Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 will be available on March 24th for $599.99

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The Galaxy Tab S3, Samsung’s latest flagship Android tablet, will be available next week. Pre-orders start tomorrow at Best Buy, Amazon, and Samsung’s own site, and the device will be in stores on Friday, March 24th. As previously leaked through Best Buy, it’ll cost $599.99.

That might make the Tab S3 a tough sell next to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, a device which offers the same screen size, resolution, storage, quad-speaker array, and accessory support with a dramatically wider selection of tablet-optimized apps for the same entry price. Samsung isn’t exactly going all-out with the specs, either, outfitting the Tab S3 with the same Snapdragon 820 processor found in the Galaxy S7.

The Tab S3 does come with its S Pen stylus in the box,…

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When your child’s favorite YouTube celebrity is a secret racist

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I’m not a parent, but I feel like I took a step into legitimate adulthood earlier this month when my wife and I spent a weekend babysitting a friend’s two-year-old. Happily he was an easy kid to look after, but he’s still a two-year-old, and as I discovered (and you parents already know), he required near-constant surveillance. If we wanted a moment of freedom — to cook, to grab a drink, to go to the bathroom — then the only surefire option was to park him in front of YouTube.

His channel of choice was Little Baby Bum. It’s a giant in the world of kids’ YouTube, with nearly 10 million subscribers and almost 500 videos, each one setting a simple song to cheerful 3D animations. As far as kids shows go, it’s markedly inoffensive, using…

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This limited edition all-black OnePlus 3T is going to be ridiculously rare

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The OnePlus 3T is a hell of a flagship — of that we’re certain — but OnePlus does go a bit overboard with its attempts to hype the brand sometimes. The latest example is a new limited edition version of the 3T developed in collaboration with Parisian retailer Colette. The handsets costs €479 ($510), looks incredibly slick with a new all-black colorway, but will be rarer than hen’s teeth. Only 250 units will be available to buy from the Colette store in Paris on March 21st from 11AM local time.

At least “limited edition” here really does mean limited.

The special edition handset will come with 128GB of internal storage, an engraved rear case, and all the other 3T specs including 6GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 821 processor, and a…

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Microsoft is adding game chat transcription to Xbox One and Windows 10

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Microsoft is starting to roll out a new game chat transcription feature that will convert your game voice communications into text. The new pilot feature will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10 shortly, and the first game to support it will be Halo Wars 2. It’s designed to convert in-game voice communications into text, or typed text into audio.

While it’s primarily an accessibility feature, the ability to transcribe other players voices into text could be useful for gamers who don’t want to listen to audio or want to avoid blocking or muting particular players. It’s also a great way to capture all of your swearing, or claims of wall hacks during multiplayer games. It appears the feature will need to be supported in games directly,…

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Wrensilva’s new record console will stream music to your Sonos speakers

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Wrensilva is back with its latest record console, as first noted by Highsnobiety, and this time it comes with a notably smaller footprint. The Wrensilva Loft is the companies’ newest creation, coming in at less than half the size of previous consoles built by Wrensilva.

Constructed out of North American walnut, the Loft features a Wrensilva amp pushing 300 watts per channel, a fully decoupled belt driven turntable, a 3.5mm jack, and Sonos compatibility, allowing users to stream their records directly to the speaker system.

Photo: Wrensilva

For users who don’t have Sonos, Wrensilva is also selling the Loft in a package with its two-way bass reflex Monitor speakers — for an additional $1,500, of course. The Wrensilva…

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Netflix will explore mobile-specific cuts of its original series

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Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said in a briefing today with journalists in San Francisco that the company plans to explore streaming mobile-specific cuts of its original movies and TV shows, to satisfy what he said was a growing audience of mobile Netflix watchers.

“It’s not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile,” Hunt said. To date, Netflix hasn’t been delivering different cuts for different viewing platforms, Hunt said, but “it’s something we will explore over the next few years.”

The idea to be would be to create a version of the content with scenes or shots that are more easily visible or immersive on a mobile phone, since certain shots can be hard to see or can appear…

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Tesla to raise $1 billion through stock and loan offerings

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Tesla will raise a little more than $1 billion to fund the launch of its upcoming Model 3 electric car and to strengthen its balance sheet, the company announced today. Last year, Tesla made a similar stock offering to fund Model 3 production, although without the convertible notes, and another back in 2015.

