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27Nov/200

‘Star Wars Squadrons’ next-gen update packs 4K, 120 FPS tweaks

Assassin’s Creed isn’t the only game getting a key update for the new consoles today, as EA pushed an update for Star Wars Squadrons. As previously announced, this update brings a slew of upgrades to players on next-gen systems.

On PS5, that includes just improved visual quality and lighting, while Xbox Series X/S updates include a toggle for 120 FPS output with reduced quality, as well as support for displays with variable refresh rate and resolution that now goes up to 4K.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/star-wars-squadrons-120fps-4k-update-014825281.html

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27Nov/200

Comcast is hiking TV and internet prices in 2021

You’ll have to pay more for Comcast’s services starting next year. The company will raise its prices for both cable TV and internet, and according to a price list posted on Reddit, they’ll be effective as soon as January 1st, 2021. According to the poster, the new prices are for the Chicago area, but Ars Technica has confirmed that price hikes are coming to all customers across the US. Comcast’s “Broadcast TV” fee — that is, the amount subscribers have to pay to cover the costs of providing local stations on cable for each area — is going up from $11.70 to $16.20 for Chicago customers. The exact amount varies for each location.

TV customers will also have to pay an additional $2 for the Regional Sports Network fee. As Ars notes, that’s an additional $78 for fees that aren’t even part of Comcast’s advertised rates. Even customers on promotional pricing will have to fork out that extra amount, since both charges aren’t part of the promo. All on-demand subscriptions will cost $1 to $2 more. Meanwhile, all Xfinity Internet packages will cost $3 more across the board.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/comcast-price-hike-tv-internet-100116915.html

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27Nov/200

Amazon workers plan Black Friday strikes and protests in 15 countries

This time around, protests, strikes and other actions will take place in the US, the UK, Mexico, Brazil, India, Australia and nine other nations. The coordinated effort is called #MakeAmazonPay and it coincides with the start of the company's peak season. During that time, as Vice notes, the number of warehouse worker injuries typically rises amid a significant increase in workload.

Among those who plan to take action on Black Friday are up to 3,000 warehouse workers in Germany, Ring call center contractors in the Philippines and garment manufacturers in Bangladesh. Activists also plan to hold protests at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle and Virginia.

A collective of social justice organizations have called on Amazon to improve pay for warehouse workers, including a return of pandemic-related hazard pay and higher rates during peak periods. Among the group’s many other demands are for the company to commit to eliminating net carbon emissions by 2030 (Amazon is targeting 2040 for that), stop spying on workers and union organizers, pay “taxes in full, in the countries where the real economic activity takes place” and guarantee transparency over privacy and use of customer data.

“This is a series of misleading assertions by misinformed or self-interested groups who are using Amazon’s profile to further their individual causes,” Amazon told Engadget in a statement. “Amazon has a strong track record of supporting our people, our customers, and our communities, including providing safe working conditions and leading $15 minimum wage and great benefits, leading on climate change with the Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040, and paying more than $5 billion in taxes globally.”

Update 11/26 2:50PM ET: Added Amazon’s statement.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-black-friday-strikes-protests-181200444.html

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27Nov/200

Top Black Friday deals on cloud storage

1. Koofr Cloud Storage: Lifetime Subscription (1TB)

MSRP: $2,700 | Discount: 93% | Sale price w/ CODE BFSAVE40: $102

Koofr is a safe, private and simple cloud storage service accessible through web, mobile and WebDav. You can view all of your files in one place with Koofr by easily connecting your existing cloud accounts, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, and transfer huge files to external clouds with no limit. This deal also comes with the Koofr Duplicate Finder tool, which helps you find and remove duplicate files inside your Koofr account. Alongside that, Koofr offers renaming and customization tools that make it a breeze to organize and find your files in seconds. Lastly, you get 1TB of cloud storage for life with this deal and never have to sweat over security since every file you upload to your Koofr account is encrypted in rest and transfer. 

