Why Android P gestures are a risk worth taking

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Now that those of us brave enough to install the Android P beta have had a week or two to kick the tires, I wanted to revisit them again. Chaim Gartenberg has rightly pointed out that the combination of swipes and buttons means that the core navigation is a set of mixed metaphors. Others have called them “bad” and “a hot mess.” A gentler way to characterize the new system would be “polarizing,” but for Android users a better way might be to call it “rejection.”

Having spent some more time with the Android P beta, I tend to agree — but for different reasons. I am not at all put out by the mixed metaphors in the UI; some button taps and some swipes. Nor am I really annoyed that the gesture system hasn’t reclaimed any screen real estate, if…

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This startup is building self-driving trucks and SUVs for futuristic off-road adventures

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With every month that goes by, it seems like another electric vehicle startup comes along and promises to disrupt the auto industry. This month, it’s Rivian, a California-based startup, emerging from stealth for the first time this month with aspirations to be something of a Land Rover for souped-up EVs. The company is intent on launching an all-electric five-passenger pickup truck in 2020 and a seven-passenger SUV after that, though it will show them off later this year at the LA Auto Show.

Rivian claims these vehicles will cost between $50,000 to nearly $100,000, deliver between 200 and 400 miles of range, offer “blistering” on-road speed, “incredible” off-road performance, and, eventually, will drive themselves. Want to drive to a…

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Nvidia’s GTX 1050 3GB graphics card will cater to the budget PC gamer

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Nvidia is prepping the next generation of graphics cards, but it’s not too late to unveil a new budget model for this generation, specifically the GeForce GTX 1050 3GB.

The GTX 1050 3GB sits between the lowly 2GB GTX 1050 and higher-end 4GB 1050 Ti, bringing a faster base clock but lower memory bandwidth (84GB / second versus 112GB / second for the other two GPUs) with 760 CUDA cores to its name.

Interestingly, Nvidia is cutting the concept of crypto out from this graphics card. Having 3GB of memory makes it possible to play PC games, but cryptocurrencies like Ethereum require 3GB at the minimum, so you’re better off looking elsewhere.

The GTX 1050 will be available from Nvidia directly and from partners such as EVGA, Asus, and…

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Matt Groening’s new animated fantasy show will premiere on Netflix in August

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Matt Groening’s animated epic fantasy series has a release date: Netflix has revealed that Disenchantment will premiere on August 17th. The company also shared a handful of pictures that show off an art style that will be familiar to anyone who’s watched Futurama or The Simpsons.

Netflix officially announced the series last year. It’ll follow a “hard-drinking young princess” named Bean, an elf companion named Elfo, and her personal demon named Luci as they encounter all manner of fantasy creatures in a magical kingdom known as Dreamland. Netflix ordered 20 episodes of the show; the first 10 will premiere this year.

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Verge Art: a new home for our original illustrations and GIFs

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Each week, our team of designers and freelance illustrators creates a ton of custom art for The Verge, including illustrations for our articles, motion graphics for our reviews and series, and designs that spread across all of our platforms. So, we’ve made an Instagram account to compile and share all of our custom art in one place to showcase our wide breadth of work.

Follow us to see all the latest looping animations, thoughtful illustrations, and (from time to time) new wallpapers!

Follow @TheVergeArt

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

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Silicon Valley’s latest big idea is Tupperware parties for marijuana

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Converge is an interview game show where the biggest personalities in tech come on to tell us about their wildest dreams. It’s a show that’s easy to win, but not impossible to lose — because, in the final round, I finally get a chance to play and score a few points of my own.

On the premiere episode of Converge, Houseparty co-founder and chief operating officer Sima Sistani comes on to tell us about her big idea: Tupperware parties for marijuana — or, as she puts it, “Stella & Dot for pot.” With weed becoming legal in more states, people are curious about what they might enjoy. If you don’t feel comfortable visiting a dispensary, maybe you’d prefer to bring an expert to your house, along with some samples for you and your friends?

S…

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Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen will be a ‘remix’ with original characters, not a remake

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When The Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof brings his version of Watchmen to HBO, it will be as an original story with new characters, not a retelling of Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel. “We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” Lindelof wrote in a lengthy letter on Instagram. “Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced not rebooted.”

The five-page letter touches on Lindelof’s personal connection to the series as well as his vision for his new spin on it. The original Watchmen is canon, he says, but the show will neither be a sequel nor a reboot. Rather, he likens it to being “remixed,” because “the bass lines in those familiar…

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Google and LG show off their high-res VR display for future headsets

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Google and LG’s high-res prototype VR display is official and nearly ready for future VR headsets. It’s an incredibly pixel-rich, 18-megapixel OLED display at 1443 ppi, with a 120Hz refresh rate contained on a 4.3-inch screen with a 120 x 96 field of view.

