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DudeAsInCool

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    "I'm the Dude. That, or Duder, His Dudeness, or El Duderino. Unless you are into the brevity thing - then it's D.A.I.C."

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  1. Enlarge / This was not a real slide from Google I/O 2022, but it could have been. (credit: Google / Ron Amadeo) Google held its I/O conference earlier this month, and for longtime Google watchers, the event felt like a seance. Google CEO Sundar Pichai stepped on stage for his keynote address and channeled the spirits of long-dead Google products. "I'm hearing... something about an Android tablet? And a smartwatch?" he seemed to say. By my count, "resurrecting the past" accounted for around half of the company's major announcements. In all of these cases, Google would be in a much stronger position if it had committed to a long-term plan and continuously iterated on that plan. Unfortunately, the company doesn't have that kind of top-down direction. Instead, for most of the resurrected products, Google is trying to catch up to competitors after years of standing still. There's a question we have to ask for every announcement: "Will things be different this time?" Read 38 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  2. Enlarge (credit: Qualcomm) Qualcomm's mid-cycle "plus" chip refresh—the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1—has been announced. As usual, Qualcomm is promising some modest improvements over the existing 8 Gen 1 chip. The company said the chip will provide "10 percent faster CPU performance," thanks to a 200 MHz peak CPU boost (up to 3.2 GHz now) and a 10 percent faster GPU. The real shocker is a "30 percent improved power efficiency" claim for the CPU and GPU. For the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus, Qualcomm is moving the chip from Samsung Foundry to TSMC, which is apparently where the power improvements are coming from. That's a serious slam against Samsung's 4 nm process versus TSMC's 4 nm process, but it lines up with earlier reports of troubles at Samsung Foundry. Swapping foundries as part of a mid-cycle upgrade is not normal, and it seems that Qualcomm has a bit of a salvage operation on its hands with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The chip has not fared very well in the real world, with the CPU regularly turning in lower benchmark scores than 2021's flagship Snapdragon 888. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  3. Enlarge (credit: Anker/YouTube) If you have an M1-based Mac, Apple says you're limited to just one external monitor. But Anker, which makes power banks, chargers, docks, and other accessories, this week released a dock that it says will boost your M1 Mac's max monitor count to three. The $250 Anker 563 USB-C docking station, spotted by MacRumors, connects to a USB-C port on your computer (which doesn't have to be a Mac) and can also charge a laptop at up to 100 W. Of course, you'll also need to plug in the dock's 180 W power adapter. Once connected, the dock adds the following ports to your setup: 2x HDMI (version not specified) 1x USB-C (3.1 Gen 1): charges devices at up to 30 W 1x USB-A (3.1 Gen 1): charges devices at up to 7.5 W 2x USB-A (2.0) 1x 3.5 mm headphone jack 1x Ethernet Port selection. (credit: Anker) You'll need the two HDMI ports and DisplayPort to add three monitors to an M1 MacBook. There are some notable limitations, though. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  4. Dropping out of music school in the middle of a global pandemic might sound like a bad idea, but for Lizzy McAlpine, it was the opposite. After completing two years at Berklee College of Music in Boston, McAlpine decided to leave homework behind and focus on just releasing music instead. Most importantly, she wanted to release songs she wanted to release, not the one her followers on TikTok were obsessing over. “I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with TikTok,” she laughed during a phone conversation. “It’s definitely weird at times and can be hard to navigate or understand. The videos that I post that I think are stupid are the ones that do the best, and that’s really strange.” One example is “You Ruined the 1975 for Me,” a super-viral TikTok video with close to 2 million likes that McAlpine posted off the cuff, a somewhat petty reflection on how a band can get inextricably tied to one person, and how much that tie can hurt when they’re no longer in your life. And though the internet fell in love with McAlpine, sitting on her bathroom floor, riffing about an ex and Matty Healy’s music, that song doesn’t represent who she wanted to be as an artist. “cmon just finish it <3” reads one of 25,000 comments under the video snippet, this one posted as recently as March 2022. McAlpine’s response? “no<3” — and she’s still never released it. Instead, she gave the world her de facto debut album, Give Me a Minute, in August