Latest Article

The shape of Kirby March 31, 2023

Image: Nintendo / The Verge Kirby developers Shinya Kumazaki and Tatsuya Kamiyama talk about the various shapes of Kirby and what we can learn from them. Continue reading…

Celebrating VIR FIDELIS

Happy Golfing everyone.  Proud to be part of Farrell life. 

Happy Golfing everyone

How to see your iPhone location history

Apple’s iPhone location history tracking has the potential to monitor every move you make and present it to you in a nice list on your phone — if that’s what you want. There may be many reasons why you would want this switched on, whether it’s to keep a record of where you’ve been, or to get better suggestions from Apple in terms of places to visit and relevant App Store apps for that place. Here’s how to see — and delete — that information.

Read more: Apple iPhone 13 buyer’s guide — everything you need to know

MacBook Air vs. the two MacBook Pros: Which has the better battery life?

Battery efficiency has improved dramatically with the arrival of the first Apple silicon MacBooks. Of these, the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) offers the best battery life, although it’s not the best pick for most people because of its high price. Instead, our choice for the battery consensus is the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022), although it does come with significant drawbacks over our second recommendation, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022). Here’s a look at the best MacBooks for battery life. Which one is the choice for you?

Best Solution: 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)

With an integrated 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) version offers up to 17 hours of wireless web and up to 20 hours of Apple TV app movie playback between charges. The only MacBook with better battery life is the 16-inch model (see our third pick). However, that one is much more expensive.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) includes a system-on-a-chip (SoC) Apple M2 chip that consists of an 8-core CPU with four performance cores, four efficiency cores, a 10-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. In addition, you can get up to 2TB of storage and 24GB of unified memory.

If you’re purchasing a MacBook Pro solely based on battery life, choose this one. It was just updated for 2022 and should stick around for a while.

On the positive side, it is the only MacBook Pro that still has Touch Bar. On the negative side, unlike the 2022 MacBook Air (see below) and 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, this laptop doesn’t offer a MagSafe charging port or 1080p FaceTime HD camera.


It’s much cheaper than the 16-inch model
Includes Touch Bar … if you still want it


Price can rise quickly as you add components
Only offers a 720p FaceTime HD camera
No MagSafe

Best Solution

13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)

From $1,299 at Apple

Best battery life — ever

This laptop will take you up to 20 hours on a single charge. We repeat: 20 hours!

Alternative: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The best Mac for most people, the MacBook Air (2022), offers up to 15 hours of wireless web and up to 18 hours of Apple TV app movie playback thanks to its integrated 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery.

The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) has a 13.6-inch Liquid Crystal display and features the same SoC Apple M2 chip found on the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022). You can also get up to 2TB of storage and 24GB of unified memory.

In previous generations, purchasing the 13-inch MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air often made sense. Not anymore. The 2022 MacBook Air offers many more features than the other model, including a MagSafe charging port, an all-new, larger display; less weight, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, more color choices, plus much more. Still, regarding battery life, the 13-inch MacBook Pro reigns, offering 20 hours between charges in many cases versus the 18 hours for the MacBook Air.

Another note: The MacBook Air can get very expensive as you add better internals, which is something to keep in mind.


Least expensive MacBook
Apple M2
18 hours of battery life
Return of MagSafe


Better battery life found on 13-inch MacBook Pro
Can get expensive as you add options


MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

From $1,199 at Apple

Forget the charging cable for longer

The best all-around option for most users, the MacBook Air is a great-looking device that will provide you with years of fun and productivity.

Larger display option: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

The 16-inch MacBook Pro) received its Apple silicon update in 2021 — and it’s a great one. Apple promises up to 14 hours of wireless web and 21 hours of movie playback between charges. The latter is the best you will find on a MacBook of any kind.

Besides the largest display currently available on an Apple laptop, the 16-inch model packs a punch. You can choose from an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC. The base 16-inch MacBook Pro also comes with 16GB of unified memory, 512GB SSD storage, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port. Depending on the Apple silicon option you select, you can get up to a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and 64GB of unified memory.

On the apparent downside, this is an expensive laptop, and it gets even more costly as you add better specs.

What about the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)? Along with the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021), Apple revealed a 14-inch model last year. This laptop is identical to the larger model except for the display size — and battery life. This Mac provides a somewhat lousy 11 hours between charges for wireless web and a respectable 17 hours for Apple TV app playback. We recommend this Mac, which is one of our favorites of the year, but based on battery life alone, you can do better.


Most prominent MacBook Pro display to date
A powerful beast


Expensive even for the base model

Larger display option

16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

From $2,499 at Apple

Largest display

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is an excellent choice when the screen size matters the most.

Three choices

The best MacBook based on battery life is the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022), which provides up to 17 hours of wireless web and 20 hours of Apple TV app movie playback between charges. For this, and our alternative choice, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), you’ll experience the Apple M2 chip. This SoC chip consists of an 8-core CPU with four performance cores, four efficiency cores, 10-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine.

We recommend the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) only if you care for the bigger display. This model features M1 Pro or M1 Max and offers very good battery life between charges despite its larger screen size. It also comes with a lot of storage and memory options.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe

IoT Trends: AI/ML and Edge Computing in IoT

There is something magical about the “edge.” For example, in environmental science, one studies “habitat borders” where certain varieties of plants grow heavily at the edge but no further. Similarly, in astronomy, we have seen dramatic phenomena happening at the edge of the universe. 

It seems no different with human societies as a new revolution is brewing with high computational powers moving to the edge in what is increasingly called – Edge Computing.

Industry 4.0 and IoT

At its heart, IoT encompasses collecting and analyzing data, insights, and automation of processes involving machines, people, things, and places. IoT is, therefore, a combination of sensors, actuators, connectivity, cloud and edge computing and storage, AI and ML intelligence, and security.

Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, relies heavily on IoT technology, redefining automotive, transport, healthcare, public mobility, retail, and commerce. Since AI and ML drive all 5G and IoT innovations, their coming together is a natural phenomenon.

5G Supporting Strong IoT

One of the most significant innovations of 5G is providing strong support for IoT, including support for low-cost, long-battery life sensors.

As data storage and computing become a ‘fabric continuum.’ That fabric touches all sectors, and a slew of AI, ML, and Edge Compute solutions will eventually find their optimum zones to reside and roles to play depending on the use case.  


A new breed of cloud service providers, such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, introduced an entirely new scale of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), with manageability, transparency, and analytics at competitive prices. 


A plethora of options from LoRAWAN, NB-IoT, and rapidly proliferating 5G made offering advanced IoT solutions easier and more feasible.

Edge Computing

Massive advances in computing silicon have made edge devices powerful – allowing localized data assessment and real-time decision making, totally avoiding the round trip to the server. 

Some of the other transformations are beginning to be seen, more visibly in terms of engagements of players. For example, telecom operators with Hyperscalers (mentioned above) and transition of Operations Technology (OT such as machine control systems moving into the IT domain).

An increasing number of IoT applications are being conceived and built in the hope they will be consumed and paid for by enterprises and consumers. However, for various reasons, it is clear it will be best delivered from a location closest to the customer, and that zone is a hotbed of activity.

The space closet to the enterprise and consumers is the space that all these players want to dominate.  

This space will essentially mean a shift in workloads from central data centers to near-premise or on-premises dedicated edge compute cloud. The central data centers shift could sometimes mean moving the on-premises data center to an on-premises dedicated edge compute cloud.

This suggests a shift from the Capex model to an Opex model, impacting enterprise financial models.

Edge Cloud in an IoT world

In some ways, this increases a new direction in the value chain. The cloud is moving toward the edge, in what is now called the industry as the Edge Cloud.

A Straightforward Explanation of Edge Cloud

The Edge Cloud is simply the combination of smart edge devices (including sensors, nodes, and gateways) with software (algorithms, security stacks, connectivity modules, sensing and actuating components, a processor in a full stack) to handle hundreds of sensors per gateway.

Thousands of such nodes come together automatically with advanced clustering and nodal reconfiguration, re-routing in case of failure in some sort of a super-intelligent IoT network. 

Where Does the Tech for Cloud Come From?

The various technologies are already in place, and scalable use cases are becoming common. They even have standardized protocols to offload data to the cloud for non-critical data processing, but retain real-time data processing at the Edge Cloud itself. 

Can We Stop AI or ML?

As Silicon volumes build and prices drop, we expect millions of IoT devices to communicate via Edge Clouds and aid human life. The movement of AI/ML toward the edge is an irreversible process and, in fact, a necessity.

The following benefits are clearly visible to the industries that deploy these technologies:

RT processing ensures low latency responses (improves safety, reduces defect rate)
Localized security of data
Data sorting, filtering, and pre-processing before it hits the cloud (eases cloud load)
The combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum creates more efficient transport mechanisms.

AI image processing, object detection, and audio/video recognition capabilities have also improved significantly. They are now available as additional capabilities with certain Silicon vendors. We expect these to become even more prevalent and improved pricing as deployments grow. 

Is this Edge Cloud for real?

Is there a overhype around Edge Computing? Several assumptions are being made that fuel this extraordinary boom in Edge cloud theory:

    It is still unclear if the Edge Cloud market will be as large as it is made out to be. There is evidence that it can be a high-growth sector. However, the ownership elements of this service are still being defined; telco versus hyperscaler versus a specialist enterprise system integrator versus a Cloud Edge specialist.

    Edge Cloud is a cure-all versus use-case-specific solution. What applications require Edge Cloud capabilities (perhaps those in manufacturing RPA and healthcare versus retail applications) is unclear. Companies are still evaluating the business cases, and the cost of models will play out over time.

    Is Edge Computing a solution looking for an application? Is the round trip delay of a few micro-seconds making the consumer less ready to spend more? Are we mistaking edge storage for edge computing and treating all those applications the same?


What about the sunk cost of centralized data centers? Will they now be under-utilized or end up storing only non-critical data? If everything Edge Computing is about Real-Time, then 5G slicing could be a vital element of the solution. If that is the case, will a sustainable business model build-out between telcos and hyperscalers.


These revelations will come to light soon. As the space evolves further, it will become more apparent how AI/ML technologies will realign in the new world order. This will possibly define new positions of the service providers, their alliances with solution providers, and combined business models.

The combination of AI/ML will eventually settle down on a unique landscape that will drive consumers and users in the next decade.

The post IoT Trends: AI/ML and Edge Computing in IoT appeared first on ReadWrite.

Quick fixes: grouping Sonos speakers without the app

Want to hear your TV’s audio in the shower? Here’s how.


You want to play music on multiple Sonos speakers in your home, but your phone — and the Sonos app you normally use to control everything — are out of reach.


Tap and hold the play / pause button on any idle Sonos speaker, and it will automatically be grouped with whatever other speakers are currently playing.


Being able to envelop your entire living space in music is one of the best things about owning a Sonos system. Whether you’ve got speakers in every room or just a few strategically placed where they matter most, having the flexibility to get your whole system playing in harmony — or to send your TV’s audio to the Roam in your shower — is a huge convenience.

A shortcut that all Sonos owners should…

Continue reading…

Vergecast: Dish’s 5G network, Apple’s Major League Soccer deal, and Google’s AI debate

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Every Friday, The Verge publishes our flagship podcast, The Vergecast, where Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel, editor-at-large David Pierce, and managing editor Alex Cranz discuss the week in tech news with the reporters and editors covering the biggest stories.

Right before the final deadline from the US government, Dish Network says they have finally launched their 5G service in America. The Vergecast dedicates some time on the show this week to analyze Dish’s press release and talk about the obstacles The Verge must go through to test out this service.

