10 new science fiction and fantasy novels to check out this August

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Photo by Andrew Liptak / The Verge

I always enjoy a good space opera thriller. In recent weeks, I’ve been reading Dan Moren’s latest book, The Bayern Agenda, which I’d characterize as John le Carré meets Battlestar Galactica.

In it, Simon Kovalic is an intelligence agent for the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, which has been engaged in a sort of cold war with the Illyrican Empire. He was injured in the course of his last mission, and his covert team of operatives has been handed over to his ex-wife, Lieutenant Commander Natalie Taylor, for a mission to the banking planet Bayern Corporation. When he’s tipped off that their cover might have been blown, it’s up to him to go in and save them. The book is the perfect beach read for science fiction fans, with plenty of…

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Epic tells Fortnite players on Xbox One to unplug their Kinect

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Kinect

If you’ve noticed some issues with Fortnite on Xbox One today then Kinect could be to blame. Epic Games is encouraging Fortnite players to disconnect their Kinect camera due to “stability issues” when starting up Fortnite. The issues appear to have started happening today, just as the 10th season of Fortnite, dubbed season X, began. “We’re investigating a fix for this issue, but players can work around it in the meantime by disconnecting their Kinect,” says Epic Games on Twitter.

It’s not clear why Kinect is causing Fortnite issues, especially as it has been five years since Microsoft stopped reserving GPU resources for Kinect. Microsoft used to reserve 10 percent of GPU bandwidth for Kinect, before unlocking this for developers to use…

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Google is testing a Play Pass subscription service for premium apps and games

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Image: Android Police

Subscription services are all the rage these days, and Google is the latest company to get in on the action, with Android Police reporting that the company has already started testing a new Play Pass subscription service that offers “hundreds of premium apps and games” with no ads or in-app purchases for a flat monthly fee.

The leaked screenshots that Android Police received from a reader show some of the details of the service, and they sound extremely similar to the upcoming Apple Arcade subscription, which was announced earlier this year.

Customers pay a monthly $4.99 fee for unlimited access to a catalog of premium apps and games without any ads and all of the in-app purchases…

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Quentin Tarantino’s historical revisionism makes his movies better suited for the future

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Warning: Significant spoilers ahead for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

More and more often these days, press screenings for movies are preceded by warnings to critics, asking them not to spoil the movie in their reviews. It’s an attempt to preserve a movie’s sense of surprise in an era where outlets race to jump-start the online discourse about new releases, as if a starter pistol went off at the beginning of every movie.

Generally, the anti-spoiler requests are reasonable. But the entreaties around Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood felt particularly odd. “Please don’t spoil this movie about the 1969 Manson Family murders” sounds as counterintuitive as the warnings issued over the Lion King remake. Doesn’t everyone already…

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Egely Wheel telekinesis — fact or fiction?

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The Action Lab Man is a guy who makes good videos of science demonstrations and experiments. In this video he tries to make something called an “Egely Wheel” to spin just by putting his hand near it. I’ve never heard of an Egely Wheel before I saw this video. Here’s what the Action Lab Man said about it: “In this video I bought and Egely Disk Vitality indicator that supposedly moves through your body’s “bio-energy” or telekinesis. Is it true? I test it out myself to see if it truly can move simply through concentration. I test it with gloves on, in a jar, and even in a vacuum chamber.”

Image: YouTube/Action Lab Read the rest

This Kickstarter keyboard combines 1970s tech with magnets to make every key pressure-sensitive

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The Keystone’s keys respond differently depending on how hard you press them. | Video: Input Club

One of the big benefits of mechanical keyboards is that there are almost an infinite number of different designs and switch types to fit your needs. But regardless of whether you’re using a gaming-friendly Cherry MX Red switch or a more typing-focused Cherry MX Blue, the actual mechanical mechanism inside each switch is largely the same; you press down on a key, an electrical circuit gets completed, and the resulting signal indicates that a key has been pressed. However, Input Club, the keyboard startup behind cult keyboard community favorites like the WhiteFox, has a different idea about how mechanical keyboard switches should work.

Input Club is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the Keystone, a new keyboard that will be the…

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The Samsung Galaxy Dongle

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This, friends, is the Samsung Galaxy Dongle. The NSFW photo arrives courtesy of SamMobile. The story isn’t the image itself, so much as what it represents. It’s the end of an era. A last key flagship smartphone maker acknowledging the death of the 3.5mm jack. It’s been years in the making, of course. Apple took […]

Intel’s first 10nm Ice Lake CPUs revealed: here’s your decoder ring

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Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

After years of delays and false starts, Intel is finally shipping its first batch of 10nm processors to the world, the company announced last week. As we’ve previously discussed, the new Ice Lake CPUs are only for thin-and-light laptops no more powerful than a 13-inch MacBook Pro — but we’re now getting a rough idea how the lineup actually breaks down.

Today, Intel has revealed the first 11 processors based on its Ice Lake architecture, and some differences might not be obvious when you’re buying a laptop from a store — so I thought I’d whip up a little decoder ring to help you understand what a phrase like “Intel Core i5-1035G4” is all about.