of 2020 as the pandemic shut down schools and offices, and left most people feeling way more isolated than the increasingly digital world had already made them feel. Technically preceded by an eight-song EP called Indigo released in 2018, McAlpine’s album resonated deeply, mostly due to her knack for unraveling the more twisted, difficult feelings we all face, and laying them out directly in terms that are poetic in their simplicity. “Pancakes For Dinner” became a streaming hit, Phoebe Bridgers praised her music, and McAlpine moved directly into working on new material instead of attending classes in the fall. (Credit: Gus Black) “I hadn’t listened to [Phoebe] until right before Give Me a Minute came out,” McAlpine says. “But she slid into my DMs like a month after the first record came out and was like ‘I love the record, I’m a big fan.’ And I was like what is happening? It was really wild. On this new record we referenced Punisher a lot, just because Ethan Grushka’s production is so fantastic we used that as a base.” Listeners will hear similarities between the two artists, as they both tackle life’s tougher moments with a solemn fearlessness, hushed vocals, and folk-pop instrumentation. In that same vein, Finneas is another like-minded artist who was also a fan of McAlpine’s work — and, eventually, became a collaborator as well. “With Finneas, I literally just DMed him and told him I thought he would sound really good on the song,” she says. “And like five minutes later he was like ‘Yes, send me the song. Here’s my number, I’m so psyched.’” Their collaboration, “Hate To Be Lame, became one of the standout tracks on Five Seconds Flat, and Finneas even invited McAlpine to perform it with him at Coachella last month, an experience she can only describe as “surreal.” Though her decision to leave college when she did was the right one for McAlpine, that doesn’t mean she knocked the process. Berklee was where she met her closest collaborator, producer and instrumentalist Philip Etherington, and also gave her a community of fellow artists and music lovers. “The best thing that I got out of Berklee was the people that I met,” she says. “It’s really good for making connections and meeting people. I’m very glad that I went, I met some of my best friends. I think it’s important to make connections, especially in music, and music school can definitely help with that. I don’t think you necessarily need to learn about songwriting to be a good songwriter. You can just write songs and you don’t need to go to class for it.” Perhaps now that she’s delivered Five Seconds Flat, a 14-track collection of songs that all easily eclipse that TikTok snippet, with wider scopes and much more nuanced reflection on how a relationship’s the failings is the work of both people, fans will focus on what this young artist has always been telling them — she has so much more to give. “With every project that I make, I’m growing in some way,” she says. “As a human but also as an artist. Making Give Me a Minute, we were just in Phillip [Etherington]’s tiny apartment in Boston, and we did most of it remotely because of the pandemic. With Five Seconds Flat, we had more time in his studio, working just us two. I wanted it to sound way different, so we were experimenting; it felt like we were growing together. That’s why I love working with Phillip, we’ve been working together from the beginning.” (Credit: Gus Black) For new listeners, both of McAlpine’s albums are well worth a spin, even if Five Seconds Flat sounds like the logical continuation and expansion of her sound on Give Me a Minute. McAlpine says she went into the process steering toward an indie rock sound, but in the end, the songs did what they wanted to. “I went into it with the idea that it would be indie rock,” she says. “But as we started making some of the songs I was like ‘Ok, not all of these fit into that category, so lets just make the songs how they’re meant to sound, and at some point they’ll all belong on the same record.’ Another element that helps bring all the disparate songs together, aside from McAlpine’s signature soft-spoken vocals, is a short film that she made to accompany the album. “I really like storytelling and scriptwriting,” she says. “So to incorporate that into my music was a huge thing for me. It was very fulfilling.” The next stage in her evolution is live performances and touring, elements that were understandably put on pause for an artist who broke out during the pandemic. Now that Five Seconds Flat is out in the world, McAlpine is embarking on a sold-out tour behind her new album. But don’t hold your breath for a certain song to make the setlist — instead, listen for new standouts, and keep an open mind. The post Meet Lizzy McAlpine, The Genius Songwriter Who Won Over Finneas and Phoebe Bridgers appeared first on SPIN. View the full article
