LG plans to introduce 20-inch OLED panels this year

A promotional image for LG's larger OLED televisions.

Enlarge / A promotional image for LG’s larger OLED televisions. (credit: LG)

LG plans to introduce a 20-inch OLED panel by the end of the year, and unlike most other offerings in this size, it will be used in consumer devices.

LG is the leading manufacturer of OLED panels for several other device categories, and the company has been making panels for watches, TVs, and smartphones—but this will be the first time the company will make OLEDs suitable for computer monitors or smaller televisions.

The news comes from South Korean electronics news site The Elec, which reported details from a speech to the Korea Display Industry Association by LG Display Vice President Kang Won-seok.

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#display, #lg, #monitors, #oled, #tech, #tv

Xiaomi clones the Galaxy Fold, makes it 40% thinner, adds a bigger battery

If you’re disappointed by Samsung’s relatively slow progress on foldables, say hello to the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, which looks significantly more advanced than what we saw in this week’s announcement from Samsung. But it’s for China only, of course. Sorry.

The Mix Fold 2 closely follows the layout of the Galaxy Z Fold 4—it’s a book-style foldable that has a phone-like front screen and a tablet-like flexible inner screen. The kicker is that the device is 40 percent thinner when folded up. We’re usually not on board with the smartphone thinness craze, but the thickness of foldables is a major concern. The 16-mm-thick Galaxy Z Fold really fills out your pocket compared to a normal smartphone, so Xiaomi is making progress here.

The Mix Fold 2 is just 11.2 mm thick when folded up, with each half measuring only 5.4 mm. Xiaomi’s phone is dramatically thinner than Samsung’s, and Xiaomi also manages to fit in a slightly bigger 4500 mAh battery (Samsung’s is 4400 mAh). The trick here—aside from Samsung not changing the Fold’s thickness or battery capacity for four years now—is that the Xiaomi foldable is a bit bigger than Samsung’s. When folded up, the Z Fold 4 is 155.1 mm x 67.1 mm x 15.8 mm, while Xiaomi’s device is at 161.6 mm x 73.9 mm x 11.2 mm. That 161.6 mm x 73.9 mm measurement is still smaller than a top-end smartphone, with an S22 Ultra measuring 163.3 mm x 77.9 mm x 8.9 mm.

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#tech

Epson’s bricked printers highlight the industry’s reparability problem

Epson’s bricked printers highlight the industry’s reparability problem

Enlarge (credit: Getty)

Epson printers have had a nasty little issue for years. Some models will abruptly brick, even if they seem to be working fine, because the ink pads are supposedly too saturated. Epson has endured bad publicity the past few weeks as users, websites, and right-to-repair activists condemned the company for designing its printers to eventually stop functioning, highlighting just how big of a problem printers continue to be in the fight for the right to repair.

According to the Fight to Repair newsletter, Epson printers—including the L360, L130, L220, L310, L365, and potentially others—may suddenly display a message saying that they have reached the end of their service life and then stop printing. Epson told The Verge this week that this is because saturated ink pads could leak ink throughout the devices.

Until this week, Epson’s support page about the message said:

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#epson, #printers, #tech

Samsung heir pardoned due to South Korean economic needs

Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., leaves the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday. After a presidential pardon, Lee is poised to retake control of South Korea's largest commercial entity.

Enlarge / Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., leaves the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday. After a presidential pardon, Lee is poised to retake control of South Korea’s largest commercial entity. (credit: Getty Images)

Samsung Electronics Vice-Chair Jay Y. Lee received a presidential pardon Friday for his role in a 2016 political scandal, a move the South Korean government says is necessary so the country’s largest chaebol can help steady the national economy.

“In a bid to overcome the economic crisis by vitalizing the economy, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong… will be reinstated,” the Korean government stated in a joint press release from its ministries, according to Bloomberg News.

Lee, 54, known as Lee Jae-yong in Korea, was arrested in February 2017 on charges that he was complicit in Samsung paying millions in bribes to various organizations tied to a presidential advisor in order to win favor for an $8 billion merger of two Samsung Group units. In August 2017, Lee was convicted of perjury, embezzlement, hiding assets outside the country, and being one of five Samsung executives who paid $6.4 million in bribes to ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

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#biz-it, #chaebol, #jay-y-lee, #samsung, #south-korea, #tech

The best cheap Android phones

The camera bar returns but it's a lot shallower than the Pixel 6 version.

Enlarge / The camera bar returns but it’s a lot shallower than the Pixel 6 version. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

So you want to buy a cheap Android phone, but you’re overwhelmed by the countless options out there. Let us point you in the right direction.

First, though, you should figure out if you even want to buy a midrange or low-end phone. Getting a less-expensive device usually means giving up some features, like a higher-than-60 Hz display refresh rate, quick charging, mmWave 5G, and wireless charging. On the other hand, you won’t be paying $1,000 for a top-of-the-line device.

You should pay close attention to the things some manufacturers skimp out on, like update plans, a decent camera, cutting-edge performance, NFC support, and support for newer versions of Wi-Fi.

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#ars-buying-guide, #ars-shopping, #tech

Amazon studio plans lighthearted show of Ring surveillance footage

Amazon's combining its endless reach with its constant surveillance—but for laughs.

Enlarge / Amazon’s combining its endless reach with its constant surveillance—but for laughs. (credit: Getty Images)

For some people, the term “Ring Nation” might evoke a warrantless surveillance dystopia overseen by an omnipotent megacorp. To Amazon-owned MGM, Ring Nation is a clip show hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes, featuring dancing delivery people and adorable pets.

Deadline reports that the show, due to debut on September 26, is “the latest example of corporate synergy at Amazon.” Amazon owns household video security brand Ring, Hollywood studio MGM, and Big Fish, the producer of Ring Nation

Viral videos captured by doorbell cameras have been hot for a while now. You can catch them on late-night talk shows, the r/CaughtOnRing subreddit, and on millions of TikTok users’ For You page. Amazon’s media properties, perhaps sensing an opportunity to capitalize and soften Ring’s image, are sallying forth with an officially branded offering.

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#amazon, #gaming-culture, #mgm, #privacy, #ring, #surveillance, #tech

Sonos delays its hotly anticipated Sub Mini after a rough financial quarter

The current-model Sonos Sub. The Sub Mini would be smaller and have a cylindrical shape.

Enlarge / The current-model Sonos Sub. The Sub Mini would be smaller and have a cylindrical shape. (credit: Sonos)

The launch of the Sub Mini—an anticipated addition to Sonos’ connected audio lineup—appears to have been delayed, the company revealed after its quarterly earnings report this week.

The device was expected just about any day now. But Sonos confirmed to The Verge on Wednesday that it has “decided to push an anticipated product launch from Q4 ’22 into Q1 ’23,” and it’s all but certain that said product is the Sub Mini. That places its launch in a window between October and December of the calendar year 2022.

The Sonos Sub Mini was apparently first leaked accidentally in the Sonos mobile app. In November, a Reddit user took screenshots of references to its name and general shape. Later, The Verge gained access to images and details about the device, describing it as a cheaper, smaller, cylindrical younger sibling to Sonos’ pricy, rectangular Sonos Sub.

