Thursday, December 29, 2016

Facebook's Safety Check in Bangkok misled users with news from 2015

Facebook got fooled by its own algorithm. Today, the social network activated its Safety Check feature but falsely suggested that there was an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand.

Users in the country saw an alert to mark themselves safe, but saw little details about when or where in Bangkok the “explosion” occurred. Safety Check came on at around 9PM local time and was deactivated about an hour later. News that “reported” the explosion linked back to an outdated story on Bangkok Informer about the 2015 Erawan Shrine bombing.

So what actually happened? Here’s Facebook’s statement to The Verge on the matter.

According to BBC, an incident occurred in the nation’s capital where a man threw ping pong-sized firecrackers that resembled explosives at a government building. Facebook claims this separate incident prompted Safety Check to turn on.

Though there were no explosions, the event page for this particular Safety Check was titled “The Explosion in Bangkok.” Additionally, there were no links to the original news story Facebook attributed to triggering the feature. Instead, the three linked stories, as shown in the screenshot above, cite the 2015 explosion, and a blog post that roughly translates to “When your friend digs up news about a bombing that happened a year ago to share on Facebook, so very annoying.”

Facebook is looking into how these unrelated links were added to today’s Safety Check page.
In November, Facebook announced that its Safety Check feature will be triggered by an algorithm that looks at trending posts by users in an area and give them an option to enable the feature. At the time, I spoke to Peter Cottle, a Facebook engineer who helped create Safety Check, about the possibility of false positives. Cottle assured that the algorithm uses third-party enterprise software to fact check the event before turning Safety Check on.

This isn’t the first time Safety Check experienced a mix-up; in March, Facebook alerted users in the US, UK, and other countries to mark themselves safe after a bombing in Pakistan.

The article was published on : theverge

Lenovo now makes a USB-C dock for office drones who love ports

Docks are finally getting their chance to shine after Apple nixed all the ports on its new MacBooks Pros and instead opted for only Thunderbolt. Suddenly, we love our ports. Don’t take our ports! Luckily for us, the wheels of capitalism have already started turning to satisfy our port needs. There’s OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 dock, for instance, and something called the Line Dock on Indiegogo. Now, Lenovo, too, is getting into the game with its Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C docks that it introduced today. These docks are designed for the modern day office worker, like all of Lenovo’s ThinkPad products.
The ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock includes two DisplayPort ports, HDMI, VGA, five USB 3.0 ports— one of which is always powered — Gigabit Ethernet, a headphone jack, and a Thunderbolt 3 port over USB-C. It supports up to three displays and costs $279.99.

Meanwhile, the ThinkPad USB-C Dock has two DisplayPort outputs, along with VGA, three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, and a headphone jack. It can power up to two displays and costs $199.99. Both docks come with separate power supplies to power a laptop.
Listen, you’ve got some options for docks. Not all hope is lost. Just remember: ports come and go, but docks remain a constant.

The article was published on : theverge

Twitter launches 360-degree video streaming on Periscope

Twitter is bringing live 360-degree video streams to Periscope.

The feature is launching immediately — you can already watch the “first ever #Periscope360” stream right here. But while everyone can watch in 360 degrees, only “select partners” are able to stream in 360 degrees at launch.

The implementation is pretty typical. On the desktop, you can click and drag around on the screen to rotate the camera. And on mobile, you can twist and turn your phone to change your perspective. The video quality isn’t particularly great — but then, most 360-degree video streams aren’t that great anyway. And it does appear to work.

Periscope says it’s testing 360-degree streams with a “small group of partners.” It didn’t discuss wider rollout plans, but it sounds like broadcasting support will launch to the general public at some point down the road.

The launch comes right on the heels of Facebook’s testing of 360-degree broadcasts on Facebook Live. Twitter and Periscope have come under a lot of pressure from Facebook Live as publishers switch over to Facebook’s platform in search of more viewers.

