This Japanese doggy drone is a very good drone

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The Japanese town of Oji is going to lure in tourists with the help of its new doggy drone. In a short film / commercial released earlier this month, the Yukimaru quadcopter flies to the main Oji attractions, like a scenic photo op, a temple, and the Bell of Eternal Lovers. Oji isn’t Tokyo but it still has a lot to offer visitors, like a doggo drone!

The film is endearing for both drone fans and people naturally inclined to enjoy views of the Japanese countryside. We’re unclear on whether this drone actually exists or is a CGI production, although RocketNews24 says it’s possible Yukimaru will show up around town at both festivals and the openings of car dealerships. So I guess it’s real? Regardless, I think the idea behind Yukimaru is…

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Cadillac’s new infotainment system is not your computer

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A Cadillac can’t take the place of your smartphone — and as GM computer engineers tell it, they don’t want it to. But what they are trying to do over time is make the act of using your phone in relation to the car an experience that gets better.

Cadillac will begin selling its next-generation user experience system in the CTS next month, and it will soon be added to the 2018 XTS and ATS models. Last week I traveled to Detroit, deep into the windowless basement operations of GM’s Renaissance Center headquarters, to check out the new system ahead of its official launch.

But first a little background: when I first began covering cars, the assessment of in-car entertainment was wrapped up in a neat paragraph at the end of the review,…

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The new LCD Etch A Sketch Freestyle can’t shake off the lies

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Remember Etch A Sketch? Remember spending hours honing your fine motor skills in turning the knobs and dials, trying to perfect tracing over the lines? Remember never letting anyone into your room again after your neighbor’s kid accidentally kicked your Etch A Sketch across the floor and destroyed your masterpiece?

The Etch A Sketch was an exercise in patience, character-building, and hand-eye coordination. Today’s kids won’t get to experience any of that with the latest collaboration from Spin Master (the company that acquired Etch A Sketch in 2016) and BoogieBoard, the Etch A Sketch Freestyle. It’s half the fun of the classic Etch A Sketch, with none of the effort.

Etch A Sketch Freestyle takes the aluminum powder out entirely and…

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Here One review: a bitter taste of the future

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I haven’t lusted for a product in recent memory as much as I have for the Here One. As someone who is overly optimistic about the idea of truly wireless earbuds, and as someone who was genuinely impressed by the technology behind (and social implications of) Here Active Listening — Doppler Labs’ first pair of earbuds, which let you augment the audio around you but didn’t feature audio streaming — this seemed like the perfect product for me. Here One looked like it would fall right in that sweet spot of bleeding-edge tech that you could still use every day.

The Here One earbuds are impressive in a lot of different ways: the sound quality is the best you’ll find on truly wireless Bluetooth earbuds; the hardware design is superb; and the…

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The Bachelor Fantasy League, week eight: race, money, and swamps

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Love’s a game and this year we’re playing. For the full rules and intellectual justification of The Verge Bachelor Fantasy League please see this explanatory post. For a little background on why this is poised to be the best-ever season of The Bachelor, see this essay by culture editor Chris Plante:

Kaitlyn Tiffany: *Sportscaster voice* Welcome to the final four! It’s hard to believe that we’ve made it this far or that we’ll ever make it to the end. This week on The Bachelor, Nick Viall visited the hometowns of every woman he has left to choose from. At each home, he asked families, “Would you be okay with me proposing to your child?” and every time, he was met with a resounding “Um, I guess.”

Annually, this episode boils down to a…

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Jide’s new OS is like an Android version of Windows 10’s Continuum

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Imagine if every Android smartphone could transform into a PC just by connecting a display, keyboard, and mouse. It’s what Microsoft has been trying with Windows 10 and Continuum, and it’s the dream of Beijing-based startup Jide Technologies, which today announces a new version of its Android-based software, Remix OS, that will live on smartphones but be capable of powering Android-based PCs.

The feature is called Remix Singularity and the new operating system is Remix OS on Mobile (or ROM), and is scheduled for release in the second half of 2017. Speaking exclusively to The Verge, Jide co-founder David Ko explains the key concept. When running on a smartphone, ROM will be “as close to stock Android as possible,” says Ko. “But imagine…

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Watch every New York Times front page fly by and see the rise of the image

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The New York Times has been in circulation since 1851, making it 166 years old this September. In that time, its front page has evolved considerably, going from a text-heavy broadsheet to one that features high-quality color images. Digital artist Josh Begley has managed to cram almost every front page from the Times into a one-minute-long video, showing the evolution in action.