$250 million will come from a secondary stock offering, plus $750 million in convertible senior notes (basically a loan), as well as options for the underwriters to purchase an additional 15 percent of each offering.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will personally purchase $25 million in Tesla common stock as a part of the deal. The convertible notes will change into cash or shares of Tesla stock (at the company’s election) in 2022, with…

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The co-writer of WarGames says he didn’t anticipate the dark side of hacking

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In the 1983 film WarGames, Matthew Broderick’s character David Lightman played a huge role in shaping the public image of computer hackers. But for co-writer Walter F. Parkes, it’s left a complicated legacy. “When I look at that movie, certainly there were some things we got right. Mainly, I think, that the world would not change because of things that IBM and Ma Bell or the government would do — but it would change because of things that people in their garages or bedrooms would do,” Parkes told an audience at SXSW during a panel on film and technology. “But the thing we didn’t think about was the dark side of David Lightman.”

Lightman’s character, said Parkes, “sort of reflects an attitude about hacking which was very specific to the…

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WhatsApp is bringing back statuses after replacing them with a Snapchat Story clone

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A few weeks ago, WhatsApp replaced the ability for users to set a text-based in-app status with a Snapchat Stories clone. Now, after user backlash, the company is re-adding the ability for users to set an availability status through the About section of the messaging app, according to a report from TechCrunch.

Like Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook’s regular app, the WhatsApp version of Snapchat stories allows users to post pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours. WhatsApp hoped that the picture and video stories would serve a similar function as the text-based statuses, but apparently users felt differently. Per WhatsApp, new About Status “will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when…

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GoPro eliminates almost 300 jobs in third round of cuts since 2016

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GoPro is reducing its workforce by about 270 employees, the company announced today, citing an effort to reduce operating costs by about $200 million for 2017. The new cuts include current employees as well as open positions, and it’s the third reduction to GoPro’s workforce since the beginning of 2016.

The camera company operated at a loss of $373 million in 2016, in part thanks to production delays on the new Hero 5 cameras and the recall of of the Karma drone. GoPro’s stock price hit an all-time low this past week, though it was up more than 10 percent in after-hours trading following the news.

GoPro laid off seven percent of its workforce in January of 2016, but the layoffs in…

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Google is teaching search algorithms to better spot offensive, factually incorrect results

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Google is giving thousands of contractors who normally evaluate search results a new, additional task: help the company downrank blatantly upsetting, offensive, and false content. Search Engine Land has a thorough explainer on the updated guidelines used by Google’s quality raters. Those are the people who rank the usefulness and accuracy of search results to keep improving the company’s search algorithms, which ultimately determine what ranks where.

Raters now have access to a new “Upsetting-Offensive” flag which Google says should be used in the following instances:

  • Content that promotes hate or violence against a group of people based on criteria including (but not limited to) race or ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality or…

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Bosch will sell Nvidia’s self-driving system to automakers

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Nvidia has announced a new partnership with Bosch to sell its Drive PX 2 driver-assist platform to automakers. In effect, the deal gives Nvidia a go-to-market strategy for its self-driving hardware and software platform. Bosch joins ZF as the two so-called tier-one suppliers that will sell Nvidia’s technology to automakers.

Nvidia’s technology uses “deep learning” artificial intelligence, which is a fancy way of saying its computer brain learns like a human does: instead of needing to be programmed for every possible driving scenario, it learns what the appropriate behavior is, even for unexpected situations. Theoretically, a car company looking to make its car capable of autonomous driving will also be able to go to Bosch or ZF and buy…

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DeepMind adds memory to its AI system to tackle multiple Atari games

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When Google announced in February 2015 that its DeepMind AI beat 49 Atari video games, it was a major step forward for machine learning, but it left the team behind DeepMind with a frustrating situation. Even though the AI could beat the games, it needed to be retrained to beat each new game, and quickly forgot how to play a game after it had moved on to the next one.

The researchers at DeepMind, however, have developed an algorithm to solve the problem: Elastic Weight Consolidation (EWC).

As explained in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal and an accompanying blog post, EWC allowed DeepMind’s AI to overcome the…

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Facebook is the only thing standing between us and a face-reading nightmare app

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Yesterday, an unusual app started making news. Called Facezam, the app promised to instantly identify anyone in front of your phone’s camera, using facial recognition to match them against Facebook profile pictures. It was a terrifying promise: anyone walking down the street could be identified with just a wave of your phone.

