis will be, all while delivering a genuinely great episode of television. — B.E.

    How to watch: Bupkis is now streaming on Peacock.

    13. Muppets Mayhem, Season 1, episode 3, "Track 3: Exile on Main Street"

    A band of Muppets rock out on stage.
    Credit: Disney / Mitch Haaseth

    Rocking together since 1974 when they debuted on The Muppet Show, The Electric Mayhem has long been beloved. Now, they've stepped out of the orchestra pit and into the spotlight with Muppet Mayhem. While the show itself is wobbly — leaning too hard into tedious human storylines — there's plenty of Muppet fun to be had. But the best ep of this first batch is hands down its third.

    The episode begins with a celebrity cameo from German DJ Zedd, who is assisting the Electric Mayhem in recording their first album ever. But a misunderstanding leads to Animal bolting from the session and seeking a new job elsewhere. His job hunt not only leads to lots of silly Animal-centric slapstick, but also a welcomed cameo from comedy crush Ben Schwartz, who is clearly having a blast. Yet the very best bit of the episode comes after the band has welcomed Animal back in their loving, fuzzy arms. That's when a flashback unrolls revealing Animal's odd but adorable origin story. Amid all the silliness, this show finds its heart here, with its wild but sensitive drummer and the father figure who took him in and sings him "Bridge Over Troubled Water" — or as Animal calls it, "baby song." — K.P.

    How to watch: The Muppets Mayhem is now streaming on Disney+.

    14. The Great, Season 3, episode 6, "Ice"

    A man and woman in elaborate fur coats smile in a snowy forest.
    Credit: Christopher Raphael / Hulu

    The Great finally did the inevitable in Season 3, episode 6, "Ice," and killed Peter (Nicholas Hoult). However, the former Russian Emperor didn't go out by Catherine's (Elle Fanning) hand the way you might have assumed from the start of the show. Instead, he dies in a sudden, gut-wrenching accident, falling through ice after one last argument with Catherine.

    Without a doubt, it's The Great's biggest, most shocking plot twist yet — but the show doesn't treat it like an end-of-episode cliffhanger. Instead, it marks the end of "Ice"s first act, leaving us to stew with Catherine as she processes the death of her great love. From simply pretending it did not happen to playing a rousing game of badminton with herself, Catherine's spiral is one of the most compelling portrayals of grief on TV this year — and Fanning has never been better. — B.E.

    How to watch: The Great is now streaming on Hulu.

    15. Platonic, Season 1, episode 3, "Partner's Retreat"

    A man and woman ride electric scooters down a sidewalk.
    Credit: Apple TV+

    Reteaming Neighbors' Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, this new comedy series is one of the funniest of the year. Each episode focuses on a fresh misadventure between recently reunited besties Will (Rogen) and Sylvia (Byrne). But the best of the bunch is the one where the pair rebel against feeling ignored.

    Will's partners at his brew pub don't want to hear his dissent about a "collab" with big, garish Americana-themed restaurant franchise Johnny 66. Meanwhile, Sylvia's husband Charlie has brought her along to his law firm's partners' retreat, unintentionally flaunting all the career accomplishments she gave up to be a stay-at-home mom. So the two friends play hooky, getting day-drunk at Johnny 66's, a scene complete with a makeover of race-car themed merch that is superbly silly. But the best bit of this epic ep comes when they gatecrash the lawyer convention's big speech, and a pina colada-fueled Sylvia lashes out at the smug boss who refuses to remember her name. What happens next is fireworks of awkward and awesome. You'll live vicariously through this splendid spectacle of Sylvia's petty vengence and love every bit of it. Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear crop tops and baseball caps. — K.P.

    How to watch: Platonic is now streaming on Apple TV+.

    16. The Other Two, Season 3, episode 5, "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play"

    A young man and woman reach around a theater popcorn machine to hold hands.
    Credit: Courtesy of Max

    This jam-packed episode of The Other Two has everything: a Romeo + Juliet parody, a days-long play (titled 8 Gay Men With AIDs: A Poem in Many Hours), Kiernan Shipka, Twitter blackmail, and Lukas Gage. With all its characters crammed into a theater for days at a time, "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play" allows The Other Two to create a wide-ranging satirical farce that skewers everything from the play The Inheritance to celebrity PR relationships. It's The Other Two at its hilarious best, culminating in an ultra-serious, heartbreaking argument between Brooke (Heléne Yorke) and Lance (Josh Segarra). Leave it to The Other Two to have you cracking up in one moment only to devastate you the next. — B.E.