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#smart-speaker, #sonos, #sonos-sub-mini, #subwoofer, #tech

Intel tests show its Arc A750 GPU beating an RTX 3060, if only you could buy one

Intel's as-yet-unreleased Arc A750 Limited Edition card. The "Limited Edition" GPUs appear to be reference models along the lines of Nvidia's Founder's Edition cards and AMD's first-party graphics cards.

Enlarge / Intel’s as-yet-unreleased Arc A750 Limited Edition card. The “Limited Edition” GPUs appear to be reference models along the lines of Nvidia’s Founder’s Edition cards and AMD’s first-party graphics cards. (credit: Intel)

Intel still hasn’t announced a release date for its Arc dedicated graphics cards, but the company has conducted a PR offensive over the last few weeks to set expectations and preview how the cards are stacking up. In a video and accompanying post today, company representatives Ryan Shrout and Tom Peterson compared the upcoming Arc A750 card to Nvidia’s RTX 3060 in a few dozen DirectX12 and Vulkan games They demonstrated that the card is usually able to keep up with the most popular member of the RTX 3000 GPU family.

In a series of tests at 1080p and 1440p, Intel’s tests show that the A750 usually comes within a few percent of the RTX 3060’s performance, sometimes overperforming (Cyberpunk 2077, FortniteMicrosoft Flight Simulator), sometimes underperforming (Assassin’s Creed ValhallaDeathloop), and sometimes roughly matching Nvidia’s average frame rates (DOTA 2Hitman 3Death Stranding). Average FPS is just one way to measure game performance—crucially, Intel didn’t provide any minimum or 1 percent low frame rates, which can have more of an impact on how smooth your game feels when you’re playing it. But if you take these tests at face value, the Arc A750 does at least appear to be a viable midrange GPU competitor.

Of course, there is one important metric in which Intel’s Arc GPU can’t compete with Nvidia’s: The RTX 3060 is a graphics card you can go out and buy and install in your PC today, and the Arc A750 isn’t. Rumors out of this year’s SIGGRAPH conference, where Intel has been giving technical demos of its GPUs and announcing a few workstation-oriented Arc Pro products, suggest that we could still see an Arc hardware launch by the end of the summer. But officially, the company still has no news to share about a concrete launch window.

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#gaming-culture, #intel-arc, #tech

2022 Moto Razr gets big price drop, 144 Hz display, flagship SoC

Lenovo’s Motorola division still hasn’t given up on a modern reboot of the Motorola Razr.

Last night, the company announced the “Moto Razr 2022,” though it will seemingly be available only in China. The good news is that there’s a big price drop this year: The phone is now 5999 CNY, or about $900. Previous Razr reboots sold in the $1,400 range, and the second-generation version was actually more expensive (~$1,830) in China than in the US.

The inner screen is getting a big upgrade with this version; it’s now a 144Hz, 2400×1080, 6.67-inch OLED. Powering this super-fast display is the flagship Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. This is another huge upgrade for the Razr since the previous version had a midrange chip. The phone has 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 3500 mAh battery, and 33 W charging. That’s a lot of upgrades compared to the midrange and more-expensive second-generation version. If Motorola wants to compete with the $1,000 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, though—which this phone seems to borrow a lot from—these changes were necessary.

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#razr, #tech

Meta’s flailing Portal repurposed as a wireless portable monitor

Meta’s flailing Portal repurposed as a wireless portable monitor

Enlarge (credit: Meta)

Meta’s Portal displays have always felt pretty niche. The 10- to 14-inch screens were heavily marketed as video-calling devices for apps like Facebook Messenger and Zoom. Even with the addition of music apps like Spotify and productivity apps like Microsoft Teams and a calendar, the products struggled to become something that felt necessary in tech-gadget-filled homes.

Rumor has it that Meta is pivoting the Portal from consumers to businesses, but first, the product is getting at least one more chance to prove it can add value to people’s homes. On Wednesday, Meta announced that the Portal Plus Gen 2 and Portal Go now support Duet Display, an app that can turn a display into a secondary monitor for Macs and PCs.

The Portal Plus is the same size as some of the best portable monitors, so it makes sense to repurpose it for that function. Because it’s built for video image quality, it has a decent resolution for a portable display—2160×1440.

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#meta, #portable-monitor, #smart-display, #smart-home, #tech

Amazon begins large-scale rollout of palm print-based payments

A customer uses a palm print reader in this promotional image for Amazon One.

Enlarge / A customer uses a palm print reader in this promotional image for Amazon One. (credit: Amazon)

Amazon will expand its Amazon One palm print checkout system to dozens of Whole Foods locations, marking the most significant expansion of the technology that was introduced in 2020.

Amazon One allows customers to speedily check out at retail locations using only their palm prints after storing a scan of their hand via an interface at Amazon’s kiosks. The palm print data is encrypted and stored on Amazon’s servers. And before you worry too much about COVID-19 transmission or future pandemics, Amazon One works when you hover your palm over the scanner—unlike some handprint tech.

Amazon initially added the technology in its Amazon Go stores and the now-shuttered Amazon Books retail locations. It then made its way to several Whole Foods locations in the Seattle area. (Amazon has owned the Whole Foods grocery chain since 2017.)

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#amazon, #amazon-one, #amazon-pay, #biometrics, #palm-print, #tech, #whole-foods

LG’s 97-inch vibrating OLED TV claims to offer 5.1 audio without speakers

LG Display OLED.EX TV panel

Enlarge (credit: LG Display)

LG Display has shown off some interesting ideas as it looks to change the way OLED panels work, from positing bizarre form factors to addressing dimmer brightness levels compared to LED alternatives. Now, the panel maker is exploring a new approach to OLED TV audio.

Today, LG Display announced its creation of a 97-inch OLED EX TV panel that debuts the company’s Film Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO), “which allows the display to vibrate and generate the sound directly from the display without separate speakers.”

“A 5.1 channel sound system is embedded into the widescreen, creating a performance that offers a cinematic level of immersion,” LG Display said.

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#lg, #lg-display, #oled, #tech

Microsoft open-sources its cute 3D emoji, albeit without Clippy

Microsoft open-sources its cute 3D emoji, albeit without Clippy

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

As part of its Windows 11 design push, Microsoft also published fun redesigns for all of its emoji characters that added more character and texture than the older Windows 8- and 10-era versions. Today, the company is going one step further, open-sourcing the vast majority of these new “Fluent” emoji designs and publishing them to Github for anyone to modify and use.

Each open-sourced emoji has three iterations: the fully 3D version, complete with texture and color gradients; a flat “color” version that retains the basic color but removes textures and gradients (these are the ones you’ll see if you open Windows 11’s emoji menu); and a monochromatic “high contrast” version. All files are being made available as .svg vector graphics files so that they can be resized and otherwise manipulated without any loss of quality.

There are just a couple of Microsoft’s designs that it hasn’t open-sourced, including the paperclip that looks like Clippy (the character is apparently copyrighted). A couple of other emoji were excluded because Microsoft’s versions exclude the Windows logo. There is no generic version of the paperclip emoji listed among the emoji Microsoft has published.

