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Everything posted by DudeAsInCool

  1. Enlarge (credit: Getty) Chromebooks and MacBooks are among the least repairable laptops around, according to an analysis that consumer advocacy group US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) shared this week. Apple and Google have long been criticized for selling devices that are deemed harder to repair than others. Worse, PIRG believes that the two companies are failing to make laptops easier to take apart and fix. The "Failing the Fix (2024)" report released this week [PDF] is largely based on the repairability index scores required of laptops and some other electronics sold in France. However, the PIRG’s report weighs disassembly scores more than the other categories in France's index, like the availability and affordability of spare parts, “because we think this better reflects what consumers think a repairability score indicates and because the other categories can be country specific,” the report says. PIRG's scores, like France’s repair index, also factor in the availability of repair documents and product-specific criteria (the PIRG’s report also looks at phones). For laptops, that criteria includes providing updates and the ability to reset software and firmware. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  2. Enlarge / These mounted displays near the entrance let visitors touch, but not use, a Vision Pro. (credit: Kyle Orland) For decades now, potential Apple customers have been able to wander in to any Apple Store and get some instant eyes-on and hands-on experience with most of the company's products. The Apple Vision Pro is an exception to this simple process; the "mixed-reality curious" need to book ahead for a guided, half-hour Vision Pro experience led by an Apple Store employee. As a long-time veteran of both trade show and retail virtual-reality demos, I was interested to see how Apple would sell the concept of "spatial computing" to members of the public, many of whom have minimal experience with existing VR systems. And as someone who's been following news and hands-on reports of the Vision Pro's unique features for months now, I was eager to get a brief glimpse into what all the fuss was about without plunking down at least $3,499 for a unit of my own. After going through the guided Vision Pro demo at a nearby Apple Store this week, I came away with mixed feelings about how Apple is positioning its new computer interface to the public. While the short demo contained some definite "oh, wow" moments, the device didn't come with a cohesive story pitching it as Apple's next big general-use computing platform. Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  3. Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon) Apple is purportedly working on a foldable iPhone internally, according to "a person with direct knowledge of the situation" speaking to The Information. They're said to be clamshell-style devices that fold like Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip series rather than phones that become tablets like the Galaxy Z Fold or Google's Pixel Fold. The phones are also said to be "in early development" or "could be canceled." If they do make it to market, it likely wouldn't be until after 2025. The report has a long list of design challenges that Apple has faced in developing foldable phones: they're too thick when folded up; they're easily broken; they would cost more than non-foldable versions; the seam in the middle of the display tends to be both visible and feel-able; and the hinge on an iPad-sized device would prevent the device from sitting flat on a table (though this concern hasn't stopped Apple from introducing substantial camera bumps on many of its tablets and all of its phones). Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  4. Enlarge (credit: Jericho / Ron Amadeo) YouTube is still slowly dripping out stats about its subscriber base. After the announcement last week that YouTube Premium had hit 100 million subscribers, the company now says YouTube TV, its cable subscription plan, has 8 million subscribers. Eight million subscribers might sound paltry compared to the 100 million people on Premium, but Premium is only $12. YouTube TV is one of the most expensive streaming subscriptions at $73 a month. The cable-like prices are because this is a cable-like service: a huge bundle of 100-plus channels featuring cable TV stalwarts like CNN, ESPN, and your local NBC, CBS, and ABC channels. $73 is also the base price. Like cable TV, there are additional add-on packages for premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime, 4K packages, and other sports and language add-ons. Let's also not forget NFL Sunday Ticket, which this year became a YouTube TV exclusive, as a $350-a-year add-on to the $73-a-month service (there's also a $ 450-a-year standalone package). The subscriber numbers come from a "Letter from the YouTube CEO" blog post for 2024 from YouTube CEO Neal Mohan. With YouTube basically unable to get any bigger as the Internet's defacto video host, Mohan says the "next frontier" for YouTube is "the living room and subscriptions." Mohan wants users "watching YouTube the way we used to sit down together for traditional TV shows—on the biggest screen in the home with friends and family," and says that "viewers globally now watch more than 1 billion hours on average of YouTube content on their TVs every day." Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  5. Enlarge / A microSD card of "unknown origin" is soldered onto a USB interface board to serve as makeshift NAND storage. (credit: CBL Data recovery) When a German data recovery firm recently made a study of the failed flash storage drives it had been sent, it noticed some interesting, and bad, trends. Most of them were cheap sticks, the kind given away by companies as promotional gifts, but not all of them. What surprised CBL Data Recovery was the number of NAND chips from reputable firms, such as Samsung, Sandisk, or Hynix, found inside cheaper devices. The chips, which showed obvious reduced capacity and reliability on testing, had their manufacturers' logo either removed by abrasion or sometimes just written over with random text. Sometimes there wasn't a NAND chip at all, but a microSD card—possibly also binned during quality control—scrubbed of identifiers and fused onto a USB interface board. On "no-name" products, there is "less and less reliability," CBL wrote (in German, roughly web-translated). CBL did find branded products with similar rubbed-off chips and soldered cards but did not name any specific brands in its report. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  6. Enlarge / Intel's Core Ultra chips are some of the first x86 PC processors to include built-in NPUs. Software support will slowly follow. (credit: Intel) When it announced the new Copilot key for PC keyboards last month, Microsoft declared 2024 "the year of the AI PC." On one level, this is just an aspirational PR-friendly proclamation, meant to show investors that Microsoft intends to keep pushing the AI hype cycle that has put it in competition with Apple for the title of most valuable publicly traded company. But on a technical level, it is true that PCs made and sold in 2024 and beyond will generally include AI and machine-learning processing capabilities that older PCs don't. The main thing is the neural processing unit (NPU), a specialized block on recent high-end Intel and AMD CPUs that can accelerate some kinds of generative AI and machine-learning workloads more quickly (or while using less power) than the CPU or GPU could. Qualcomm's Windows PCs were some of the first to include an NPU, since the Arm processors used in most smartphones have included some kind of machine-learning acceleration for a few years now (Apple's M-series chips for Macs all have them, too, going all the way back to 2020's M1). But the Arm version of Windows is a insignificantly tiny sliver of the entire PC market; x86 PCs with Intel's Core Ultra chips, AMD's Ryzen 7040/8040-series laptop CPUs, or the Ryzen 8000G desktop CPUs will be many mainstream PC users' first exposure to this kind of hardware. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  7. Enlarge (credit: Getty Images / Apple / Benj Edwards) The recent launch of the Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset has inspired a number of social media stunts, including a viral video of someone wearing the headset while piloting a Tesla Cybertruck set to self-driving mode. On Monday, this prompted US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to issue a warning on social media, reports BBC and The New York Times. "Reminder—ALL advanced driver assistance systems available today require the human driver to be in control and fully engaged in the driving task at all times," Buttigieg wrote on the social media platform X. The Apple Vision Pro's mixed-reality features combine elements of stereoscopic VR with camera passthrough so users can see the world around them while they use the device. This has led to people experimenting with wearing the goggles while walking around in public and filming the results for TikTok and YouTube. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  8. Enlarge / Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Didi Gregorius playing for the Yankees in 2019, when Yankees games were easier to track down. Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), and Fox plan to launch an app together this fall, the companies announced Tuesday. The unnamed app will unite the sports offerings of the three media conglomerates, including their reported 85 percent ownership of US sports rights. The app could simplify things for sports fans while signaling a bundled future for streaming services—which could ultimately prove good or bad for subscribers. The new app will give subscribers access to ESPN+ and various linear channels that show live sports, including ABC, Fox, TNT, TBS, truTV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, FS1, FS2, SECN, ACCN, and BTN. The companies' announcement promised access to "thousands of events" through the app, including from the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, and NHL, as well as PGA, Wimbledon, UFC, and Formula 1 events, the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, the FIFA World Cup, and college sports. An anonymous person "familiar with the matter" told Variety that the app won't make original content. People will be able to bundle the sports app with Disney-owned streaming services Disney+ and Hulu, as well as with WBD's Max streaming app. The upcoming app will particularly target "those outside of the traditional pay TV bundle," the announcement said. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  9. Boston Dynamics' Atlas research robot. [credit: Boston Dynamics ] The world's most advanced humanoid robot, Boston Dynamics' Atlas, is back, and it's moving some medium-weight car parts. While the robot has mastered a lot of bipedal tricks like walking, running, jumping, and even backflips, it's still in the early days of picking stuff up. When we last saw the robot, it had sprouted a set of rudimentary hand clamps and was using those to carry heavy objects like a toolbox, barbells, and a plank of wood. The new focus seems to be on "kinetically challenging" work—these things are heavy enough to mess with the robot's balance, so picking them up, carrying them, and putting them down requires all sorts of additional calculations and planning so the robot doesn't fall over. In the latest video, we're on to what looks like "phase 2" of picking stuff up—being more precise about it. The old clamp hands had a single pivot at the palm and seemed to just apply the maximum grip strength to anything the robot picked up. The most delicate thing Atlas picked up in the last video was a wooden plank, and it was absolutely destroying the wood. Atlas' new hands look a lot more gentle than The Clamps, with each sporting a set of three fingers with two joints. All the fingers share one big pivot point at the palm of the hand, and there's a knuckle joint halfway up the finger. The fingers are all very long and have 360 degrees of motion, so they can flex in both directions, which is probably effective but very creepy. Put two fingers on one side of an item and the "thumb" on the other, and Atlas can wrap its hands around objects instead of just crushing them. Sadly all we're getting is this blurry 1 minute video with no explanation as to what's going on. Atlas is picking up a set of car struts—an object with extremely complicated topography that weighs around 30 pounds—so there's a lot to calculate. Atlas does a heavy two-handed lift of a strut from a vertical position on a pallet, walks it over to a shelf, and carefully slides it into place. This is all in Boston Dynamics' lab, but it's close to repetitive factory or shipping work. Everything here seems designed to give the robot a manipulation challenge. The complicated shape of the strut means there are a million ways you could grip it incorrectly. The strut box has tall metal poles around it, so the robot needs to not bang the strut into the obstacle. The shelf is a tight fit, so the strut has to be placed on the edge of the shelf and slid into place, all while making sure the strut's many protrusions won't crash into the shelf. