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Find wine you love (and find out why) with Bright Cellars

For wine drinkers, access to knowledgeable professionals and in-person tastings has been limited by the pandemic, but interest in wine has not. Exploring new-to-you varieties from home by ordering online can be cost prohibitive, time consuming and ultimately frustrating when a bottle arrives and is decidedly not what you were hoping for.

But not with Bright Cellars. Bright Cellars is a wine club that identifies the type of wine you’re likely to love and ships it directly to you. Currently, you can sign up for a membership at 50 percent off the first six-bottle Bright Cellars box, a $45 value.

Using the results of a flavor profile quiz, Bright Cellars predicts which bottles are your best match. The focus throughout is on flavor, not labels. The team behind the brand is working to democratize wine, to make it accessible to anyone by using the expert knowledge of their in-house sommeliers and an algorithm that pairs members with wines based on their unique preferences. Their sommeliers source bottles from around the world, including Spain, Portugal, Australia, and South Africa, among other countries.

Along with special attention to matching drinkers with tastes they’ll enjoy, Bright Cellars provides wine education in each box, detailing things like the region of each wine, tasting notes, serving temperatures, food pairings, and other fun facts that turn your box from just a few bottles into an in-depth tasting experience. The longer you remain a member, the better Bright Cellars learns your flavor profile (thanks to ratings you enter for each bottle) and the better you come to understand the world of wine, what you’re looking for in your ideal glass, and how to order at a restaurant even when you’re not familiar with the producer. Bright Cellars members also get access to exclusive premium options like biodynamic, sustainable and sparkling wines at discounted prices.

How does it work, exactly? After completing the palate quiz, you'll be shown a list of wines beside a brief description and visual breakdown of their flavor profiles. You can customize your wine box further by changing the number of reds and whites — always packaged horizontally to maintain their flavor — and you can skip future shipments whenever you want. For all questions or adjustments to your order, there’s expert customer service with sommelier-trained concierges who can assist with any part of the order process and offer pairing/tasting suggestions.

To help you have the best experience possible and encourage you to try new styles, Bright Cellars works with you to adjust your flavor profile and provide a replacement bottle should you find that one in your shipment was truly not up to snuff.

If all this is making your mouth water, head to Bright Cellars to fill out your flavor profile quiz and take advantage of this half-off six-bottle offer while you can.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/bright-cellars-145507199.html

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HP’s latest all-in-one comes with AI noise reduction

HP has unveiled its latest all-in-one desktop PC. The company claims the EliteOne 800 G8 is the first commercial all-in-one to offer AI-based noise reduction and presence awareness, features that HP has included in some laptops. Presence awareness can automatically lock your PC when you move away and wake it up when you return. The system boasts several other security features, including cable lock support.

The PC is available with a 23.8-inch or 27-inch display up to 2560x1440, with low-blue-light and anti-glare viewing. It has an optional pop-up, dual-facing 5MP webcam with variants that offer an IR camera and time of flight sensor. The camera can follow you and the system uses scene detection to adjust settings depending on light levels. There's a dynamic voice leveling feature as well, which will keep your voice volume consistent whether you're close to or further away from the microphone.

The EliteOne 800 G8 supports up to 64GB of DDR4 3200 SDRAM and 2TB of SSD storage, while there are storage expansion slots. It comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core processor, up to i9.

There are decent connectivity options, including two USB-C, three USB-A, DisplayPort, HDMI and Ethernet ports. There’s support for BlueTooth 5 and WiFi 6 as well.

It might not be as colorful as the latest iMacs or boast Apple’s M1 chip, but if you’re looking for a Windows all-in-one, it might be worth considering. The EliteOne 800 G8 should be available in some regions this month.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/hp-all-in-one-eliteone-800-g8-150003442.html

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Square Enix, Bandai Namco and Sega confirmed for this year’s virtual E3

Last month, the Entertainment Software Association announced its initial plans for this year's virtual E3 conference. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft and Nintendo are participating along with major developers and publishers like Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive and Warner Bros. Games. A few big names were missing from that list, but today the ESA is filling things in: Square Enix, Bandai Namco and and Sega are will all participate in the virtual event

While today's additions are major players in the industry, there are still a handful of big companies as yet unconfirmed for E3 this year. Chief among them are Sony and EA, but both haven't participated officially in E3 for years now — EA usually does its own EA Play show around the same time. And Sony hasn't participated in E3 since 2018, so it's not surprising to see them sit this one out. At this point, Activision is probably the biggest name missing from the list; the company made a big appearance in 2019, so it wouldn't be a surprise for them to join up this year. 