Twitter is somewhat ahead of Facebook on 360 video — Facebook plans to launch to some partners “in the coming months” — but the experimental nature of 360-degree video means it’ll only do so much to make Periscope stand out in the meantime.

The article was published on : theverge

This luxury Android phone packs a 7,000mAh battery and dual-curved display

Luxury smartphones aren’t about practicality, or efficiency, or any other trait we might otherwise associate with the utilitarian world of modern consumer electronics. Instead, these devices — like the new Gionee M2017 — are about excess, style, and raw power. The M2017, which is limited to the Chinese market as of now, comes with a 7,000mAh battery at a time when most phones can barely break 3,000mAh. (The phone actually just uses two 3,500mAh batteries placed next to one another.) The device also comes with a Snapdragon 653 processor and 6GB of RAM. For that kind of battery and processing power, you’ll be forking over the Chinese Yuan equivalent of about $1,000. 

But the specs are just one half of the luxury phone picture. The other half is about design. The M2017 follows in the footsteps of pricier luxury phone makers like Vertu with a jewelry-style aesthetic aiming to make the smartphone as tactile and pleasing an object as a fine watch or wallet. That style comes through on the M2017’s gold edges, gold back camera plate, and all-gold software icons. The phone also features a dual-curved display, similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. 

The downsides here are rather obvious. It’s not clear when this phone will ever make its way out of China. It’s also unclear what kind of software support or Android updates Gionee will provide. As it stands now, the M2017 ships with the company’s custom “Amigo” UI version 3.5, according to 9to5Google, which sits atop Google’s year-old Android Marshmallow. Still, it’s always fascinating to peek into the world of luxury phones to see what consumers are willing to purchase in exchange for status and aesthetics. 

The article was published on : theverge

Samsung’s new monitors have a better reason to be curved than TVs ever did

CES is just a week away, but if manufacturers keep going at their current pace of announcements, they're going to have nothing new to reveal on the show floor. The latest is the CH711 monitor from Samsung, a sleek curved model designed for gaming that uses quantum dot technology for what Samsung says is a "vivid, visually stunning picture."

The snazzy white-bodied CH711 has 27-inch and 31.5-inch variations, but both offer 2,560 x 1,440 WQHD resolution, and have a curvature of 1,800R. That's pretty damned curved, but that's great if you're playing games and watching movies from a few feet away, like Samsung's relaxed test subject in the picture above. The company promises a 178-degree viewing angle, anyway, and says the monitor gives a "richer and more vibrant color from any viewing distance."

The new model is due out in early 2017, but will be on show at CES — along with Samsung's other new curved quantum dot monitors, including the gaming-centric CFG70 and more workplace-focused CF791. Samsung's going hard on curved screens, but it will also be showing some regular flat monitors at the show, too — monitors like the still-to-be-released UH750, which the company says boasts a super-fast 1 ms response time.

The article was published on : theverge

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Introducing a one-time only podcast about a highly specific Tinder problem

What’s the biggest problem you run into while using the popular dating app Tinder? 

Is it that almost all the children of the Earth seem appalling when reduced to four photos and the opportunity to describe themselves in two sentences? Is it that you are a busy modern creature with precious little time to message the people in your life you already care about, much less strangers about whom you know nothing? Is it your terrible reflexes, never more inconvenient than when you have only a split-second to get someone else’s unbidden genitalia out of your face? 

Or, like Circuit Breaker writer Ashley Carman, is it that you never know how or when to save a person in your phone? Ashley wrote about this on The Verge a few weeks ago, regaling us with the charming anecdote of the time a boy saved her in his phone as a fishcake emoji. After her post went viral in Vox Media’s Slack rooms and out loud in Verge HQ, we (myself and Verge culture reporter / news editor Lizzie Plaugic) knew we had to congregate in a very dark closet and talk about it at some length. 