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#emoji, #tech, #windows-11

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 adds battery life, screen strength, and temperature sensor

The Galaxy Watch 5 has a notably flat-front screen, so it's good Samsung has upgraded the display to sapphire crystal.

Enlarge / The Galaxy Watch 5 has a notably flat-front screen, so it’s good Samsung has upgraded the display to sapphire crystal. (credit: Samsung)

Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro on Wednesday, giving its round, semi-rotating Wear OS watches new looks, a tougher screen material, and—for reasons the company can only vaguely explain—an infrared temperature sensor.

Neither the $280 Watch 5, available in 40 or 44 mm sizes, nor the 44 mm $450 Watch 5 Pro has a physically rotating bezel, a distinguishing Galaxy Watch feature that was limited in the last generation to the higher-end Watch 4 “Classic” (which is still available). Instead, both models have capacitive touch bezels, so you can run your finger around the edge to scroll.

Both Galaxy Watch 5 models look just like the official 3D rendering leaks scooped up by Evan Blass at 91Mobiles. Their displays have been upgraded to sapphire crystal, which should help bolster the Watch 5’s flat-front display. Samsung says this material is “60 percent harder” than prior watch displays.

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#galaxy-watch, #samsung, #samsung-galaxy-watch, #samsung-galaxy-watch-5, #smartwatch, #tech, #wear-os

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is official, brings Android 12L’s new taskbar

Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Enlarge / Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4. (credit: Samsung)

It’s time for a new round of Samsung foldables. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are official. Both devices hit stores on August 26, and the prices haven’t changed from last year: It’s $1,799 for the Fold 4 and $999 for the Flip 4.

The Z Fold 4—the one that opens up like a tablet—is getting a few millimeters wider this year, and it has a 6.2-inch, 120 Hz, 2316×904 outer OLED display. The Z Fold 3’s outer display had a skinny 25:9 aspect ratio, but the Fold 4’s is at 23.1:9, getting closer to a normal 19:9 aspect ratio. The inner display is wider, too—it’s a 7.6-inch, 2176×1812, 120 Hz OLED display. The device’s thickness hasn’t really changed—when open, the phone is 6.3 mm thick, and it’s 15.8 mm thick when folded up, thanks to the hinge gap.

Other specs include a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 4400 mAh battery with 25 W charging. Samsung puts the dust and water ingress rating at “IPX8,” meaning there’s no dust resistance, but the device is submergible in fresh water for 30 minutes. There’s a side fingerprint reader on the power button, and the phone supports Wi-Fi 6E.

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#tech

New Google site begs Apple for mercy in messaging war

Just a few of the many Google messaging logos. Can you name them all?

Enlarge / Just a few of the many Google messaging logos. Can you name them all? (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google has been unable to field a stable, competitive messaging platform for years and has thoroughly lost the messaging war to products with a long-term strategy. At least some divisions inside the company are waking up to how damaging this is to Google as a company, and now Google’s latest strategy is to… beg its competition for mercy? Google—which has launched 13 different messaging apps since iMessage launched in 2011—now says, “It’s time for Apple to fix texting.”

Google launched a new website called “Get the Message“—a public pressure campaign with a call to “tweet at @Apple to #GetTheMessage and fix texting.” Google hopes public pressure will get Apple to adopt RCS, a minor upgrade to the SMS standard that Apple uses for non-iMessage users. Google has been pushing this strategy since the beginning of the year, but coming from the company with the world’s most dysfunctional messaging strategy, it just comes across as a company tired of reaping what it has been sowing.

Worldwide, iMessage isn’t that popular (people tend to like Whatsapp), but in the US, iMessage is enough of a cultural phenomenon to have Billboard Top 100 songs written about how much it sucks to have a green (SMS) iMessage bubble. One of Apple’s biggest competitors—especially for online services—is Google, and Google’s inability to compete with iMessage has contributed a great deal to the current situation. Google apparently feels iMessage’s dominance is damaging to its brand, so now it’s asking Apple, nicely, to please stop beating it so badly.

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#google, #tech

Parallels Desktop 18 for Mac adds ProMotion support

A marketing splash image for Parallels Desktop 18, from the company's YouTube video about the release.

Enlarge / A marketing splash image for Parallels Desktop 18, from the company’s YouTube video about the release. (credit: Parallels)

Mac-based virtualization software Parallels launched a new version today. As with most updates to the suite, Parallels Desktop 18 adds support for new Apple hardware features, improves Windows virtualization, and expands compatibility.

The two headlining features of Parallels Desktop 18 are ProMotion support and several new features and optimizations for playing Windows games on Macs.

The first feature is pretty straightforward: Parallels now fully supports automatic refresh rate changes up to 120 Hz, matching the ProMotion feature in the M1-based 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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#macos, #parallels, #parallels-desktop, #parallels-desktop-18, #tech, #virtual-machine, #virtualization, #vm, #windows-11

10 malicious Python packages exposed in latest repository attack

Supply-chain attacks, like the latest PyPi discovery, insert malicious code into seemingly functional software packages used by developers. They're becoming increasingly common.

Enlarge / Supply-chain attacks, like the latest PyPi discovery, insert malicious code into seemingly functional software packages used by developers. They’re becoming increasingly common. (credit: Getty Images)

Researchers have discovered yet another set of malicious packages in PyPi, the official and most popular repository for Python programs and code libraries. Those duped by the seemingly familiar packages could be subject to malware downloads or theft of user credentials and passwords.

Check Point Research, which reported its findings Monday, wrote that it didn’t know how many people had downloaded the 10 packages, but it noted that PyPi has 613,000 active users, and its code is used in more than 390,000 projects. Installing from PyPi through the pip command is a foundational step for starting or setting up many Python projects. PePy, a site that estimates Python project downloads, suggests most of the malicious packages saw hundreds of downloads.

Such supply-chain attacks are becoming increasingly common, especially among open source software repositories that support a wide swath of the world’s software. Python’s repository is a frequent target, with researchers finding malicious packages in September 2017JuneJuly, and November 2021; and June of this year. But trick packages have also been found in RubyGems in 2020NPM in December 2021, and many more open source repositories.

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#biz-it, #github, #malware, #npm, #pypi, #python, #security, #sigstore, #software-supply-chain-attack, #supply-chain-attack, #tech

Nokia lawsuit forces Oppo and OnePlus out of the German market

Oppo's store in Germany has been stripped of all phone info (translated).

Enlarge / Oppo’s store in Germany has been stripped of all phone info (translated). (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Many Chinese brands have somehow escaped the global smartphone patent wars, but Oppo and OnePlus are feeling the pain in Germany due to a Nokia patent lawsuit. As the site Juve Patent reports, Nokia received two favorable patent rulings last week, and OnePlus and its parent company Oppo were ordered to cease and desist their infringement. For now, ceasing infringement means shutting down sales in Germany.

