Microsoft’s New Windows Terminal Preview Offers a Retro CRT Screen Effect

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“The release of the Windows Terminal preview v0.8 has arrived!” announces a post on Microsoft’s Command Line blog:

Search functionality has been added to the Terminal! The default key binding to invoke the search dropdown is {“command”: “find”, “keys”: [“ctrl+shift+f”]}. Feel free to customize this key binding in your profiles.json if you prefer different key presses! The dropdown allows you to search up and down through the buffer as well as with letter case matching.

You can search through multiple tabs, reports the Verge — and those tabs can also be resized “so you can fit more tabs into View.” But they also note that Microsoft added some interesting retro-style CRT effects:
If you’re old enough to be a fan of CRT monitors then this one is for you. A new experimental feature will be enabled that includes the classic scan lines that you might have seen before the world switched to flat monitors and LCD technology.

To enable it just add the following code snippet to any of your profiles: “experimental.retroTerminalEffect”: true

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Tuxedo’s New Manjaro Linux Laptops Will Include Massive Customization

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Tuxedo Computers “has teamed up with Manjaro to tease not one, not two, but several” Linux laptops, Forbes reports:

The Tuxedo Computers InfinityBook Pro 15…can be loaded with up to 64GB of RAM, a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, and as high as a 2TB Samsung EVO Plus NVMe drive. You can also purchase up to a 5-year warranty, and user-installed upgrades will not void the warranty…

Manjaro Lead Project Developer Philip Müller also teased a forthcoming AMD Ryzen laptop [on Forbes’ “Linux For Everyone” podcast]. “Yes, we are currently evaluating which models we want to use because the industry is screaming for that,” Müller says. “In the upcoming weeks we might get some of those for internal testing. Once they’re certified and the drivers are ready, we’ll see when we can launch those.” Müller also tells me they’re prepping what he describes as a “Dell XPS 13 killer.”

“It’s 10th-generation Intel based, we will have it in 14-inch with a 180-degree lid, so you can lay it flat on your desk if you like,” he says.

The Manjaro/Tuxedo Computers partnership will also offer some intense customization options, Forbes adds.

“Want your company logo laser-etched on the lid? OK. Want to swap out the Manjaro logo with your logo on the Super key? Sure, no problem. Want to show off your knowledge of fictional alien races? Why not get a 100% Klingon keyboard?”

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Every Place is the Same Now

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With a phone, anywhere else is always just a tap away. From a column: Those old enough to remember video-rental stores will recall the crippling indecision that would overtake you while browsing their shelves. With so many options, any one seemed unappealing, or insufficient. In a group, different tastes or momentary preferences felt impossible to balance. Everything was there, so there was nothing to watch. Those days are over, but the shilly-shally of choosing a show or movie to watch has only gotten worse. First, cable offered hundreds of channels. Now, each streaming service requires viewers to manipulate distinct software on different devices, scanning through the interfaces on Hulu, on Netflix, on AppleTV+ to find something “worth watching.” Blockbuster is dead, but the emotional dread of its aisles lives on in your bedroom.

This same pattern has been repeated for countless activities, in work as much as leisure. Anywhere has become as good as anywhere else. The office is a suitable place for tapping out emails, but so is the bed, or the toilet. You can watch television in the den — but also in the car, or at the coffee shop, turning those spaces into impromptu theaters. Grocery shopping can be done via an app while waiting for the kids’ recital to start. Habits like these compress time, but they also transform space. Nowhere feels especially remarkable, and every place adopts the pleasures and burdens of every other. It’s possible to do so much from home, so why leave at all?

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Samsung’s Removable-Battery Smartphone Is Coming To the US For $499

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PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from The Verge: We’ve already seen Samsung’s new rugged smartphone with a removable battery, the Galaxy XCover Pro, because the company revealed it on its Finnish website before taking it down. Today, though, the company is officially announcing the phone and that it’s coming to the U.S. for $499. For that price, you’re getting a phone with a swappable battery that’s a meaty 4,050mAh, and the phone even supports 15W fast charging, as well as with special docks that use pogo pins. The XCover Pro is intended to be used by workers in industrial settings or out in the field, so that huge battery should theoretically let workers use their phones for longer and give them the option to swap in a fresh battery in a pinch.

