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DC5n United States software in english 173 articles, created at 2021-12-24 00:04 articles set mostly positive rate 5.5
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Xbox Games With Gold for January 2022

The January Games with Gold lineup is here! It's time for the extra Games With Gold freebies estimated to arrive in the new year, 2022. As announced by 2021-12-23 17:53 2KB www.futuregamereleases.com

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Somebody built a lickable TV. I repeat: A. Lickable. TV.

We've had 4K, 8K, HDR, 3D, and curved TV screens, but none of that can compare to what might be next: A TV you can taste by licking it. 2021-12-23 21:03 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

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These Halo Infinite PC Accessories are available at GameStop right now

GameStop is still selling Halo Infinite limited edition items, including the Halo Infinite PC Accessories Bundle for $40 off. 2021-12-23 19:48 2KB www.vg247.com

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Best cheap printer deals for December 2021

If you need a printer, you probably need it now. We’ve rounded up a handful of the best printer deals available along with a list of a few that we recommend. 2021-12-23 19:23 4KB www.digitaltrends.com

(1.18/4)  5 
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How to build a gaming PC for under $600

Even in today's chaotic PC component market, it's still possible to build a capable, fun rig for under $600 that will let you enjoy some of the biggest games on the planet. 2021-12-23 20:12 6KB www.zdnet.com

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The best gaming routers 2021

With one of the best gaming routers, 2021 can be the year where you finally stop lagging behind the competition, whether you’re on PC or you opted for a console. Read on to find the best gaming routers. 2021-12-23 20:34 8KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

A Destiny 2 player finds out about an old feature in The Tower's Hangar for the first time after over 1,500 hours in the game. 2021-12-23 19:23 2KB gamerant.com

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Best Wi-Fi extenders of 2021: top devices for boosting your WiFi network

The best Wi-Fi extenders will make sure you can get online anywhere in your house. 2021-12-23 20:59 9KB www.techradar.com

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Matrix Resurrections: An io9 Roundtable Discussion

The io9 staff breaks down our thoughts on the fourth Matrix film starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. 2021-12-23 19:50 15KB gizmodo.com

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EA canned a Harry Potter MMO in the early 2000s

A former director of product marketing at EA revealed in a recent interview that the publisher almost made a Harry Potter MMO in the early 2000s, but canceled it because of doubts for the franchise’s future. 2021-12-23 18:48 2KB www.polygon.com

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Some of Samsung's upcoming TVs will support the HDR10+ GAMING standard

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support Samsung has announced that select displays that it shows off at CES will have support for the HDR10+ GAMING standard. The standard means that gamers will no longer have to adjust display settings. 2021-12-23 18:32 2KB www.neowin.net

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Leaked renders of the Xiaomi 12 reveal display size and colors

Official renders have given us another look at the Xiaomi 12, showing us some new colors and even the screen size. Check it out! 2021-12-23 18:30 2KB www.xda-developers.com

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gamerant.com

A new trailer for the Uncharted movie is officially here and it shows even more hijinks that Nathan Drake and Sully get into in the film. 2021-12-23 18:30 3KB gamerant.com

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Steam Winter Sale is now Live

The Steam Winter Sale has come to town, bringing tons of discounts for top-notch games. The Winter Sale will be live until January 5, 2022, at 10 AM PST, 2021-12-23 17:27 1KB www.futuregamereleases.com

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It Takes Two takes 50% off for both PC and consoles

Those who missed out on The Game Awards' Game of the Year, It Takes Two, can now purchase it for 50% off at major retailers. 2021-12-23 16:56 1KB www.vg247.com

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Vampyr is free to claim on the Epic Games Store today

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support The seventh freebie of Epic Games Store's daily giveaway holiday promotion has arrived. Until the promotion refreshes tomorrow, you can now grab a copy of the third-person action title Vampyr. 2021-12-23 16:06 1KB www.neowin.net

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Get a 65-inch 4K TV from Samsung for only $500 today with this Best Buy deal

The Samsung Class 7 Series 65-inch 4K smart TV is on sale for only $500 at Best Buy today, an impressive savings of $150. 2021-12-23 18:31 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

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Best AirPods deals for December 2021: AirPods and AirPods Pro

We've cataloged all the best AirPods deals in one place, so you don't have to hunt around to find them. These include a must-have offer on the AirPods Pro. 2021-12-23 17:38 3KB www.digitaltrends.com

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PS5 Black Friday deals 2022: what to expect

Last year's Black Friday included plenty of tempting PS5 deals for consumers to enjoy. 2021-12-23 17:05 6KB www.techradar.com

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The best PC case 2021: top cases for your desktop computer

When you’re building a new PC, you’ll need one of the best PC cases to shove all those parts in. Check out our list of the best PC cases for 2021. 2021-12-23 20:29 7KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

Keiichiro Toyama has shed some more light on Slitterhead, and the new details on the game should make Silent Hill fans optimistic. 2021-12-23 20:57 4KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

The PS4 may be getting older by the day, but recent screenshots of Horizon: Forbidden West show the console isn't ready to call it quits just yet. 2021-12-23 20:37 4KB gamerant.com

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Where to buy Nvidia RTX 3070: find stock here

The Nvidia RTX 3070 goes on sale October 29. Here's where to buy Nvidia RTX 3070. 2021-12-23 20:16 2KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

Licorice Pizza director Paul Thomas Anderson has weighed in on the discourse about superhero films, stating his approval of the subgenre. 2021-12-23 20:08 3KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

One Animal Crossing: New Horizons player shares an incredibly detailed recreation of the Mario Kart 8 Animal Crossing-themed course. 2021-12-23 20:00 3KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

March 2022 is still a few months away, but it's already shaping up to be one of the biggest months of 2022 in terms of new game releases. 2021-12-23 19:58 7KB gamerant.com

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Galaxy S20 FE 5G variant starts getting December 2021 security update

A couple of days ago, Samsung rolled out the December 2021 security patch to the LTE models of the Galaxy S20 FE. And now, the company is also making the update available for the 5G variants of the S20 FE. The update is currently rolling out to the 5G variants of the Galaxy S20 FE […] 2021-12-23 18:09 1KB mspoweruser.com

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DirectX 12 is coming to Mac, but the road is long

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support While experimental code is already being merged into Valve's Proton for Linux users to enjoy, VKD3D on Mac is wrought with numerous technical challenges and limitations that must be surmounted. 2021-12-23 21:44 2KB www.neowin.net

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More than 40 tech companies aren't attending CES 2022 in-person, but should you?

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support While more than 40 tech companies have confirmed their CES 2022 will be a digital-only event, 60+ businesses have booked floor space recently. Fully vaccinated people with masks can attend the event. 2021-12-23 21:24 2KB www.neowin.net

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How to watch Bradley and Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad Christmas Special online for free anywhere

As the Walshes brave sub-zero temperatures on the Icelandic glaciers, here's how to watch Bradley and Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad at Christmas online from anywhere. 2021-12-23 21:00 2KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

Turtwig is a popular starter, but Grass-types have a lot of weaknesses to cover. Here are some powerhouse Pokemon that can fill that role. 2021-12-23 21:00 9KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

Vincent D'Onofrio’s Kingpin was introduced on Hawkeye amid fanfare, but fails to live up to fan expectations and seems like a wasted opportunity. 2021-12-23 21:00 5KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

Eternals star Lia McHugh shared a behind-the-scenes photo from what may be a deleted scene featuring Kit Harington as Dane Whitman. 2021-12-23 21:00 3KB gamerant.com

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Magnetic Fields Could Be Early Warning That a Tsunami Is on the Way

A tsunami's magnetic field arrives even before the telltale receding of seawater. 2021-12-23 21:00 3KB gizmodo.com

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gamerant.com

A Destiny 2 player shares an amazing look for their Hunter inspired by Nathan Drake from the Uncharted games that perfectly matches Xur's loot cave. 2021-12-23 20:59 3KB gamerant.com

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Everything we know about Breath of the Wild 2

From playable characters and returning enemies to the release date and storyline, here is everything we know -- and don't know -- about Breath of the Wild 2. 2021-12-23 20:58 6KB www.digitaltrends.com

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gamerant.com

Team True Potential, a group of World of Warcraft fans and animators, releases a winter-themed short full of cute gaffes sure to bring cheer to all. 2021-12-23 20:57 3KB gamerant.com

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Some Pixel owners still can’t play Netflix in HD, months after Google promised a fix

Some Pixel owners still can't play Netflix in HD, even though it has been months since Google promised that it was working on a fix. 2021-12-23 20:55 3KB www.xda-developers.com

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gamerant.com

Following a complaint, the NHTSA investigates over half a million Telsa vehicles regarding the safety of playing games while the car is in motion. 2021-12-23 20:54 3KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

A fan of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim shares an image that shows what the iconic Whiterun location might look like if made using Unreal Engine 5. 2021-12-23 20:52 2KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

Outrageous physics-based sandbox game and Xbox Game Pass release Pigeon Simulator gets a development update to celebrate the holidays. 2021-12-23 20:51 3KB gamerant.com

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Amazon Says It Will Stop Interfering With Workers Organizing On-Site

The move comes in the wake of an NLRB settlement that focused on the company's "15-minute" rule. 2021-12-23 20:50 3KB gizmodo.com

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gamerant.com

Call of Duty: Vanguard may have added a lot of new mechanics, but its lack of a ping system is a frustrating step backward for the series. 2021-12-23 20:46 4KB gamerant.com

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Nokia X10 is HMD Global’s latest smartphone to get Android 12

HMD Global has officially started rolling out the stable Android 12 update for the Nokia X10 across the globe. Read on to learn more! 2021-12-23 20:43 2KB www.xda-developers.com

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Microsoft informs customers of 'NotLegit' Azure bug

The issue affects some Azure App Service Linux customers. 2021-12-23 20:40 4KB www.zdnet.com

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Hawkeye's End Credits Scene Confused the Director, Too

Director Rhys Thomas said the end credits choice for the Marvel Disney+ series' finale was a little surprising. 2021-12-23 20:40 3KB gizmodo.com

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Navigating a forever changed communications landscape

Vonage’s SVP of API Global Sales gives us the lowdown on how global communications changed for the better during the pandemic. 2021-12-23 20:30 1KB www.techradar.com

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Cezanne HR review

Cezanne HR is a cloud-based, modular HR software suite with cross platform support and role-based permissions. 2021-12-23 20:30 5KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

One Red Dead Online player uses a hilarious-looking bridge glitch that causes their character to whirl in the air, all the way to Mexico. 2021-12-23 20:28 3KB gamerant.com

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Best gaming mouse 2021: the best gaming mice we've tested

One of the most important peripherals in any PC gaming setup is a gaming mouse. We gather up the best gaming mice you can buy today. 2021-12-23 20:26 9KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

Like many other MMOs out there, Final Fantasy 14 has plenty of content that lurks beneath the waves prompting players to dive below the water. 2021-12-23 20:24 2KB gamerant.com

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The best free photo editors for PC in 2021: Adobe alternatives

Here's some Adobe alternatives for a quick edit. 2021-12-23 20:23 11KB www.techradar.com

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New System Would Let Us Know If Aliens Are Using Lasers to Communicate

With laser-detecting devices in California and Hawaii, SETI researchers will be able to scan an unprecedented amount of sky. 2021-12-23 20:20 4KB gizmodo.com

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Deal Alert: OnePlus 9 Pro price hits new low

OnePlus 9 Pro is arguably this year’s one of the best flagship Android smartphones, and for a limited period of time, you buy the smartphone at a record low price. The OnePlus 9 Pro 5G(12GB+256GB) smartphone is now selling at a price point of $849.99, down from $1,069.00. However, the discount is available only on […] 2021-12-23 20:16 1KB mspoweruser.com

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gamerant.com

Metroid Dread introduced many gamers to the Metroidvania genre, and there are a handful of games that are perfect follow ups to Samus' adventure. 2021-12-23 20:15 4KB gamerant.com

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Huawei's New Gadgets Look Cool As Hell, but Good Luck Buying Them

Huawei's new foldable phone, ultra-slim laptop, and ambitious smart glasses have one thing in common: They aren't coming to the U.S. 2021-12-23 20:10 5KB gizmodo.com

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gamerant.com

For one of the Season quests this week, Fortnite players need to locate some ice machines and coolers to earn 25K XP. 2021-12-23 20:09 2KB gamerant.com

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Hey gamers, Samsung's 2022 QLED TVs can automatically calibrate themselves

A new feature called HDR10+ Gaming will automatically calibrate your screen when starting a game and turn on VRR. 2021-12-23 20:08 1KB www.techradar.com

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Chrome 100 could break your website - but Google is on it

Moving from a two digit to three digit version number in Chrome could break many older websites. 2021-12-23 20:00 3KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

The Batman star Paul Dano opens up about his sadistic new look for the Riddler and the intensity rooted within its heinous design. 2021-12-23 20:00 4KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

Araki's art style has changed considerably throughout JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's run. These are the most notable ways the series' look has changed. 2021-12-23 20:00 5KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

The Ebony Ingot is one of the rarest and most valuable materials in Skyrim. When it comes to where to find Ebony Ingots, there are a few options. 2021-12-23 20:00 2KB gamerant.com

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Here's how 2022 will bring us faster internet

This is the year when 5G will finally matter and many people stuck without broadband will finally get some. 2021-12-23 20:00 5KB www.zdnet.com

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Self-Declared 'Vaccine Police' Says He'll 'Lawfully' Arrest Louisiana Governor

Christopher Key holds no more power to arrest anyone than Officer Big Mac. 2021-12-23 20:00 6KB gizmodo.com

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The best franchise tie-in Yule Log videos

Nowadays, virtual Yule Logs are staples of Christmas and if you’re a cool, hip franchise you have a Yule Log. But what does Yule Log mean for canon? From Frozen to How to Train Your Dragon, Minecraft to Venom, Shrek to Outlander, we evaluate every single franchise Yule Log we could find and how it fits into canon. 2021-12-23 19:54 14KB www.polygon.com

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How to set up voicemail on your iPhone

Here's how to set up voicemail on an iPhone so you can view, listen to, and organize your voicemail messages. It takes just a couple of minutes to enable. 2021-12-23 19:52 11KB www.digitaltrends.com

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gamerant.com

Final Fantasy 14 increases the experience gains from new dungeons and hunts by nearly 50% in its first patch for the new Endwalker expansion. 2021-12-23 19:49 3KB gamerant.com

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NVIDIA’s Bluefield SmartNIC Bashes The Old IOPS Record

NVIDIA's Bluefield SmartNIC Bashes The Old IOPS Record NVIDIA's Bluefield SmartNIC has blown through the previous record for throughput on network attached 2021-12-23 19:46 1KB pcper.com

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gamerant.com

Despite its almost mythic status, Final Fantasy 6 did not have a definitive version, but that could all change with the release of the Pixel Remaster. 2021-12-23 19:46 6KB gamerant.com

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FDA Approves a New RNA-Based Treatment to Lower Cholesterol

Leqvio uses RNA to help keep levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood low and requires only two doses per year. 2021-12-23 19:45 5KB gizmodo.com

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The best 17-inch laptop 2021: top large-screen notebooks for any budget

The best 17-inch laptops are at the top of the notebook food chain. These are our picks for the best 17-inch laptops 2021 has to offer. 2021-12-23 19:42 12KB www.techradar.com

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Nervous about using public Wi-Fi while you travel? You shouldn’t be. Here’s why

It used to be risky to use public Wi-Fi, but a lot has changed over the last 10 years. These days, it's probably OK. 2021-12-23 19:41 7KB www.digitaltrends.com

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How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC

Take a look at our step-by-step guide for how to connect a PS4 controller to a PC and how to troubleshoot all the problems that might come up along the way. 2021-12-23 19:37 6KB www.digitaltrends.com

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Deal Alert: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 with Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD available for $1,206

You can now get Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 with Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD for just $1,206 (was $1699) from Amazon US. If you prefer a laptop with a touch screen, check out the deal on Surface Book 3 from Microsoft Store. You can now get Surface Book 3 13-inch with Intel […] 2021-12-23 19:26 1KB mspoweruser.com

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gamerant.com

Thanks to the inclusion of fan-favorite characters, it's possible to work out when GTA Online's new DLC takes place within the series' timeline. 2021-12-23 19:24 6KB gamerant.com

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Leaked hands-on videos of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE confirms its design and key specifications

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has leaked yet again, and this time, a pair of hands-on videos have given us more information to work with. 2021-12-23 19:20 2KB www.xda-developers.com

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Krita 5 launches with better performance and more efficient memory usage

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support Krita 5 has been made available for download. It includes improved performance and will use up less RAM. The project is also launching the software on the Mac App Store making it easier to download. 2021-12-23 19:20 1KB www.neowin.net

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Polar Grit X Pro Titan review: Informed training, recovery, and testing on a premium watch

Last year's Grit X launched with a focus on outdoor adventures, including trails and hills. The Grit X Pro includes those functions, but adds in much of what is found in the Vantage V2 so you end up with one of the best watches ever from Polar. 2021-12-23 19:06 19KB www.zdnet.com

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Everything we know about Sonic Frontiers

Sonic Frontiers is set to arrive for the 2022 holidays. From its gameplay and storyline to DLC plans and more, here's everything we know about Sonic Frontiers. 2021-12-23 19:04 3KB www.digitaltrends.com

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gamerant.com

Spider-Man: No Way Home is full of exciting and equally heartbreaking moments, and one former Spider-Man star steals the spotlight. 2021-12-23 19:01 6KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

The Ordinator mod completely overhauls Skyrim's Perk system by altering existing perks and adding countless new ones. 2021-12-23 19:01 2KB gamerant.com

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Don’t Look Up is a hellishly unfunny ride through The Discourse

The Big Short director Adam McKay follows Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as scientists who discover that the world is going to end. Unfortunately, Meryl Streep doesn’t believe them — nor are the jokes funny. Here’s why the movie goes horribly wrong. 2021-12-23 19:00 1KB www.polygon.com

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The Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t better than the Oppo Find N, and that’s a good thing

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the top folding smartphone you can buy at the moment, but happily, that doesn't make it better than the newcomer Oppo Find N. 2021-12-23 18:58 8KB www.digitaltrends.com

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How to claim your Escape From Tarkov Christmas Gift?

As with every other wipe, Battlestate games will give their fair share of presents to all Escape From Tarkov players. In light of the upcoming holidays 2021-12-23 18:55 1KB www.futuregamereleases.com

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The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Could Be a Carbon Bomb

An analysis found the Manchin-backed bipartisan infrastructure bill could actually increase emission if states focus on building new roads. 2021-12-23 18:55 5KB gizmodo.com

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gamerant.com

For a limited time, Rockstar Games is giving away some of the best games in its catalog for free to all owners of the remastered GTA Trilogy. 2021-12-23 18:51 6KB gamerant.com

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How to level grind in Final Fantasy XIV

Leveling in Final Fantasy XIV only seems to get easier as the cap keeps going higher. We outline how to level grind and the best and worst ways to do it fast. 2021-12-23 18:49 14KB www.digitaltrends.com

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Nintendo Switch Indie World sale offers savings on Hades, Boyfriend Dungeon, and more

The Nintendo eShop has 30 independent video games, plus another five lists from different indie publishers, on sale from Dec. 23 to Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST. 2021-12-23 18:49 1KB www.polygon.com

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Star Trek: Discovery Heads Out Into the Black to Find a Startling New Crewmate

"Stormy Weather" keeps season 4's pace of bringing Discovery's emotionality to classic Trek ideas. 2021-12-23 18:45 7KB gizmodo.com

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This robot vacuum deal at Walmart slashes over $200 off the price tag

The Anker eufy RoboVac G30 robot vacuum is only $144 at Walmart today, a savings of over $200 and one of the best robot vacuum deals we've seen. 2021-12-23 18:44 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

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OnePlus 7, 7T series get the December 2021 security update

OnePlus is now rolling out OxygenOS 11.0.5.1. to OnePlus 7, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7T, and OnePlus 7T Pro. OnePlus claims to have fixed the bug where WhatsApp users couldn’t send or receive media files. Apart from that, the update also brings system stability improvements alongside the Android December 2021 security patch. You can see […] 2021-12-23 18:42 1KB mspoweruser.com

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YouTubers Can Finally Monetize Content Featuring Gender-Affirming Products

Queer creators can now show off their packers, fake breasts, or any other products related to their own "gender dysphoria journeys"—and get paid to do so. 2021-12-23 18:42 5KB gizmodo.com

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Lenovo bows out of CES due to Covid-19 concerns

A Lenovo spokesperson told TechCrunch that after closely monitoring trends surrounding Covid, they believe it is in the best interest of the health and safety of employees,. 2021-12-23 18:42 1KB www.techspot.com

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NSO spyware used to hack Polish politicians, Khashoggi's wife, others

NSO Group is facing a massive lawsuit from Apple and a potential default on more than $300 million in loans. 2021-12-23 18:38 5KB www.zdnet.com

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COVID-19 study finds 'broader' antibody response maintains immunity to Omicron variant

Six different monoclonal antibodies developed to fight COVID-19 maintained a neutralizing response to the variant by targeting parts of the virus that haven't mutated. 2021-12-23 18:33 5KB www.zdnet.com

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SD Times news digest: GrapeCity Documents v5 release, Tempo acquires ALM Works; Microsoft Graph Bookings API update

Software Development News GrapeCity, provider of enterprise software development tools, today announced the GrapeCity Documents v5 release. 2021-12-23 18:31 2KB sdtimes.com

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Best Android emulator in 2021

