Simplify your rave setup with iLuv’s new Rainbow8 HomeKit light bulb

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Hey, I’m sure you wanted a new smart light. Maybe you haven’t gotten around to buying one yet, or, perhaps, you were holding out a HomeKit-enabled bulb that doesn’t require a hub. I’ve got news for you: iLuv just launched a light that works with HomeKit, meaning you can use Siri for controls. It also doesn’t need a hub; instead pairs over Wi-Fi. Called the Rainbow8, the LED light glows in millions of programmable colors and can group with other bulbs, so you can control multiple at once. You can even program them on a schedule to turn on when you get home or are going to sleep.

Now, you’ve got multiple smart light options for HomeKit, which you can check out in Apple’s handy list. But not requiring a hub is definitely a perk of iLuv….

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Spotify considered ending Uber partnership amid mounting scandals

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As criticism of Uber has mounted over the past month, one of its most prominent partners has discussed whether to continue its relationship with the company. Spotify decided not to participate in a press campaign about an upcoming update to the Uber app, The Verge has learned. In an internal company-wide email, the company’s head of product refers to discussions the company held about ending Uber’s API access, which allows riders to control a driver’s sound system from their smartphones.

“For me, given the views I’ve shared with you regarding Uber and the practices that have been on display there recently, even staying on Uber is not a straightforward decision,” wrote Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s head of product. “But it also doesn’t…

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Sony’s patent for wireless charging between devices will test your friendship

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Asking a pal to tether over some data when you’re running close to the cap (or at least, the throttle cap) is trying enough, but soon you might have something else to test the limits of your friendships. According to a new patent by Sony, published earlier this month, the Japanese giant wants you to be able to mooch battery power wirelessly from nearby devices.

The patent, filed in 2016, suggests that Sony is envisioning a future where consumer electronics can transfer power between one another without cords. This would eliminate the need to always carry around power banks, provided your friends are willing to share or if you have multiple devices that can boost one another’s charge to last the day. The patent focuses mostly around ways…

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Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 could be a regular laptop and arrive next month

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Microsoft surprised everyone with its unveiling of the Surface Book laptop with a detachable display, but the software maker might not bring this tablet feature to its Surface Book 2. DigiTimes reports that Microsoft’s new Surface Book has entered mass production and could be unveiled by the end of the month or April. The timing is hardly surprising given persistent rumors about the Surface Book successor over the past year, but DigiTimes also claims Microsoft will adopt a clamshell design for the Surface Book 2 instead of existing 2-in-1 design.

It’s hard to read too much into DigiTimes’ report as the publication has a mixed record on these types of predictions, but it’s worth noting that DigiTimes first accurately reported that…

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Sephora’s latest app update lets you try virtual makeup on at home with AR

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Sephora is joining multiple other companies in recognizing the importance AR is going to play in future beauty product shopping.

The makeup retailer introduced a “Sephora Virtual Assistant” this week in an update to its iOS app. The feature, which was developed in partnership with AR company ModiFace, scans your face, figures out where your lips and eyes are, and lets you try on different looks.

Right now, you can only play with lip colors, eyeshadows, and false lash styles. If you like the look, well, you can buy it. Convenient! The app also offers “virtual tutorials” that show you how to contour, apply highlighter, and create winged eyeliner. It overlays the tutorial on your face.

I played around with…

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Google Home is playing audio ads for Beauty and the Beast

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Today some Google Home owners are hearing something extra when they ask for a summary of the day ahead from the smart speaker: an advertisement for the opening of Beauty and the Beast. Several users on Reddit have noticed the audio ad and Bryson Meunier posted a clip to Twitter. The ad is delivered using the regular Google Assistant voice, so it blends in seamlessly with the other information — but some people still aren’t happy about it.

“By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and The Beast opens today,” the Assistant says, after covering the usual time,…

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Uber rebuilt its navigation app with drivers in mind

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Anyone who frequently uses ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft knows the frustration that can come from a driver and rider trying to find each other. Sometimes the driver is on the wrong side of the street, or misses their turn — and sometimes the rider gives terrible directions over the phone.

Uber wants to fix that and has reworked the navigation system it builds into the Uber Driver app in a bid to get everyone to where they’re going more quickly. The navigation system has been redesigned on iOS, and will be coming soon to Android for the first time.

