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25Sep/210

Warner is making a documentary on DC Comics for HBO Max

A three-part documentary series on DC Comics is coming to HBO Max, according to Deadline. Warner Bros. Unscripted Television is producing the documentary, which will detail the influence and legacy of DC from the time it was established and the time Superman was born in the 1930s. The division is working with Leslie Iwerks (as co-director and executive producer) and Greg Berlanti (as executive producer) for the project. 

Iwerks is known for several other high-profile documentaries, including The Pixar Story that showed audiences what happens behind the scenes at the animation studio and The Imagineering Story, which gives viewers a look at how Disney develops rides and attractions for its parks. She will co-direct the documentary with Mark Catalena, who served as editor for The Imagineering Story. Meanwhile, Berlanti is a prolific writer, director and producer who'd previously worked on Doom Patrol, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Superman and Lois, The Flash and Black Lightning.

Jim Lee, DC's Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, said in a statement:

"DC has a rich legacy of over 80 years of iconic storytelling: from the introduction of the genre defining Super Hero Superman in 1938 to the amazing movies, TV shows, cartoons, games and comics which have been synonymous with superheroism for generations thereafter. We are so excited to dive into this history and bring fans along this amazing journey."

The docu series doesn't have a release date yet, but it will expand HBO Max's DC offerings further when it arrives. WarnerMedia started migrating all DC Universe content to HBO Max last year, making the former streaming platform a comics-only subscription service.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/warner-documentary-dc-comics-hbo-max-105400422.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

The Morning After: The EU’s grand USB-C plan

Like a band with too few hit singles, the European Union is resorting to playing the classics over and over again. The bloc has, like clockwork, tabled a proposal for legislators to think about maybe possibly having a debate about if it’s worth creating a common charging standard.

This has happened more than a few times before, as it pushed micro-USB as a voluntary standard in 2009 and tried to pass it into law in 2014. And in 2018. And it started this process again in January 2020, although some world-shattering event got in the way of that process.

The new proposal would require that “all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles” would use USB-C for charging. The law would also “unbundle” the sale of chargers from devices as a way of reducing e-waste.

EU officials are also proposing for technology manufacturers to harmonize their fast charging technology to ensure continuity between devices. Officials added that such harmonization would prevent “different producers unjustifiably [limiting] the charging speed” which isn't really the issue here.

Naturally, the obvious target for this is Apple, which has already come out against the proposal. Perhaps it will be this, rather than anything else, that prompts the arrival of the long-rumored portless iPhone.

This proposal may, like its predecessors, wind up dashed against the rocks of politics never to be heard from again. But, even if it does succeed, the transition period is going to be sufficiently long that no company needs to worry about this being some sort of cruel surprise.

-Dan Cooper

California governor signs warehouse productivity quota bill into law

It aims to eliminate the worst of Amazon’s warehouse policies.

California governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB-701 into law, a bill which aims to regulate productivity quotas for warehouse workers. Inspired by the horror stories of poor treatment coming out of Amazon’s logistics facilities, the law will make quotas more transparent. Workers will also be able to say no to doing work which isn’t in compliance with health and safety laws and can’t be fired for failing to meet an unsafe quota. The law, which comes into effect on January 1st, 2022, could improve the quality of life for thousands of employees. Or not.

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'Flying' microchips could ride the wind to track air pollution

The chips are the size of a grain of sand.

Northwest University’s John Rogers is back in the headlines after his team created a microchip the size of a grain of sand. The team say that the chip, which could be made from biodegradable materials, would be carried on the wind like a cottonwood seed. It’s hoped that the chips will host sensors which could track air pollution or the spread of airborne diseases. If the team can work out the kinks in the idea, the chips could become vital tools for environmental monitoring in the future.

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What rights does an evil sentient computer have on Star Trek?

‘Lower Decks’ plays around with the knottiest of philosophical problems.

Humanity has yet to satisfactorily answer the question about how many rights, if any, an artificial intelligence deserves to have. It’s an issue that the latest episode of Lower Decks blows the odd raspberry toward during its latest episode. Mariner and Boimler wind up babysitting a sinister AI on its way to the Daystrom institute, with plenty of time to consider the issues. Or not, as it is, after all, an animated sitcom. Once you’ve watched the episode, however, come check out Kris Naudus’ deep dive into the episode, the highlight of which is the return of Star Trek legend Jeffrey Combs to the series that loves him the most. Kris also took a deep dive into this week’s episodes of Marvel’s What If and Star Wars: Visions if that’s more your sort of thing.

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Razer's Kaira X is a lower-cost headset for console gamers

If you want to save money, embrace the wire.