To make it simple and easy to run Android apps and games on your desktop PC or Mac, we feature the best Android emulators. 2021-12-23 18:30 5KB www.techradar.com

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gamerant.com

Plenty of anime have come and gone over the years, but none have been as unique and ahead of their time as Serial Experiments Lain. 2021-12-23 18:30 5KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

A recent Genshin Impact leak apparently reveals one of the upcoming skins for Ningguang that will arrive during the Lantern Rite event. 2021-12-23 18:24 2KB gamerant.com

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12 Best Buy deals that can be picked up in time for Christmas

Have a Best Buy store in your area? All of these last-second deals will be ready for in-store or curbside pickup in just one hour. 2021-12-23 18:24 1KB www.zdnet.com

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gamerant.com

Smurfing is a problem that has plagued Overwatch for years, as it offers high-ranked players an unfair advantage in competitive game modes. 2021-12-23 18:17 4KB gamerant.com

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I actually miss News and Interests integration with Taskbar in Windows 11

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support After months of alternating between Windows 10 and Windows 11 on my primary machine, I feel like I kind of miss the News and Interests integration with the Taskbar that was offered in the former. 2021-12-23 18:16 5KB www.neowin.net

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gamerant.com

The UK game developer Nitrome reveals footage of a previous Sonic the Hedgehog game concept pitched to SEGA based on vertical platforming. 2021-12-23 18:13 3KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach makes for a total of seven games in the main series, following a complex chronological timeline. 2021-12-23 18:13 7KB gamerant.com

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How to use a blue light filter on your PC or Mac

Blue light from your PC's screen may disrupt your circadian rhythm. Here's how to use a blue light filter with built-in night modes on your PC or Mac . 2021-12-23 18:12 8KB www.digitaltrends.com

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The best coffee makers for 2021

Looking for the perfect coffee maker for your favorite brews? From simple to complex, you'll find the most efficient and smartest models available on our list. 2021-12-23 18:09 15KB www.digitaltrends.com

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Xbox's Countdown Sale has started with huge discounts

The sale runs until January 2. 2021-12-23 18:09 1KB www.gamereactor.eu

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0.4
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus. in Star Wars

It's impossible to know why he was there, but he was definitely there. 2021-12-23 18:05 6KB gizmodo.com

 109 
0.5
Top 10 Most Significant Nvidia GPUs of All Time

Nvidia is a dominant force in computer graphics but there was a lot of work involved in getting to that level since the NV1 debuted in 1995. 2021-12-23 18:03 9KB www.techspot.com

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gamerant.com

The Hist Whisperer set is a new Elder Scrolls Online armor set that focuses on increasing the player's ability to recover resources. 2021-12-23 18:00 2KB gamerant.com

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0.8
The Alpha Bravo GX-1 Gaming Headset is on sale for $119.99

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support With noise-cancellation, in-line controls, and multi-platform compatibility, this headset will immerse you to the best gaming experience every time. Or opt for the Everyone Gets a Car deal! (US only). 2021-12-23 18:00 2KB www.neowin.net

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0.4
Black Mirror is the perfect 2021 Christmas watch

Black Mirror is a Christmas show at heart, thanks to timely (and dark) themes around holiday shopping and cookies, turns from Jon Hamm in White Christmas, and more. 2021-12-23 18:00 6KB www.polygon.com

 113 
0.9
The best Instant Pots for 2021

Whether you're an amateur cook or a pro, Instant Pots are perfect for anyone who seeks versatility in the kitchen. We round up the best Instant Pot models. 2021-12-23 17:59 12KB www.digitaltrends.com

 114 
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gamerant.com

12-year-old Zane Mellor recently passed in a terrible jumping castle accident, and as a dedicated gamer, he is memorialized with his favorite games. 2021-12-23 17:59 2KB gamerant.com

 115 
0.1
Everything we know about Dune: Spice Wars

While spice is the key to controlling the universe, information is a close second. Here's everything we know about the newly announced RTS Dune: Spice Wars. 2021-12-23 17:57 8KB www.digitaltrends.com

 116 
0.8
Best Windows laptop 2021: the top Windows 10 laptops money can buy

Our guide to the best Windows laptops can help you pick the best Windows 10 notebook for your needs. Check out the best Windows laptops of 2021. 2021-12-23 17:56 8KB www.techradar.com

 117 
0.3
AI helps with drug discovery

Drug-target interaction is a prominent research area in drug discovery, which refers to the recognition of interactions between chemical compounds and the protein targets. Chemists estimate that 1060 compounds with drug-like . 2021-12-23 17:56 4KB techxplore.com

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gamerant.com

There are plenty of Left 4 Dead-inspired shooters releasing in 2022, and hopefully they live up to the classic Valve zombie shooter's legacy. 2021-12-23 17:54 4KB gamerant.com

 119 
0.9
The best smart light switches for 2021

Smart light switches are wise investments for a home, adding programmable control to even the most basic bulbs. Here are our picks for the best of 2021. 2021-12-23 17:53 10KB www.digitaltrends.com

 120 
0.8
The best student laptops 2021: all the best options for school and college

Finding the best laptops for students in the run up to going back to school has never been more important, and we can help. 2021-12-23 17:53 10KB www.techradar.com

 121 
1.3
gamerant.com

Death's Door is a well-crafted experience that serves as an excellent example of how games can reward and encourage exploration. 2021-12-23 17:46 6KB gamerant.com

 122 
0.6
A gaming mouse with its own 1TB SSD? That's what ADATA's XPG VAULT is

News, Reviews & Betas which includes large community peer support The upcoming CES 2022 event will see ADATA demonstrate a gaming mouse that will pack up to 1TB of fast 985MB/s solid-state storage. The product is still a prototype and is called XPG VAULT. 2021-12-23 17:46 1KB www.neowin.net

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gamerant.com

NEO: The World Ends With You's producer and studio director talk about whether there's a future for series and if that's what they want. 2021-12-23 17:42 3KB gamerant.com

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0.5
We now know the specifications of the upcoming AMD workstation CPUs

According to recent rumors, the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 5000 line of CPUs will be released soon, and we now know the specifications of these processors. 2021-12-23 17:42 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

 125 
0.2
Analyzing online social networking to identify emotions and other characteristics

A comprehensive review of the various approaches to social networking user behavior analysis is reported in the International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology by a team from India. Pramod Bide and Sudhir Dhage . 2021-12-23 17:41 2KB techxplore.com

 126 
0.4
January's PlayStation Plus games have seemingly leaked again

Deep Rock Galactic and Dirt 5 headline. 2021-12-23 17:41 1KB www.gamereactor.eu

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0.8
gamerant.com

Here's where all of the Chamber Stones can be found in Link's Awakening to give to Dampe. 2021-12-23 17:40 5KB gamerant.com

 128 
0.4
How to Make Sure No One Is Tracking You With an AirTag

Bluetooth trackers can be used to find lost stuff—but they can also be used to follow people without their knowledge. 2021-12-23 17:40 7KB gizmodo.com

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0.1
gamerant.com

Taking inspiration from the novelization of the series, fan project Resident Evil Revisited pairs new characters with old and new locations. 2021-12-23 17:37 2KB gamerant.com

 130 
0.8
The best robot vacuums for 2021

Robot vacuums are a convenient way to clean your home, free your hands, and minimize the weekly chore list. Here are the best models in every price range. 2021-12-23 17:34 10KB www.digitaltrends.com

 131 
0.3
gamerant.com

In recent years, video games have come a long way in providing accessibility options that allow a must wider range of people to enjoy gaming. 2021-12-23 17:31 10KB gamerant.com

 132 
0.7
How to set up an Amazon Echo

Learn how to set up your Amazon Echo and get started with Alexa. We show you how to customize and make the most of voice commands. 2021-12-23 17:30 8KB www.digitaltrends.com

 133 
0.4
gamerant.com

Call of Duty has a lot of DLC, and Warzone in particular has some interesting choices to pick from, including highly stylized anime-themed packs. 2021-12-23 17:24 1KB gamerant.com

 134 
0.2
Got a gaming PC? This $79 Razer starter kit will level up your setup

Level up your gaming PC setup with the Razer Power Up Gaming Bundle V2, which includes a mouse, keyboard, pad, and headset for just $79 after a $91 discount. 2021-12-23 17:24 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

 135 
0.5
NASA Shares Audio From Juno's Flight Past One of Jupiter's Moons

The spacecraft was less than 645 miles away from Ganymede's surface during a June flyby. 2021-12-23 17:20 1KB uk.pcmag.com

 136 
0.1
Amazon has a serious Alexa user retention issue

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Amazon has a dirty little secret that it has been contending with for years. 2021-12-23 17:17 2KB www.techspot.com

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gamerant.com

Halo Infinite's addition of cat ears almost immediately divides the fanbase into those who love it and those who hate what it could represent. 2021-12-23 17:13 3KB gamerant.com

 138 
0.8
Cheaper Alder Lake motherboards are finally on the horizon

According to a leak, Intel's B660 motherboards from MSI will offer consumers fairly inexpensive options when compared to the company’s Z690 board. 2021-12-23 17:11 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

 139 
0.2
Here’s What Could Still Go Wrong With the Webb Space Telescope

The sheer number of potential points of failure for this $10 billion telescope has everyone on edge. 2021-12-23 17:10 10KB gizmodo.com

 140 
1.3
Microsoft Teams will get video filters in March 2022

Microsoft was supposed to release the video filters feature for Teams in the month of August. In October, Microsoft announced that the feature will be available in November. Microsoft has now confirmed that this feature will be available in March 2022. Before joining a meeting, users can use these video filters to subtly adjust lighting levels […] 2021-12-23 17:08 1KB mspoweruser.com

 141 
0.8
GNU Nano 6 Increases Editing Area

Programming book reviews, programming tutorials,programming news, C#, Ruby, Python,C, C++, PHP, Visual Basic, Computer book reviews, computer history, programming history, joomla, theory, spreadsheets and more. 2021-12-23 17:08 2KB www.i-programmer.info

 142 
0.1
gamerant.com

Goat Horns are only one of the many items added in the Minecraft Cliffs & Caves update, and they have a very unusual method of collection. 2021-12-23 17:02 2KB gamerant.com

 143 
0.7
Exclusive: This is our first look at Android 13 “Tiramisu” and some of its upcoming features

The next version of Android 13, internally codenamed "Tiramisu" is presumed to arrive in 2022. Here's our first look at the upcoming update. 2021-12-23 17:00 7KB www.xda-developers.com

 144 
1.0
Twitch viewers watched way more video game streams in 2021

Both Twitch and Facebook Gaming saw a nearly 50% increase in the number of hours watched on each platform this year. 2021-12-23 17:00 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

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gamerant.com

Sometimes, the UI in The Elder Scrolls Online just gets in the way. Turning off the HUD in ESO is easier than one might think, though. 2021-12-23 17:00 2KB gamerant.com

 146 
0.6
Want the Google Pixel’s astrophotography on your iPhone? There’s an app now

Nocturne is an app that allows iPhone users to get astrophotography photos of the stars just like Google Pixel phones. 2021-12-23 17:00 3KB www.digitaltrends.com

 147 
0.4
Exclusive: Lying Cat returns on the cover of Saga #57

Image Comics’ blockbuster Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples series Saga returns in 2022. Polygon can exclusively preview the cover of issue #57, featuring everyone’s favorite feline, Lying Cat. 2021-12-23 17:00 1KB www.polygon.com

 148 
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gamerant.com

Returnal has plenty of barriers that players will need to pass through to beat the game, but the orange ones seem to be impenetrable at first glance. 2021-12-23 16:53 2KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

With Dying Light 2’s release just around the corner, fans may want to read up on Dying Light lore, including learning about what the GRE is. 2021-12-23 16:52 4KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

Happy Hogan is still around because Jon Favreau wrote a story note about Iron Man 3 that convinced Marvel execs not to kill the character. 2021-12-23 16:47 3KB gamerant.com

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gamerant.com

While all of the classes in the Elden Ring network test impressed, the Enchanted Knight stands out even among classes from past Souls games. 2021-12-23 16:45 4KB gamerant.com

 152 
0.6
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is down to just $210, but not for long

The 40mm, GPS version of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is available from Best Buy with a $40 discount that lowers its price to $210, but the deal won't last long. 2021-12-23 16:44 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

 153 
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gamerant.com

Here are all of the tasks and rewards featured in Pokemon GO's Holidays Catch Challenge and Holidays Friendship Challenge Timed Research. 2021-12-23 16:44 2KB gamerant.com

 154 
0.7
How to watch 1883, the Yellowstone prequel, online and on TV from anywhere

Saddle up as the Dutton family heads up the trail north to lay down roots in Montana. Watch the Yellowstone prequel show, 1883, online - wherever you are. 2021-12-23 16:40 3KB www.techradar.com

 155 
0.4
Google Search Now Offers More COVID-19 Vaccine Info

Google says it's updated Search in the US to "help you find the information you need to help protect your loved ones and yourself from COVID." 2021-12-23 16:35 1KB uk.pcmag.com

 156 
0.6
gamerant.com

The Pokemon series has built up a long list of hundreds of different pocket monsters, and it started with the humble beginnings of Generation 1. 2021-12-23 16:34 2KB gamerant.com

 157 
0.1
AMD’s Nvidia DLSS rival FSR is now supported by 70+ games

AMD looks back at FSR in 2021, calling it the ‘fastest adopted gaming tech’ in its history, no less. 2021-12-23 16:31 3KB www.techradar.com

 158 
0.7
PDF Architect review

PDF Architect gives you access to a powerful suite of editing features under a sleek interface. 2021-12-23 16:30 5KB www.techradar.com

 159 
0.7
Should you choose Drifter or Operator in Warframe?

The New War quest in Warframe makes you choose between Drifter or Operator, but it's unclear if this will have implications later. This guide will help you make that decision. 2021-12-23 16:29 1KB www.pcgamer.com

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gamerant.com

A clever Call of Duty Zombies fan makes a Black Ops 3 custom map that transports players to Dunder Mifflin from the hit series The Office. 2021-12-23 16:27 3KB gamerant.com

 161 
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PlayStation's Holiday Sale is now live

It\'s offering deals on loads of games and will run until January 19. 2021-12-23 16:27 1KB www.gamereactor.eu

 162 
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gamerant.com

Since his reveal, Shaw Han has been a divisive figure in Destiny 2, but there's a reason why he loves being associated with blueberries. 2021-12-23 16:25 6KB gamerant.com

 163 
0.3
Looks like Apple’s darn notch is finally going away starting with the iPhone 14

Citing industry sources, The Elec reports that the iPhone 14 Pro will flaunt a notch-less display that has a hole-punch cutout at the top for the selfie camera. 2021-12-23 16:24 3KB www.digitaltrends.com

 164 
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gamerant.com

Deviation Games, one of Sony's newest partners headed by former Treyarch chief Jason Blundell, is entering full production on its first title in 2022. 2021-12-23 16:22 2KB gamerant.com

 165 
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gamerant.com

The director of the John Wick movies is working on a Ghost of Tsushima film, and he'll have some help from a crack team of experts. 2021-12-23 16:20 3KB gamerant.com

 166 
0.6
Tom Holland’s Uncharted movie gets a new trailer on the heels of Spider-Man

The new video game movie based on Uncharted games stars Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as the other guy. Watch the trailer for the Spider-Man: No Way Home star’s new movie, which has a release date of Feb. 18, 2022. 2021-12-23 16:19 2KB www.polygon.com

 167 
0.0
How to watch Ashes 2021-22: schedule, times, live streams, team news and more

Watch every boundary and wicket of series - we have all the info you need on watching The Ashes, with free live streams explained and the Test match schedule and times. 2021-12-23 16:19 6KB www.techradar.com

 168 
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gamerant.com

2021 was a great year for the horror game genre, with a variety of indie titles and big budget releases making it one for fans to remember. 2021-12-23 16:17 9KB gamerant.com

 169 
0.3
Doctor Who's Second Russell T. Davies Era Begins With Its 60th Anniversary

The showrunner who rescued the series from the past returns just in time to celebrate it. 2021-12-23 16:15 3KB gizmodo.com

 170 
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takt op. Destiny season 2 release date and time

The takt op.Destiny season 2 release date and times have been announced for the US, UK, and other time zones, on Crunchyroll in sub and dub formats. 2021-12-23 16:11 2KB www.gamerevolution.com

 171 
0.8
How to talk to Samuel L. Jackson using Alexa

The Samuel L. Jackson voice is a fun skill for your Alexa-enabled devices. We show you how to get this skill on your Echo device and customize the options. 2021-12-23 16:07 4KB www.digitaltrends.com

 172 
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gamerant.com

Unlike Marvel's Spider-Man, its sequel's suit cosmetics should include an unmasked Peter Parker skin dedicated to open-world free-roam. 2021-12-23 16:06 4KB gamerant.com

 173 
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Ubisoft Says a 'Misconfiguration' Exposed Just Dance Player Data

That means certain information was accessible to, and may have been copied by, "unauthorized individuals." 2021-12-23 16:02 2KB uk.pcmag.com

Articles

DC5n United States software in english 173 articles, created at 2021-12-24 00:04

 

 1 /173 

0.1
Xbox Games With Gold for January 2022
(3.08/4)

The January Games with Gold lineup is here! It’s time for the extra Games With Gold freebies estimated to arrive in the new year, 2022. As announced by Microsoft, the Xbox Games With Gold lineup will include a couple of titles that are supposed to bring you joy, as most of them belong to a different genre. From RPGs to shoot ’em up, below, you can find all of the games arriving as a part of the Xbox Games With Gold for January 2022. NeuroVoider is a cyberpunk-themed shooter RPG that pits you against legions of invincible robots. With an original soundtrack from Dan Terminus himself, it’s set in a world where corporations fight for control over robotics with endless combinations at their disposal – including nuclear-powered weapons! You can play coop alone or cooperatively with up to four friends via a local wireless connection. Aground is a Mining/Crafting RPG, where there is an overarching goal, story, and reason to craft and build. As you progress, you will meet new NPCs, unlock new technology, and maybe magic too. Will you be able to raise dragons? Launch into space? The sky is not the limit. What if you could rediscover the magic of building and crafting? In Aground, this is possible. Whether unlocking new technology or raising dragons to unleash into space with your friends (or enemies!), there are always more possibilities at every turn! Radiant Silvergun is back! This fantastic shooter is the same shoot ’em up gameplay from an arcade classic, just with some new additions that help elevate your fun. For example, you can play as “Ikaruga Style,” and it will be like playing Gradius, but bullet patterns are reversed. Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a shoot ’em up game released as part of the Space Invaders franchise. The game blends the series classic characters and gameplay with the concept of evolution. The game was developed by Taito and distributed by Square Enix.
January 2022 Games with Gold include Aground, Radiant Silvergun, and more
neowin.net
3bd27222251a86348c5be0f0166451b0
Black Friday Xbox Series X/S deals 2022: what to expect
techradar.com
05c12dd9251aba881b05021a466b5dd0
Xbox Games with Gold offers Radiant Silvergun, Space Invaders, and more in January
polygon.com
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 2 /173 

0.7
Somebody built a lickable TV. I repeat: A. Lickable. TV.
(2.02/4)

At the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2022, you will no doubt hear plenty from TV and speaker companies about making the home viewing and listening experience more immersive. But if you want the ultimate in immersive realism, you’ll have to wait patiently for the world’s first lickable TV to make its way to stores. Yes, you read that right. A Japanese professor has developed a prototype lickable TV screen, according to Reuters, that can imitate food flavors you can experience with your own taste buds. The invention is called Taste the TV (TTTV), and while it’s merely a prototype right now, its inventor, Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita, reckons it could be mass-produced for 100,000 yen (about $875). Now, before you start salivating at the idea of being able to run your tongue over your TV screen during an episode of Master Chef, you may want to adjust your expectations. Miyashita’s device can indeed simulate flavors, but these synthetic tastes must be sprayed onto a surface before you can start licking. In a video demonstrating how the TTTV works, tastes are sprayed onto a rolling transparent sheet of plastic, which then slides over an almost horizontal video screen. But the video screen doesn’t need to be the lickable ingredient. The same tastes can be sprayed onto any disposable plastic, like a tray, or directly onto food. In one example from the accompanying video, crackers are sprayed with a variety of “toppings.” To create the tastes, a series of 10 canisters, each containing a specific chemical compound, work together much like the red, yellow, cyan, and black inks in an inkjet printer combine to make up all of the colors you can put onto a sheetof paper. And like the inkjet, the canisters will need to be periodically refilled. Miyashita’s invention could obviously be used to enhance TV shows and movies, but in the video, several other uses are suggested and a lot of them feel much more practical than waiting for that tastable In-and-Out Burger ad to come back on. Tastable menus for restaurants, games based on guessing flavors, and even a video training program for would-be sommeliers are among the possibilities. And in a move that will probably have Amazon, Apple, and Google drooling with envy, the TTTV can even respond to voice commands: “Hey TTTV.” “What do you want to eat?” “I want some sweet chocolate.” “Sweet chocolate. All right.” All right, indeed.
Scientist invents a lickable TV to taste on-screen flavors and we're wondering why
techradar.com
8e7ea882ffbb5f053eb587c37591f752
Would You?
gizmodo.com
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 3 /173 

