Queen Elizabeth will deliver her Christmas Day message via Alexa this year, if you ask

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Queen Elizabeth II Delivers Her Christmas Speech
Photo by John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

“Alexa, play the Queen’s Christmas Day message” will soon be a thing — even if you don’t live in the UK. Starting December 25th at 3PM GMT (or 10AM ET, 7AM PT), that phrase will deliver the Queen’s traditional Christmas Day broadcast, according to The Guardian.

If you’re curious what the Queen’s message might contain, you can check out transcripts of all her previous Christmas Broadcasts (going back to 1952!) at The Royal Household’s website. No doubt this one will spend some time on the COVID-19 pandemic, whose latest variant is currently forcing London to impose its harshest lockdown yet, but perhaps it’ll be a bit of an escape from the harsh reality, too.

Amazon seems to think it might be: “After a challenging year, millions of…

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Can you IPO sneakers? Also, this is the last Exchange roundup of the year

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s broadly based on the daily column that appears on Extra Crunch, but free, and made for your weekend reading. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Subscribe here.  Ready? Let’s talk money, startups and spicy IPO rumors. Sweet dreams are made of IPOs, so merry f****** Christmas We’re […]

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See the original posting on Boing Boing

Why is the sky blue? How do birds fly? How were swear words invented if we’re not allowed to say them? 

If you’ve ever been a parent to or anywhere within a 100 foot radius of an inquisitive kid, then that’s only the slimmest sample of the questions that might get posed to you on a daily basis. — Read the rest

The best deals of the week, holiday edition

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The holidays can be overwhelming — even during years like this one when most of us aren’t actually traveling to visit family and friends. If buying gifts is still looming on your to-do list, you certainly aren’t alone. It’s tough to find the right kind of gift for everyone, especially people who have an affinity for tech. That’s where we come in.

Below, there are a few great deals you can take advantage of now, and better, they’ll get where they need to be by December 25th. If you’re mailing packages yourself, we’ve pulled together all of the crucial shipping dates for USPS, UPS, and FedEx right here.

Deals on noise-canceling headphones

Sony’s WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds with noise cancellation slipped $10 below its best-ever price…

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‘Super Nintendo World’ Amusement Park Previewed By Mario’s 68-Year-Old Creator

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“On Friday, Nintendo and Universal Studios Japan took the veil off a years-in-the-making project: the very first Nintendo-themed theme park,” reports Ars Technica (in an article shared by long-time Slashdot reader mprindle):

And who better to introduce the world to this life-sized walk through of all things Mario than the character’s creator himself, longtime Nintendo developer and designer Shigeru Miyamoto…

Many of the park’s decorations and objects can be interacted with by park visitors who wear a special wristband, dubbed the Power-Up Band, which includes an Amiibo-like NFC chip. Press its sensor near park objects like a Super Mario coin block, and a new virtual item will appear in a synced Super Nintendo World app on your smartphone. Exactly how these virtual items will affect your visit to Super Nintendo World remains unclear, but Miyamoto-san hinted to surprising attractions and hidden interactable panels for park visitors to discover in person. (Additionally, those Power-Up Bands will double as Amiibo for compatible hardware, like Nintendo Switch.)

Only one “ride” received a showcase in the video, albeit a brief one: a Mario Kart race against Bowser. It’s hosted inside a replica of Bowser’s castle, and visitors will sit in one of a series of Mario-styled go-karts that appear to be linked on a rollercoaster-like track, as opposed to freely controllable. Exactly what visitors will see on that ride remains unclear, but previous news about the ride’s augmented reality (AR) elements was reinforced with the first official look at the park’s AR glasses, which come attached to a Super Mario hat.

The park opens in Japan on February 4, 2021, according to Ars, followed by later launches at Universal Studios in in Singapore, and at its U.S. locations in Orlando, Florida and Los Angeles.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The best last-minute digital gifts from Target, Amazon, Walmart, and more

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Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus are great gifts for early adopters of next-gen consoles. | Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

The holiday season has arrived — but don’t panic. If you forgot to buy a gift for someone, you can’t decide what to give your loved one, or the item you wanted to give can’t be delivered on time, it’s not a problem. Digital gifts are the most convenient and easiest gifts. And with so many digital gifts to choose from — like a subscription to a popular streaming service, some extra cash for iTunes or a new game, or a gift card from your favorite retailer — we made a list of a few quick gift ideas.

Image: Disney

A streaming service like Disney Plus could be the perfect gift for a stay-at-home friend or relative.

For movie / TV show streamers

With the pandemic continuing to keep most of us inside, there’s never…

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The Verge’s 17 favorite podcasts of 2020

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Microphone (stock Lowensohn)

Many of us were not commuting as usual during 2020, so our podcast listening time may have been somewhat lessened. However, podcasts are still popular. They’re great to listen to while driving, cleaning your home, exercising, or just hanging out. There are podcasts to suit every taste, including topics like politics, history, music, and comedy. In fact, there are so many out there that it may be difficult to choose where to start. We asked the staff at The Verge what their current favorite podcasts were. Here they are — try them out and see what you think.

Lost Notes 1980

Photo: David Corio / KCRW

Lost Notes 1980

Last year, this podcast told about music’s untold stories. This season focuses on the year 1980…

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Circle Text With CSS and JavaScript

See the original posting on DZone Python

In this article, I will share the CSS and JS code to generate circle text from an HTML text element. This technique makes a span element for each letter and rotates it slightly.  You can generate a circle text by adjusting the font size and circle radius.

Similar techniques have been implemented in online web applications like in the circle text generator in MockoFun.

Cyberpunk 2077’s 1.05 update addresses a laundry list of bugs

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Image: CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077’s second promised hotfix is out for Xbox and PlayStation platforms. The PC version will follow “soon,” according to developer CD Projekt Red. You can read the extensive list of fixes here.

While there doesn’t seem to be anything quite as significant as the changes to reduce epilepsy risk made in last week’s 1.04 hotfix, hopefully this new update will make what has been a very buggy game have a few less issues.

The game has been out for a little more than a week, and players have been criticizing the game for its numerous bugs and performance issues, particularly on older consoles. The outcry led to Sony offering full refunds of digital copies of the game and taking the unprecedented step of yanking the game from the…

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Cyberpunk 2077’s Microsoft store listing now has a warning for bugs

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Cyberpunk 2077’s listing on Microsoft’s digital games store now includes a label warning of potential performance issues on Xbox One. “Users may experience performance issues when playing this game on Xbox One consoles until this game is updated,” the warning reads.

Players have observed numerous bugs and performance issues with Cyberpunk 2077 since its launch last week, especially on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The dissatisfaction led the company to quickly issue a statement suggesting that unhappy players try to get refunds for the game. Many players had trouble actually getting refunds, though, given Sony and Microsoft’s typically strict policies for issuing refunds of digital games.

Since Thursday evening, though, that has…

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