2. Polar Cloud Backup: Lifetime Subscription (5TB)

MSRP: $990 | Discount: 91% | Sale price w/ CODE BFSAVE40: $48

Polar Backup is a complete backup solution to protect your prized photos, videos, important documents and thousands of gigabytes of irreplaceable data. This service uses AWS technology, GDPR-compliance and generous cloud storage to provide you with smooth backups. Built with an intuitive and user-friendly design, it gives you full control of your data and lets you easily manage, sort, locate and preview files with just a click. Polar Backup, which protects your files with a 256-bit AES encryption, stores your files forever unless you delete the backup itself. You're sure to gain peace of mind with Polar Backup, in other words.

3. ThunderDrive Cloud Storage: Lifetime Subscription

MSRP: $1,200 | Discount: 95% | Sale price w/ CODE BFSAVE40: $36

Thunder Drive is a secure and easy-to-use cloud storage service that allows you to create folders, manage files and share private links with others. Thunder Drive claims to be six times faster than Amazon storage and allows you to access your files in the cloud from any web browser, including the one on your smartphone. A premier Tier IV datacenter facility houses Thunder Drive, and this service also uses 256-bit AES encryption to secure your files. Meaning, you can rest easy knowing that your data is safe. Plus, you won't break the bank with this deal since you get 2TB of storage for life for only $36.

4. Degoo Premium: Lifetime 10TB Backup Plan

MSRP: $3,600 | Discount: 95% | Sale price w/ CODE BFSAVE40: $90

You juggle huge amounts of data every day on your computer. So, it only makes sense that you take care of it all responsibly. Degoo gives you a whopping 10TB of data under ultra-secure 256-bit AES encryption for a convenient digital space to easily manage and share your files. This deal offers more backup space than Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive combined while making it quick and intuitive to keep tabs on all your valuable data in one place. Degoo also replicates your backup as you perform it, giving you extra peace of mind, and keeps your backups up to date thanks to its automatic file change detection system.

Prices subject to change.

Engadget is teaming up with StackSocial to bring you deals on the latest headphones, gadgets, tech toys, and tutorials. This post does not constitute editorial endorsement, and we earn a portion of all sales. If you have any questions about the products you see here or previous purchases, please contact StackSocial support here.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/black-friday-cloud-storage-deals-185521944.html

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27Nov/200

‘Mechwarrior 5’ will arrive on Xbox in spring 2021

Piranha Games had planned to release an expansion for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries along with Steam and GOG versions of the game on December 10th. However, it’s pushing those back to the spring, in large part to avoid the juggernaut that is Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projekt Red’s hotly anticipated RPG is slated to finally arrive on that date.

“Any developer wants their titles to get as much attention as possible, and obviously sharing a release date with Cyberpunk was less than optimal,” the studio noted in a blog post. “Day one sales and marketing are so important to a successful product launch, and we believe that rescheduling our release date will allow MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries to have the opportunity and attention it deserves.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/mechwarrior-5-steam-xbox-series-x-dlc-cyberpunk-2077-190035034.html

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27Nov/200

Scientists find neutrinos from star fusion for the first time

It’s a somewhat surprising discovery, too. CNO fusion is much more common in larger, hotter stars. A smaller celestial body like the Sun only produces 1 percent of its energy through that process. This not only confirms that CNO is a driving force behind bigger stars, but the universe at large.

That, in turn, might help explain some dark matter, where neutrinos could play a significant role. Scientist Orebi Gann, who wasn’t involved in these findings, also told NBC that an asymmetry between neutrinos and their relevant antiparticles might explain why there isn’t much known antimatter in the universe. To put it another way, the findings could help answer some of the most basic questions about the cosmos.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/scientists-detect-star-fusion-neutrinos-210031793.html

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27Nov/200

The best Black Friday tech deals that are already available

Buy AirPods Pro at Amazon - $169 Buy AirPods Pro at Walmart - $169

Lenovo Smart Clock - $35

The original Lenovo Smart Clock is on sale for $35, which is an all-time low. This is one of the most compact Google Assistant speakers you can get, and it’s small display makes it extra handy as a smart alarm clock. We gave it a score of 87 for its charming design, sunrise alarm feature and lack of a camera for extra privacy. Also, the simpler version of the original, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is half off for Black Friday, bringing it down to $25.