0.8
These Halo Infinite PC Accessories are available at GameStop right now
(2.02/4)

Halo Infinite made waves in the gaming community as the first Halo game in over 6 years. It hinged on promises from devs to both bring back and reinvent the Halo experience to please long-time fans and attract newcomers. Thankfully, it delivered -- along with attractive promotional items for Halo fans. Some of these Halo-themed items included Halo Infinite editions of the Xbox wireless controllers, Seagate game drives, and Razer PC accessories. GameStop in particular is still selling some of these items, including the Halo Infinite PC Accessories Bundle for $40 off the original price. This mean green bundle includes a Master Chief-colored Razer DeathAdder V2 Wired Mouse, Razer BlackWidow V3 Green Switch Mechanical Keyboard, and a Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Soft Gaming Mat. You can also buy them separately if you only want one of the items. Here are a few links to the currently available Halo Infinite merchandise: Microsoft also released a limited edition Halo Infinite controller, which came in a spartan green reminiscent of Master Chief's signature armor. Unfortunately, this sold out pretty fast and it's unclear whether or not retailers will have the means to restock them in the future. Halo Infinite launched its multiplayer mode early as a "beta" approximately three weeks before the campaign on November 15, 2021. The full game, including the campaign, launched on December 8, 2021 on the official release date. Those looking for the latest Halo experience can find it on Microsoft platforms including PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X| S. Follow us on Jelly Deals for more deals on games and accessories, Halo or otherwise.
Halo Infinite: All skull locations and effects
digitaltrends.com
eb37124e503be722afcdd9b4cf329fbc
gamerant.com
gamerant.com
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 4 /173 

0.5
Best cheap printer deals for December 2021
(1.99/4)

Most people don’t get excited about printers (and understandably so), but you might be surprised how capable these often-overlooked appliances are today. The latest printers sport great features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile app controls, ink- and toner-saving technologies, and greatly improved output quality in contrast to the rickety inkjets of years past. There are even cheap color laser printers on the market now, but whatever you’re after, our roundup of the month’s best printer deals available is sure to have something that’s a good fit for your home office. And if you’re looking for some more new gear for your home office, we’ve got you covered with some great laptop deals, desktop computer deals, wireless router deals, and external hard drive deals. HP makes some of the best printers money can buy, and sorting through the company’s catalog can take awhile. Let us save you some time by taking you right to the best one: The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 is our favorite all-in-one printer, copier, and scanner for most uses. It’s fast, it offers great printing, and it’s wireless, so you can print from network-connected devices via Wi-Fi or Apple AirPrint. HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 is easy to use and configure, too, thanks to its color touchscreen. The only drawback that’s worth noting is that, while it’s smaller than previous models, this printer still a bit bulkier than most inkjet all-in-ones. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a premium do-it-all printer for the home or a small office (and you’re willing to pay a little extra for it), the OfficeJet Pro 9015 is the one. If the OfficeJet Pro 9015 was a little rich for your blood (let’s face it, not all of us are willing to spend more than $50 on a printer), then Canon has you covered with its budget-friendly Pixma MG6320. This all-in-one inkjet can print, copy, and scan, and it’s wireless, so you can easily print from your connected computer or mobile device right on your home network as well as via apps like Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print — no wired hookups required. Naturally, a printer this cheap isn’t going to give you gallery-quality results or professional-grade volume output, but that’s not the point. For the price, it’s hard to look a gift horse like the Canon Pixma MG6320 in the mouth if your printing needs are basic. The best laser printers are purpose-built for offices and other professional settings, cutting through high-volume tasks that a traditional inkjet printer would struggle with. These printers used to be primarily monochrome (made for school and business environments where a lot of black-and-white printing happens), but the best color laser printers are no longer rare and are even quite affordable. You’ll still pay more for one, though, but models like the Brother HL-3170CDW — which happens to be our top recommendation for most people — punch above their weight when it comes to price. It’s simple, sleek, and considerably less bulky than many laser printers, and can crank out 23 pages per minute from its 250-sheet feed tray. You can pay four figures for a “professional” color laser printer if you want to, but for around $400, you’d be hard-pressed to do much better than the Brother HL-3170CDW. Printers see the heaviest use in offices, whether it’s a small home office or a large business, and for that, your standard consumer-grade all-in-one printer probably won’t cut it. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a good office-grade printer, though, and the Canon Maxify MB5420 does plenty of heavy lifting at a price that won’t make you wince. It’s surprisingly compact for its output capacity (more so than many other office printers, anyway), holding 500 sheets of paper while boasting a snappy monochrome print rate of 22 pages per minute and a color print rate of 10ppm. And like any good modern printer, it can also copy and scan, and can even do faxes if you’re still into that sort of thing. Not bad for less than $300 at its normal price — and even better if you can find a printer deal.
Best headphone deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
c1835de20ab21d4b4f92f1d87b6b2ab7
Best gaming PC deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
76154c195a61b9d692a8260d51a1213a
Best Apple deals and sales for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
91d25b91d3ef2505955e5ad2ffb5a6c9
Best Powerbeats Pro deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
16643ebb1f1a774f35be670f3a0db6aa
Best QLED TV deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
f25ebe358bc0ae900028bc8ecf48a354
Best Roku deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
755b56054b099abe1245744ff9f8d230
Best projector deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
402d0658473356b02c3c3e153724d3a4
Best 4K TV Deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
27e1aa47f59388a154ef0cfb53500549
This powerful Dell laptop is over $500 off today — but hurry!
digitaltrends.com
27c75f422c86c7201ad0c4210d95b7c9
Best cheap printers 2021: cut-price printer options for home or office
techradar.com
853666e12985d2a1b80ae75f5bf189af
Best Bose Headphone Deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
2d1e5ac6f5dab27073920b13384cbc69
Best Sonos deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
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 5 /173 

0.4
How to build a gaming PC for under $600
(1.18/4)

Gaming remains one of the biggest drivers of PC hardware, pushing forward everything from processor speeds to storage performance and, of course, graphics card technology. This bleeding edge reputation makes many people think the price for entry is too high to even consider. Let's debunk that. Of course, gaming PCs can be extremely expensive. Graphics cards alone can cost around $1,000 MSRP on a normal basis. With the ongoing chip shortages, and the once-again-ascendant battle with crypto miners devastating supply chains, graphics cards are currently selling for twice their MSRP, or more, even on the used market. With all of this in mind, it probably seems like an impossible task to build a gaming PC right now for anything like a reasonable price. Certain companies like NZXT are out there trying to make the path to building your own gaming PC a little more visible by creating customizable kits. These are a great option for building your first gaming PC, or building one with your kids, thanks to simplified instructions, easy configuration options, and a guarantee that all of the components selected by the company will work well together. However, the prices for these kits start at $1,499, putting them out of the budget for many shoppers. Luckily, it is possible to build a gaming PC for not only less than $1,000, but less than $600. All you need to do is select the right parts, prioritize your budget correctly, and shop around for the best deals. Or, if that sounds like too much work, you can just read the rest of this guide. That's probably easier. You should do that. It's important to get some things straight going into this. First, gaming PCs are not like consoles when it comes to being compatible with every game. A PlayStation 5 game will, of course, run on every PlayStation 5 in the world. The same is true for Switch games. Xbox games can be a little murkier with their various Series, but that's a story for another day. The important point here is that PC games all have a set of minimum system requirements that must be met in order for your PC to be able to handle the demands of delivering them. Minimum system requirements, and the higher "recommended" system requirements that usually come along with them, are designed to ensure that the components of your system are adequate for the statistical needs of the game. Storage capacity requirements will tell you how much hard drive space is required, while memory requirements will tell you the RAM needed, and graphics or GPU requirements will let you know the supported graphics processing platforms. The budget for this build, as well as the aforementioned impact of the dumpster fire that is the current GPU market, mean that we'll be selecting a CPU with integrated graphics. This is a cost-effective, attainable option that will run many casual games, and even some of the most popular titles around. The configuration I'll be recommending can handily run Minecraft and League of Legends at respectable settings, and even Fortnite with some graphical settings turned down. Thousands and thousands of retro, indie, 2D, and lighter-weight 3D games will also run perfectly on it. It will not, however, be able to run more demanding games like the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield well, nor will it handle high-end single player games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. If you're looking to play titles like those for less than $600, a console may be your best option. But, keep in mind, consoles are great at playing games and using streaming apps. They don't, however, have anywhere near the same versatility a solid gaming PC will offer. The PC system you game and watch streaming content on can also help you get work or homework done, store your important documents, use social media, communicate with family and friends, and do everything else your laptop, tablet, smartphone, and several other devices can do. It's a worthwhile consideration when comparing the merits of spending your $600 on this build, or venturing out on the often months-long quest of trying to buy a modern gaming console. I have built every desktop PC I, my family, and many of my friends of have owned since I was in high school. The depressingly long span of time has seen me build, rebuild, upgrade, sidegrade, and repair dozens and dozens of PCs. I've built everything from water-cooled systems costing over $3,000, to cobbled together media PCs that can play 4K video using leftover parts from older builds. Every step of that history was a learning experience that's left me with a deep understanding of what it takes to put together the ideal PC for a given purpose. as well as some heavily banged up knuckles from digging around in PC cases. Thankfully, technologies like M.2 connectors, modular power supplies, and improved PC case design make things much easier than they used to be. But, you still have to select the right components. For our build here, that meant choosing the most cost-effective options for each part and balancing how much of the budget is being eaten up by each part versus how much performance is being offered by it. Each component represents the best combination of value and performance that was available within its product category at the time of writing. Of course, the more adventurous among you are more than welcome to tweak some of our options here. Relatively cost-effective upgrades are available in a few categories, while optional extras are also a good idea for some. In most cases, these alterations will push your budget beyond our $600 goal, but the choice of whether or not that's worth it is up to you. At the end of our guide, we'll also cover a few optional extras that we think might be worth considering for a few dollars more. Pricing and availability change daily, and while I've made sure that everything is correct and available at the time of writing, that can change. This is also why I've included average prices for components, based on recent fluctuations. I've also not included deals or special offers, as they can skew things. This complete build will provide you with a fully functional, complete PC. All monitors, peripherals, and software will need to be selected separately.
Best gaming PC deals for December 2021
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76154c195a61b9d692a8260d51a1213a
Last chance to get this HP gaming PC for $550
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 6 /173 

0.7
The best gaming routers 2021
(1.15/4)

If you take gaming seriously, you need one of the best gaming routers as part of your setup. You won’t be able to make the most of your gaming PC without one, whether you go online to get your gaming fix or have to grab increasingly large files to play that next AAA title. You need a strong, continuous signal if you hope to get anything done, gaming or otherwise. The last thing you want when you’re playing an online game is some kind of disruption or slowdown to happen at a crucial moment. Gaming should not be a frustrating experience, after all. If you prefer single-player and story-driven titles, those are getting bigger by the year with files that take longer and longer to download. And, many of those come with significant and frequent patches and updates. You want enough bandwidth to quickly download the necessary files so you can spend less time waiting and more time playing. On top of that, you probably don’t want to be responsible for slowing down your entire network if you’re sharing it with family or roommates. So, maximize your gaming ability instead of dealing with mediocre connectivity by investing in one of these gaming routers. You need something that will keep up with you, no matter if you’re on one of the newest consoles or a PC. Whether you want one to deliver uninterrupted internet while you’re fighting enemies online or speedily download one of the best PC games you just bought on Steam, we’ve gathered our top choices to help you find the right one for your needs. You need a gaming router as part of your setup if you play any games online. So, we gathered the best of them on this list where you’ll find everything from ones packed with gamer-centric features to ones with cutting edge tech like Wi-Fi 6. Take a look and take your pick. There may be a few things you might not like about the TP-Link Archer GX90. It’s big, it’s bulky, and it’s expensive. However, those are easy to forgive when you realize that you’re getting a big bang for your buck. This is a high-speed, reliable Wi-Fi 6 router that boasts a handful of features for hard-core gamers. That includes a dedicated 5GHz ‘gaming band’ that lets you hog most of your household bandwidth when you need it. Have younger gamers at home? It also provides good parental controls like content filters to block unsuitable material, with pre-set profiles for children of different ages. Read the full review: TP-Link Archer GX90 The Asus RT-AC5300 is one of the best gaming routers – it has a collection of advanced features, making online and network gaming as lag and frustration free as possible. This includes a straightforward yet powerful interface, as well as comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like design is somewhat of an acquired taste, but the eight antennae serve a purpose since they can be used to direct the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, providing this router with remarkable range. Read the full review: Asus RT-AC86U We know we’ve already mentioned the TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 earlier, but the company added an ‘X’ to the end of this model, signifying the extreme boost in performance. It’s considerably more expensive, but that price tag is justifiable as it may be one of the highest-end and best gaming routers available. With eight ethernet ports around the back, it’s perfect for hardwiring a fleet of gaming equipment. And, the MU-MIMO and Tri-band support means that wireless connections are also top of the line. You’ll top the leaderboards irrespective of where you are in the house. Read the full review: TP-Link Archer C5400X If you’re a hardcore gamer, it can be maddening when your roommates are watching Netflix or downloading their own games at the same time. You should take a look at something like the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. Not only will this elite gaming router deliver a ridiculously fast 2.2Gbps speed, but with MU-MIMO support – not to mention, unique gaming features like location-based connection filtering and QoS, you can do some gaming all night without hitting a paralyzing lag spike. Just be ready for the high sticker price and make sure you’re ok with such a gamer aesthetic. Read the full review: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 The Asus RT-AC5300 is a fantastic high-end gaming router that is filled with a bunch of striking features. This includes an incredibly simple yet powerful interface, on top of comprehensive QoS settings. The spider-like design isn’t for everyone, but the eight antennae are there for a reason, to help direct your Wi-Fi signal reach throughout your home, giving this router excellent range. Read the full review: Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band Gigabit Router This router might look like it’s going to abduct a close friend or family member, but we promise the Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 isn’t as alien in function as it is in aesthetics. Brimming with the latest MU-MIMO support, which boosts speed when multiple devices are connected to the same network, this gaming router prides itself on its performance capabilities. Since it can handle several devices, while prioritizing bandwidth depending on the needs of each connection, it’s one of the best gaming routers you can purchase today. Read the full review: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 The Asus RT-AC88U is an expensive gaming router. However, it justifies its price with crazy 802.11 wireless performance. Armed with four antennae and NitroQAM tech, which pushes speeds even further, this gaming router enables wireless performance that can break the 1GB/sec limit. There’s a catch – you’ll need to grab a NitroQAM wireless adapter, like the Asus PCE AC88, to approach these mighty speeds; but with speeds like this, it’s not hard to see why this is one of the best gaming routers available. It may look like it came straight from Battlestar Galactica – the old Battlestar Galactica – but, the D-Link DIR 885L/R is a dependable mid-range gaming router with great range and speed. If you’re looking for the best gaming router, you may want to give this one a try. It comes with a good range of ports, as well as a nicely designed UI. It also touts DD-WRT open-source firmware, making this router as versatile as it is powerful. Why invest in a gaming router when you have a perfectly good one at home? You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to need one. Whether online and co-op games are your thing or you download a lot of games on Steam, gaming can monopolize a chunk of your bandwidth, slowing your network down considerably. A router made specifically for gaming, however, will not only deliver a stable, uninterrupted connection – most vital during the most intense moments of your game – but also allow you to prioritize traffic to your PC and consoles. It’ll vastly improve your gaming experience (and your download speed), minimizing lags and offering smoother graphics. It’ll also feature technologies like MU-MIMO and Quality of Service (or QoS) to take your network to the next level when playing with or against players from around the world. Multi-device households will benefit as well, since gaming routers are better equipped to handle several devices and users using the network simultaneously. Gaming routers are just as important as gaming PCs and peripherals, especially for online gaming, so of course we take our job seriously when testing them. Before recommending one in this buying guide, we make sure that each one not only performs as promised, but is also a cut above the rest. After all, although there are a lot of options out there, only a few stand out. We start with the design. We test its build, physical features, and look – although a whole lot of them are going to have that gamer aesthetic. We make sure that it has enough ports for that all-important wired connection, is effortless to set up, has support for such technologies as QoS, and has features like parental controls (in case you have young ones at home). Naturally, we test its performance as well, seeing how it measures up against our file download test as well as the Ookla speed test – especially in comparison to its rivals. And, because you need to know how exactly it performs in real world scenarios, we take it for a spin by playing a few of the most demanding and popular online titles out there. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. When all is said and gamed, we take all the information we’ve collected and compare it to the unit’s price tag. At the end of the day, what matters is that the gaming router delivers robust performance, an excellent feature set, and a solid build that is worthy of its price – even if that means paying a little more.
Best gaming PC deals for December 2021
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76154c195a61b9d692a8260d51a1213a

 

 7 /173 

0.4
gamerant.com
(1.05/4)

Destiny 2 has been around for over four years now, and Bungie is constantly adding more content to the game through Seasons and yearly expansions. This model is good for the game because it allows players to space out their in-game schedule and do things when they become available, not stressing too much about finishing everything in a week and then having no new content to play for a long time. This way, there are always new things to discover in Destiny 2, such as the hidden messages from Wilhelm-7 in the 30th Anniversary Pack's Grasp of Avarice Dungeon. Secrets are often bound to Raids in Destiny 2, as those are massive pieces of content that usually come with large, dedicated areas where Bungie can hide more things for players to find. And yet, there are things from the base game, features that have been in Destiny 2 ever since it was released in 2017, that some players never heard of before a certain time, like the secret area in The Tower shared on Reddit a few weeks ago. RELATED: Destiny 2 Player Achieves Over 560K Damage With Shoulder Charge Now, a Reddit user by the name of bobuyh shared a clip on the platform showing that there is a place in The Tower's Hangar where players can press a button to call in their ship. This is an old feature, but it's something many didn't know about before watching the video, especially because the Hangar is often only ever visited for quests or Trials of Osiris-related things, so players have to speak with Saint-14, or maybe to find Xur around the old Dead Orbit post. Destiny 2 is also not a game where information is always clear, so this little feature is one of those things that players have to find themselves or find out online. There is a control panel players can use to have their ship dock in the Hangar, with Shaders on as well. This can make for great screenshots or short clips, and it's worth noting that certain ships do have more of a visual impact on the area, such as the Unixursal Voyager Exotic ship from Dares of Eternity. This ship has a cool comet-like effect when in hyperspace, and it glows based on the Shaders players apply to it. The glow can be quite intense with some Shaders, and docking the ship in the Hangar is something that will most likely draw other Destiny 2 players' attention. Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. MORE: Destiny 2: Explaining the Connection Between Shaw Han and Blueberries
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How to complete the Grasp of Avarice dungeon in Destiny 2
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978518b8cbdfcbbd9a7d0e8915d2bdd6

 

