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Starlink nearly doubles satellite internet terminal prices in Ukraine

It's now particularly costly for Ukrainians to use SpaceX's Starllink if they want to stay online during the Russian invasion. The Financial Times reports that the price of a Starlink satellite terminal has almost doubled in Ukraine, jumping from the equivalent of $385 to about $700. The monthly rate isn't as expensive as it once was (as high as $100), but it's climbing from $60 to $75.

It's not known if prices have also jumped for the Ukrainian government, which obtains Starlink from a variety of sources that include SpaceX itself, foreign governments and even crowdsourcing. Individual prices have climbed in Poland, where some Ukrainians get their Starlink equipment delivered to avoid complications with local deliveries.

The hikes come as Ukraine's cellular networks are buckling under the strain of Russian attacks on the country's electrical grid. In some cases, Starlink might be the only way for locals to reach the internet. Some residents in recently liberated areas also lean on the technology while phone carriers are busy restoring service. Higher prices risk putting internet access out of reach, and may force donors to pay more to supply as many terminals as they did before.

We've asked SpaceX for comment. The company has complained about its own costs for supplying Starlink access in Ukraine. While it was quick to switch on connectivity after the Russian assault began in February, it has partly relied on US government funding to supply terminals and maintained in September that it couldn't continue offering service without further aid. After that complaint became public, however, Elon Musk said SpaceX would keep paying for Ukraine even though it supposedly meant losing money.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/starlink-price-hike-in-ukraine-144623737.html?src=rss

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Honda’s ‘Sensing 360’ next-gen driver assist will arrive in the US by 2030

Honda's Sensing level 2 driver assist system (AcuraWatch, if you bought upscale) will be growing more capable in the coming years, the automaker revealed on Wednesday. This decision comes as part of the company's efforts to advance its Safety for Everyone tennant and create a "collision-free society." These advancements are debuting this year in China under the Honda Sensing 360 and Sensing Elite monikers and will begin filtering to the US market in the second half of the decade, Honda has announced.  

The original Sensing system first appeared on the 2015 CR-V Touring trim package but became a standard feature in 2019. It offers an array of assists with a focus on collision avoidance and mitigation, such as pedestrian detection, automatic braking, and driver attention monitoring. The original Sensing relied on a single monocular camera. Sensing 360, which debuted this year in China, adds 5 millimeter-wave sensors to that camera to provide (you guessed it) 360-degree coverage of the vehicle, while Sensing Elite is the premier version of the ADAS suite and includes extra features like hands-free active lane-change. These two packages will begin matriculating to the US market over the next few years and become standard equipment by the end of the decade, just like the current gen Honda Sensing is today.

What's more, Honda plans to expand Sensing 360's capabilities in 2024 to "further reduce driver burden by detecting abnormal conditions occurring to the driver and the vehicle’s surroundings and reducing the risk of collisions." The company didn't clarify what "abnormal conditions might entail, it could be in-cabin monitoring a la Volvo's EX 90 backseat baby detector, an evolution of its existing driver attention camera, or simply smarter headlights.

Sensing Elite will also receive new features in the near term. That reportedly includes, "technologies to assist the driver on non-expressways including a hands-off function while driving through a traffic jam on arterial roads; to enable hands-off functions during merging onto and exiting from an expressway at a road junction; to assist the driver by automatically parking in and driving out of a home garage," according to a Wednesday press release. All versions of the Sensing system are slated to receive motorcycle detection capabilities by 2030 as well.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/hondas-sensing-360-next-gen-driver-assist-will-arrive-in-the-us-by-2030-150008455.html?src=rss

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DoorDash is laying off around 1,250 corporate employees

DoorDash says it is laying off around 1,250 employees in the latest instance of belt tightening at a well-known tech company. CEO Tony Xu wrote in a note to employees that DoorDash sped up hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic to catch up with its growth, since the company was actually undersized as of early 2020. Most of DoorDash's investments are said to be paying off. However, Xu noted that "while we’ve always been disciplined in how we have managed our business and operational metrics, we were not as rigorous as we should have been in managing our team growth. That’s on me. As a result, operating expenses grew quickly."

Xu added that DoorDash has "been more resilient than other ecommerce companies." Third-party data suggests that the company increased its share of the food delivery market to 56 percent of sales as of September. However, DoorDash is still vulnerable to external factors, such as rising interest rates and the threat of a recession.

