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Klipsch's tiny T10 wireless earbuds arrive as a $2,500 'bespoke' model

1 hour 16 min ago

Klipsch has finally delivered the T10 true wireless earbuds it was supposed to ship in fall 2020... but they've changed a lot in the past two years. The company and Ear Micro have released the T10 Bespoke Ear Computers (yes, really) as a hand-built custom design aimed squarely at luxury buyers who refuse to own the same earbuds as everyone else. You can ask Klipsch to build the charging case using materials like gold, leather (vegan and otherwise) and wood, and the bud frames using pearl or ceramic zirconia. You can ask for special leather motifs, and even have jewelers add precious stones or carvings.

The T10 has some technical prowess to match the luxurious exterior, at least. Klipsch touts 96kHz/24-bit audio when using the LDAC codec, and believes the dual Cadence/Tensilica DSPs, class-D amps and Sonion transducers will make the most of your music. Despite the incredibly small bud size, you can expect nine hours of listening per charge as well as active noise cancelation.

Klipsch T10 Bespoke wireless earbudsKlipsch

And yes, Klipsch knows it would normally be ridiculous to spend a fortune on earbuds whose batteries rarely last more than a few years. The T10 design is built to be repaired and upgraded with relatively little effort. Provided Klipsch remains committed to support, you could keep using your one-of-a-kind audio indefinitely.

You will pay a steep premium, as you might have guessed. Klipsch estimates typical T10 prices between $2,500 and $5,000, and you can easily pay more to add gems and other unique touches. That's a lot more than the $649 the company targeted back in 2020. However, this might make more sense. Klipsch already has the $199 T5 II to court mainstream buyers who would otherwise turn to AirPods or Galaxy Buds, and it's not clear the original T10's promised AI features would have justified the price. The finished product targets a niche but largely unserved group — the same upscale audience that wouldn't flinch at a $3,400 Louis Vuitton smartwatch or an electric supercar.

'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II' pre-order customers can play the story a week early

2 hours 26 min ago

Do you feel guilty for playing a game's single-player campaign on release day when all your friends are jumping into the multiplayer mode? You won't have that burden with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. Activision has revealed that pre-order customers can play the MW2 story starting October 20th, a week before the game officially debuts on October 28th. You can get the solo content out of the way before you spend all your hours online.

As mentioned before, pre-order purchasers also get two-day early access to MW2's open beta sessions as well as instant use of special character and weapon skins. Splurge on the Vault Edition and you also get a Battle Pass for the first season as well as characters and cosmetics accessible in the open beta, Warzone and even the original Modern Warfare remake.

Activision is promising more details for MW2 and the next Warzone (including its new mobile version) at an hours-long Call of Duty event on September 15th. However, the advance access to single-player gameplay shows the company's priorities. While it's still committed to furthering the series' plot, it sees this latest game as the foundation for a new multiplayer experience.

Airbnb starts testing anti-party tech in the US and Canada

2 hours 37 min ago

Airbnb is starting to test anti-party technology in the US and Canada. It announced a permanent ban on all parties and events at host properties worldwide back in June. Airbnb brought in such rules on a temporary basis after the COVID-19 pandemic hit to abide by social distancing restrictions.

The company began trialing similar tech in Australia last October. Airbnb says it was able to reduce the number of unauthorized parties in areas where it was using the tools by 35 percent. It's now rolling out the system more broadly in that country.

The anti-party tools look at several factors to detect "potentially high-risk reservations." They consider elements such as how long the prospective guest has had an Airbnb account, how far away the listing is from where they're based and their history of positive reviews. The system will also bear in mind the length of the trip and whether someone is trying to make a booking during the week or at the weekend.

It may, for instance, flag a planned stay of one or two nights over a weekend in the same city where the guest lives. Airbnb says that users who are precluded from staying at an entire home because of these measures can still book a hotel room or a private room. The host is more likely to be at the property in the latter case.

The company says it's trying to tackle unauthorized parties to the best of its ability. This system builds on tools that had a narrower focus on guests aged under 25, particularly those who wanted to stay nearby and didn't have positive reviews. Airbnb noted that the tools can't entirely prevent parties from taking place at listings. It has a tip line for neighbors to contact staff if they believe a party is taking place at a nearby host property or they have other concerns.

"We anticipate that this new system will help prevent more bad actors on our platform while having less of a blunt impact on guests who are not trying to throw a party," Airbnb wrote in a blog post. "While we are consistently willing to make trade-offs in the interests of building trust, our goal is to make these systems as precise and fair as possible to support our hosts and guests." Looking ahead, the company says it will detail the results of the test in the US and Canada and reveal other measures it plans to take to stamp out unauthorized parties.

Archetype: Rabea is an all-in-one virtual guitar rig that’s also a synth

2 hours 57 min ago

Neural DSP is best known for its high-quality amp models, whether that’s its $1,850 Quad Cortex floor modeler or plugins for your DAW. Its latest offering is the €139 (roughly $142) Archetype: Rabea plugin. The Archetype series is a collection of artist collabs where Neural builds out a set of amp sims and effects to capture the essence of that particular musician’s sound. While a variety of artists across genres have worked with the company, the Archetype series has definitely trended toward the heavier end of the spectrum, with names like Megadeth, Meshuggah and Gojira getting involved. Rabea Massaad definitely falls into that category with his band Frog Leap, and backing up Stormzy. But Archetype: Rabea adds an interesting new wrinkle to Neural DSP’s formula – a synth.

Before we get to the synth part, let’s run through the core features. There are three amp sims in Archetype: Rabea – clean, rhythm and lead, which cover everything from bright Fender chimes, to death metal chug, to unadulterated shred. There are around 100 presets included that make dialing in tones simple. Neural takes a very skeuomorphic approach to interface design, and if you’ve ever used a guitar amp before (which I’ll assume you have if you’re reading this), you’ll feel right at home. All three amps sound pretty good right out of the box and it’s easy to tweak them to your liking.

Archetype isn’t just a handful of amp sims bundled together, though. You can combine those amps with various different speaker cabinets, simulated different mic placements, and there’s a four-band EQ for further fine tuning the tone.

The bottom end is quite tight and the distortion satisfying. I don’t think anyone is likely to mistake Neural’s plugins for a real-deal tube amp. But that’s kinda beside the point, as long as it sounds good. The sound straight out of the box is very full and sounds great on its own, but needs heavy EQing to sit right in a mix. Also, the amp sims can get quite noisy, almost like you’re standing right in front of a real cranked amp. Thankfully, there’s a noise gate builtin – make friends with it.

The whole point of Archetype is to be a complete guitar rig, so you also get a bunch of effects with each installment, too. Rabea comes with a compressor, octaver, overdrive, fuzz, delay and reverb “pedals,” as well as pitch shifting and doubling effects. Again, while these cover a wide variety of tones, they really excel at the heavier end of the spectrum, which is where many other digital amp and effects sims can fall flat in my opinion.