    How to watch: The Other Two is now streaming on Max.

    17. Happy Valley, Season 3, episode 3, "Episode 3"

    A blonde policewoman with a bloody nose.
    Credit: AMC

    Although Happy Valley is a turbulent ride for most of its characters, one relationship that's been mostly solid is that of sisters Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) and Clare (Siobhan Finnerman) — or at least it was, up until Season three. The third episode begins with Catherine confronting Clare about secretly taking her grandson to visit his horrible father, Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) in prison. The scene takes place in a cafe in Sheffield, and it's every bit as brutal as it is tense, with Catherine's anger bubbling away below the surface while both struggle to hold back tears. Moments like this are why Sally Wainright's bleak drama is so fantastic: As much as it's about the crime, it's also mostly about the character relationships. In episode three, the acting, writing, and directing are all at their best, and the result is some seriously gripping television. — S.H.

    How to watch: Happy Valley is now streaming on Acorn TV, AMC+, and BBC America.

    View the full article

  12. Tim Cook in front of an Apple logo flashing a peace sign

    There are, roughly speaking, two Silicon Valleys.

    One resembles the kind of pickup soccer game, usually with very young kids or drunk adults, where every player clusters in a panic around the ball. In 2023, this ball is generative AI, and the cluster began when everyone saw those eye-popping adoption numbers on OpenAI's ChatGPT product. Investors decided AI was hot, rewarded stocks accordingly, and hundreds of tech companies — including most of the big guys — began to chase the money.

    And then there's the second Silicon Valley, which is composed of ... Apple, pretty much. In the the chill Cupertino bubble of the world's wealthiest company, where products are ruthlessly iterated for years if not decades before they see the light of day, short-term tech trends are studiously ignored.

    The soccer scrum says that VR/AR headsets are yesterday's news; Apple launched one anyway. It says AI is going to change everything — and Apple did not mention the term once in its WWDC keynote Monday, even when it had ample opportunity to do so, and even when not doing so arguably had an adverse effect on the stock price.

    Google is part of the first Silicon Valley, which is why last month's Google I/O keynote was a cringefest of seismic proportions. AI was mentioned exactly 99 times in 2 hours, and with most of those mentions, you could hear the creak of the shoehorn. The Pixel, for example, was not referred to as a smartphone. It was "conceived as an AI-first mobile computer" that "delivers truly personal AI;" it had been "leading the way in AI-driven hardware experiences" and was now the "only phone with AI at the center." Drink!

    Now here comes Tim Cook with the WWDC 2023 keynote. Exactly the same audience (developers, analysts, journalists). Exactly the same pervasive AI hype-filled atmosphere. Almost the same amount of time for the presentation. And no mentions of AI — literally, zero. Given how much the company obsesses about its messaging, this was clearly intentional.

    Saying the loud part quietly

    For example, the phrase "machine learning" was used seven times at the WWDC event. AI is nothing but machine learning! There's machine learning in Apple Notes-based PDFs, in the new app Journal, in AirPods' noise detection; creating iPad lockscreens via LivePhoto uses "an advanced machine learning model," Apple software chief Craig Federighi said. If you're Google and you have no shame, you're calling that "AI wallpaper."

    Or take Autocorrect in your iMessages, which uses a "state-of-the-art ... Transformer language model," Federighi informed us. You know what else is a state-of-the-art Transformer language model? ChatGPT! It's a bit nerdy, but it's also the main breakthrough that makes us feel like such AI software is actually talking back to us.

    If AI was cool, surely the ultimate cool-chasing dad-joking tech exec would be saying it as often as possible?

    Apple even had the opportunity to say that the Vision Pro headset was powered by AI. Instead, it "uses an advanced encoder-decoder neural network." A neural network is a form of AI that attempts to copy the information-crunching style of human brain! Given that this company likes to keep its marketing language supremely simple, this was all starting to seem like a deliberate choice: don't mention the A-word.

    Why? Simple. Apple gets a simple truth that Google and the scrum of companies are overlooking: to the average user, AI is scary. You shouldn't be touting how it is used in your products; you should be touting how you're going to defend us against it.