Otherwise, the phone’s specs are mid-range: a 6.3-inch 2220 x 1080 display (which Samsung says you can use when you have gloves on), a 2GHz octa-core Exynos 9611 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage (with support for microSD storage up to 512GB). For cameras, the phone has a 13-megapixel front-facing camera in a corner of the screen and two rear cameras: a 25-megapixel camera and an 8-megapixel camera. It’ll also ship with the latest Android 10 and Samsung’s One UI 2.0, contrary to information from the early reveal that indicated that the XCover Pro was running Android 9 Pie.

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Why Do 88% of Americans Use a Second Screen While Watching TV?

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According to TV metrics company Nielsen, a whopping 88% of Americans stare at screens while staring at other screens. Nate Anderson from Ars Technica discovered the stat while combing through Mary Meeker’s annual “Internet Trends” report: My attitude, when watching TV, is that a show you pay attention to precludes the use of phone or laptop; if you’re using another screen, you’re not actually watching the show. Pick better shows to watch, people! And then watch them! […] I got to thinking about the ways in which we use television, and not all of them involve watching dark prestige dramas with 80+ Metacritic scores. Perhaps you’re watching (ugh) live TV, either because you are a masochist or you love sports. (If you are watching baseball, perhaps it’s both!) Picking up a smartphone during commercial breaks is arguably better than being bombarded with the consumerism of late-stage capitalism.

Say you use your TV not as a way to consume compelling crafted content, but as background noise that helps you relax. (I highly recommend Sunday afternoon golf for this purpose.) Tooling around on a laptop while the TV plays in the background is now not quite so odd. Or perhaps you watch TV simply as a way to kill time. Perhaps you’re in pain, or recovering from illness, or simply bored out of your mind. The goal is not necessarily to direct your full and undivided attention to the screen; it is to get through the day until something better comes along. Using a second screen here, too, makes sense. […] Still, I can’t shake the feeling that the majority of time spent using one digital device while another displays video content nearby is low-quality time, where we aren’t really paying attention to what’s on either screen and so are using the planet’s resources, cluttering our lives with extra noise, and reinforcing our slavish devotions to screens for little to no benefit… Do you ever find yourself browsing your phone while watching TV? If so, can it be explained by one of Nate’s reasonings?

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‘My Business Card Runs Linux’

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Computer engineer George Hilliard says he has built an electronic business card running Linux. From his blog post: It is a complete, minimal ARM computer running my customized Linux firmware built with Buildroot. It has a USB port in the corner. If you plug it into a computer, it boots in about 6 seconds and shows up over USB as a flash drive and a virtual serial port that you can use to log into the card’s shell. The flash drive has a README file, a copy of my resume, and some of my photography. The shell has several games and Unix classics such as fortune and rogue, a small 2048, and a small MicroPython interpreter.

All this is accomplished on a very small 8MB flash chip. The bootloader fits in 256KB, the kernel is 1.6MB, and the whole root filesystem is 2.4MB. So, there’s plenty of space for the virtual flash drive. It also includes a writable home directory, on the off chance that anyone creates something they want to keep. This is also saved on the flash chip, which is properly wear leveled with UBI. The whole thing costs under $3. It’s cheap enough to give away. If you get one from me, I’m probably trying to impress you. In a detailed write-up, Hilliard goes on to explain how he came up with the design and assembled all the components. Naturally, there were some problems that arose during the construction that he had to troubleshoot: “first, the USB port wasn’t long enough to reliably make contact in many USB ports. Less critically, the flash footprint was wrong, which I worked around by bending the leads under the part by hand…”

Impressively, the total cost of the card (not including his time) was $2.88 — “cheap enough that I don’t feel bad giving it away, as designed!”

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Motorola Delays Razr To Meet Unexpectedly High Demand

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Motorola is slightly delaying its reimagined foldable Razr flip phone, citing an unexpectedly high demand. Android Police reports: Pre-orders were originally slated to begin on December 26th, ahead of the launch on January 9th, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a little bit for our fancy blasts from the past. Motorola has stated that it doesn’t foresee “a significant shift” from the original launch window, so hopefully the delay won’t be too long. With the announcement of the delay coming at the eleventh hour, it might put a damper on some tech enthusiasts’ holiday, but at least we’ll avoid the mad rush that comes with under-supplying.

