Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

Americans are checking their phones now more than ever, report says - CNET

CNET News - 20 hours 13 min ago
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed by Deloitte are trying to cut back their screen time, but only around half of them are successful in doing so.

LG's OLED TVs get modest discounts for Black Friday

Engadget - Mon, 2018-11-12 23:31
LG is offering discounts on a number of its TVs for Black Friday, and these reduced prices are available now through December 1st. For its OLED C8 with AI ThinQ line of TVs, LG is discounting the 55-inch and 65-inch models by $800, bringing them to $...

AT&T CEO calls for privacy, net neutrality laws - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 23:28
Randall Stephenson also calls 5G "critical" to the future of media consumption.

Amazon reportedly picks New York, northern Virginia for HQ2 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 22:14
Decision to be formerly announced as soon as Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.

What's on TV: 'Narcos: Mexico,' 'Pokémon: Let's Go,' and 'Fallout 76'

Engadget - Mon, 2018-11-12 22:06
This week there's a flood of new content arriving on streaming services, including a new season of Narcos or the premiere of She-Ra on Netflix, The Gymkhana Files on Amazon Prime, and Channel 4's The Bisexual arriving on Hulu. For gamers there are th...

Tesla Model 3 Performance booted from podium at Global Time Attack - Roadshow

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 20:54
Despite placing second overall at the event, another driver complained that electricity was not an approved fuel.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 back on Netflix to rip film turkeys - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 20:48
Movie sign! Binge-watch six of the most terrible B-grade movies in the universe this Thanksgiving with the MST3K crew on Netflix.

Amazon's Echo Buttons now perform whole routines with a tap

Engadget - Mon, 2018-11-12 20:41
Amazon's Echo Buttons are now useful for considerably more than playing party games. The company has enabled support for performing Alexa routines by tapping a button. You can turn on the lights without talking to your speaker, or let guests cue mu...

Scientists predict a 'dark matter hurricane' will collide with the Earth - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 20:25
Yes, here's the story of the dark matter hurricane -- a cosmic event that may provide our first glimpse of the mysterious, invisible particle.

Self-driving cars could be the brothels of the future, UK researchers say - Roadshow

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 19:20
A new study outlines the effects that autonomous cars could have on tourism -- even the seedier parts.

Stan Lee characters that changed our lives - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 19:18
He created hundreds of characters in 95 years on this planet. Here are some of our all-time personal favorites.

Steve Ballmer says Google, Facebook should engage more with regulators - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 19:12
And Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey criticizes the partisanship that keeps Americans from agreeing on things they'd normally have in common.

Volkswagen owners can use Siri Shortcuts to unlock their car

Engadget - Mon, 2018-11-12 19:02
If you're a Volkswagen driver, you now have another way to lock and unlock your car, start and stop electric charging and check your remaining estimated mileage. That's because VW has added Siri integration to its Car-Net app.

AI toilets will scan your poop to diagnose your ailments - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 18:46
Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra sees smart loos in our future and is anxious to sell the chips they will need.

How the Bugatti Chiron is made - Roadshow

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 18:39
We take a look inside Bugatti's Molsheim factory to see how one of the world's best hypercars is made.

These antique phones are precious, private Alexa vessels

TechCrunch - Mon, 2018-11-12 17:53

Amazon’s Alexa may be in ten thousand different devices now, but they all have one other thing in common: they’re new. So for those of us that prefer old things but still want to be able to set timers and do metric-imperial conversions without pulling out our phones, Grain Design is retrofitting these fabulous old telephones to provide Alexa access with no other hints of modernity. There’s even a privacy angle!

The phones themselves (spotted by a BoingBoing tipster) are genuine antiques, and not even the mass-produced Bell sets you see so often. I personally love the copper-plated model, though I certainly wouldn’t say no to the candlestick.

Dick Whitney, who runs the company, modifies the hardware to make room for an Echo Dot inside. Pick up the phone and speak, and Alexa answers, just like the operators of yore! Except you can ask Alexa anything and it won’t be irritated. Some of the Alexaphones, as he calls them, will include the original audio hardware so you can experience the cognitive dissonance of talking to a virtual assistant and having them answer using a century-old speaker. (I bet it sounds terrible and brilliant.)

I’m also delighted to say that the microphone physically disconnects when the phone is on the hook, though — so Amazon won’t be listening in to your conversations and emailing them to random people.

“The Echo microphones have their connections severed or are removed completely, and the microphone in the handset is connected via the original switches in the base, so it’s only in contact when the handset is picked up,” explained Whitney in an email.

The modifications to the phones don’t end there: in the rear of each will be a 1/8″ audio port so you can plug in a real speaker. No one wants to sit at their telephone table (remember those?) and listen to a few songs in mono through vintage hardware. Although having written that sentence I do have to say I’d try it once. Right now all the audio would have to go out that way, but Whitney says he may have a trick to switch it back and forth in the future (you can always just unplug the audio for privacy).

There’s also an LED hidden on the front so you have that basic feedback of whether the device is on, listening and such. The rotary dial isn’t used, unfortunately, though more because it’s hard to apply its principles to a voice-operated device.

“It’s funny,” he wrote when I asked about the latter, “I’d actually built an installation for Android at MWC [Mobile World Congress] a few years ago that used a rotary dialer, so I know how to do it and have the hardware around (it’s very simple), but both couldn’t figure out a function that seemed interesting enough (dial 1 to increase the volume? Certainly open to suggestions) and didn’t want to add more complexity inside the telephones. Maybe in the future!”

No soldering or weird old tech stuff required on your part — the device will run on USB power and set up just like any other Alexa gadget. Of course, these things also cost $1,500. Yeah, kind of out of my price range, too. Still, they’re lovely and a great subversion of the “smart home” idea.

Microsoft’s Black Friday deals include discounts on Surface devices

Engadget - Mon, 2018-11-12 17:49
Microsoft already announced its Xbox Black Friday deals -- which include $100 off an Xbox One X -- and now it's previewing the discounts you can expect on its Surface line. You'll be able to save $300 on the Surface Laptop 2 in black and up to $50 on...

Apple says T2 chip can limit third-party repairs for recent Macs

Engadget - Mon, 2018-11-12 17:18
Yes, the reports were true -- Apple's T2 chip can potentially restrict third-party Mac repairs. The company confirmed to The Verge that the co-processor can limit third-party repairs for certain components on recent systems, likely including the iMac...

Black Friday 2018 Google Assistant deals: $25 Google Home Mini, $99 Nest Thermostat E, $170 SimpliSafe security system and more - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 17:16
Jump-start your holiday shopping with deals on these Google-Assistant-enabled devices.

Alexa's Echo Buttons can trigger your smart home routines now - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 17:10
All of a sudden, these cheap Alexa accessories sound pretty darned useful.