This is Nokia Corporation, the cellular infrastructure company, not HMD, which licenses the “Nokia” brand for smartphones. Nokia and Oppo used to have a patent licensing agreement, but it recently expired. Just as we’ve seen in cable carriage disputes, the two companies were in negotiations for renewal, but disagreements over the price led to a deal not happening. Oppo told its side of this familiar story to Juve Patent, saying, “The day after the 4G agreement between Oppo and Nokia expired, Nokia immediately went to court. They had previously demanded an unreasonably high contract renewal fee.”

The court cases are still ongoing, and appeals are still possible, but Oppo has taken the proactive step of shutting down all sales in Germany. Oppo’s German site has been stripped of all phone info and now only hosts a message saying (through translation) that “product information is currently not available on our website.” The site also mentions that Oppo products will continue to work, and support channels will keep running. OnePlus’ site still lists phone info, but the store now displays an error page if you try to see phone listings.

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#tech

The next desktop-sized OLED monitor will cost $3,500

Two Asus ProArt PA32DC OLED monitors.

Enlarge / Two Asus ProArt PA32DC OLED monitors. (credit: Asus)

OLED screens are slowly but surely making their way to desktops. The contrast-rich panel display tech is scattered across premium laptops, but when it comes to PC monitors, most options in the US are too big to fit on a typical desk. There are some, primarily from LG, but we need more options. The latest OLED looks to be the 31.5-inch ProArt PA32DC, which Asus announced Tuesday, and it will be available in October for $3.500.

Barring any surprise releases, the PA32DC should be the next member of a growing group of OLED monitors that can fit atop a desk. For a while, the OLED monitor space has been dominated by juggernauts and, even among the more moderately sized options, gaming displays. The PA32DC targets professionals and creatives to accommodate their office setup in a way that’s rare for today’s OLED monitors (the exceptions being LG’s UltraFine series of 26.5-inch and 31.5-inch OLED monitors and portable monitors using OLED).

Asus’ 4K OLED monitor has an impressive specs sheet, including 100 percent sRGB, 99 percent DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB, and 80 percent Rec. 2020 coverage. The display also foregoes a color filter, which Asus claimed helped the monitor achieve a color accuracy of Delta E <1.

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#ars-shopping, #asus, #monitors, #oled, #tech, #uncategorized

Windows 11 encryption bug could cause data loss, temporary slowdowns on newer PCs

Windows 11 encryption bug could cause data loss, temporary slowdowns on newer PCs

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has published a knowledge base article acknowledging a problem with encryption acceleration in the newest versions of Windows that could result in data corruption. The company recommends installing the June 2022 security updates for Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022 “to prevent further damage,” though there are no suggested solutions for anyone who has already lost data because of the bug.

The problems only affect relatively recent PCs and servers that support Vector Advanced Encryption Standard (VAES) instructions for accelerating cryptographic operations. Microsoft says affected systems use AES-XTS or AES-GCM instructions “on new hardware.” Part of the AVX-512 instruction set, VAES instructions are supported by Intel’s Ice Lake, Tiger Lake, Rocket Lake, and Alder Lake architectures—these power some 10th-generation Core CPUs for laptops, as well as all 11th- and 12th-gen Core CPUs. AMD’s upcoming Zen 4 architecture also supports VAES, though by the time these chips are released in the fall, the patches will have had plenty of time to proliferate.

Microsoft says that the problem was caused when it added “new code paths” to support the updated encryption instructions in SymCrypt, Windows’ cryptographic function library. These code paths were added in the initial release of Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022, so the problem shouldn’t affect older versions like Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019. 

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#tech, #windows-11, #windows-server

Small businesses count cost of Apple’s privacy changes

Small businesses count cost of Apple’s privacy changes

Enlarge (credit: Kentaroo Tryman | Getty Images)

Small businesses are cutting back marketing spending due to Apple’s sweeping privacy changes that have made it harder to target new customers online, in a growing trend that has led to billions of dollars in lost revenues for platforms like Facebook.

Apple last year began forcing app developers to get permission to track users and serve them personalized adverts on iPhones and iPads in changes that have transformed the online advertising sector.

Many small companies which are reliant on online ads to attract new customers told the Financial Times they did not initially notice the full impact of Apple’s restrictions until recent months, when price inflation squeezed consumer demand in major markets worldwide.

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#advertising, #apple, #biz-it, #policy, #privacy, #tech, #tracking

Crypto-driven GPU crash makes Nvidia miss Q2 projections by $1.4 billion

Crypto-driven GPU crash makes Nvidia miss Q2 projections by $1.4 billion

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Nvidia doesn’t officially announce its second-quarter financial results until the end of the month, but the company is trying to soften the blow by announcing preliminary results today. And as with so many other tech companies in the last month, the results are mixed at best. With $6.7 billion in revenue, Nvidia managed to eke out year-over-year growth, but the results are still bad news because that number is down from a previously forecasted $8.1 billion, a miss of $1.4 billion.

Nvidia blamed this shortfall on weaker-than-expected demand for its gaming products, including its GeForce graphics processors. Nvidia pointed to “a reduction in channel partner sales,” meaning that partners like Evga, MSI, Asus, Zotac, Gigabyte, and others were selling fewer new GPUs than anticipated. This drop can be attributed partly to a crash in the value of mining-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum—fewer miners are buying these cards, and miners looking to unload their GPUs on the secondhand market are also giving gamers a cheaper source for graphics cards.

“As we expect the macroeconomic conditions affecting sell-through to continue, we took actions with our Gaming partners to adjust channel prices and inventory,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. That means we may see further price drops for existing GeForce GPUs, which have already been dropping in price throughout the year. Some cards still haven’t reverted to their originally advertised prices, but they’re getting closer all the time.

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#biz-it, #gaming-culture, #nvidia, #tech

Google, still reeling from an earlier ruling, sues Sonos over voice patents

Sonos Beam soundbar.

Enlarge / Sonos Beam soundbar. (credit: Sonos)

Google and Sonos are headed back to court. After Google lost an earlier patent case over speaker volume controls, Google is now suing Sonos over voice control technology. Google confirmed the lawsuit to The Verge this morning, with the company saying it wants to “defend our technology and challenge Sonos’s clear, continued infringement of our patents.” Google alleges infringement of seven patents related to voice input, including hot-word detection and a system that determines which speaker in a group should respond to voice commands.

Sonos has typically supported the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice control, but Google and Amazon are also Sonos’s biggest speaker competitors. So Sonos launched its own voice assistant feature in May, opening it up to this new pile of Google patents. (For now, Sonos supports all three options.)

Google rarely uses patents offensively, but this is part of a multi-lawsuit battle that has sent the company’s smart speaker line reeling after Google lost a previous ruling in January. Rather than pay royalties to Sonos, Google decided to reach into customers’ homes and start breaking devices they had already bought. Google stripped Nest Audio and Google Home speakers of the ability to control volume for a speaker group, turning what was an effortless and common-sense task into an ordeal requiring a screen full of individual sliders. It’s hard to overstate how annoying this is for consumers, as volume control is a primary function of any speaker.

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#tech

Fitbits will soon lose the ability to sync with computers

The Fitbit Ionic currently lets you download music to the device.