  5. Scharon Harding and iFixit's Kyle Wiens on the right to repair. Click here for transcript. (video link) The fight for the right to repair remains an active battle as various companies and lawmakers claim worries around safety, cybersecurity, and design innovation. But with concerns about e-waste, device quality, and the health of independent repair shops mounting, advocates like iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens are keeping their gloves up. In the lead up to Ars Technica's first annual Ars Frontiers event in Washington, DC, last week, we held a livestream with Wiens exploring this critical tech issue. Making a federal case of it Tech repairs got complicated in 1998 when Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [PDF]. Section 1201 of the copyright law essentially made it illegal to distribute tools for, or to break encryption on, manufactured products. Created with DVD piracy in mind, it made fixing things like computers and tractors significantly harder, if not illegal, without manufacturer permission. It also represented "a total sea change from what historic property rights have been," Wiens said. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  6. Enlarge / The new Fire 7 tablet. (credit: Amazon) Amazon has updated the 7-inch Fire Tablet—it's now the "2022, 12th gen" version. The big news this year is that Amazon is finally upgrading to USB-C, which is tough to come by in this bargain-basement pricing tier. About that price: The Fire 7 is $74.99 without lockscreen ads or $59.99 if you want to put up with the ads. For the SoC, we have a MediaTek MT8168V. This is a 12 nm chip with four ARM Cortex A53 cores running at 2 GHz and an ARM Mali G52. There's a 7-inch, 1024×600 LCD, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (or $20 more for 32GB), and a 3750mAh battery that Amazon says is good for "10 hours." There's a microSD slot, a headphone jack, and Wi-Fi 5 (that's 802.11ac) support. There are technically front and back cameras on the Fire 7, but at 2 MP each and "no autofocus," they might not be useful for much. There's no GPS and no NFC, but the tablet comes with a 5 W USB-C charger. The Fire 7 tablet has USB-C. (credit: Amazon) The 2022 Fire 7 also marks the launch of Amazon's "Fire OS 8." This is a fork of Android 11 that doesn't seem to stray far from the normal codebase, but it doesn't have any Google apps or services. Amazon is promising four years of security updates, even at this ultra-low price point. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  7. When Canadian post-punk act Ought broke up in November 2021, it was an unlucky loss for rock music. In just three full lengths, an EP, and a remix collection, the Montreal band made a name for themselves as one of the more critically acclaimed indie groups to emerge in the 2010s. Fortunately for Ought fans, the day that the band announced their split, guitarist and vocalist Tim Darcy and bassist Ben Stidworthy launched a new project, called Cola. To complete the lineup, the duo enlisted drummer Evan Cartwright, who had previously played in acts including U.S. Girls and The Weather Station. “The three of us had been friends for a while,” Darcy tells SPIN over Zoom. He’s wearing an understated black hoodie, and calling in from the weathered-looking backstage of the Capitol Theatre in Olympia, Washington–he’s on tour with Snail Mail, working as their guitar tech. “We were kind of getting to know Evan, but even before we became pals, he had a rep in the scene for being this amazing drummer.” The trio didn’t overtly intend to form a post-Ought project. Late in 2019 – while Ought was inactive but still hadn’t officially announced their disbandment – they started writing songs together to see if it led anywhere. Each member walked into their first practice with a couple of ideas, and they walked out with a song called “So Excited.” However, after they took a break for the holidays, COVID hit. Suddenly, they were forced to collaborate over Google Drive. Darcy and Stidworthy would write tracks using their home studio setups, then send them to each other every Friday. Once a month, the three of them would put on KN95 masks and meet up to work on the songs in person. (Credit: Colin Medley) “When we were workshopping things, Ben was in Montreal and Tim and I were in Toronto,” Cartwright tells SPIN, Zooming in from Canada while at home. “We would have to have these very committed few days each month where Ben would come in–usually on the train–or Tim and I would sometimes drive to Montreal.” In those intense pockets of focus, they honed their dynamic as a band. Cola came to life somewhat serendipitously as a product of these sessions. Suddenly they found themselves with over 40 loose song ideas. They decided to lay some of the tracks down over the course of a week at Montreal’s Studio Mixart. The album was produced by Gabe Wax (Helena Deland, Deerhunter), who quickly grasped how to inject Cola’s studio recordings with the feel of a band playing live. In May 2021, Darcy and Stidworthy flew to Los Angeles to mix the project with engineer Gabe Wax (The War on Drugs, Adrianne Lenker). After the mixing process was complete, they reached out to New York City label Fire Talk, who were willing to get down to business right away. Cola’s sound is more instrumental-driven than any of the members’ usual output. Darcy’s prior releases tended to be centered around poetic lyricism. In contrast, the songs on Deep In View are murky and technical. Darcy’s ornate guitar parts coexist comfortably with Cartwright and Stidworthy’s taut rhythms. “In Ought, my role in that band was much more of, like, ‘the front person.’ Maybe it was kind of unspoken, but going into this project, a thing that felt really different was having it be more songwriting that happens within the band format,” Darcy explains. (Credit: Colin Medley) With Deep in View out in the world, Cola already has a lot lined up. Beginning in June, the group will be embarking on a 31-date world tour. They’re also already working on a second album. They’re once again running new musical snippets by each other virtually. This remote composition process allows Cola’s members to bounce between Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Montreal. “What I feel like I can control as an artist is a sense of creative stability. I’m gonna keep making things and it feels really exciting to already be starting on the next record and to be energized by that,” Darcy says. “It feels like a really fruitful creative partnership that’s still unfolding.” The post Cola Are Just Starting to Ramp Up appeared first on SPIN. View the full article
  8. There are a handful of records released in the spring of 2020 that will always be associated with that time. They’re albums that spoke to widespread isolation and anxiety, but also provided a source of comfort while everyone was stuck indoors. There was Waxahatchee’s striking fifth album, Saint Cloud. There was Charli XCX’s glitchy, yet personal How I’m Feeling Now. There was also Porridge Radio’s splendid sophomore record, Every Bad. The Brighton-based indie rockers’ second LP came out on March 13, 2020, a time when they couldn’t take the album out on the road while they were becoming abundantly more well-known. Live music was a mere husk of itself, and touring was impossible. Still, frontwoman Dana Margolin found relief during her time at home. “I loved being at home,” she tells SPIN over Zoom. “It was obviously amazing to release an album that people really cared about and struck people at the right time. I’m glad that we got to do it. But I really loved the time to chill. It was nice to be able to work on this album instead of touring for a year.” Finding solace in creativity, Margolin used this lull in the industry to make yet another sensational album. This time, however, Margolin aimed for more stratospheric sounds in the vein of arena-sized artists like Coldplay. The result that emerged is Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky. Opener and lead single “Back to the Radio” — for which the singer’s sister, Ella, made a hypnotic music video — is built on Georgie Stott’s melodic keys and Margolin’s emotive vocals. It’s a towering track ending with a chant of “So lock all the windows and shut all the doors / And get into the house and lie down on the cold, hard floor.” The penultimate song, “The Rip,” lays down a danceable groove paired with a hooky guitar riff before it all bursts open into a fuzzed-out, half-time section. Unlike Porridge Radio’s previous music, though, Margolin found the space to be gentler in her songwriting. On tracks like “Flowers” and “Rotten,” she takes a softer approach, temporarily casting aside the jangly, guitar-heavy arrangements. Learning to write quieter material is something that Margolin acquired with confidence. She already felt confident in her artistic prowess, but, following the unanimous adulation of Every Bad, she had an important realization. “In the past, I wouldn’t necessarily allow myself to be soft or gentle because there’s always been a sense of ‘You have to be loud to be heard. You have to be loud for people to notice,’” Margolin says. “But I think I finally felt like I could make a gentle song, and that it would be good — that it would be listened to. It would be accepted, and people would be interested in what I was doing.” With Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky, she also faced her fear of making mistakes. She knew that every single song she writes won’t be a masterpiece, so she embraces making music that isn’t as captivating, because she knows it’s all part of the process. “I have a lot of ideas that are bad ideas, and I like to encourage having bad ideas because I think that you can’t make anything good unless you make loads of bad things,” she says. “Whenever I’m writing or drawing, I try to just let myself make bad things and not overthink what I’m doing, because I know that — if I get my body in the practice of creating — then at the right time, the right thing will come to me.” And the right thing eventually did come. Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky is an astonishing album that explores joy, fear, and endlessness, and it expands upon the extraordinary indie rock that Porridge Radio has become known for. But this is the first album that Margolin has made where she feels genuinely proud of herself looking back at the experience. “We all just put so much into it, and I love what came out of it,” Margolin says. “I don’t think that I’ve ever been able to look back at a process and feel fully comfortable with the whole thing, and this time I really did. There were a lot of bumps along the way, but if I’m proud of one thing, it’s this album.” The post On <i>Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky</i>, Porridge Radio Doesn’t Fear Failure appeared first on SPIN. View the full article
  9. Enlarge / The Framework Laptop is getting its first major upgrade today. (credit: Framework) We were fans of the Framework Laptop when we reviewed it last year. This was partly because its modular design prioritizes repairability and upgradeability when most other laptops don't. But we also liked it because you didn't need to make huge tradeoffs to get that repairability—the Framework Laptop is lightweight and has a high-quality screen, keyboard, and touchpad, helping it stay competitive with big-box thin-and-light laptops like Dell's XPS 13 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. An upgradeable laptop is only worthwhile if you can actually upgrade it, though, and Framework is making that possible starting today: The company is introducing a new iteration of the Framework Laptop's motherboard that uses 12th-gen Intel CPUs. A brand-new 12th-gen Framework Laptop starts at $1,049 for a Core i5-equipped base model, or $819 for a build-it-yourself kit with no memory or storage. These products will be available for preorder starting today, and shipping will start in July. The 12th-generation Core processors use Intel's latest Alder Lake CPU architecture, which combines high-performance P-cores and high-efficiency E-cores to maximize performance under heavy load and reduce power usage when your computer is mostly idle. The base Core i5-1240P CPU includes four P-cores and eight E-cores, a big boost in core count compared to the quad-core 11th-gen CPUs. The Core i7-1260P upgrade has the same CPU core count with boosted clock speeds and a small increase in integrated GPU performance, while the top-end Core i7-1280P option will get you six P-cores and eight E-cores. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  10. Enlarge / The new HP Spectre x360 in "Nocturne Blue with Celestial Blue accents." (credit: Scharon Harding) HP has revamped its Spectre x360 lineup of convertible, champfered-edged laptops with a purportedly quieter sound profile, Intel's new Arc graphics card, and beefed-up webcams. Today, HP released 12th Gen Intel versions of the Spectre x360 in 13.5- and 16-inch sizes. If the 13.5-inch sounds new to you, that's because HP hasn't released a "Spectre x360 13.5" since 2020. Last year, its 13.5-inch Spectre was called the "Spectre x360 14." But don't get confused; this thin-and-light laptop still has a screen that measures 13.5 inches diagonally and uses the 3:2 aspect ratio for up to 3000×2000 resolution if you opt for OLED. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  11. Electronic pop duo drop first new music since their 2020 album, Free LoveView the full article
  12. Breakup rumors are swirling around Migos after users noticed that Offset had unfollowed band members Quavo and Takeoff on Instagram. Even more suspicious? Cardi B, Offset’s wife, has apparently also unfollowed the two Atlanta rappers. This comes on the heels of Quavo and Takeoff announcing they were releasing new music as a duo called Unc And Phew (Quavo, of course, is Takeoff’s uncle, so the name definitely fits). Their new song is called “Hotel Lobby.” View the full article
  13. Just hours after reporting that pharma bro Martin Shkreli has been released from prison early, TMZ now reports that disgraced Fyre Fest founder Billy McFarland is also out early. McFarland was reportedly released on March 30 and transferred to community confinement (aka a condition of probation which means the offender is in a shared residence, like a halfway house, a restitution center, or a treatment center). He’s expected to stay there until the end of August. McFarland was originally sentenced to six years in 2018 after pleading guilty to wire fraud. View the full article
  14. K-pop group’s 12-date trek launches in support of upcoming album Face the SunView the full article
  15. Toronto indie-rockers Kiwi Jr. have announced their third album, Chopper, out August 12 via Sub Pop. Produced by Wolf Parade cofounder and current Arcade Fire member Dan Boeckner, Chopper has a chilly, post-punk-leaning lead single, “Night Vision,” which also gets the video treatment directed by previous collaborator Laura-Lynn Petrick. View the full article
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