Later in the show, the topic shifts to Google’s LaMDA model that was accused of being sentient by a Google engineer. The crew pushes back on the idea of a chatbot being sentient…

Continue reading…

Activision Blizzard says its internal review found that there is “no widespread harassment, or systemic harassment” at the company (Ed Smith/PCGamesN)

Ed Smith / PCGamesN:
Activision Blizzard says its internal review found that there is “no widespread harassment, or systemic harassment” at the company  —  Following a series of lawsuits, and claims of misconduct, an internal investigation by Activision concludes there is “no widespead harassment” – at Activision

Don’t let the Library of Zoltan Kulle in Diablo Immortal slow you down

Diablo Immortal’s first big hurdle doesn’t mean you have to buy anything in order to succeed.

Diablo Immortal has an extensive story mode, with different regions and activities to do that’ll have players exploring haunted woods, Gothic ruins, scorching deserts, and abandoned tombs.

While players will level up very quickly early on in Diablo Immortal, this does taper off the further in you get. One of the biggest, most jarring hurdles comes when players will try to enter the Library of Zoltan Kulle.

Diablo Immortal: What is the Library of Zoltan Kulle?

As you progress through the main story of Diablo Immortal, you will eventually get to a region called the Shassar Sea. This desert region will require you to hunt down different artifacts in your quest, before finally making your way into a massive tomb called the Library of Zoltan Kulle.

In the world of Sanctuary, which is where the Diablo games take place, Zoltan Kulle was one of the founders of the Horadrim, an ancient order founded by the archangel Tyrael dedicated to defeating the three Prime Evils. Zoltan was a powerful mage who eventually fell to darkness and created the Black Soulstone. After his fall was realized, the Horadrim killed Zoltan, but his library still hides dark secrets.

Diablo Immortal: How to beat the Library of Zoltan Kulle

On paper, the Shassar Sea is meant for characters in the level 28 through 35 range, while the Library of Zoltan Kulle is intended for characters that are level 35 through 40. The problem is that at this point, the rate of experience being earned slows down dramatically. Even if you’ve done side content up to this point, you’re unlikely to be higher than level 31 or 32 by the time you’re asked to enter the library. This is, obnoxiously, the point at which the game will also start reminding you about the ability to purchase the Battle Pass.

You might be tempted to try and make it through without being at the required level, but this is a very bad idea. You will very quickly be overwhelmed and won’t be able to deal enough damage to the higher-level golems and undead that roam the library.

The best way to get through is to grind some side activities. You’ll want to level up quickly, which means doing a lot of Bounties and Rift Challenges. The Battle Pass is also an option if you’re willing to spend money, as each rank earned in the Battle Pass grants a massive chunk of experience.

Outside of those options, having a great build in Diablo Immortal will help you out, though you may have difficulty finding key gems this early on in the game.

Hang in there

Diablo Immortal, like many great iPhone games, is completely free-to-play, but unfortunately, there are a lot of ways to spend money. If you want to keep from spending money, it’s going to take you longer to level up and get through later sections of the game. As time goes on, we’re expecting more and more content to be added to Diablo Immortal, including new regions, bosses, and activities, at which point you might have to grind even more to explore the new content.

Keep going

Diablo Immortal

Free at App Store

Try it at no cost

Diablo Immortal has been designed as the most accessible entry in the series yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t very difficult spikes in the game.

Save up

App Store Gift Card

See at Amazon
See at Apple
See at Walmart

Buying has advantages

While Diablo Immortal is a free-to-play game, anyone who buys the Battle Pass will have an advantage in leveling up and getting through difficult areas more quickly.

The price of the Motorola Razr 3 just leaked, and it’s good news

The European Motorola Razr 3 price has leaked.
The phone could be significantly cheaper than the previous Razr.
The leak also suggests the phone could land in only one color: black.

We’ve already seen a whole bunch of leaks related to Motorola’s next foldable phone, the Razr 3. However, the most important question hasn’t been addressed: how much will this thing cost?

Thanks to reliable leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (via digital storefront Compare Dial), we now have an idea of what the Motorola Razr 3 price could be. Hemmerstoffer contends the European price could be €1,149 (~$1,207). That’s a pretty big drop from the MSRP of the Razr 5G, which was €1,399 (~$1,470).

There’s a LEGO Suspension Dyno Now

When it comes to the development and testing of performance suspension, it’s helpful to have a test apparatus that lets you recreate certain conditions reliably. This LEGO suspension dyno does just that, and it’s clearly a big help for those doing R&D on minifig motorcycle suspension.

The build relies on four motors to overcome the resistance of turning a chunky conveyor belt, which acts as a rolling road. As the belt is built out of Technic beams, various LEGO blocks can be added to the conveyor to act as bumps or perturbations for testing suspension.

The video demonstrates the use of the dynamometer, showing how a simple LEGO motorbike design deals with bumps of various sizes. It’s easy to swap out forks and springs and change the geometry to tune the suspension, and the changes can be easily seen when running it through the same test conditions.

While we don’t imagine there are too many people working in this particular field, the lessons being taught here are valuable. This setup allows one to quickly visualize how changing vehicle parameters affects handling. It’s hard to imagine a better teaching tool for vehicle dynamics than something like this that lets you see directly what’s really going on!

Discord announces the widespread availability of its built-in autonomous moderation tool AutoMod, and expands Premium Memberships to more servers in the US (Jon Porter/The Verge)

Jon Porter / The Verge:
Discord announces the widespread availability of its built-in autonomous moderation tool AutoMod, and expands Premium Memberships to more servers in the US  —  AutoMod is getting a widespread rollout  —  Today, Discord is announcing widespread availability of AutoMod …

eBay will launch eBay Live, an interactive live shopping service, in beta this month, starting with a livestream offering a selection of rare trading cards (Aisha Malik/TechCrunch)

Aisha Malik / TechCrunch:
eBay will launch eBay Live, an interactive live shopping service, in beta this month, starting with a livestream offering a selection of rare trading cards  —  eBay announced today that it’s launching eBay Live, a dedicated shopping platform that gives users a way to purchase products in a live and interactive environment.