All of the effects are pretty solid, but the octaver and reverb are easily my favorite. The octaver lets you blend in both an octave below and above what you’re playing, and has both a vintage and modern mode. The former is great if you’re looking for that dirtier, glitchier old-school vibe. The reverb has a freeze function, with independent pitch control which – when combined with the octaver and doubler – delivers truly lush pads that will drone on forever. You can even change the pitch while you’re playing over it to create progressions. It’s a fascinating way to start sketching out ideas for songs, but it’s not really practical for performing.

 RabeaNeural DSP

But what really sets Archetype: Rabea apart is the Overlord Synth. It’s a dual oscillator, monophonic, subtractive synth that follows the pitch of your guitar. This is a first for Neural DSP, and the company claims it’s a “world-first,” though I couldn’t independently confirm that claim. What I can say is that there are pitch-tracking guitar synth pedals and MIDI guitars that can control synths, there are also pitch-tracking tools that you can pair with a softsynth to control it with a guitar, but I wasn’t able to find an all-in-one pitch-tracking guitar synth VST.

The sound engine itself is nothing too fancy: two oscillators with four waveshape options, a low pass filter with four different modes, a fairly basic arpeggiator, and a pair of envelopes to control the amplitude and filter. You can coax dreamy and delicate plucks out of it, but it really shines as a synth bass machine. Because the options are limited, even someone new to synths should have a fairly easy time coming to grips with Overlord.

Of course, the big question is how well it tracks input from your guitar. And I’m happy to report that it’s nearly perfect. Now, it’s monophonic, so you can’t play big synth chords the way you might with a MIDI controller, but it had no trouble keeping up with groove metal riffs and mid-tempo pentatonic solos. The demos on Neural’s site even make it sounds like it can handle finger tapping, but my finger tapping skills are basically non-existent. There was rarely a stray note, or odd abrupt cut off. It’s easily some of the best pitch-tracking I’ve seen in a plugin. There is the occasional artifact when sliding around the neck, but once you adjust your playing style it’s pretty to minimize them.

All sounds in this demo, other than the drums, are created using only a guitar running through Archetype: Rabea.

Engadget · Archetype: Rabea demo track

The real magic starts happening, though, when you combine all these various elements together. You can blend in the synth with your guitar, pitch the oscillators one fifth and one octave below, turn on the doubling effect and create just a massive wall of sound. You can then freeze that using the reverb pedal, retune the synth to play the same note and an octave up, and solo over that drone in equally bombastic style. Archetype: Rabea is basically guitar tone maximalism at its finest.

If you’re already a fan of Neural DSP’s products, Archetype: Rabea is an easy sell. It’s a high-quality virtual guitar rig with a truly excellent synth built in. Even if you’re primarily interested in the synth side of things, the €139 isn’t too bad. Yes, the synth is fairly basic, but you get a handful of effects to process it, and the pitch tracking is top notch. You’re probably gonna pay at least $99 for any decent commercial synth plugin, so an extra $40 to be able to natively control it with your guitar is a small price to pay.

Australia's top court rules Google isn't a publisher

3 hours 55 min ago

Google has prevailed in its long-running battle over potentially defamatory web links. Australia's High Court has ruled Google wasn't the publisher of a link to a 2004 story in The Age that allegedly tarnished state lawyer George Defteros, who represented people implicated in the Melbourne gangland killings and briefly faced charges himself. As The Guardianreports, five of seven court justices found that the search result link "merely facilitated access" to the story — Google didn't play a part in writing or distributing the content.

The High Court also rebuffed Defteros' claim that search results encouraged users to visit a story. Someone who found that link was already searching for relevant content, the justices said. Some of the justices said the case might have been different if it had been a sponsored link, but that Google's appeal didn't require an answer on the subject.

Defteros sued Google in 2016, accusing the company of defaming him. Google pulled the link in December that year, and lost its initial court fight, but tried to overturn the ruling by arguing that it could have been held liable for the content of any page it linked to — it was worried it would have to "act as censor" for the internet at large. The company didn't succeed with that first appeal, and in 2020 a Victorian supreme court ordered that Defteros receive $40,000 in damages. Google asked the High Court to intervene in January.

The decision could a wide-ranging impact on internet firms operating in Australia. They might not have to worry that search queries or other automatically-generated links could get them into legal trouble. A complainant would have to show there was a deliberate attempt to promote an unflattering piece.

What you’ll need to survive the California wildfires this summer

4 hours 27 min ago

Climate change has transformed the American West into a tinderbox. Temperatures since the start of the century have averaged 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than any other point in the historical record since 1895. Unprecedented drought conditions and decades of ineffective public land management practices have led to massive blazes.

The same can be said for Pacific Gas and Electric, Northern California’s local power monopoly/serial arsonist. The company has faced multiple civil and criminal charges in recent years after causing some of the largest and most damaging wildfires in California history — like 2018’s Camp Fire, which killed 68 people, or 2021’s Dixie Fire which caused $1.5 billion in property damage. In fact, an investigation by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection found that the company’s equipment started at least 17 of the state’s 21 fires in 2017, MSNBC reports.

A significant portion of the state is probably going to be alight for the next few months. Regardless of whether you live in a coastal city, on the urban-wildland interface or out in the middle of rural anywhere, those fires are going to have an immediate impact on your life. It could be the enduring hassle of weeks-long rolling power outages, it could be the health consequences from air pollution, it could be slaloming through walls of flame in a desperate bid to escape an engulfing firestorm — either way, you’re probably going to have a bad time. So here’s some gear and techniques to help with this summer’s fire season. Good luck.

It’s just like camping, but involuntary!

Your individual needs will depend on the emergency, your location and your access to resources. What you’ll need to successfully ride out an extended power outage in the comfort of your own home will be different than if you have to fit your life into an automobile trunk or hiking backpack. Below, we’ll discuss five categories of products that no go-bag should be without.

Packing and preparation can seem daunting and overwhelming but resources are available from the federal government to help. FEMA’s Ready.gov website offers information and advice in 11 languages for any number of emergency situations both in digital and physical formats. The FEMA app for Android and iOS offers the same information directly from your mobile device, as well as real-time emergency broadcasts and directions to nearby Disaster Recovery Centers. In the sections below, we’ll talk about the gear you’ll need to ride out the emergency until you can get to one of those centers, set out across seven broad categories.

Lighting

In wilderness survival situations, there’s an order of importance in doing things: find shelter, then water, start a fire and finally procure food. This is very good advice that could save your life, but when the emergency alert system goes off at night and you stumble out of bed to find that the power’s already out, you aren’t going to be thinking about water bottles, you’re going to want a flashlight, so let’s start there.