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  10. Enlarge / The latest Huawei-designed Kirin processor was a 7-nanometer chip made for it by SMIC that appeared in the Mate 60 Pro smartphone in August. (credit: James Park/Bloomberg) China’s national chip champions expect to make next-generation smartphone processors as early as this year, despite US efforts to restrict their development of advanced technologies. The country’s biggest chipmaker, SMIC, has put together new semiconductor production lines in Shanghai, according to two people familiar with the move, to mass-produce the chips designed by technology giant Huawei. That plan supports Beijing’s goals of chip self-sufficiency, with President Joe Biden’s administration tightening export restrictions for advanced chipmaking equipment in October, citing national security concerns. The US has also been working with the Netherlands and Japan to block China’s access to the latest chip tools, such as machines from the Dutch maker ASML. Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  11. Enlarge / The Framework Laptop 16. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) Specs at a glance: Framework Laptop 16 OS Windows 11 23H2 CPU AMD Ryzen 7 7940HS (8-cores) RAM 32GB DDR5-5600 (upgradeable) GPU AMD Radeon 780M (integrated)/AMD Radeon RX 7700S (dedicated) SSD 1TB Western Digital Black SN770 Battery 85 WHr Display 16-inch 2560x1600 165 Hz matte non-touchscreen Connectivity 6x recessed USB-C ports (2x USB 4, 4x USB 3.2) with customizable "Expansion Card" dongles Weight 4.63 pounds (2.1 kg) without GPU, 5.29 pounds (2.4 kg) with GPU Price as tested $2,499 pre-built, $2,421 DIY edition with no OS Now that the Framework Laptop 13 has been through three refresh cycles—including one that swapped from Intel's CPUs to AMD's within the exact same body—the company is setting its sights on something bigger. Today, we're taking an extended look at the first Framework Laptop 16, which wants to do for a workstation/gaming laptop what the Framework Laptop 13 did for thin-and-light ultraportables. In some ways, the people who use these kinds of systems need a Framework Laptop most of all; they're an even bigger investment than a thin-and-light laptop, and a single CPU, GPU, memory, or storage upgrade can extend the useful life of the system for years, just like upgrading a desktop. The Laptop 16 melds ideas from the original Framework Laptop with some all-new mechanisms for customizing the device's keyboard, adding and upgrading a dedicated GPU, and installing other modules. The result is a relatively bulky and heavy laptop compared to many of its non-upgradeable alternatives. And you'll need to trust that Framework delivers on its upgradeability promises somewhere down the line since the current options for upgrading and expanding the laptop are fairly limited. Read 52 remaining paragraphs | Comments View the full article
  12. Minaj responds to Megan’s “Hiss”View the full article
  13. Swifties, get ready for the big game in VegasView the full article
  14. Joni Mitchell will make her Grammys performance debut at the 2024 award show, which will take place next weekend on February 4. The Recording Academy announced today that Mitchell will join a performance crew that is expected to include U2 (live from the Sphere), Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Billy Joel (for the first time in 22 years), Olivia Rodrigo, and more. View the full article
  15. Nine-time Grammy winner and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient had never performed on Music's Biggest NightView the full article
  16. "This is a temporary action and done with an abundance of caution as we prioritize safety on this issue,” social media company saysView the full article
  17. Celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D has won a lawsuit over a Miles Davis tattoo that she inked a few years ago. In 2021, she was sued by photographer Jeffrey Sedlik, who claimed that the tattoo constituted a copyright infringement of an image he shot of Davis in 1989. The photo in question was used for a cover story in JAZZIZ magazine. View the full article
  18. Justin Timberlake was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this weekend. He recently announced a new album called Everything I Thought I Was and shared its lead single “Seflish.” He performed that song on the show last night and he debuted a new one called “Sanctified” with Tobe Nwigwe — “Sanctified” was previewed in an ESPN commercial earlier this month. View the full article
  19. “It’s a really absurd number,” singer says of her 14 songs with 1 billion streams on Spotify, more than any other female artistView the full article
  20. Last week JPEGMAFIA stirred up a lot of controversy when he posted a photo of himself with Kanye West (who was donning a Burzum shirt). JPEGMAFIA has taken to social media to defend the meetup, saying there’s “nothing political about it.” View the full article
  21. Rising country singer performs "My First Rodeo," "I Got Time," and "If You Say So" for CBS Saturday MorningView the full article
  22. Rush drummer's obsession with sports cars of the Sixties the focus of his posthumous book, out May 7View the full article
  23. Earlier this week, Elbow announced their tenth album Audio Vertigo and shared “Lovers’ Leap.” On Friday, the UK group performed the song on The Graham Norton Show. View the full article
  24. The name Mike And The Moonpies started off as a joke, but it stuck for 17 years. Yesterday, the country band shared a statement announcing their name change to Silverada, explaining that Mike And The Moonpies “does not reflect who we are or the art we are creating currently.” View the full article
  25. Las Vegas concert also featured a rare performance of their 1987 B-side "The Sweetest Thing"View the full article
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