Review: This YCCTEAM Switch Controller is the best gamepad yet

Works incredibly well at a much lower cost than competitors.

I don’t even know how many dozens of Switch controllers I’ve tested over the years, but I can tell you that out of all the ones I’ve gotten my hands on, the YCCTEAM Game Controller is by far my favorite. This is due to the fact that it has a design similar to the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, but with one major layout difference: A massive Home button in the top center.

It’s also significantly cheaper than many other third-party options out there while offering more function than many competitors. Whether you’re looking for a comfortable controller for solo play or are trying to get a bunch of inexpensive controllers for multiplayer, this one will serve you well.

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch review:

Price and availability
What’s good
What’s not good
The competition
Should you buy?

Bottom line: With every function of the official Pro Controller complete with an ergonomic design and a massive Home button, the YCCTEAM Game Controller is by far one of the best controllers on the market. Plus, it’s far more affordable than other options out there.

The Good

Rumble and motion controls
Giant Home button
Ergonomic design
Scans amiibo
Up to 10 hrs. battery life
Five colors

The Bad

Hardly any texture for grips

From $23 at Amazon

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch: Price and availability

This third-party Switch controller sells for $26.99 on Amazon, but it has seen significant price drops during certain times of the year. It’s already much less expensive than other Switch controller options while offering more function than most Switch gamepads on the market. There are five different colors to help you choose the look you like best. Get it in red, black, white, blue, or black and green.

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch: What’s good

The YCCTeam Game Controller has a very similar design to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller but with one significant change — the Home Button is in the top center making it easier to access. I love this layout and will choose this controller over all of the others I own every time.

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch

Compatible devices
Switch, Switch OLED, Switch Lite


Up to 10 hrs


Motion Controls

Mappable Turbo

Scans amiibo

There’s also an extra Turbo button which, thanks to the instructions in the manual, I was able to easily set to one of the other buttons on the controller. This is something that can come in handy in certain competitive games, but most people won’t use it. Fortunately, it’s not easy to accidentally trigger the assigning function for the Turbo button unless you want to.

This gamepad is a bit lighter than the official controller, but that’s usually the case with third-party controllers. I got used to the difference after a bit and the weight didn’t feel unpleasant for me in the long run. The buttons all press in nicely and the joysticks are very responsive. There wasn’t any delay while playing my favorite Switch games and the controller always worked the way I expected it to. It can even wake up the Switch if I press the Home button, wait a second, and then press the Home button again. By doing this, I don’t have to get up from my couch just to turn my console on.

The interior gyro responds as I rotate the controller around to work well with any games that offer motion controls. Additionally, there’s a good level of vibration without it being too little or too much. Many third-party Switch controllers leave these functions out, so it’s nice to have them.

It actually scans amiibo!

More so than motion controls and rumble, amiibo scanning is something that is almost always left out of third-party controllers, but that’s not the case with the YCCTEAM Game Controller. It responded quickly each time I tapped one of my figures to the Home button area and allowed me to unlock items in various games.

Unbelievably low price with all the functions

It’s crazy that the YCCTEAM Controller offers all of these functions and still manages to be only $27. Most of this controller’s third-party competitors go for $40 and the Pro Controller runs you $70. So really, this controller offers the most value while still being an excellent choice.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the Pro Controller or you want to get a bunch of controllers for game night, this one is the one to get. You can even get five different colors to help differentiate them among friends and family if you’d like.

Battery life testing

I’ve used this controller for dozens of hours throughout the week. The battery lasts for up to 10 hours and since I always charge my controllers between sessions it has never run out of juice on me during testing. There’s a USB-C slot at the top of the controller and a charging cable comes in the box, so I’ve been able to charge it back up using the Switch dock whenever I’m done with it.

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch: What’s not good

The only negative I can think of for this excellent controller is that there could be more texture on the grips to make it easier to hold. Otherwise, it’s practically perfect. As it is, it can be a tad slippery, but not enough to make me feel like I’m going to drop the controller. Honestly, considering the low cost of the controller combined with all of the functions it offers, this is one of the very best gamepads for Switch that you can get.

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch: Competition

If you’re looking for something with officially-licensed designs like Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing, or Pokémon characters, then you’ll want to check out the PowerA Wireless Enhanced Controller. There are dozens of designs to choose from. The only drawback is that while they have motion control and rumble, they cannot scan amiibo.

For players who want a gamepad that offers a little more pizazz, an RGB option like the Nexigo Wireless Nintendo Switch Controller will be of interest. You can get a controller with minimal lighting around the joysticks or there are other options that have lighting patterns throughout the front of the controller. It also offers rumble and motion controls, but again, no amiibo scanning.

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch: Should you buy one?

You should buy this if …

You want something inexpensive but reliable
You need a controller with all of the functions of the Pro Controller
You like the idea of a big Home button
You need rumble and motion controls, and amiibo scanning

You shouldn’t buy this if…

You only want to have officially-licensed accessories
You want something with Nintendo characters on it
You don’t like the color options

I have dozens of Switch controllers at my disposal since I frequently test them. However, ever since I started using the YCCTEAM Game Controller I haven’t wanted to use any others. I love the traditional design that matches the ergonomic feel of the Pro Controller. Plus, the fact that this controller has motion controls, rumble, a huge Home button, and even amiibo scanning makes it stand out in a sea of competitors.

out of 5

It is a bit lighter than the official Pro Controller and there’s not as much texture on the grips as I would like. However, it’s incredibly inexpensive for all of the functions it offers and gives me everything I need to play my favorite games. If you need a controller for solo play or want to get a few for competitive couch multiplayer this is the controller to get.

YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch

Bottom line: With ergonomic grips, amiibo scanning abilities, rumble, and motion controls this controller has everything you need to play Switch games. Plus, it’s far more affordable than many other options.

From $23 at Amazon

Analysis: 33 of the top 100 US hospitals used the Meta Pixel tracker, sending data back to Facebook, including details about prescriptions and conditions (The Markup)

The Markup:
Analysis: 33 of the top 100 US hospitals used the Meta Pixel tracker, sending data back to Facebook, including details about prescriptions and conditions  —  Experts say some hospitals’ use of an ad tracking tool may violate a federal law protecting health information

Office Life: The Old Gray Mare, She Ain’t What She Used to Be

Ding, dong; the office is dead. The real office is in your head.

This is what I tell myself when working from home gets too weird, too stale, too impossible. By now, many of you know some version what I’m talking about. Our circumstances may vary wildly, but the outcome is the same: working from home is pretty awesome, but, some small, secret part of us longs for the office. Why is that?

The answer will be different for everyone. Maybe you’re a social butterfly who misses face-time and the din of familiar voices. Maybe you just appreciate the physical separation between work and home life. If you’re lucky, the choice to go to the office is yours at this point, and if not, well, we have to wonder if you’re looking for new work. It’s 2022, we’re still in a pandemic, and of course there’s this, that, and the other multi-national Dumpster fire you haven’t heard about yet. Isn’t it time we prioritized work output over office attendance when it comes to our livelihoods?

To no one’s surprise, few major companies agree with me. Elon recently decreed that ‘remote work is no longer acceptable‘, and that those who want to work remotely may only do so as a reward after serving a minimum of 40 hours per week in the office. Apple tried to enforce three appearances a week until they received an open letter with 1,000+ signatures against.

The Office Is More Than Space

Photo by Jan Weber on Unsplash

Why would companies want to enforce attendance of non-essential people? I figure that, as the pandemic drags on, all that real estate sitting empty is expensive and makes them look bad financially. But then not having a big physical presence or several medium-sized presences scattered around would make them look bad socially. Well, maybe not bad, but less than powerful, precisely because attitudes about the when and where of work are still evolving.

I believe another reason is simply power. The office is the playing field of work, the stage where a caste system of executives, middle managers, and underlings can be acted out. It’s a natural extension of school, which we all got up for in the morning and suffered through each day until we could leave and do what we wanted for a little while before dinner and homework.

The Grass Is Greener When the Sunlight Hits It

I worked in an office for almost 20 years, fresh out of electronics trade school. I started out in the 24/7/365 NOC where I did shift work, including two twelves over the weekend once a month. For a telecommunications company, NOC workers are the custodians of the office — these are the people who have seen the place at all hours on the regular. These are the essential workers, the people who are troubleshooting IP networks on Christmas morning and filling the dull hours of the afternoon watching Die Hard on one of the big screens. Shift work is interesting because you can theoretically get stuff done during the day if you work second or third shift, but you’re also trying to sleep while the world is awake, and it can really screw you up.

It’s a hard-NOC life, but it would have been better with multiple monitors. Image via OP Services

After a couple of years in the NOC, I moved out to the engineering department and everything changed. I had metamorphosed into one of Them, a regular 9-5 office worker. Instead of getting my binder out of a breadbox-sized locker in the tiny break room and sitting wherever at a long console of computers and phones, I had a cube with a name plate. I had my own phone. My own box of tissues, accordion-style pad of sticky notes, and a chair that would only need to be adjusted one time. And instead of working in a cave by the glow of the monitors, amber terminals, and surveillance screens, I was across the aisle from a cube with a window.

And of course, I thought that would change how I felt about work. We Americans do too much of it in the name of constant growth, and that includes this side hustle culture out there that can turn our relaxing hobbies into entrepreneurial nightmares. At the office, like at school, there are many rules that are difficult to navigate, especially since the office tends to be inter-generational. I grew up in that office, and it holds a special place in my heart.

Work Is A Four-Letter Word

But that was my old job. At the tail end of 2019, I started full-time here at Hackaday as a Staff Writer. Talk about differences! Almost nothing seemed the same, except that I was working and someone was paying me in return, and I would still be using a computer all day. Suddenly, I went from toiling under a cold draft and fluorescent lights with my back to the door of a cubicle to working anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted, and in whatever clothes I found comfortable. It was all too freeing, and the Monday to Friday I had been pulling all my life suddenly looked like a pile of material and fasteners that I would have to construct by myself into a shelter of sanity.

Most days, I just plain don’t want to do what I’m supposed to be doing at any given time (thanks, ADHD!), but I recognize that I; thrive within a structure. Unfortunately, this works best when that structure is imposed by someone else.

And that’s what I miss most about the office, about going out to work: the whole structure of the thing. You venture out, maybe you’re a little late, maybe there’s time to get a latte. You get there and see familiar faces with stories to tell that distract you from your own life. You work for a few hours, secure in the fact that everyone around you is also working, and often toward a common goal. Then it’s time for lunch, and another change of scenery whether it’s a fast food place, the break room or your car to eat, or, depending on the day, the restroom on another floor to do some crying. Then it’s back to work for a while before we all get excited to go back home to our things that have been sitting alone for nine hours, give or take.

But at home, it can be like one of those endless, solidly-overcast days of sameness where you can’t tell 10AM from 4PM. Many days I miss the being-somewhere-else aspect of going out to the office. Not just because of the scenery changes, but because it allows the workplace to be an emotional scapegoat. Everyone complains about the office, right? But if you work from home, what are you going to do? It’s a difficult thing to hate your home, especially when you have all the power to make it whatever you want. So for me, this translates to having a highly-decorated office, which of course can be an endless source of distraction if I let it. But I believe it feeds my creativity to have all these objects around, most of which have a story behind them.