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Is Microsoft’s Chromium Edge Browser Better Than Firefox and Chrome?

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Android Authority argues that the new Microsoft Chromium Edge browser “is full of neat tricks” and “packs more features than Firefox”:

The final major feature is called Apps. Essentially, Apps allows you to download and install web pages and web apps for use without the Edge browser. Previously, you had to find these dedicated web apps via the Microsoft Store, but now Edge handles downloading and managing web apps all in the browser. For example, you can download the Twitter web app via Edge just by visiting the Twitter website and clicking “install this site as an app” from the settings menu. Once installed, you can run the webpage as an app directly from your desktop, taskbar, or start menu like any other piece of software. It’s like saving links only better, as some web apps can run offline too. Alternatively, you can install the Android Authority webpage and run it as an app to catch up with the latest news without having to boot up Edge each time. It’s pretty neat and something that I intend to use more often.

Overall, Edge offers everything you’ll want in a web browser and more. Microsoft finally feels on the cutting edge of the internet.

The browser does have a smaller range of supported extensions, but you can also manually install Chrome extensions, according to the article. It adds that Microsoft Edge Chromium “typically uses just 70 to 75 percent of the RAM required by Chrome [and] is even more lightweight than Firefox.”

And while acknowledging that Microsoft’s Windows 10 “has its share” of telemetry issues, the article adds that “at no point during my couple of weeks with Edge have I noticed it thrashing my hard drive.

“Chrome has a habit of scanning various files on my computer, despite opting out of all the available data sharing options. This isn’t great for system performance and raises obvious security questions.”

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Apple’s Activation Lock Will Make It Very Difficult To Refurbish Macs

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Apple’s Activation Lock is an anti-theft feature built into iOS, watchOS, and macOS Catalina that prevents people from restoring your Apple devices without your permission. “With the release of macOS Catalina earlier this fall, any Mac that’s equipped with Apple’s new T2 security chip now comes with Activation Lock,” writes iFixit’s Craig Lloyd. What this means is that there will likely be thousands of perfectly good Macs being parted out or scrapped instead of being put into the hands of people who could really use them. From the report: Activation Lock was designed to prevent anyone else from using your device if it’s ever lost or stolen, and it’s built into the “Find My” service on iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices. When you’re getting rid of an old phone, you want to use Apple’s Reset feature to wipe the phone clean, which also removes it from Find My iPhone and gets rid of the Activation Lock. But if you forget, and sell your old iPhone to a friend before you properly wipe it, the phone will just keep asking them for your Apple ID before they can set it up as a new phone. In other words, they won’t be able to do much with it besides scrap it for parts.

That seems like a nice way to thwart tech thieves, but it also causes unnecessary chaos for recyclers and refurbishers who are wading through piles of locked devices they can’t reuse. This reduces the supply of refurbished devices, making them more expensive — oh, and it’s an environmental nightmare. […] The T2 security chip, however, erases any hope and makes it impossible to do anything on a Mac without the proper Apple ID credentials. Attempting any kind of hardware tinkering on a T2-enabled Mac activates a hardware lock, which can only be undone by connecting the device to Apple-authorized repair software. It’s great for device security, but terrible for repair and refurbishment. While recyclers may not be dealing with as many locked Macs as locked iPhones (especially since Activation Lock on Macs is still very new, and there are specific software criteria that need to be met), it’s only a matter of time before thousands upon thousands of perfectly working Macs are scrapped or shredded, for lack of an unknown password.

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Valve’s Steam Controller Is Dead

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Valve has confirmed to The Verge that it will stop making its Steam Controller. Currently, the gamepads are on sale for just $5 — 90 percent off its original price — but once these controllers are gone, Valve doesn’t plan to make any more. From the report: [W]hile I can’t recommend it wholeheartedly like I did when Valve discontinued its amazing Steam Link wireless HDMI cable-in-a-box, I will say that $13 is a pretty excellent price if you ever plug your PC into your television, or sling your PC games wirelessly to the Steam Link app on your phone and need an accurate solution. That’s because the controller, originally introduced in 2013 as part of Valve’s failed Steam Machines initiative, is one of the most fully customizable gamepads ever made, and perhaps the only one to offer mouse-like pinpoint precision. That’s because it uses a pair of trackpads, complete with tiny solenoid actuators for haptic feedback, so you can emulate a mouse or trackball. Plus, there are paddles around back for crouching, jumping, strafing, you name it without needing to take your thumbs off those trackpads.