When my family was camping out in the driveway for a week after the Big One in ‘89, we were stuck with old-school Mag-Lites — incandescent bulbs, ran on six D-batteries, heavy enough you could beat a rhinoceros to death with it — you know the ones. Thankfully, technology has advanced in the convening years and today’s LED and Li-ion driven torches are much more luminous and lightweight.

You have a choice between flashlights and headlamps. Headlamps are great if you need your hands free and want light wherever you’re looking, hand torches offer more flexibility in their use and won’t blind whoever you’re looking at.

Fenix, Biolite, Petzl, Thrunite, and Black Diamond all make solid flashlights and headlamps. The $70 Petzl Actik Core headlamp, for example, will run on either AAA or Li-ion batteries, weighs less than 3 ounces and outputs 450 lumens. The $20 Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp, on the other hand, outputs 300 lumens but you’ll have to purchase the rechargeable battery separately. Just don’t go overboard with the lumen rating, 500 lumens is bright enough to see nearly 100 feet in complete darkness — you’re trying to illuminate what’s in front of you, not blind aircraft pilots.

Personally, I prefer to not strap LEDs to my face (nothing against headlamps but if I’m going to die in a natural disaster I’m not going do it looking like a huge dork), so I keep Thrunite’s TC15 V2 and Archer 2A V3 in my go-bag. The Archer runs on a pair of AAs while the TC15 is rechargable, giving me the redundancy my survivalist paranoia craves. They’re both waterproof, shock and drop resistant, and way easier to fit in a pocket than a Mag-Lite. You might also check out the waterproof, $66 Coast Polysteel 600R, which outputs 530 lumens, runs a claimed 35 hours on either a Li-ion pack or 4 AAs, and even includes a USB port for charging other electronics.

antique kerosene lamp with lights on the wooden floor on the lawn at nightpongvit via Getty Images

If you’re at risk of long-term displacement, you’ll want to invest in a lantern. Black Diamond makes a slick LED lantern, the $25, 200-lumen Moji, that’s bright enough to illuminate a tabletop, tent or car interior. The $70 Moji Charging Station Lantern combines a 250-lumen LED lantern with a portable power block. It can run on AC (with an optional adapter), a rechargeable lithium ion battery or standard AAs while charging your other devices. The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 is another good choice, offering 600 lumens of illumination and up to 180 hours of runtime. It can be recharged via USB, hand crank or an optional solar array. And if you would prefer something a bit more analog, it’s never a bad call to have a stash of long-burning emergency candles tucked away somewhere.

Also check out the Coleman Recharge 800. It outputs up to 800 lumens for as long as 45 hours straight thanks to a 4800 mAh lithium battery. I like it because it’s shaped like the old propane Coleman lanterns we used on family camping trips and that I still keep on hand for when the grid goes down for good. It’s half the price as the more modern design, propane is still easy to score and, again, redundancy is your friend. For an even more inexpensive option, take a look at the Texsport Single Mantle, currently $27 on Amazon. Or if you have access to a bulk propane tank (like what’s connected to your grill), Texport’s propane tree can fuel three gas-powered devices simultaneously — think lantern light, camp stove and tent heater — all from one supply, without having to swap connectors between them.

Shelter

If your domicile is still standing and you’ve just lost power for an indeterminate amount of time, congrats! That is what we call “an inconvenience” — keep living your life, enjoy drinking from your operational indoor plumbing and skip on down to the sections about energy storage and cooking because you’re good here.

Now, just because it’s California in the summertime doesn’t mean there won’t be a chill in the air by the time FEMA comes around. Keep a stock of warm and water resistant clothing in your go-bag, as well as a blanket or poncho that can work as both an insulation layer and ground cover. If you don’t mind the crinkle factor, SOL makes a variety of mylar emergency blankets for either personal or group use. Wool blankets (which don’t lose their insulation capacity when wet like cotton does) are another option. You can find them cheap on Amazon or at your local army surplus shop.

If you do find yourself displaced and in need of short-term accommodation, then it’s time to pitch yourself a little tent. The Litefighter 1X is an excellent three-season personal shelter that works as both a standalone tent with 18.2 sq ft of floor space, or as bug netting when affixed to a cot. It’s plenty spacious for a solo hiker plus their pack, and has lots of room for wet outer gear under the rain fly. An optional windbreaker attachment can provide enough added insulation to use the 1X during cold winter months as well. The Mountainsmith Morrison EVO is a cozy 17.25 square feet and $199 on Amazon, and LiteFighter also makes a larger 2-person tent with 34.5 square feet of floor space. At $400 and $450 respectively, the 1- and 2-person 1X series tents are a bit pricier than average. You can just as easily pick up a ​​REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ with 33.75 square feet for $329 or for the same price as the solo-occupancy 1X, you can get a 4-person REI Wonderland.

Camping on the Kalalau Beach of Na Pali CoastBrodi LeBlanc via Getty Images

You can also incorporate your vehicle into this temporary housing solution. Use it to securely store your gear while you sleep outside or as a mounting point for a rooftop tent like the $3,695 Roofnest Condor XL, the $1,750 Thule Tepui Low-Pro 2 or the $1,800 CVT Pioneer Bachelor (it’s small enough to fit atop a Mini Cooper!). If spending four figures to sleep on top of your car seems too risky a proposition, the $185 North East Harbor Universal SUV Camping Tent holds up to eight people and glomps onto the tailgate area.

EV owners whose vehicles have V2L capabilities — that’s “vehicle-to-load” and it’s offered in the Ford F-150 Lightning, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 — may not even immediately notice an outage thanks to their cars’ ability to power their households for up to a few days at a time. Who needs a rooftop tent when your car is a rolling backup generator?

Water

Your next priority will be securing a supply of potable water for drinking, cooking and hygiene. The CDC recommends “one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation” and maintaining at least a 2-week supply. Bottled water is “the safest and most reliable” source in an emergency, per the agency, but that can become a pricey and space-consuming option if an outage drags on for an extended period.

You can store tap water in FDA-approved food-grade storage containers — after it’s been treated and sanitized with a mild bleach solution, of course — or you can fill your bathtub ahead of time and store around 100 gallons of water there using a plastic cover liner. Rainwater collection barrels can capture large amounts of water (or at least be used as pre-filled receptacles like a bathtub) but you will need to filter the water before consuming it. Gravity-fed cisterns like the Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System, and the nearly identical Big Berkey, can hold up to 8.5 liters of fluid while filtering out a wide range of potential contaminants and supplying potable water to as many as 16 people. Regardless of how well these devices claim to clean the water, it’s always a good call to keep a small supply of iodine tablets on hand as backup.