Having said all that, I don’t think I can go out to work at this point, at least not at a computer-based job. Between the loud, funny keyboard, the foot pedals, the expensive chair, and the ideal desk height of 21″, I’m too set in my ergonomic ways. But hey, for someone who thought they’d never computer again due to repetitive stress injury, I’m doing pretty good.

For another thing, my work is completely different now. While it’s true that I needed to think in my engineering job, what I do now has been best described by some other writer as sitting down and bleeding from the forehead. At least here at home, no one is going to come up behind me and start talking, or call out my name from over the wall. My biggest interruptions are usually cat-based. I can wear what I want, change if I need to, and I’m not expected to have any shoes on. In other words, I’m pretty happy working from home, and I bet I’m not alone.

Google’s second-ever permanent store is open now

Credit: Photos courtesy of Dorothy Hong and Google
Google has just opened a new Google Store in New York, this time in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.
Google’s first-ever permanent retail store is in Manhattan, not far from this one.
The Brooklyn store has a slightly different vibe and is considerably smaller.

Over the years, Google has opened many retail stores all around the world. However, they all were temporary. It wasn’t until 2021 that Google opened its first-ever permanent retail space, which is located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in New York City.

Today, Google is opening the doors of its second-ever permanent Google Store, also in New York. This time, the store is in Brooklyn in the famed Williamsburg area.

Apple Car patent reveals technology for faster electric vehicle charging

“Modular Charging Systems for Vehicles”

What you need to know

Apple is purportedly working on an electric vehicle.
The company has filed for a new patent that relates to charging such a vehicle.
It details a modular charging system that could increase home charging speeds.

Apple has today filed for a patent relating to charging electric vehicles, another sure sign that the company is working on its very own Apple Car.

The patent, published today and discovered by iMore, was filed by Apple in March and is titled ‘Modular Charging Systems for Vehicles.’

The abstract states:

Systems and methods for modular charging of vehicles are described. For example, a method may include connecting a vehicle to a charger using a charging plug interface that includes a first pair of conductors connected to alternating current terminals of an on-board alternating current-to-direct current converter of the vehicle and a second pair of conductors connected to terminals of a battery of the vehicle; and charging the battery of the vehicle via direct current flowing through the second pair of conductors concurrent with charging of the battery via alternating current flowing through the first pair of conductors to power the on-board alternating current to direct current converter.

This is specifically regarding the on-board charger that is included in electric vehicles, required to reduce how much charging infrastructure is required outside the car. By having a good OBC, some vehicles can accept AC power directly from the power grid. Speedier direct-current charging is only available at specialized charging stations at select locations.

The patent says the technology in play “may be used to provide a premium home charging experience for an electric vehicle” and could reduce charging times by including an “on-board alternating current to direct current converter” and an AC to DC converter of an external charger that can be installed in the home. The patent also allows a high-capacity battery in the external charger which can provide even faster charging when it has been “previously charged using efficient means”, such as a solar cell. It continues:

Users who want more power, and faster charging times, at home (e.g., 10-20 kW), and who have a power infrastructure including an alternating current circuit breaker panel that supports it, can also install an off-board charger at the home (e.g., mounted on a wall) which is configured to convert additional power (e.g., an additional 13 kW) for charging a battery of the vehicle. The off-board charger can allow the vehicle battery to be charged concurrently with both alternating current and direct current. For example, the off-board charger may be connected to one or more wall outlets that provide alternating current power (e.g., 240 Volts AC at 60 Hz). For example, a charging plug interface (e.g., including a cord) of the off-board charger may route alternating current to the on-board charger of the vehicle (e.g., providing 7 kW of charging power), while at the same time utilizing the output of the off-board charger’s alternating current to direct current converter to provide power (e.g., an additional 13 kW) to the vehicle as direct current though the charging plug interface. Such a setup may provide the benefit of utilizing the OBC (e.g., a 7 kW charger) that a vehicle operator has already purchased, and reducing the size and cost of the external charger used to achieve a given charging rate.

You can read the full and incredibly dense patent here. The patent, only filed this year, has not yet been granted to Apple.

It’s no secret that Apple continues to work on an Apple Car of some description, with leaks and rumors pointing to a target release date of 2025. In the meantime, the closest thing we have to Apple Car is a major new CarPlay update that was teased at WWDC 2022 for Apple’s future best iPhones.

AirSlate, which provides no-code tools for automating business processes, has raised $51.5M at a $1B+ valuation, bringing its total funding to $185.3M (Kyle Wiggers/TechCrunch)

Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch:
AirSlate, which provides no-code tools for automating business processes, has raised $51.5M at a $1B+ valuation, bringing its total funding to $185.3M  —  Proving that workflow automation is a robust sector, AirSlate, which provides no-code tools for automating business processes …

You’ll want to take a look at these Prime Day MacBook deals

There are no two ways around it – MacBooks are expensive. It’s no great surprise, really – they’re all made of aluminum with frankly ridiculous screens, all powered by the unique and surprisingly powerful Apple silicon. But what if there were a cheaper, more affordable way to grab one of Apple’s somewhat ubiquitous machines? Look no further than the MacBook Prime Day deals.

While there is still some time before Amazon unleashes its Prime Day deals upon the world, we’re making sure that we’ve got all the best prices gathered together so you know what to expect when Prime Day arrives. We’ll keep this page updated as much as we can during the build-up to Prime Day, so make sure you’ve got this page on a permanent tab. Looking out for an iPad? We’ve a page for that – it’s our iPad Prime Day deals roundup! While you’re at it, don’t forget to check our other Prime Day hubs, there’s one for every Apple product! Take a look at our Prime Day Apple Watch deals for wrist-based savings, or for deals that sound really good we have a Prime Day AirPods Deals page too.

