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Twitch will stream the ’80s arcade gaming show ‘Starcade’

Starcade, the '80s TV show that had participants compete in arcade video games, will be back by the end of August. No, not as a reboot, which is in the works, but as a Twitch marathon. The video gaming platform has teamed up with Shout! Factory, the studio that acquired the rights to create the reboot, to stream all 123 episodes of the original show. Starcade ran from 1982 to 1984 on TBS and featured arcade classics like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga and Centipede.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/23/twitch-starcade-marathon/

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Nissan preps its semi-autonomous driving assist for the US

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Our Autoblog colleagues tested the feature, and it's about as easy as setting cruise control. You just have to tap two buttons to invoke ProPilot, and it'll auto-resume when you change lanes yourself. Really, this is about eliminating the need for the constant input needed to stay on course and at a reasonable distance from the car up ahead. If you're the sort who sweats at the very thought of braving the highway during rush hour, this might reduce your stress levels.

It's going to be a while before Nissan is competing more aggressively with other brands adding autonomy to their vehicles. ProPilot Assist is due to support multi-lane highways within 2 years, and city roads within 4 years. Full self-driving capability is going to take longer still. It's hard to completely fault Nissan for exercising caution, though. Whether or not you believe a feature like Tesla's Autopilot is truly ready, it's clear that humans aren't used to the concept of letting cars drive themselves. Nissan's focus on basic features might as exciting as watching paint dry, but it could help ease people into the concept of letting their car steer itself.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/23/nissan-propilot-us-launch-prep/

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Ben Heck’s Super Glue Gun: Merging form and function

The team continues buckling down on its Super Glue Gun project. Felix brings together a custom-designed motor control circuit that will be used for extruding the glue. Meanwhile, Ben cuts up the perfboard to prototype the size of the printed circuit board that will eventually fit inside the handle. Thankfully, this task is made easier thanks to a 3D printer and an existing circuit that controls the 110v AC power. It's not all about the electronics, though: Hari from element14 steps in to give guidance on how the project might ultimately reach Kickstarter, introducing some ideas that hadn't occurred to the team. How do you think the build is going? Would you do anything different? Let us know over on the element14 Community.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/23/ben-hecks-super-glue-gun-merging-form-and-function/

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After Math: Do you see?

It was an illustrative week for machine vision. Sony's high-speed eyes allow robots to see at 1000 FPS, IBM trained a neural network to spot schizophrenia, and MIT's AI knows what's in your meal just by looking at it. Numbers, because how else do you measure your myopia?

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/23/after-math-do-you-see/

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‘Pokémon Go Fest’ issues refunds after tech problems ruin event

After an up and down first year of existence, the Pokémon Go Fest was supposed to be a triumphant event where players could work together in news ways and earn unique awards. The event unfortunately suffered as cell networks and the game's servers couldn't keep up with the strain, preventing many attendees who had traveled from around the world from participating. Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke was actually booed when he appeared at the event, and later in the day the company announced it would refund attendees for their ticket costs, add $100 in PokéCoins to their accounts and give them the Legendary Pokémon Lugia.

The issues, and Niantic's inability to deal with them before they derailed the event, recalled many of the problems Pokémon Go has dealt with since its launch. Incredibly popular right out of the gate, the game suffered with significant instability for months, and still occasionally has problems preventing players for logging in now. It's the first augmented reality game with participation and appeal on a massive scale, but putting its most hardcore players through a day like yesterday is just another strike against it, even as the money continues to roll in.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/23/pokemon-go-fest-disaster-legendary-raids/

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ASUS ROG Zephyrus review: Gaming laptops will never be the same again

Unlike most other laptops, ASUS pushed the Zephyrus's keyboard and trackpad all the way to its front edge. That allowed the company to place all of its high-powered hardware towards the back of the case -- in particularly, the CPU and GPU -- so it could all be cooled at once. It took me a while to get used to the Zephyrus's strange keyboard orientation, and even longer to adjust to its trackpad, which sits to the right of the keys instead of below it.

The keyboard is comfortable to type on, even though the keys have a very short travel distance. Not surprisingly, it was better suited to gaming than typing. Moving around first person shooters using the WASD keys felt just as responsive as my desktop keyboard. There's also an array of LEDs behind every key, which you can customize using an app. ASUS bundles a comfortable wrist-rest in the box, which is useful if you're worried about repetitive stress injuries.

While the trackpad placement is a bit strange, we've seen similar laptops like the Razer Blade Pro place it on the right side as well. When it comes to games, I actually found it more useful than a typical trackpad, since it almost mimics the feeling of using a mouse. It's surprisingly smooth and responsive -- in many ways it felt more accurate than a standard trackpad. Obviously, it's not something you'd use for an FPS, but it gives you a way to play slower paced games in areas where you can't fit a gaming mouse.

You can also transform the trackpad into a virtual numberpad by hitting the key right above it, which some gamers might appreciate for hitting hotkeys. It wasn't as accurate as having a physical numberpad, but it felt more convenient than just relying on the standard top number row.

Display and sound


The Zephryus's 15.6-inch, 1080p screen doesn't seem particularly impressive at first, especially when other gaming laptops include 4K displays these days. But its 120Hz refresh rate and support for NVIDIA's G-Sync technology should be appealing to gamers, since it allows for smooth play no matter what framerate you're getting. The screen shined when playing colorful, fast-paced games like Overwatch and Doom. There wasn't any tearing at all -- it's an experience more reminiscent of a high-end gaming monitor, than a standard laptop screen.