Buy Lenovo Smart Clock at Best Buy - $35 Buy Lenovo Smart Clock at Walmart - $35

Buy Smart Clock Essential at Best Buy - $25 Buy Smart Clock Essential at Walmart - $25

Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones - $278

Our favorite pair of ANC headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4, is on sale for $278, an all-time low since they debuted a few months ago. We gave them a score of 94 for their excellent active noise-cancellation tech, immersive sound quality and multi-device connectivity.

Buy WH-1000XM4 at Amazon - $278 Buy WH-1000XM4 at Best Buy - $278

HP Envy x360 15 - $669

HP has the Envy x360 15 laptop for $200 off, bringing it to $669. And you’re getting a pretty powerful model, too — this one has a Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD with 16GB of Optane memory. It also comes with an FHD touchscreen and an included active pen, the latter of which typically costs extra when you’re buying a convertible laptop.

Buy Envy x360 at HP - $669

Instant Pot Duo Nova - $50

One of the best Instant Pots for most people, the 6-quart Duo Nova is down to $50 right now. That’s half off its normal price and an all-time low. If you’re new to Instant Pots, or multicookers in general, this one marries features and size well. Not only does this combine a rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker and more into one device, but its 6-quart size is large enough to make a meal for even a large family.

Buy Duo Nova at Amazon - $50 Buy Duo Nova at Target - $50

Sony WH-CH710N headphones - $88

Sony’s WHCH710N earned a spot on our list of favorite wireless headphones for their affordability, but they’re a steal at this Black Friday price of $88. Normally $198, these cans have dropped to $88 before but they’ve never been this low. We like them for their excellent, automatic noise-cancellation technology, good sound quality and 35-hour battery life.

Buy Sony WH-CH710N at Amazon - $88 Buy Sony WH-CH710N at Best Buy - $88

Echo Dot - $29

Amazon updated the Echo Dot this fall and now we’re seeing its first major discount. The new Echo Dot is down to $29, which is 42 percent off its normal price. It looks quite different from the previous generation (which is also on sale for $19) thanks to its new spherical design. That’s one of the reasons we gave the Echo Dot a score of 89, and we also liked its improved sound quality, 3.5mm audio jack and tap-to-snooze feature. If you want the convenience of a glanceable clock, the Echo Dot with clock is also on sale for $39.

Buy Echo Dot at Amazon - $29 Buy Echo Dot with clock at Amazon - $39

Echo Show 5 - $45

The Echo Show 5 has dropped to $45 again, which is 50 percent off its normal price. It’s one of the most versatile Alexa smart displays thanks to its compact size that features a 5-inch touchscreen. We gave it a score of 85 for its sunrise alarm feature (which helps it work as a smart alarm clock), great sound quality and physical camera shutter. You’re also able to bundle it with a Blink Mini camera for only $5 extra.

Buy Echo Show 5 at Amazon - $45 Buy Echo Show 5 bundle at Amazon - $50

Fire HD 10 tablet - $80

The most powerful Fire tablet available, the Fire HD 10 is on sale for $80. Even at its normal price of $150, it’s a great value if you’re in need of a basic, no-frills tablet. We gave it a score of 88 for its sharp display, solid performance and hands-free Alexa abilities. The kids version of the Fire HD 10 is on sale for $130, or $70 off its normal price. You’re getting the regular tablet in this bundle in addition to a child-proof case, a two-year warranty and one free year of Amazon Kids+.

Buy Fire HD 10 at Amazon - $80

Kindle Paperwhite - $85

The Kindle Paperwhite returns to its Prime Day price for Black Friday. Now you can get the e-reader for $85, which is a record low. We gave it a score of 95 for its classic, comfortable design, better-contrast display, new waterproofing and added Audible support.

