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Samsung released a new cheaper Galaxy S20 variant: Here's Galaxy S20 FE 24 Sep 2020, 7:27 am

Samsung released a new cheaper Galaxy S20 variant: Here's Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung surprised us yesterday with a new smartphone announcement. Usually after the Note announcements Samsung readies itself to reveal midrange A series phones but this time it was in fact a new Galaxy S.

The new phone is called Galaxy S20 FE and is thus a continuation of the company's flagship brand. Specs-wise it is a lower high-end or perhaps a top notch mid tier device, one that would challenge the likes of OnePlus 8, for example.

To fit neatly into S20 family it needs some specs from the higher end, and that is where the large 120 Hz display, triple camera with Space Zoom, and 5G connectivity comes in.

The display is 6.5 inches which fits nicely between the regular S20 and the S20+, but the resolution has been lowered to Full HD (1080 x 2400).



Triple camera is similar to S20 but slightly downgraded as well. Instead of four cameras, there are three, and while the regular wide angle as well as super wide angle shooters are the same, the zoom camera is a little less impressive.

One thing they've actually made better is the selfie camera. Like often with mid tier phones, perhaps because they are directed towards the younger folk, this one has a nice 32 megapixel shooter.

Other features include a 4500 mAh battery with fast charging (25W wired, 15W wireless), IP68 certification for water proofing, and either a Exynos 990 (4G version) or Snapdragon 865 (5G version). Only the 5G version seems to be landing in America.

The phone is available already for preorder and sales starts on October 2. Officially prices start for the 5G version at $699, although Best Buy and Amazon are currently selling it for $599

Specs:

  • Chipset: Exynos 990 / Snapdragon 865 (5G)
  • RAM: 6 / 8 GB
  • Storage: 128 / 256 GB + microSD
  • Back cameras: 12 MP f/1.8 + 12 MP f/2.2 (ultrawide) + 8 MP f/2.4 (Space Zoom)
  • Selfie camera: 32 MP f/2.2
  • Display: 6.5", 1080 x 2400, 120 Hz
  • Battery: 4500 mAh, fast charging 25 W + 15 W (wireless)
  • Biometric: Face recognition + in-screen fingerprint sensor
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 6, NFC, 5G





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Elon Musk reveals new battery technology at Tesla Battery Day 23 Sep 2020, 9:44 am

Elon Musk reveals new battery technology at Tesla Battery Day

Some were expecting Tesla to announce yesterday the million mile battery, but perhaps unsurprisingly that didn't happen. However, there was an announcement that Elon Musk says will bring EV prices down.

Tesla has developed a new type of battery technology that will be much more cost effective. One of the main aims of the project has been to remove cobalt from the equation for its costly nature, both in terms of money and manpower.

Musk hopes that Tesla will be able to produce much of its future next-gen batteries themselves but partnership with Panasonic and their battery production is likely to keep going for a while.

Tesla's upcoming so-called "tabless cells" are going to be up to six times more powerful in addition to increasing the range by 16 percent. The official product name of the cells without tabs connecting battery cells to each others are 4680 cells.

There's potential for a massive price drop in prices of electric cars, and could be on par with combustion engines. Musk promised a $25,000 EV once the technology matures.

Musk also announced the new Model S Plaid which has the much-teaser Plaid drivetrain and impressive specs. Zero to 60 in under 2 seconds, over a 500-mile range, top speed of 200 mph and a price of $139,000. It should be available late next year.

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Microsoft announced new accessories alongside Xbox Series X pre-orders 23 Sep 2020, 7:28 am

Microsoft announced new accessories alongside Xbox Series X pre-orders

Microsoft released the Xbox Series X as well as the smaller and more inexpensive Xbox Series S for pre-ordering yesterday. The company also expanded the accessories for the consoles ahead of the pre-orders.

In a blog post they've unveiled the new color version of the new Xbox controller. There aren't any surprises here, except for the color, the controller works just like the initial black and white versions.

In addition Microsoft announced a USB-C cable and a wireless adapter for people to connect their Xbox controllers to their PCs. If yours had Bluetooth neither of these are, however, necessary.



The most interesting of the little accessories was a battery pack for the controller. This allows you to charge the controller easier while playing and not having to connect it to the console at all. Obviously you'll have to charge the battery, though.

According to Microsoft, the battery charges your controller from zero to full in four hours.

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Facebook: We'll quit Europe, no more Instagram or Facebook for European users 22 Sep 2020, 1:26 am

Facebook: We'll quit Europe, no more Instagram or Facebook for European users

In a row between Facebook and European Union over data portability between Europe and United States, the stakes are getting higher.