The company's growth has slowed and Xu said if DoorDash didn't cut costs, its operating expenses would outpace its revenue. The layoffs will account for around six percent of DoorDash's workforce, according to Bloomberg.

DoorDash's severance package will include 17 weeks of pay along with a February 2023 stock vest for those who are eligible. Health benefits will run through the end of March and COBRA coverage will remain available for up to 18 months. Xu noted that DoorDash will set March 1st as the employment termination date to give immigrant workers who are in the US on visas more time to find another job. Moreover, DoorDash says it will offer recruiting support.

Lyft, another major player in the gig economy space, said earlier this month it would lay off 13 percent (nearly 700) of its employees. Other notable tech companies have conducted mass layoffs in recent months, including Meta, Twitter, Amazon, Roku, Snap, Patreon and Peloton.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/doordash-layoffs-153656792.html?src=rss

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Twitch’s new ‘Shield Mode’ is a one-button anti-harassment tool for streamers

Twitch has steadily added to its streamer safety measures, but they can still be a pain to use if a hate raid or dedicated harasser makes life miserable. The service might now have a much simpler solution. It's introducing "Shield Mode," a one-button toggle that activates several customizable safety measures at once. You and your moderators can limit chat to followers or subscribers, require verification and implement stricter AutoMod levels, and immediately revert back to looser policies once the crisis is over.

There are even a pair of Shield Mode-only defenses. You can automatically ban everyone who recently used a given phrase in chat, or disallow all first-time chatters. If a raid includes a wave of bigoted slurs from newcomers or bots, you might just silence all of them with a click. You'll have to file reports for each banned user at launch, but Twitch hopes to streamline the process in the future.

The feature is mainly meant to help guard against hate raids without forcing targeted channels to keep tight security active at all times. Streamers can mostly stick to relaxed, welcoming policies that help grow their audiences. However, Twitch adds that this could also help any broadcaster who's featured on the front page or planning a stream on a delicate subject.

This comes over a year after Twitch streamers conducted a virtual walkout to protest Twitch's allegedly slow responses to hate raids. At the time, creators dealt with racist, sexist and transphobic raiding that frequently abused channel hashtags, with some so bad that streams had to be cut short. Twitch promised changes in response, including better ban evasion detection. Shield Mode is another part of that response, and is clearly meant to supplement or replace community-made "panic button" tools that accomplished similar goals.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/twitch-shield-mode-anti-harassment-180003661.html?src=rss

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Amazon bundles the Echo Show 8 with an Echo Show 5 Kids for only $70

Cyber Monday has come and gone, but if you're still looking to pick up a new smart display or two ahead of the holidays, a newer deal on Amazon's Echo Shows may be of interest: The retailer is currently offering a bundle that pairs its Echo Show 8 with the Kids edition of its Echo Show 5 for $70. 

Buy Echo Show 8 + Echo Show 5 Kids at Amazon - $70

We've seen the Echo Show 8 alone go for $70 for much of the last two months, but that still equals the lowest price we've tracked. Normally, it retails closer to $100. With this deal, you're effectively getting an Echo Show 5 Kids thrown in at no extra cost. That device is currently available on its own for $40, but its average street price over the last few months has sat closer to $60.

Most people don't need a smart display, but for those who like using a voice assistant to pull up the weather, control smart lights and doorbells, stream podcasts and so on, it can provide more context than a screenless smart speaker. Amazon and Google are really your only options in this market, but if you're already partial to Alexa, the Echo Show 8 is your best bet. 

We gave the 8-inch display a review score of 87 last year and currently recommend it in our guide to the best smart displays: It can't double as a smart home hub like the bigger Echo Show 10, but its display is big and sharp (1,280 x 800) enough to comfortably stream video or display photos around the house, its speakers are powerful enough to fill a room, its processor can keep up with most tasks and its 13-megapixel camera is suitable for video calls. And while no Alexa or Google Assistant device is ideal for the privacy-conscious, there's at least a physical camera shutter and mic mute button built in.

The Echo Show 5 isn't as quick, spacious or loud, and its 2-megapixel camera is a noticeable downgrade. Still, it can do just about everything the larger models can do, and its 5.5-inch screen makes it a better fit for bathrooms or bedside tables. We gave it a score of 85 last year. The Kids version has the same hardware as the normal model, but it comes with a two-year warranty, a year of Amazon's Kids+ content service and a more child-friendly interface. Whether you're okay putting an Amazon mic and camera in your kid's room is up to you, but there is a camera cover and various parental controls for limiting and monitoring how the device is used.