So we did it! Using anecdotal evidence and one impromptu phone call to a former romantic interest, we figured out the best way to go about saving numbers in the age of Tinder. Spoiler: it’s definitely not to refer to people by their first names, as 108 percent of the male population of the United States is named “Matt.” 

Another idea Ashley, Kaitlyn, and Lizzie are trying to get management on board with is a game show-style podcast about New York City public transportation. You give us a location, we aggressively debate the best way to get there — we weigh walking distance vs. total travel time, train crowdedness vs. train’s propensity for delays, Showtime boys vs. no Showtime boys, etc. We would call it The Amazing Race! Anyway, just think about it. 

And of course, we'd love it if you subscribed to the show on iTunes, along with The Verge's other great podcasts like Ctrl-Walt-Delete and Vergecast. You might also want to check out Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, and Too Embarrassed to Ask, featuring The Verge's Lauren Goode. Also: let us know what you think of this episode of Verge Extras! We love your feedback and suggestions on how to make our audio entertainment better and more fun. Especially if your suggestion is, “how about a podcast called The Amazing Race?”

The article was published on : theverge

Gigabyte’s new compact gaming PC continues the trend of weird-looking computers

Gigabyte’s Brix brand has been around for a while, and now the company is launching another member of the Brix series, the BRIX-GZ1DTi7. And with the strange green mesh, oval cross section, and glowing LED lights, it’s another gaming PC that has me wondering why we can’t simply make powerful computers that don’t look embarrassing to own. 

As reports, the new compact desktop actually has some serious firepower. The GZ1DTi7 offers a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and both a 240GB M.2 SSD as well as a 1TB HDD for storage. Meanwhile, the unique design is partly explained by the cooling mechanism, which draws air from the bottom of the PC and vents it out the top. But it’s still baffling to me that all high-end desktop gaming PCs seem to be stuck in a Mountain Dew-fueled fever dream

Aesthetics aside, it sounds like a good computer in a decently small form factor. No price or release date for either SKU has been announced, but with a product page already up on Gigabyte’s Chinese site, it likely won’t be too long before we get that information. 

The article was published on : theverge

Samsung is bringing a massive wireless speaker and its own audio algorithms to CES

Every company flirts with some variation of talking about the future in its promo materials, but Samsung has decided to be more direct by announcing it’s bringing "the future of audio" to CES 2017. The Korean company has developed a proprietary audio upscaling technology, which it is calling Ultra-high Quality Sound, or UHQ. It’s supposed to take 8-bit to 24-bit audio signals and convert them up to 32-bit for "delivering sound that brings each note to life with incredible clarity." Not to be a downer, but digital upscaling — which is done by filling the gaps of information with a best guess — has been done a whole bunch of times both with video and audio, and the results have tended to be underwhelming. In any case, there’s little evidence to suggest that the average listener can detect, let alone cares, about the difference between 16-bit and 32-bit recordings, even if Samsung’s tech works quite as well as advertised.
Samsung H7 Wireless Speaker
Samsung H7 Wireless Speaker
In any case, Samsung is giving the world its first opportunity to experience UHQ sound at CES with the new H7 Wireless Speaker. This is quite the chunky box, like an old school hi-fi that’s all speaker, but it’s also got a very minimal, refined look that’s frankly still a little unusual among Samsung’s home products. The company itself acknowledges that its 2017 devices "reflect a total paradigm shift for both the company and the industry [with] sleek, simplistic designs."
One fascinating addition of what could be very clever engineering is a feature Samsung calls Distortion Cancelling. This is an algorithm that "can intelligently predict a woofer’s movement, control it, and play more solid and stable sound at low pitch." Especially useful for reining in imprecise subwoofer vibrations, it should deliver a more composed and effective bass punch. It sounds like Samsung’s being practical about the limitations of its speaker technology and figuring out software solutions to working around them.
Samsung MS750 Soundbar
Samsung MS750 Soundbar
Joining the H7 speaker at CES will be a new MS750 sound bar, which Samsung touts as the first in its range "to embed subwoofer performance directly into the primary unit." Like the H7, it can’t be accused of being especially minimal in size, but it too has a very basic design that won’t offend anyone’s eyes or, hopefully, ears. The MS750 also supports UHQ 32-bit sound.
Samsung M9500 UHD Blu-ray Player
Samsung M9500 UHD Blu-ray Player
To complete the home entertainment upgrade, Samsung will also have a new Ultra HD Blu-ray player at CES, which it calls the M9500 UHD. It’s optimized for HDR and automatically makes video and audio adjustments in accordance with the particular content source being played, whether it be HDR, Dolby Atmos, or DTS-X. Looking at its utterly spartan control scheme, Samsung is indeed emphasizing the minimalist look, and its subtle curve at the front makes it just different enough from the standard black box to stand out and have a unique look.
Samsung isn’t yet announcing the specs, prices, or availability dates for these — because it’s still 2016, after all, and some news has to be preserved for CES itself — but all will be revealed during the Las Vegas show starting early next week.