 8 /173 

0.1
Best Wi-Fi extenders of 2021: top devices for boosting your WiFi network
(1.01/4)

If you’re looking to expand your area of coverage, consider adding one of the best Wi-Fi extenders to your network. It’s cheaper than replacing your router with a new one, while making sure you can get an internet connection in every corner of your home or office. A quality Wi-Fi extender is an ideal way to fix problems like weak or dead spots and an irregular internet signal. These additions, which are sometimes also called Wi-Fi repeaters or boosters, improve your connection by taking your existing internet connection and extending its reach while also alleviating dead spots in your space. And, while a mesh Wi-Fi router also solves those issues, it will cost you a bit more. Though there are plenty of options out there, we’re here to guide you to the best Wi-Fi extenders on the market right now. Some of them even include newer tech like Wi-Fi 6 support. You can also read about whether you should buy a Wi-Fi extender, if you’re not sure what solution is best for your network blues. Don’t forget to take a look at our included price comparison tool to get the best deals available. If you're after a Wi-Fi extender that provides best-in-class performance for expanding your wireless network throughout your home, then the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band WiFi Extender is the one for you. You can use this extender to create a mesh network, so you have a single, large, Wi-Fi network, rather than smaller separate ones. This allows you to easily roam your house, and your device will seamlessly keep connected. It's expensive, but it's the best Wi-Fi extender you can buy right now, offering fast speeds and dependable network coverage throughout your home. If you’re looking to extend your newly-minted Wi-Fi 6 network to all four corners of your home, TP-Link’s RE605X WiFi 6 Range Extender is worth taking a look. It’s as affordable and as easy to set up as the RE650 extender while being backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi 5 routers. It isn’t just for the less savvy users, however. The RE605X also provides a web browser interface for more experienced users who want more control over their network settings. Read the full review: TP-Link RE605X WiFi 6 Range Extender Bring the power and convenience of a mesh network to your home with the Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700. Not only does this extend the area of your Wi-Fi network, but it creates a seamless Wi-Fi network throughout your home or office - so you don't need to switch networks while moving around. Thanks to the powerful hardware inside the Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700, you can stream 4K content, play games and hook up all kinds of devices to your Wi-Fi network without a hitch. The included Ethernet ports are also a nice addition for bringing your network to wired devices. TP-Link is a Chinese networking company that has been steadily gaining popularity in the west, and for good reason. With devices like the TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range extender, it’s easy to get why: this extender – among the best Wi-Fi extenders you can buy right now – does the job well, and it’s affordable. It’s not going to be the fastest Wi-Fi extender out there, but with the range this extender provides at the price it’s available at, it’s a steal. Finally, thanks to an LED signal indicator on the front, installation is a breeze. Read the full review: TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender Extend your network through thick walls and into the furthest corners of your space with the Devolo Mesh WiFi 2. Boasting both mesh Wi-Fi features and versatile powerline connectivity, this device can even follow you and your mobile devices around, automatically switching you to the closest adaptor and the fastest Wi-Fi band. It even has three adaptors that give you five Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast, wired connections. This is the best Wi-Fi extender for games consoles, smart-TVs and other devices that work best with wired connections. Read the full review: Devolo Mesh WiFi 2 The tri-band Orbi Whole Home AC1200 offers solid performance at a reasonable price, and will be a good choice for most small and medium-size homes that need to improve their Wi-Fi coverage. It’s simple to set-up and use for newcomers, although Netgear’s decision to use Disney’s subscription-based Circle service for parental controls is discouraging, considering that rival routers and mesh systems have often provided better parental controls for free. The lack of Ethernet ports for wired connections as well as more advanced features in the Orbi app might turn off experienced users as well. The Linksys Velop offers a solid argument for a wireless mesh network’s ease of setup. Looking to replace both your router and your now-antiquated range extender, the Velop comes at a time when companies like Google and Netgear are trying to accomplish the same thing. The main way Linksys hopes to stand out from its competitors in the wireless mesh networking space is with a user-friendly setup that anyone with a smartphone can easily do. With just a visit to the App Store or Google Play marketplace, you’ll have the Linksys Velop up and running in a matter of minutes. It's certainly a worthy addition to our list of the best Wi-Fi extenders. Read the full review: Linksys Velop If you need a great way to upgrade your network so you can have fantastic coverage anywhere in your house, a powerline adapter is a remarkable option. Not only do they offer the same functionality as the best Wi-Fi extenders, but the Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline might just be a dream come true. It’s not exactly visually pleasing, and the price tag may be a bit much. However, this unit more than makes up for those issues with sheer performance. And, unlike other powerline adapters, the Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere features a clone button that will clone the SSID and WPA key of your network so that it can double as a Wi-Fi extender. Read the full review: Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere powerline 1200 AV2 If you want a small, discrete, Wi-Fi extender that will reliably spread the coverage of your network throughout your home or office, then the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi Range Extender is a great choice. It's small enough that it won't block other power outlets (like some larger Wi-Fi extenders can do), and it offers pretty good performance for a nice low price. Best of all, it comes with a 'dead spot' finder that allows you to locate where your network strength is the weakest. By installing it there, you should see a nice boost to your Wi-Fi. If you’re trying to diagnose your internet woes and deciding between replacing your router or adding an extender, you should consider a few things. If you’re having trouble with getting a solid connection regardless of how close you are to the router or how many devices are connected to it, chances are adding an extender won’t help. That poor quality connection won’t get any better, it just will have a larger range. Getting a newer wireless router is a must in that case, since the connection itself will be robust only with a better device at the heart of your network. Upgrading the router to a newer one that can handle more devices or has Wi-Fi 6 support will also be the better way to go if you have a slow connection. However, you’ll want to invest in a Wi-Fi extender if your router is just not reaching where you want it to. For example, maybe you want your network to cover a couple floors of a house or building but some rooms are just not getting a signal. An extender is the perfect solution as it will take the existing signal, strengthen it and extend its reach so that you can access it or get a better connection where you couldn’t before. It’s also important to consider the price. While there are some extenders that come with price tags comparable to a new router, most are quite a bit cheaper. Many of the top wireless routers and mesh router systems, which are just as great at covering a large area, start at £200/$200, while most boosters will cost about half of that. If some of your devices are getting a good connection or the internet gets better the closer you are to the router, save some money and add an extender. But, if you’re having issues with your entire network, consider a new router instead. TechRadar tests Wi-Fi extenders in a variety of ways, from how easy they are to connect and setup, what apps or software they might come with, and of course, how much increase you get to the range of your wireless internet. Features will be noted, we check to see if Wi-Fi 6 is supported, as well as if they're able to connect to any existing router and if the products are Dual-band or Tri-band compatible. As a Wi-Fi extender is designed to support an existing router, and not act as a dedicated router in itself, you'll likely want to check if your wireless router isn't up to scratch before you spend serious money on an extender. A series of benchmarks are used to determine how effective a Wi-Fi extender is, using applications like the Ookla Speed test and the Steam game download client to test how many megabytes per second of data is achievable in different locations of a home, such as right beside the extender itself and behind partition walls that could block a signal.
How to extend your Wi-Fi range with another router
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274499cdd51d539449e33ed3ecb854db

 

 9 /173 

0.3
Matrix Resurrections: An io9 Roundtable Discussion
(1.01/4)

That there’s actually a new Matrix movie out feels almost as unreal as The Matrix itself. It’s been almost 20 years since the last film and in that time, the Wachowskis have said again and again they’d never do it. But Lana Wachowski now has, and we’re still kind of shocked it’s real. If you’re a fan like us, chances are you’ve already headed to the theater to see The Matrix Resurrections or have watched it on HBO Max. And if that’s the case, you probably want to talk about it. All of it. Which is why we’re here. Below is a spoiler-filled conversation between Germain Lussier, Cheryl Eddy, and Rob Bricken of io9 discussing what we liked, what we didn’t like, what was confusing, what was surprising, and what it all means in terms of The Matrix Resurrections. Germain Lussier: Welcome to the io9 roundtable discussion of The Matrix Resurrections. We all watched the new movie last night, so to start I’m curious to know— a re you both fans of the original films and had you rewatched them before this one? Rob Bricken: I watched the original films in theaters. Liked the action of the first one, intensely disliked the sequels, then got kind of squicked out by the fetishization of gun violence in the franchise over the decades. So I basically came into this as an apprehensive newcomer with vague memories of the original. Much like Neo! Cheryl Eddy: I saw them all in the theaters and have rewatched them several times over the years… the sequels not as much as the original. (I am definitely one of those nostalgic people this new movie was presumably made for.) Germain Lussier: I’m glad you said that, Cheryl. I asked this because I have a feeling a recent, clear, direct memory of the original Matrix films plays a huge role in someone’s like or dislike of this one. So, am I right? How did you each feel about this one in general before we dig into it? Rob Bricken: I think you’re right, in that it’s so dependent on the original films to mean anything or say anything that I got almost nothing out of it. I was mostly baffled and put off by it. I can’t imagine some teen going in to see this as their first Matrix film and enjoying it. Cheryl Eddy: I was definitely excited when it was announced, but I am also getting a bit weary of all the reboots/revisitations of movies from the 1990s. However, I also see why The Matrix i s still relevant after all this time, even if I was worried it might have to try extra hard to feel as fresh and exciting as it did in 1999 (which: it did, in my opinion) Rob Bricken: I strongly disagree. Germain Lussier: With which part? Rob Bricken: The “fresh and exciting” part. Germain Lussier: I think that’s what I liked about it the most. That I felt it was “fresh and exciting,” but in a new way. Cheryl Eddy: Oh I meant, it felt like it TRIED TOO HARD. Haha. Rob Bricken: It is 80 percent the same movie as The Matrix, which we know because the characters basically mention it all the time. Germain Lussier: Well that’s kind of what I mean. It might be a bit of a cheat but I love that we walk into this movie not knowing if it’s a sequel or a reboot. And not only is it a sequel, it’s a sequel set so far ahead in the future, it feels almost impossible for the characters. So the joy of the first half is figuring out why this movie even exists, and at the same time, you have a filmmaker who takes that story and twists it with her own insecurities of this movie existing. And it gets really dense and maybe a little too meta but by the time we realize “It’s 60 years in the future, the machines kept Neo and Trinity alive, and they just want to be together” I was so all in. Rob Bricken: I get that, but that doesn’t really answer the question of why this movie even exists. Germain Lussier: Well I think that question has two answers and Cheryl I’d love to hear your thoughts here too. But in the movie, it exists to be like “Love triumphs.” Neo and Trinity loved each other, sacrificed their lives to save humanity, and never got to be together. Now, through the machines’ hubris, they do. Outside of the movie, it exists because a) Warner Bros. likes money, and b) Lana Wachowski lost her parents and couldn’t bring them back from the dead, so she brought back another couple that meant a lot to her: Neo and Trinity. Cheryl Eddy: I didn’t expect the movie to be so… meta. And I agree with Rob, I think the script leaned into that pretty heavily. Rob Bricken: If you’re just watching the movie, though, and don’t have that context—which surely most of the audience doesn’t—it doesn’t matter. Germain Lussier: A movie about love triumphing over actual life doesn’t matter? Also, by going into the machine city and attempting to rescue Trinity, they are risking all the lives of this new city, iO. Which, I will admit, could have been seeded and explained better. Rob Bricken: Yeah, and that’s kind of shitty! Like, I have zero recollection of what happened at the end of Revolutions, but Neo sacrificed everything so the human race could be better off, and then he’s brought back and wants a redo at the cost of humanity. Germain Lussier: I do agree the story maybe feels a little bigger than its point but that also brings up another thing I really, really liked, which is that Neo’s “victory” in Revolutions brought about choice in the machine race and now machines side with human. And thanks to humanity now having this advanced technology at their side, they’ve begun to thrive in ways they never imagined. Rob Bricken: And Neo’s ready to toss it all in the trash. Germain Lussier: Kind of, sure. But it works out and then they become Gods of the Matrix. Cheryl Eddy: I was also surprised it took so long to get Carrie-Anne Moss into the movie. It’s like two hours in before she’s not just the confused woman in the coffee shop. (Good old “Tiff the MILF.”) But I do appreciate the love story and Keanu Reeves and Moss are so great together, I wish there had been more scenes with them together. And I wish her character had been better developed in this movie. Rob Bricken: I definitely agree that Reeves and Moss were excellent together. Reeves isn’t particularly good at romance, but they work, even when—maybe especially—when they think they don’t know each other. Germain Lussier: Yeah, Keanu and Carrie-Anne are super in this. But of course, they’re basically the only returning actors. What did we think about some of the new characters like Jessica Henwick’s Bugs? Rob Bricken: Jessica Henwick rules in this movie, but I have no idea what she was trying to accomplish by finding Neo. Germain Lussier: Yeah, Rob, the whole start of the movie is definitely a little confusing. But from what I can tell Bugs and her crew are Neo superfans and they spend their time believing that he exists and searching for him. So they find this weird, old program someone wrote which is where Neo hid his version of Morpheus and that was the only way he knew he could get out. I think. I will admit it’s confusing but I saw it as a woman who isn’t happy with the iO status quo and still believes that “The One” will save EVERYONE who is in the Matrix and so she keeps searching. She’s basically a fangirl of the original Matrix films trying to keep them alive. Rob Bricken: Those aren’t really stakes. And then these people are also down with the potential extinction of the human race so Neo can get his girlfriend back. Germain Lussier: Well and then, maybe, save the world too. But we’ll get to the ending in a second. What about the architect of this new and improved Matrix, the Analyst? Cheryl Eddy: I love me some Neil Patrick Harris, but the cat had more personality than his character did in this. The Analyst was so one-dimensional and obvious and predictable, considering he was supposed to be a supersmart evil computer. Germain Lussier: Ouch. Rob Bricken: I know Agent Smith was a ham, but was the personification of The Matrix always so… smarmy? It cut whatever tension the movie was trying to build because the Big Bad was an asshole instead of being scary or intimidating. Germain Lussier: Jonathan Groff’s performance as the “new and improved” Agent Smith is actually, if you can believe it, less smarmy than Hugo Weaving was. But I do think his role as well in this is a little muddled. He’s an enemy, he’s a friend, he saves them, they fight, it’s not always 100% clear. Rob Bricken: I agree, although Weaving had three movies to stockpile that ham. I don’t really know why Smith 2.0 is in this movie. Cheryl Eddy: Speaking of Agent Smith, what did you guys think of the fight scenes? I knew it was going to be hard for this movie to top anything in the originals… how do you make “bullet time” even cooler?. and I fear I was right. Plus every movie since The Matrix has ripped The Matrix off with such enthusiasm, it’s hard for anything to feel like we haven’t seen it before. Rob Bricken: I am actually feeling bad about being so negative on the film, which I didn’t hate, exactly, but I watched this yesterday and cannot for the life of me remember anything that happened in any of the fight scenes. Oh, wait—the Analyst’s introduction of “Bullet Time,” which I thought was supremely clever, but I don’t know if Neo is paralyzed while a smarmy computer walks around and gloats counts as a fight scene. Cheryl Eddy: Jonathan Groff ripped a sink out of a wall, which felt very Fight Club, haha. Germain Lussier: Yes. Yes, he did. But here’s where I think we are all on the same page. The narrative twists and turns here are infinitely more interesting than the action, which really amounts to “Doogie Howser does slow motion” and “Neo has the Force.” Those are the two new big additions and they don’t really add much. The biggest failing here is that the action is so sporadic and mostly unmemorable, which is so not what The Matrix was built on. Cheryl Eddy: “You’ll believe a Neo can fly!” (Or a Trinity. That was her flying at the end, right?) Rob Bricken: This movie would be better with fewer action scenes. I would have been fine with just the romance angle. Cheryl Eddy: I agree with Rob. But I think Warner Bros. would’ve been furious at a Matrix movie with fewer fight scenes. Rob Bricken: They very much felt like Lana Wachowski put them in out of obligation. Germain Lussier: Yes, they don’t add a ton to the story and yes Trinity flies at the end. I think on a second watch I understand why and how but curious what you both think of that and the ending in general? They say they have another chance. Are they referring to their love or to save the world? Rob Bricken: I have to assume they mean their relationship, because what does their ability to rewrite t he Matrix accomplish? Are they going to wake everybody up? Didn’t that happen in the original trilogy? Are they shutting down the machines? Germain Lussier: All very valid questions. But no, the original movies did not wake everyone up. Cheryl Eddy: I’m sure we’ll find out in the next movie, M atrix Reborn. Matrix Reanimated? Bride of Matrix Reanimated? Matrix Redundant? Rob Bricken: /chef kiss Germain Lussier: Oh man, this is getting out of hand but I’ll allow it. Yeah, I think their ability to rewrite the Matrix at the end of this suggests that unplugging everyone is impossible and the true way to save everyone is just to make t he Matrix they’re plugged into more truthful. So the other chance is for their relationship as well as a new perspective on how to change everything. Oh, and I think Trinity can fly because she was resurrected by the machines so now she has machine code in her. Rob Bricken: Honestly, I didn’t have a question about Trinity getting Neo powers because I had questions about pretty much everything else. I just assumed it was love or some shit. Germain Lussier: Rob, you remember how the first movie ended, right? Neo just is like “I’m coming for you” and leaves. It has a million questions at the end of it too. Rob Bricken: Resurrections has a million questions in the beginning and middle, too. Germain Lussier: /chef kiss. Touché. Cheryl Eddy: Germain in all seriousness, do you think there will be another Matrix movie coming or is this it? Germain Lussier: I think this is it. I think Lana Wachowski said what she has to say, and from this conversation it’s obvious the movie is very polarizing so who knows how much money it’ll make. A nd, if it is it, Neo and Trinity living happily ever after in a world where technology is becoming better for the humans in the real world, and them doing their best for people in the virtual world, seems fitting. Any last thoughts here gang? Cheryl Eddy: Just wanted to add that I missed Laurence Fishburne for sure. But Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s wardrobe was the best wardrobe The Matrix has ever produced… apologies to all that iconic latex and those chunky knits, of course. Rob Bricken: I am very tired of movies that are so dependent on ‘80s/’90s nostalgia to understand or enjoy. Germain Lussier: Yeah, thanks Cheryl for bringing up Morpheus. I think the fact he wasn’t brought up before is also kind of a fault of the movie. The character isn’t quite as memorable and strong as he was in the original, but at least the story gives us a good reason why Fishburne didn’t come back. And Abdul-Mateen II is GREAT in the film but Morpheus kind of isn’t. Cheryl Eddy: 100% agree. Rob Bricken: Also, wait a second. That reminds me—how does Jessica Henwick hack into Neo’s video game? It’s a program in a program. Germain Lussier: It’s not the new video game, it’s a modal for programs that he built independently. Rob Bricken: Follow-up question: How does Jessica Henwick hack into Neo’s modal? Germain Lussier: Ummmm… Good night everyone!! Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.
Matrix Resurrections: Is the original Morpheus dead?
gamerevolution.com
2d87e16ae2afb8c1e87d11a1f19b7be2

 

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0.5
EA canned a Harry Potter MMO in the early 2000s
(1.01/4)

Back before Harry Potter was a franchise massive enough for its own theme parks — along with a spinoff film series and an upcoming open-world game — Electronic Arts almost made a MMO. The canceled project was in the works between 2000 and 2003, before the release of the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Kim Salzer served as director of product marketing at EA. Salzer, now the chief marketing officer at a new firm called Original Gamer Life, mentioned the game for the first time in a recent Twitch stream that the company hosted. Imagine a Harry Potter MMO. It almost happened but #EA cancelled it. They did the research and even a beta version of the game, but didn't think Harry Potter was going to be around more than a few years. #harrypotter #hogwarts #voldemort #mmo #metaverse #multiverse pic.twitter.com/bt5u6YQ2oe “Sometimes, I just don’t know where to start,” said Salzer, when asked about which project she was saddest to see die on the vine during her time in the games industry. “But a big one for me, because I was so personally involved in it and it’s such a huge IP that has lived on, is a online massively multiplayer game for Harry Potter.” Salzer went on to describe the project, saying that the development team had already built a beta and done all the research required. EA had even planned to mail prizes and ribbons to players in what Salzer called a “combination offline/online experience.” The project was ultimately canceled. “EA was going through some changes at that time,” said Salzer, “and they just didn’t know, or believe enough, that that IP would have a shelf life longer than a year or two.” While Salzer didn’t give an exact year in her interview, her tenure at EA coincided with the releases of the first two Harry Potter films — it was a time when the Harry Potter series was beginning to transcend the original books. EA held the Harry Potter video game rights from 2000 to 2011, and published more than 10 titles during that window, but the MMO was not to be. Warner Bros. now controls the entirety of the Wizarding World franchise that grew out of Harry Potter, including the video game rights through its Portkey Games label. Avalanche Software’s Hogwarts Legacy is being made under that label for a planned release in 2022. The game has been scrutinized since its announcement in 2020 due to series creator J.K. Rowling’s recent history of transphobic remarks.
EA reportedly cancelled a Harry Potter MMO because they didn’t believe in the IP
mspoweruser.com
700eb69cbdb20e3ca8109cc7cc55962e

 

 11 /173 

0.8
Some of Samsung's upcoming TVs will support the HDR10+ GAMING standard
(1.01/4)

Samsung has announced that select 2022 4K and 8K TVs and gaming monitors that it plans to show off at CES will come with support for the HDR10+ GAMING standard which alerts gamers to the fact that the displays deliver an ‘immersive, ultra-responsive HDR gaming experience’. According to the Korean company, the new standard helps game developers provide the best visual experience for customers without the need for manual calibration. As a bonus, this standard works across different input sources including consoles and PCs so if you have multiple devices hooked up to the display, there’s no need to mess around with the settings for each source. Commenting on the news, Seokwoo Yong, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D Team, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics, said: Aside from Samsung showing off these displays at the upcoming CES event, several gaming companies, such as Saber Interactive, have some HDR10+ GAMING titles ready to show off at the event. Two of the games which have support for the new standard include Redout 2 and Pinball FX so be on the lookout for those. Game Mechanic Studios is another firm that will be showing off titles including Happy Trails and Kidnapped Princess. People playing titles on PC will need a compatible graphics card too, some of the ones that Samsung named include the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series, RTX 20 Series, and the GTX 16 Series GPUs. It said these will have HDR10+ GAMING drivers released next year.
Samsung’s select upcoming TVs and gaming monitors will support the new HDR10+ GAMING standard
mspoweruser.com
6009dc3c5195be7e4e83b17d2d0c0900

 

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0.4
Leaked renders of the Xiaomi 12 reveal display size and colors
(1.01/4)

When Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 earlier this month, Xiaomi revealed that its next flagship Xiaomi 12 would be among the first to use the new chipset. At the time, the Chinese smartphone maker didn’t reveal when it was going to launch the new flagship lineup. We learned recently that Xiaomi intended on releasing its Xiaomi 12 series next week, on December 28 in Beijing, China, though we still weren’t quite sure what it would look like. Now leaks have given us our first look at official renders of the Xiaomi 12. These renders come from Evan Blass of @EvLeaks fame, and show off a green leather back on the Xiaomi 12, similar to the vegan leather that the Xiaomi Mi 11 had in China. They also reveal the display size, coming in at 6.28-inches, and show two other color variants too. Xiaomi opted to drop its “Mi” branding last year with the launch of the Xiaomi Mix 4 and the Xiaomi 11T Pro. These appear to be official marketing renders from the company, whereas previous renders released by OnLeaks were not. However, OnLeaks did reveal at the time that the phone will measure around 152.7 x 70 x 8.6mm (11.5mm including the camera module), giving us an idea of how large the phone may be. To be clear, we know a little bit about the Xiaomi 12 series, though obviously, we don’t know everything. As confirmed by Xiaomi CEO Lei June, it will launch with MIUI 13, the latest iteration of the company’s custom skin. We have known for a while now that Xiaomi has been internally testing MIUI 13 with Android 11 and Android 12 bases and it looks like the Xiaomi 12 will be the first to run the new software. According to previous leaks, the Xiaomi 12 was expected to feature three 50MP cameras on the back, consisting of a 50MP main sensor, a 50MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 50MP telephoto lens with 5X optical zoom. While it’s unlikely to be the case given the size difference of the three sensors on this device, it’s possible that it may still hold true for the Pro or the Ultra. Details about the battery size, charging speed, and other hardware are unknown at this point, though the company has also revealed that the Pro variant of the Xiaomi 12 would feature a 2K resolution Samsung E5 AMOLED display with second-gen LTPO technology and micro-lens micro-prism technology.
Xiaomi 12 release date rumors, price, news, leaks and why it's not the Mi 12
techradar.com
9aa4b6571678459c785ff11770720ac1