It was all fake, as it turned out. The app was built by a viral marketing agency called Zacozo, who mocked up visuals for the app, lied about the broader outlines of the project, and generated a wave of alarmed coverage in the process. The outlets who ran with the report have already drawn fire on Twitter, but so far Zacozo seems unconcerned.

Reached by The Verge, the firm said they thought a facial recognition app…

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S-Town, a spinoff podcast from the creators of Serial, will be released on March 28th

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Fans are still waiting for a third season of Serial, a podcast from the creators of This American Life. In the meantime, there’s a new, conceptually similar podcast alternative: S-Town, which will be released in full on March 28th.

S-Town is the first project from Serial Productions, which was set up earlier this year by some of the talents behind This American Life and Serial. This new series started three years ago after a man reached out to This American Life producer Brian Reed, claiming that the son of a wealthy family had been bragging about getting away with murder in their rural Alabama hometown. Reed will host S-Town.

When Serial debuted in 2014, it was an immediate hit. It examined the 1999 murder of a high-school student, Mae…

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To keep the Great Barrier Reef alive, the oceans must be cooler

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To save coral reefs around the world, global temperatures need to level off or decline, according to a new study of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) over the past 20 years. Warming waters are the key driver of mass bleaching, the study found. As the world continues to heat up, these bleaching events will become more frequent and more severe, putting the future of coral reefs at risk.

Bleaching occurs when the colorful algae that live inside the corals are expelled. That can happen for a lot of reasons — because the water is too warm or too cold, or because of extreme low tides. But bleaching is really bad for coral reefs, because the algae are essentially its farms, providing about 90 percent of the coral’s energy. Without it, the coral goes…

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Google built a new app so your kids can have a Google account, too

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Google is making a play to capture the family market. Today it announced its new Family Link app, which lets parents create a Google account for their kids. This account is completely controlled by parents, so that means they can manage the apps their kids use, monitor how long they’re staring at their device, and set a designated “bedtime” for the screen. They can remotely lock it, too.

To create this account, parents just have to get their kids a device that runs Android Nougat, download Family Link, and then create an account through the app. Family Link is now available through an early-access program. Yes, you’ll have to request an invite and your kids also have to be under 13 years old. It isn’t clear how freely Google is giving…

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Where are the Rogue One deleted scenes?

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In an interview with Fandango yesterday, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards addressed why there would be no deleted scenes from the Star Wars spinoff included on the upcoming home video release: because the bits and pieces of footage simply didn’t constitute enough of a worthwhile scene to include.

“There’s not an individual scene that you can drag and drop and put on a Blu-ray, there are little things that would come and go during the process of postproduction, but they’re not scenes,” said Edwards. “They’re more moments within the scenes or a single shot. So it’s impossible to be able to do that, and that’s why the decision was made.”

It’s an interesting decision, given that Rogue One is a film that famously went through an extensive…

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Motorola’s new wireless earbuds are cheaper, but they’re still not worth your money

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I’ve been grading on a curve when it comes to truly wireless earbuds. Or at least, I was. It’s such a technological challenge — fitting respectable battery life, sound quality, and wireless radios into such a small form factor — that I felt it worthy to catalog what companies got right in the face of the things they got wrong.

That’s why, despite the low score and headline, I was still a bit forgiving with the Motorola VerveOnes+ last year. (To be clear, they’re made by a company called Binatone, Motorola just licenses its name.) These earbuds were uncomfortable, didn’t offer incredible sound, and weren’t cheap. They also buried some of the most useful features in the accompanying app, instead of offering quick access via the earbuds’…

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Fossil is updating three smartwatch models to Android Wear 2.0

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If you’re a Fossil Q smartwatch owner, you’re among the lucky Android Wear users. The company announced today that it’s starting to update its smartwatch line to Google’s newest wearable OS: Android Wear 2.0. The rollout starts today with the Fossil Q Wander, Q Marshal, and Q Founder.

With the update, wearers will get the chance to use Google Assistant directly from their watch. They can also respond to texts through their watch’s keyboard, handwriting, or Smart Reply. Both iOS and Android users can more easily integrate third-party watchfaces, too. Check out our Android Wear 2.0 breakdown here because there’s a lot.

Multiple manufacturers have announced new Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch models, including LG. Still, though, many older…

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