But that’s just the beginning. Thanks to Valve’s robust configuration software, the Steam Controller has developed something of a cult following with thousands of gamers uploading their custom configurations for their entire game libraries on Steam. It’s not uncommon to fire up a game and find dozens of fancy profiles that place the game’s functions at your fingertips plus add entirely new control modes. One common modifier is to hold down a button to switch the entire gamepad into a gyroscopic aiming mode, not only readying your character’s weapon, but slowing down your aiming sensitivity while allowing you to physically shift the controller a small amount to line up a shot using its built-in gyroscope. […] I doubt I’m actually going to convince you to buy a Steam Controller if you’ve never been sold on the idea before. (Plus, paying $8 for shipping seems a bit much.) But I’m keeping mine around as a piece of gaming history, and I’m a little tempted to buy a second just in case I ever lose its USB dongle.

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Google Stadia Review: Gaming’s Streaming Future Isn’t Here Yet

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Scott Stein, reviews Google Stadia cloud gaming service for CNET: Stadia’s launch day was earlier this week… sort of. Really, consider this the start of Stadia’s early-access beta period. Because Google’s big promises haven’t arrived, and at the price of the Stadia’s Founder’s Edition, I can’t recommend anyone jump onboard at the moment. Google’s experimental game streaming service, Stadia, launches without many of its promised features, and just a handful of games. It works, but there’s not much incentive to buy in. We’ve heard about the promises of streaming games over the internet for a decade. Stadia really does work as a way to stream games. I’ve only played a couple of the 12 games Google promised by Tuesday’s launch, though. That short list pales compared to what Microsoft already has on tap for its in-beta game-streaming service, xCloud. It’s no match for what Nvidia’s game streaming GeForce Now already has or what PlayStation Now offers. Prices of Stadia games at launch in the US are below. They’re basically full retail game prices. This could get crazy expensive fast.

[…] Stadia has so few games right now, and I’m trying them with no one else online. It isn’t clear how things will work now that the service is going live, and what other features will kick in before year’s end. I’m curious, but I might lose interest. Others might, too. I have plenty of other great games to play right now: on Apple Arcade, VR and consoles such as the Switch. Stadia isn’t delivering new games yet, it’s just trying to deliver a new way to play through streaming. One that you can already get from other providers. Until Google finds a way to loop in YouTube and develop truly unique competitive large-scale games, Stadia isn’t worth your time yet. Yes, the future is possibly wild, and you can see hints of the streaming-only cloud-based playground Stadia wants to become. But we’ll see what it shapes into over the next handful of months and check back in. Raymond Wong, writing for Input Mag looks at the amount of data playing a game on Stadia consumes and how the current state of things require a very fast internet connection to work: Like streaming video, streaming games is entirely dependent on your internet speed. Faster internet delivers smooth, lag-free visuals, and slower internet means seeing some glitches and dropped framerates. Google recommends a minimum of connection of 10Mbps for 1080p Full HD streaming at 30 fps with stereo sound and 35Mbps for 4K resolution streaming (in HDR if display is supported) at 60 fps with 5.1 surround sound. Reality didn’t reflect Google’s advertising, though. Despite having a Wi-Fi connection with 16-20Mbps downloads in a hotel room in LA, streaming Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Destiny 2 to my 13-inch MacBook Pro wasn’t 100% stable. The visuals would glitch out for a second or two about every 10 minutes of playtime. […] A fast internet connection isn’t the only thing you need for Stadia to work right. You need a lot of bandwidth, too. One hour of playing Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1080p resolution on my 46-inch HDTV via a Chromecast Ultra ate up 5.3GB of data. This seemed insane until I saw an hour of Destiny 2 on a Pixel 3a XL with 6-inch, 1080p-resolution display gobbled up 9.3GB of data!