After the European Court's ruling in August that terminated the Privacy Shield agreement between United States and European Union, U.S.-based tech giants such as Facebook haven't been allowed to transfer their European users' data to their datacenters located in United States.

The court ruling simply stated that because United States allows its intelligence agencies to snoop on data located in U.S. -based servers, data transfers from Europe can't happen anymore, as European citizens' data could be compromised.

Now, after the ruling, Irish data authority, Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) decided that Facebook must comply within three weeks and stop sending its European user data to United States.

Facebook has now sued DPC, stating if the data flow between two continents is banned, it can't continue in Europe. Meaning basically that services that rely on unified user database, namely, Facebook and Instagram, would shut down in Europe.

"it is not clear to [Facebook] how, in those circumstances, it could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU"

-Yvonne Cunnane, Facebook Ireland's head of data protection and associate general counsel

Facebook also objects the fact that it has been singled out, being the only tech giant (for the time being) required to comply with the EU court's ruling. Facebook has over 400 million unique users in European Union and EEC area.

Many experts think that Facebook is simply bluffing: EU is the second largest market it has, generating more than $17 billion (appx. 15 billion euros) in revenue over the past four quarters. Facebook's DPC filing can be found here (PDF).

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Your WhatsApp activity can be monitored, no matter what 21 Sep 2020, 2:54 am

Your WhatsApp activity can be monitored, no matter what

One of the very key problems with WhatsApp is the fact that very few of its users actually realize that their behavior can be tracked in real-time, no matter what.

Everyone using the popular messaging app knows the fact that WhatsApp shows your "last seen" status by default. And some also know that the "last seen" data can be hidden through WhatsApp's settings.

But you can't hide the "online now" status which appears whenever you open the app. And that particular information is available to all WhatsApp users, not just to your contacts. So, anyone who knows your phone number, gets the information when you're online.

Now, there are tons of apps and services available that hook into that data. Basically, you download one of those apps and tell which phone number you want to start monitoring. Then, the app tracks, anonymously, when the given phone number appears online and records that. And as the app "pings" the status every 30 seconds or so, you'll soon get a full picture of when the particular user was using his/her WhatsApp.

From that data, after, say two weeks' worth of monitoring, one can easily draw conclusions on user's sleeping patterns, when they might have been in night club, etc.

And to make matters worse, two phone numbers' activity data can be bundled. Say, you suspect your spouse is chatting with someone who you don't exactly approve. By monitoring both, your spouse's phone number's activity and the suspected third party's phone number's activity, you can easily see íf they tend to be online at the same time (thus, implicating that they're chatting with each other).

There's currently no way to block such snooping, as WhatsApp wont allow users to block their online status at all. Only way that can done in order to counter the problem is to spoof the spy with "too much data", i.e. to keep WhatsApp open all the time, so that patterns can't be built. WhatsApp's official web client is handy tool to stay seemingly online all the time.

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How does YouTube recommendations work? Help Mozilla to find out 21 Sep 2020, 1:57 am

How does YouTube recommendations work? Help Mozilla to find out

You know that feeling when you wanted to watch some good olde music videos from 1980s on YouTube, just to realize two hours later that you've spent the past hour watching conspiracy theories explaining how 5G networks caused liberal lesbians to invent coronavirus in order to replace all world leaders with lizards? Yeah. That feeling.

Now, how did you end up there? Nobody really seems to know. YouTube's recommendation algorithm has been in the spotlight of increasing controversy over the last few years, as it seems to prefer recommending user to watch as much weird and potentially dangerous stuff as possible. Videos about conspiracy theories, blatantly racist videos, anti-vaccine videos and even videos encouraging viewers to radicalize somehow (all the styles and genres are there, from far-left radical communism through far-right extremities to good olde jihadism).

Obviously, Google, who owns YouTube, wont tell, as the recommendation algorithm is one of its business secrets. But there's a word out there that even Google doesn't really know how it works anymore, as it is driven mostly by machine learning and some level of AI.

Mozilla, the foundation behind Firefox, now wants to understand how the YouTube's recommendation algorithm really works.

In order to get data to understand the behavior of YouTube's algorithm, Mozilla has launched a browser add-on called RegretsReporter for both, Firefox and Chrome, that allows users to report "hey, I ended up watching this scary QAnon video when all I wanted to do was to watch some yoga videos".


RegretsReporter add-on


Extension will then inform Mozilla about the video and how user ended up watching it - what videos triggered the algorithm to recommend that particular video. Mozilla then hopes to be able to understand better how the system actually works.

