LucidSound’s volume control headphone dials are a smart solution for a nagging gaming issue

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In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives out devices. Button of the Month is a monthly look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new, and it aims to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level.

It’s hard to put a good button on wireless headphones. Like I’ve said before, wireless headphones need to include audio playback controls, and they need to do so in a way that makes it easy for wearers to access them without looking. Some headphones have solved this for music listening, like Marshall with its joystick control scheme, but gaming headsets are twice as difficult.

Gaming headsets not only need to control…

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Google Chrome is getting a reader mode on desktop

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The desktop version of Google Chrome’s browser is getting a reader mode, which can be used to strip out a page’s unnecessary background clutter to make an article easier to read. ZDNet notes that the feature launched today in Chrome’s experimental Canary release, and it should make its way to more stable versions of the browser in the future.

Reader modes have become a standard browser feature. Microsoft’s Edge browser has had one since at least 2015, and Firefox and Safari both added them in 2017. Firefox’s implementation is the most advanced out of the three, with support for different color-schemes (including a dark mode), text-to-speech, and a host of text-resizing options.

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One of the Game Boy’s weirdest games was a Pokémon clone with infrared trading

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Many years ago, before AirDrop and Bluetooth, before widespread Wi-Fi and even remotely fast home internet access, there was the Game Boy Link Cable. It was how you got all three starters on your copy of Pokémon Red, and it was, at least in my mind, the only way to bring any sort of peer-to-peer connectivity to Nintendo’s handheld. I remember dutifully trading pokémon with friends after school, ensuring we could fill one another’s Pokédex entries before trading back our precious virtual creatures using Nintendo’s cable accessory, a device Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri credits as inspiration for virtual worlds that insect-like creatures could crawl between, like tunnels.

But the link cable was just the beginning of the Game Boy’s wild,…

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Google Assistant can now ‘gently’ wake you up with Philips Hue lights

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Google is rolling out a new feature to Google Assistant today that will allow a Google Home device to work in concert with a Philips Hue light setup to gently wake you up in the morning or go to sleep at night by gradually raising or lowering the lights over the course of 30 minutes.

The feature — fittingly called Gentle Sleep & Wake — is designed to mimic a sunrise and sunset. It will let you get the kind of luxury experience that people who can afford homes and apartments with natural light get on a daily basis but through cold, artificial Wi-Fi lightbulbs instead. It’s basically the same thing.

Gentle Wake can be set up either by asking Google Assistant to “Turn on Gentle Wake…

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Lime’s electric scooters will be able to tell when you’re too drunk to ride

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Lime co-founder and executive chairman Brad Bao chatted with The Verge’s editor-in-chief Nilay Patel and senior transportation reporter Andrew J. Hawkins about what’s next for the e-scooter revolution in this week’s Vergecast interview. Bao discussed how scooter-sharing companies could better promote safety without compromising the convenience, as well as how his company is protecting its customers’ private data.

You can listen to the discussion in its entirety on The Vergecast right now. Below is a lightly edited excerpt from this interview regarding some of Bao’s ideas about how to keep drunk riders from using Lime’s scooters.

Andrew J. Hawkins: Is there an innovative way of looking at how you can promote safety in a way that you…

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Amazon’s The Boys gets a new, NSFW trailer and a July 26th release date

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Amazon has a new trailer out for its upcoming adaptation of The Boys, a long-running comics series written by Preacher and Hitman author Garth Ennis. Set in a world where superheroes are real, but also terrible people who abuse their vast powers, The Boys focuses on a group of vigilantes who work to hold those “heroes” accountable — with lots of bloody, aggressive mayhem.

The latest trailer — which is definitely NSFW — gives a good look at the series’ Zack Snyder-esque style: a grim but comedically over-the-top level of sex and violence. It also lays out the series’ basic conceit: “How do you spank a superhero?”

Starring Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, the leader of “the boys,” along with Jack Quaid as protagonist “Wee” Hughie Campbell,…

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Nintendo Labo director says VR was part of the plan from the beginning

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Nintendo Labo VR, the cardboard accessory kit for the Switch, is up against a lot of expectations as the company’s official foray into virtual reality. It’s the fourth installment of the Labo series, which first launched one year ago to mixed reviews. Parents and schools lauded its tactile building experience and programming features as creative educational tools for kids, while some critics dismissed it as a novelty item that lost its fun after the first few plays.

