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Twitter bans 18 more InfoWars-related accounts

Last week, The Daily Beast reported that InfoWars was still using Twitter to spread its content. At the time Twitter removed Jones and InfoWars from its platform, it said it would take down other accounts that seemed to help them bypass the indefinite suspension. The company has taken down another five accounts linked to InfoWars since issuing the ban.

Jones and InfoWars were blocked from using Twitter after the company found several tweets that violated its policies. The platform followed other tech companies which had removed Jones and InfoWars content or banned them, including Stitcher, Spotify, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Apple and PayPal.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/twitter-infowars-alex-jones-account-bans/

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Lyft buys an AR company to bolster its self-driving car efforts

This is Lyft's first buyout in the self-driving world, although it's not clear if this will be the last. "We are always evaluating build versus buy," the company's autonomous driving lead Luc Vincent told TechCrunch. However, this and an earlier team-up with Magna show that Lyft is willing to seek outside help to get the ball rolling.

That includes the choice of cars. As part of its partnership with Ford, Lyft is introducing a Fusion Hybrid test car (above) that incorporates driverless technology. It's not certain where the machine will hit the road, but it will deploy "soon," according to Lyft. While this won't be the company's first test mule by any stretch, it should both expand Lyft's small autonomous fleet and add some variety to the testing process.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/lyft-buys-ar-company-blue-vision/

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‘No Man’s Sky’ is getting a spooky update next week

While details of "The Abyss" are thin, the free update will focus on the "eerier elements of No Man's Sky." Halloween, of course, is right around the corner, and a spooky-themed update makes perfect sense. It remains to be seen what Hello Games really has in store with the update, though. Meanwhile, a couple of players were able to recreate The Nightmare Before Christmas inside the game.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/no-mans-sky-halloween-update-the-abyss/

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Lenovo updates Smart Display with Google Home Hub features

Multi-room audio adds your display to a speaker group and allows you to play music throughout your home, while Live Albums will automatically pick your best photos and display them. You can see who's at the door without having to ask thanks to Nest Hello Doorbell, and the handy Home View allows you to see all your smart home devices at once. In addition to these features, Smart Display owners in both 8-inch and 10-inch sizes will be able to control many different media and entertainment devices, including certain televisions, set-top boxes, speakers, smart remotes and more via touch or voice.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/lenovo-smart-display-google-home-hub-features/

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Facebook is finally decluttering Messenger

At an event in Facebook's new San Francisco headquarters, the company admitted that Messenger had gotten bloated over the years. "It's not as simple as the app was at the beginning," said Stan Chudnovsky, the head of product for Facebook Messenger. "We knew it needed to be simple again."

In an effort to do that, Facebook wanted to make Messenger friendlier with a refreshed design and a simplified experience. So for example, instead of having to tap several times to send a photo or start a video call, you can now swipe on your friend's name on the Chats tab to access those features right from the home screen. Or, if you prefer, you can access the camera and video features in the compose window directly. It also placed those icons towards the upper right of the Chats tab to declutter the experience.

What's more, each conversation now has little contextual icons that tell you whether there's a game or video call going on. Another example is Discover and Games, which used to be two separate tabs; now it's just one.

A lot of this was learned through studying user behavior, said Loredana Crisan, a product design lead for Facebook Messenger. For example, Groups is no longer an explicit tab in Messenger, mostly because the team discovered that people tended to build out a group conversation from one person to many, rather than going to the Groups tab directly.

Facebook Stories continues to be a big focus for the platform. You can access them from both the Chat and People tab -- they're represented by small circles in Chat, and larger tiles in People. Despite several feature bloat complaints about Stories, this appears to be the one area that Facebook isn't willing to get rid of. According to Facebook, 300 million people use Stories per day.

In addition to the new simplified look, Messenger is also introducing a new color gradients feature as a way to personalize your conversations and customize your chat bubbles. So, for example, you can have the colors change from yellow to blue as you scroll up and down your discussion.

At the same time, Facebook took care to mention that it wasn't taking away features. You can still do things like live polling, play challenge games, and do group video chat, just as before. In fact, Facebook also teased an upcoming Dark Mode feature that reverts the UI from black on white, to white on black.