According to the project website, Mozilla is going to publish the results of the study later and hopes that it will serve as a starting point for public debate on how recommendation algorithms should be altered in future, in order to avoid the kind of situation we're now seeing with most social networks and their recommendation mechanisms.

You can download the extension for your browser here:

RegretsReporter add-on for Chrome

RegretsReporter add-on for Firefox

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Super Mario arrives to .. MSX?! 18 Sep 2020, 4:18 am

Super Mario arrives to .. MSX?!

Back in the day, in 1980s, the world was mostly dominated by Commodore 64. But handful of countries, most notably, Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Spain and Finland, had an alternative, too.

The system was called MSX, the first-ever standardized home computer platform. By standardization, it meant that any manufacturer that wished to build MSX-compatible computers, could do so. And the system actually worked: games and programs made for MSX platform worked pretty much perfectly on all MSX computer, whether they were made by Sony, Sharp, Canon or Spectravideo.

Later down the line, MSX standard evolved into MSX2, then to MSX2+ and finally, to MSX TurboR standards.

Now, as with most other popular computer platforms from 1980s, MSX is nowadays far from dead. It has decent hobbyist following that develops new programs, games and even peripherals for it.

And such dedication sometimes brings susprising results. This time around, it is 99% perfect port of super Mario World running on MSX2 platform.

This is SUPER MARIO WORLD on MSX for Mario 35th.
On MSX2, but pushing hard the limits of the 8-bit computer. Author Daemos said recently that it's only missing a boss & end credits screen. Took 6 years.#fangame #MSX #gamedev #8bit #pixelart #homebrew #retrocomputing #chiptune pic.twitter.com/dxR9Il6yRT

-- Dante 3d dev (@dantemendes) September 15, 2020



As a result of a one dedicated developer and handful of volunteers helping with the project, the game is now almost complete, with some some of the maps still not imported and some credit scenes still left to be ported.


Super Mario World running on MSX2, fron Feb, 2020


Obviously, Nintendo, who owns the rights to Super Mario, wont ever allow release of such fan-made game officially, but expect this one to make (kinda illegal) its rounds in MSX hobby circles once it is finished.

Super Mario World was officially released on SNES back in 1990, while MSX standard was developed in 1983 (and MSX2 standard in 1985).

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Roomba i3+ launched: Self-emptying mid-price robovac 17 Sep 2020, 1:12 am

Roomba i3+ launched: Self-emptying mid-price robovac

World's largest robovac manufacturer iRobot introduced a new pair of robotic vacuums to the mid-price range today.

First of all, there's Roomba i3+ that brings a very desirable feature from the company's high-end models to the mid-price range. Roomba i3+ has the similar self-emptying dustbin feature that is found from company's high-end models Roomba i7+ and Roomba s9+.

Roomba i3+ is capable of emptying of its own, rather small, internal dustbin to a much larger dustbin, located in the charging dock, whenever it goes recharging itself. In our tests of i7+ and s9+, such feature means that the owner needs to empty the (docking station's) dustbin only every three or four months.

Obviously, iRobot has hindered some features in $599 Roomba i3+ in order to maintain the difference between that and its $799 Roomba i7+. Most importantly, the new Roomba i3+ wont have the smart mapping features of Roomba i7+. Meaning that owner can't tell Roomba i3+ to only clean kitchen today, as can be told to i7+. Instead, i3+ simply cleans the entire apartment and then goes back to the charging station and empties its dustbin.

iRobot also released a cheaper sibling to Roomba i3+, dubbed as Roomba i3. The $399 robovac is identical to Roomba i3+, except for the fact that it doesn't have the self-emptying capabilities (which can be purchased separately at later date, but costing more than the $200 price difference between the models).

Both, Roomba i3+ and Roomba i3 are immediately available in North American markets and are expected to launch in international markets (Japan and Europe) in Q1/2021.

Read also: Our Roomba 605 review

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Sony reveals PS5 launch details including pricing, date, accessories, games, more 16 Sep 2020, 11:30 pm

Sony reveals PS5 launch details including pricing, date, accessories, games, more

PS5 Showcase provides PS5 console launch date and price, along with information on accessories and launch day games.

We are getting close to the next major console battle. This time, Microsoft's Xbox Series X goes up against rival Sony's PlayStation 5 for your cash. Where can you get a PS5 and when? How much will it cost? What accessories will be available at launch and what games will be available? How much will those cost?

Here's how it breaks down.