The article was published on : theverge

Lenovo is putting Windows Precision trackpads in its ThinkPad laptops

Lenovo said today that it was updating its line of ThinkPad laptops in 2017 to include newer processors, more authentication features, and improved trackpads — something that has been a point of weakness with previous iterations of ThinkPad laptops.

Several new laptops, including the ThinkPad X270, the ThinkPad Yoga 370, four new ThinkPad T Ultrabook models, and the less expensive ThinkPad 13, will include support for Microsoft’s Windows Precision Touchpad, a new-ish set of drivers and interface for configuring touchpad gestures that was released with the launch of Windows 10. ThinkPad trackpads for years have been iconic at best and awful at their worst, with their little red TrackPoint buttons and sometimes-jittery touchpads. The TrackPoint button still makes an appearance on these newer laptops, but at least with the Precision Touchpad support there’s the promise of a smooth, fluid trackpad.

The new ThinkPads will also run on Kaby Lake, the newest architecture for Intel’s Core processor. And some will get updated authentication features, like support for Windows Hello, a facial recognition feature that utilizes an infrared camera; and biometric matching on a fingerprint sensor, which includes onboard firmware for fingerprint matching. This was added to newer machines partly to support customers in Europe, Lenovo says, where there are more stringent security requirements.

The new ThinkPads include: the 12-inch ThinkPad X270 with a touch display option, starting at $909 and available next March; the "bendy" ThinkPad Yoga 370 with a full HD 13.3-inch display, also shipping in March, for $1,264; four new ThinkPad T Ultrabook models, starting at $909, that come in a variety of customizations; the rugged ThinkPad L 14-inch and 15-inch laptops, which start at $779 and $909 respectively; a less expensive ThinkPad 13, which is aimed at small business owners or students and sells for $674; and an array of new docks that support Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C. Some of the new laptops, like the new Yoga 370, will come in silver in addition to standard black, a first for ThinkPad computers.

Lenovo, which is the world’s largest PC maker by shipments, first acquired the ThinkPad business from IBM back in 2004, and it’s by far the company's biggest business. However, an overall contraction in the PC market hasn’t been good for any computer maker, including Lenovo. In its most recent earnings report, Lenovo said its personal computing and smart device business group shipped 14.5 million units for the quarter, down 3.3 percent from the previous year.
The ThinkPad announcement is coming just ahead of CES, where it’s widely expected that Lenovo will have more news around its consumer line of laptops and tablets.