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Xbox One November Update Arrives With Google Assistant, Gamertag Updates, More

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Microsoft’s November 2019 update for Xbox One consoles is now headed out to everyone. From a report: After a period of testing with Xbox Insiders, several new features are now rolling out to the public, including Google Assistant support, the option to use any Gamertag, text filters, and more. Perhaps the biggest update here is support for Google Assistant. While it doesn’t run on your Xbox, Google Assistant support allows you to issue commands to control your Xbox from your phone or smart speaker. It works much like the Amazon Echo integration that hit Xbox consoles several months ago, letting you turn your Xbox on, launch games, and more with your voice. The Gamertag updates in the November 2019 update bring more choice to players on consoles. Microsoft announced a plan earlier this year to revamp Gamertags, allowing you to choose any name you want. If you pick a Gamertag that’s already taken, you’ll have a numbered suffix added to it. “With the November 2019 Xbox Update, these gamertag options are now supported on console, including profiles, friend lists, messages, Clubs, LFG and more,” Microsoft says.

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Motorola Resurrects the Razr As a Foldable Android Smartphone

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After teasing it last month, Motorola has officially announced the successor to the Motorola Razr. The “razr,” as it is called, “keeps the same general form factor but replaces the T9 keypad and small LCD with a 6.2-inch foldable plastic OLED panel and Android 9 Pie,” reports The Verge. “It’ll cost $1,499 when it arrives in January 2020.” From the report: The new Razr is a fundamentally different take on the foldable phones that we’ve seen so far: instead of turning a modern-sized phone into a smaller tablet, it turns a conventional-sized smartphone into something much smaller and more pocketable. […] The core of the phone is, of course, the display. It’s a 6.2-inch 21:9 plastic OLED panel that folds in half along the horizontal axis. Unfolded, it’s not dramatically bigger than any other modern phone, and the extra height is something that the Android interface and apps adapt to far better than a tablet-size screen. The screen does have a notch on top for a speaker and camera and a curved edge on the bottom, which takes a bit of getting used to, but after a minute or two, you barely notice it.

There’s also a second, 2.7-inch glass-covered OLED display on the outside that Motorola calls the Quick View display. It can show notifications, music controls, and even a selfie camera mode to take advantage of the better main camera. Motorola is also working with Google to let apps seamlessly transition from the front display to the main one. There are some concerns about durability for the folding display, especially after Samsung’s Galaxy Fold issues. But Motorola says that it has “full confidence in the durability of the Flex View display,” claiming that its research shows that “it will last for the average lifespan of a smartphone.” There’s a proprietary coating to make the panel “scuff resistant,” and it also has an internal nano-coating for splash resistance. (Don’t take it swimming, though.) Motorola says that the entire display is made with a single cut, with the edges entirely enclosed by the stainless steel frame to prevent debris from getting in. Aside from the mid-range specs, like the Snapdragon 710 processor and “lackluster” 16-megapixel camera, seasoned reviewers appear to really like the nostalgic look and feel of the device. Did you own a Razr phone from the mid-2000s? How do you think the new model compares?

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Apple Unveils New 16-inch MacBook Pro With Improved Keyboard, Starting at $2,400

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Apple today launched a new 16-inch MacBook Pro. The starting price of $2,399 is the same price as the previous 15-inch MacBook Pro, which this one replaces. It has new processors, better speakers, a larger screen, and (finally) a better keyboard. The base model is powered by a 2.6GHz 6-core 9th gen Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz) coupled with AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, and 512GB PCIe-based onboard SSD. John Gruber, writing about the keyboard: We got it all: a return of scissor key mechanisms in lieu of butterfly switches, a return of the inverted-T arrow key arrangement, and a hardware Escape key. Apple stated explicitly that their inspiration for this keyboard is the Magic Keyboard that ships with iMacs. At a glance, it looks very similar to the butterfly-switch keyboards on the previous 15-inch MacBook Pros. But don’t let that fool you — it feels completely different. There’s a full 1mm of key travel; the butterfly keyboards only have 0.5mm. This is a very good compromise on key travel, balancing the superior feel and accuracy of more travel with the goal of keeping the overall device thin. (The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is, in fact, a little thicker than the previous 15-inch models overall.) Calling it the “Magic Keyboard” threads the impossible marketing needle they needed to thread: it concedes everything while confessing nothing. Apple has always had a great keyboard that could fit in a MacBook — it just hasn’t been in a MacBook the last three years. There’s also more space between keys — about 0.5mm. This difference is much more noticeable by feel than by sight. Making it easier to feel the gaps between keys really does make a difference. Like the 15-inch MacBook Pro, all 16-inch models come with the Touch Bar. But even there, there’s a slight improvement: it’s been nudged further above the top row of keys, to help avoid accidental touches. No haptic feedback or any other functional changes to the Touch Bar, though.