Buy Kindle Paperwhite at Amazon - $85

GoPro Hero8 Black bundle - $299

A special GoPro Hero8 Black bundle is on sale for $299, down from $357, for Black Friday. It includes the action cam, Shorty, a head strap, a 32GB SD card, and two rechargeable batteries, so it’s a good option if you want to get everything you might need to take killer videos in one go. We gave the Hero8 Black a score of 90 for its practical new design, improved stability and easy of use.

Buy Hero8 Black bundle at Amazon - $299

55-inch LG OLED CX 4K Smart TV - $1,399

LG’s 55-inch CX OLED smart TV is down to $1,399, which is the lowest we’ve ever seen it. The 65-inch model is at an all-time low, too, and on Amazon you can save an extra $47 when you clip the on-page coupon. LG launched both of these TVs earlier this year and, in addition to giving you all the great features OLED has to offer, they also have 120Hz refresh rates and support for NVIDIA G-SYNC and AMD FreeSync.

Buy 55-inch LG OLED CX smart TV at Best Buy - $1,399 Buy 65-inch LG OLED CX smart TV at Amazon - $1,850 Buy 65-inch LG OLED CX smart TV at Best Buy - $1,899

65-inch Vizio P-Series Quantum 4K Smart TV - $999

This $999 sale price is an all-time low for the 65-inch Vizio P-Seres 4K smart TV. It will reach up to 1,100 nits of brightness and it supports Full Array with local dimming, Dolby Vision HDR and the company’s Quantum Color technology. If you go through GameStop, you’ll get a $50 GameStop e-gift card with your purchase.

Buy 65-inch Vizio P-Series smart TV at GameStop - $999 Buy 65-inch Vizio P-Series smart TV at Amazon - $999 Buy 65-inch Vizio P-Series smart TV at Best Buy - $999

Roku Streambar - $100

The new Roku Streambar is on sale for $100, which is the lowest price it’s been since its debut last month. It’s a smaller version of Roku’s full-sized smart soundbar, which ups the ante of your TV’s audio while also including 4K HDR streaming technology inside. We gave it a score of 86 for its apartment-friendly design, great audio quality for movies and TV, Dolby Audio support and Bluetooth-speaker capabilities.

Buy Roku Streambar at Amazon - $99 Buy Roku Streambar at Best Buy - $99.99

Roku Streaming Stick+ - $30

A long-time favorite, the Roku Streaming Stick+, has dropped to $30. That’s only $1 more than a previous all-time-low price and a great deal if you’re looking for a compact yet powerful streaming device. It earned a spot in our holiday gift guide for its pocket-able design, 4K HDR streaming abilities and solid performance. If you don’t mind a larger device if it means getting more power, the new Roku Ultra is also on sale, down to $70 from $100.

Buy Streaming Stick+ at Amazon - $29 Buy Streaming Stick+ at Best Buy - $29.99

Buy Roku Ultra at Amazon - $69 Buy Roku Ultra at Best Buy - $69.99

Fire TV Stick - $28

The all-new Fire TV Stick is on sale for $28, which is 30 percent off its normal price. This streaming stick only came out a few months ago and it features a faster processor, Dolby Atmos audio support and an Alexa voice remote. Both Fire TV Sticks on the other sides of the spectrum are on sale, too. The even more affordable Fire TV Stick Lite is now $18 and the Fire TV Stick 4K is on sale for $30.

Buy Fire TV Stick at Amazon - $28 Buy Fire TV Stick Lite at Amazon - $18 Buy Fire TV Stick 4K at Amazon - $30

Sonos Beam - $299

Sonos’ smaller soundbar, the Beam, is $100 of for Black Friday. That brings it down to $299, which is a record low price. If you don’t have the space to spare for the full-sized Sonos Arc, this is the next best thing to get. We gave it a score of 85 for its excellent sound quality and AirPlay 2 plus Alexa support.

Buy Sonos Beam at Sonos - $299 Buy Sonos Beam at Amazon - $299 Buy Sonos Beam at Best Buy - $299

Fitbit Charge 4 - $100

The Fitbit Charge 4 is on sale for $100, which is $50 off its normal price. Fitbit released this wearable in the spring and it’s the best fitness tracker (not a smartwatch) that you can get from the company. We gave the Charge 4 a score of 82 for its accurate built-in GPS, standard Fitbit Pay and multi-day battery life.