Enlarge / The Fitbit Ionic currently lets you download music to the device. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Fitbit owners who like to sync their fitness tracker with a computer to enable offline listening of downloaded music without a monthly fee will soon need to change their approach.

As spotted by 9to5Google on Saturday, Fitbit will no longer allow users to sync their devices over a computer starting in October.

“On October 13, 2022, we’re removing the option to sync your Fitbit device with the Fitbit Connect app on your computer,” a Fitbit support page reads. “Download and use the Fitbit app on your phone to sync your device.”

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#fitbit, #smartwatches, #tech

Rumors, delays, and early testing suggest Intel’s Arc GPUs are on shaky ground

Arc is Intel's attempt to shake up the GPU market.

Enlarge / Arc is Intel’s attempt to shake up the GPU market.

Almost a year ago, Intel made a big announcement about its push into the dedicated graphics business. Intel Arc would be the brand name for a new batch of gaming GPUs, pushing far beyond the company’s previous efforts and competing directly with Nvidia’s GeForce and AMD’s Radeon GPUs.

Arc is the culmination of years of work, going back to at least 2017, when Intel poached AMD GPU architect Raja Koduri to run its own graphics division. And while Intel would be trying to break into an established and fiercely competitive market, it would benefit from the experience and gigantic install base that the company had cultivated with its integrated GPUs.

Intel sought to prove its commitment to Arc by showing off a years-long road map, with four separate named GPU architectures already in the pipeline. Sure, the GPUs wouldn’t compete with top-tier GeForce and Radeon cards, but they would address the crucial mainstream GPU market, and high-end cards would follow once the brand was more established.

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#gaming-culture, #intel-arc, #tech

Microsoft trackers run afoul of DuckDuckGo, get added to blocklist

Microsoft trackers run afoul of DuckDuckGo, get added to blocklist

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-minded search company, says it will block trackers from Microsoft in its desktop web browser, following revelations in May that certain scripts from Bing and LinkedIn were getting a pass.

In a blog post, DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg says that he’s heard users’ concerns since security researcher Zach Edwards’ thread that “we didn’t meet their expectations around one of our browser’s web tracking protections.” Weinberg says that, over the next week, the company’s browser will add Microsoft to the list of third-party tracking scripts blocked by its mobile and desktop browsers, as well as extensions for other browsers.

“Previously, we were limited in how we could apply our 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection on Microsoft tracking scripts due to a policy requirement related to our use of Bing as a source for our private search results,” Weinberg writes. “We’re glad this is no longer the case. We have not had, and do not have, any similar limitation with any other company.”

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#bing, #browsers, #duckduckgo, #microsoft, #privacy, #tech, #trackers

Sonic the Hedgehog doesn’t need easily legible legends on his mechanical keyboard

Sonic the Hedgehog mechanical keyboard

Enlarge / Sonic the Hedgehog mechanical keyboard. (credit: Higround/Instagram)

When you’re a beloved blue eulipotyphla with the speed of a race car, all the golden rings, a pal like Tails, and even a pair of hit feature films, you start feeling like you can do anything. That includes typing on a truncated mechanical keyboard without letters, numbers, or any other legends written on the top of the keycaps.

Higround, known for gaming gear, is releasing today a trio of 65 percent mechanical keyboards made in collaboration with Sega, as spotted by Nintendo Wire, as well as other Sega-focused gear, including keycaps and mousepads.

Pictures from the brand show a trio of keyboards coming to life with colorful details delivering nostalgic imagery anywhere from, depending on the keyboard, the loops and rings of the Green Hill Zone in 1991‘s Sonic the Hedgehog to the contrasting profiles of Sonic and Knuckles from 2001’s Sonic Adventure 2 to the rainbow-colored arrow keys mimicking console controller buttons in tribute to Sega’s last globally released console, the Dreamcast.

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#gaming-culture, #keyboards, #mechanical-keyboards, #sonic-the-hedgehog, #tech

This 6-inch board turns a Raspberry Pi module into a DIY router

Let your Pi do the work while the CM4 Router Board handles the connections.

Enlarge / Let your Pi do the work while the CM4 Router Board handles the connections. (credit: Seeed Studio)

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of building a DIY router, Seeed Studio has a board that’s just waiting to put a Raspberry Pi Computing Module 4 (CM4) to work. Assuming, of course, that you can find the Pi module.

Seeed’s CM4 Router Board adds two full-speed gigabit network ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD slot, an HDMI out, a GPIO interface for Raspberry Pi HAT add-ons, and a 0.91-inch OLED display to your Pi CM4. Having the CM4 at the system’s core gives you 32 different options for RAM, storage, and wireless capabilities on your homebrew router. The Router Board comes with OpenWRT installed, but it could run Ubuntu, Raspberry OS, or any other Pi-friendly system.

Seeed notes that beyond DIY routers, the CM4 Router Board could also become a gateway, mini-NAS, wireless network bridge, or mini-server. You can buy a Pi CM4 with wireless capabilities, but you’ll likely need (or prefer) a separate Wi-Fi setup connected to your DIY router.

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#diy-router, #homebrew-router, #raspberry-pi, #raspberry-pi-cm4, #router, #tech

Winamp, the best MP3 player of the 1990s, just got a major update

Winamp. Winamp never changes.

Enlarge / Winamp. Winamp never changes. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before the days of the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, there was an app called Winamp. People over the age of 30ish will remember Winamp as the premiere music player for people using Napster, Limewire, and Kazaa to illegally download Aerosmith MP3s to their Gateway desktop computers. (For anyone younger than that: it was like Spotify, but you needed to collect every single song you wanted to listen to manually and add it to the app yourself.)

Like a lot of influential Windows 95-era PC apps, it was eventually outpaced by newer software and business models and forgotten, but it’s technically never actually been dead. Winamp’s original incarnation petered out in late 2013, shut down by AOL after years of mismanagement. A company called Radionomy bought the remains of Winamp from AOL in January 2014 and leaked an update to the app in 2016; a revised version of this build was officially released in 2018, and a major version 6.0 update was planned for 2019.

This plan obviously didn’t pan out. But last week, for the first time in four years, Radionomy released a new version of Winamp. The release notes for Winamp 5.9 RC1 Build 1999 say that the update represents four years of work across two separate development teams, delayed in between by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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#tech, #winamp

Almost two years after Apple’s M1 launch, Microsoft Teams goes native

Microsoft Teams running on a Mac.

Enlarge / Microsoft Teams running on a Mac. (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has announced plans to roll out an Apple Silicon-native version of Microsoft Teams, but the release isn’t going to happen overnight.

In a blog post on its website, Microsoft claims the update will offer “a significant boost in performance” to users of Macs with Apple’s M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, M1 Ultra, and M2 chips.

Teams has just been running as an Intel app via Rosetta 2 on M1 Macs since the beginning of the Apple Silicon transition in 2020. Direct competitors Zoom and Slack have offered native Apple Silicon support since December 2020 and February 2021, respectively.

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#apple, #apple-silicon, #arm, #m1, #m2, #microsoft, #microsoft-teams, #tech

Google’s video chat merger begins: Now there are two “Google Meet” apps

Someday, Google's messaging lineup will look like this (assuming Google can stop launching competing products).