In the meantime, there are some great deals to be had right now – so if your old MacBook just went to the great tech heap in the sky and needs replacing right now, we’ve got some of the best deals on MacBooks available today.

When can I get the MacBook Prime Day deals?

It’s not long now – Amazon has confirmed that Prime Day 2022 will take place between July 12 and July 13. It’s closing in fast, so make sure you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for when the deals start rolling in! If you’re not sure what deals there may be, keep it locked to iMore, and we’ll keep you up to date with all the best deals as and when they appear.

Will I need Amazon Prime for the MacBook Prime Day Deals?

Yes, you will. The very best deals over the two days are reserved for Amazon’s Prime subscribers – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other deals to be snagged if you don’t have one. It’s always worth double-checking a product’s deal price, and if there’s nothing about Prime Day, then you’re all good to go. Prime Day has also become something of a retail staple, with a whole host of other online retailers hopping on board to offer discounts to customers who aren’t Prime members – so look out for the likes of Walmart, BestBuy, and Target who often try to better Amazon’s prices.

As said up top though, for the best deals that Prime Day has to offer on MacBooks you’re going to want a Prime Subscription – thankfully, it’s really easy to get signed up, and you can get a nice 30-day free trial to have a go and see what you think.

30-day free Prime trial

30-day free trial

With 30 days of free Prime, you’ll get access to the deals, as well as Amazon Prime video and free next-day delivery – who knows, you might want to keep it!

Will MacBooks be reduced this Prime Day?

Maybe? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re after a Macbook Air, then you could be looking at some reduction, but any of the more powerful options tend to see very small reductions – or none at all. Having said that, the MacBook Pro 16-inch is seeing a saving at the moment – so chances of more deals come Prime day are looking up!

MacBook Pro 2021 16-inch

Amazon has chopped $200 off the MacBook Pro 2021 16-inch, nearly bringing it in line with its lowest ever price. The 14-ich model remains at the full price of $2000.

$2299 at Amazon

It’s also worth bearing in mind this year that since the last prime day the Apple MacBook lineup has been shaken up quite a bit – the 2020 MacBook Pro remains on sale, but will receive a 2022 processor upgrade, and there’s now the new lineup of 2021 MacBook Pro models that are yet to see a price drop at Amazon. Beyond that, there’s Apple’s latest Macbook Air redesign, that’s neither out yet, nor has a solid release date – and if it comes out before the release date, will it even receive a reduction? It’s unlikely, but worth keeping an eye on just in case!

MacBook Air 2020

It’s very easy to call the MacBook Air 2020 the ‘entry level’ Macbook. It’s certainly the least expensive of the bunch, but even then it frequently tops out at over $1000 for a better-specced machine. There is a reason it’s so expensive though – it’s made of solid aluminum in a range of colors, it has a gorgeous Retina screen that’s great for photo and video editing, and its unexpectedly powerful M1 chip means that it can handle the kind of loads that both usually entail. It’s a very solid, and very portable Mac – at its thinnest point, it’s .16 of an inch. Given it’s potentially reaching the end of its run with the release of the new MacBook Air 2022, it’s possible we could see some discounts on it this Prime Day.

MacBook Pro 2020

The Pro is designed for professionals, and as such has beefed up internals over its smaller sibling. There’s also the controversial touch bar – a long small screen that sits where the function row would be on an ordinary laptop keyboard. It’s a contextual menu – the graphics and options on the screen change depending on what program you’re using – for example, in Premiere Pro, it will feature a timeline scrubber or a color pallet. It’s very cool, and some users love it – others long for the tactility of a proper row of function keys. Either way, the MacBook Pro 2020 is a powerhouse of a machine, available with a 13-inch screen and some very nice RAM options. Like the MacBook Air 2020, it’s now being replaced with the very similar 2022 model – so keep an eye out for end-of-stock reductions.

MacBook Pro 2021

In 2021, Apple released its stunning redesign of its MacBook Pro lineup. Reminiscent of older Pro Models, the 2021 Pro features bigger screen options (14-inch and 16-inch), upgraded versions of the M1 chip in the form of M1 Pro and the M1 Max, and then bolted one of the best audio systems found in a laptop into its all-aluminum chassis. All this does come at a price premium – the MacBook Pro 2021 starts at $2000 – so you’d best get saving, particularly given it’s not likely to see much of a reduction during Prime Day – or many other big sale days.

MacBook Air 2022

This Machine isn’t even out yet – and may not be before Prime Day even arrives! It’s a complete redesign of the old MacBook Air, featuring a design reminiscent of the new Pro, with sharper lines and more even tapering. There’s a new 13-inch screen in the lid, a new keyboard on the deck, and Apple’s brand new M2 chip under the hood – an exciting Macbook indeed. While we are unlikely to see any big MacBook Air 2022 deals, it’s worth looking out for other retailers who sometimes use Prime Day to grab some customers with deals on the hottest tech – and it doesn’t get much hotter than a brand new MacBook Air.

But which MacBook is right for me?

“So you’ve told me all about what’s in them” you say, staring blankly into your computer screen. “But I don’t really know what any of it means? Which MacBook is best for me?”. Let’s start with a question – what do you do with your laptop?

If you’re a casual user who likes to browse the internet, stream video and do some light photo editing, then the Macbook Air is perfect. It’s small and portable, but still powerful enough to do all your computing needs – especially if you’re watching something on Apple TV+, the speakers in its small chassis are surprisingly excellent.

If you’re a professional looking for something to edit photos and do a little light video editing, the MacBook Pro 2020 is the machine for you. It’s more powerful than the Air, so photo-editing software will run without a hitch, and it’s even capable of some surprisingly solid video editing should you dabble. The screen is big and bright, and its keyboard is leagues better than previous models. A solid choice for the professional on the move who doesn’t want to spend $2000 on a laptop. Another option could be the Macbook Air 2022 – it’s as powerful (if not more) than the Macbook Pro 2020, and more portable – but we still haven’t had a chance to play with one properly to tell how it performs. We’ll let you know as soon as we do!