 The article was published on : theverge

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The best apps you didn’t know you needed for your new Android phone

Happy Holidays, and congrats on your brand new Android phone! If you’re here, you’re probably new to the platform. You may have just picked up a new Pixel, Galaxy S7 Edge, or even a One Plus 3, so we compliment you on your excellent taste. But look: if you’ve used a smartphone at any point in the last several years, you already know what apps you want and need. Good news! They’re, for the most part, all here! The big ones like Netflix and Facebook are obvious and cross-platform. But what about newer apps that you may not have heard of that you absolutely need? Here’s what you need to get:
We've rounded up our favorite and most-used apps and utilities for the technology we use every day. Check out our other picks for iPhones, PCs, and Macs. We've also listed our favorite games for iOS and Android from this year.


Signal has been around for years, but never has it felt more necessary. Developed by Open Whisper Systems, this messaging app secures not only text messages with end-to-end encryption but keeps phone calls safe from prying eyes and ears. It’s also super easy to make it your default SMS app. There are plenty of apps that have secure features, but Signal is by far the most popular and the one you’ll want to get.
Google Trips

Google Trips

Trips is Google’s new app that serves as a great trip planner and travel guide for wherever you’re heading next. The app pulls in travel data — so flight and hotel information — from your Google accounts, and provides a grid for your itinerary, things you’ll need to know about your destination, and of course things to do when you arrive. This app competes with apps like TripIt, but it’s so easy to use, you won’t want to switch back.


Having a password storage solution is a must going into 2016, and the best out there right now are 1Password and LastPass. Both let you create and store strong passwords for all your accounts, so you can finally stop using the same password for both your email and banking accounts. And if you have a fingerprint reader, both let you sign in with just the press of a finger.


Plex is a great service that lets you stream the music and movies you have stored on your computer directly to just about all the screens in your life. You’ll need an always-on computer to serve as your Plex server, but if you’re willing to part with $4.99 a month for a Plex Pass subscription (in addition to $59.99 per year for an Amazon Drive subscription), you can store all your content in the cloud to watch whenever you want.


500px is known as a high-end Instagram, serving as a portfolio service and marketplace for professional photographers. But one reason for the average smartphone photog to give it a look is its search feature, which lets you make rough sketches a la MS Paint and discover gorgeous photos. If you’re looking to get more serious about photography, this is probably the most fun way to find inspiration.

Dark Sky

If you had an iPhone before, you’re probably familiar with Dark Sky. It’s easily one of the best weather apps on iOS, which for too long meant that Android users were left out in the cold. Luckily, the app finally went cross-platform this year, which means you’ll get the all the precise weather updates you’ll ever want. You can download it for free, but it’s more than worth the $2.99 per year subscription fee for notifications and even homescreen widgets.


Snow will take your selfie game to the next level. (If your selfies are in dire need of crazy stickers.) Snow is an Snapchat clone, and it knows it. It rips off all the major features you can think of, even the dog lens. But it adds even more lens and filters, letting you put a Pomeranian on your head of sing with your own legion of fans. The best part is it lets you download your selfies to upload to Facebook, Instagram, and, yes, Snapchat.

Google Now Launcher

If you’re looking for a more stock android look (and you’re not using a Pixel or Nexus), the Google Now Launcher is a must. It’s simple and straightforward, but also features Google Now, which provides updates on your commute, travel info, and news you care about. 

The article was published on : theverge

The best apps for your new Mac

So you got a new Mac, huh? Lucky! I've been using a Mac as my primary computer on and off for about 20 years. I have a PC for games, but nothing beats a Mac yet for the modern media professional. Here are a few apps I use to get the job done.
We've rounded up our favorite and most-used apps and utilities for the technology we use every day. Check out our other picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs, and Macs. We've also listed our favorite games for iOS and Android from this year.


This is the most straightforward way to make GIFs from video clips or whatever is happening on your screen. For more advanced GIF creation I use GIFBrewery, but for quick-and-dirty stuff GIPHY CAPTURE is a real treasure.

4K Video Downloader

Maybe this is a niche thing, I'm not sure, but I frequently find myself wanting to download a YouTube video, and 4K Video Downloader makes it really easy. The app publisher also makes a tool called 4K Stogram for downloading photos from Instagram, and 4K YouTube to MP3 that does what it says on the tin.