Enlarge / Someday, Google’s messaging lineup will look like this (assuming Google can stop launching competing products). (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google is officially kicking off the merger of its two video chat apps, Google Meet and Google Duo. Google announced the merger in June, with the plan to keep the Google Meet brand name while merging the best of both code bases into the Google Duo app. According to Google’s PR email (no links, sorry), people will begin seeing Duo’s app and website branding swap over to Google Meet this week. Google’s various rebrandings are all on a rollout, so they’ll arrive at different times for different people, but Google says the complete rebrand should finish for everyone by September.

So Google Duo is being rebranded to Google Meet, and the existing Google Meet app is sticking around for a bit. That means there are now two apps called “Google Meet.” Google has a help article detailing this extremely confusing situation, calling the two Meet apps “Google Meet (original): The updated Meet app” and “Google Meet: The updated Duo app.” The “Google Meet (original)” app will someday be put out to pasture; it’s just sticking around while Google rebuilds the meeting functionality on top of Google Duo. Did everyone follow that?

The Meet and Duo video services were both built as reactions to Google’s far more stable communication competition. Google Meet was technically created in 2017 as a group business video chat application called “Google Hangouts Meet,” but it really became a major project after Zoom’s growth exploded in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Google Meet was still locked behind a paywall during the initial months of the work-from-home era, and while it eventually became as easy to use as Zoom, it was after Zoom became a household name.

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#tech

Wi-Fi 7 PCs should be available by 2025, could surpass 5.8Gbps, Intel says

Wi-Fi 7 PCs should be available by 2025, could surpass 5.8Gbps, Intel says

Enlarge (credit: Getty)

As work on the Wi-Fi 7 specification continues, products supporting the upcoming standard are seemingly on track for a prompt release. This week, Intel said that computers using its Wi-Fi 7 modules are expected to be available within the next two years.

“We are currently developing Intel’s Wi-Fi ‘802.11be’ in order to obtain the ‘Wi-Fi Alliance’ certification, and it will be installed in PC products, such as laptops, by 2024. We expect it to appear in major markets in 2025,” Eric McLaughlin, VP of the Client Computing Group and GM of the Wireless Solutions Group at Intel, said at a recent press conference, according to South Korean IT news site ETNews (as spotted by The Register).

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11be standard, also known as Wi-Fi 7, is expected to leverage the 6GHz band in addition to the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands while delivering a max channel bandwidth of 320 MHz, compared to Wi-Fi 6/6E’s max of 160 MHz.

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#intel, #tech, #wi-fi

Wemo’s confused Smart Dimmer shows how hard standardizing IoT may be

Wemo’s confused Smart Dimmer shows how hard standardizing IoT may be

Enlarge (credit: Wemo)

When the smart home compatibility standard Matter finally arrives, it promises to simplify and improve the connections and compatibility between different device brands, using Thread as its secure, low-energy backbone.

Until then, let devices like Wemo’s new Smart Dimmer with Thread serve as a warning: Matter runs on Thread, but not all Thread devices will give you a Matter experience. Belkin’s new dimmer is a prime example of a device “with Thread” that is far from universally accessible—and likely confusing to buyers.

Wemo’s new dimmer doesn’t require the onerous Wi-Fi setup you might remember from switches of old, instead connecting to your smartphone by Bluetooth or an NFC tap. To use it outside of Bluetooth range, you’ll need a Thread network in your home. But here’s where it gets tricky: This smart dimmer is controlled exclusively through HomeKit, so you’ll specifically need a HomePod Mini or second-generation Apple TV 4K within a reasonable range of the switch. Those more robust devices can act as “border routers” in a Thread network, allowing more single-purpose devices like a dimmer to connect to a Thread mesh and access the Internet.

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#belkin, #homekit, #matter, #smarthome, #tech, #thread, #wemo

The women calling out Apple’s handling of misconduct claims

The women calling out Apple’s handling of misconduct claims

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | FT)

Megan Mohr was five years into her Apple career when, in 2013, a male colleague took advantage of her after a platonic night out drinking together.

After the colleague drove her home and helped her inside, she briefly fell asleep before waking to the sound of clicking. The colleague had removed her shirt and bra. He was snapping photos, and grinning.

Mohr previously had a bad experience with human resources—known internally as Apple’s People group—when another colleague had broken into her accounts and harassed her, leading her to file a police report. HR didn’t listen well or help in any way, she says, so this time she didn’t bother. “I was afraid of retaliation and knew HR wouldn’t have my best interest in mind,” she says.

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#apple, #hr, #policy, #sexual-harassment, #tech

Record-short days could speed up debate on leap seconds

An atomic clock based on a fountain of atoms.

An atomic clock based on a fountain of atoms. (credit: National Science Foundation)

Meta recently joined the ranks of tech giants calling for the end of the leap second, the fascinatingly complex way humans account for tiny changes in the Earth’s rotation timing. The owner of Facebook and Instagram adds to a chorus that’s been growing for years, and the debate could come to a head at a global conference in 2023—or even sooner if the Earth keeps having record-short days.

Facebook, like many large-scale tech companies, is tired of trying to time a global network of servers against leap seconds, which add between 0.1 and 0.9 seconds to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) every so many years. There have been 27 leap seconds added since 1972. In a post on Meta’s engineering blog, Oleg Obleukhov and Ahmad Byagowi say 27 is quite enough for non-solar-scientist types—”enough for the next millennium.”

International timekeeping bodies add leap seconds at unpredictable intervals because the things that cause them—the braking action of tides on rotation, moon position, the distribution of ice caps on mountaintops, mantle flow, earthquakes—are unpredictable. When the Earth’s speed varies too much from atomic time-keeping, a leap second is called for by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS).

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#earth, #leap-second, #leap-second-smearing, #leap-seconds, #meta, #policy, #science, #tech

Facing quality and pacing issues, Apple reportedly delays iPadOS 16

Widgets on iPadOS 15's home screen.

Enlarge / Widgets on iPadOS 15’s home screen. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple will delay the release of the iPadOS 16 software update for iPads well into October, about a month after the September release of the iPhone’s iOS 16. The news comes from a report in Bloomberg citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Typically, Apple releases iPadOS—which is closely related to iOS—very close to or shortly after the iOS launch, which comes in September alongside new flagship iPhone models. It’s arrived slightly later in the past, but this would be an unusually large gap in releases.

According to the report’s sources, the delay can be blamed at least partly on the upcoming overhaul of the iPad’s multitasking features, including the new Stage Manager feature that is also coming to Macs in macOS. Those features were announced at Apple’s developer conference in June.

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#apple, #ios, #ios-16, #ipad, #ipados, #ipados-16, #multitasking, #stage-manager, #tablet, #tech

4K webcam uses a built-in gimbal to follow you around, enable gesture controls

Insta360 Link 4K webcam

Enlarge / Insta360’s new Link webcam. (credit: Insta60)

These past couple of years have experienced a bit of a webcam renaissance, as the ability to get an in-person feel from a virtual meeting has become more valuable than ever. That renaissance included the introduction of helpful features, many of which focus on keeping the user center-frame. We’ve seen cameras play with AI, and in the case of Dell’s magnetic, wireless webcam concept, even magnets to keep your face perfectly in frame. The Insta360 Link announced Tuesday also leverages AI auto-framing but adds a much more obvious, yet rare, tool for capturing a moving subject: physical mobility.