But Labo director Tsubasa Sakaguchi is unfazed by the detractors. “We’re not focused on the passive playing experience, but more of the emotion that’s evoked when you create your own controllers and play the games,” he says. “At the end of the day, you have to experience it…

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How to print from a Chromebook

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While Google’s Chromebooks are all about online services, sometimes you need a good old-fashioned printout to accompany your digital adventures.

Printing from a Chromebook has gotten a lot easier over the years, but it still isn’t always obvious how to get started or which paths to embrace. Follow this guide, and you’ll be churning out paper from your cloud-centric computer in no time.

Add a current wireless printer

Provided you have a reasonably recent printer that’s capable of connecting to the internet, you should be able to add it directly to your Chromebook without the need for supplementary services.

First, make sure the printer is on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer. The procedure for connecting a printer…

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Genesis made a miniature mint green electric car for the urban future

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Genesis is not a well-known brand in the US — only around 100 dealers feature the automaker’s cars on their lots — but the company is making it a habit to release its flashiest concepts at stateside auto shows. Last year, it was the Genesis Essentia, an all-electric coupe with a retro-futuristic glass bubble roof. This year it’s the Mint concept, an electric city car with (you guessed it) a minty fresh paint job.

It’s a “city car” meant to squeeze through the narrow alleys and dense traffic of packed urban centers. The two-seat, two-door vehicle has a shortened sedan-shaped body, but without a traditional trunk. In its place, there’s a “parcel shelf” designed for occasional use. Think a Smart Car with a slightly longer wheelbase.

The…

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My Samsung Galaxy Fold screen broke after just a day

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Look closely at the picture above, and you can see a small bulge right on the crease of my Galaxy Fold. It’s just enough to slightly distort the screen, and I can feel it under my finger. There’s something pressing up against the screen at the hinge, right there in the crease. My best guess is that it’s a piece of debris, something harder than lint for sure. It’s possible that it’s something else, though, like the hinge itself on a defective unit pressing up on the screen.

It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge…

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How to use Google’s new budget feature on Android so you don’t overspend

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Google is adding a new budgeting feature to its Play Store that will allow Android users to establish a monthly maximum they want to spend on digital content. This applies to apps, games, movies, TV shows, music, ebooks, and so on. As you get close to reaching your budget limit, you’ll see an alert that you’re nearing it — or have gone over the amount you specified.

This budget option hasn’t rolled out to everyone yet. When it does, you’ll be able to access it like this:

  • Open the Play Store on your Android device, bring up the left-side menu, and then go to the account section.
  • From there, you should see a “Purchase History” tab. (If, like me, you only see “Order History,” then you can’t use the budget feature just yet. Hopefully the…

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Fortnite’s new update lets you pet dogs (and other animals)

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With its latest update, Fortnite has added a very significant feature: you can finally pet dogs. The battle royale game introduced pets — which include not only dogs, but also dragons, chameleons, and other cuddly creatures — as part of season 6 back in September. But until now, you haven’t been able to interact with them.

The ability to pet animals may seem out of place in a game about killing everyone around you, but Fortnite isn’t a stranger to pleasant interactions, as anyone who has ever thanked the bus driver or attended a violence-free concert can attest. Given just how charming the pets in the game are, it’s a feature that’s long overdue.

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Game of Thrones’ season 8 premiere recalls key moments from the season 1 pilot

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Spoilers ahead for “Winterfell,” episode 1 of Game of Thrones, season 8.

The season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones is the beginning of the end for the show, which is wrapping up in May. To acknowledge the coming end, the showrunners used that premiere to bring audiences full circle, back to the beginning of the series. Episode 1 of season 8, “Winterfell,” is full of visual and narrative parallels with season 1, episode 1, “Winter is Coming,” from the episode names to the setting, and down to specific character dialogue.

Some of these parallels are obvious to avid show watchers, and even if they aren’t, the executive producers point them out at the end of the episode. As executive producer and writer David Benioff explains in a…

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Watch the final trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix

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20th Century Fox has released the final trailer for the upcoming (and likely final) installment of its X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix, showing off Jean Grey’s struggles to contain the vast powers she acquires after an accident in space.

The film is adapting the classic Dark Phoenix storyline, first published in the 1980s, in which mutant Jean Grey is struck by a solar flare and transformed, returning to earth as the Phoenix, a being of pure thought. We’ve seen a couple of trailers for the film that show off this transformation for the film’s titular character (played by Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner) and how the X-Men struggle to contain her powers.