 

 13 /173 

0.3
gamerant.com
(1.01/4)

Those who are excited about the Uncharted film got a bit of an early Christmas present on Thursday. A brand new trailer for the upcoming Tom Holland film just dropped, showing off quite a bit of what theatergoers can expect when they go see it in February. Holland stars as well-known and well-loved Uncharted protagonist Nathan Drake, though he's a bit younger than the version who has appeared in the most recent games. Appearing alongside the Spider-Man: No Way Home star is Mark Wahlberg, who will be playing Victor "Sully" Sullivan. Together they'll be going up against Antonio Banderas playing a still-unnamed baddie, and it looks like everyone is going to be chasing after a pretty massive treasure that got itself stranded on the bottom of the ocean a couple of hundred years ago. RELATED: Uncharted: Tom Holland Had A Concern About Working With Mark Wahlberg The new trailer shows how the two Uncharted protagonists first come together for this particular mission, though it doesn't appear to be the first time they've met each other. It also shows off the comedic chops of both actors, who trade barbs with each other with a couple of age jokes. Sully says that Nathan is a bit too young to be tending bar and Nathan fires back that Sully is a bit too old to be attending a prom. The age difference between the two is hinted at several other times throughout the trailer, culminating in a joke about Sully's suddenly new mustache. That particular appearance (as he's not sporting it for most of the video) appears to be a direct nod to the Uncharted video game character and the look gamers know him with best. Fans who were disappointed by Sully's missing mustache will likely be thrilled by the joke. Jokes aside, there's plenty of action shown off in the new trailer, including Holland showing off some moves that look like they came directly out of his Spider-Man days. The big difference here, of course, is that Nathan Drake possesses no special powers to aid him as he jumps from one giant light fixture to another. The new trailer gives potential Uncharted audiences their best look yet at just what they can expect from Nathan and Sully as they embark on a mission to dig up a treasure that's rumored to be worth billions of dollars. It looks as though this movie is going to be borrowing a few plot devices from films like National Treasure, with puzzles on top of puzzles needing to be solved in order to find the next clue and unlock the location of their next quarry. Fans won't have to wait much longer to see how all of this unfolds. Uncharted is scheduled to be released in theaters on February 18, 2022. MORE: 8 Highly-Anticipated Movies Coming Out In 2022 Source: Sony Pictures
Does the Uncharted Movie Think Mark Wahlberg Is Its Star?
gizmodo.com
5aa93f19c81f61eaa908c70d19746f43

 

 14 /173 

0.7
Steam Winter Sale is now Live
(1.01/4)

The Steam Winter Sale has come to town, bringing tons of discounts for top-notch games. The Winter Sale will be live until January 5, 2022, at 10 AM PST, and players will be able to vote for the 2021 Steam Awards. Stop by the Steam Points Shop any time before the offer ends and claim your free stickers. Every two days, one of Yeti’s wintery friends will show up as a bit of gift pour Vous there! The sneaky guy never leaves his post in the shop and always has something extra waiting just for you – don’t miss out on this chance if you’re an avid collector like us here at local Giftshop Incorporated. Some of the notable titles on Steam’s front page are: Even more exciting is that the Steam Awards have always been an excellent way to spike fun among the community, offering fans to contribute votes towards their favorites. One of the most notable is the Labor Of Love category, which celebrates games like Rust with dedicated developer support!
The annual Steam Winter Sale is back
polygon.com
5b6391182d6606a3c68e4b2289dd34db

 

 15 /173 

0.3
It Takes Two takes 50% off for both PC and consoles
(1.01/4)

Those who missed out on The Game Awards' Game of the Year, It Takes Two, can now purchase it for 50% off at major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop. Hazelight Studios received other nominations for its co-op adventure before ultimately beating out the likes of Metroid Dread, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Psychonauts 2 for Game of the Year. It Takes Two tells the story of May and Cody, a married couple on the brink of separation. They tell their daughter, Rose, about their divorce, and she cries enchanted tears that transport their souls into two of her dolls. May and Cody wake up in their new bodies and agree to cooperate to find Rose, all while enduring the lecturing of a sentient self-help book. It's a "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" meets "Toy Story" kind of vibe. Our reviewer dubbed it a "wonderful, childlike co-op adventure" that seems lighthearted at first, but eventually reveals a story with more emotional depth than one would expect. Take a look into It Takes Two with one of these links: Steam specifies that its sale ends on January 5. It's unclear if the other retailers are following the same timeline. Still, those interested in the Game of the Year would be hard-pressed to find a sweeter deal than half off such a critically acclaimed title. It Takes Two is avaiable for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X| S. Remember: It's co-op, so pick a platform where you can play with a partner! And, as always, follow us at Jelly Deals on Twitter for more discounts on award-winning games and other significant deals.
gamerant.com
gamerant.com
e4bffec4878749be11b6f85b526d7c3f

 

 16 /173 

1.0
Vampyr is free to claim on the Epic Games Store today
(1.01/4)

A week has gone by since Epic Games Store began its holiday sale and daily giveaways, and it's only halfway done with the latter promotion. Replacing Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a copy of Vampyr, offering you 24 hours to claim the title. Coming in as a third-person action RPG, Vampyr puts you into the shoes of a newly-turned vampire during the Spanish flu, where you have the choice of being a blood thirsty monster or a more helpful supernatural force. It is possible to finish the game without killing innocents, but leveling up to get more powers will be an issue using this method. Here's the setting you will be entering, as described in the store page: When not on sale Vampyr costs $39.99 to purchase. Here are the minimum requirements: Vampyr will keep its place in the freebie slot until 11AM ET tomorrow, December 24, with another game set to take its place, which should be a title mentioned in the recent leaked list. Don't forget the holiday sale and its $10 Epic Coupon offers are ongoing as well.
gamerant.com
gamerant.com
358f85eb2b73c6bcfa49c33a8f41cf4a

 

 17 /173 

0.9
Get a 65-inch 4K TV from Samsung for only $500 today with this Best Buy deal
(0.24/4)

If you’re in the market for a new centerpiece for your home theater, there’s no shortage of 4K TV deals to choose from. Among them today is a great deal on the Samsung 7 Series 65-inch 4K Smart TV, which is on sale for $500, a discount of $150 from its regular price of $650. It’s one of the best Samsung TV deals and best 65-inch TV deals we’ve been able to track down, so act now. The best 4K TVs and the best smart TVs all have a couple of things in common: they make it easy to access content through apps and built-in streaming services, and they produce a high-quality, immersive picture. With its giant 65-inch display and Tizen-powered smart TV features, the Samsung 65-inch 7 Series 4K TV fits the bill. Tizen, in fact, is next-level smart TV, bringing next-generation apps, easy control, and a host of enhancements to elevate your home theater experience. Smart TVs are especially useful if you want to mount the TV on your wall, as you won’t need to hide any dangling cords that would connect to a cable box or a Roku. The Samsung 65-inch 4K TV features an LED display, which offers superior brightness and high color contrast. 4K resolution presents movies and TV shows at four times the resolution of Full HD. This Samsung 65-inch 4K TV is even capable of upscaling current content to 4K-level picture quality, and built-in game enhancement technology automatically adjusts settings to help video games run more smoothly. And if you’re truly into the “smart” features of a new smart TV, this TV features powerful artificial intelligence technology that recommends streaming and live TV content when you’re struggling to find something entertaining to watch. While there are a ton of Best Buy TV deals out there right now, this deal on the Samsung 7 Series 65-inch 4K Smart TV really stands out. It’s currently marked all the way down to only $500, a $150 savings from its regular price of $650. With all of those features packed into such a low price, they’ll be going quickly, so act now to claim yours.
Best Walmart TV deals for December 2021: 4K TVs, QLED TVs, OLED TVs
digitaltrends.com
734e337ee949f868ed5f0bade1c637fa
Best 4K TV Deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
27e1aa47f59388a154ef0cfb53500549
Best OLED TV deals for December 2021: LG and Sony
digitaltrends.com
493cbfec616a9bd86dcb9da6cd40cff0

 

 18 /173 

0.6
Best AirPods deals for December 2021: AirPods and AirPods Pro
(0.14/4)

There’s no hotter headphones out there right now than Apple AirPods, with their sleek looks and easy connection to other Apple devices. However, they can be pricey, so if you want to save some money when buying a pair you can look below for the best AirPods deals. We’ve found the best offers on AirPods of all kinds, including the regular AirPods with Charging Case true wireless earbuds, the newer-generation AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case, the newest AirPods 3, or the top-of-the-line AirPods Pro. Apple AirPods are to iPhone owners what fine wine is to gourmet cheese — a match made in heaven. So it should come as no surprise that they’re the most popular true wireless earbuds, introducing users to the wonderful world of simple, wire-free listening the second they pop them in their ears. Related There really isn’t a whole lot to the AirPods, and that’s what makes them so fantastic. Just pop one in each ear and you’re ready to roll. Need to adjust the volume, send a test, place a call, create a calendar event, or find an answer to a question on Google? Just ask Siri and she’ll take care of it. The newly announced AirPods 3 borrow some nice features from the AirPods Pro, making them a worthy upgrade from the AirPods 2 but at a reasonable price. While AirPods 2 had the H1 chipset that allowed the “always on” feature for Siri, the AirPods 3 use the force touch button that comes standard on the AirPods Pro. This lets you control the flow of music, answer calls, or adjust volume by pinching the AirPod in yoru right ear. But that isn’t the main reason you’re going to want to opt for the newer AirPods 3 with Wireless Charging Case. The new AirPods have an increased battery life, up to 30 hours if you use the wireless charging case. The new case is also equipped with MagSafe tech for wireless charging. The biggest reason to switch from AirPods 2 to AirPods 3 is the updated sound. Apple added Dolby Atmos support to the AirPods 3, something only the Pro models had before. The new AirPods 3 have head tracking, meaning the Dolby Atmos spatial sound adjusts based on which direction your head is facing. This provides awesome immersion when using AirPods 3 to watch movies on an iPhone or Apple TV. So, which do you need? Well, if you can live without MagSafe wireless charging, don’t mind using Siri instead of a button, and can live without immersive spatial sound, then look no further than the AirPods 2. You can snap up a pair for an absolute bargain. For everyone else, it’s the AirPods 3. Or is it? Naturally, the AirPods Pro sit at the head of the table, with a more smaller, more compact design; noise-cancellation; sweat-resistance; and interchangeable eartips, which makes them a better choice for fitness fanatics. They also sound better than both the AirPods and AirPods 2. If you want the AirPods experience but you prefer an over-ear headphone to an earbud, then Apple has you covered with the AirPods Max. If you want some peace and quiet then these offer exceptional noise-cancelling ability, and as you’d expect from an Apple product the build quality is excellent. There’s great sound quality on these as well, so if you’re looking for a notch above regular AirPods in terms of sound as well as a more comfortable over-ear design, these are the AirPods for you.
Best Powerbeats Pro deals for December 2021
digitaltrends.com
16643ebb1f1a774f35be670f3a0db6aa
AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 are both discounted today at Amazon
digitaltrends.com
bc0fbd1904051f33c7281340528b26da

 

 19 /173 

0.8
PS5 Black Friday deals 2022: what to expect
(0.13/4)

This year’s Black Friday 2021 deals have officially finished. Black Friday 2022 doesn't start until November 25, but there are still plenty of discounts to be found now. We’ve got today’s lowest prices here, and we’re expecting more offers in the Boxing Day sales (or after Christmas sales if you’re in the US). We saw many excellent PS5 Black Friday deals during November, but now the big day has ended, the biggest sales and discounts have naturally dried up. If you managed to bag one of Sony's new consoles, there were lots of top games at up to 50% off, accessories at substantially reduced prices, and unbeatable discounts on PS5-compatible SSDs. We even saw a couple of PS5 restocks. The best price for PS Plus subscription was available again last year. In the US, you could head to Amazon where a 1-year membership was down to $39.99 - that's a third off. In the UK, ShopTo had the best price of £29.85. In terms of game deals, there were some especially strong ones. If you pop over to Best Buy you could find up to $30 off many new release games. Amazon UK was also rocking some of the better PS5 games deals as well, with Guardians of the Galaxy for £32.99, Life is Strange True Colours for under £30, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla for £22.99. We currently have no news on PS5 restocks over Black Friday in the US. Walmart was the first to sell some consoles on November 22 but these sold out in a matter of minutes. There's the possibility of another drop throughout the Black Friday period. We'll update you as soon as we hear anything. No UK retailers have announced if or when they will have a PS5 restock during Black Friday. However, we've already seen two restocks from the new PlayStation Direct store, so there's a good chance more retailers will follow in the coming days. As soon as we hear of any news we'll be back to update this section. The vast majority of last year's Black Friday deals came in the form of cheap PS5 games. That wasn't just current-gen releases, such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Marvel's Spider-Man, but also a number of PS4 games that had been given free PS5 upgrades. Expect to see these return this year, as well as reductions on more first-party PS5 games that have launched over the last 12 months. In terms of accessories, we did see some cash shaved off the price of the DualSense PS5 controller and headsets. Look out for cuts on the new color variations of these peripherals as the latest Midnight Black iterations launched earlier this year. We have no concrete information about when Sony's own supply issues will be resolved, but it seems unlikely it'll be improved by Black Friday 2021. Until we know Sony's own timeline for production and distribution, then, it's difficult to judge the extent of the PS5 restock come November. There will be something, but consoles won't be readily available everywhere. Most suggestions seem to say that the global chip shortage could be around until 2023 at the earliest. That means another year ahead of us refreshing store pages and rushing to sites for every restock announcement. It's a problem Microsoft is also facing with the Xbox Series X – and that console is still hard to buy. We haven't seen the situation improve any better from Sony's perspective, so any console availability during the PS5 Black Friday deals period will still be extremely limited. With the stock that is available, expect to see more PS5 bundles take to the shelves this year. Likely contenders for included games include Call of Duty Vanguard, FIFA 22, or Sony exclusives such as Deathloop and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. You won't save any money buying this way, but we all want a new game with our console, right? The only other decision you'll have to make is whether you go for the standard PS5 or the Digital Edition. We break down the key differences in our PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition guide, but the key point in the Digital Edition does not include a disc drive so you're limited to game downloads only. It's important to note that Sony produces less of these consoles so they are much harder to find! For those in the US, we saw GameStop, Walmart and Best Buy all use their Black Friday ads to confirm that additional PS5 stock would be sold during Thanksgiving week last year. With the way deals announcements are being staggered out in a similar fashion this year, we're fully expecting something similar in 2021. Immediately, then, those are the three you should definitely be following if you're hoping to get a console as part of this year's PS5 Black Friday deals. Naturally, we're positive that demand will be even higher during this busy sales period. You'll really need to be on the ball to get through the checkout and secure your purchase. You can also follow our PS5 restock Twitter tracker Matt Swider for the latest news on PS5 consoles in the US. On the other side of the pond, we're really not sure how UK retailers are going to handle PS5 restocks over Black Friday. There was absolutely nothing available to buy after the initial pre-order wave last year so we're entering uncharted territory. Our best guess is that we could see some bundles at Game, Argos, Amazon, Smyths, Currys or Very over the Black Friday period. This is purely based on the frequency of drops this year, rather than any announcements from the retailers. If we hear anything, we'll update you right here. When the time comes, these are the links you'll need to check for PS5 stock on Black Friday. We think the biggest task this year will be the hunt for any cheap PS5 SSD deals. The firmware update that enables expandable storage in the console is now available to all, so those who are also struggling for room to install more games will want to grab one of these over Black Friday. Definitely keep an eye out for the XPG Gammix S70 Blade, which is currently the best PS5 SSD with heatsink to buy. There are a number of other options to consider – including the Samsung 980 Pro, Western Digital Black SN850 and Crucial P5 Plus – and you can be sure we'll be scouring the net for any deals on these over Black Friday.
Home Depot Black Friday sale 2022: what deals we predict
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Black Friday Xbox Series X/S deals 2022: what to expect
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Lowe's Black Friday sale 2022: our sale predictions
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The best PC case 2021: top cases for your desktop computer
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The best PC cases do more than just house your internal components. They keep them safe from the elements, and in some cases, show them off to admiring visitors. So, get the best one that you can find or at least that’s within your budget to complete your custom-built PC. Whether you have to replace the case for your gaming PC or are building your own, you need a top-notch PC case to prevent debris and dust from getting in, not to mention provide the kind of airflow your processor, graphics card, RAM, and especially motherboard need to keep cool. By doing so, you’ll be able to get peak performance out of your components. No matter if you work from home or are a gamer, you need one of the best PC cases to help get the most out of your computer. And, to help you find the right one for you, we’ve gathered our top choices, taking ventilation, design, and expandability into account. A hulking glass beast is what you’re getting with the Corsair iCue RGB 5000X whose offerings include good cooling – thanks in large part to its mesh coverings around the top and bottom panels, a lot of space for efficient building, and three Corsair RGB fans. And, it delivers all those while looking incredibly sleek, albeit massive. It might be a bit pricey for some folks, but for those whose top priorities include airflow and space, it’s worth the price. Read the full review: Corsair iCue RGB 5000X It is extremely rare to see any PC case that even vaguely resembles the Fractal Design Meshify-C. Given that the front of the case is entirely made of a mesh material sectioned off into an array of polygonal shapes, the Meshify-C has a unique style – without compromising on function. With two fans pre-installed, cooling is (forgive us) a breeze, even if the Meshify-C is held back by a number of obstacles. As its name suggests, the Nanoxia Deep Silence 4 has the sole purpose of being quiet as a mouse. This silence-focused case is a well-balanced Micro ATX chassis that’s affordably priced, without sacrificing room for expansion. That’s right you can fit even the biggest, most powerful graphics cards in the Nanoxia Deep Silence 4. The fact that you will never hear it go above 30 decibels is just icing on the very taciturn cake. Every single day mini-ITX gets more popular, and closer to toppling Micro ATX. And, it makes sense – why not spring for a small computer that can get just as much work done as a full tower? NZXT’s new H-series case line manages to integrate a ton of the same features as its Micro ATX and mid-tower equivalents, with mesmerizing, built-in and smart device-controlled RGB lighting and an adaptive noise sensor that sees improvement only by way of the Grid+ V3 fan controller. When you first look at the Phanteks Evolv Shift X, it looks more like a sound bar than one of the best PC cases, but this helps it vanish into any living area or studio setup. It’s flexible to the point that it looks natural placed under a TV as it does on a desk, next to one of the best gaming monitors. It may only be compatible with a Mini-ITX motherboard, but the Phanteks Evolv Shift X offers tons of space for components and liquid cooling loops. If this case is a little large for your preference, you can get the smaller Phanteks Evolv Shift for easier management. Fractal Design wins again with the Define R5, yet another mid-tower case with a gorgeous aesthetic. The metallic and blue LED-lit face of this case is simple, yet elegant, and is accompanied by noise dampening materials throughout its interior. In spite of the detachable ModuVent panels and drive trays not being toolessly accessible, it’s incredibly easy to build a system inside of the Fractal Design Define R5, plus it’s not as expense as you’d expect from a PC case with such a pretentious name, either. Cooler Master is kind of known for, well, cooling things – and the Cooler Master H500P Mesh is evidence of how it got there. This beautiful RGB-packed case has plenty of room for airflow, even accommodating up to 360mm radiators on the top and front for when you really want to take your cooling to the next level. Add on top of that the RGB lighting and tempered glass side panel and you have the potential to build something beautiful with this case. Go for it. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, while still getting one of the best PC cases, look no further than the Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-04 Tempered Glass. Not only does it have plenty of space for airflow, it also has a deceptively large amount of space for future expansion, meaning that even at this low price point, you won’t have to worry about fitting a full-sized graphics card. And, when you’re done building, the tempered glass side panel will allow you to show off your handiwork. The Antec Cube is without a doubt the best PC case for you Razer fans out there. While Razer hasn’t made its own desktop PC (not yet, anyway), you can build a Mini-ITX gaming PC, pretending it’s a razer product. You see, Antec partnered with Razer to bring its signature green-infused flare to the Cube, a small form-factor chassis. Complete with a deceptively high amount of space for future expansion, the Antec Cube is also compact enough to travel with. The Thermaltake Core W200 might not be the cheapest, but it may just be what you need if you need a piece of kit with all the necessary (and some perhaps frivolous) trimmings while still having more than enough room to expand in the future. This super tower has room for more than twenty drive trays and up to ten expansion slots – more than enough to technically have two PCs in it. And, if that doesn’t seem versatile enough for you, it also has a dismantlable modular design boasting removable drive racks and freely interchangeable SSD/HDD cage sections. All that comes at a (steep) price, but it’s well worth it if it’s exactly what you need. If you only care about keeping your PC components cool without investing in pricey and complicated liquid cooling setups, the Cooler Master H500P Mesh should be at the top of your list. Plenty of open space, and more room for fans than many other mid-tower PC cases, and it looks good to boot. In the world of PC gaming, we all love going above and beyond what anyone could reasonably need in a gaming rig, and that all starts with the PC case. Cases like the Corsair Obsidian 1000D, which can fit two whole PC builds are exactly what to look out for when looking for an overkill PC case. Honestly, pretty much any case on this list is going to be an excellent pick for a gaming PC. But you should consider what you're going for with your build, whether you want a ton of RGB flair like the Corsair iCue RGB 5000X, a lot of airflow like the Cooler Master H500P Mesh or something small and portable like the Antec Cube. The best part of picking a PC case, like with anything in PC gaming is that you have so many choices that will be absolutely amazing.
Best computer speakers 2021: the best audio systems for your PC
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Best gaming PC 2021: the top desktops for serious PC gaming
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gamerant.com
(0.04/4)