If you're not beholden to Alexa, we'll note that Google's Nest Hub, our top pick among Google displays, is still on sale for $50. We generally find the Google Assistant to be a little smarter than Alexa, particularly for web queries, and it naturally plays nicer with widely-used Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube and the like. The Nest Hub also lacks a camera, which may be a positive if you don't care about video calling. That said, if you already own a bunch of Alexa-enabled devices and want a couple new displays for around the house, this is a good deal, regardless of Alexa's broader struggles.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-echo-show-8-deal-bundle-echo-show-5-kids-70-161408112.html?src=rss

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Uncharted: The Movie: The Rollercoaster is coming to a Spanish theme park

When the original Uncharted game debuted in 2007, an IGN reviewer called it a "rollercoaster adventure." Fast forward 16 years and you'll be able to experience Uncharted as a literal thrill ride at a theme park. Spanish resort PortAventura World has signed a deal with Sony to build a rollercoaster based on the Uncharted movie, which is an adaptation of Naughty Dog's games. The ride is slated to open at the theme park, which is around an hour and a half away from Barcelona, in mid-2023.

The rollercoaster will take the park's visitors on "a dangerous search for one of the greatest treasures ever found," PortAventura said. With a budget of over €25 million ($25.7 million) behind it, the Uncharted ride will have an immersive pre-show that's said to be full of surprises. The rollercoaster will be almost 700 meters long and reach a height of over 12 meters. At least some parts of the so-called dark ride will be enclosed, and likely feature animations or video projections, special effects and Nathan Drake saying "No, no, no!" way too many times.

Although it had a lukewarm reaction from critics, Uncharted performed fairly well at the box office, pulling in just under $402 million to become the fifth highest-grossing film based on a video game. Sony is turning many of its other PlayStation properties into movies and TV shows, including The Last of Us, Horizon, God of War and Ghost of Tsushima. Perhaps some of those will end up becoming theme park rides too — though a Last of Us rollercoaster might be a little too thrilling for some folks.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/uncharted-rollercoaster-theme-park-spain-sony-171049081.html?src=rss

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Honda will start US production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2024

Honda's big electrification push will include US-oriented hydrogen fuel cell cars. The automaker has revealed that it will begin US production of fuel cell vehicles in 2024. The first model will be a plug-in hybrid based on the current-generation CR-V (pictured here). You'll theoretically have pure electric driving for your daily commute, but still get zero-emissions driving for longer city-to-city jaunts.

More details of the hydrogen-powered CR-V will be revealed sometime closer to its 2024 launch, Honda says. It's only willing to offer a peek at the power plant (below). The existing CR-V is available as a conventional hybrid with a gas engine and no plug-in feature.

The new model is part of a larger Honda strategy to completely drop combustion engine vehicles by 2040 using a mix of pure EVs and fuel cell cars. On top of the hydrogen CR-V, Americans can also expect the fully electric Prologue SUV in 2024. The brand already sells the electric Honda E subcompact, but not in the US. Honda aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Whether or not there's a market for the fuel cell SUV is uncertain. Hydrogen cars haven't gained much traction in the US compared to their all-electric counterparts, due partly to high prices and a lack of filling stations. Honda axed the fuel cell-based Clarity sedan in 2021, reportedly in response to weak demand for the $71,200 machine. There's no guarantee customers will be more welcoming in 2024, particularly as EVs become more affordable and offer improved range.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/honda-hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicle-cr-v-us-production-date-171022280.html?src=rss

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Elden Ring’s score will get the jazz treatment thanks to Kenny Garrett and Takuya Kuroda

With the popularity of video games, concerts devoted to the music of franchises like Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed are a frequent occurrence at music venues worldwide. However, you rarely see two jazz legends reinterpret your favorite gaming tracks. That’s what makes the event Elden Ring publisher Bandai Namco announced today so intriguing. On December 3rd, former Duke Ellington Orchestra member Kenny Garrett will join trumpeter Takuya Kuroda, best known for his album Rising Son, to play two shows at The Bourbon Room in Holywood. They will play music from FromSoftware’s latest action RPG.

With the official score featuring 67 tracks, Kuroda and Garrett have a lot of material they could reinterpret. You have to imagine Malenia’s theme will make an appearance. “If I were to pick one word to describe this project, it’s epic,” Kuroda said in a video Bandai Namco released promoting the concert series. Garrett, meanwhile, promised it would be “something different” from what he’s done in the past.