What’s most fascinating about this video is seeing how experiments eventually become standard practice. The first front page image ran in 1910, but it’d be a while before art atop a Page 1 story became the norm. Color came in 1997, changing everything all over again. I wonder what the next big change will be.

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Intel promises gigabit speeds with new LTE modem for phones

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“Gigabit LTE” is the next step in wireless internet speeds, and now Intel is ready to get in on the action. Intel is announcing a new modem, under the catchy name “XMM 7560,” that includes support for download speeds up to 1 Gbps and upload speeds up to 225 Mbps. The modem is supposed to be suitable for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices.

Intel’s new modem ought to be faster than traditional LTE when connecting to networks that include support for advanced LTE features (like carrier aggregation). But exactly how fast it’ll get is something we’ll have to wait to find out.

Asha Keddy, VP of Intel’s mobile and communications group, says that using the XMM 7560, “we can get gigabit speeds…

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Apple could include Kinect-like camera tech in next iPhone

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Apple is said to be working on “revolutionary” camera technology, which could be used for facial or iris recognition, augmented gaming experiences, and 3D selfies for the next iPhone. That’s according to a new research note by the typically reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, summed up here by 9to5Mac.

Though this kind of tech might be uncommon on a smartphone, what Kuo is describing sounds a lot like the tech Microsoft popularized with the Kinect — the setup is even pretty much the same. Kuo says that Apple will build this technology into the front of the next iPhone, augmenting the traditional camera sensor with an infrared projector and receiver. (The Kinect is also composed of a traditional camera, an infrared projector,…

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Build your own Raspberry Pi-controlled robot arm with this Kickstarter kit

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Robot arms are getting cheaper than ever, making it possible for you to get your own personal assembly line / disembodied droid buddy to have around. But maybe you’re not ready to spend $500 for a robotic arm wrestling partner. Or maybe you prefer building things yourself. Or perhaps (in what’s probably the most likely scenario) you’re a kid who doesn’t have $500 to drop on a robotic arm but still are interested in learning to code.

Enter the MeArm Pi, a Kickstarter project that claims to offer just that. It’s a miniature robotic arm designed to be simple enough for a child to put together, and it’s controlled by both a pair of attached joysticks and more advanced coding through a Raspberry Pi. The company has also put together a…

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Welcome to the one man attention economy

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We used to live in the attention economy. This was where the deluge of information was so total that tech firms and ad companies spent billions just to have the chance to dance around in front of our eyeballs for a few seconds. Now, though, as we transition into a new and terrifying age, we’re experimenting with an exciting form of macroeconomics: the one man attention economy. To succeed, you only need to grab the attention of one man: Donald Trump.

This isn’t hard, as by most accounts, Trump has the attention span of a toddler. He doesn’t read books. He’s addicted to TV and repeats phrases, word-for-word, that he hears on Fox News. During the presidential debates he preferred not to do prep work, and now, as president, for his…

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EU still concerned over Windows 10 privacy despite Microsoft’s changes

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European Union data protection watchdogs are still concerned over Microsoft’s privacy settings in Windows 10, despite the software maker announcing changes to the way it collects data. The Electronic Frontier Foundation originally blasted Windows 10 over privacy concerns, accusing Microsoft of sending an “unprecedented amount of usage data” back to the company with its operating system.

Reuters reports that a group known as Article 29 Working Party, which is made up of the EU’s 28 authorities for protecting data, wrote to Microsoft with its concerns last year. The issues raised involve the default settings in Windows 10 and a lack of control over how Microsoft processes the data it collects.

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Leaked Sonos PlayBase is a soundbar that your TV sits on

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A new Sonos speaker could be hitting the market next month, according to a leaked product listing on B&H. As spotted by Zatz Not Funny, the listing is for one “Sonos PlayBase,” which is selling for $699 and available in black or white. It’s not clear exactly what the PlayBase, but the name and design it could be a plate-shaped soundbar you sit your TV directly on top of, improving its audio quality while offering Sonos’ usual range of connected music streaming options. (As Engadget points out, it looks similar in form to LG’s SoundPlate speakers.)

Leaked images of the PlayBase don’t give much away, but show an optical and ethernet port on the rear (no HDMI), a speaker grille at the front, and a single button on the side. Like Sonos’…

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Samsung will soon let you unlock any Windows 10 PC using a Galaxy fingerprint reader

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Samsung is planning to expand its Flow Android app to support any Windows 10. Samsung first introduced the ability to unlock its Windows 10-powered Galaxy TabPro S with a Samsung Flow app for Android last year. You simply use the fingerprint reader on a compatible Galaxy smartphone to unlock the Windows 10 tablet.