Razer has launched a cheaper version of its popular Kaira gaming headset that ditches the wireless connectivity to save money. The Kaira X costs $60, down from the $100 of its older sibling, and ships with a 3.5mm cable for connecting to your console of choice. Otherwise, however, you’ll still get the same 50mm “TriForce” drivers, cardioid boom mic and on-headset controls. If there’s one other compromise, it’s in the colorways: The PlayStation-compatible version is only shipping in a matching (and very fetching) monochrome.

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The biggest news stories you might have missed

Microsoft Edge update adds tab groups and new shopping features

Google's Android Automotive OS is coming to Honda cars in 2022

Apple MacBook Air M1 models fall back to all-time lows

Audi tested its RS Q E-Tron hybrid in the deserts of Morocco

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-the-e-us-grand-usb-c-plan-111505159.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

Xbox gains new features with updated Edge browser

With its September Xbox update, Microsoft has brought the new, Chromium-based Edge browser to Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles. It supports a keyboard and mouse and will introduce new capabilities like access to Google Stadia, Discord, web apps and more.

Microsoft started testing the Edge update on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S earlier this year, but today it's coming to everyone. Edge has been the default browser on Xbox One, but not the latest Chromium version that enables features like Google Stadia gameplay. 

It promises a "fast, secure and modern browsing experience right from your console," Microsoft wrote. It's nearly identical to the desktop version, with features like vertical tabs, collections and syncing of settings, favorites, history, tabs and more to other signed-in devices. As Reddit users have noted, though, it's missing extensions — so you won't be able to use an ad-blocker for now.

With mouse and keyboard support, gamers will find it far easier to use productivity apps. More importantly, you'll be able to play Google Stadia or Steam PC games with either a mouse and/or the Xbox controller. For now, there's no microphone support for live chats on Discord or other apps, according to The Verge.  

Microsoft also trumpeted the release of Play Later discovery, but it's not clear how that differs from the current Play Later features. It also re-announced the arrival of game streaming to PC via Xbox Game Pass cloud or using Xbox Remote Play. The new features are now available to all Xbox consoles. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/xboxs-latest-update-rolls-out-the-edge-browser-to-all-consoles-114037339.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

Dell XPS 15 OLED review: A practically perfect 15-inch laptop

To push the XPS 15's display to the max, I turned to Ang Lee's Gemini Man, one of the few films viewable in 4K with HDR at 60 frames per second. Say what you will about the movie, but the OLED screen made the shootout between Will Smith and his younger clone feel almost as thrilling as watching it in theaters. Sure, it doesn't have a full 4K resolution, but that's not something you'll really notice while watching it. Another bonus: Dell's upward-firing speakers did a decent job throughout most of the action.

Outside of video, the XPS 15's OLED screen made looking at just about everything a joy. I've never had so much fun scrolling through text-heavy websites — even jotting ideas down in Evernote felt a bit more satisfying, thanks to the ultra crisp text. Photos just about popped off the screen, as you'd expect. The DCI-P3 color range is around 25 percent wider than the more common sRGB, which means images will be able to show off more depth.

The only way the XPS 15's screen could look better was if it took a cue from gaming laptops and offered a faster refresh rate. Going above 60Hz makes scrolling images and text look instantly smoother, but it'll likely be a few years before work-focused notebooks take advantage of that tech.

Our XPS 15 review unit was powered by an eight-core Intel i7-11800H, 16GB of RAM and a 45-watt version of NVIDIA's RTX 3050 Ti GPU. That's on the low-end of that GPU's potential power usage — it can go all the way up to 80 watts — which means it's far less capable than the same card in a gaming notebook. Still, it should be a huge upgrade from last year's GTX 1650 Ti. In the GPU-focused Geekbench 5 Compute benchmark, for example, the XPS 15 notched around 6,000 more points than last year's model.

I can't imagine too many people will be judging the XPS 15 on its gaming capabilities, not when you can get faster screens and potentially better hardware for similar prices from dedicated laptops. But if you're just itching to get a bit of Overwatch action in once in a while, it's good enough to reach 70fps in Overwatch at 2,560 by 1,600 (1,440p+) at the highest graphics settings. Honestly, it has enough power to tackle most modern games. Just don't try playing them at 3.5K.

The XPS 15 also scored around 50 percent higher in the PCMark 10 benchmark, something I'd attribute both to that Intel CPU and the NVIDIA hardware. You can expect it to tackle most intense workloads with ease. It managed to transcode a one-minute 4K video file into 1080p in 35 seconds using Handbrake and the NVIDIA encoder.

As for the XPS 15's keyboard and trackpad, they're unchanged from last year. I appreciated the keyboard's wide layout and responsive keys, though I hope Dell explores ways to add even more depth. It'd be nice for some of that CherryMX technology from Alienware's gaming laptops to make its way to the XPS line. The trackpad, meanwhile, is luxuriously smooth. No complaints there.

