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US pulls rule that would have made it harder for American companies to sell to Huawei January 24, 2020

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge The US Department of Commerce has pulled a potential regulation would have made it more difficult for US companies to sell to Huawei, according to sources who spoke with the Wall Street Journal, after the Pentagon and Treasury Department protested the rule. Right now, US companies can sell […]

Aurora is finally ready to show the world what it’s been up to

Aurora, the self-driving car company founded by former Waymo engineer Chris Urmson, doesn’t do dog and pony shows. It doesn’t trot out its vehicles just to prove they exist or take journalists for test drives to demonstrate that the technology actually works. In fact, in the three years since Aurora launched, the public has heard very little about how Aurora plans to compete against Waymo, Ford, and General Motors.

After months of announcements — the company acquired a LIDAR sensor maker, hired a VP of hardware, and took an investment from Amazon — that finally appears to be changing. Just before the New Year, Urmson’s co-founders Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell hosted a rare media event to talk about their technology and take…

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Aurora is finally ready to show the world what it’s been up to
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Can the new Call of Duty League be the NFL of competitive gaming?

Photo: Call of Duty League

The Minneapolis Armory was home to the Lakers during the ‘50s, later became the site of iconic Prince and Aerosmith music videos, and in 1985, was designated to the US’s National Register of Historic Places. This weekend, however, it’ll be the scene for something very different: a glimpse at the future of professional Call of Duty.

It all starts on Friday evening when the Chicago Huntsmen take on the Dallas Empire in the very first match of the fledgling Call of Duty League (CDL). Call of Duty e-sports aren’t new, of course, but publisher Activision is aiming to take the concept mainstream with a league that closely mimics traditional sports like the NFL and NBA. “We want it to become something that’s broadly appealing,” CDL commissioner…

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Can the new Call of Duty League be the NFL of competitive gaming?
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App Store having issues? You're not alone – CNET

Apple’s status page confirms the App Store is currently having issues. App Store having issues? You're not alone – CNET
Source: CNet

Best on-ear headphones for 2020 – CNET

Looking for a more compact full-size headphone that sits on your ears rather around them? Here are our current top picks. Best on-ear headphones for 2020 – CNET
Source: CNet

Car designers love big wheels, but engineers hate them – Roadshow

Offering big dubs come with a laundry list of challenges. Car designers love big wheels, but engineers hate them – Roadshow
Source: CNet

Facial recognition startup fends off accuracy doubts and legal claims after NYT report

Illustration by Alex Castro / Th

Clearview AI, an artificial intelligence firm providing facial recognition technology to US law enforcement, may be overstating how effective its services are in catching terrorist suspects and preventing attacks, according to a report from BuzzFeed News.

The company, which gained widespread recognition from a New York Times report published earlier this month, claims it was instrumental in identifying a New York suspect from video footage who had placed three rice cookers disguised as explosive devices around New York City last August, creating panic and setting off a citywide manhunt. BuzzFeed News found via a public records request that Clearview AI has been claiming in promotional material that law enforcement linked the suspect to…

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Facial recognition startup fends off accuracy doubts and legal claims after NYT report
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More developers are making games for next-gen consoles than streaming services

PlayStation controllers

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles are both expected to launch later this year, and developers are gearing up with new games. According to GDC’s new annual survey, developers are more likely to be working on a game for the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, previously known as Project Scarlett, than game streaming services like Google Stadia and Project xCloud.