Sammobile reports that Samsung has responded to requests to make this feature available across any Windows 10 PCs, and the company is now planning to enable this with the Windows 10 Creators Update. While Microsoft hasn’t officially announced a release date for the Creators Update, it’s expected to arrive in April. Samsung was already using Microsoft’s Windows Hello Companion Device Framework to enable its fingerprint unlock,…

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Samsung’s incubator lab is getting seriously into virtual and augmented reality

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So far, Samsung’s in-house tech incubator C-Lab has bought the world such wonders as a belt that tracks your waistline and a “smart strap” that turns your fingertip into a phone earpiece. Now, Samsung says it has a quartet of new internal projects to unveil, focusing on augmented and virtual reality.

All four will be shown off in more detail at Mobile World Congress later this month, but here’s what we know about them so far:

  • Relúm?no. A “visual aid” application for the Gear VR that helps the visually impaired read and watch TV with “new levels of clarity.”

Image: Relúm?no / Samsung

  • Monitorless. A pair of “sunglasses” that support both AR and VR. They connect to your phone or PC and allow you to use your…

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Amazon brings Alexa to UK TVs with updated Fire TV Stick

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The latest version of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, which comes with Alexa built-in, is heading to UK shores. The device launched in the US last October, but is going on sale April 3rd in Britain for £40 (available in various high street stores, or you can pre-order it from Amazon right now). It has a quad-core processor that’s 30 percent faster than its predecessor, a new, streamlined user interface, and an Alexa-powered remote. However, it still doesn’t have 4K support — for that you’ll need the pricier Amazon Fire TV.

With Alexa, you can use voice commands to control all your usual streaming TV options, asking the device to open apps like Netflix, and search for specific shows and movies. You can also use it to access Alexa’s other…

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Here’s how to make Half-Life 2 look like Minecraft on a thumb-sized PC

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YouTuber LowSpecGamer makes a living out of making games playable on the weakest computers, reducing games to their most basic visual components so they can run on rigs made of balsa wood and held together with duct tape. He’s already tackled a range of modern games, including The Witcher 3, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dishonored, but his latest video — for Valve’s bona fide classic Half-Life 2 — represents his biggest graphical reduction yet.

By removing shadows, weapon effects, textures, water reflections, and even character teeth, LowSpecGamer makes Half-Life 2 look peculiarly like Minecraft. Vehicles, buildings, and mountains morph until they look like they’re built of that game’s pixellated blocks, so much so that you’d…

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The MTA’s Supreme-branded MetroCard is a hot commodity

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The MTA’s Supreme-branded MetroCard launched in New York City today, and is currently available only at select subway stations in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.

You can pick one up at the Broadway-Lafayette stop (right in front of the Manhattan Supreme store), Prince Street (two blocks from the Supreme store), Spring Street (three blocks from the Supreme store) Atlantic Avenue (right by the Atlantic Terminal mall), Union Square (in the heart of the Union Square shopping center), Marcy Ave in Williamsburg, Queens Plaza, or 125th street in Harlem. Hooray for commerce!

If you aren’t lucky enough to purchase one of the cards, which comes preloaded with two subway rides, you can also buy one on eBay. There are already…

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Do we need a wearable voice recorder to take notes for us?

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The Senstone is described on its Kickstarter page as an “AI-powered pendant” that’s designed to capture voice and text notes. It isn’t a crazy idea to design a wearable voice recorder, which we’ve seen before, but the whole AI, life-changing pendant aspect takes the idea a bit far.

One of the first lines describing the wearable is: “We check smartphones 150 times a day, every day. But what if there was [a] plainly easier way to capture those precious words?” This marketing seems a bit off given that we aren’t checking our phones 150 times just to take notes, but sure, I imagine someone out there is maybe writing in their Moleskine at least 30 times a day and the Senstone would be a worthwhile replacement. That is, unless they’re…

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Claim your new Nintendo User ID, the latest addition to its complicated online accounts

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Nintendo’s byzantine online account system just got even more complicated, with the addition of a new “User ID” to user accounts. The new User ID seems to be the way you’ll be identified online, similar to Microsoft’s Gamertag system. It is not the same as a Nickname, another form of identification used for the same accounts. You’ll need to log into your Nintendo Account here to claim a User ID, even if you already have a Nintendo Account set up.

If you’ve used an online Nintendo service before, chances are you’ve got at least some of this down, but here’s where things stand with Nintendo’s current accounts:

Nintendo Account

Your Nintendo Account is the top level of all your online Nintendo services. It’s attached to your…

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