I use Google Inbox instead of vanilla Gmail. There are a lot of mail clients and browser shells to turn Gmail into a desktop app, but I've never found a good desktop client for Inbox until WMail.

Notational Velocity

I'm a writer, and Notational Velocity makes it really easy to create, find, and sync my notes. Unlike a lot of apps, Notational Velocity has an option to both sync with Simplenote, and store notes as plain text files. I keep my notes folder in iCloud Drive (Dropbox or Google Drive work just as well) so they're accessible from anywhere and from any app. Sadly, Notational Velocity is basically abandonware — it's open source, but not actively maintained — and I fear the day when it will stop working. I'll keep using it until it does.


One reason I like to keep my notes as plain text files is so I can edit them in my text editor of choice. When I'm doing longer-form writing and I want a pretty, distraction-free editor, I open up Byword. I've also used Byword's Markdown preview to print invoices when I was a freelancer, because I'll do just about anything to avoid traditional word processors like Pages and Word.

Visual Studio Code

And yet another text editor! Visual Studio Code is slick and extensible. I still do a lot of coding in Vim, but when I want to be lazy and have a nice point-and-click project view, Visual Studio Code's Vim mode is totally acceptable.


Guess what? A text editor. But this one is really special. I wish there were 100 more apps like Calca. It really makes my computer feel like a computer, you know? Basically, it lets you do math with text instead of a calculator. There's a small learning curve, but it's great when you have a math heavy project and you're tired of summing everything up every time a variable changes.


I really like how you can snap windows to different edges of the screen in Windows, and BetterSnapTool replicates that functionality perfectly. There are a bunch of great window managers available for Mac, so pick which one works best for you. I like this one.


I'm still not sure about this whole "emoji" thing the kids are talking about, but the best possible way to add emojis to any message is the Slack way, where you just type a colon and start typing name of the emoji and it autocompletes. Rocket makes it so you can type emoji like that anywhere on your Mac.

The article was published on : theverge

A short wish list for the next version of Apple AirPods

Apple got a lot right with AirPods, the company’s first crack at truly wireless earbuds. I was impressed by the price, the robust wireless connection, and some of the simple (but smart) features that Apple has always been so good at delivering. You can read more of my thoughts in my full review, but there’s a lot I’d still like to see in the next generation — whenever that might come.


Siri is 40 percent asking about the weather, 50 percent frustration, and 10 percent pleasant surprise. But my biggest beef with Siri on AirPods is that the assistant can’t handle back-and-forth conversation as well as services like Google Assistant.
An example: after I came up from the subway on one of my first days with AirPods, I tapped and asked Siri to locate a restaurant. Siri was only able to tell me the address — I couldn’t follow up and ask which way to go, or for it to give me directions. I had to either start the whole conversation tree over or pull out my phone. 

This is all hopefully changing — Siri is getting smarter, and third party apps can now plug into Apple’s assistant. I actually enjoy using Siri when I need to use Venmo, for example. Shouting a few words at my phone feels quicker and more fun than tapping into and around the app. Fun! When giving away my money!
Siri is one of the clearest paths to a technology like the one we saw in the movie Her. You can debate the merits of a technology like that, but Apple now has all the pieces in place to get us there. Siri’s limitations are the company’s last big hurdle.

A new design

I struggled with the way AirPods fit, but my review focused heavily on this problem so I won’t dive into it again here. That said, I hope Apple finds a way around the current design sooner than later. I want a closed design with options for different tips, and I also want them to get rid of the awkward-looking stems. Sure, those stalks help pick up your voice, and the design adds to the robustness of the Bluetooth connection. But I’ll wait for something more discreet.