The new Facebook Messenger will roll out to users starting today.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/facebook-messenger-4/

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The Ducati Multistrada 1260S is ready for anything

The $21,195 Ducati Multistrada 1260S was built to handle most road conditions. It's right there in the name "Mulitstrada": It means "many roads" in Italian. Still, whenever something says it's built to do "many" things I immediately become skeptical. A "jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind. After just a few hours on the back of the 1260S, though, I had to admit that maybe it's time to retire that figure of speech.

The Multistrada 1260S shines as a commuter bike and tourer. It can also handle most of the dirt roads riders will encounter on their travels. It does all this thanks to a ride-mode system that changes the characteristics of the bike. The available functions are: Enduro, Touring, Sport and Urban. Each comes with its own adjustments to throttle response, traction control, suspension, ABS (anti-lock brakes), wheelie suppression and a host of other features.

The idea is that it's four bikes in one. The reality is that it's actually four bikes in one. I spent most of my time with the bike switching between Touring and Urban. Commuting was easier thanks to the lower gears and suspension ready to tackle all of San Francisco's holes and non-stop construction. The Touring mode adjusted the bike for longer rides on smoother asphalt traveling at higher speeds. It made my trip to Big Sur a delight.

Enduro helped me navigate the smattering of gravel and off-road I could legally do in the Bay Area, while Sport was ready to unleash all of the Multistrada's 158 horsepower and 95.5 foot-pounds of torque. So yeah, it'll go fast when you need it.

Within each of these modes, riders can also fine-tune all the settings. If you want to go touring but would like a bit more throttle response or less traction control, you can adjust that on the bike to your liking.

All these features mean sitting down with the bike's 403-page PDF of the owner's manual. Simple things like locking the handlebars isn't so simple without some guidance. Trying to figure out how to configure the bike (and lock the steering) on my own was a fruitless endeavor. Mostly because I wanted to ride more than fiddle with settings. But it's time well spent and as bikes get smarter, get ready to set aside time to learn as much as you can before riding off.

While the on-bike buttons deliver what you want from, it's actually the Bluetooth-connected app's ability to build and save custom ride profiles that makes fine-tuning the experience so great. As you adjust settings, the app surfaces what each feature does so you're not changing things without an understanding of how the bike will react.

Riders then send custom profiles to the bike when it's turned on and within Bluetooth range and after being asked by the bike to approve the change, you're ready to ride. If you're someone that rides multiple types of roads and in multiple environments on a regular basis (like I do), it's wonderful to know that the Multistrada is ready to tackle each trip exactly how you want it to, instead of delving into the on-bike menu system.

While riding, the Multistrada felt stable at all speeds. Lane splitting on San Francisco's notoriously narrow roads and speeding through the switchbacks of the Northern California coastline were both achieved with ease. The bike has enough power to surprise you (and other drivers) when you leave the lights, and at high speeds I had no problem overtaking tourists on backroads or commuters on highway 101.

The Brembo brakes (one of the top manufacturers of brakes for cars and motorcycles) and ABS are outstanding. The stopping distance is so impressive I was surprised by how quickly the bike came a halt during my first ride. Fortunately, no one pulled out in front of me at the last second while I was testing the bike, but a few hard-stop tests gave me the confidence that at least I'd have a fighting chance if that happened.

The Multistrada also has a host of other features that add safety or convenience: In San Francisco, the vehicle hold feature (stops the bike from rolling backward when you're trying to take off on a hill) was a real wonder. As for the 5-inch display, it goes into dark mode when the sun goes down -- a nice touch for someone like myself with light sensitivity. The bike also has a keyless ignition system; you just walk up to the bike and start it.

Meanwhile, the quick shift system (DQS) is great at getting you through gears well, quickly. Although, for some reason, it also meant I had difficulty getting the bike into neutral for the first week. It was a lot of shifting into first and second while trying to find the sweet spot at an intersection -- fortunately, you can turn the feature off. I didn't, because I finally got a hang of it after two weeks of nearly daily riding. If you're a weekend rider, though, it might take longer.