Insta360, headquartered in Guangdong, China, and founded in 2015, is primarily known for sports and 360-degree cameras. The Insta360 Link is its first webcam, and it’s like if the DJI Pocket 2 and Apple Center Stage had a baby.

The Link is a 4K camera with a proprietary half-inch sensor and f/1.8 aperture living on top of a three-axis gimbal (the webcam can also be mounted on a tripod or stand purchased separately). Insta360’s camera is similar to the $269 Obsbot Tiny 4K, but the latter has a two-axis gimbal.

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#ars-shopping, #tech, #webcams

Intel’s loss is AMD’s gain as EPYC server CPUs benefit from Intel’s delays

AMD's EPYC server processors are benefitting from Intel's delays.

Enlarge / AMD’s EPYC server processors are benefitting from Intel’s delays. (credit: AMD)

Earnings reports for tech companies this quarter have been mixed at best. AppleMicrosoft, Alphabet, and others have managed to eke out a little growth, while the likes of Meta and Nintendo shrank a little, and most companies’ projections for the next quarter are also less-than-optimistic.

One company that has been hit particularly hard is Intel, which saw its revenues decline from $19.6 billion in Q2 of 2021 to $15.3 billion in 2022. The company’s earnings presentation (PDF) showed weakness across the board for a variety of reasons: weaker demand for consumer PCs, money invested in getting the Arc dedicated graphics products off the ground, and “competitive pressure” in the server CPU market.

That competitor is AMD, whose EPYC line of server processors was just one bright spot in a record quarter for the company. Revenue increased from $3.9 billion in Q2 of 2021 to $6.6 billion this year, with $673 million of that additional revenue coming from EPYC processor sales and the company’s data center division. This is a big deal for AMD, which had some success with its Opteron server CPUs way back in the mid-2000s but had mostly ceded that ground to Intel throughout the 2010s.

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#amd, #biz-it, #intel, #tech

Samsung and iFixit launch repair program for flagship phones and tablets

Samsung and iFixit launch repair program for flagship phones and tablets

Enlarge (credit: Samsung)

Hot on the heels of Google and iFixit launching a parts store about a month ago, Samsung and iFixit’s self-repair program is now live, too. iFixit hosts an official Samsung parts store that Samsung says sells parts “at the same pricing offered to our affiliated repair providers.”  The repair site now has a series of official repair guides written in the usual excellent style, and Samsung will start selling parts and iFixit tools in its retail locations.

The official repair program is a good start, but it’s nowhere near comprehensive. Currently, the parts store ships to the US, and only the S21, S20, and Tab S7 series of devices are covered. With three sizes of each phone, that’s support for seven models total. Samsung releases around 40 devices per year, so there’s a long list of devices left unsupported. That list also doesn’t include the latest flagship models, like the currently-in-production S22 phone and the S8 tablet.

The only way to get a display is to buy this combo package of the display, phone body, and battery. It's like half a phone!

The only way to get a display is to buy this combo package of the display, phone body, and battery. It’s like half a phone! (credit: iFixit)

The store’s official guides and parts only cover the back glass, charging port, and a combination “display assembly” that requires you to buy “the phone screen, metal frame, bezel, and battery” in one package. A comprehensive list would look like iFixit’s unofficial iPhone store, which has around 30 individual parts. iFixit has 17 guides for something like the S21, but only three of them are flagged as “official.”

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#right-to-repair, #samsung, #tech

The OnePlus 10T returns to a winning formula of high specs, low ($649!) price

Four months after the launch of the OnePlus 10 Pro, OnePlus is back with a new device, the OnePlus 10T. After we beat up the OnePlus 10 earlier this year for having a high price, the OnePlus 10T looks like a decent correction: It’s $649, $250 cheaper than the $899 OnePlus 10 Pro.

Let’s look for the missing $250 in the spec sheet: The OnePlus 10T is slightly faster than the more expensive OnePlus 10 Pro, thanks to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 SoC. This has a minor 10 percent faster MHz boost over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and turns in benchmark scores right around that amount. That 10 percent speed boost finally brings Qualcomm’s 2022 CPU performance back up to the level of its 2021 chip—previously it was a bit slower.

The phone still has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (and a new 16GB/256GB tier for $100 more). There’s still an in-screen fingerprint reader and a USB-C port. The battery is 4 percent smaller at 4800 mAh instead of 5000 mAh, and the wireless charging is gone. The phone doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6E (just Wi-Fi 6), and it sounds like the cameras are all a tier lower, with the phone now sporting a 50 MP Sony IMX776, and then a just-for-fun 8 MP ultrawide and a 2 MP macro camera.

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#tech

Tonight we’re gonna log on like it’s 1979

Tonight we’re gonna log on like it’s 1979

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Teletypes may have killed a lot of forests by emitting every line to hard copy instead of a screen, but there’s something to be said for the permanence of paper. While working on building a functional Silent 700 Model 765 ASR teletype, I came across a set of teletype transcripts from several users logging onto The Source, one of the earliest online services, and a complete photocopy of the service’s user manual.

That can mean only one thing: It’s time to get out your copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, start blasting “In The Flesh,” and head back to 1979 and 1980, when these transcripts were printed. We’ll talk a little about the service generally and then log on exactly as these people did—because the Silent 700 transcripts indeed show exactly what transpired and how people used them.

A brief history of The Source

The Source was one of the first online services—billed as an “information utility”—to be oriented to the general public, and it anticipated later operations like Prodigy, Delphi, and QuantumLink, which came years later. (Although CompuServe as a company already existed by this time, the consumer service it became better known for wasn’t established until 1979.) The original concept, as founded in 1978, was to send email over FM radio subcarriers, but the technology proved unreliable. Pivoting to telephony instead, The Source’s company forged a deal with time-sharing provider Dialcom to use its “excess” minicomputer time overnight and on weekends for the same concept.

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#features, #tech

3 years after launch, Apple Arcade loses 15 games

Art from <em>Various Daylife</em>, one of the games that left Apple Arcade in August 2022.

Enlarge / Art from Various Daylife, one of the games that left Apple Arcade in August 2022. (credit: https://variousdaylife.square-enix-games.com)

Several games that were previously available as part of the Apple Arcade subscription service have been removed.

Fifteen titles have been dropped, and all of them are games that were introduced in the early days of the service. Since mid-July, these games had appeared in a “Leaving Arcade Soon” section of the Apple Arcade tab in the App Store. That section is now gone, suggesting that these are the only games that will be removed in the immediate future.

Apple revealed that these games would be leaving Arcade within that section, so subscribers had a little over two weeks’ notice. But there’s a little more time for those currently playing the games.

