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Posts posted by DudeAsInCool

  1. Game of Thrones

    Enlarge / Media firms are looking for allies to help them take the coveted media throne. (credit: Warner Bros. Discovery)

    The CEOs of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and Paramount Global discussed a potential merger on Tuesday, according to a report from Axios citing "multiple" anonymous sources. No formal talks are underway yet, according to The Wall Street Journal. But the discussions look like the start of consolidation discussions for the media industry during a tumultuous time of forced evolution.

    On Wednesday, Axios reported that WBD head David Zaslav and Paramount head Bob Bakish met in Paramount's New York City headquarters for "several hours."

    Zaslav and Shari Redstone, owner of Paramount's parent company National Amusements Inc (NAI), have also spoken, Axios claimed.

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  2. A large Google logo is displayed amidst foliage.

    Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

    Google is wrapping its head around the idea of being a generative AI company. The "code red" called in response to ChatGPT has had Googlers scrambling to come up with AI features and ideas. Once all the dust settles on that work, Google might turn inward and try to "optimize" the company with some of its new AI capabilities. With artificial intelligence being the hot new thing, how much of Google's, uh, natural intelligence needs to be there?

    A report at The Information says that AI might already be taking people's jobs at Google. The report cites people briefed on the plans and says Google intends to "consolidate staff, including through possible layoffs, by reassigning employees at its large customer sales unit who oversee relationships with major advertisers." According to the report, the jobs are being vacated because Google's new AI tools have automated them. The report says a future restructuring was apparently already announced at a department-wide Google Ads meeting last week.

    Google announced a "new era of AI-powered ads" in May, featuring a "natural-language conversational experience within Google Ads, designed to jump-start campaign creation and simplify Search ads." Google said its new AI could scan your website and "generate relevant and effective keywords, headlines, descriptions, images, and other assets," making the Google Ads chatbot one part designer and one part sales expert.

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  3. The UNI FAN TL LCD series puts screens where there were no screens before.

    Enlarge / The UNI FAN TL LCD series puts screens where there were no screens before. (credit: Lian Li)

    If you're trying to add lights to a PC case, you have lots of options: LED strips, CPU coolers with lights, case fans with lights, keyboards and mice with lights, motherboards with lights, GPUs with lights, sticks of RAM with lights, even fake sticks of RAM that go into your RAM slots so that you don't have un-RGB-ed spots in your setup.

    But if all of that isn't enough for you, and you need to take things one step further, Lian Li has a new product for you: case fans that include not just RGB LEDs with two different lighting zones, but 1.6-inch LCD screens that can be programmed to show your PC's stats or small looping images and videos.

    Fans in the UNI FAN TL LCD lineup are available in 120 mm and 140 mm sizes, with black and white color options. The versions with screens cost $47 for a 120 mm version and $52 for a 140 mm version, and TL fans without screens go for $33 and $36, respectively. The fans need to be connected to their own dedicated fan controller, which can drive up to seven of the LCD-equipped fans at a time. The screens can then be customized via proprietary software, as is unfortunately common for RGB lights and mini-screens.

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  4. webcam protruding out of the Displace TV

    Enlarge / A closeup of the webcam on the Displace TV announced in January. (credit: Dislace)

    It's no secret that TV makers are seriously invested in pushing ads. Using TVs for advertising goes back to 1941 when the first TV commercial aired. But as we trudge our way through the 21st century, TV vendors are becoming more involved in ensuring that their hardware is used to sell stuff and add to their own recurring revenue.

    This has taken various forms, but in some cases, we're seeing increasingly invasive strategies for turning TVs into a primary place for shopping. The latest approach catching attention comes from the startup Displace. Its upcoming TVs will use integrated webcams and NFC payment readers to make it easy for people to buy stuff they see on TV.

    Displace hasn't officially released a product yet, so skepticism about the TVs it says it will demo at CES 2024 in Las Vegas next month, as spotted by sites like Wifi Hifi, is warranted. (Displace said it would have images of the newly announced TVs to share next year). The startup specializes in wireless TVs with hot-swappable batteries that can vacuum suction-mount to a wall and zip-line slowly off said wall when sensing an unstable connection or low battery. The original "Displace TV" that Displace announced in January is supposed to ship in mid-2024. Displace has been taking preorders for those.