Buy Fitbit Charge 4 at Amazon - $100

Anker PowerCore+ 26,800mAh PD Charger combo - $110.49

This bundle from Anker includes a 26,800mAh PD portable charger, a 60W USB-C wall charger and a USB-C cable, so it gives you basically everything you’d need to quickly charge up any new device you have. Not only will these power accessories work well with the latest iPhones and Samsung smartphones, but they’ll also work with the Nintendo Switch.

By PowerCore+ PD charger combo at Amazon - $110.49

Get the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers by visiting our deals homepage and following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/best-early-black-friday-2020-tech-deals-214530870.html

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27Nov/200

Amazon will give its US frontline workers a $300 holiday bonus

Amazon plans to give its frontline employees who help it through the busy holiday shopping season a special bonus (via CNET). The company will give full-time US employees who work December 1st through to December 31st an extra $300 at the end of the year, while those who log part-time hours over that same period will get $150. All told, the bonuses will total $500 million, and build on the $500 million in one-time bonuses the company gave out in June.    

The announcement comes on the same day that Amazon warehouse workers in 15 different countries said they would protest for better pay and safer working conditions on Black Friday. Whether a one-time $300 bonus, at a time when Amazon is making record profits, will mollify the company’s US workers is hard to say. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-holiday-bonus-012306448.html

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27Nov/200

The UK is creating a new agency to regulate Big Tech

The UK plans to create a new agency to regulate large tech companies such as Google and Facebook. Starting in April 2021, the newly minted Digital Markets Unit (DMU), which will be a part of the country’s existing Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), will enforce a code that will set new limits on tech’s biggest platforms, as well as attempt to create a more level playing field for smaller rivals. 

While the code has yet to be introduced, it will be designed to give consumers more control over their data and break down restrictions that make it difficult to use competing platforms. It may also give people the option to decide whether they can be subjected to personalized advertising. To enforce the code, the DMU will have the power to block and reverse decisions made by large tech companies. If they don’t comply with its directives, it will also have the power to fine them.      

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/uk-digital-markets-unit-big-tech-031053255.html

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27Nov/200

UK urges tech companies to help tackle excessive e-waste in damning report

Much of that waste is incinerated or goes to landfill, while around 40 percent is sent to other countries, often illegally. "In the countries that receive our electronic waste, it is often dumped, with toxic chemicals leaching into the environment and harming people," the EAC wrote.

The report notes online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay aren't always considered retailers or producers. Many products are sold by third-party retailers — around 50 percent of goods in Amazon's case. As such, those platforms aren't obligated to contribute to the collection and recycling of e-waste. The committee urged them to "collect products and pay for their recycling to create a level playing field with physical retailers and producers that are not selling on their platforms.”

The EAC slammed the notion of intentionally shortened device lifespans, too. While that practice might encourage consumers to buy newer products, it has a negative impact on sustainability. 

Committee members also criticized companies for often making it difficult to repair their products, partly because components are often soldered or glued in place. They noted that Apple's repair fees, in particular, "can be so expensive it is more economical to replace the item completely." 

Among the report's recommendations were legal protections for the right to repair and a reduction of VAT on repair services. It also called for a requirement for all producers to collect products and cover the cost of recycling. “Tech companies should now take the lead in creating sustainable and environmentally friendly business models that do not rely on the overexploitation of nature and natural resources," the committee added.

Apple told the Guardian that the report doesn't reflect its efforts to "conserve resources and protect the planet we all share. There are more options for customers to trade in, recycle and get safe, quality repairs than ever before, and our latest Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhone lineup all use recycled material across key components.”

“Amazon is committed to minimizing waste and helping our customers to reuse, repair, and recycle their products, and we provide a range of options that anyone can easily access through the Amazon Second Chance website," an Amazon spokesperson told the publication. “We have supported the recycling of more than 10,000 tonnes of electronic waste in the UK over the last decade.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-apple-uk-ewaste-report-020145140.html

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