    Federighi made this point subtly — not on stage, but on the page. In a postgame interview with Fast Company, the software chief raised the specter of malign AI-driven deepfakes: your loved one supposedly calling you because they forgot their password, for example. "We want to do everything we can to make sure that we’re flagging [deepfake threats] in the future," Federighi said. (He still didn't use the A-word.)

    Apple sticks to the playbook

    This has been Apple's tactic for years. Cook knows millions of users are worried about their privacy in a world where almost every tech company — that scrum again! — wants to sell your personal data. Apple has no need to sell your data; its percentage is in selling you expensive devices. So if that sense of security can differentiate the iPhone, the iPad and the Mac, then you can bet Apple will be pushing it hard.

    Same goes for AI. Let the Googles of the world attempt to impress us with their "AI-first mobile computers." The iPhone is, and will remain, the most secure smartphone you can buy. There's a language model driving every autocorrection on iMessage, but none dare call it AI. The brief dip for Apple stock after the event, from $181 to $178, was worth it even if it was entirely AI-related (more likely, traders were incredulous at the price of the Vision Pro).

    This is, after all, a stock that just hit its all-time high a few hours earlier. Cook simply doesn't care, nor should he.

    Perhaps, one day when the hype has died down, Apple will retool Siri so she looks and sounds more like ChatGPT. Perhaps all that machine learning and neural networking will add up to something next-level that the company touts in as soothing a tone as it can. But don't hold your breath. Life is very different, here in the spaceship at the center of the second Silicon Valley.

    View the full article

  13. An Asian woman sits on a light pink couch, She is in a white dress and is wearing the Vision pro on her head.

    This year's Apple WWDC live stream clocked in at just over two hours long, and 40 minutes of that was dedicated to introducing the company's newest product: the Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

    Apple's answer to Meta's Quest 2 and Quest Pro VR headsets, the Vision Pro is an extraordinary-sounding device that required the filing of more than 5,000 patents for new tech during its development. We'll have to see if it lives up to its own hype when it begins shipping in 2024. For now, we're reflecting on what's been promised to users, and what parts of the Vision Pro we could go without.

    What we like:

    1. Chic hardware design

    We can always expect beautiful craftsmanship from Apple, and the Vision Pro is indeed a stunner. While most other headsets on the market look clunky and protrude off the face, the Vision Pro more closely resembles the sleek simplicity of ski goggles. It is also encased in "aerospace grade alloys," glass, and fabric, which makes it a stand out among competitor models built almost exclusively of plastic and rubber. Plus, the facial interface is adjustable, which means it should provide a closer, more comfortable fit than its contemporaries.

    2. Prioritizes AR, not VR

    The muddled mystique around the metaverse has translated to a bearish market for VR devices, something Apple seems to be especially conscious of. Its Vision Pro presentation focused on the device's augmented reality, or "AR," abilities like layering screens and 3D graphic experiences over your lived environment. That may make the device feel more accessible and much less otherworldly than others that focus on completely immersive VR experiences.

    A Black woman wears a Vision Pro
    Credit: Apple

    3. VisionOS

    The Vision Pro integrates with Apple's ecosystem of products, some of which you may already have in your home. That's a huge advantage over the standalone headsets currently on the market, which have limited use outside of their custom software. When I was looking for a new pair of bluetooth headphones, I eventually settled on the AirPod Pros because I knew they would connect more seamlessly to my Apple MacBook. That same convenience will set the Vision Pro apart.

    4. The battery

    It may feel off to have little wire sticking out of the back of the headset, trailing its way down to a battery housed in your pocket, but that's a way better option that having that battery sitting on your face. Many other headsets, specifically the Quest 2 and Quest Pro, include batteries that make them so heavy that they become uncomfortable to wear. No word yet on how much the Apple headset weighs (and it does include a glass panel, so it won't be feather-light) but the separate battery indicates Apple is interested in both fit and function.

    5. Eye tracking and Optic ID

    Apple knows that eye tracking is the next step for virtual and augmented reality, but it's making sure you can look at whatever you want without feeling like you're being watched. So while VisionOS's Optic ID will enable you to use Apple Pay and autofill passwords as you use the device, Apple won't share any of that data – or the data about where you've looked on pages or apps — with anyone without your permission.