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  5. The trailer for Resident Evil 4 on iOS.

    Apple's AAA gaming ambitions for the iPhone 15 Pro saw both a release and a delay this week.

    When Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 Pro and touted its AAA gaming capabilities in September, the company named three upcoming games as showcases: the Resident Evil 4 remake, Death Stranding, and Assassin's Creed Mirage. All would arrive to iOS and all would require an iPhone 15 Pro to play.

    Resident Evil 4 launched on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS today. And a few days ago, publisher 505 Games announced in a post to X that Death Stranding—which was expected to launch this month—has been delayed to "a new release date in early 2024" because it "needs a little more time."

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  6. The Galaxy Z Fold5 and Flip5, being carefully taken apart.

    Enlarge / The Galaxy Z Fold5 and Flip5, being carefully taken apart. (credit: Samsung)

    Samsung says it's doing a big expansion to its self-repair program this month. The repair program launched last year in partnership with iFixit, and now Samsung will be offering parts and repair manuals for more phones in more countries.

    First up, the device list is adding some of Samsung's newest and most expensive models. Foldables are landing in the self-repair system for the first time, with the Galaxy Z Flip5 and Z Fold5 getting parts and manuals soon. The parts aren't up for sale yet, but we're dying to know the cost of a Z Fold5 display. (The Pixel Fold, a similarly sized flexible Samsung display, costs $900.) Samsung's current slab-phone flagship is also hitting the repair system for the first time, with all S23 models getting included. The Galaxy A05s, the first mid-range phone, is landing in the system, too. All the Galaxy S9 and A9 tablets are now repairable, as is the Galaxy Book 2 Pro laptop.

    The number of countries where you can buy parts is increasing, too. Samsung's repair program is currently active in the US, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Samsung now says it's expanding the repair program to 30 additional companies, with the full list being: "Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland." Forty-three countries is a huge progression in just a year, but the flagship S23 is sold in 130 countries if Samsung wants complete coverage.

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  7. An M1 Mac Mini, held in hand.

    Enlarge / If you have one of these, or another Mac handy, you should soon be able to access Beeper on Android and desktop platforms. You'll just need to grab its "registration data" every so often. (credit: Samuel Axon)

    Beeper's Android app, which initially promised iMessage support with just a phone number, lost that connection once Apple started openly pushing back on it less than a week after it launched. Beeper has kept revising its approach, and its newest method—involving regular access to a physical Mac—suggests why the company has added a political component to its efforts.

    Beeper started pushing back after its initial blockage, both through continued development and through media and political messaging. After a second, if smaller, Apple crackdown, co-founder Eric Migicovsky welcomed CBS Mornings into his garage, where he advanced his argument that Beeper was turning grossly insecure SMS messages between iPhone and Android users into secure, end-to-end encrypted chats. (CBS also interviewed James Gill, the 16-year-old whose work connecting to iMessage, using reverse-engineering methods, is the foundation of Beeper's iMessage tech).

    CBS Mornings' interview with Beeper co-founder Eric Migicovsky and James Gill, a teenage coder.

    That interview lined up with another development: a bi-partisan foursome of US lawmakers, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), sending a letter to the Department of Justice regarding "Apple's potential anti-competitive treatment of the Beeper Mini messaging application." Apple's actions toward Beeper, the letter suggests, could "eliminate choices for consumers," "discourage future innovation and investment" in messaging, and make Apple a "digital gatekeeper," suggesting a need for review by the DOJ's Antitrust Division.

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  8. The HP LaserJet M106w is one of the printer models that is mysteriously appearing for some users in Windows 10 and 11.

    Enlarge / The HP LaserJet M106w is one of the printer models that is mysteriously appearing for some users in Windows 10 and 11. (credit: HP)

    Earlier this month, Microsoft disclosed an odd printer bug that was affecting some users of Windows 10, Windows 11, and various Windows Server products. Affected PCs were seeing an HP printer installed, usually an HP LaserJet M101-M106, even when they weren’t actually using any kind of HP printer. This bug could overwrite the settings for whatever printer the user actually did have installed and also prompted the installation of an HP Smart printer app from the Microsoft Store.