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#apple, #apple-app-store, #apple-arcade, #gaming-culture, #mobile-games, #tech

GaN-powered Thunderbolt 4 dock wants to rid data-hungry setups of power bricks

GaN-powered Thunderbolt 4 dock wants to rid data-hungry setups of power bricks

Enlarge (credit: Hyper/Kickstarter)

For power users juggling a high-resolution monitor or two, large data transfers, multiple PC accessories that need power, and, perhaps, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, a Thunderbolt dock can add helpful high-speed ports while powering a supporting PC, like a MacBook. This helps streamline an office setup but also typically comes with a clunky power brick to add to the mix. Hyper’s gallium nitride (GaN)-powered HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Hub, which started crowdfunding on Monday, is hoping to change that.

Hyper, a 7-year-old maker of PC hubs, docks, portable chargers, and the like, is seeking to crowdfund a Thunderbolt 4 hub that it claims is the first “Thunderbolt 4 hub with an integrated GaN power source.” The dock is a small, rounded-edge square offering one Thunderbolt 4 upstream port and three Thunderbolt4 downstream ports with up 40Gbps operation and accompanied by zero clunky power bricks.

However, Hyper isn’t ready to release its dock yet; it’s currently undergoing a Kickstarter campaign.

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#tech, #thunderbolt, #usb

Raspberry Pi 4 expands 3D potential with Vulkan update

3D racing game screenshot

Enlarge / Real Racing running on a Vulkan-powered Raspberry Pi 4. (credit: Raspberry Pi)

The Raspberry Pi 4 has hit a major graphics milestone, adding support for a more modern Vulkan 3D API. While that doesn’t mean a smooth Doom (2016) experience on the single-board wonder, it does help Pis running Android and points to some future powers.

Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton announced the Pi 4’s Vulkan 1.2 conformance on Monday. Support isn’t available yet in downloadable Pi-friendly operating systems but should be coming soon.

For most people using their Pi as a server, a DIY controller, or a light desktop, Vulkan 1.2 conformance won’t be noticeable. Desktop graphics on the standard Raspberry Pi OS are powered by OpenGL, the older graphics API that Vulkan is meant to replace. There is one group that benefits, says Upton: games and other 3D Android applications. Android uses Vulkan as its low-overhead graphics API.

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#3d-graphics, #gaming-culture, #raspberry-pi, #raspberry-pi-4, #tech, #vulkan

Some Studio Display owners are having audio problems; software fix may be coming

Apple's Studio Display

Enlarge / Apple’s Studio Display. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Developer and blogger Michael Tsai has been collecting anecdotes about a new problem with Apple’s Studio Display: recurring audio glitches. Symptoms include audio playback becoming “choppy” or cutting out entirely, and some users have reported similar difficulties with the built-in microphone and even the webcam.

MacRumors reported today that Apple circulated a memo to service providers acknowledging the issue and recommending that affected users power cycle their Studio Displays. This recommendation is made somewhat awkward because the Studio Display has no physical power button and can’t be completely shut down or restarted through macOS. But if you unplug the display’s power cable, wait at least 10 seconds, and plug it back in, that ought to straighten things out while Apple develops a fix.

The Studio Display has more internal smarts than typical computer monitors—it’s essentially a low-end iPad on the inside, complete with an A13 chip, 64GB of storage, and an iOS-derived operating system. That means it can do some unique things, like supporting the pan-and-scanning Center Stage feature or always-on Hey Siri, regardless of the capabilities of the Mac it’s connected to. But it also means that, like any computer, it can have software bugs.

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#apple-studio-display, #tech

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says productivity is “not where it needs to be”

A large Google logo is displayed amidst foliage.

Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai apparently thinks Google has room to be a more focused company. CNBC reports the executive recently called an all-hands meeting and—after saying the company is “not currently” planning layoffs—said he wants a more efficient Google.

“There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the headcount we have,” the report quotes Pichai as saying. The CEO added that he wants to “create a culture that is more mission-focused, more focused on our products, more customer focused. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity.”

The call for more focus came after Google’s Q2 earnings report last week, where Google’s parent company, Alphabet, missed revenue expectations amid what CFO Ruth Porat said was “uncertainty in the global economic environment.” Last month, Pichai also announced plans to slow hiring for the rest of the year. Google also revamped its performance evaluation process this year with the goal of “creating an easier path to promotions” and “busting bureaucracy.” A 2021 New York Times exposé on Pichai’s management style described Google as a declining, indecisive company in “a paralyzing bureaucracy.”

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#tech

Linus Torvalds uses an Arm-powered M2 MacBook Air to release latest Linux kernel

Slowly but surely, the Asahi Linux team is getting Linux up and running on Apple Silicon Macs.

Enlarge / Slowly but surely, the Asahi Linux team is getting Linux up and running on Apple Silicon Macs. (credit: Apple/Asahi Linux)

We don’t normally cover individual releases of the Linux kernel, partly because most updates are pretty routine. Any given Linux kernel update resolves some bugs, improves support for existing hardware, and makes some forward-looking changes in anticipation of new hardware, and kernel version 5.19 is no exception. Phoronix and OMG! Ubuntu! both have good overviews of the changes.

But there’s one interesting note about this release that Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds mentions in his release notes: The kernel update is being released using an Arm-powered laptop, specifically the M2-powered version of Apple’s MacBook Air.

“It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a loong [sic] time, and it’s finally reality, thanks to the Asahi team,” Torvalds writes. “We’ve had arm64 hardware around running Linux for a long time, but none of it has really been usable as a development platform until now.”

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#apple-m2, #asahi-linux, #tech

Dell follows Apple in exploring laptops with reverse wireless charging

Dell follows Apple in exploring laptops with reverse wireless charging

Enlarge

A recently published Dell patent, spotted by Patently Apple, shows the company exploring the ability to wirelessly charge devices on a laptop’s surface. We’ve seen similar concepts from Apple, which has already won patents for similar technologies. However, instead of simply dropping your iPhone on the laptop’s surface and letting it charge, Dell’s patent application describes a “wireless charging clip” that can attach to the PC and then be used to charge devices placed on top of it.

The patent (number 20220239124) was filed in early 2021 and was published Thursday. It doesn’t guarantee a future product or feature, but it gives us a peek into what the company is considering.

The wireless charging clip has a surface with a charging coil and a ferrite sheet beneath. The clip would be connected to the PC by magnets.

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#apple, #dell, #laptops, #tech, #wireless-charging

Apple Watch buying guide: Which wearable is best for you?

Extreme close-up photograph of a wristwatch on a hand in a pants pocket.

Enlarge

Broadly speaking, recommending an Apple Watch is simple: If you use an iPhone and want a smartwatch, staying in-house with Apple will usually be your best bet.

But there are several Apple Watches on the market right now. The introduction of the Apple Watch Series 7 in September 2021 brought Apple’s lifetime total to nine, with the company currently offering three models in stores: the Series 7, SE, and Series 3. Among those, there are multiple variants that differ in size, connectivity, design, and price.

Then there are older-but-still-updated generations you can dig up from third-party retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, as well as options to buy refurbished devices. Everyone has different needs, and you may be able to find an Apple Watch that’s less expensive and more attuned to your desires by going these routes.

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