If you’ve got access to a water source with a steady supply of unfiltered but otherwise clean water, take a look at the Portawell, a high-capacity water pump/filtration system that can produce up to 60 gallons of water every hour, using just 35 watts of power. Its 2-stage filtering process removes “100 percent of cysts including giardia, cryptosporidium, and 99.99 percent of pathogenic bacteria (including cholera, typhoid, coliform, chlorine, metals, and volatile organic chemicals),” down to half a micron in size, according to the product’s page. The optional 50W 12V solar panel comes bundled with a charge controller for an extra $170, a 12V battery to put that energy can be either lead-acid (car) battery or a Li-Ion brick and can be purchased at a local automotive or electronics store. All together, you’ll have a high-throughput water distribution device that can hydrate myself and a significant portion of your neighborhood indefinitely — or at least until the filters fail — and do so up to two and a half times faster than hand-pumped filters like the Katadyn Vario, the gravity-fed Platypus GravityWorks, the squeezable Katadyn BeFree or TIME’s “2005 Invention of the Year” winner, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter can.

Fire, heating and cooking

The stress of displacement is going to take both a mental and physical toll, but you’ve already got light, a place to lay your head and a slake for your thirst. Next you’re going to want to square away your three squares a day.

If just your power is out, keep using your fridge as normal, assuming you have a generator (which we’ll get to below). Otherwise, standard power outage rules apply here: eat in order of perishability — refrigerator, then freezer, then canned — opening the doors as little as possible.

Having a smaller secondary cooler on hand for often-used items like milk, condiments and produce can help preserve the fridge’s contents for longer by reducing the number of door openings. Hydroflask’s $129 20L Day Escape pack cooler is easily portable and can keep items cold for up to 36 hours, while the $76 Coleman Xtreme Portable Cooler can keep ice in form for up to 5 days. If you need something more substantial, the $275 RCIT 65 QT hard cooler is a Wirecutter award winner and the $375 YETI Tundra 65 is sturdy enough to accommodate dry ice, which can keep food cold for up to three times longer.

For important items that will immediately spoil above a specific temperature, like insulin, consider investing in a powered refrigerator like the Dometic CFX3 35 or the 65W Whynter FM-45G. They’re nearly as expensive as regular kitchen fridges and you’ll need to have a beefier generator/solar array to accommodate their additional draw but they do offer added peace of mind knowing that your life saving medication will be viable when you need it.

Cooking, heating a tourist kettle on a portable gas burner with a red gas cylinder. Camping, a man cooks breakfast outdoors. Summer outdoor activitiesОльга Симонова via Getty Images

Eating cold beans out of a can loses its whimsey after the third or fourth spoonful and unless you plan on eating takeaway for the duration, you’re going to need something to cook with — whether that’s with your existing grill, over an open fire, a propane cooktop or electric hotplate. The RoadPro Portable Stove, for example, can heat food up to 300 degrees (like a Bizzaro-world CFX3) and runs through a vehicle’s 12V outlet. The Cuisinart CB-30P1 hot plate is equally at home in dorm rooms, RVs, and campsites but with a 1300-watt draw, you’ll need to use it sparingly.

The Solo Stove Ranger outdoor fire pit, conversely, will run for as long as you have fuel to feed it. The double-walled design maximizes combustion while minimizing smoke production, and can be converted into a woodfire grill with an optional cast iron griddle. At 16 pounds and 16 inches in diameter, it’s easily portable. It’s also $250, which seems expensive for what can be replicated with bare ground and a ring of stones. The INNO STAGE 15-inch portable fire pit is more affordable at $80 and can also run on wood pellets in addition to logs. Or if you want something more streamlined and durable, the Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio offers 120 square inches of cookspace and can hold up to 30 pounds — ideal for cast iron skillets and dutch ovens.

The Biolite line of firepits and camp stoves are unique in that they can convert thermal energy into electrical charge thanks to their incorporated heat converters. The Campstove 2 generates 3W of power which is stored in a 2600 mAh while still being able to boil a liter of water in under four and a half minutes. The larger FirePit+ offers a 12,800 mAh battery and can burn both logs and charcoal. If you want to stick with propane as your primary fuel source, check out the 7,000 BTU Coleman Gas Camping Stove which pulls double duty as both a wok and a grill. Of course, having a cook station is no good if you don’t know how to use it. Download a recipe app like BBC Good Food (iOS, Android), Epicurious (iOS, Android) or ​​SideChef Recipes (iOS).

Whether the smoke is coming from your cooking fire or the wildfire, you’re going to want to keep a supply of filtration masks at the ready for when the air quality dips into dangerous particulate levels. Standard Covid rules apply: cloth works in a pinch but n-95 is the superior choice if you can get your hands on them.

First aid and hygiene

Roughing it means just that. With many of the conveniences of modern life inaccessible as long as the lights are out, you’re going to be doing a lot more manual labor which means a litany of bumps, bruises, aches and pains along the way. And while you likely won’t have to concern yourself with performing surgery in the field — the power’s out, you aren’t marooned on a desert isle, just drive to the damn ER — a well-stocked first aid kit is essential to any bug out bag.

In the case of the My Medic 20L Survival Kit, the first aid kit is the bug out bag. This all-in-one healthcare suite offers more than 110 products spread across the National Park Service 10 essential first aid categories, but is both bulky and expensive. If you’ve already got your hands full, maybe consider a less wide-ranging kit. Something like the AMK Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit, which can accomodate the normal injuries a pair of hikers might see over two days, or the Red Cross’ Family First Aid kit that contains more than 115 items. And if you have pets, you can bet there’s a Medpack for them too. You might consider keeping duplicates of important medical documents — immunization records, allergy information and such — tucked into the kit with the originals locked safely away somewhere secure.

In the event that you do need to be admitted to the hospital, or are interacting with FEMA or other government agencies, you’ll need to have your ID and other critical documents close by — and very preferably not on fire. The Thomas & Bond fireproof safe protects up to two pounds of documents from both fire and water damage thanks to its silicone-coated fiberglass construction. Maintaining a safe deposit box in the next town over is another, more extreme option.

Much like cold beans from a can, the musky scent of an unwashed human — especially mixed with sweat, wood smoke and despair — can get real old, real quick. But when the power goes out, your water heater might stop working as well, which means you could be in for a whole bunch of cold showers. Solar camping showers like those from Advanced Elements or Coghlan's can help bridge the gap.

Assuming you live somewhere that gets bright sunlight throughout the day (ie, not San Francisco), these devices can heat up to 5 gallons of water to a yelp-inducing 110 degrees F in about 3 hours. They’re less great at retaining that heat so you’re going to need to (ahem) “get ‘em while they’re hot.” Nothing says that just because they’re heated outdoors they have to be used there as well — simply hang the heated bundle from your shower curtain. Be careful though, as 5 gallons of water is quite heavy, weighing 41.6 pounds. It could snap the curtain rod and leave you recreating that Flashdance scene with a bag of scalding hot water — and again, you’re probably going to have a bad time.

