How to adjust Android Pie’s adaptive brightness feature

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Sometimes new features that come with updated operating systems turn out to be more trouble than they’re worth. Take Android Pie’s adaptive brightness mode, which is meant to intelligently adapt your phone’s display to your lighting preferences. For some people, it works. But if you’re not one of those people, you can just turn it off.

I recently bought a Pixel XL phone — yes, I know: it’s way out of date, but it was really cheap — that runs Android 9 Pie. Everything seemed great, until the first time I tried to read with the room lights out. The display couldn’t seem to decide how bright it wanted to be. Every minute or so, it would slightly brighten or darken. I wondered whether there was something wrong with my screen, and so I did a…

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Google Inbox’s co-creator wants to fix Gmail with a new Chrome extension

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The co-creator of Google’s beloved-yet-discontinued Inbox app, and former lead designer for Gmail, has released a new Chrome extension that considerably simplifies Gmail’s web interface.

Michael Leggett, who was Gmail’s design lead between 2008 and 2012, released the Simplify Gmail extension on April 2nd — the day after Gmail’s 15th anniversary which was also the day Inbox was discontinued. Leggett left Google in 2015.

The extension makes numerous small tweaks to Gmail’s web interface. The left and right sidebars are hidden behind a pair of menu buttons, the search bar at the top of the screen is minimized by default, and the button to compose a new email has moved from the top left to the bottom right.

Another prominent change is the…

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Google Pixel 3a leaks in new barely-purple color

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The upcoming Google Pixel 3a will be available in a new purple color scheme, according to a leaked render shared by Evan Blass. This is expected to be one of three colors the phone will be available in, along with black, and a white variant that’s already popped up in leaked photos and a render shared by Blass just yesterday. The purple Pixel 3a has a yellow power button, compared to the orange one on the white model.

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the purple color scheme could have something to do with Avengers: Endgame, and its purple-skinned, golden gauntlet’d antagonist. Last week, Google announced that a collection of five Marvel superheroes would be joining the Playmoji AR lineup exclusively on the Pixel 3, and eagle-eyed viewers…

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Stop what you’re doing and Google ‘Thanos’ for an Avengers Easter egg

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<em>Screengrab while Easter egg is running.</em>

Google Search is home to a new Easter egg celebrating today’s theatrical release of Avengers: Endgame. Just Google “Thanos” on desktop or mobile, and then click the gauntlet. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

In the mean time maybe check out our spoiler-free review.

Welcome back.

As you saw, clicking the gem-studded gauntlet triggers an Easter egg and the power of the Infinity Stones to wipe out half the search results on the page. Did you see the 90,700,000 results drop to 45,350,000 in just 0.44 seconds? Click the glove again to return your world to normal — if only it was that easy.

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How to avoid Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame spoilers

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The internet is full of spoilers, making it a dangerous place to hang around if you’re trying to steer clear of what happens in Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones, or any other TV shows, movies, or video games that you’re still catching up on. Even when you think you’ve got things under control, Google’s autocomplete feature has spoiled things before. URLs can contain spoilers, too.

In addition, trolls can embed spoilers in unrelated content. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, the film’s biggest plot twist was hidden within a misleading video titled something like “LMAO funny Madden 16 glitches.” (Needless to say, there were no funny Madden glitches to be found.)

Of course, the most logical suggestion for avoiding them is…

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Fortnite’s Avengers: Endgame crossover is one of the best superhero games I’ve ever played

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Battle royale video games are not really power fantasies, especially if you’re one of the majority of players on the losing end of a match. Being dropped onto an island with fellow scavengers and scrounging around for what little firearms and ammo you can get your hands on creates a tense, anything-can-happen atmosphere. You’re supposed to feel vulnerable all the time. That’s not the case in Fortnite’s big Avengers: Endgame crossover event. The limited-time game mode is all about feeling overly powerful — like a superhero — to spectacular effect.