Screenshot: Uber

A navigation app like Google Maps or Waze — which a number of ride-sharing service drivers turn to — is basically designed to get someone from…

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Vevo’s Watch Party feature is like Turntable.fm for music videos

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Turntable.fm was a social music site that let users join together in a virtual room and listen to music together (right up until it died because apparently licensing music is super expensive). But Vevo is taking another shot at social listening with a new Watch Party feature in an effort to try and expand its service beyond being just a music video provider, according to a report from TechCrunch.

Like Turntable.fm, Watch Party drops users into a virtual room, where they can add tracks, vote on selections of songs to listen to next, and chat with each other. The host of the room ultimately gets final say on what gets played, when, and also severs as a moderator of sorts for the chat feature.

Vevo is building Watch Party out of its…

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Swatch is making its own smartwatch operating system

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In a blow to Android Wear, massive watchmaker Swatch Group is choosing to develop its own smartwatch operating system rather than go with Google’s OS designed for the wrist. “There’s a possibility for wearables to develop as a consumer product, but you have to miniaturize and have an independent operating system,” CEO Nick Hayek told Bloomberg in an interview today.

The unnamed OS will “need less battery power” — a common gripe for even brand new smartwatches — and “protect data better,” which, uh, is not something that’s been a pressing request. A Tissot-branded watch due in late 2018 will be the first to ship with the software.

Hayek said his company is taking a “think small” approach and building software that could potentially also…

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Amazon brings Alexa to the iPhone

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Amazon is bringing Alexa to the iPhone today right inside of the company’s main app.

While this isn’t the first time Alexa has been on a smartphone — third parties have made it happen already — this is the first time it’s coming directly from Amazon. And it could be a huge help to anyone who’s filling their home with Alexa-enabled devices.

Inside of the Amazon App for iOS, there will be a microphone icon near the top of the screen that you can press to call up Alexa. You’ll be able to ask the assistant almost anything you’d normally be able to ask through a device like the Echo. That includes everything from having it make purchases for you, look up facts, or control smart home products.

A…

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The Matrix universe should be expanded, not remade

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The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Warner Bros. is working on a follow-up to the Wachowskis’ 1999 classic, The Matrix, with Creed’s Michael B. Jordan in talks to play a major role. Despite the franchise’s star falling thanks to a host of misfires and failures in the 2000s, the original film remains one of the finest movies to come out of the heady, tech-addled days of the late 20th century pop culture. With virtual reality and expanded universes enjoying a resurgence, now is as a good a time as any for the series to make its return.

It’s not entirely clear yet if the studio wants a remake with Neo, Agent Smith, and the rest of the core characters, a new film set in the established world, or something between the two. There’s…

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Defense Department asks employees not to stream March Madness games on Pentagon network

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On Wednesday, the IT service provider at the Pentagon sent an email to employees asking them not to stream March Madness games at work. While not explicitly forbidding any on-the-clock basketball-watching, the Joint Service Provider (JSP) asked employees to consider their bandwidth use. The email, obtained by CBS News, reads, “Please keep in mind; if you’re streaming video to watch your favorite player shooting free throws, you’re consuming network resources that could be served to support the Warfighter [an informal term for military personnel].”

JSP said its engineers would “closely monitor bandwidth consumption” and presumably warn sports fans who are a little too rabid in their viewing practices. As Deadspin points out, today is the…

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Android tablets aren’t getting Google Assistant anytime soon

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If you have an Android tablet running Marshmallow or Nougat and have been wondering why the Google Assistant isn’t showing up, here’s the reason: it’s not coming yet.

Android Police confirmed with Google that the Assistant is currently rolling out to Android phones only. “The Assistant will be available on Android Marshmallow and Nougat phones with Google Play Services, this does not include tablets,” the company wrote.

Why the distinction? It’s not at all clear. Google could be planning a different interface for tablets’ bigger screens, but it didn’t change a thing for the Assistant’s predecessor, Now on Tap.

It’s also possible that Google is just trying to maintain a slow rollout…

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Trump’s NASA budget cancels Europa lander and Asteroid Redirect Mission

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The president’s budget request for NASA is out, and it looks like the space program won’t be dealing with as many of the extreme cuts that other federal agencies are facing next year. Released this morning, the request would give NASA $19.1 billion for fiscal year 2018, roughly $200 million less than the $19.3 billion the agency received for 2016. The request keeps NASA on more or less the same path the agency’s been on for the last seven years, though it does propose a few big shakeups — including some fairly harsh cuts to NASA’s Earth science and education programs.