In the entertainment industry, streaming is bigger than it’s ever been; the streaming wars have divided consumer attention between platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. Each platform has its own offerings of unique or exclusive content to lure in dedicated subscribers. In the game industry, however, such a service has yet to land. When asked…

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More developers are making games for next-gen consoles than streaming services
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Pentagon blocked even tighter rules on Huawei sales, report says – CNET

The Commerce Department reportedly pulled back the rules after objections from the Department of Defense. Pentagon blocked even tighter rules on Huawei sales, report says – CNET
Source: CNet

Kia boosts Telluride production to 100K per year because it's so darn popular – Roadshow

Overwhelming demand isn’t a bad problem to have. Kia boosts Telluride production to 100K per year because it's so darn popular – Roadshow
Source: CNet

Android’s AirDrop competitor demonstrated in new hands-on video

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A new hands-on video from XDA Developers has given us our best look yet at Android’s upcoming AirDrop-style sharing feature called Nearby Sharing. The video of the unannounced feature shows a number of photos and a video file being sent between a Pixel 2 XL and a Pixel 4, although XDA notes that the feature has also been seen working on a OnePlus device.

Despite how useful AirDrop is, so far, Android has struggled to find much success with its own alternative. Its NFC-based take on the feature was discontinued in Android 10, and although Google’s Files app includes similar functionality, it’s not quite the same as having it baked it at the OS level. There have been reports that Google is working on an AirDrop competitor for Android for a…

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Android’s AirDrop competitor demonstrated in new hands-on video
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Teach Your Baby Sign Language

Your baby is going to understand and want to communicate ideas and requests with you a whole lot earlier than they’ll actually be able to verbalize the words. The gap between when a baby and young toddler knows what they want but can’t effectively communicate that to you is frustrating for everyone involved.

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Teach Your Baby Sign Language
Source: Life Hacker

London Police Amp Up Surveillance With Real-Time Facial Recognition

The city, stepping into a debate over privacy, says it will use the technology “to tackle serious crime.” London Police Amp Up Surveillance With Real-Time Facial Recognition
Source: NY Times Tech

Save on the Google Pixel 3A and Pixel 4, and get a free gift card with purchase

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google’s most recent phones, the Pixel 3A and Pixel 4, are discounted and include a free (generous) gift card with purchase at a few retailers. Neither amounts to the lowest price that we’ve seen, but still, it’s another chance to get in on the savings if you missed out on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Starting with Google’s more affordable phone, the Pixel 3A (shown above), a $50 discount brings it down to $349.99. You’ll also get a $100 Best Buy gift card with your order at checkout. This offer also applies to the larger Pixel 3A XL with 64GB of storage that usually sells for $479.99 (now $429.99).

B&H Photo is offering the same deal, knocking $50 off of the Pixel 3A and including a $100 B&H Photo gift card with purchase….

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Save on the Google Pixel 3A and Pixel 4, and get a free gift card with purchase
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Production delays on Obi-Wan Disney+ series are part of a bigger Star Wars problem

Preproduction on Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated Obi-Wan Disney+ series is delayed as the series grapples with script issues and lead writer Hossein Amini’s departure, according to Variety. The news, which was downplayed as minor by lead actor Ewan McGregor, comes as concerns about Star Wars’ future are brought into question following The Rise of Skywalker’s lukewarm release.

Numerous outlets reported that Obi-Wan was facing major rewrites to fix story issues. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Obi-Wan felt similar to The Mandalorian, suggesting that McGregor’s Jedi could lend “a protective hand to a young Luke and possible even a young Leia.” McGregor downplayed the reports in an interview with The Wrap, acknowledging that they…

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Production delays on Obi-Wan Disney+ series are part of a bigger Star Wars problem
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Now, you can use generative placeholder images for your web project

The tool can be used to generate art in various styles, including the abstract artist Piet Mondrian (this is not a Generative Placeholder so stop clicking on it). | Image: Generative Placeholder

Generative Placeholders is a new tool that lets you embed autogenerated placeholder art into a website that changes with every page refresh or click of the image. It only requires a brief bit of embedded code. The key word here is “placeholder,” which suggests that the tool’s creator, Stefan Bohacek, sees it as the visual equivalent of a Lorem Ipsum text generator (or the far superior Hipster Ipsum), designed to fill a prototype website with something while it’s under construction.