Whether you’re on the side of humanity, wielding one of the many heroic weapons taken from the Marvel universe, or whether you’re part of Thanos’ army — with its jetpacks and energy weapons…

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are $200 off

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You can save $200 on Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones at the Google Store until 11:59PM PT on May 6th. Normally $799, the Pixel 3 is selling for $599, while the Pixel 3 XL, which usually starts at $899, is down to $699. You can save a bit more money on either if you have a phone to trade in: Google currently offers up to $610 back for the iPhone XS Max. The resale value of most other Android phones is pitifully small by comparison.

Earlier this week, Google Fi ran a day-long $400-off price drop on both phones (as long as you also were signed up for Google Fi), so this sale isn’t quite as good. But there’s at least a bit of value in being able to activate one of these phones using any carrier right out of the box.

If you’re thinking…

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Why we’re hoping for a big body count in Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame

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We’re approaching a weird weekend of pop culture grief. Thursday, April 25th, marks the release of Avengers: Endgame, the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War, in which literally half the universe died. Just a few days later, on Sunday, April 28th, the latest episode of Game of Thrones will send the majority of the show’s surviving cast into an epic battle with the undead horde of White Walkers sweeping down from beyond the Wall. Both Endgame and Game of Thrones have something unusual in common: they’re installments of long-running, immensely popular franchises where the audience widely expects they’re about to see their favorite characters die.

That’s rare in a cultural environment that thrives on endless sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and…

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You can now build a Psyduck to bring to Detective Pikachu

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Most pokémon are adorable, cuddly creatures that you want to just squeeze to your chest and never let go. Finally, Build-A-Bear is letting people create a snuggly pal based on the most underrated pokémon: Psyduck.

Psyduck, the poor, confused yellow duck who’s forced to stagger around the world with a bad headache and no ibuprofen in sight, is Build-A-Bear’s latest addition to its Pokémon lineup. It’s being added just in time for Detective Pikachu, Warner Bros.’ CGI-meets-live-action Pokémon movie. Unlike some of Build-A-Bear’s other stuffed animals created as a tie-in for movies (looking at you, Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord bear), Psyduck is painstakingly cute. Just look at him! You immediately want to hug him, rub his belly, and…

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Moog’s new limited edition Matriarch is a powerful analog synth

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Moog has debuted a new synth called the Matriarch, which will be built and available to play with on-site at its Moogfest in Durham, North Carolina. The Matriarch is a patchable semi-modular analog synth that follows in the footsteps of previous Moog releases, like the Mother-32 and Grandmother.

As with other synths the company has put out, Moog says the Matriarch doesn’t require any patching to make cool sounds, but if you want to dive in, there’s an array of different kinds of synthesis modules to connect together at your fingertips just above its 49 keys.

It’s got the same retro aesthetic that Moog has been leaning into as of late, not just with this series, but other synths like the Sirin (which it introduced at this year’s NAMM…

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Netflix’s horror series Chambers follows Get Out in exploring the terror of white people

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As the recent documentary Horror Noire lays out, most early American horror films featuring black characters play very different for black audiences than for white ones. Traditionally, in American horror stories, people of color have been associated with a monstrous, vengeful, often magical Other that threatens white purity. As POC creators have entered the horror field to add new perspectives, though, innovative new narratives have flipped those tropes. In more recent stories, affluent white people are the sinister nightmare power that seeks to possess, corrupt, and control everyone else by stealing their bodies and maybe their souls.

Most famously, that’s the plot of Jordan Peele’s hugely successful 2017 film Get Out. The same broad…

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Why Arya Stark and Beric Dondarrion are frenemies on Game of Thrones

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Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of Game of Thrones’ final season, is crammed with fireside chats and cold reunions, including one between Arya Stark and two men she traveled with in earlier seasons: the Hound and Beric Dondarrion. It’s a meeting heavy with unspoken emotions coming from bad memories. Beric tells Arya, “My lady, it’s good to see you again. I’m sorry we parted the way we did.” Nothing further is said about their history. It’s been five seasons since Beric and Arya last shared a scene together, so it’s understandably difficult to remember how they parted, unless you’ve recently marathoned the series.