    6. EyeSight

    "EyeSight" is a Vision Pro feature that projects realistic graphics of your eyes to those around you while you are wearing the headset, and enables you to see the person you are speaking with through the headset. This is a feature that has been promised in future iterations of Meta's Quest devices series, but has yet to be integrated. EyesSght is the next step in making AR/VR headsets make sense in daily life, enabling you to communicate with others without taking the headset on and off, which is may more of a production than, say, removing sunglasses. Apple has also added a display to the front of the VisionOS that indicated to others when you are busy in an immersive experience so they won't interrupt you.

    The Vision Pro from the side.
    The Vision Pro from the side, complete with detachable battery. Credit: Apple

    What we're not a fan of:

    1. The price

    $3,499. The Vision Pro sounds beautiful, but Apple's 40-minute presentation about the device didn't introduce any new AR experiences that were compelling enough to justify paying thousands for it, especially when a very good headset, the Quest 2, is available for just about $300.

    2. That head strap

    The Vision Pro's head strap stretches from the sides of the goggles and around the back of your head. While its 3-D printed fabric innovations look promising, I've always needed an over-the-head strap on a headset to keep it from sliding all over the place and down my face.

    3. The FaceTime experience

    Apple made a big show of explaining how cool FaceTime calls are on the Vision Pro, noting you can see video feeds of your coworkers or loved ones in windows around you in an immersive experience augmented by spatial audio. But... how do they see you when you have a headset on your face? Apple quickly mentioned the development of a virtual avatar based on a face scan, but it's unclear if that's how you're represented in FaceTime while using the Vision Pro.

    View the full article

  14. the 2023 apple mac pro with a tower closure next to an apple display

    TL;DR: Apple surprise-revealed an all-new Mac Pro at WWDC Monday. It's slated for release on Tuesday, June 13, and you can pre-order it ahead of time through the Apple Store starting at — wait for it — $6,999.

    In one of the better-kept secrets from this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple unveiled a next-generation Mac Pro during its keynote presentation Monday — its first update in four years, complete with all-new Apple silicone.

    And if you thought the company's just-announced Vision Pro augmented reality headset was silly at $3,499, buckle up: This new Mac Pro starts at $6,999. It's a behemoth of a desktop designed specifically for advanced power users and creative professionals who can afford to splurge on a workstation for demanding tasks like video editing and 3D rendering. (If you're a plebeian document-typer or Twitter-scroller, look into the new 15-inch MacBook Air instead.)

    The star of the Mac Pro's spec sheet is the new M2 Ultra chip Apple debuted alongside it at WWDC 2023, which has a 24-core CPU, up to 76-core GPU, and up to a chunky 192GB of memory with 800GB/s of unified memory bandwidth. (This makes it up to three times faster than its Intel-based predecessor, Apple said.) You've got seven PCle expansion slots to work with, including six that support PCIe Gen 4, which opens it up to heavy customizing. It also sports three USB-A ports, two higher-bandwidth HDMI ports, a headphone jack, and eight Thunderbolt 4 ports — that's double the amount built into the older Intel model.

    For all that, though, the new Mac Pro still looks like a cheese grater. Can't win 'em all.

    You can take your pick from two configurations, both of which were immediately available for preorder ahead of an official release date of June 13:

    Where to buy the new Apple Mac Pro

    The new Mac Pro is available for preorder exclusively in the Apple Store for now.

    The cheapest version (relatively speaking) has a stainless steel frame with a vertical tower enclosure that's propped up off the ground by four little feet. Its base configuration retailing for $6,999 has an M2 Ultra chip with a 24-core CPU, a 60-core GPU, and a 32-core Neural Engine, plus 64GB of unified memory and 1TB of SSD storage. You can upgrade it with wheels, a 76-core GPU, 128GB or 192GB of memory, and a bigger storage capacity of 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB.

    For those curious, the maxed-out version with all the fixings will run you $12,199. (Screaming, crying, throwing up, etcetera.)

    Meanwhile, a new Mac Pro with a horizontal rack-mounted enclosure and those same base specs starts at $7,499. If you go all-in on a maxed-model with a 76-core GPU, 192GB of memory, and 8TB of storage, you're looking at a total cost of $12,299.

    ...Did I mention you'll have to buy a display separately?

    View the full article

  15. Standby mode clock

    One very unique feature Apple unveiled at WWDC this year is one that may get overlooked: iOS 17's Standby view.