For reference, Google says the upper bounds of human vision exist at 9600 x 9000, 2,183 ppi, and 160 x 150-degree field of view — so it’s not too far off, which is both fascinating and terrifying. If you want to compare current VR products, the HTC Vive has a smaller 3.6-inch 1080 x 1200 display with 448 pixels-per-inch, while the improved Vive Pro’s 3.5-inch 1440 x 1600 panel only has 615 ppi. Both VR headsets only have measly 90Hz refresh rates and 110-degree fields of view.

B…

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Machine learning is helping computers spot arguments online before they happen

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It’s probably happened to you. You’re having a chat with someone online (on social media, via email, in Slack) when things take a nasty turn. The conversation starts out civil, but before you know it, you’re trading personal insults with a stranger / co-worker / family friend. Well, we have some good news: scientists are looking into it, and with a little help from machine learning, they could help us stop arguments online before they even happen.

The work comes from researchers at Cornell University, Google Jigsaw, and Wikimedia, who teamed up to create software that scans a conversation for verbal ticks and predicts whether it will end acrimoniously or amiably. Notably, the software was trained and tested on a hotbed of high-stakes…

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Vivo teases a true all-display phone with pop-up camera for June 12th

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<em>Scene from Vivo’s World Cup ad.</em>

Vivo is sending out hold-the-date invitations for what looks to be the production version of the Apex concept phone that wowed the world back in February. The Apex, as you might recall, featured three impressive technologies: a pop-up front-facing camera, an edge-to-edge display with a claimed “world’s best” screen-to-body ratio, and an in-display fingerprint sensor that worked anywhere in the lower half of the display. The question is, how much of that gee-whiz tech will make it into the production device being announced in Shanghai on June 12th?

Vivo’s invite hedges a bit by saying it “continues Vivo’s vision with Apex FullView Concept Smartphone.” But we’re also teased with a glimpse of what seems to be the production device in the…

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Nintendo starts selling cheaper Switch bundle without dock in Japan

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Nintendo is now selling a cheaper Switch package in Japan that doesn’t include the TV dock. The “Switch 2nd Unit Set” is ostensibly aimed at households that already have a Switch hooked up to the family TV and therefore don’t need a second dock, but it could also be an option for players who only plan to use the system as a handheld device.

The 24,980-yen bundle comes with the Switch tablet, two Joy-Con controllers, and two Joy-Con strap attachments, meaning you’re saving 5,000 yen (~$50) on the regular Switch package. It’s not just the dock that’s excluded, though — the Joy-Con Grip and HDMI cable are obvious exclusions, but the lack of an AC adapter will be a bigger problem for anyone who doesn’t already have one. The dock and adapter…

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Disney’s Star Wars expansion land will open at Disneyland next summer

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Anticipation has been high for the Star Wars-themed expansion lands being built at Disneyland and Disney World, but it hasn’t been clear when fans will actually be able to venture into the new parks. Today that got a little clearer, with Disney officially announcing the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be opening at Disneyland in summer of 2019, with the Disney World version of the park following suit in late fall.

Disney parks have incorporated Star Wars rides and other elements for years, but Galaxy’s Edge promises to be a more more ambitious project than anything the company has attempted before. Rather than being a one-off ride or themed area, Galaxy’s Edge is intended to be an entire immersive world, giving guests the experience of…

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Happy World Goth Day: an ode to the cybergoth dance meme

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On September 7, 2011, the internet was blessed with a diamond in the rough: a home movie of a crew of German cybergoths gathered beneath a concrete overpass, enthusiastically demonstrating their best electro-industrial dancing skills. On this day, the 10th annual celebration of World Goth Day, we humbly thank them for their service.

This scrappy bunch of cybergoths — so-called for their intersecting passions for goth style, industrial aesthetic and EDM-raver esprit de coeur (not to be confused with Invisigoth, the hacker hero of a 1998 X-Files episode, though she probably would identify as both) — could not have known at the time, but their contribution to the creative spirit of the internet would go on to inspire one of the greatest…

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Turn a wall outlet into a wireless charger with the Legrand Radiant

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Wireless chargers are cheaper than ever, making it easy to put charging pads throughout your house. But what if instead of just putting charging pads everywhere, you built them straight into the wall?