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Google Reveals Stadia Launch Lineup of 12 Games

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As we approach the November 19th launch date of Stadia, Google has revealed there will be just 12 games available to start. ExtremeTech reports: Stadia is similar to GeForce Now and Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud service. Instead of downloading a game or buying a physical copy, Stadia renders the games on a Google server and streams the video down to your devices. Companies have been trying to figure this out for almost a decade, ever since OnLive began offering cloud gaming services in 2010. Even if Stadia works perfectly, it won’t matter if it lacks content. The initial launch lineup has a little of everything, but the emphasis is on little. Here’s the list of games you’ll be able to buy on November 19th: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey; Destiny 2: The Collection; GYLT; Just Dance 2020; Kine; Mortal Kombat 11; Red Dead Redemption 2; Rise of the Tomb Raider; SAMURAI SHODOWN; Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition; Thumper; and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.

Google has, of course, announced other games for Stadia. Anything previously announced like Darksiders Genesis and Borderlands 3 will come later. Google promises the latter will launch on Stadia in 2019 along with more titles like Rage 2, Grid, and Metro Exodus. Stadia launches on November 19th exclusively for players who ordered the Founder’s Edition starter kit. That comes with three months of Stadia Pro ($10 per month after), a limited edition controller, a Chromecast Ultra, and a copy of Destiny 2. The base version of Stadia, which lacks 4K support will be available early next year. That one doesn’t include a monthly fee, but you still have to pay for the games.

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‘Bring Back the Replaceable Laptop Battery’

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“If you’ve gone shopping for a new laptop lately, you may notice something missing in all newer models regardless of make,” writes Slashdot reader ikhider.

There’s no removable battery.

Whether mainstream or obscure manufacturer, the fact that pretty much all of them are made in the same area denote a similar approach to soldering batteries in. While battery technology may have improved, it is not to the extent that they no longer need to be replaced. Premium retention of charges generally tend to deplete in about a year or so. This impacts the device mobility and necessitates replacement. Also, the practical use of having a backup battery if you need one cannot even be applied.

While some high-end models may have better quality batteries, it does not replace popping in a fresh, new one. This leads to one conclusion, planned obsolescence.If you want your laptop to still be mobile when the battery fizzles out, forget about it. Buy new instead. Pick your manufacturer, even those famed for building ‘tank’ laptops that last forever, all you need is a fresh battery, upgrade the RAM, and a new HD or SSD and away you go. While the second hand market still has good models with replaceable batteries, it is only a matter of time before that too fizzles away. If you had a limited budget, you could still get a good, second-hand machine [in the past], but now you are stuck with the low end.

Consumers need to make their case to manufacturers, for their own best interest to leverage the life of a machine on their own terms, not the manufacturers. Bring back the removable laptop battery.

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Chrome OS 78 Rolling Out With Picture-In-Picture Support For YouTube, Split Browser/Device Settings, More

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The latest version of Chrome OS, version 78, adds separate browser and device settings, click-to-call, and picture-in-picture support for YouTube. It also introduces virtual desktop support for the operating system with a feature called Virtual Desks. 9to5Google reports: Chrome is getting another cross-device sharing feature after “Send this page” widely rolled in September. With “click-to-call,” you can right-click on phone number links — like tel:800-800-8000 — to have them sent to your Android device. It’s quicker than manually entering those digits or transferring via email. Chrome OS 78 will separate browser and device settings. The former is accessible directly at chrome://settings and what opens when clicking “Settings” at the bottom of the Overflow menu in the top-right corner of any browser window. It opens as a tab and provides web-related preferences. Meanwhile, chrome://os-settings opens as its own window, and can be accessed from the quick settings sheet. It provides device options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Assistant in a white Material Theme UI with an icon in the launcher/app shelf.