For Power users and video editors, it’s the MacBook Pro 2021. It’s as powerful as a desktop, while still being eminently portable, with a new bigger, and brighter screen and incredibly proficient M1 Pro or Max SoC. It’ll handle almost anything you throw at it (yes, even some games – gaming on a Mac is becoming a thing!), and do it without breaking too much of a sweat. All that power does come with a price tag to match, however. It starts at $2000 for the base model, and rises from there, depending on what you want to put in it, to over $6000. Is it worth it? Yes. But only if you can afford it – So let’s hope for a MacBook Pro Prime Day deal! If you want a more detailed rundown of which MacBook is for you, take a quick look at our Best MacBooks of 2022 list – it’s way more detailed, and super useful when you’re trying to find a new MacBook.

Rumor: 2024 MacBook to get huge OLED display upgrade just like the iPad

Ross Young says Apple’s OLED tech will boost brightness and lifespan while reducing power consumption by 30%.

What you need to know

A new leak says Apple may debut an OLED MacBook in 2024.
Ross Young says it could come alongside two new OLED iPads.
Features include a brighter screen, reduced power consumption, and variable refresh rate.

A new leak says that Apple will debut a massive upgrade for the MacBook in the form of an OLED display in 2024.

In a tweet from DSCC’s Ross Young for Super Followers seen by iMore, Young says that it is “looking increasingly likely” that Apple will debut a new 13.3-inch OLED MacBook in 2024 alongside the rumored 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Young says this device is “expected” to be a MacBook Air but could also be a MacBook Pro, a MacBook, or a “new category.”

That would a laptop similar in stature to the new M2 MacBook Air, but would deliver serious upgrades in display performance. Paired with Apple silicon it would likely be the best MacBook the company has ever created. Specifically, Young says the OLED tandem stack Apple plans to use in all three OLED products will give four major boosts. It will improve the brightness of the display, increase the display’s lifespan, and improve power consumption “by around 30%.” Young says the new models will also have LTPO for an improved improved variable refresh rate ranging from 1Hz to 120Hz, Apple first debuted variable refresh rates on the MacBook Pro (2021) last year.

As Young notes, this could debut in 2024 alongside two new iPad Pro models that we’ve been told could debut in 2024 as well.

Apple’s brand new M2 MacBook is barely out of the oven, but already we’re hearing multiple rumblings of major Mac upgrades at every turn. It was recently rumored that Apple is planning a new 15-inch MacBook Air model to go alongside its new 13-inch version. We are also expecting upgrades to the MacBook Pro in the form of a mighty new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips we expect to follow the M2.

Gurman has also leaked news about a possible new 12-inch MacBook, although other analysts don’t agree with this prediction.

Earlier this week insider Ming-Chi Kuo reiterated reports of a 15-inch MacBook coming next year.

Ross Young is an ultra-reliable leaker who has a phenomenal track record of accurately predicting the course of Apple’s plans and future details about its products.

Lighter, thinner, and more powerful

MacBook Air with M2

From $1,199 at Apple

Tiny powerhouse

The all-new M2 chip powers the thinnest MacBook Air yet.

The Xbox app now lets you know if games play well on your PC before you download them

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is adding a new game performance indicator to its Xbox app on Windows today that will let you know if a title plays well on your PC before you go ahead and download it. While system requirements have always been listed, this simple label makes it far easier to get a good idea of whether a game is suitable for your PC at a glance.

The Xbox app compares a game’s performance on PCs with similar specs to your own and generates a prediction as to how well the game will run. “If your PC isn’t up to the task of running a graphically demanding game, you’ll be able to view the game’s system requirements to get more details on what you need to run the game,” explains Tila Nguyen, senior product manager lead on Xbox experiences at…

Continue reading…

China’s tech crackdown, combined with a macroeconomic slowdown, has led to mass job cuts at its tech giants and record youth unemployment (Financial Times)

Financial Times:
China’s tech crackdown, combined with a macroeconomic slowdown, has led to mass job cuts at its tech giants and record youth unemployment  —  Becky Sun has submitted her CV to 80 companies since being dismissed from a midsized Beijing internet group at the start of the year.

Hospital websites are sending medical information to Facebook

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Many hospital websites have a tracking tool that sends sensitive medical information to Facebook when people schedule appointments, according to an investigation by The Markup. Experts say that the hospitals using the tool may be violating the medical privacy law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

The Markup found that 33 of the top 100 hospitals in the United States were using a tracker called the Meta Pixel on their websites. Installing the Meta Pixel gives groups access to analytics about Facebook and Instagram ads but also tracks how people are using their websites: the buttons they click, the information they put in forms, and so on.

On hospital websites, that could include sensitive health…

Continue reading…

Self-driving cars crash, too, but figuring out what it means requires much better data

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This week, for the first time ever, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data on crashes involving cars equipped with advanced driver-assist systems and automated driving technology. A lot of headlines — including The Verge’sfocused on the number of Tesla vehicles that crashed, which is understandable because Tesla had a lot of crashes.

But the numbers themselves don’t tell us the whole story. In fact, they don’t really tell us much of any story at all. Not yet.

That’s because we’re still missing a lot of key details, like the number of vehicle miles driven or the prominence of advanced driver-assist technology in each manufacturer’s fleet. NHTSA receives the data through varying sources, including customer…

Continue reading…

Able, which lets banks and other lenders speed up the processing of documents and data required for commercial loans, comes out of stealth with a $20M Series A (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Able, which lets banks and other lenders speed up the processing of documents and data required for commercial loans, comes out of stealth with a $20M Series A  —  Large banks are stepping up their game when it comes to new services and the technology that underpins them …