In a statement, Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said the proposal “is in line with our funding in…

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Lucid Motors’ electric car will cost $60,000

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Lucid Motors has revealed the pricing of the Lucid Air, the California company’s all-electric car that was unveiled in December. Lucid says it will charge $60,000 for a 400-horsepower, rear-wheel drive version of the sedan, which will have 240 miles of range. The company is currently taking (refundable) $2,500 reservation deposits, but the car isn’t scheduled to ship until 2019.

The base model Lucid Air will have “all hardware necessary for autonomous driving,” according to Lucid, but the company steers clear of saying whether it will cost more to activate the feature. It will also come with 19-inch wheels, power seats, a 10-speaker audio system, and three touchscreens.

That $60,000 price tag is before…

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You can get a free Google Home if you buy an LG G6 before April 30th

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LG really wants you to buy a G6, so much so that it’s willing to throw in a complimentary Google Home. The company confirmed today that the phone will be available through T-Mobile starting on April 7th for $650. (This comes out to $26 down and $26 monthly payments over 24 months.) If you buy before April 30th, you’ll also get a free Google Home.

As a reminder, LG debuted the G6 at Mobile World Congress last month. It features a 5.7-inch display, dual cameras, and a rear fingerprint sensor. On the downside, it includes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor, as opposed to the new 835. But still, it’s a sleek-looking phone at the very least.

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At this year’s SXSW, the hard questions have all gone unanswered

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One of the most anticipated SXSW panels of this year featured Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. They are responsible for producing the televised conclusion to George R.R. Martin’s sprawling, wildly popular fantasy series, and the audience in Austin was hungry to hear new details. With a packed crowd in the ballroom and a line that snaked through the convention center down a staircase to a lower floor, fans were salivating for even a sliver of information to hold them over until the season premiere in July. Oh — and perhaps some insight into that ill-fated ice block live stream reveal.

Instead, the crowd got a cheery trip down memory lane, replete with Entertainment Tonight-style behind-the-scenes anecdotes and…

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Get uncomfortably close to an active volcano in this latest Google Street View

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Staring into an active volcano full of bubbling lava is one of those things that sounds enticing, but is probably better to witness from afar. A boiling pool of molten rock is surely majestic in real life, but I’m not sure how much I can withstand the pungent scent of sulfur.

So now, thanks to the Google Street View team, you can virtually explore the lava lake in Ambryn, Vanuatu — an island in a remote part of the South Pacific Ocean. Google sent a pair of explorers to capture 360-degree images in the crater, letting you get so close, you can almost smell the volcanic gases (or at least, see it fume up from the lava).

“Standing at the edge and feeling the heat lick your skin is phenomenal,” team member Chris Horsley told Google. “I hope…

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EU launches new tool for whistleblowers to report antitrust violations and cartels

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The European Commission (the executive arm of the EU) has launched a new initiative to encourage whistleblowers to step forward. A whistleblowing hotline including an email address, phone number, and encrypted web form will allow individuals to anonymously report price-fixing cartels and other anti-competitive practices.

In a press statement, Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy, said: “If people are concerned by business practices that they think are wrong, they can help put things right. Inside knowledge can be a powerful tool to help the Commission uncover cartels and other anti-competitive practices. With our new tool it is possible to provide information, while maintaining anonymity.”

The Commission said it previously…

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How Iron Fist connects to the other Marvel shows on Netflix

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Iron Fist, the latest in Netflix’s string of Marvel superhero shows, arrives on Netflix March 17th. It should serve just fine as the standalone story of Danny Rand, a superhero trained in mystical martial arts. But the show’s story is richer if you know its elaborate setup. Iron Fist is the fourth and final Netflix series leading up to team-up show The Defenders.

The Defenders are the Netflix equivalent of The Avengers, and like Marvel’s films, they are a massive media investment: the three other superhero shows span four seasons with 13 episodes each. That’s 52 hours of binge watching. Even if you’ve watched everything, you may need a refresher.

And if you’re just joining the program? Well, here’s what you need to know.

Who is Danny…

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