This new trailer twists what we’ve seen so far, showing how Jean struggles with her new…

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Save on TCL and Vizio 4K HDR TVs and an MSI gaming laptop

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TCL’s 65-inch 6-Series 4K HDR Roku TV has reached its lowest price ever at around $804. Whenever one of the 6-Series models sees a big discount, we’re sure to mention it because it’s among the best 4K HDR TVs that you can get for under $1,000. That used to apply only to the 55-inch model, which has long been the far cheaper option, but now you can pick up the 65-inch model if it fits your budget and your home.

Vizio’s 65-inch P-Series 4K HDR TV is a step ahead of TCL’s model when it comes to deeper contrast and more accurate colors, thanks to its quantum dot technology. It’s an LED panel, but because of its quality, it bridges the gap between cheaper options and more expensive OLED TVs. Usually around $1,700, it’s $1,498 right now at…

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Apple reportedly planning new Find my iPhone app that will track non-Apple devices

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Apple is planning to merge its Find my iPhone and Find my Friends services into a single app, 9to5Mac reports. The service will be able to track an expanded range of devices, thanks to a new hardware product that will compete with the likes of Tile and will reportedly be released for both iOS and macOS as a Marzipan-based application.

The new service will reportedly be able to track your devices even when they’re not connected to the internet by either Wi-Fi or cellular, but it will otherwise feature many of the current features of the Find my iPhone app. You’ll be able to put devices into “lost mode” and have them make a sound so you can find them, and the service will continue to allow you to find your AirPods.

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The Game Boy turns 30

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On April 21st, 1989, Nintendo unleashed the Game Boy on the world, forever changing video games. The unassuming gray brick may not have been a technical powerhouse, but it helped take the idea of portable gaming mainstream, paving the way for the world of mobile gaming and hybrid devices like the Switch. Three decades later, The Verge is celebrating with a week full of stories that explore the many ways the Game Boy shaped the games industry and its importance as a cultural object. That includes looking at things like emulation, chiptune music, and the plethora of accessories and imitators the Game Boy inspired. You can keep up with everything right here.

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Anker’s Roav Bolt charger works like a Google Home Mini in your car

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The Roav Bolt by Anker is a weird little product. It’s a car charger with two USB ports that fits into a lighter plug. It’s also sort of like a tiny little Google Home Mini, complete with two microphones specially tuned to cancel out echo and noise in a car. It even has the traditional 4 LED lights you see on top of the Home Mini when it’s active. It’s available today at Best Buy for $49.99.

After using it for a few hours over the weekend, I came away a little impressed, but not so much that I think it’s an obvious buy for many people. If you’ve got an older car and live completely in the Google ecosystem, I could see it being an interesting product — albeit a little expensive. Once it’s plugged in and set up (though the Google…

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Google’s Pixel 3 uses AI to detect when you’re kissing someone in a selfie

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More AI smarts for the camera on Google’s Pixel 3.

Google’s Pixel phones have always had stand-out cameras, thanks in no small part to the company’s use of AI. The latest application? A built-in kiss cam for the camera on the Pixel 3 that automatically detects when subjects are puckering up and snaps a quick photo.

The feature is an update the Pixel Camera app’s Photobooth mode. This is a shutter-free mode which automatically takes photos with the Pixel 3’s wide-angle selfie cam. In addition to spotting kisses, Google says the software recognizes five key facial expressions that “should” trigger capture: “smiles, tongue-out, kissy/duck face, puffy-cheeks, and surprise.”

That’s the theory, anyway. Our tests with the app were inconsistent. “Its ability to detect duck-face is…

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The Game Boy was the first console that felt like it was mine

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The first video game console I ever loved was a hand-me-down Game Boy from my sister who rebelliously outgrew video games to chase her dreams of starting a cool garage band. The handheld taught me a lot about video games, but it wasn’t until I stole a copy of my friend’s Pokémon Blue and secretly played it in the backseat of my parents’ car that I fell in love with gaming.

She gave me a couple of games with it, including Super Mario Land and a random Conker title. Tetris was my sister’s favorite, and she offered it to me with the same adoration as a grandmother who passes down her engagement ring. My sister loved her Game Boy, the bulky handheld console with the green-tinted screen, and she wanted me to appreciate it the same way. If I…

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