PlayStation 5 hardware launch details

There are two options for your PlayStation 5 purchase this fall. You can buy a PS5 with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive or you can purchase a PS5 Digital Edition at a lower cost. The lower cost results from the lack of a Blu-ray drive, if you hadn't already guessed, meaning that the only way to acquire games for this version is digitally.

Other than the Blu-ray drive, there is no other significant hardware difference between the two choices: they both the same x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU and AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine, support 4K graphics with ray-tracing, and both pack ultra-high-speed SSD with integrated I/O for speedy loading times.

Both consoles will be available in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea from November 12, and will launch a week later on November 19 in Europe, Middle East, South America, Asia and South Africa. Pre-orders are available now from select retailers.

PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-ray will sell for US$499.99 (or $629 CAD, €499.99, £449.99) while the cheaper PS5 Digital Edition costs US$399.99 (or $499 CAD, €399.99, £359.99).

What about accessories? In November, there are multiple accessories for PS5 that will be available for stand-alone purchase, including the DualSense Wireless Controller, DualSense Charging Station, PULSE 3D wireless headset, HD Camera and Media Remote.

Games who want another controller will have to fork over $69.99, while the charging station (which charges two controllers simultaneously) costs $29.99.

A PULSE 3D wireless headset with 3D audio support and dual-noise canceling mics will retail for $99.99, and the HD camera which features dual 1080p lenses will go for $59.99. A media remote to control Blu-ray, DVD, or streaming service content will sell for $29.99.

PS5 games availability and pricing

As previously reported, some PS5 (and Xbox Series X) games will come with a new $69.99 standard price tag, tacking on $10 to the previous industry price point for a new title. Sony has confirmed some SIE titles that will be available at launch have the new price point.

It breaks down as follows:
  • Astro's Playroom (Japan Studio) – pre-installed on PS5
  • Demon's Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio) – US$69.99/CAD$89.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV) – US$69.99/CAD$89.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac Games) – US$49.99/CAD$64.99/¥5,900/€59.99 (RRP)
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition (Insomniac Games) – US$69.99/CAD$89.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Sackboy A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV) – US$59.99/CAD$79.99/¥6,900/€69.99 (RRP)
  • Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition (Capcom) - digital only on launch day - US$39.99
Epic Games' Fortnite will be free-to-play on the PlayStation 5 at launch too.

That's it for now.

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Apple services are now under Apple One umbrella 16 Sep 2020, 12:29 pm

Apple services are now under Apple One umbrella

Apple announced a bunch of devices in both iPads, the 8th gen iPad and new iPad Air, as well as Apple Watches, Apple Watch Series 6 and entirely new Apple Watch SE, but they also had some nice service and software announcements.

And we're not talking about the annual iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, etc updates, although there were those too. We're talking about the completely new service collection Apple One.

Apple One is a umbrella under which Apple has collected all of its most important services. This includes iCloud, Apple Arcade, Apple Music, and Apple TV+.

There are three tiers to the service with the cheapest being $14.95/mo Individual plan. With $19.95/mo you get the service for the entire family, and if you require Apple New and new Fitness+ services, the Premium package is for you at $29.95/mo.



The iCloud storage space depends also on the tier, Individual gets only 50 GB while Family has 200 GB and Premium 2 TB. Both Family and Premium can be shared with up to six family members.

According to Apple the savings compared to combining the standard plans are $6 for Individual plan, $8 for Family plan, and $25 for Premium plan.

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Apple has a new iPad Air that gets the iPad Pro makeover 16 Sep 2020, 11:06 am

Apple has a new iPad Air that gets the iPad Pro makeover

Apple has updated their iPad lineup with a new regular 8th gen iPad and also a refresh of the iPad Air.

The new iPad Air has gone through a design revamp that inches it close to the iPad Pro. With the new sleek, edgy, and more industrial design you might not even be able to distinguish it from the iPad Pro.

In size it is nearly identical to the 11-inch iPad Pro, and the Liquid Retina display with True Tone technology is very similar too with only the slightest, even unnoticeable differences in size and resolution.

The bezels have undergone a massive reduction to the point that the Touch ID has been moved to the power button.

It also now has a f/2.0 and up to 60 fps FaceTime camera, 7 MP like previously, and improved 12 MP back camera from the iPad Pro.


One of the more important upgrades is also the new SoC. The new hexa-core chip is called A14 and features an improved neural engine and quad-core GPU compared to the last year's iPad Air.

However, even though it is called A14, it is still likely somewhat slower than the iPad Pro chip A12Z that has eight cores in both CPU and GPU.