I'd like to see more than three USB-C ports, but at least two of them support Thunderbolt 4. And I'll always give a laptop extra credit for including a full-sized SD card slot. That's something photographers everywhere will appreciate. I was also surprised to find that the OLED screen didn't ding the XPS’s battery life as much as I thought it would. It lasted for nine hours and 55 minutes in our battery benchmark, compared to 10 hours and 10 minutes on last year's model with a 4K+ LCD.

The only downside of the XPS 15 is that Dell was a bit slow to add OLED. Remember, the company said OLED would be coming to the XPS 15 since CES 2019. I was surprised that Dell didn't include it in the XPS 15's redesign last year and I wager the pandemic slowed things down a bit. But other PC makers, like ASUS, were much quicker to build OLED laptops, so it’s hard to make excuses for Dell.

The new XPS 15 starts at $1,300 with a Core i5 processor, integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. You'd have to shell out $2,000 to nab our review unit with a 512GB SSD. Those are reasonable prices for 15-inch workhorse machines, especially when the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a rather painful $2,400 and still has an aging ninth-gen Intel chip.

Honestly, I didn't expect Dell to do much with the XPS 15 after last year. But the addition of OLED goes a long way. It's one of the best screens you can find on a laptop today. It's so good, in fact, that it makes the XPS 15 almost perfect.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/dell-xps-15-oled-review-practically-perfect-15-inch-screen-laptop-120033751.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

Amazon is reportedly planning a wall-mounted Echo with a 15-inch display

Amazon is working on a number of new devices including an Echo with a 15-inch wall-mounted display, a soundbar, new Echo Auto technology and wearables. Some may appear fairly soon at the company's September 28th hardware event, according to a Bloomberg report. 

The splashiest-looking product would be an Alexa-enabled Echo with a display size around 15-inches. Codenamed Hoya, it could not only be placed on a stand like a regular Echo device, but mounted on a wall as well. It would serve as a smart-home center to control lights, cameras, locks and other devices, while showing weather, timers, appointments, photos and more. It's specifically designed to work in the kitchen, displaying recipes and YouTube cooking videos, while letting you stream Netflix and other apps. 

The company may also announce its own soundbar, codenamed Harmony, to accompany a rumored lineup of Amazon-branded TVs. Unlike third-party Alexa-enabled soundbars, it would have a front-facing camera and support video calls from TVs, much like Facebook's Portal TV

Finally, it's reportedly developing a new version of Echo Auto (codenamed Marion). The updated version will supposedly have a new design and allow for device charging via inductive technology. Amazon currently has a partnership with Ford to put Alexa in 700,000 vehicles, but it's apparently looking to team up with other automakers, too.

Other items in the works include new Echo speakers for 2022 and wearables for kids and seniors (the latter with fall detection). It's also reportedly building dedicated processors to improve artificial intelligence along with new technology to help its Fire TV, Echo and other devices work better together. 

The company has some other, somewhat more unusual products in the works as well, according to the report. It has been working on a home robot codenamed Vesta that would use the Alexa interface and also an Alexa-powered karaoke microphone — though the team working on the latter project was reportedly disbanded. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-is-reportedly-planning-an-echo-with-a-15-inch-display-122607832.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

Engadget Podcast: Everything Microsoft Surface + iPhone 13, iPad Mini reviews

It's fall, and new gadget season has officially begun! This week, Cherlynn and Devindra dive into all of Microsoft's new hardware: The Surface Laptop Studio, Pro 8 and Duo 2. Also, Commerce Editor Valentina Palladino joins to chat about the iPhone 13, 13 Mini and her iPad Mini review. And of course, we carve out some time to yell at Facebook.

Listen below, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!

Subscribe!

Topics

  • The best of Microsoft’s Surface event: Surface Laptop Studio – 3:51

  • Surface Pro 8 – 16:26

  • Surface Duo 2 – 22:33

  • iPhone 13 and mini reviews: it’s all about the cameras – 33:05

  • iPad Mini review: cute and functional – 48:45

  • Fitbit Charge 5 review – 1:02:38

  • The European Union wants all phones to charge via USB-C – 1:07:30

  • Amazon announces bigger, brighter Kindle Paperwhite – 1:12:39

  • Facebook announces portable Portal / Wall Street Journal’s Facebook files – 1:13:11

  • Working on – 1:19:41

  • Pop culture picks – 1:22:35

Video livestream

Credits
Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Guest: Valentina Palladino
Producer: Ben Ellman
Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos, Luke Brooks
Graphics artists: Luke Brooks, Kyle Maack
Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/engadget-podcast-surface-iphone-13-review-123045367.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

China’s central bank says cryptocurrency transactions are illegal

China is continuing to push forward in its cryptocurrency crackdown. The People’s Bank of China says crypto transactions are illegal and called for a formal ban. It cited concerns about national security and the safety of residents' assets.