Outside of that possibility, though, this is likely the E3 lineup that we're going to get this year, given that the show kicks off in just over a month. This year's virtual E3 will run from June 12th through June 15th, and there's likely to be other news from companies not participating directly in the surrounding days. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/e3-2021-square-enix-bandai-namco-sega-153104708.html

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Call of Duty League will resume in-person events on June 17th

In-person Call of Duty esports are returning after more than a year of virtual events, although it's not quite a return to the pre-pandemic state of affairs. Organizers have revealed that Call of Duty League will hold a face-to-face competition between June 17th and June 20th, when the Major IV tournament starts in Arlington, Texas. Don't expect throngs of fans, though. Only teams and "limited League staff" will be present, and they'll follow rigid protocols to ensure safety for everyone there.

Supporters will have to watch at home on YouTube. A virtual-only Major III tourney kicks off May 13th.

This isn't the first big game franchise to announce a return to physical competition. Valorant's VCT Masters Stage 2 takes place in Reykjavik starting May 24th, and the Overwatch League is bringing back live events in China starting June 4th. Call of Duty League appears to be the first large esports outfit to revive real-world competition in the US, though.

There's bound to be a certain amount of risk. While many Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, that's not true for all — and any international visitors are another matter. It's not surprising that esports leagues would be eager to resurrect in-person competition, however. The personal connections and reduced lag can help teams coordinate, and physical tourneys are alluring in part for watching the emotional roller coasters on players' faces. Call of Duty League's operators are clearly willing to take a chance for that return to normalcy and the potential viewership boost that comes with it.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/call-of-duty-league-in-person-events-160040083.html

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Brave’s iOS browser now queues music and videos in a playlist

You might soon have an easier time using your phone's browser as an impromptu media player. Brave is rolling out an updated iOS browser that introduces a Playlist feature for queuing audio and video. If you want to watch a string of cooking videos or marathon a podcast, you just have to long-press them to add them to a playlist you can reorder as you like.

Brave downloads media by default, although you can tell it to stream content if you'd rather not chew up space. Downloads are anonymous, too. The browser takes advantage of iOS 14's picture-in-picture to keep media playing in the background.

You'll have to be patient if you want Playlist on other platforms. They won't reach Android or desktop browsers until later in 2021, Brave said. This could be worth the wait if you regularly chew through web media, though. It also highlights the company's shifting strategy. Where privacy was the primary hook, Brave is adding video calling and other features where privacy is just one part of the equation.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/brave-playlist-ios-browser-160040609.html

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Google is turning on two-factor authentication by default

It's World Password Day and Google is marking the occasion by pointing out how passwords alone aren't enough to secure your accounts and data. The company's placing a bigger emphasis on two-factor authentication (which it calls two-step verification or 2SV) by activating it on Google accounts by default.

People who have set up 2SV will be asked to confirm the right person is signing in to an account by tapping a prompt on their phone. The company says it will soon start switching on 2SV for everyone automatically, as long as their Google account is set up in the right way. You can check whether that's the case for you through the Google account Security Checkup. You'll have the option to opt out, but that's perhaps not the best course of action.

This is an expansion of an authentication feature Google has had for a while. It might ask you to confirm your identity with an Android prompt or through the Smart Lock, Gmail or Google app on iPhone, as long as you're signed into the same account. Tapping a prompt is certainly easier than having to punch in a code and Google says it's more secure than other 2SV methods. Although this only works for Google accounts, it's highly recommended to turn on two-factor authentication on every account that supports it.

Passwords aren't entirely a thing of the past, though. In a blog post announcing the 2SV change, Google noted that it has a secure password manager for Chrome, Android and iOS that can autofill your login details on sites and apps. Google's password manager isn't necessarily the one we'd recommend, but it's free, easy to use and far better than not having one at all.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/google-two-factor-authentication-161224608.html

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TikTok works with Streamlabs’ tipping and livestream tools

Streamlabs offers some of the most useful and popular livestreaming software available, and it works on some of the biggest platforms out there — including Facebook, Twitch and YouTube. Now, it'll be available on TikTok thanks to a new partnership between the companies. Streamlabs today confirmed that it's using the just-announced TikTok Login Kit, which mean TikTok users can go live using Streamlabs OBS app for desktop and mobile. This will provide livestreamers access to familiar tools like tipping, donation data and analytics and on-screen alerts.

Besides the Streamlabs OBS software for Mac and Windows, people can also use the Streamlabs mobile to go live and get the same functionality. The Streamlabs widgets that are available will also work with TikTok and streamers will be able to build a custom merch store and sell gear directly on TikTok using this new integration, as well.

While TikTok is primarily known for shorter form video content, it has also let users "go live" for a while now. Avid streamers who already use Streamlabs to go live on other platforms will likely be interested in giving this a shot, while those who haven't used it before may appreciate being able to broadcast live to TikTok using a more advanced and flexible setup at their computer rather than on their phone.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/tiktok-streamlabs-live-streaming-integration-165006138.html

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NY AG report finds 18 million FCC net neutrality comments were fake

Before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality at the end of 2017, the agency collected public opinion on the policy. In all, it said it received nearly 22 million comments. Over the years, there's been a fair amount of discussion surrounding where many of those came from, with a study from that same year suggesting that only six percent of the comments were unique. 