The code works by specifying how tall and wide a placeholder image should be, and it also lets you tweak the style and color of each image. There are eight different styles available, ranging from geometric layouts of circles or triangles (below) to designs…

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Now, you can use generative placeholder images for your web project
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Create a Vacation Recovery Plan

Over on NBC News, writer Sarah DiGiulio described that imminent sense of dread you experience after taking time off, otherwise known as the post-vacation blues—by Monday morning, you’re back in the office, at your desk, and wondering if it was all a dream.

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Create a Vacation Recovery Plan
Source: Life Hacker

5G's inconsistent rollout isn't limited to the US. Here's what it's like in the UK – CNET

We tested 5G on EE, Vodafone and O2 in five major cities across the UK. 5G's inconsistent rollout isn't limited to the US. Here's what it's like in the UK – CNET
Source: CNet

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will debut in a Spike Lee short film – Roadshow

A new teaser image for the short reveals the luxury SUV’s front end. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will debut in a Spike Lee short film – Roadshow
Source: CNet

The Week in Tech: A Tech Mogul’s Phone and the Saudi Crown Prince

An analysis of a phone belonging to Jeff Bezos found malicious code was hidden in a video sent from a WhatsApp account belonging to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Week in Tech: A Tech Mogul’s Phone and the Saudi Crown Prince
Source: NY Times Tech

The transforming Xbox 360 D-pad is proof that bad buttons can get better

In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives our devices. Button of the Month will look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new to appreciate how we interact with them on a physical, tactile level.

The Xbox 360 controller is considered to be one of the best video game controllers ever made — except for one thing: the D-pad. It’s conversely one of the worst directional inputs ever put on a controller.

Microsoft knew it had to fix things, and in 2010 — a full five years after it launched the Xbox 360 — it tried to do so in a singularly impressive fashion with the Xbox 360 Limited Edition controller, which…

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The transforming Xbox 360 D-pad is proof that bad buttons can get better
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Apple Arcade’s latest game is a more family-friendly Fortnite called Butter Royale

Image: Mighty Bear Games

Apple Arcade has so far been a great repository for polished, offbeat indie games that are best explored when you have some quiet time and perhaps no internet connection.

The latest entry into the iOS subscription game service is different. It’s a flashy multiplayer battle royale shooter, kind of like Fortnite — except it’s more kid-friendly, with a food fight theme instead of guns and bullets and a top-down design that gives it the look and feel of classic dungeon crawlers. It’s called Butter Royale, and it’s available today for all Apple Arcade subscribers.

But isn’t Fortnite already kid-friendly? you might ask. Well, sort of. You still shoot people with guns that…

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Apple Arcade’s latest game is a more family-friendly Fortnite called Butter Royale
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Stopping concussions with head gear that isn't a helmet – CNET

VR tools can educate athletes on brain injuries and help others empathize with those experiencing symptoms, developers said. Stopping concussions with head gear that isn't a helmet – CNET
Source: CNet

Apple Arcade's Butter Royale is the Fortnite of food fights – CNET

Butter incoming! Apple Arcade's Butter Royale is the Fortnite of food fights – CNET
Source: CNet

Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus: Everything we know about the Star Wars TV show – CNET

Ewan McGregor will play the exiled Jedi Master again in a live-action show on Disney’s streaming service. Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus: Everything we know about the Star Wars TV show – CNET
Source: CNet

How much longer will we trust Google’s search results?

Illustration by Alex Castro

Happy Friday to you! I have been reflecting a bit on the controversy du jour: Google’s redesigned search results. Google is trying to foreground sourcing and URLs, but in the process it made its results look more like ads, or vice versa. Bottom line: Google’s ads just look like search results now.

I’m thinking about it because I have to admit that I don’t personally hate the new favicon -plus-URL structure. But I think that might be because I am not a normal consumer of web content. I’ve been on the web since the late ‘90s and I parse information out of URLs kind of without thinking about it. (In fact, the relative decline of valuable information getting encoded into the URL is a thing that makes me sad.)

I admit that I am not a normal…

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How much longer will we trust Google’s search results?
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