But hey, maybe showering outdoors turns out to be your jam. First off, good on you finding that bright side in the midst of a climate emergency. Second off, it just so happens that Amazon sells a 5.5-gallon heated outdoor shower system that runs off a solar panel and a garden hose, not for nothing.

Your body isn’t the only thing that’s going to get soiled and stinky while roughing it. If you don’t have access to a laundry or coin-op, the Wonder Wash can at least keep your socks, undies and other small items fresh — and up to bath towel-sized items, if you do them one at a time. Tie off a length of braided cotton rope between two uprights and you’ve got yourself a functional clothesline.

To reiterate, this is a power outage, not The Revenant. You are not a bear, so please do not dump in the woods without at least bringing a trowel — maybe a pop-up poop tent and travel bidet for good measure.

Electronics

With the power out and no word from PG&E on when it might be coming back on, you’ll simply have to make some of your own. But before you go jury rigging your Peloton to a daisy-chain of lead-acid batteries and trying to stationary ride your way to electrical self-sufficiency, step outside. The sun in your eyes and wind in your face can just as easily be harnessed to put electrons in a battery pack.

Thanks to steady advancements in materials and engineering technologies today’s solar panels and home wind turbines are smaller, more efficient, and more affordable than ever — as are the battery systems that hold the excess charge for use when the sun isn't shining and wind isn’t blowing. The 15W, 12V Survival Wind Turbine Generator from Pacific Sky Power is fully portable and only weighs 3 pounds. Larger turbines like the 400W Primus Air 40 and Pikasola wind turbines will produce more power but at the cost of mobility — they’ll need to be statically installed somewhere windy to be most effective and then wired into the property’s grid.

Portable Solar chargers are a growing trend for nature enthusiasts and people who spend a lot of time outdoors, camping or commuting,Tanaonte via Getty Images

The same holds true for renewable solar. But unless you need to keep your crypto mining operation running nonstop through the outage, plenty of battery backup systems can provide the power your family needs without having to affix permanent panels in your yard or on your roof. The $3,600 Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro, is essentially a ruggedized 2.1kWh power cell with six, 200W solar panels feeding it electricity.

“I feel like I could keep my refrigerator running in an emergency for quite a while,” Engadget Managing Editor Terrence O’Brien, who was sent a review unit for a separate post, said of the model. “I laid out four panels in my yard and charged it to 100 percent in a few hours and it’s been going for two months without a recharge.”

“It’s basically a giant battery,” he continued. “It’s quiet, so it’s not like running a regular generator.” The 2000 Pro is the biggest and baddest that Jackery makes and, “probably overkill for most people who aren’t using it for emergency purposes,” O’Brien noted.

Similarly, Geneverse and Bluetti Power both make solar generators parallel to Jackery’s offerings, and at roughly the same price point. But if you’re looking for something even more robust than that, Goal Zero offers a range of solar backup systems that can keep your house running up to 3 days without interruption. But be warned, anything beyond the starter kit is going to need installation by a professional electrician.

On the other hand if you’re under evacuation, a 23-pound power brick might not be the best traveling companion. In that case, scavenge the power you need off of nearby outlets using a USB adapter like the 20W Anker Nano, the 40W Anker PowerPort 4, or the RavPower Pioneer offering both USB-A and -C ports. And to save some of that power for later, the INIU Portable Charger holds 10,000 mAh for just over $20, as does the Anker Portable Charger. Be sure to keep a small pouch of common adapter types in your pack as well, just in case you need to share your supply.

Phone charges shouldn’t be the only thing you’re sharing during the event — accurate information will be a vital resource as well. At the very least, you’ll want a solar or hand-crank emergency radio like the Midland ER310 — it’s got a rechargeable 2600 mAh battery, solar panel, integrated flashlight, and an ultrasonic dog whistle for search and rescue canines. DaringSnail’s 4000 mAh emergency radio doesn't have nearly as many bells and whistles, but it also costs half as much as the 310. The Eton FRX3+ can be powered through a variety of means — USB, Li-Ion battery, solar, and hand crank — and will automatically broadcast NOAA weather alerts for your area.

The Apple Watch Series 7 is on sale for $290 right now

4 hours 58 min ago

We may be only about one month away from Apple possibly announcing the next generation of its smartwatch, but those who want a new wearable now can pick up the Series 7 for less at Amazon. the online retailer has knocked down the prices of the 41mm and 45mm GPS Product Red versions of the Watch to $290 and $320, respectively. Both models are on sale, but they also both have additional coupons that will be automatically applied at checkout to bring them down to those final sale prices.

Buy Series 7 (41mm) at Amazon - $290Buy Series 7 (45mm) at Amazon - $320

Apple has consistently made the Watch better with each iteration, and the Series 7 is no exception. It wasn't a massive departure from the Series 6 that came before it, but the company did make some important improvements. The Series 7 has a larger screen, making it easier to read text and even type out messages on its display. While its design is mostly the same as the previous version, the Series 7 is the first Apple Watch with an IP6X dust resistance rating, making it the most durable version of the Watch to date. Apple also sped up the charging time on this Watch, allowing you to get a 10-percent boost in battery life in only 10 minutes of charging.

Otherwise, Apple brought over all of the excellent features found on the Series 6 to the Series 7. The smartwatch has a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, ECG tool and blood oxygen monitor, plus features like fall detection and Emergency SOS. Our biggest gripe with it is its lackluster sleep tracking — the Watch focuses on telling you how long you slept and not much else, which is much less data than you'll get from a competing Fitbit or Garmin device. Despite that, we still consider the Apple Watch to be the best smartwatch you can get right now. But if you want the latest and greatest from Apple, you may be better off waiting until the fall when it's very likely the company will announce the next version of the Watch.

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Another Amazon warehouse in New York is seeking to unionize

5 hours 41 min ago

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in a town located southeast of Albany, New York have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election. The warehouse, with the codename ALB1, is hoping to join the Amazon Labor Union, which successfully convinced majority of workers at the company's JFK8 facility in Staten Island to vote in favor of unionizing earlier this year. An NLRB spokesperson told CNBC that the agency's office in Buffalo is currently verifying whether the group has truly met the minimum number of signatures needed to hold an election.

Unions typically need to get signatures from 30 percent of eligible members to be able to hold a vote. According to The Washington Post, the ALU previously said that it had passed that threshold for the Albany warehouse. Union organizers at the facility have been working on joining the ALU for months. After Amazon noticed their efforts, the company reportedly held meetings to discourage workers from unionizing. An employee also sent us photos of digital TVs at the Albany facility displaying anti-union messages. To be precise, the messages discouraged people from signing a "card" from the ALU, pertaining to the authorization cards workers have to sign for the warehouse to be able to hold a vote.