The Game Awards 2021 was a pretty good event for those who loves horror games. Remedy Entertainment finally confirmed that it's making survival-horror title Alan Wake 2, Gun Medai revealed a new game adaptation of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Bokeh Game Studio introduced the world to Slitterhead. Each of these games has potential, but Slitterhead has a unique advantage in that it's tied to Keiichiro Toyama, the creator of Silent Hill. While Toyama may not have written the majority of Silent Hill games, his psychological horror concepts were crucial to establishing Silent Hill 's identity, as well as defining the future of horror games in general. It's great to hear that Toyama is getting back into horror with Slitterhead. He's made a few horror titles in the years since he created Silent Hill, but Slitterhead still looks like a compelling step in a new direction, taking players to a city inspired by Hong Kong that's populated by horrifying monsters that disguise themselves as humans. Slitterhead isn't shy about containing a lot of action, in contrast to how Silent Hill prefers survival horror, but Toyama's latest comments on the game make it clear that Silent Hill fans could still really enjoy Slitterhead. RELATED: Slitterhead Might Be the Silent Hill Successor Fans Want Although Toyama has made it clear that Slitterhead is far too early in development to speak on a lot of its gameplay details, he did provide some notes on Slitterhead 's horror elements in a recent conversation with IGN. For one thing, he established some core themes of Slitterhead: life, death, and decay. Toyama says that Slitterhead will explore these central themes through not just gore and physical horror, but from more immersive and potentially psychological angles. Silent Hill 's focus on the fear of the unknown and close examination of the protagonist's own mind could live on through these strong central themes in Slitterhead, which could carry the game into a very specific, unique horror atmosphere. Toyama has explained one core Slitterhead concept that speaks to the game's unique approach to horror. He mentions that the game's monsters can disguise themselves as humans, meaning the player has to snuff them out while travelling through Slitterhead 's dense city. In other words, in Slitterhead, it's possible that any and every unnamed NPC that players pass could be a threat waiting to strike. Silent Hill fans are no stranger to stumbling blindly through the foggy titular town, never knowing for sure when danger might appear next. Slitterhead 's concept of disguised enemies could be a great way to refresh that principle of Silent Hill. RELATED: Slitterhead May Take Inspiration From a Real Japanese Urban Legend Aside from these concrete details on the game, the broader, more nebulous potential within Slitterhead should speak to Silent Hill fans. Slitterhead 's elusive monsters are already creative, but Toyama has promised multiple other mechanics that have never been seen before, meaning Slitterhead could be another innovative title in the horror genre. Silent Hill famously helped horror games explore more psychological themes, so with Toyama leading its development, there's hope that Slitterhead can similarly break new ground for action-oriented horror games. One could argue that Slitterhead 's biggest draw is simply its potential to be something wholly new. Hearing about Toyama's new project does introduce some pangs of sadness for Silent Hill, whose fate remains uncertain. Ever since Kojima and Konami parted ways, resulting in Silent Hills ' cancellation, there's been no sign of a franchise revival. Still, in a sense, that's all the more reason to be excited about Slitterhead. Even if Silent Hill lies dormant for now, its impact can be felt in the many horror games that have released since then and looked to it for inspiration. Slitterhead differs from Silent Hill in a lot of departments, but odds are that it'll feel at least a little bit like the original Silent Hill with Toyama at the helm. Slitterhead is in development. MORE: Slitterhead Looks Like Silent Hill Meets Devil May Cry
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0.6
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The ninth generation of gaming is well underway with the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S in late 2020. A legion of impressive new next-gen games like Returnal and Forza Horizon 5 has launched just this year alone, promising a stellar future ahead for fans of all things video games. Horizon: Forbidden West is one of the next big games in line, due for release in February 2022, positioned as the first grand-scale PS5 game of next year. Based on the stunning graphics in the reveal trailer and the PS5 being Sony's main focus, PS4 owners who have yet to secure a PS5 may have felt left out from playing Aloy's next adventure. However, a few months ago it was confirmed that Horizon: Forbidden West would additionally be coming to the PS4 alongside the PS5, making it a cross-generation release. While great news for PS4 owners, there was a concern for just how well the older technology could run a game as massive and gorgeous as Horizon: Forbidden West. Thankfully, recent PS4 screenshots of the game from Guerilla Games have put to rest any worries, as it looks like a perfectly fine version of the game all things considered. In fact, the impressive visuals in these screenshots also indicate that Sony's previous console still has plenty of life left in it over the coming years. RELATED: Image Compares Aloy Between Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West Generally speaking, a console's prime lasts about six to seven years. The PS2 was Sony's main focus from 2000-2006, then the PS3 from 2006 to 2013, and so on. While these platforms did receive support in the years that followed, the quality clearly began to dwindle as time went on, with the lineup of games slowly devolving into ports and the standard multiplatform releases. A large reason for this is that the technology in the older consoles no longer becomes sustainable to continue having the biggest games being produced. There is no way that the PS2 could run Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, nor could the PS3 handle Infamous: Second Son, and so on. While this is once again the case between the PS4 and PS5, this gap doesn't seem to be as immediately apparent as it was in prior console transitions. For a console released all the way back in 2013, the PS4 has proven to have a considerable amount of power-packed inside of it. 2020 titles such as The Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima look just as good as anything available on next-gen platforms. Additionally, third-party releases like Assassin's Creed: Valhalla can look almost as stunning on the older hardware as it does with the added visuals flourishes on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Huge leaps and bounds were made during the PS4's generation in terms of graphics and technical performance, delivering some of the most jaw-dropping experiences around such as Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and The Last of Us 2. These advancements have shortened the gap usually seen by the leaps in new console technology, as it is going to take some time for developers to truly take advantage of next-gen machines. This is not to suggest that games like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart aren't gorgeous and clearly a step above what is possible on PS4, but it does indicate that the PS4 isn't quite ready to hang up its coat and call it a day. The aforementioned PS4 screenshots of Horizon: Forbidden West, while obviously not as pretty as the PS5 counterpart, are still hugely impressive in their own right. The level of detail in the locations shows that the PS4 version is a perfectly serviceable option for users that have yet to make the jump to next-gen consoles, and also hints that future cross-generation games will perform just as admirably on Sony's older machine. God of War: Ragnarok and Gran Turismo 7 were both confirmed for the PS4 as well, and since both of these games are also first-party PlayStation titles, it seems likely they will get the same love and care that Horizon: Forbidden West has displayed. Horizon: Forbidden West launches February 18, 2022 on PS4 and PS5. MORE: Horizon Zero Dawn Comics Are the Best Way to Kill Time Until Horizon Forbidden West's Release
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Where to buy Nvidia RTX 3070: find stock here
(0.02/4)

Thanks to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 4K gaming is now accessible to the masses. You no longer have to sacrifice performance for the higher resolution or break the bank just for the pleasure of playing in UHD. In fact, it’s reminiscent of how the GeForce GTX 970 changed the game back in 2014. All of a sudden, users had access to 1080p gaming with high frame rates and max settings without burning a hole in their wallet. You could play games like Batman: Arkham Knight and Witcher 3, both still considered GPU-intensive to this day, without your PC breaking a sweat. Today, you see the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 doing the same for the next generation of gaming. There are some differences, though. The GTX 970 was a cheaper proposition when it was released, going for $329 (about £250, AU$460) compared to the RTX 3070’s retail price of $499 (£469, AU$809). But, both made the future of gaming attainable for the average gamer. With that said, the current chip shortage has made finding the RTX 3070 much harder for the time being as it’s almost impossible to find at market value outside of a pre-built PC. Though the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 may not offer the same staggering performance as the GeForce RTX 3080 or the RTX 3090, it’s an impressive card in its own right, delivering 4K performance that almost rivals that of the RTX 2080 Ti without burning a $1,199 (£1,099, AU$1,899) shaped hole in your pocket. And, that combination of affordable price and high performance makes it the de facto graphics card for most people. We'll keep this page updated as stock comes in (and sells out), so hopefully you'll be able to get hold of an RTX 3070 at some point. If you want to try your luck at the more powerful card, we show you where to buy an RTX 3080 and where to buy the RTX 3090 as well. We'll list all the latest Nvidia RTX 3070 stock below as soon as the GPUs come back into stock. Our automatic price comparison tool will also highlight the best deals as they go live as well. Most retailers are out of stock, as they have been for a long time since launch, but we'll keep an eye on them and let you know if they get any more. The Nvidia RTX 3070 went on sale on October 29 at 1PM GMT in the UK, and again did not last long, with most stock selling out very fast.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 review
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 24 /173 

0.2
gamerant.com
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While some appreciate Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe and Warner Bros.' DC films for capturing audience interest and keeping moviegoing alive, others decry the superhero genre for overtaking the limelight and taking away opportunities for other kinds of films to be produced. Now, Licorice Pizza director Paul Thomas Anderson has weighed in on the discourse, stating his approval of the subgenre. A slew of filmmakers have recently shared their opinions on superhero films. Martin Scorcese famously shared his opinion on superhero films, stating that Marvel movies were not cinema, but rather more comparable to attractions such as theme park rides. And after The Last Duel released in theaters last October to disappointing numbers, film director Ridley Scott joined Scorsese in voicing their displeasure with superhero films, describing them as boring and mostly saved by special effects. RELATED: Anti-Christmas Movies That Put A Dark Twist On The Holidays In an interview with The New Yorker, Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of many beloved dramatic films including Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, admitted that he liked superhero films. "I just don't feel that way", he stated while reflecting on whether the genre has ruined movies. "I mean, look, we're all nervous about people getting back to the theatre, but you know what's going to get them back in movie theatres? "Spider-Man." So let's be happy about that." Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza, kickstarted its platform release earlier this year to immense critical success. The film stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman's son, Cooper Hoffman, and Alana Haim of the music group HAIM. The film follows their characters as they fall in love while growing up in California's San Fernando Valley during the 1970s. The film has already achieved significant success with awards bodies, receiving four nominations from the Golden Globe Awards and eight nominations from the Critics' Choice Awards. The film is also expected to be a major player at this year's Academy Awards. While theatrical releases have struggled to reach the box office grosses they were once capable of, superhero films, particularly ones based on Marvel and DC Comics properties, have achieved remarkable success throughout the past few years. However, not every film enthusiast agrees on whether this is a good thing. The majority of major filmmakers have stated disapproval of modern superhero films, so to see a renowned filmmaker showcase a positive view of the genre is a refreshing occurrence. Thomas Anderson is an especially surprising source of optimism about the genre, as his films are commonly austere in their artistic ambition. Nevertheless, his thoughts are a pleasant surprise that fans of Marvel and DC superhero movies will be able to agree with. Licorice Pizza is now playing in limited theaters and will be released nationwide on December 25, 2021. MORE: Spider-Man: No Way Home's MVP Is Truly Unexpected Source: The New Yorker
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36968cdb4c492ee4ad1b0c447605637f

 

 25 /173 

0.7
gamerant.com
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Animal Crossing: New Horizons players have been recreating existing buildings, characters, items, and scenery from other franchises since the game came out. However, with the launch of the Happy Home Paradise DLC, gamers have been able to make these tributes to their favorite series bigger and better than ever. One Animal Crossing: New Horizons player has even managed to recreate the entire Animal Crossing -themed circuit from Mario Kart 8 on their island. Reportedly, Mario Kart 8 is currently the best-selling racing game ever made, so it may be easy to see why gamers would want to recreate its iconic courses. Fans may find the decision to build a version of the Animal Crossing -themed circuit inside an Animal Crossing game very fitting. Although the choice of medium has its limitations, watching the villager run around the track on foot is a very engaging sight. RELATED: Dad Building Real-Life Animal Crossing Froggy Chair As Christmas Gift Twitter user PishPawshART shared a short video of herself exploring the island which highlighted some of what the course had to offer. In the video, she runs down a path, crosses the iconic black and white checkered goalposts, and then zooms off down a gorgeously recreated Mario Kart 8 course. As she is running on foot rather than riding in a car, the video moves a bit slower than the average Mario Kart match. However, there are plenty of coins for her to collect and her trek leads her to pass several stationary cars on the way. The course also features boost pads, a Mario Kart 8 flag, plenty of twists and turns, and even an appearance by Mr. Resetti in figurine form. The coastal areas are lined with shells and there are TV cameras set up to capture the supposed race. The result is an experience that may help tide gamers over until Mario Kart 9 is announced. According to PishPawshART, she stumbled across the island by accident after going to a random Dream Address--a decision that definitely paid off for her. Apparently, this Animal Crossing: New Horizons island is called Lamasery and the DA code is DA-8468-5893-3290. Interested gamers can visit Lamasery for themselves and run the course by using the Dream Address code. This isn't the first time Animal Crossing: New Horizons players have recreated an existing setting in the game, but it may be one of the largest and most detailed. If Nintendo added go-karts to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, gamers might even be able to race properly on the course. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out now on the Nintendo Switch. MORE: Animal Crossing: New Horizons Needs Happy Home Paradise's Outdoor Customization
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90a32901392ae1b4497256486b733782

 

 26 /173 

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gamerant.com
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In the video game industry, certain months tend to stand out. Looking ahead to 2022, the first three months of the year already look quite busy, with there being plenty of big new game releases in January 2022 and plenty more scheduled for February 2022 as well. March 2022 is also shaping up to be a big month for the gaming industry, and assuming there aren't any delays, it could very well be one of the biggest months of the entire year. As it stands, there are numerous major game releases currently scheduled to release in March 2022. Some of these games are highly-anticipated indie titles that stand a good chance at becoming critical darlings, whereas others are big budget releases or re-releases of some of the most popular games ever made. Needless to say, there is a lot for gamers to look forward to in March 2022. RELATED: Battlefield 2042 Season 1 Reportedly Launching in March Here are the biggest game releases currently scheduled for March 2022 that are helping it be such a significant month in the first quarter of the new year. Keep in mind that release dates can always change, so it's possible some of these games will get pushed back to a later date. March 2022 is starting things off strong with the release of Gran Turismo 7, the latest entry in Sony's critically-acclaimed PlayStation exclusive racing game franchise. Gran Turismo 7 is of particular interest for fans as it will mark the franchise's debut on Sony's next-generation PlayStation 5 console. The latest Gran Turismo games haven't earned quite the same level of praise as earlier entries, so it will be interesting to see if the new one can return the franchise to its glory days when it launches on March 4. March 4 will also see the release of Triangle Strategy, a tactical RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics with an art style reminiscent of Ocotopath Traveler. Being developed by Square Enix as a Nintendo Switch exclusive game, the Triangle Strategy demo has largely left strategy game fans impressed and exciting to see what the final product will offer when the game launches for the Switch early next year. The Nintendo Switch will also enjoy exclusive access to Chocobo GP come March 10, which is another game from Square Enix. Chocobo GP may have a more niche audience than some of the other big games releasing in March 2022, but racing game fans who enjoy the Final Fantasy franchise may want to give it a look. RELATED: Indie Game Development is Now Costing Some Developers Millions of Dollars The first major indie game release for March 2022 comes with Tunic on March 16. Tunic is inspired by classic Legend of Zelda games, albeit with a tougher difficulty than fans of that franchise may be used to. Tunic has been turning heads for years thanks to its striking art style, though it remains to be seen if the final product lives up to fans' lofty expectations. Thankfully, the wait for that question to be answered is almost over as Tunic is just a few months away from release. Tunic and most of the other games coming out in March 2022 are brand new releases, but there are some re-releases and remasters as well. The first is Persona 4 Arena Ultimax on March 17, a re-release of the popular 2014 fighting game. For the uninitiated, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is a sequel to Persona 4 Arena, itself a spin-off of the acclaimed RPG Persona 4. It continues the Persona 4 storyline in the guise of a fighting game, so while it's definitely a different experience gameplay-wise, RPG fans who enjoy the characters of Persona 4 will want to look into it, especially if they missed out the first time around. RPG fans have a lot to look forward to in general come March 2022, as March 18 will see the release of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. A rather bizarre twist on the Dark Souls formula, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is based on the very first Final Fantasy game, trading the classic turn-based combat for a Dark Souls -style action-RPG instead. Stranger of Paradise 's trailers have drummed up interest thanks to the game's over-the-top story and characters, and fans will soon find out if it all lives up to the hype or not. A week later, gamers can check out Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. Launching March 25, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is the latest installment in Gearbox Software's Borderlands franchise. Taking inspiration from Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC for Borderlands 2, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands blends classic Borderlands co-op looter-shooter gameplay with a fantasy, Dungeons & Dragons -style setting. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands should please fans of the Borderlands franchise and anyone looking for a new co-op game to play should consider it as well. And finally, the last major new game release for March 2022 that has an actual release date is Weird West from WolfEye Studios and Devolver Digital. Originally scheduled to release in early January, Weird West 's release date was recently delayed to allow the game to get some extra polish. It's an isometric action-RPG inspired by classic Fallout games that blends a Wild West setting with supernatural elements. Weird West being developed by former Dishonored developers has helped it get more attention than it may have otherwise, and it's certainly one of the more promising indie game releases launching in the early months of 2022. While they don't have an exact release date just yet, Grand Theft Auto 5 and Grand Theft Auto Online are also big games set to release in March 2022. The next-generation ports of GTA 5 and GTA Online are aiming for release on PS5 and Xbox Series X, though what significant enhancements they are bringing to the table have yet to be revealed by Rockstar Games. Regardless, fans can expect the same high-quality Grand Theft Auto 5 single-player experience that they've been playing since 2013 as well as the latest iteration of the game's online multiplayer component, which is now getting its very own standalone release separate from the base game. The last major game confirmed for release in March 2022 is WWE 2K22, the latest installment in the long-running professional wrestling video game franchise. WWE 2K22 is coming after the abysmal launch of WWE 2K20, which stands as one of the lowest-rated wrestling games ever made. In response to the negative feedback, 2K Sports has given developer Visual Concepts extra time to make WWE 2K22, resulting in an overhaul of the game and hopefully a better experience overall. These are the biggest games currently confirmed for release in March 2022, but as previously stated, plans could change. Video game release dates are shifted around all the time, but assuming these games all manage to release in March 2022 as currently planned, it will definitely be a big month for the industry and one of the biggest month for new game releases of the entire year. MORE: The Biggest New Games Launching in January 2022
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Galaxy S20 FE 5G variant starts getting December 2021 security update
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A couple of days ago, Samsung rolled out the December 2021 security patch to the LTE models of the Galaxy S20 FE. And now, the company is also making the update available for the 5G variants of the S20 FE. The update is currently rolling out to the 5G variants of the Galaxy S20 FE smartphones in Spain, but we’re expecting it to become available in other parts of the world very soon. As for what’s new in the firmware update G781BXXS4CUL3, besides the December patch, the update could also include device stability improvements and general bug fixes. Samsung will push the latest security patch to all its supported Galaxy smartphones in the coming days, including entry-level, mid-range, and premium devices. Samsung is currently beta testing the One UI 4.0 update with a couple of premium Galaxy handsets, which don’t include the S20 FE, but we’re expecting the company to open the beta testing program of the S20 FE users. The December 2021 security patch is already available for a bunch of flagship Galaxy phones, including Galaxy Note20, S20, Galaxy Z Fold 3, Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Fold. The update is also available for some of the mid-range Galaxy phones. Meanwhile, Galaxy S20 FE users in Spain can check for the update manually by navigating to Settings> Software update. via SamMobile
Surface Studio 2, Surface Laptop 4(AMD) get December 2021 firmware update
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DirectX 12 is coming to Mac, but the road is long

When Valve contracted parts of the CodeWeavers team to help build Proton, they probably didn’t expect the level of success they’re seeing today. Since that contract began secretly in 2016, a large portion of the Steam catalog now runs on Linux. At least the titles that don’t either make use of a Windows anti-cheat client designed to detect the environment it’s running on, or are not victim to a DirectX call that isn’t completely compatible with DXVK or VKD3D. DXVK is the software responsible for translating DirectX to Vulcan on the fly, while VKD3D does the same thing for DirectX 12 Of course, CodeWeavers is no stranger to the technology that Proton was forked from. They’ve been building solutions on Wine (Wine-Is-Not-An-Emulator) for over 20 years, providing commercial solutions to the public and private sectors all the while. In 2006, their consumer product Crossover Office was given a new lease on life when Apple switched to Intel, prompting them to port the Linux/Xorg native application to a BSD/Aqua environment. Now the team faces a new challenge. Compatibility with DirectX12. While experimental code is already being merged into Valve's Proton for Linux users to enjoy, VKD3D on Mac is wrought with numerous technical challenges and limitations that must be surmounted. According to CodeWeavers, the barrier to entry is Apple’s Metal. They say DirectX 12 requires one million shader resource views (SRVs), which is a lot when compared to cross-platform technologies like Vulkan. Metal has an SRV ceiling of half that amount. From the post: In the posting, CodeWeavers seem confident they can clear these obstacles and bring DirectX 12 compatibility to the Mac in the forthcoming CrossOver 23 which is great news for those who want to play PC games on M1 hardware. For those planning to play on Steam Deck, Steam OS 3.0, or anywhere else in the vast Linux desktop landscape, you’ll be able to take advantage of these advancements much sooner as they’re pushed upstream to Proton-experimental. Source: CodeWeavers

 

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More than 40 tech companies aren't attending CES 2022 in-person, but should you?