The iPad Air (2020) will be available next month starting at $599.

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Apple's new cheaper smartwatch is Apple Watch SE 16 Sep 2020, 8:43 am

Apple's new cheaper smartwatch is Apple Watch SE

Apple announced, as expected, the new Apple Watch Series 6 to replace last year's Series 5. However, the more interesting announcement was the completely new Apple Watch SE.

The company obviously borrowed the SE moniker from the iPhone in which it represents a cheaper version of their flagship device. In this case too, the Apple Watch SE is a cheaper version that combines some of the features from the flagship to some tech from previous generations.

Apple Watch SE features the last years S5 chip which isn't quite as fast as the new S6 on Series 6 but, according to Apple, is up to two times faster than the Series 3.



Some newer features are included with the SE, like the new watch faces, sleep monitoring, fall detection, compass, and altimeter, and you'll get the same straps you get with the Series 6. As with Series 6, the SE runs new watchOS 7.

There's also waterproofing, which means it can be taken for a swim, and you can get it with cellular connectivity.

Apple Watch will be available this Friday starting at $279.


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Apple's new Apple Watch Series 6 is here 16 Sep 2020, 8:05 am

Apple's new Apple Watch Series 6 is here

Apple's yesterday's virtual press event brought about a couple new product in both iPads as well as Apple Watches. As expected the Cupertino company announced the new Apple Watch Series 6.

This new version focuses a lot on health and fitness related features.

There's now a new red light sensor for measuring blood oxygen. This allows the user to monitor effective breathing and stress related to blood oxygen. This means that it can be used for both exercise and health purposes like to monitor asthma.



New is also the upgraded chipset inside the Apple Watch Series 6. Apple's new S6 chip has a dual core processor that is said to be 20 percent more efficient than the previous generation.

If you are interested in new watch faces, Apple has you covered too. New styles have been added that you can change depending on the situation, job, or state of mind.



The watch itself will be available in various different combinations of aluminum and stainless steel casings, with three color options in both, and myriad of straps, including the new Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop.

Prices start at $399.

Apple also announced the cheaper new Apple Watch SE starting at $279.



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Apple announced the 8th gen iPad 16 Sep 2020, 7:29 am

Apple announced the 8th gen iPad

Apple unveiled yesterday a bunch of products in the iPad and Watch categories. Arguably the most influential is the new version of the original iPad.

The regular old iPad is the most popular of the Apple tablets, and now there's the 8th generation out. Apple has upgraded the interior with a new A12 Bionic chip which produces market-leading performance.

According to the company, the new iPad is twice as fast as the most popular Windows laptop, three times more powerful than the most popular Android device and up to six times faster than most popular Chromebook.

Other specs include a 10.2" Retina display, a HD resolution FaceTime camera, 8 MP shooter in the back, 10 hour battery life, USB-C charging and support for Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.


Speaking of Apple Pencil, the new iPad get iPadOS 14 which includes a multitude of new stylus features and note-taking
improvements. This includes Scribble, handwriting cut and paste, and other editing options.

The 8th gen iPad will be available this Friday starting at $329 for the 32GB WiFi version. There's also a 128 GB storage version as well as the WiFi+Cellular option.

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Tinder brings Swipe Night to Europe, Asia and rest of the world 16 Sep 2020, 12:46 am

Tinder brings Swipe Night to Europe, Asia and rest of the world

The world is about to end? What would you do? That is the core question that Tinder's interactive adventure Swipe Night asks.

Launched back in 2019 in the United States, now the event has arrived to the rest of the world, too. It is basically am adventure show that you get choose how it goes forward, where every now and then the events are stopped and user is asked to swipe either left or right in order to decide how the plot continues.

Global launch of the Swipe Night was initially planned for March, 2020 but the global pandemic kinda changed the plans. But now Tinder seems to be confident that it is right time to bring the end of the world adventure to the rest of the world, too.

Speed is very important when playing the Swipe Night - user has only 7 seconds time to decide how to swipe when the story stops. After all the steps have been completed, the story ends, but also the results of how user swiped in each step will be added to the user's own Tinder profile.

Tinder Swipe Night


Tinder says by adding the swiping decisions to the user's profile, users have more things to start the discussion with than the usual "How is it going?" opening line.

Company has been at the very center of the pandemic crisis in many ways: several countries have gone through extremely tight lockdowns and online dating has been the only way for singles to seek out new potential partners. Company also recently launched a new paid tier with Tinder Platinum launching in selected markets and has been testing with various new features, too.

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