Onboard storage

Separating headphones from your phone makes things like running much easier. The problem here is iTunes. It’s almost 2017 and you still can’t drag and drop songs from iTunes onto your iPhone, so it’s hard to hold out hope for a better experience on AirPods. (Update: you can drag and drop! Just not in every situation. If you have iCloud Music Library enabled, which you need to sync Apple Music playlists across devices, among other things. It took this 40-minute Twitter thread to figure this out, so I think my larger point about iTunes stands.)

Better volume control

You can double tap AirPods to activate Siri or play and pause your music, but that’s it. The only way to control the volume from AirPods is to ask Siri, which is a process. Buttons on earbuds are a tough proposition — you don’t want people pushing earbuds deeper into their ear. But I’ve really come to love volume control on wireless earbuds that have it, and I hate when it’s missing.

The article was published on : theverge

I have owned a Fitbit for one day

Fitbit Charge 2. This isn’t as rude as it sounds because I’ve spent the last six months trying to improve my physical fitness (I’m preparing for the worst, re: 2017).
So far, here is how I can be quantified:
  • Four text alerts. Three said “Merry Christmas!!!!!!” The other was a fake quote from Mark Zuckerberg. I discovered that text alerts do not go to my Fitbit if I have iMessage open on my computer. That is a “revelation” not something I quantified, but I’m not sure where else to put it.
  • As of 10:40 AM EST I had completed 510 steps out of what Fitbit has declared as my 10,000-step daily goal. I am working from home today. I am working on the internet.
  • I have a resting heart rate of 62 BPM. Nice! Either I’m a professional athlete or I’m nearing death.
  • I “relax”-ed for two minutes.
When I got home from Christmas dinner at my grandmother’s house yesterday I ran 2.5 miles on a treadmill in my parents’ basement and did a variety of sit-up alternatives that I learned at my gym’s “Ab-s-olution” class. However, I was not wearing my new Fitbit. Who knows if I’m telling the truth!
In the future, I’ll be able to prove it to you. I don’t know for sure if quantifying myself will ultimately be useful, but for a while I did type everything I ate into an Under Armour-branded app and though it eventually got boring and tedious it gave me a sense of control in a world in which there is very little of that. I also convinced myself for a while that if I consistently ate 200 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A I would not need to actually get reading glasses (as recommended by a physician), which suited my vanity and made me feel like a science experiment.
The best thing about quantifying myself is that it means I always have something to talk about. For example, if a friend should ask, “how are you?” I can respond “I have 483 more calories to eat today and because I’m secretly in love with you my heart rate is off the charts right now please back up three to six feet.” If I’m at a loss for words at a networking event I can say, “what are your opinions on the quantified self?” And I will have some to share. If the conversation lags I can excuse myself to walk up and down a flight of stairs in service of my step goal.
I know there has been plenty of ink spilled about whether or not fitness trackers actually help you lose weight or get strong, and that’s not what I’m here to address. In 2017 I will not be wasting time worrying about societal expectations for my bod and I already know I am very strong because I can do 11 push-ups. All I care about in regards to my Fitbit is learning some new ways to list facts about myself. 

The article was published on : theverge

LG's new levitating speaker promises 10 hours of floating funk

Sure, we might be facing down a potential nuclear war, burning fossil fuels for fun, and still not have our own robot butlers, but the last few years have at least brought us something undeniably futuristic: levitating speakers. LG is the latest manufacturer to add to this range, showing off a new Bluetooth device ahead of CES next month

Other levitating speakers have looked like UFOs, evil soccer balls, or clouds. LG's latest looks more like the kind of device you might find in a hospital, with a functional off-white color scheme, a reassuringly chunky base unit, and a series of control options on the speaker itself. Its levitation is achieved through the use of electromagnets, rather than witchcraft, powerful units that support an omnidirectional speaker that LG says features Dual Passive Radiator technology for "flush mid-range tones and crisp highs."