    Basically, Standby will turn your iPhone into an always-on live real-time monitor utilizing various apps and widgets. It turns your device into almost a whole new product that provides live monitoring for an array of different things.

    Standby mode sports scores
    Credit: Mashable screenshot

    Want the time or the weather? Well, you'll be able to just look right up at your iPhone while it's charging and it'll be displayed right there for you. Stuck at work but want to monitor the latest baseball scores? Standby on your iPhone will have each team's runs displayed in real-time for you as if you were watching the big screen monitor live at the game.

    And, the most interesting part about Standby is it's a feature that brings utility to your iPhone during a time where you wouldn't be using the phone previously. All users need to do is charge or dock their phone in landscape mode to enable Standby.

    Standby mode
    Credit: Mashable screenshot

    Users can customize what they want to see displayed on their iPhone while it's in Standby mode. Widgets will provide an assortment of options alongside basics like the date, time, calendar view, photo displays, and more. Siri can also be used in Standby mode, with the virtual assistant providing visual results for whatever the users' query may be. 

    Standby mode weather
    Credit: Mashable screenshot

    Standby mode takes advantage of iOS 16's always-on display option and will be available this September along with the rest of iOS 17.

    View the full article

  16. It’s no secret that Maddy O’Neal is an incredibly talented artist and performer, crafting her own unique style of electro soul. She recently teamed up with another genre-bending producer Underlux for their addictive, bass fueled single “Here’s To You”.

    Maddy O’Neil and Underlux crafted “Here’s To You” as a tribute to their fans and a musical backdrop for their everyday experiences, whether it’s leisurely walks in the sun or vibrant gatherings with friends. The track’s lively, celebratory, and emotionally liberating style makes it versatile for any occasion, while exemplifying the remarkable synergy and artistic harmony between these two electronic talents from Denver.

    This song feels like the perfect summer anthem. It’s bouncy, celebratory and bright. It makes a statement. We are so pumped on the timing and vibe of this tune, just in time for some warm weather and fresh energy. – Maddy O’Neal 

    To me this is a perfect example of two artists combining their talents to make a bouncy, head boppin’ track that sits perfectly as a tune that you can dance to, groove to, or get down and bubbly with your closest friends! ” – UnderLux

    Listen below!

    This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Maddy O’Neal Teams Up With Underlux For Addictive New Single “Here’s To You”

    View the full article

  17. In just half a year, Modapit, an anonymous producer known for their distinctive fishnet veil, has rapidly emerged onto the scene. He has already accomplished significant milestones, including a debut performance at EDC Las Vegas, an opening set for Deadmau5 at Fort Lauderdale’s DAER Nightclub, and a series of successful releases that collectively amassed an impressive one million streams across various platforms.

    He’s gearing up for what’s promising to be a highly anticipated album ‘Devotion‘ – recently unveiling his fourth single “For You” that’s accompanied by captivating 10 minute short film. It’s a beautiful marriage of punchier house sonic elemnts with a driving UK garage beat and a blissful vocal. Yet again Modapit strikes perfection, guaranteeing another hit across his impressive catalogue.

    ’For You’ is a song about never giving up. Modapit songs tend to have uplifting themes, and “For You” is no exception. Getting people away from their sadness is a huge influence in the creation of Modapit songs. The hope is that people can escape into this music.” – Modapit

    Listen below!

    This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Modapit Unveils 10 Minute Short Film To Accompany Thumping New Single, “For You”

    View the full article

  18. Person using 2022 Apple MacBook Air

    SAVE $149.01: As of June 5, the 2022 Apple MacBook Air (13.6", 256GB) is $149.01 off at Amazon, which is already cheaper than the price drop the company announced during WWDC.

    Apple's WWDC is underway, with lots of fun announcements dominating the conversation about the future of our favorite fruit company (including an AR headset for a truly ridiculous price). One piece of news that may go under the radar (but absolutely shouldn't), though, involves the 2022 MacBook Air.

    During the WWDC event, Apple stated that their most powerful MacBook Air, the 2022 version, would get a permanent $100 price drop and a brand-new 15-inch model. Better yet, we've already found the 2022 Air for cheaper than the price cut the company just announced — as of the time of this writing, you can snag one at Amazon for $149.01 off the original price.