The ALU has been demanding for higher pay and safer working conditions for warehouse workers and has previously accused the company of retaliation. A few weeks after it won the election in Staten Island, Amazon fired two of the employees who were involved in its organization efforts. Their fellow organizers believed that it was a retaliatory move by the e-commerce giant. Heather Goodall, a lead organizer at ALB1, said: "The main concerns I hear from workers are about wages and safety. Besides that, there’s no job security. There’s no way to rest on a 15-minute break. Workers want to be able to use the bathroom freely."

Amazon has long made it clear that it is against workers' unionization efforts. A spokesperson told The Post: “As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees. Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work." The company also appealed ALU's victory in Staten Island, accusing organizers of pressuring workers to vote in favor unionizing. A hearing for Amazon's appeal could be announced sometime this month.

The Morning After: American Airlines is ordering 20 supersonic jets

6 hours 14 min ago

American Airlines has agreed to buy 20 Overture aircraft from Boom, with the option to purchase an additional 40 planes if all goes well. The deal is one of the strongest shows of support for Boom yet, surpassing the potential 50-jet commitment United Airlines made last year. One wrinkle: Boom hasn’t yet built a working passenger jet.

The company plans to establish a manufacturing facility at North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad International Airport. It expects to begin construction later this year, with aircraft production to follow in 2024 — though the plant’s first completed jet won’t fly until 2026. If Boom can deliver on its Overture promises, there are some pretty big benefits: flights between Newark, NYC and London in under four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in approximately six hours. The company also claims Overture will be a “net-zero carbon” aircraft, thanks to its ability to fly on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuels. You’re still burning fuels, but you’re burning sustainable ones.

Check out our 2020 deep-dive on Boom, right here.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missedPresident Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act to limit climate changeThe law sets aside $369 billion for climate and clean energy programs.

President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The sweeping $750 billion legislation includes $369 billion in investments to climate and clean energy programs. Following months of infighting, House and Senate Democrats passed the bill along party lines. According to one estimate by Princeton University’s Zero Lab, the bill could reduce US greenhouse emissions by about 6.3 billion tons through 2032. The investment set aside by the bill represents the most significant investment to combat climate change in US history.

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Alienware’s new gaming monitors feature fast refresh rates and retractable headset hangersAnd couldn’t look more ‘Portal’ if they tried.TMADell

Dell is releasing two new Alienware-branded monitors this fall. Before you ask, they don’t feature QD-OLED panels like the incredible Alienware gaming monitor we fell in love with here. The more interesting of the two new monitors is the 27-inch model, with an LG Nano IPS panel 2560 x 1440 resolution and native 240Hz refresh rates. A factory overclock even pushes the refresh rate to 280Hz. There’s also a retractable headset hanger.

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Winamp's revival includes platforms for musicians and fansThe creator service makes it more than an MP3 player.

Winamp has opened invitations to a creator service that gives musicians tools to distribute, promote and (of course) profit from their work. While most details won't emerge until features appear in September, this is slated to include fan subscription support debuting in November. It seems to be a Patreon-style platform for creators.

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Walmart+ members will soon get Paramount+ streaming as part of their subscriptionIts membership program now has an answer to Amazon Prime Video.

Walmart has struck a deal with Paramount Global to add its streaming service to Walmart+ starting in September. Walmart+ members, who are currently paying $12.95 a month or $98 a year for unlimited free delivery on orders over $35 across the US, will also get a Paramount+ Essential subscription for free. Walmart's membership prices will remain the same; it's just the service will now come with an answer to Amazon's Prime Video.

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Adidas’ new solar headphones can also be charged by your bedroom lightFully charged, they should offer 80 hours of playtime.TMAAdidas

Adidas has teamed up with Zound Industries to make the RPT-02 SOL on-ear headphones, which can be charged with either natural or artificial light. It's made of a combination of recycled plastic and nylon, and the headband is a highly flexible light-cell material that can be screen-printed onto plastic. The RPT-02 SOL retails for $229 and will be available online on August 23rd.

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TikTok's Elections Center returns to fight misinformation ahead of the midterms

7 hours 26 min ago

TikTok is the latest social platform to preview its strategy for fighting election misinformation ahead of the November midterms. The company is once again promoting its in-app Elections Center, which connects users with voting resources and information about their local races. TikTok says a link to the Elections Center will appear on all content related to the midterms, as well as all videos from candidates, political parties and official government accounts.

The company will also continue to work with third-party fact checkers to debunk false claims and warn users when a video contains unverified information. Videos with claims that are debunked by fact checkers will also direct viewers to the Elections Center.

While much of this is similar to steps the company took ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Eric Han, the company’s head of US safety, says the company has built on learnings from 2020. For example, TikTok is stepping up its outreach to creators in an effort to ensure they understand the company’s ban on political ads also applies to branded content.

TikTok's 2022 Elections Center is live in the app ahead of the November midterms.TikTok

The issue has been a challenging one for TikTok. A report last year from Mozilla found that many creators with financial ties to political candidates and organizations were able to easily evade detection on the app. In a briefing with reporters, Han acknowledged that undisclosed branded content is a “challenge” for the company.

He said the company is creating educational videos for creators and agencies to better inform them of TikTok’s rules around such partnerships. He also said the company is working on improving its ability to detect such content, both by monitoring third-party reports, and with internal teams that are “investigating for potential signals where we should be investigating.”

TikTok isn’t the only social platform getting a head start on preparing for the fall midterms. Twitter announced last week that it was reactivating its civic integrity policy and rolling out redesigned fact-checking labels. Meta also recently previewed its strategy to counter misinformation during the midterms, saying it will repeat many of the steps it took ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

But TikTok has come under particular scrutiny for its rapid growth over the last two years and its parent company ByteDance’s ties to China. The company announced this week that Oracle would be auditing its algorithms and moderation practices.

“As part of Oracle's work, they will be regularly vetting and validating both our recommendation and our moderation models,” Han told reporters. “There'll be regular audits of our content moderation processes, both from automated systems … as well as the content that is moderated and reviewed by humans.”

Logitech Chorus is a $100 speaker add-on for the Meta Quest 2

8 hours 23 min ago

Logitech has introduced a new audio solution specifically created for the Meta Quest 2: It's called "Chorus," and the company says it can deliver a "new level of immersive, ultra-realistic audio." Chorus features rotating speakers and an open back form factor that lets ambient sounds in. It was designed to slide onto the Quest 2's headset strap until the speakers are positioned over the user's ears. In fact, it will make the VR device look similar to the Valve Index, which comes with two near-field speakers, after installation. According to The Verge, the Chorus is compatible with both the stock strap the Quest 2 ships with and Meta's Elite strap.