    Microsoft still hasn't shared the root cause of the problem, though it did make it clear that the problem wasn't HP's fault. Now, the company has released a fix for anyone whose PC was affected by the bug, though as of this writing, it requires users to download and run a dedicated troubleshooting tool available from Microsoft's support site.

    The December 2023 Microsoft Printer Metadata Troubleshooter Tool is available for all affected Windows versions, and it will remove all references to the phantom HP LaserJet model (as long as you don't have one installed, anyway). The tool will also remove the HP Smart app as long as you don't have an HP printer attached and the app was installed after November 25, presumably the date that the bug began affecting systems. These steps should fix the issue for anyone without an HP printer without breaking anything for people who do use HP printers.

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  9. Shadowed photo of the Moog-Rothenberg keyboard

    Enlarge (credit: Ryan Young/Cornell University)

    Mathematician and early AI theorist David Rothenberg was fascinated by pattern-recognition algorithms. By 1968, he'd already done lots of work in missile trajectories (as one did back then), speech, and accounting, but he had another esoteric area he wanted to explore: the harmonic scale, as heard by humans. With enough circuits and keys, you could carve up the traditional music octave from 12 tones into 31 and make all kinds of between-tone tunes.

    Happily, he had money from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and he also knew just the person to build this theoretical keyboard: Robert Moog, a recent graduate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who was just starting to work toward a fully realized Moog Music.

    The plans called for a 478-key keyboard, an analog synthesizer, a bank of oscillators, and an impossibly intricate series of circuits between them. Moog "took his time on this," according to Travis Johns, instructional technologist at Cornell. He eventually delivers a one-octave prototype made from "1960s-era, World-War-II-surplus technology." Rothenberg held onto the keyboard piece, hoping to one day finish it, until his death in 2018. His widow, Suhasini Sankaran, donated the kit to Cornell in 2022.

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  10. The Play Store preps remote app uninstall feature

    Enlarge (credit: Google Play)

    One of the neatest features of the Play Store is remote app installation. If you have multiple devices signed in to the same Google account, the Play Store's "install" button will let you pick any of those devices as an installation target. If you find an app you like, it's great to queue up installs on your phone, watch, TV, tablet, laptop, and car, all from a single device. It makes sense, then, that you might want to be able to uninstall apps from all your devices, too.

    The new feature coming to the Play Store will let you do exactly that: remote uninstalls from any device on your account. The first sign of the feature is in the latest Android patch notes, which list a "New feature to help you uninstall apps on connected devices." It doesn't seem like this has been activated yet, but news site TheSpAndroid has photos of the feature, showing what you would expect. Opening the Play Store and uninstalling an app will bring up a list of devices, just like installing does now.

    It might not look like it, but under the hood, all installs from the Play Store happen via Android's push notification system. By default, the press of the Play Store install button requests Google to send an app push to your current device, but there's no need for the target device of a remote app install to be turned on and unlocked. Just like any other push notification, when the device connects to the Internet and sees the push, it will wake up and do whatever business it needs to do—usually, that's "show a message and beep," but in this case, that business is "install an app." Google has slowly exposed its remote install functionality to the world, first with the Android Market (now Play Store) website in 2011. It took 11 years for a similar feature to come to the Play Store phone app.

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  11. threshold-1702945458.jpeg

    In October, beloved indie rock weirdos Strange Ranger (whose Pure Music was on our list of Best Albums of 2023) announced their breakup and therefore made it on our annual In Memoriam tribute. Last month, Isaac Eiger, one of the band’s two founding members, shared “Dream All Night,” the debut single from his new project called Threshold. Today, he released “Century,” an untethered, off-kilter ballad. Hear it below.

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  12. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

    In May, Kesha shared Gag Order, her contractually obligated final album for Dr. Luke’s label Kemosabe. The following month, the pop star and Dr. Luke announced a settlement in their decade-long legal battle in the defamation lawsuit that followed Kesha’s allegations of sexual assault and emotional abuse by the producer. Today, it was reported that she has departed from Kemosabe, as well as RCA Records and Vector Management.

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  13. boygenius-1702940541.jpeg

    Last month, we named boygenius our Artists Of The Year with our cover story about their massive 2023, which included their breakthrough, Grammy-nominated debut album the record, followed by the sprawling EP the rest. Today, the trio covered Shania Twain’s “You’re Still The One” for BBC Radio 1. The classic song serves as the perfect setting for their layered harmonies; hear it below.