It's clear that ASUS wanted to focus on speed instead of pixel count, but it would have been nice to see a slightly higher resolution to take advantage of the laptop's bountiful horsepower. 4K would have been nice, especially since the Zephyrus can actually play games at such a high resolution, but even 1,440p would have been a decent compromise. A 1080p screen feels dated, and it'll seem even more limiting over the next few years.

While the Zephyrus's display was bright enough for indoor gameplay, it didn't fair as well outdoors. I appreciated its matte finish, which minimized reflections, but just don't expect to be fragging your friends while sitting in the park.

The laptop's speakers, which are towards the front near the keyboard, are loud, yet tinny. You wouldn't want to use them for any serious music or movie sessions. That doesn't matter much for games, since most people will just plug in an elaborate pair of headphones, but it's a disappointment nonetheless.

Performance and battery life

Under the hood, our Zephyrus review unit featured an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor running at 2.8GHz, along with 16GB of RAM. But of course, the star of the show is NVIDIA's GTX 1080 GPU. Just a year ago, the idea of cramming that GPU into a laptop was impressive. Now, we can do it in gaming notebooks that are slimmer than we've ever seen before. This isn't a stripped down version of the GTX 1080 either, it's still clocked at 1.5-1.7GHz and packs in 8GB of GDDR5X RAM.

But instead of focusing on getting as much performance from the video card as possible, NVIDIA's Max-Q philosophy emphasizes peak efficiency -- basically, the point where you can get the most bang for your GPU buck. Our unit also featured a 512GB M.2 SSD, which is significantly faster than the older SATA variety.

Your first impressions of the Zephyrus will depend on the type of computer you're most used to. If you mainly dabble in ultraportables, you'll likely be intimidated by how large it seems. But if you're familiar with gaming laptops, it'll seem remarkably slim. As soon as I was done marveling at what an engineering feat it is, I installed several games to test out its capabilities -- and the results were impressive.

I saw around 100-110 frames per second in Overwatch with all of the graphics settings at maximum. That was particularly notable since I set the render scale to 140 percent, which made the computer process the game at a higher resolution than 1080p for a sharper image. Doom, meanwhile, hit its 200FPS cap with everything maxed at 1080p, and Hitman's benchmark achieved a solid 100FPS.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/22/asus-rog-zephyrus-review/

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UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

The new rules come following a study highlighting the dangers of wayward drones. A smaller drone isn't necessarily safer than its larger alternatives, for example -- many of those more compact models have exposed rotors that can do a lot of damage. A drone weighing around 400 g (0.88lbs) can crack the windscreen of a helicopter, while all but the heaviest drones will have trouble cracking the windscreen of an airliner (and then only at speeds you'd expect beyond the airport). While you might not cause as much chaos as some have feared, you could still create a disaster using a compact drone.

It's nothing new to register drones, of course, and it doesn't appear to have dampened enthusiasm in the US. The test adds a wrinkle, though: how willing are you to buy a drone if you know you'll have to take a quiz? The test likely won't slow sales too much, if at all, but it could give people one more reason to pause before buying a drone on impulse. Manufacturers appear to be in favor of the new rulebook, at any rate -- DJI tells the BBC that the UK is striving for a "reasonable" solution that balances safety with a recognition of the advantages that drones can bring to public life.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/22/uk-drone-rules-require-safety-tests/

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Watch the nostalgic trailer for Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’

After no shortage of hype, Warner Bros. is finally ready to show what Steven Spielberg's take on Ready Player One is all about. The studio has released the first trailer for the adaptation of Ernest Cline's novel, and it's clear that the flick is playing up not just the book's disjunction between a dystopic real world and VR, but the endless references to pop culture of decades gone by. Some of them are patently obvious in the clip -- you'll see a famous time-traveling car and a certain giant robot -- but some are of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety. Take Duke Nukem in the epic battle above, for example.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/22/ready-player-one-trailer/

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Drowned security robot wasn’t a victim of foul play

That's still unknown, although it's safe to say Steve wasn't bemoaning the state of politics or suffering from existential dread. It's possible that a software glitch led to the deadly change in course, or that weather threw it off.

The dive isn't deterring anyone involved. The property is using a replacement robot at the moment, and Steve is expected to make a recovery once he gets repairs. He may have "died," but he's not gone forever. MRP Realty, which deployed Steve, clearly isn't deterred -- it wants to implement more of Knightscope's robots at other properties within 3 to 6 months. However, it's safe to say that both MRP and Knightscope will be combing over the data from this incident to reduce the chances of another tumble.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/22/the-day-the-security-robot-died/

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Watch the full ‘Stranger Things’ season 2 trailer

At last, Netflix is offering more than minuscule teasers for Stranger Things' second season. The service just premiered a full-length trailer for season 2, and it sheds much more light on what to expect. It reveals just how much Will is affected by the events of the first season (hint: a lot), the spread of the Upside Down in Hawkins and a peek at Eleven's long-expected return. And naturally, it ramps up the nostalgia factor: there's plenty of Ghostbusters references, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to set the mood and even a smattering of Dragon's Lair. It's still too soon to say if the Stranger Things follow-up can come anywhere close to matching expectations by this point, but it's at least promising.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/22/stranger-things-season-2-full-trailer/

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