The bank claims cryptocurrencies aren’t fiat currency and can’t be circulated, as Bloomberg reports. Any transactions involving crypto are now deemed to be criminal financial activity. The bank told financial and internet companies to stop allowing crypto trades on their platforms. Foreign exchanges are banned from providing services to Chinese residents too. 

The rise of crypto has invoked an increase in “money laundering, illegal fund-raising, fraud, pyramid schemes and other illegal and criminal activities,” the bank said. Those appearing to violate the rules will be “investigated for criminal liability.”

Several agencies in the country are working together to clamp down on crypto use. The National Development and Reform Commission is looking to put a halt to crypto mining, as TechCrunch notes. The Sichuan local government banned crypto mining in June, prompting some miners to leave the country.

The price of Bitcoin dropped from around $45,000 to approximately $41,500 on Friday morning, following the announcement.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/china-central-bank-cryptocurrency-transactions-illegal-135759645.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

Yahoo is building a new calendar app with help from the creator of Sunrise

Mention the name of Sunrise to a select demographic of nerds and you’re likely to elicit a visceral reaction. Before Microsoft purchased the calendar software in 2015 and shut it down about a year later, it was one of those apps people loved to praise. Thoughtful design and features helped it differentiate itself and earn a passionate fanbase in a crowded market that was dominated by heavyweights like GCal.

But then Microsoft shut down the app and fans were left to look elsewhere, with almost no alternative coming in to fill the void. But the good news is something similar could be on the way. Yahoo (Engadget’s parent company) is working on a standalone calendar app called Day. We know, not the most exciting sell, but stay with us.

According to TechCrunch, the company has recruited Jeremy Le Van, one of the co-founders of Sunrise, to help design the software. What’s more, the company has reportedly granted Le Van’s team the freedom to develop the software independent of other Yahoo properties. In its current iteration, the app apparently doesn’t feature any Yahoo branding or integrations. Moreover, the plan is to make it into something that can integrate with whatever email client and other tools people use.

Obviously, we’ll have to see what the final product looks like, but even if Day is only half as good as Sunrise it will make the calendar conversation more interesting.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/yahoo-day-calendar-app-sunrise-creator-213335107.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

iPhone 13 Pro’s 120Hz display limits some third-party app animations to 60Hz

With this year’s iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, Apple finally brought its ProMotion display technology from the iPad Pro over to some of its phones. The feature allows the new high-end iPhones to refresh screen content up to 120 times per second, thereby creating a much smoother interface experience. The effect is most noticeable when scrolling, but almost every aspect of a UI can benefit from a higher refresh rate.

Unfortunately, it looks like the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max limit their ProMotion displays in one notable context. According to reports spotted by 9to5Mac, the phones cap some animations in third-party apps to 60Hz. Scrolling and full-screen transitions render as expected but other animations do not. The effect is apparently jarring. What makes it worse is that it’s not something you’ll see when using any software from Apple; the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max do not enforce that same limitation on the company’s apps.

What makes the situation particularly confusing is that the iPad Pro does not have a similar limit. It has treated first- and third-party apps equally since it was released in 2017. A source told 9to5Mac the iPhone’s implementation may have something to do with battery life considerations. At the very least, code in iOS 15 suggests the limitation isn’t a bug. Either way, we’ve reached out to Apple for more information, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from the company.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-iphone-13-promotion-display-third-party-apps-225100034.html?src=rss

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25Sep/210

Twitter shows off new concepts for filtering and limiting replies

Twitter has been trying to limit the toxic replies you can get on its website by giving you tools that allow you to be more proactive in preventing them from going through. In the future, those tools could include a feature that lets you filter potentially offensive replies and another that lets you limit potentially unwelcome accounts from replying. Twitter Senior Product Designer Paula Barcante has released a sneak peek of the features, which are merely concepts at the moment, to seek input from users.

Barcante says Twitter will ask you if you'd like to switch on those controls if it detects potentially harmful replies to your tweets. If your reply filter is on, Twitter won't show you or anyone else — except the user who wrote the response — the harmful tweets it detects. If you decide to limit unwelcome accounts, users who've recently shown patterns of breaking rules won't be able to reply to your tweets at all. 

Since the process would be automated, Barcante admits that it may not be accurate all the time and may end up filtering out even respective, non-problematic responses. That's why the company is also exploring the possibility of giving you the option to review filtered tweets and limited accounts. Of course, the final iterations of the tools might look vastly different from these previews if they do get released. 

When asked if toggling on the reply filter would filter out all tweets from an account or just the tweet the website has deemed potentially offensive, Barcante didn't have an answer yet. She said what she showed was just an "early concept that requires testing and iteration" and that Twitter will provide more details if it decides to launch the tools.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/twitterconcepts-filtering-limiting-replies-054221017.html?src=rss

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