YouTube for Android now supports picture-in-picture with Chrome OS 78. After starting a video in the mobile client, switching to another window, covering, or minimizing the app will automatically open a PiP in the bottom-right corner. Available controls include switching to audio, play/pause, and skipping to the next track. In the top-left, you can expand the window and a settings gear on the other side allows you to open system settings. Tapping in the center expands and returns you to the YouTube Android app. Chrome OS 78 simplifies the printing experience by automatically listing compatible printers without any prior setup required. There are also a number of Linux on Chrome OS enhancements in this version:

– Backups of Linux apps and files can now be saved to local storage, external drive, or Google Drive. That copy can be then restored when setting up a new computer.
– Crostini GPU support will be enabled by default for a “crisp, lower-latency experience.”
– You’ll be warned when using a Linux app that does not support virtual keyboard in tablet mode.

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Xiaomi Launches Mi Watch, Its $185 Apple Watch Clone

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Xiaomi, which competes with Apple for the top position in the wearable market, today made the competition a little more interesting. The Chinese electronics giant has launched its first smartwatch called the Mi Watch that looks strikingly similar to the Apple Watch in its home market. From a report: The Mi Watch, like the Apple Watch, has a square body with a crown and a button. It sports a 1.78-inch AMOLED display (326 ppi) that offers the always-on capability and runs MIUI for Watch, the company’s homegrown wearable operating system based on Google’s Wear OS. Inside the metal housing — aluminum alloy with a matte finish — are microphones on two sides for recording audio and taking calls, and a loudspeaker on the left to listen to music or incoming calls. The Mi Watch, which comes in one size — 44mm — has a ceramic back, which is where the charging pins and a heart rate sensor are also placed. The Mi Watch is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 4G chipset with four Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, coupled with 1GB of RAM and 8GB storage. The company says its first smartwatch supports cellular connectivity (through an eSIM), Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and NFC for payments. The Mi Watch should last for 36 hours on a single charge on cellular mode, the company claimed. The Mi Watch is priced at CNY 1,299 ($185) and will go on sale in the country next week.

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iOS 13.2 Released With Deep Fusion, Siri Privacy Settings

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Apple has released iOS 13.2 today, bringing over 60 new emoji, new Siri privacy settings, and Apple’s new Deep Fusion camera technology. 9to5Mac reports: There are over 60 new emoji and emoji variations in iOS 13.2. Apple first previewed these emoji over the summer, and they are now available for everyone. In total, the new 2019 emoji set includes 59 new characters that make up for 75 total variations when gender options are taken into account, and 230 options when skin tone options are included. iOS 13.2 also includes the Announce Messages with Siri feature that was originally meant for iOS 13. This feature allows Siri to read messages back to you when connected to AirPods or other headphones with Apple’s H1 chip.

Perhaps most notably, especially for iPhone 11 users, iOS 13.2 includes Apple’s new Deep Fusion camera technology. Deep Fusion is Apple’s new image processing technology that works in the background to improve image quality for iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro users. iOS 13.2 also includes new Siri privacy settings that allow you to opt in or opt out of sharing your Siri interactions with Apple. You’ll see a new splash screen the first time you boot into iOS 13.2 asking your preference. Last but not least, iOS 13.2 also includes support for the just-announced AirPods Pro. This includes settings for Transparency and Active Noise Cancellation modes.

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Apple Unveils $250 AirPods Pro

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Apple today announced that it is releasing new AirPods Pro earbuds on October 30. Priced at $249, the premium version of its true wireless earbuds includes noise-cancellation feature to block out external sound. From a report: The new Pro model is available for pre-order starting today and will hit the shelves Wednesday, Oct. 30 – but, some hopeful buyers are finding they’re already sold out online. The buds have ear tips that could fit deeper inside ears. The larger charging case also has a bigger, longer-lasting battery. Apple says the AirPods Pro can last “up to 5 hours” on a single charge and “over 24 hours” with the case. AirPods Pro cost $249 compared to $159 AirPods and $199 AirPods (with wireless charging case). Pre-orders start today at Apple.com. They deliver on Oct. 30 and will be available in Apple Stores the same day. Apple was widely expected to hold another event where it would have supposedly unveiled the refreshed AirPods and a 16-inch MacBook Pro, but the announcement today was made through a press release. The company has not clarified in that press release what kind of battery improvement the AirPods Pro offer. As it has been documented several times, AirPods’ in-built battery becomes useless after a year of use, keeping the accessory on for just a few minutes at best. So unless Apple has somehow made a breakthrough here, it is likely the new AirPods, too, will die after a year of usage. Which means you’re effectively paying Apple more than $20 a month for using their wireless earpieces.

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