Following years of investigation, the Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James has published a report on exactly what happened in 2017. The investigation found the "largest" broadband companies funded a secret astroturfing campaign to push the FCC toward repealing net neutrality. At the time, ATT, Comcast, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon (Engadget's parent company) were in favor of repealing the policy. The industry hired several third-party firms to build public support for their decision. Ostensibly, those companies were supposed to convince people to support the broadband industry with incentives like gift cards and prizes. Instead, they simply submitted 8.5 million fake comments. The attorney general has fined three of the companies involved in sending in those comments $4.4 million.

On the other side, the FCC received another 9.3 million fake comments in support of maintaining net neutrality. According to the report, most of those came from a single college student, who was 19 at the time. They used automated software to generate the responses. All told, of the more than 22 million comments the FCC received on the matter, James says more than 18 million were fake. Put another way, more than 80 percent of the input the agency collected to inform its decision didn't come from real people.

"The public record should be a place for honest dialogue, but today's report demonstrates how the record informing the FCC's net neutrality repeal was flooded with fraud," Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement to Engadget. "This was troubling at the time because even then the widespread problems with the record were apparent. We have to learn from these lessons and improve because the public deserves an open and fair opportunity to tell Washington what they think about the policies that affect their lives."

Under former Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC frequently fought any attempts to address the flawed net neutrality commenting process. At the start of the state’s investigation, former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman chided the agency for not helping his office investigate the matter. Even as recently as last year, the FCC fought handing over IP addresses that would verify the source of the comments.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/new-york-state-report-fcc-net-neutrality-repeal-170517463.html

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Google expands Broadcast and adds more family-friendly Assistant features

If you're a parent or often find yourself needing to wrangle a group of people in your household, Google's latest Assistant update might be helpful. It's expanding the Broadcast tool that was previously limited to its smart speakers and displays to iPhones and Android devices. The company also announced a set of new features for the Assistant, including stories, games, songs and a Mother's Day surprise. 

Broadcast lets you send a message to all compatible devices at once, and you can create groups to specify who you want to reach. Google allows you to set up a Family group for up to six of your relatives, and the expansion being announced today will let you reach these members on their phones too. Just as they already could from a Nest speaker or display, your contact can now reply to your message from their Android or iPhone. 

Google is also improving its Family Bell feature that let you set school-bell-like alarms throughout the day. Starting today, you can have Family Bells ring across multiple devices in your home at once, instead of just one. It's also adding support for eight new languages, including Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Italian, French, German, Portugese and Spanish.

The Assistant also provides educational content, and the company is adding to its library this week. It's partnered with Pottermore Publishing to provide Harry Potter stories. On a smart display or Android device, you can ask the Assistant "Tell me a Quidditch story" to learn more about the fictional sport. Google says more content from the Wizarding World is coming later in the year.

In addition to fiction, the Assistant is also getting new historical content from Penguin Random House's Who Was series. By saying "Talk to Who Was Heroes," you can listen to stories about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ida B. Wells, and more than 100 others. To test your knowledge after all that learning, you can also play new games like Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader on Assistant-enabled smart displays. Finally, there are also two new songs about cleaning up and brushing your teeth that Google said are meant "to help kids stay on task and do their chores." The company also teased a Mother's Day surprise for those who set a timer this weekend. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/google-assistant-broadcast-family-group-family-bell-171222716.html

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NBC is bringing some Olympic Games coverage to Twitch

The Olympic Games are set to take place in Tokyo this summer after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While you'll be able to catch the action on various NBC platforms in the US, there'll be another way for you to get an Olympics fix.

There’ll be an NBC Olympics Twitch channel with daily highlight shows and athlete interviews, as well as Olympics-themed gaming competitions — it’s a Twitch channel, after all. Twitch will produce content that takes inspiration from the “passion and competition” of the Games, too. That content will feature talent from Twitch as well as the NBC Olympics team.

There will be interactive elements, as the highlight shows will have polls and QAs. In the week before the Tokyo Games start, streamers and viewers can work together to keep a virtual Olympic Torch alight by collecting items and being active in the channel's chat. They'll be able to light a virtual cauldron on Opening Ceremony day. The channel will also host a preshow before the Opening Ceremony with the help of streamers.

You won't see the actual Opening Ceremony or much, if any, live sports on the Twitch channel. You'll still need to watch NBC for those, but the channel will have companion streams (or co-streams) with Twitch creators during the network's Olympic primetime broadcasts.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/nbc-tokyo-olympic-games-twitch-japan-172324789.html

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