Unfortunately, there’s no free way to watch the event. In a chart reminiscent of the one Sega published before the release of Sonic Origins, Bandai Namco notes you can watch a VOD of the concert after it’s over for $15. Watching the event live over the internet will set you back at least $25. In-person tickets, meanwhile, start at $75 and go all the way up to $200, depending on the extras you want. You can find more details on Bandai Namco’s site.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/elden-ring-jazz-concert-announced-190710478.html?src=rss

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Fusion power is ‘approaching’ reality thanks to a magnetic field breakthrough

Fusion power may be a more realistic prospect than you think. As Motherboard reports, researchers at the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered that a new magnetic field setup more than tripled the energy output of the fusion reaction hotspot in experiments, "approaching" the level required for self-sustaining ignition in plasmas. The field was particularly effective at trapping heat within the hotspot, boosting the energy yield.

The hotspot's creation involved blasting 200 lasers at a fusion fuel pellet made from hydrogen isotopes like deuterium and tritium. The resulting X-rays made the pellet implode and thus produce the extremely high pressures and heat needed for fusion. The team achieved their feat by wrapping a coil around a pellet made using special metals.

The notion of using magnets to heat the fuel isn't new. University of Rochester scientists found they could use magnetism to their advantage in 2012. The Lawrence Livermore study was far more effective, however, producing 40 percent heat and more than three times the energy.

Practical fusion reactors are still many years away. The output is still far less than the energy required to create self-sustaining reactions. The finding makes ignition considerably more achievable, though, and that in turn improves the chances of an energy-positive fusion system. This also isn't the end of the magnetism experiments. A future test will use an ice-laden cryogenic capsule to help understand fusion physics. Even if ignition is still distant, the learnings from this study could provide a clearer path to that breakthrough moment.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/fusion-power-magnetic-field-ignition-study-195200137.html?src=rss

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Twitter claims ‘none of our policies have changed’ as advertisers continue to flee

One month into Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter, the company is once again trying to reassure advertisers and users about the direction of the platform. In its first blog post since Musk’s acquisition, the company attempted to explain what “Twitter 2.0” means for the company.

Twitter is right now facing a massive decline in ad revenue as major advertisers have halted spending amid concerns over policy changes instituted by Musk. In the blog post, though, Twitter says that “brand safety is only possible when human safety is the top priority” and that “none of our policies have changed.”

However, it’s difficult to square that claim with the company’s recent confirmation that it will stop enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation rules, and the recent reinstatements of previously banned accounts. “Our approach to policy enforcement will rely more heavily on de-amplification of violative content: freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” the blog post says, without elaborating.

Musk has previously said that “negative” tweets will be “deboosted” and only visible to those searching for them. It’s not clear if these changes have been implemented. Twitter no longer has a communications team.

The blog post also notes that Twitter’s Trust and Safety team “continues its diligent work to keep the platform safe from hateful conduct, abusive behavior, and any violation of Twitter's rules.” The post, signed by “The Twitter Team,” comes one day after the company’s former head of Trust and Safety said the platform is less safe under Musk’s leadership. Yoel Roth, a longtime policy executive at Twitter who had worked closely with Musk in the days immediately following his takeover, said in an interview that Musk ignored warnings from the Trust and Safety team ahead of the disastrous rollout of Twitter Blue’s paid verification.

The blog post is the latest sign of how badly Musk needs to win back Twitter’s advertisers. The company has already lost at least half of its top 100 advertisers, according to a recent report in Media Matters. And newsletter Platformer reported Tuesday that ad revenue is down 15 percent in Europe and the Middle East, in addition to the mounting losses in the US ad market. The Financial Times recently reported that Musk has resorted to personally calling the CEOs of major brands “in order to berate them” for pulling back on ad spending. Musk has also publicly called out Apple CEO Tim Cook for "mostly" halting its advertising on the platform.

Much like Musk's "town hall" with advertisers earlier this month, it's unclear if Twitter's latest statements will be enough reassurance for brands to start spending again. In addition to Musk's chaotic policy changes and the Twitter Blue fiasco, the mass layoffs and resignations have also gutted the teams that typically work closely with ad agencies and brands, which has only further complicated the already strained relationships. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/twitter-blog-post-reassure-advertisers-195429153.html?src=rss

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