    The 2022 MacBook Air is the best it's ever been. Now equipped with the powerful M2 chip, the lightweight Air can handle more than ever at lightning-quick speeds. The device can also net you up to 18 hours of battery life, comes with Apple's latest rendition of the gorgeous Retina display, and features plenty more bells and whistles that make it an absolute powerhouse of a computer. Also, it weighs just 2.7 pounds. Pretty wild!

    Take advantage of the 2022 MacBook Air's new and improved price — grab one at Amazon and save $149.01.

    View the full article

  19. a woman sitting at a workstation using a display hooked up to a mac studio

    TL;DR: Apple announced a second-generation Mac Studio with M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips at WWDC Monday. Head to the Apple Store to reserve it starting at $1,999 ahead of its June 13 launch.

    The Apple Mac Studio got its first big upgrade at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Monday.

    Set for release on Tuesday, June 13 (with preorders live now), the second iteration of Apple's premium compact desktop will come in two new configurations with M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips. They'll offer improved performance and connectivity while preserving the same boxy aluminum design as last year's M1 Ultra-powered model.

    M2 Max vs M2 Ultra specs

    Launched earlier this year alongside a MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, the M2 Max has a 12-core CPU, up to a 38-core GPU, and up to 96GB of memory with 400GB/s of memory bandwidth. That shakes out to a 50 percent speed boost over the M1 Ultra, Apple said.

    Meanwhile, the M2 Ultra is an entirely new custom silicone chip featuring a 24-core CPU, up to a 76-core GPU, and up to a hefty 192GB of memory with 800GB/s of unified memory bandwidth. Apple called it "a monster of a chip" that's twice as powerful as the M2 Max and up to three times faster than the M1 Ultra.

    Both variants of the new Mac Studio come with WiFi 6E for zippier download speeds, Bluetooth 5.3, and a higher-bandwidth HDMI port that supports up to 8K resolution and 240Hz frame rates. (The M2 Ultra version can supposedly handle up to six of Apple's Pro Display XDRs to drive over 100 million pixels, in case you're trying to DIY some kind of badass control room.) You'll get four Thunderbolt 4 ports and two USB-A ports for peripherals, plus two USB-C ports and an SD card slot for easy photo importing.

    Here's where you can lock in a preorder ahead of next week's launch:

    Where to buy the M2 Max Mac Studio

    For now, the M2 Max-equipped Mac Studio is available exclusively in the Apple Store. It starts at $1,999 for a system with a 12-core CPU, a 30-core GPU, a 16-core Neural Engine, 32GB of unified memory, and 512GB of built-in storage. You can upgrade to a 38-core GPU, increase its memory to 64GB or 96GB, boost its storage to 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB, and opt to have it pre-installed with Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.

    Where to buy the M2 Ultra Mac Studio

    The beefed-up Mac Studio with the new M2 Ultra chip starts at $3,999 with a 24-core CPU, a 60-core GPU, a 32-core Neural Engine, 64GB of unified memory, and 1TB of storage. Optional upgrades include a 76-core GPU, 128GB or 192GB of memory, a storage capacity of 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB, and pre-installed copies of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. It's also an Apple Store exclusive (for now).

    This story is developing.

    View the full article

  20. warningOn January 2, 2015, a new system designed to assist copyright holders and better protect consumers went live in Canada.

    Under the ‘Notice and Notice’ regime, ISPs are required to forward rightsholders’ copyright infringement notices to subscribers, in most cases those linked to the downloading and sharing of movies using BitTorrent. While generally considered a step forward, some warned that aggressive rightsholders would leverage the system to benefit themselves.

    Late 2018, after some companies did exactly that, the Canadian government amended the Copyright Act to prohibit the inclusion of settlement demands in warning notices. Since then, rightsholders have filed dozens of applications at Federal Court to obtain the identities of tens of thousands of subscribers – many of whom were alleged notice recipients – so they could be sent cash settlement demands.

    Same Core Companies, Same Core Business Model

    Companies including Millennium Funding, Outpost Productions, Bodyguard Productions, Hunter Killer, and Rambo V Productions, make regular appearances in copyright lawsuits in the U.S. It was inevitable that their settlement model would eventually target Canadian subscribers but anyone paying attention would’ve known that was only the warm-up act.