That’s what Legrand envisions with the Radiant charger, which is designed to replace your regular wall outlet with a wall-mounted Qi charger (via 9to5Mac.) It’s an interesting idea with a slick look to it, but it also seems like it’d limited in actual practice.

First off, it assumes that you actually have a wall outlet that’s conveniently located at a height near eye level. (In my apartment, I’d basically be charging my phone by sticking it behind a bookshelf.) Next, if you do happen to have an outlet that’s in a good place, you’ll need to…

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Best Buy now sells a $200 per year tech support subscription

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Best Buy has launched a $200 per year subscription version of its Geek Squad service called Total Tech Support, which — despite the name — is anything but total, and is probably also a questionable value for tech support.

The service offers subscribers 24/7 tech support over the phone or online, for most tech products in the home (even if they weren’t purchased from Best Buy). Subscribers will also be able to go into Best Buy stores to receive help with basic tech support asks, like transferring data between computers, removing a virus, and something called “Level 1 Data Recovery,” which is where this also starts to sound like a Scientology scam. What is Level 2 Data Recovery? I’m not entirely sure. But I know you have to pay for it.

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Disney’s human-scale ‘Stickman’ robot can do backflips

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Humans can be great acrobats, but what about Disney robots? Disney Research has one such human-scale robot — called Stickman, because it’s literally a robotic stick — that is capable of aerial acrobatics, like backflips.

Just as certain human inventions take after nature (like body armor), it seems as if robots can take after humans. During a full backflip maneuver, Stickman swings from a ceiling-mounted wire 19.6 feet (six meters) above ground, tucks into a ball at peak height, and executes the stunt.

Stretched out, Stickman measures seven feet tall or as the Disney Research paper puts it, “to approximate the height of a human stunt performer with arms raised over his or her head” — although, it’s worth noting most gymnasts are…

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The unrestored version of 2001: A Space Odyssey is Christopher Nolan’s ultimate demo reel for an analog future

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Christopher Nolan has seen the future, and it looks a lot like the past. Nolan is one of a handful of directors who’s made no secret of his commitment to shooting movies on film for as long as possible, even as digital filmmaking becomes the default and maybe an inevitability. In the 2012 documentary Side By Side, an enlightening examination of the digital-versus-film divide produced and hosted by Keanu Reeves, even Nolan’s longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister seemed to think the end of film was near. “I will be one of the last guys shooting film,” he tells Reeves, “and Chris Nolan will be one of the last directors using film. But I’m certain that we’ll be using digital technology within the next 10 years.”

Six years later, Nolan…

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Ryan Reynolds, Michael Bay, and the writers of Deadpool are making a Netflix movie

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Last year Netflix made its first attempt at producing a blockbuster action movie with the fantasy-action hybrid Bright, but it appears the service has upped its ambitions considerably. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will be producing a new Ryan Reynolds action film called Six Underground, which will be directed by Transformers’ Michael Bay.

Bay has become synonymous with bombastic, expensive action flicks, with a filmography made up of movies like Bad Boys, The Rock, and The Transformers franchise. Six Underground will reportedly revolve around “six billionaires who fake their own death and form an elite team to take down bad guys,” but it will likely have some raucous humor thrown into the mix, as well. It was written by Paul…

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Google Maps for iOS brings in an old Waze feature to customize your navigation icon

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Google Maps is rolling out a small, but cute update that lets users change the boring old blue arrow navigation icon on the map to one of three blocky, pixelated cars that can represent your vehicle instead, as spotted by SlashGear.

It’s not exactly a new feature in the world of GPS — Waze (which Google owns) has offered it for a while. And personally, I’m not sure the cars are actually more useful than the simple, directional arrow (which makes it much clearer which direction you’re going.) But if you’ve been jealously looking at Waze users with their cool icons, now you too can have the option.

Accessing the new icons is simple: just punch in directions on Maps and tap the blue arrow icon to bring up the new car options, which gives…

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YouTube’s streaming music service has begun to roll out

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Google’s new YouTube Music streaming service arrives today for some users, available either for free with ads, $9.99 per month without, or $11.99 per month for YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Red), which includes original video content. Anyone who already has a Google Play Music subscription gets YouTube Music as part of that membership.

YouTube Music is Google’s most straightforward answer to Spotify to date, and comes with both a redesigned app and new desktop player, both designed specifically around playing music. Google argues that using YouTube for music needs has an advantage as it incorporates not just official versions of songs, but remixes, live versions, and covers. There’s also the promise that Google’s AI will make…

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