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  14. Dolly-1702938080.jpeg

    Dolly — formerly known as Dolly Spartans — is the New York-based indie rock project of Michael Eliran. They’re a staple of the Brooklyn DIY scene, especially with the catchy-as-fuck anthem “I Hear The Dead” from their 2017 EP Time Sides With No One. They’re finally releasing their first new music since then with the recent announcement of their upcoming EP Interloper. “Process” came out a few weeks ago, and earlier this week they shared “You Are.”

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  15. Apple Watch Series 9

    Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 9 released in September 2023. (credit: Apple)

    Apple will pause sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 starting December 21, it revealed today in a statement to 9to5Mac. The move comes as the products are facing a potential import ban until August 2028, due to rulings that the watches infringe on patents from Masimo.

    In October, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) upheld a January ruling that Apple Watches with pulse oximeter features infringe on two Masimo patents. Since then, the case has been under a 60-day Presidential Review Period, which ends December 25. After that date, the watches are subject to an import ban until the patents' expiration in 2028.

    Apple told 9to5Mac:

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  16. Christopher Polk/Getty Images

    Soon, Sublime With Rome will have to be without Rome. In 2009, the Fremont, California singer/guitarist Rome Ramirez essentially replaced the late Bradley Nowell as the leader of the legendary Long Beach band Sublime. Ramirez joined surviving Sublime members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, and they initially planned to perform together under the Sublime now, but the Nowell estate hit them with a cease-and-desist, so they changed their name to Sublime With Rome. For the past 15 years, Sublime With Rome have toured consistently, mostly playing songs from the original-flavor Sublime, though they’ve released three albums of their own. Bud Gaugh left the band in 2011, turning the group into more of a One Guy From Sublime, With Rome scenario. Today, Rome announced his departure.

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  17. Man removing Stadia logo from a wall with high pressure water spray

    Enlarge / Like it never even happened. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

    Stadia might be dead, but the controllers for Google's cloud-based gaming platform are still out there. With the service permanently offline, the proprietary Stadia Controller threatened to fill up landfills until Google devised a plan to convert them to generic Bluetooth devices that can work on almost anything. The app to open up the controller to other devices is a web service, which previously had a shutdown date of December 2023. That apparently isn't enough time to convert all these controllers, so the Stadia Controller Salvage operation will run for a whole additional year. X (formerly Twitter) user Wario64 was the first to spot the announcement, which says the online tool will continue running until December 31, 2024.

    As a cloud-based gaming service, Stadia had all the game code run on remote servers, with individual video frames streaming live to the user and showing the gameplay. The user would press buttons on their local controller, and every single individual button press had to travel across the Internet to the remote game server to be processed. These services live and die by their latency; in an attempt to reduce latency, the Stadia Controller connected to the Internet directly over Wi-Fi instead of connecting via Bluetooth to your computer and then to the Internet. Google claimed that one less hop on the local network led to shorter latency, especially since  the service was originally built around the power-limited Chromecast dongle.

    With the service dead, the Wi-Fi-only controller wouldn't work wirelessly, leaving old-school USB as the only way to use the controller. However, Stadia Controllers already came with a dormant Bluetooth chip, so Google cooked up a way to convert the orphaned controllers from Wi-Fi communication to Bluetooth, allowing them to wirelessly connect to computers and phones as a generic HID (Human Interface Device). Normally you'd expect a download for some kind of firmware update program, but Google being Google, the Stadia Controller update process happens entirely on a webpage. Google's controller update page has a very fancy "WebUSB" API setup—you fire up a Chromium browser, plug in your controller, grant the browser access to the device, and the webpage can access the controller directly and update the firmware, without any program to install.

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  18. Lil-Tjay-1702922965.jpg

    This year, Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” displaced Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” as the dominant #1 hit of the holiday season, but plenty of other Christmas standards are waiting in the wings. One of them is Wham!’s 1984 classic “Last Christmas,” which is currently sitting at #4 on the Hot 100 and which gets more cover versions every year. This year, Alanis Morisette and Coco & Clair Clair have released “Last Christmas” covers; they join a list that includes Boris, the xx, Future Islands, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Lucy Dacus. Now, rowdy New York rappers Lil Tjay and Fivio Foriegn have joined the party.

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