Bass is, fittingly, handled by the base unit, which works as a subwoofer. It also doubles up as a charger: once the hovering speaker has used up its 10 hours of battery life, it descends slowly onto the base for charging, settling back to terra firma like a little lunar lander. The speaker can continue to play audio while it's charging, but be aware that it will look slightly less cool.

LG hasn't given pricing or release information for the Levitating Portable Speaker yet, but the company will be showing the device off at CES next week, where The Verge hopes to get a hands on. 

The article was published on : theverge

Google Search will no longer tell you that the Holocaust didn’t happen

After weeks of criticism, Google’s search engine will no longer suggest to visitors that the Holocaust never happened. As Digital Trends reports, it appears to have removed a result for the query “did the Holocaust happen” from white supremacist site Stormfront, which previously appeared at the top of the first page. The removal follows a smaller change that simply ranked the page a bit lower.

“Google was built on providing people with high-quality and authoritative results for their search queries,” the company said in a statement to multiple outlets. “We strive to give users a breadth of diverse content from variety of sources and we’re committed to the principle of a free and open web. Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right.” Initially, Google had said the results would stay as they were, although the Stormfront page was not endorsed by Google. “We do not remove content from our search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content, malware and violations of our webmaster guidelines,” a spokesperson told Forbes at the time. Those exceptions didn’t apply to “Top 10 reasons why the Holocaust didn’t happen,” as the top-ranked page was called.

The controversy over these results has highlighted the gap between Google’s dual existence as a neutral web index and a comprehensive repository for facts. The more Google emphasizes its digital assistant role, the more these kind of results feel like surfacing dangerously inaccurate answers to literal questions, not simply listing pages with objectionable content in response to searches about them. Unfortunately, as Gizmodo points out, it’s still willing to spit out some ugly results for other loaded queries about race and religion — although some of them seem to have been cleaned up as well.

The article was published on : theverge

Thursday, December 22, 2016

HTC’s next product announcement will be on January 12th

HTC just sent out an invitation for an event on January 12th. As per usual with these teaser invites, there are minimal details about what the announcement will unveil. All we have to go by right now is that it’s something “For U.” If you notice, the U is also mirrored with the C in HTC’s logo.

The event will be held right after CES, but well over a month before Mobile World Congress. Maybe we’re looking at some new wearables or VR, but a new flagship smartphone isn’t out of the question either. We’ll know more in a few weeks.

The article was published on : theverge 

Apple extends USB-C accessory discounts until March 31st

Apple has extended the price cuts on nearly all USB-C cables and adaptors in its store, pushing the sale’s end date back three months, from December 31st to March 31st.

The price cuts were announced at the beginning of November, shortly after the introduction of the MacBook Pro and amid a flurry of complaints from potential buyers about the computer’s lack of commonly used ports. Because it only has USB-C ports, new cables or adaptors are needed to connect pretty much anything a person already owns, tacking on added costs to the computer and potentially requiring more devices to be carried around.

While temporarily cutting the price on USB-C cables by no means solves the problem created by the MacBook Pro’s questionable port situation, it does help to address it for existing owners. Apple’s cables are some of the best that you can buy. And with these price cuts, they’re available at what are actually reasonable prices.

Here’s the breakdown:
All third-party USB-C peripherals sold by Apple will receive around a 25 percent price cut. Only Apple’s USB-C charging cables aren’t being discounted. 

In addition to extending the cable discount, Apple is also beginning to ship LG’s UltraFine 5K Display and extending a sale on it — from $1,299 to $974 — to March 31st.

Discussion around the MacBook Pro’s port situation has died down some since November, but another issue has popped up since: the computer’s surprisingly short battery life. Apple recently removed the “time remaining” estimate from all MacBooks as a way to hide resolve the issue (the counter was inconsistent on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, though it’s always seemed to work just fine on other MacBooks), but it didn’t change the actual battery life, nor the fact that buyers continue to experience frustrations with the new Pro.

The article was published on : theverge

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