First off,…

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The fear of Daenerys Targaryen is setting up Game of Thrones’ final battle

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Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen has been a fearsome queen-in-the-making since the end of the show’s first season, but her Westerosi allies are only recently starting to realize it. The series’s latest episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” opens with her confronting her father’s murderer, Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer. “When I was a child, my brother would tell me a bedtime story about the man who murdered our father,” she says. “Who stabbed him in the back and cut his throat… He told me other stories as well, about all the things we would do to that man once we took the Seven Kingdoms and had him in our grasp.”

In a hearing of sorts,…

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Adobe Illustrator’s latest experimental feature lets you emulate your mood boards

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Sign back into your Pinterest and grab those mood boards, because they’re about to come in handy. Adobe previewed an Illustrator feature at the creative conference OFFF Barcelona today that lets users extract color palettes from images and photographs. Users can then apply a palette onto their artwork to have the app automatically color it all at once, then make individual adjustments from there.

The feature, called Color Transfer, could be especially useful for artists who want to explore different color variations on their artwork. Users can play around with applying specific color palettes to vector illustrations, and get inspiration from reference images and photographs in their libraries. Take a look at the video above to see how…

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Persona 5 is coming to the Switch as an action RPG

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Atlus had two big reveals this week for its much loved role-playing game Persona 5. The first, Persona 5 The Royal, is an enhanced version of the original game, complete with a new party member and an extra palace. The second, teased as Persona 5 S — which many fans theorized would be a port to the Nintendo Switch — is indeed a Switch game, though not in the way many expected.

Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is an action RPG from Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force. It’s a strange combination at first blush, but the mashup of Dynasty Warriors plus a beloved franchise has worked shockingly well before with games like Hyrule Warriors. In the brief trailer released today, Joker slices his way through a horde of enemies with the…

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Days Gone is a lavishly produced, painfully generic PS4 zombie game

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Sony has been on a roll of late. The company has published some of the most acclaimed single-player blockbuster video games of the last few years, ranging from the superhero adventure Spider-Man to the surprisingly emotional reboot of God of War to the vast, intricate open-world of Horizon Zero Dawn. While many publishers have primarily shifted to the more lucrative space of live-service games, Sony has become one of the last bastions of support for lavishly produced story-driven titles — which is what makes Days Gone so disappointing.

Coming out of Sony’s Bend Studio, the team behind the early PlayStation action series Syphon Filter, Days Gone has a lot in common with the aforementioned blockbuster games. It’s huge and beautiful, with…

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Fortnite’s second Avengers crossover launches today

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Fortnite’s v8.50 patch arrives today, and as expected it’s delivering the game’s second Avengers tie-in to coincide with the release of Avengers: Endgame. The new limited-time event randomly assigns you to either the Hero team or Team Thanos, and depending on which side you’re on you’ll get to either fight with the Avengers’ signature weapons or be transformed into Thanos himself.

Turning into Thanos works a little differently from last year’s crossover event. Previously, all you needed to do was find the match’s single Infinity Gauntlet in order to turn into the purple giant. This time there are six Infinity Stones to find across the map. If you’re the first to find a stone then you get to turn into Thanos, and the subsequent five…

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Samsung’s Galaxy View 2 is a 17-inch portable TV that happens to be a tablet

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The Samsung Galaxy View 2 is a new 17-inch 1080p tablet that’s being sold by AT&T, reports Engadget. Its size means that it’s essentially a portable TV that happens to be an Android tablet. AT&T is no doubt hoping you’ll use it to watch the company’s upcoming streaming service, or else its existing, and increasingly embattled, DirecTV Now service.

As the name implies, this isn’t Samsung’s first attempt at a weird TV / tablet hybrid. The original Galaxy View was released back in 2015. Although we could get behind the concept it felt overpriced at $599. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s going to improve this time.

Outside of the device’s huge screen and beefy 12,000 mAh battery, the Galaxy View 2’s specs are more modest. It’s…

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