Particularly because not all these chips are equal: a Core i7-1060G7, Core i7-1065G7 and Core…

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Samsung’s headphone dongle leaks ahead of Note 10 announcement

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Image: Samsung

Are you a current owner of a Samsung Galaxy device and a pair of wired headphones? Did it feel like someone just walked on your grave? It may be because pictures of Samsung’s upcoming 3.5mm to USB-C dongle just leaked as the final, irrefutable confirmation that Samsung will be joining the ranks of Apple, Google (not counting the budget Pixel 3A), and nearly every other flagship phone maker in killing the headphone jack on the upcoming Galaxy Note 10, via SamMobile.

The photos depict a dongle that is exactly as you’d expect: there’s a USB-C jack on one end and a 3.5mm input on the other. Samsung appears to be using a sturdier, tapered connector that slopes down to the wire, instead of the more fragile step-style of reinforcement that A…

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Mophie’s iPhone XS and XR battery cases are now available for all

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Image: Mophie

After releasing exclusively for Amazon Prime subscribers back in June, Mophie’s latest iPhone charging case, the Juice Pack Air, is now available for anyone to buy. There are models available to fit the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, and all three support Qi wireless charging, as well as pass-through charging and sync over Lightning. The cases can be bought either from Amazon or directly from Mophie for $99.95.

Luckily for Mophie, the company has managed to release its latest cases before the phones they support reach the end of their life. That wasn’t the case last year, when Mophie released its iPhone X charging case a whole month after the phone was discontinued.

Image: Mophie

The iPhone XS case (pictured) is…

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Speak new languages intuitively with the help of Babbel

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When it comes to language lessons, there’s no shortage of virtual teachers out there. But even with all that interactive technology out there, it’s tough to make the process of learning a new tongue seem as fun as actually getting out there and speaking it.

There are some standouts, though. There’s a reason why Babbel gets praise both from traditional news outlets and the internet intelligentsia: Its methodology is as smooth as its interface, and the sum of those parts is a joy to dive into.

Like a lot of language learning apps, you can plow through one of 14 languages in Babbel at your own pace. But the individual lessons are bite-sized and engaging, making you actually want to pick up that pace. Apart from that, it’s all about the details: The audio you’ll hear in Babbel is all from native speakers, and feedback from the speech recognition is top-notch. As you progress, you’ll notice old words popping up just often enough to make them stick in your long-term memory, and before you know it, you’ll be integrating them into a practical, usable conversation.

A lifetime subscription to Babbel Language Learning is $149, which is half off the list price. You can also get a 2-year subscription for 33% off at $99 or a 1-year subscription for 17% off at $69. Read the rest

Fortnite season X adds mech suits, a meteor, and ‘volatile rift zones’

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Fortnite

The 10th season of Fortnite — officially dubbed season X — is finally upon us, and it adds a number of new features based on a time-bending theme.

One of the biggest changes is a new vehicle, a two-person mech suit called a B.R.U.T.E. where one player handles movement, and the other shooting. There are also all-new “rift zones” caused by a massive explosion that kicked off the season, and it sounds like they’ll regularly change things up — and even bring back elements from past Fortnite seasons. “Locations once thought to be lost are beginning to appear, but they aren’t the same as they once were,” developer Epic explains.

The most notable change on the island itself, meanwhile, is the long-awaited return of Dusty Depot — the meteor that…

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This keyboard that doubles as a trackpad is almost a great iPad mouse

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I’ve recently written about the best iPad Pro keyboard options as well as how well iPadOS’ experimental mouse support works. So when I came across a neat product that bridges the gap between the two, I knew I’d have to check it out. Developed by a small South Korean company called Innopresso, the Mokibo is a keyboard with touch sensitivity on the surface, allowing you to use it as a trackpad.

The product isn’t designed exclusively for the iPad or even Apple computers in general — it has Windows key markings as well and can be paired to multiple devices at once, with quick shortcuts for switching between keyboard profiles for each platforms. But the iPad jumped out to me as the ideal use case. Here’s a slim, wireless keyboard that can…

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DJI Osmo Mobile 3 phone stabilizer leaks early

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The DJI Osmo 2 was released last year. | Tyler Pina / The Verge

A new entry in DJI’s range of smartphone gimbals has appeared in an FCC listing, suggesting that a follow-up to last year’s DJI Osmo Mobile 2 could be on its way soon. The listing for the “Osmo Mobile 3” was first spotted by Dave Zatz, who notes that the gimbal’s handle appears to have been redesigned for the new model.

Aside from the new grip, it’s unclear what new functionality we can expect from the DJI Osmo Mobile 3. Although ostensibly the big new feature introduced with the second version of the gimbal was the ability to film with your phone in portrait, we thought that its price was the bigger upgrade. At just $129.95 the Osmo Mobile 2 was under half the price of the $299 original. It’s hard to see how DJI could drop the price by…

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Windows 10 is getting a macOS-like cloud OS restore feature

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Microsoft Surface Laptop

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft is planning to improve the way you reset or refresh a Windows 10 PC. The company has revealed it’s testing a new “cloud download” feature for resetting Windows 10 when hardware fails or the OS needs reinstalling. While the feature isn’t available for public testing just yet, it will appear on devices when you boot a machine in a failed state.

This will likely be similar to the way Apple handles macOS reinstalls, with the option to reinstall macOS by downloading a copy from the cloud. Microsoft has actually been using a similar feature for its Surface lineup recently, allowing the devices to “recover from the cloud” by downloading a copy of Windows 10 and reinstalling it.

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