    Under common ownership, the same companies have also been suing and obtaining settlements from intermediaries in the U.S. including hosting companies, VPN providers, and the latest targets, internet service providers.

    Regardless of jurisdiction, these actions operate along broadly the same lines; identify areas where intermediaries have allegedly failed to meet their piracy-fighting obligations, and then ruthlessly pursue high-value claims until a settlement begins to sound more appealing than the alternatives.

    In their lawsuit against Bell, Millennium Funding and the other companies assert copyrights in half a dozen movies which may have been worth less than $1 million in damages in a U.S. lawsuit, give or take. In Canada, intermediaries who fail to meet their obligations under the Notice and Notice scheme face statutory damages of between CAD$5,000 and $10,000.

    The movie companies claim that they sent over 81,000 notices to Bell between February 2019 and June 2021 but Bell failed to forward almost 40,000 of them. As a result, the plaintiffs believe they can multiply each of those notices by CAD$10,000 and file a claim against Bell for CAD$400 million.

    First Bell Subscribers, Now Bell Itself

    During a court hearing earlier this year dealing with the case against Bell, a lawyer for Bell Canada described the studios’ settlement model targeting internet users as “extortion.”

    An attorney representing the studio’s legal team said that if Bell had an issue with handing over its customers’ details as part of the Notice and Notice scheme, it could have mentioned that earlier – when handing over its customers’ details as part of earlier applications, for example.

    While the “extortion” comment was later withdrawn, allegations in a Bell counterclaim filed in response to the original CAD$400 million lawsuit had already gone much further. In a somewhat unusual move, Bell sued Aird & Berlis LLP, the law firm hired by the studios to send the infringement notices and the architect of their enforcement program in Canada.

    Bell’s defense is relatively straightforward. The ISP admits that not all of the notices sent by the Millennium plaintiffs were forwarded to subscribers but any shortfall was for legitimate reasons. In some cases, the plaintiffs’ notices were not sent or not received by Bell. Other notices were not forwarded to subscribers because they contained inaccurate information, were duplicates of notices already sent, or Bell was unable to forward them because it had no email addresses on file for customers.

    Bell Comes Out Fighting

    In its counterclaim, Bell accused the plaintiffs and Aird & Berlis of engaging in conduct that constitutes misuse of copyright, abuse of process, and champerty and maintenance, whereby a third-party pays some or all of the litigation costs in return for a share of the proceeds. An “illegal and unlawful means conspiracy” that runs counter to public policy and the public interest, the company added.

    In his order last June, Case Management Judge Kevin R. Aalto began with an analogy.

    “It is often said in sports that the best defense is a good offense. Sometimes the same can be said for litigation. That is what Bell is trying to achieve here by suing by way of counterclaim the law firm acting for Millennium and raising what are policy issues relating to the Copyright Act,” Judge Aalto wrote.

    “That is not the purpose of litigation. That is a matter for Parliament. Bell’s attempt to turn this case into an inquiry on the propriety of copyright enforcement arising from the Notice and Notice Regime is misplaced.”

    Bell said that Aird & Berlis intimidated alleged infringers and forced settlements greater than actual damages suffered. Judge Aalto pointed out that the Notice and Notice regime facilitates no direct communication between rightsholders and alleged infringers. Contact only takes place after the plaintiffs obtain their identities as part of a separate process.

    More fundamentally, Judge Aalto said no facts supported Bell’s allegation of misuse of copyright, even if misuse of copyright was a cause of action, which it is not. If misuse of copyright was applicable at all, that would be for alleged infringers to address, not Bell.

    Allegations, But Little to Support Them

    In another setback for Bell, the abuse of process and unlawful means conspiracy allegations performed no better than the allegations of champerty and maintenance.

    “There are no material facts whatsoever to connect the dots as to how [Aird & Berlis] and Millennium are not in a solicitor-client relationship that somehow amounts to the tort of abuse or unlawful means conspiracy,” Judge Aalto added.

    With that, Bell’s allegations of copyright misuse, champerty and maintenance, abuse of process and unlawful means conspiracy were struck out, without leave to amend. Bell went on to appeal and in an order dated May 31, 2023, Judge Angela Furlanetto mostly found in favor of the Case Management Judge and by extension, the movie companies.