The weird inability to take the Multistrada 1260S out of gear aside, the motorcycle is an outstanding piece of technology and machinery. There's always a bit of a give and take for bikes. Usually, if a bike is great for commuting, it's not so great on long stretches. Or it's ready to hit gravel roads, but there's no way you're going to be taking sharp corners with any sort of enthusiasm.

Ducati went all in with the Multistrada (which explains the $22,000 price tag) making it something you'll be happy to ride in almost any circumstance. Take it on a long trip to a far-away city where you'll encounter some amazing switchbacks then have to navigate dirt roads to camp out. It's ready for all that. It's ready to take you on an adventure.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/2018-ducati-multistrada-1260s-review/

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GM brings its peer-to-peer car-sharing service to 10 US cities

Earlier this year, GM unveiled a peer-to-peer car-sharing service, expanding its Maven platform to allow GM owners and qualified lessees to rent out their own vehicles. At the time, the company said the service was in beta in Chicago, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, but GM has now announced that it's bringing the peer-to-peer car-sharing service to 10 US cities in the coming months. By the end of the year, the service will be fully launched in Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Jersey City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/gm-maven-peer-to-peer-car-sharing-10-us-cities/

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ASUS’ latest low-cost Chromebooks are available now

The pricing is right for the systems, all of which are available now: they start at $229 for the C223 and $269 for both of its larger counterparts. There's just one catch: as with most Chromebooks in this price class, the entry models won't blow you away. All of ASUS' new systems start with a 1,366 x 768 screen, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC-based flash storage. While that's fine for the money, they're not going to shake up your expectations for a Chrome-powered laptop.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/asus-chromebook-c223-c423-c523/

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Facebook shut down a spam network in Brazil

According to Facebook, all of the removed accounts and pages were created and operated Raposo Fernandes Associados (RFA), a marketing group based in Brazil. The company constructed a system in which it would use the fake accounts create controversial content and artificially juice the numbers by spreading the posts across its network of pages. Those posts were designed to drag people off of Facebook and onto third-party websites. While the sites might look legitimate at first glance, they actually house ad farms that generate cash for every click.

Much of the conversation about Facebook's battle with misleading information tends to veer political. In this case, Facebook says there wasn't apparent intent to interfere with Brazil's upcoming elections. Instead, RFA was mostly looking to make a quick buck by driving traffic to company-owned websites.

While Facebook managed to remove the spam network from its primary platform, it still has some considerable trouble to address on WhatsApp in Brazil. A recent Reuters report found that the messaging service owned by Facebook has become home of a massive disinformation campaign. Nearly two-thirds of Brazil's 200 million citizens use WhatsApp, according to the Washington Post, meaning the platform may be even more effective than Facebook for spreading disinformation and causing confusion. Even as Facebook picks off the types of spam rings like the one it caught in Brazil, the campaigns on WhatsApp show that malicious actors are popping up all the time and could be showing up in your News Feed.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/facebook-shuts-down-brazil-spam-campaign/

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HP’s latest Spectre x360 laptops boast up to a 22-hour battery

Not that the 15-inch model is a slouch. You can outfit it with up to a six-core 8th-generation Intel Core chip if you need raw computational power, and a new thermal design should help cool both the CPU and the optional GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q graphics. You'll find a battery with 'just' a peak 17.5 hours of longevity. The larger Spectre x360 also has as many as two Thunderbolt 3 ports as well as your choice of a 650-nit 1080p display or a 4K touchscreen.

Both machines arrive in November, starting at $1,150 for the Spectre x360 13 and scaling to $1,390 for its 15-inch sibling. They'll reach Best Buy stores in December.

There's a third system for the corporate crowd. The 14-inch EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (below) is billed as the first pro convertible with gigabit-grade LTE, and offers size-appropriate power including quad-core 8th-gen Intel chips, up to 32GB of RAM and a maximum 2TB of storage. It shows up in late October with a $1,499 starting price.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/23/hp-spectre-x360-2018/

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