It looks like ‘abandon ship’ at CES 2022 as more than 40 tech companies have so far backed out of in-person events and physical kiosks. These include T-Mobile, Intel, Lenovo, TikTok and Meta. However, around 60 businesses have signed up for physical space on the show floor, confirmed the Consumer Technology Association, who organizes CES. Consumer Electronics Show, formerly an initialism for CES, is less than a fortnight away, but it is rapidly transforming into a purely digital affair, just like last year. However, CES 2022 might not turn out to be a lackluster event due to poor turnout of tech companies and their latest gizmos. CES 2022 is scheduled to be an in-person event, unlike CES 2021, which was a purely digital affair. Technically, this means live demonstrations, talks, discussions, and lots of merchandise to be won. However, it looks like COVID-19 could play the grinch at this event as well. Interestingly, it is not the fear of the Omicron variant or the re-surging COVID-19 cases, but the ongoing chip shortage that is causing havoc with several companies’ design deadlines. Speaking less than a fortnight before the show, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro reportedly said, “It’s the global chip shortage, rather than the coronavirus pandemic, that’s keeping more exhibitors away. It’s, I think, probably produced more cancellations of exhibitors than anything having to do with COVID (-19) at this point.” The CTA has mandated that only fully vaccinated people can attend, and masks are compulsory in the venue. Given the fact that many tech giants will avoid an in-person CES 2022, the venue might appear sparsely populated. However, such situations often allow lesser-known startups to better showcase their groundbreaking technologies.

 

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How to watch Bradley and Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad Christmas Special online for free anywhere

Last seen quivering atop a diving platform in the Amalfi Coast, Bradley Walsh swaps sunshine for potential frostbite as Barney drags him to Iceland to follow in the snowprints of the mythical Yule Lads. Read on as we explain how to watch Bradley and Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad at Christmas free from anywhere - plus how to tune in early. The Sausage Swiper and the Window [eeper are just two of the Yule Lads of Icelandic lore, a 13-strong family unit of mischief-makers emerge every Christmas to wreak havoc. As we've seen over the past three seasons, one impish boy is often more than enough for poor old Bradley to deal with, and he'll be pushed to his limits yet again as they clamber across Icelandic glaciers, dive into the hot springs, and tentatively hit the slopes. It's enough to make you want to wrap yourself in a blanket with a hot drink. Expect bickering aplenty in this hour-long festive special, and follow our guide so you know exactly when and how to watch Bradley and Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad at Christmas online from anywhere and 100% for free. If you're celebrating Christmas abroad this year, you won't be able to stream the Breaking Dad Christmas special as you would at home, due to annoying geo-restrictions. However, you can get around them by using a VPN or Virtual Private Network. It's completely legal, very affordable, and easy to use - and it also encrypts your browsing, offering protection against cybercriminals and government snooping. Use a VPN to watch Breaking Dad Christmas special from anywhere Using a VPN is as easy as one-two-three. 1. Download and install a VPN - as we say, our top choice is ExpressVPN 2. Connect to the appropriate server location - open the VPN app, hit 'choose location' and select the appropriate location (a server in the UK in this case) 3. Go to the broadcaster's stream - head to the ITV Hub or app and watch the Breaking Dad Christmas Special as if you were back at home

 

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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl return players to Generation 4's Sinnoh region. The original Pokemon Diamond and Pearl spawned some of the franchise's most beloved starters and Pokemon, and have remained some of the most loved titles in the series. RELATED: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: Best Grass-Type Pokemon (& Where To Catch Them) Whether players are returning to Sinnoh or starting their first journey through the region, the choice of which Pokemon to pair with their starter can be tough. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl give players a multitude of options when crafting their team to take on the many gym leaders, and eventually the Elite Four. Turtwig is a fan-favorite choice for starter Pokemon, and its final evolution's dual Grass/Ground-typing give players the chance to make some strategic decisions in the team composition. Updated December 23rd, 2021 by Russ Boswell: Some players that are loading up Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl for the first time are going to gravitate to the adorable turtle-like stater, Turtwig. This useful Grass/Ground-type starts out small before growing into the ever-imposing tank that is Torterra. But even the mighty walking fortress itself isn't capable of doing it all, so players will need to snag more Pokemon to give their team some variety. Players that take the grassy starter will definitely want to know the best team for Brilliant Diamond with Turtwig. To better help players that are looking for a Brilliant Diamond Turtwig team, the following list has been updated to offer even more choices. Those looking for a great all-arounder may want to consider Lucario when choosing a Pokemon to slot into their "ultimate team." Lucario is a Steel/Fighting-type that evolves from Riolu and is capable of learning a wide array of moves that can help cover type weaknesses. Lucario's typing gives it an advantage over Flying, Steel, Dragon, Normal, and Water-types but it's able to make use of other TM-taught moves that can help it decimate even more typings. Lucario hits hard thanks to its 145 Attack and 140 Special Attack, meaning it can still dominate Pokemon without using a STAB move. Those that want their own Lucario will need to reach a high friendship level with Riolu, where it will then evolve during the daytime. Many of the Pokemon featured on this list are capable of waltzing into the halls of the Elite Four and punishing any opponents that come their way, but the journey to the Elite Four is long and arduous. Because of this, players will want to target at least one middle-tier Pokemon to help them speed through the mid-game on their way to evolving into a Sinnoh Champion. One great option is to seek out a Meditite in the grassy area west of Eterna City. Those that are lucky (or diligent) enough can snag one of these pocket monsters with the Pure Power ability. This ability essentially doubles the Pokemon's Attack stat, making it a hard-hitter fairly early on. Evolving Meditite is as simple as leveling it to 37. Its Fighting/Psychic-typing make Medicham a force to be reckoned with. Metagross is one of the toughest Pokemon in the franchise and will do well on almost any team. With its massive 135 Attack stat, which can rival even some of the game's strongest legendaries, it can be a huge asset in battle. Metagross' Psychic/Steel-typing also gives it an advantage in battle, with an immunity to Poison-type moves. Beldum, Metagross' unevolved form, can be found on Route 228 in tall grass as well as in the game's Grand Underground. Beldum will evolve into Metang at level 20, and Metagross at level 45. Clefable is easy to overlook, but this Pokemon can prove extremely useful to players. As a pure Fairy-type Pokemon, Clefable's immunity to Dragon-type moves comes in handy during tough battles. Cleffa and Clefairy, Clefable's previous evolutions, can both be found in tall grass in the Trophy Garden and Mt. Coronet. Cleffa will evolve into Clefairy at high friendship and into Clefable when given a Moon Stone. One of the best Water-type Pokemon in the game, Milotic is a pure Water-type Pokemon, which means it only has two weaknesses: Grass and Electric-type moves. Milotic's huge Special Attack and Special Defense stats also give it an edge in battle. RELATED: How To Unlock The Bike In Pokemon Brilliant Diamond And Shining Pearl Milotic can be a difficult Pokemon for players to get ahold of. Feebas, Milotic's pre-evolution, can be caught using a fishing rod on Mt. Coronet. Feebas will evolve into Milotic when it reaches max beauty and then levels up, or if is traded holding a Prism Scale. Rapidash is a pure Fire-type Pokemon, making it a good cover for Torterra's weaknesses like Ice, Bug, and Fire-Type moves. Rapidash's Attack and Speed stats also give it an edge in battle. Ponyta, Rapidash's unevolved form, is very accessible and can be found in tall grass on Route 206, Route 210, Route 211, Route 214, Route 215, as well as in the Grand Underground. Ponyta will evolve into Rapidash at level 40, which shouldn't be hard to achieve due to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl's Exp. Share always being turned on. Crobat is a Poison/Flying-type and has great stats. Its typing gives it an immunity to Ground-type moves, which comes in handy at several points throughout the game, especially during battle with the Elite Four's Bertha. Golbat, Crobat's pre-evolution, is one of the most common Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. It can be found at Wayward Cave and Oreburgh Mine at any time, and on Route 203, Route 204, Route 206, Route 207, Route 208, Route 209, Route 211, Route 216, and Route 217 at night. Zubat will evolve into Golbat at level 22, and Crobat once the player reaches high friendship with the Pokemon. Houndoom is a Dual-type Fire/Dark Pokemon. Its typing gives it an immunity to Psychic-type moves, which can be extremely helpful for players, especially during the battle with Elite Four's Psychic-type trainer. Houndoom's Special Attack stat also helps it plow through opponents in battle with its Fire-type moves. RELATED: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond And Shining Pearl Fan Makes Real-Life Poketch Watch An already evolved Houndoom can be caught on Route 214 and Route 215 once players have access to the Poke Radar. Houndoom can also be found in the Grand Underground. If players do catch a Houndour, Houndoom's unevolved form, it will evolve into a Houndoom at level 24. Lickilicky evolves from Lickitung and is a pure Normal-type Pokemon, meaning it has few weaknesses and also few resistances. It does have an immunity to Ghost-type moves, which is very useful throughout Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Lickitung can be found in tall grass at Lake Valor and in the Grand Underground. It will evolve into Lickilicky after it has learned the move Rollout. Gyarados is one of the most fearsome Pokemon in the series. It is a Water/Flying type that evolves from the infamously useless Magikarp. It is entirely immune to Ground-type moves, but does have a 4s weakness to Electric-type moves. If players are able to avoid Electric-type Pokemon, Gyarados can be one of the best pairings for Turtwig due to its massive Attack alone. Magikarp and Gyarados (the latter with a lesser likelihood) can be caught in almost every body of water in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl using a fishing rod. Magikarp will evolve into Gyarados at level 20. Gallade is a Psychic/Fighting-type Pokemon whose highlights are its Attack and Special Defense stats. Gallade has few weaknesses (Ghost, Fairy, and Flying-type moves), making it useful for players who are as familiar with the typing matchups. Gallade is also one of the best Fighting-type Pokemon, out-speeding other popular choices like Machamp or Poliwrath. RELATED: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond And Shining Pearl's Exclusive Legendaries Are A Great Homage Gallade can be a difficult Pokemon to get ahold of. To get Gallade, players must catch a male Ralts/Kirlia, and evolve Kirlia using a Dawn Stone. Ralts and Kirlia can both be found in the Grand Underground, or on Route 203 and Route 204 once players have access to the Poke Radar. Gallade isn't the only Ralts-based evolution that's capable of dishing out massive damage. Those that obtain Kirlia and opt to let it evolve naturally at level 30 (instead of giving it a Dawn Stone) will be rewarded with Gardevoir, a Psychic/Fairy-type that's great against Water, Dragon, Steel, Flying, and Psychic Pokemon. What helps to set Gardevoir apart from the rest of the pack is its Special Attack (125) and solid Speed (80). This combination gives it an edge over slower Pokemon and its access to Psychic STAB moves and powerful Special Attacks will make short work of even the strongest opponents. Staraptor makes a great addition to any Pokemon team thanks to its high Attack and Speed stats, and its Normal/Flying Normal-typing which give it immunity to both Ghost and Ground-type moves. Staraptor can be a great asset to players during Hearthhome City Ghost-type gym battle, and the Elite Four's battle with Bertha. Starly, Staraptor's pre-evolution, is widely available and can be found on Route 201, Route 202, Route 203, Route 204, Route 209, and Route 212. Starly will evolve into Staravia at level 14, and into Staraptor at level 34. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are currently available for the Nintendo Switch. MORE: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: Grand Underground Pokemon List

 

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The following article contains spoilers for the Hawkeye finale. Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye was set for greatness. With new characters introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, trick arrows, and loads of action sequences, the series was bound to capture the attention of MCU fans. The cherry on top was the appearance of Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, as it proved an extremely popular fan theory to be correct. But, the finale failed to do the character justice. Vincent D'Onofrio’s Kingpin was introduced at the end of the fifth Hawkeye episode amid huge fanfare, and viewers expected him to wreak havoc in the finale. A fight between Kingpin and Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton seemed inevitable at the time, and fans were excited to see the iconic character giving the hero a hard time. But, the finale failed to live up to fan expectations and Kingpin’s introduction seemed almost unnecessary. RELATED: New Hawkeye Featurette Looks At Florence Pugh's Return As Yelena Belova Kingpin first appeared in a video still on Kate Bishop’s phone at the end of episode 5 of Hawkeye, and was seen talking to her mother, Eleanor. Barton acknowledged him as the bigger threat that he had been worried about all along, and Kate realized that her mother is involved with the mob. Judging by Barton’s concerns, Kingpin seemed like a menace that would not go down easily, definitely not without a fight. The moment between Eleanor and Kingpin plays out in the Hawkeye finale, and it is confirmed that she had been doing his bidding to pay off her husband’s debt. With her daughter now involved in the situation, she wants to back out of her deal with Kingpin. “And that is why I have to leave this business,” she is heard telling the villain, without realizing the consequences of her actions. The scene builds up Kingpin’s involvement in the series even more, as fans expect him to retaliate in a dangerous way and possibly even kill Eleanor. He simultaneously discovers that his adoptive daughter Maya Lopez has turned on him, which is bound to get his temper flaring. D'Onofrio’s dialogue delivery at this point is phenomenal, and as he expresses his rage, fans get ready for an epic showdown. Unfortunately, Kingpin is missing in action for the remainder of the episode, until he finally shows up outside Eleanor’s party. It could be the writers’ way of building suspense. Keep viewers waiting just the right amount of time and then come in with a bang. What the studio does, however, need to keep in mind is that if they keep fans waiting too long, their expectations go through the roof, and anything inadequate at that point will result in a drop in ratings. Just as fans are waiting in anticipation to see him show the true extent of Kingpin’s power, after he rips off the door on Eleanor’s vehicle, he gets into a tiff with Kate. Their fight is the weakest in Hawkeye so far, which is quite upsetting as the series has had some great action sequences so far. Kingpin barely throws any punches and is seen constantly scolding Kate, like a father figure trying to discipline his child, while dodging her attacks. The only moment of spark is when he grabs Kate’s arrows and breaks them all into half. In the comics, Fisk does not have superpowers, but is extremely smart and physically strong. He is trained in several types of hand-to-hand combat and it is a known fact that his bulky appearance is due to muscle, not fat. He uses his true strength to attack his enemies, including superheroes like Spider-Man. To see him participate in a subpar fight with Kate in the Hawkeye finale is extremely disappointing. Kingpin’s comic counterpart is also quite strategic, and uses his wits to control most of the thugs in the city. But, Hawkeye sees him control just the Tracksuit Mafia, who are more of a comic relief than an actual challenge for the heroes. Additionally, Kingpin is outsmarted by Kate when she manages to take off a button from his coat jacket and use it to detonate one of her trick arrows. It doesn’t seem like Hawkeye has managed to capture the true essence of the villain’s intellect. After an exciting introduction into the MCU, Hawkeye failed to give Kingpin his rightful enigmatic presence. In Netflix’s Daredevil, every time that Kingpin is on screen, he receives a certain level of respect. Despite being the villain, the character holds so much power that fans want to acknowledge his presence. But, the character was mostly wasted on Hawkeye by only appearing in a few scenes, and mostly just arguing or fighting with people. After he escapes the authorities towards the end of the final Hawkeye episode, he comes face to face with Maya, who has just discovered that Kingpin was responsible for her father’s death. Just when fans think things might get interesting, Maya pulls out a gun and supposedly kills Kingpin. The camera pans before she takes the shot, so it isn’t clear whether the villain is dead or not. Regardless of whether Kingpin is dead or not, it seemed like the character was completely wasted on Hawkeye. Fans were quite excited to see a character from an isolated Marvel series entering the MCU. They spoke about it for weeks on social media, and shared any clues or leaks they could manage to get their hands on to confirm Kingpin’s appearance in the series. All the hints, especially Maya’s introduction, pointed towards his eventual arrival. Sadly, it wasn’t worth the hype and a wasted opportunity by Marvel. Hawkeye is streaming on Disney Plus. MORE: Hawkeye Episode 6 Easter Eggs

 

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Lia McHugh, who plays Sprite in Eternals, has posted a behind-the-scenes photo from the film. The image revealed that Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) originally had a little more screen time than was shown in the final cut of Eternals. Dane Whitman is a character from the comic books who ends up becoming the Black Knight. This character wields a mystical sword, has genius level intellect, and is an expert-level swordsman. In Eternals, it was teased that he is more than meets the eye at the end of the film during the post-credits scene. RELATED: Chloe Zhao Shows Eternals Pic From First Test Screening In Parking Lot Eternals didn't give Dane Whitman much screen time or impact on the plot, and many fans were wondering why. However, McHugh's post suggests there was at least one more scene featuring Harington's Whitman that didn't make the cut. The post includes an image that features Harington, director Chloe Zhao, and McHugh in what looks to be a National History museum. It may not have been too pivotal to the plot, but the scene would be a welcomed addition to the film. it's clear that Harington's Dane Whitman is meant to be a bigger part of the MCU in a future movie or a bigger project down the road. Without spoiling, an important new character made their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut in the post-credits scene with Dane Whitman and it would be cool to see those two work together at some point. While Eternals producers have suggested there won't be any sequels, there's still a good chance some characters from the film will return in a different MCU project. As far as characters go, the film did a very good job at introducing the Eternals, which was not easy because there were ten different heroes for the director to juggle. Each character had their own personality, powers, struggle, and quirks that set them apart from the rest. Seeing them all fight differently was compelling, as they all approached battles differently. Ikaris, for example, is more abrasive as he charges head first with his super strength and super flight, while someone like Kingo has to stay back to give himself distance and time to charge up energetic projectiles to shoot at enemies. Eternals teased a lot of what's to come in the MCU, which is a common theme for the movies because the story keeps getting bigger. A new Eternals character was also introduced at the end of the movie, one who may shake up the world of the MCU going forward. This will definitely not be the last time that fans see the Eternals. Eternals is currently in theaters. MORE: Every Marvel Movie And TV Show From 2021, Ranked Source: Lia McHugh

 

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Magnetic Fields Could Be Early Warning That a Tsunami Is on the Way

The massive waves called tsunamis can arrive with little notice, making evacuation challenging. A team of earth scientists now report that the devastating walls of water can be predicted by their magnetic fields, which signal the wave’s arrival sooner than anything else. The team’s results were published in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. Tsunamis are caused by undersea activities like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions that send powerful shockwaves in every direction. A typical warning sign of a tsunami is the rapid recession of the ocean from the shore. But the phenomenon demonstrated by the recent team illustrates that magnetic fields arrive before the sea level changes, making it the most immediate indicator of a tsunami. This idea had previously been proposed but never actually measured. “It is very exciting because in previous studies we didn’t have the observation [of] sea level change,” said Zhiheng Lin, a geophysicist at Kyoto University and a co-author of the paper, in an AGU release. “We have observations [of] sea level change, and we find that the observation agrees with our magnetic data as well as theoretical simulation.” To collect their results, the team looked at data from two tsunamis, one that occurred in Samoa in 2009 and another that hit Chile in 2010, to model how the magnetic field of a wave would behave. The two events are some of the earliest times simultaneous data on sea level change and magnetic fields were made for tsunamis. “We’ve needed a study that compared the magnetic field data with the sea level change from the pressure data, and I’m pretty sure they’re the first to really compare how well the sea level from magnetic field matches the sea level from pressure,” said Neesha Schnepf, an earth scientist specializing in geomagnetism at the University of Colorado at Boulder who was unaffiliated with the study, in the same release. T he models had an easier time in deep water situations, as in coastal waters there’s more environmental noise that makes it harder to detect the tsunami’s magnetic field. The behavior of the magnetic field—the important thing here being its arrival time—varies based on the water’s depth, but if the tsunami originated in water a few miles deep, its magnetic field would arrive on shore a full minute before the water begins to recede, a potentially lifesaving amount of time when every second counts. “I think the practical goal would be if your ability to model tsunamis is so improved,… you could come up with much better predictions of what areas might need to be warned [and] how badly it might hit certain places,” Schnepf said. More: Everything You Need to Know to Survive a Tsunami

 

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gamerant.com

Having cool-looking Guardians has always been part of Destiny as a franchise, with the first installment of the series featuring plenty of great armor sets based on the game's iconic enemies. This made players feel like their characters were wearing the spoils of war and the armor of their opponents, even though this is not something that truly carried over into Destiny 2. However, Bungie did put a lot of work into Destiny 2 's sets to make them stand out in different ways, with some of the Raid armor pieces and others from Trials of Osiris being excellent examples. Fashion is an important component of Destiny 2, to the point that, in the past, players would use better-looking armor over items that were better in terms of stats. This is fortunately not an issue anymore now that the Armor Synthesis feature is in the game, and players can now virtually unlock any armor piece in Destiny 2 as a universal ornament to use for their looks. This is a great change, and it allows players to make good use of ornaments to make any look possible - even turning their characters into those of other franchises. RELATED: Destiny 2 Player Discovers Old Hangar Feature For the First Time A Reddit user by the name of DredgenSpectre shared an incredible Nathan Drake look for their Hunter, perfectly encapsulating the essence of Uncharted 's protagonist. As it often happens with crossover Destiny 2 looks, this Nathan Drake costume is made with the Hunter's Couturier Mask, which removes the hood from all cloaks used with it, regardless of their original aesthetics. As such, the player found a great match in the Refugee Cloak, a vanilla Destiny 2 cloak that doesn't have a cape but is more like a cowl, which becomes a scarf when combined with the Couturier Mask. Pieces from the Intrepid set also help bring Nathan Drake's raggedy look together, especially combined with white, brown, and dark Shaders. DredgenSpectre also made sure to include several slides to show off the look in different environments, cutscenes, and menus within Destiny 2, as well as a slide that lists every armor piece and Shader used. With the Uncharted movie starring Tom Holland as Nathan Drake coming up, now is a perfect time to share a cosplay for the beloved character, even though it's in a game where treasure hunting is not exactly the same. And yet, Xur's new loot cave is a perfect place for this look to shine, as it does look like somewhere from Uncharted games. Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. MORE: Why Destiny 2's 30th Anniversary Pack Feels So Much Like Borderlands Source: Reddit