    Bell Canada wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last to describe settlement schemes as extortion. Equally, the companies in this particular action won’t be the last to remind people that in the face of large-scale piracy, plaintiffs are legally permitted to run right up against the limits of the law until lawmakers decide otherwise.

    In that respect, not a single inch of progress was made in the last 15 years, globally, but it’s the tendency for defendants to settle that provides the most fuel. The question is whether Bell will decide to make a stand or top up the tank along with its customers.

    Millennium Funding, Inc. v. Bell Canada: Proceedings and May 31, 2023 Order

    From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

    View the full article

  21. three iPhones showing a selection of iOS 17 features

    Apple has officially unveiled iOS 17.

    At WWDC 2023, the company's developers conference, Apple introduced the newest version of its iPhone operating system. Per usual, the iOS 17 update won't be available until later this year, but we got the full details on what to expect when it's released.

    Phone, FaceTime, and Messages get needed tune-ups

    iOS 17 comes with all around updates to core functions like Phone, FaceTime, and Messages. This includes personalized appearances from incoming calls called Contact Posters, live transcription of voicemails, and automatic decline of calls identified by your carrier as spam.

    iOS 17 live voicemail transcription on an iPhone
    Screening voicemails just got easier with iOS 17. Credit: Apple

    In FaceTime, you can now record audio and video messages if someone doesn't pick up. Through iOS 17, users can now transfer a call from iPhone to Apple TV.

    In Messages, iOS 17 comes with new search filters for narrowing results, ways of catching up with unread messages, and an easier way of reply to inline messages by swiping. Audio messages are also transcribed. iOS 17 has an improved interface for the plus button on Messages, which also includes emoji stickers, and the ability to make live stickers from photos.

    Check In for getting you home safely

    Check In is new feature in Messages which notifies contacts when you've arrived at your destination. If your location hasn't changed, Check In will share details like battery life, location, and cell service details.

    Check In feature with iOS 17
    iOS 17 introduced Check In as a new safety feature for iPhone users. Credit: Apple

    AirDrop and NameDrop for easier file sharing

    Apple has expanded AirDrop's capabilities in iOS 17 called NameDrop. By bringing two iPhones (or Apple Watch) close together, you can share contacts and other content or start SharePlay more easily.

    two iPhones close together enabling NameDrop
    Easier AirDrop sharing with iOS 17. Credit: Apple

    Improved keyboard, dictation, and no more 'ducking' autocorrects

    Autocorrect is getting better with iOS 17. The updated keyboard uses a transformer language model which is more accurate for word prediction. It has improved design for fixing grammatically mistakes, a better way of reverting to a word that you didn't want corrected, and predictive text recommendations inline so you can tap the space bar to fill out full sentences. And, you can finally drop F-bombs.

    A brand new Journal app

    Apple announced a brand new journaling app for iOS 17 appropriately called... Journal. The app uses machine learning to make suggestions to inspire journal entries by analyzing recent activity from photos, workouts, interactions and travels. You can also schedule notifications to remind you to write and maintain a journaling routine.

    iOS 17 Journal app showing a new entry prompt
    Journal suggests prompts for new entries based on recent activity. Credit: Apple

    Health app updates

    The iOS 17 Health app update also has some mental health features. Users can log their moods and emotions within the app and even access depression and anxiety assessments.

    iOS 17 Health app showing mood logging feature
    For when you're feeling pleasant, unpleasant, or anywhere in between. Credit: Apple

    StandBy turns the Always-On lock screen into a smart display

    Building on the Always-On lock screen display that was introduced at last year's WWDC, StandBy works as a smart display, showing the time, temperature, schedule, and other key info when your phone is in horizontal mode. StandBy is integrated with Siri, and other Apple or third party widgets can be added. Standby adapts to low light so it can be used while sleeping.

    iPhone horizontally oriented showing the iOS 17 StandBy mode
    StandBy builds on iPhone's Always-On lock screen to work as a smart display. Credit: Apple

    Other features announced

    iOS 17 also comes with a screen distance alert through Screen Time to reduce eye strain and risk of myopia, offline use of Maps, increased AirTag sharing with up to five people, AirPlay compatibility with TVs in hotels, improved audio features for AirPods, and Apple finally dropped the "Hey" to activate Siri.

    iOS 17 beta and full release details

    iOS 17 is available today to members of the developer program with a public beta launching in July. It will be fully available as a software update this fall.

    View the full article

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