The accessory maker says Chorus' big open-back audio drivers ensure users can hear both the "big moments and the smallest details." And while the add-on is not an original part of the Quest 2, it's meant to stay in place instead of being removed after every use. It connects to the headset's USB-C port and draws power from the Quest 2 itself, but since it was designed to stay plugged in, it supports USB-C passthrough. That means users can keep their headset charged or can connect other devices to it while Chorus is also plugged in. As The Verge notes, though, Chorus has little noise isolation and probably isn't the best choice for those who want privacy while watching movies or exploring new experiences in VR.

Vadim Kogan, Logitech's head of AR/VR, said "Chorus enhances the fit and comfort of Meta Quest 2, while allowing those who love long play sessions to stay immersed in their favorite games and experiences through the audio integration in a comfortable design built for the VR gamer."

Chorus will soon be available from Logitech's website and other retailers for $100.

New report details sexual harassment and gender discrimination at Nintendo of America

13 hours 21 min ago

Nintendo is famous for having a family—friendly image and game that people of all ages can enjoy. But a report by Kotaku paints the picture of a company that's not so different from other gaming giants that had previously been accused of fostering a "frat boy" workplace culture. The publication talked to several female game testers who recounted how they were harassed by colleagues and how they were paid less than their male counterparts.

One of Kotaku's main sources is a former game tester called Hannah, who was allegedly told to be less outspoken after she reported the inappropriate behavior of a full-time Nintendo employee in a workplace group chat. The employee reportedly posted a copy of a Reddit post detailing why Vaporeon was the best Pokémon to have sex with and justified why it was OK to be sexually attracted to Paimon, a Genshin Impact NPC with a child-like appearance. 

Hannah, who was a contractor, also found that she was being paid $3 less than a junior male tester and struggled to get her contracting agency to agree to a pay increase. As a queer worker, she was subjected to inappropriate comments by male colleagues whose advances she'd rejected, as well. "Oh, you’re a lesbian. That’s kind of sad," a significantly older colleague told her shortly after starting to work at the company. 

Hannah's experiences mirror many of the other female testers Kotaku interviewed. Some of them talked about how Melvin Forrest, a product testing lead at Nintendo of America, "went after all the associate girls" and frequently commented on their weight and appearance. They said Forrest was in charge of deciding on contractors' schedules and on who gets to return after a project, so female testers were forced to get along with him. Another contractor was stalked by a more senior tester for months, but the well-connected perpetrator threatened to get her fired if she reports him. 

One common complaint between the sources was the lack of advancement opportunities. "Your chance [of being converted to full time] was probably worse as a girl. It's usually guys [who get promoted]. They’re usually all friends. They watch the Super Bowl together," one product tester who worked on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild said.

As Kotaku notes, one of the main reasons why these problems persist is that women are underrepresented in the company. Sources believe that the percentage of female contractors testing games for Nintendo is only around 10 percent, and it's not often that they're transitioned into full-time employees. The company's data also shows that female employees only make up around 37 percent of all full-time workers at Nintendo of America.

While the gaming giant didn't respond to Kotaku's questions, company chief Doug Bowser previously addressed reports about Activision Blizzard's sexist "frat boy" culture in an internal memo. "Along with all of you, I've been following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company. I find these accounts distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo's beliefs, values and policies," he said. 

The testers who talked to the publication for this particular report are just some of contractors who've recently decided to speak out against the company. Two former workers even filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing Nintendo of America of retaliation, surveillance and coercion.

PlayStation PC launcher references found in 'Marvel's Spider-Man: Remastered' code

Tue, 2022-08-16 17:47

Like Blizzard, Rockstar and Ubisoft, Sony may soon require you to download a launcher before you can play its games on PC. Digging through the Windows version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered, VGC verified code referencing a PlayStation PC launcher. The discovery follows the recent revelation that Sony likely plans to add PlayStation Network integration to its PC titles.

If Sony moves forward with the launcher, it’s unclear if the company also plans to make its games exclusive to the software. At the moment, you can buy all of Sony’s PC titles through both Steam and the Epic Games Store. Different publishers employ different strategies. For instance, Blizzard games are only available to download through the Battle.Net app. Other companies such as EA and Rockstar allow you to buy and download their games through Steam and the Epic Games Store, but you must also install their software for verification purposes. Even if Sony were to go the latter route, it’s almost certain its launcher would include a storefront. In that way, the company could avoid giving Valve and Epic a cut of some of its PC sales.

Activision Blizzard accused of spying on protesting workers

Tue, 2022-08-16 16:45

Activision Blizzard is still receiving complaints over alleged labor violations. The Communications Workers of America union (CWA) has filed an unfair labor practice charge accusing the game developer of illegally surveilling workers during a July walkout protest over gender inequity. The company also denied access to a chat channel discussing working conditions and otherwise cut off internal avenues for discussing labor, the CWA said.

In statements to Engadget, Activision Blizzard generally dismissed the assertions. It said the chat accusations were false, and that the CWA's long-running characterization "willfully ignores the facts" while preventing the company from protecting workers against abuse. The company also argued that its only overseers for walkouts were public relations staffers standing at a "respectful distance" to answer questions from the press.

The company previously said it was cooperating with investigations into its workplace practices and has argued that employees could speak freely about their workplace situations. However, the CWA maintained that the Call of Duty publisher has made "continued efforts" to stifle labor organizers, such as refusing to recognize a quality assurance union and hiring the union-busting law firm Reed Smith.

The charge is the latest in a string of labor-related accusations beyond the sexual harassment scandal that began much of the current uproar. The CWA filed a charge in June claiming Activision Blizzard broke labor law by firing QA contractors. In May, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined there was merit behind allegations the company was threatening labor organizers. Multiple reports have also circulated claims that the gaming giant has been pushing anti-union messages.

The new complaint doesn't necessarily change Activision Blizzard's predicament. The company risks penalties and mandatory policy changes if it's found to be violating labor law. The charge adds further pressure, however, and could shape potential punishment.

President Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act to limit climate change

Tue, 2022-08-16 16:07

President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The sweeping $750 billion legislation includes $369 billion in investments toward climate and clean energy programs. Following months of infighting, House and Senate Democrats passed the bill along party lines last week after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia struck a compromise deal on Biden's Build Better Back framework. According to one estimate by Princeton University’s Zero Lab, the bill could reduce US greenhouse emissions by about 6.3 billion tons through 2032. The $369 billion set aside by the bill represents the most significant investment to combat climate change in US history. 

"This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever, and it's going to allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of the climate goals we set out when we ran," Biden said before signing the bill. "It includes ensuring that we create clean energy opportunities in frontline and fenceline communities that have been smothered by the legacy of population and fight environmental injustice that has been going on for so long." 

With the law now in place, US consumers can look forward to up to $7,500 in subsidies for electric SUVs, trucks and vans that cost less than $80,000 and cars under $55,000. The act is also set to provide up to $4,000 for buying a used EV. Both subsidies include an income ceiling that would prevent those who make more than the average American from taking advantage. The law also calls for the creation of a $1.5 billion program to incentivize companies to reduce their methane emissions.   

Meta's anti-misinformation strategy for the 2022 midterms is mostly a repeat of 2020

Tue, 2022-08-16 15:32

Meta has outlined its strategy for combatting misinformation during the 2022 US midterm elections, and they'll mostly sound familiar if you remember the company's 2020 approach. The Facebook and Instagram owner said it will maintain policies and protections "consistent" with the presidential election, including policies barring vote misinformation and linking people to trustworthy information. It will once again ban political ads during the last week of the election campaign. This isn't quite a carbon copy, however, as Meta is fine-tuning its methods in response to lessons learned two years ago.

To start, Meta is "elevating" post comments from local elections officials to make sure reliable polling information surfaces in conversations. The company is also acknowledging concerns that it used info labels too often in 2020 — for the 2022 midterms, it's planning to show labels in a "targeted and strategic way."

Meta's update comes just days after Twitter detailed its midterm strategy, and echoes the philosophy of its social media rival. Both are betting that their 2020 measures were largely adequate, and that it's just a question of refining those systems for 2022.

Whether or not that's true is another matter. In a March 2021 study, advocacy group Avaaz said Meta didn't do enough to stem the flow of misinformation and allowed billions of views for known false content. Whistleblower Frances Haugen also maintains that Meta has generally struggled to fight bogus claims, and it's no secret that Meta had to extend its ban on political ads after the 2020 vote. Facebook didn't catch some false Brazilian election ads, according to Global Witness. Meta won't necessarily deal with serious problems during the midterms, but it's not guaranteed a smooth ride.

American Airlines is purchasing 20 of Boom's supersonic Overture jets

Tue, 2022-08-16 15:14

One of the world’s largest airlines has placed a big bet on supersonic jet startup Boom. On Tuesday, American Airlines announced that it had recently agreed to buy 20 Overture aircraft from Boom, with the option to purchase an additional 40 planes if all goes well. The deal is one of the strongest shows of support for Boom yet, surpassing the potential 50-jet commitment United Airlines made last year. That’s all for a startup that has yet to build a working passenger jet.

At the start of the year, Boom announced it would build a manufacturing facility at North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad International Airport. The company expects to begin construction on its “Overture Superfactory” later this year, with production to follow in 2024 – though the plant’s first completed jet won’t fly until sometime in 2026. Still, that hasn’t stopped Boom from being bullish about Overture’s prospects. The company envisions the Mach 1.7 jet completing flights between Newark and London in under four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in approximately six hours. The company also claims Overture will be a “net-zero carbon” aircraft thanks to its ability to fly on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuels.

Anyone can now cross-post Reels from Instagram to Facebook

Tue, 2022-08-16 14:44

Despite some missteps with Instagram, Meta is marching forward with its plan to make Reels a bigger component of its apps in an attempt to better compete with TikTok. It's rolling out several updates to Reels, particularly on Facebook's side. For one thing, everyone can now cross-post Reels from Instagram to Facebook with the tap of a button. Meta suggests that this may help creators to grow their audiences on the apps and monetize their content across both platforms.

In addition, Facebook now offers a way to automatically create Reels using Stories you have already shared. The idea is to help folks create Reels with little additional effort. On top of that, Facebook has gained more Reels remix options, which Meta previously introduced to Instagram. You can now show your video after the original Reel that you're remixing in addition to having the side-by-side option.

Elsewhere, the Add Yours sticker that became popular in Stories is coming to Reels on Instagram and Facebook. The idea is to nudge other users to take part in a trend. If you create your own Add Yours prompt, every Reel that uses the sticker will appear on a dedicated page. The person who created the prompt will be displayed prominently on the page as well. So, if an Add Yours trend takes off and you're behind it, that could help you to grow your audience.

Meanwhile, the Facebook Stars tipping feature will soon be available to all eligible creators on the platform. Creators will also have access to more Reels insights via Creator Studio (with metrics including reach, minutes viewed and average watch time) to help them figure out what content is working for their audiences.

Meta has a long way to go to catch up to TikTok, but perhaps these features will help, especially since engagement with Reels is growing across both platforms. TikTok is gobbling up almost every other social media app's lunch. A recent Pew Research report suggested that 16 percent of US teens "almost constantly" use the app, compared with 10 percent for Instagram and two percent for Facebook. 

Adidas’ new solar headphones can also be charged by your bedroom light

Tue, 2022-08-16 14:22

Rain or shine, a new pair of solar-powered wireless headphones by Adidas has you covered. The athletic brand teamed up with Zound Industries to make the Adidas RPT-02 SOL on-ear headphones, which can be charged with either natural or artificial light. We were pleasantly surprised by Adidas’ previously-launched RPT-01, which features 40 hours of wireless playback. The newer line has a nearly identical design but promises double the playback time — 80 hours — not to mention the ability to charge at any time of day. It's also made of a combination of recycled plastic and nylon. 

The headband of the RPT-02 SOL is made of a highly flexible light-cell material by Swedish solar tech company Exeger called Powerfoyle. The solar cell material can be screen-printed onto plastic, allowing for a wide variety of applications — everything from walls to cars to consumer electronics. Unlike older types of solar cells that need a strong and constant source of natural light, Powerfoyle can charge in various light conditions. Other companies have made solar-powered headphones before, so the RPT-02 isn't the first with this feature, but they're still relatively uncommon. 

The RPT-02 isn’t waterproof — but is IPX4-rated — so it can handle sweat and splashing from a nearby ocean or lake. The headphones feature built-in controls for changing songs or volume, and there's also an indicator that helps find the best light for charging. And if all else fails, it includes a USB-C port. The RPT-02 SOL retails for $229, and will be available for purchase online on August 23rd.

Life is Strange remaster collection for the Switch arrives on September 27th

Tue, 2022-08-16 14:00

Following an eleventh-hour delay earlier this year, the Nintendo Switch version of Life is Strange: Remastered Collection will arrive on September 27th. The bundle – now titled the “Arcadia Bay Collection” on Switch — brings together enhanced versions of the first two entries in the episodic adventure series.

2015’s Life is Strange stars Max Caulfield, a teen who finds she has the ability to rewind time after returning to her hometown of fictional Arcadia Bay, Oregon. At the center of the game is Max’s relationship with her childhood friend Chloe Price, played by voice actor Ashly Burch. In Life is Strange’s 2017’s prequel, Before the Storm, Chloe returns as the protagonist of the story.

While many people love the series, the Remastered Collection has earned few fans. On console and PC, the release was mired by technical issues that made the games look worse than their originals. Square Enix went on to release multiple patches for the remasters, all of which are included in the new Switch bundle. Life is Strange: Arcadia Bay Collection will be available in both digital and retail versions. You can also play the remasters on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia and PC.

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