 

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Everything we know about Breath of the Wild 2

When Nintendo released the teaser trailer for Breath of the Wild 2 several years ago, it unleashed a whirlwind of rumors and speculation about a sequel to the best Zelda game. As the dust started to settle, a few things were made clear — but much remained up in the air. Nintendo is notoriously scarce with information regarding first-party titles, and that holds true for this much-anticipated sequel. Thankfully, Nintendo gave us a closer look at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 during E3 2021. Eagle-eyed viewers have been able to piece together a lot of the clues seen in the announcement trailer, and the latest gameplay reveal has plenty of other hidden secrets for us to decode. Plus, we’ve heard a few things directly from the legendary game designer Eiji Aonuma, which has only added fuel to the fire. From playable characters and returning enemies to the release date and storyline, here’s everything we know — and don’t know — about the forthcoming sequel to Breath of the Wild. Further reading Breath of the Wild 2 is set for a 2022 release. The news was confirmed during Nintendo’s E3 2021 keynote, although we still don’t have a specific date for its arrival. It’s also likely that the game will further be postponed — as is to be expected with most big releases in the modern era of game development — so it wouldn’t be surprising to see BOTW2 drop in the second half of 2023. However, on a recent episode of IGN’s Nintendo Voice Chat podcast, the website’s co-founder Peer Schneider mentioned that BOTW 2 could be dropping in November. That’s far from a confirmation, but at this point, it’s the most tantalizing news we’ve had for the game in quite some time. “I was able to hang out with some people in the industry afterward and it does sound like Nintendo is going to have a pretty good year next year,” Schneider said. “So I would not take the absence of big stuff as like a sign that maybe Breath of the Wild is delayed, or that they don’t have other stuff because it sounds like people at Nintendo are very excited about 2022.” Breath of the Wild 2 will only be available on Nintendo Switch. Nintendo isn’t keen on porting its high-performing first-party titles to other consoles, and we don’t expect that trend to change when Breath of the Wild 2 is eventually released. And despite the launch of the Switch OLED model, rumors continue to swirl about a potential Switch Pro Console — and it’ll be interesting to see if Breath of the Wild 2 coincides with the launch on a “next-gen” Switch. With the latest Hyrule Warriors pushing the system to its limits, there’s no doubt Breath of the Wild 2 could benefit from some upgraded hardware. Nintendo has released two trailers for Breath of the Wild 2 — a brief reveal trailer and a short gameplay trailer announced during E3. The gameplay trailer is particularly interesting, as it shows a variety of new mechanics, including some that look to be borrowed from Skyward Sword. While there’s a lot we don’t know about BOTW2 ‘s gameplay, we’re pretty confident that players will be returning to the Hyrule seen in the original Breath of the Wild. Eiji Aonuma, producer of Breath of the Wild and its upcoming sequel, said that he would love to visit the world again and introduce new gameplay concepts alongside a new story. He later went on to say that Breath of the Wild 2 will indeed be a “continuation” of the original, meaning we should expect to see more of the Hyrule we’ve come to know and love over the past few years. The latest E3 trailer confirmed much of that statement — although we now have a bunch of floating islands in the sky we’ll be able to explore. It’s unclear if these locations will be easily accessible while roaming around on the ground, or if they’ll be set in a completely different timeline — similar to the young and adult Link variants seen in Ocarina of Time. One thing everyone picked up from the reveal trailer is the fact that this entry is looking to be a much darker adventure than its predecessor. Aonuma went on to confirm this, saying the entry will be similar to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask in tone — easily the darkest and most disturbing game in the series. How exactly that will play out is unknown, however, it’s been confirmed that it will not tie into Majora’s Mask in any way. It might be going for a similar aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean any story elements from the hit Nintendo 64 title will make an appearance. Apparently, the driving factor for making a Breath of the Wild sequel came from the development team conjuring up too many DLC ideas. While DLC works to add small changes to a game — it essentially functions as an expansion — you’re often limited to the existing structure of the title. Aonuma said that the team had some big changes they wanted to implement, but they couldn’t do this using DLC. As time went on and more ideas began percolating, it became clear that a new game was the only way to make these a reality. As soon as the trailer was revealed at E3 2019, the internet exploded with rumors and speculation. Not all of it is reliable, but we’ve compiled a list of the most realistic rumblings. Nintendo hasn’t commented either way about the following claims, so it’s possible that some of these great ideas might make it into the final product: As for the latest E3 2021 gameplay trailer, we saw Link with a few new tricks — such as the ability to teleport through solid objects and a deadly new gauntlet — and it confirmed that much of BOTW2 won’t stray too far from the original title. Speculation is already swirling about how Link, Zelda, and Ganon all fit into the picture, but for now, it’s just a bunch of fan theories, regardless of how intriguing they may be. Until Nintendo gives us some more concrete details, we’ll leave the guesswork up to internet sleuths. The game is rumored to include co-op — but that’s only because fans saw Link and Zelda exploring together in the reveal trailer. Nothing is official yet, although offering co-op would be a massive change when compared to the original Breath of the Wild. No DLC plans have been confirmed, but it’s highly likely Nintendo will offer some form of post-release support. If we’re using Breath of the Wild as a baseline, expect to see plenty of DLC packs released in the months following Breath of the Wild 2’s arrival. It’s still a long way off, but you can pre-order Breath of the Wild 2 on Amazon and Best Buy.

 

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0.9
gamerant.com

‘Tis the season, meaning MMOs like World of Warcraft are in the middle of their holiday celebrations, events, and sales. One group of dedicated World of Warcraft fans has gotten into the holiday spirit with a cozy new holiday short sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Team True Potential, composed of Pivotal, Dietrich, and MasterVertex, is a group of three World of Warcraft fans who share a talent and passion for animation. These talented artists teamed up with fantasy music composer Zach Heyde, and voice actors Daniel “Alasdair” and Rosanna T. to create The Final Touch, a wholesome story about two sculptors. RELATED: World of Warcraft: Anime Intro Brings JoJo Energy to Battle for Azeroth The Final Touch features Oswald, a gnomish craftsman who has taken up sculpting, and Leatei, a shaman who is one of WoW's space-faring draenei, as the two explore the challenges of creating the perfect statue. Ever the perfectionist, Oswald is vexed by a particular imperfection of his craft, to which the quick-witted-yet-sleep-deprived Leatei is little help in solving, despite her command of the element of earth. The comedy that ensues is hilarious, fun, and expertly rendered in a fidelity even higher than Blizzard’s own in-game cinematics, and all set to a perfect, quirky score. This is neither the first nor the last of Team True Potential’s animations. Though the individual members have created their own individual projects in the past, the trio’s first claim to fame was a remaster of the Fall of the Lich King cinematic from Wrath of the Lich King, released in February of 2020. In June of this year, it released Judgement, a gripping duel between a human paladin and a Forsaken rogue on a bridge in the Plaguelands. Team True Potential has plans to make more of these stellar videos, and according to Pivotal, hopefully without taking 6 months for a single one. Fan reception has been overwhelmingly positive, with the video gaining 175 thousand views in the first week since its posting. World of Warcraft fans laud the obvious care and attention given by the artists in every facet of the short, from the facial animations and action, to the team’s ability to tell a story through music and action, rather than words. Many of The Final Touch’s fans were left with a bittersweet nostalgia after watching the short. Its depiction of a small, cute, and entertaining story is somewhat far from the lofty, otherworldly concepts being told by the Shadowlands expansion, and the attention to detail featured in the short outweighs the perception of Blizzard’s own work in many ways. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is available on PC. MORE: World of Warcraft Dodges a Bullet With the Arbiter's Story in Shadowlands

 

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0.4
Some Pixel owners still can’t play Netflix in HD, months after Google promised a fix

Earlier this year, many Google Pixel device owners reported that their Widevine DRM level had dropped to L3. This means that DRM-protected content such as Netflix can’t be played in HD, with Netflix capping playback to 540p. It seemed that pretty much any device from the Google Pixel 3 and up could be affected, and Google in April 2021 acknowledged the problem and promised that it was working on a fix. It’s now eight months later and we’re nearly entering 2022, but there’s still no sign of a fix. Worse still is that users are still reporting problems, and the Google Pixel 3 only has one more end of life update left in the tank. One user on Reddit compiled a list of complaints across the internet, with many users recently complaining about the problem too. While there are obviously complaints made from earlier this year, there are users as recently as 21 days ago complaining that the problem still exists. Many users report that upgrading to Android 12 hasn’t fixed the problem either. Given that Google told Android Police that it was working on a fix, many users held out hope that their phones would eventually work as normal again for content consumption. Google never gave a timeline for that fix, but eight months is a long time without hearing any more information. The problem arises when a phone is downgraded to Widevine L3, as DRM-encrypted content is no longer decoded in the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). In most cases, Widevine-protected content will then only play in 480p, which isn’t the most ideal scenario when streaming content. Google told Android Police at the time that the problem also affects some other devices too, and we’ve seen evidence of that on our own forums, too, for example with the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5. In order to check the Widevine DRM level on your Pixel, you can follow this guide. Most premium Android devices that are certified by Google support Widevine L1, sometimes in combination with other DRM methods. Modified phones or uncertified phones, however, may only support L3 or L2. Software updates can also cause Widevine DRM to revert to L2 or L3. A service like Netflix has certified all Pixel devices for HD, which is Widevine L1, and the Pixel 3 and up are also certified for HDR. It’s unclear what’s causing the issue, and users never did appear to get a concrete answer from Google, such as if it would need a future software fix or if it was something that users can do to fix. This issue doesn’t appear to affect all users, and both my Google Pixel 5 and my Google Pixel 6 Pro are unaffected. Even still, it affects a significant number of device owners, and we hope that Google can provide more information about the fix that it’s working on soon.

 

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0.1
gamerant.com

Tesla cars are known for many things, such as their ability to play video games. Over the years, these electric vehicles have been equipped with powerful gaming hardware, allowing graphically intensive games such as The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 to be played on some models. While this relatively new technology is impressive, some people are concerned about its safety for those on the road. Recently, the US government announced that it is investigating over half a million Tesla cars. This new investigation stemmed from a complaint received by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). According to the complaint filed in August, features such as playing video games and browsing the web were enabled during driving. While these entertainment options were meant only for passengers, it was argued that drivers also had access to them, which could cause distractions while operating a motor vehicle. RELATED: Tesla Stepping Up Efforts To Provide Video Games to Drivers This upcoming preliminary evaluation by the ODI (Office of Defects and Investigations) will look at roughly 580,000 Tesla vehicles, including Model 3, Model S, and Model X, between the model years of 2017 and 2022. The main focus of the examination will pertain to the functionality of the Passenger Play feature present in these vehicles. Even though the option is only supposed to be used by those not driving the car, some fear it distracts the driver. Through this upcoming investigation, the ODI plans to determine if Passenger Play increases the possibility of a crash. This news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the ongoing controversy between Tesla and the US Government. Over the past few months, the NHTSA has expressed concerns about the safety of Tesla cars. While Passenger Play has allowed people to play games from the Tesla Arcade while parked for a while now, it recently received an update allowing passengers to access a trio of games, Sky Force Reloaded, Solitaire, and The Battle of Polytopia, while the vehicle is in motion. While the updated feature is intended for passengers only, there is little stopping a driver from utilizing it. This news comes as Tesla plans to make even more video games accessible through various models of its cars. Recently, the company partnered with SEGA to bring the classic platformer Sonic the Hedgehog to its vehicles. This retro title joins an impressive list of popular titles available in Tesla cars, such as Stardew Valley, Cuphead, and Fallout Shelter. It will be interesting to see if this ongoing investigation from the NHTSA impacts the number of games available on these cars moving forward. MORE: Genshin Impact’s Next Big Controversy Involves Elon Musk Source: The Verge

 

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0.3
gamerant.com

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles have been out for over a year at this point, but developers have only scratched the surface of the consoles' potential. Thanks to most major games being cross-gen releases, the vast majority of games on PS5 and Xbox Series X have been limited in scope, but that will change as time goes on. One thing that gamers can expect to see from the new consoles in the years ahead is more games using advanced engines like Unreal Engine 5, the power of which was recently showcased by the visually-stunning Matrix Awakens tech demo. There's a great deal of hype behind the potential of Unreal Engine 5 and what it will mean for video game graphics moving forward. And while there haven't been many mainstream video game projects released that use Unreal Engine 5, some fans and hobbyists have taken matters into their own hands, producing content that shows what games may look like when powered by the engine. A recent Ocarina of Time Unreal Engine 5 project has turned plenty of heads, and so too has an image of what Skyrim could look like using the technology. RELATED: Skyrim Fan Shows Off Impressive Windhelm Minecraft Build Reddit user Battlefront_Captures, also known as Cinematic Captures on YouTube, recently shared an image of what Whiterun from Skyrim could look like in Unreal Engine 5. The image has gotten significant attention from Skyrim fans, earning over 23,000 upvotes since it was posted. Based on the reaction to Skyrim 's Whiterun in Unreal Engine 5, it seems safe to say that many would be open to seeing a full-fledged version of Bethesda's open world RPG powered by the engine. There have been many jokes about how many times Bethesda has re-released Skyrim, but a new version of the game with Unreal Engine 5 graphics may actually be a re-release that's seen as a worthwhile endeavor in the eyes of the fans. Alternatively, some fans may want to see other Elder Scrolls games get remakes with the Unreal Engine 5 treatment instead. Back in October, an Elder Scrolls fan created a video that showed what Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion would look like in Unreal Engine 5, and the results of that were quite impressive as well. It's unclear if Bethesda is planning to release anymore Elder Scrolls remakes or remasters in the near future, but fans shouldn't hold their breath. Right now the company is busy developing its next open world RPG Starfield and it's also developing the long-awaited Elder Scrolls 6 as well. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim - Anniversary Edition is out now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. MORE: Skyrim: Every Daedric Quest, Ranked

 

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0.4
gamerant.com

Like its odd simulation game predecessors Goat Simulator and Surgeon Simulator, Pigeon Simulator owes much of its viral popularity due to social media. That's why, even with the excitement surrounding its low-key Xbox Game Pass confirmation during The Game Awards 2021, Pigeon Simulator 's developer HakJak drops frequent development updates for the game's growing fanbase. The latest video describes what the team's been up to through 2021, as well as what's coming up for Pigeon Simulator in 2022. The bulk of the nearly 5-minute development update breaks down many of the core systems that will go into making Pigeon Simulator the sandbox game something special. Most prominently, HakJak showed off how Pigeon Simulator 's island setting will be procedurally generated. That may fly in the face of games like Goat Simulator 's design, but there's a good explanation for the decision -- destruction. Pigeon Simulator 's buildings will be fully destructible. RELATED: Xbox Game Pass Adds 8 Games, Including Surprise Bonus Game HakJak breaks down some of the features, which it calls toys, it's added to Pigeon Simulator 's backend. For example, the pigeon will be able to eat hot sauce and breathe fire, grow into a giant pigeon and wreak havoc, and drop excessive amounts of bird poop in creative ways. HakJak has also created a pigeon transformation that turns the player into a pigeon-Hulk, with giant muscled arms that can destroy everything in its path. Odds are, there are more toys left for players to discover. Looking toward 2022, Pigeon Simulator still has a lot of work left. HakJak says it's planning to shift from making tools to focusing on story and scenario creation. That includes the creation of quests and dialogue, as well as unique and named characters. This system will also handle what HakJak describes as "sweet sweet pigeon loot." It's safe to assume then that Pigeon Simulator will have a story and progression even with its procedurally generated cities. One thing that HakJak doesn't talk about, however, is a release window or the plans to bring Pigeon Simulator to Xbox Game Pass. For the time being, HakJak's focus remains on development. Hopefully, release details will come in 2022, but if they don't then fans can assume the team at HakJak is still working hard. What isn't clear at the moment is whether Pigeon Simulator still plans to launch in Early Access on Steam. This might not work out with its Xbox Game Pass plans, since Early Access titles aren't typically included on Game Pass. Yet Pigeon Simulator 's Steam page still lists plans to launch the game in Early Access where it'll linger for around 12 months. Perhaps publisher TinyBuild can clarify the matter to avoid confusion. Pigeon Simulator is in development for PC. MORE: The Best Games On Xbox Game Pass (December 2021)

 

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0.3
Amazon Says It Will Stop Interfering With Workers Organizing On-Site

Amazon warehouse workers scored a victory against the abusive e-commerce giant this week, in the form of a settlement between the company and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). That agreement, first obtained by the New York Times via a public records request, puts an end to a longstanding company policy that, in contradiction to labor regulations, made organizing off the clock near-impossible to do. The settlement specifically sees Amazon agree to end the unlawful policy that restricted worker access to “non-working areas” of the warehouse facilities beyond a 15-minute window before and after each of these workers’ shifts. Amazon also conceded to emailing current warehouse workers, along with anyone that’s been employed at the facility since March of this year, to let them know their new rights. Minutely tracking workers’ schedules—even when they’re off the clock, in this case—is just one of the many tactics Amazon’s adopted over the years that have raised accusations of outright union-busting from employees involved. While Amazon’s historically denied some of these allegations, the company isn’t quiet about its anti-union stance. According to the Times, this new settlement was the result of six separate cases of workers from warehouses in Chicago and Staten Island lodging complaints that all alleged Amazon had kept them from organizing for extended periods anywhere adjacent to the warehouse—even in the nearby parking lot. Not only did Amazon agree to abolish those rules, but it also agreed to a bypass of the NLRB administrative hearing process that’s usually involved with these sorts of agreements. The move will make it less of a hassle to investigate claims of Amazon failing to abide by these terms. This settlement comes on the heels of a fresh union petition filed by a group of Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island. The Amazon Labor Union, as the group calls itself, originally filed a request for a union vote three months ago, but that petition was later withdrawn after the NLRB decided that the roughly 2,000 signatures gathered didn’t meet the number of workers needed to form a proper unit. We’ve reached out to Amazon about the settlement and will update this piece when we hear back.

 

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0.0
gamerant.com

Call of Duty: Vanguard has added a few new mechanics to the franchise. Destruction allows wooden walls to be broken down or left intact, making for some unique cover opportunities. The Altar of Covenants adds a roguelike feature to the series’ iconic Zombies mode, and while it is divisive to say the least, Der Anfang is a major departure from the usual co-op experience. New modes like Patrol and an improved Operator system are also included. While Call of Duty: Vanguard adds a lot of things, it also brings back mechanics like mantling and tactical sprint. With such a good blend between old and new mechanics, it is a shame that one particular feature has been left in the past: a ping system. Despite being crucial to Call of Duty: Warzone and a huge quality of life feature for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Sledgehammer Games’ latest title does not allow players to ping enemies and items. Hopefully, the mechanic comes in the future, as both Zombies and multiplayer are suffering without it. RELATED: Call of Duty Zombies Map Recreates The Office's Dunder Mifflin Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer fans will surely be able to think of a scenario where a ping system would help. When players are being shot at, being able to point to the exact location where the bullets were coming from can be hugely beneficial, as callouts can only help so much. Similarly, tagging certain objectives to coordinate attacks or warn players that an enemy is approaching could be very helpful, possibly leading to a win or loss if used correctly. For Call of Duty: Vanguard players that do not have a mic or do not want to use one, a ping system would make a difference. With gestures like “over here” and “rally up” not giving off any text on the screen, they are essentially useless when used as a way to guide the team. With no Ping System currently in the game, players that do not speak on the mic have no way to communicate clearly with those that they are working with. With so many players choosing party chats over in-game chat, too, the much-needed ping system would be a reliable way to coordinate in multiplayer matches. While a ping system would help players work together on Call of Duty: Vanguard ’s multiplayer maps, it would be even more useful inside of Zombies. Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies relies heavily on item drops, which means players need to be able to tell their teammates when something has dropped. In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, players could ping armor drops of self-revives for their teammates and go back to playing. Without the ability to mark items, though, gamers now need to stand next to the item and wait for their allies to come pick it up. The same issue is seen with Call of Duty: Vanguard ’s objectives, as players would surely benefit from being able to ping augmentors or runes when working together on the various tasks. A ping system would also help players show newcomers around, pointing out the chest and crystal spots in the Stalingrad hub area. Perk fountains could be highlighted, too, helping players get the hang of a new map easier. Aside from marking useful items and helping with coordination, a ping system would be very useful once easter eggs come to Call of Duty: Vanguard. While the Der Anfang main quest is still being worked on, having a ping system available when it is added could make completing it a lot less frustrating. Players could point out where their friends need to go and what they need to collect during the easter egg’s steps, speeding up the process. Assuming that side quests are added, too, this feature would be just as useful when working on those as well. With the left d-pad button doing nothing currently, as weapon inspects are also not included in Call of Duty: Vanguard, hopefully a future update will see it being used to let players mark items and locations. Call of Duty: Vanguard is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. MORE: Why Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies' Missing Pack-A-Punch Camo Is A Big Deal

 

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0.9
Nokia X10 is HMD Global’s latest smartphone to get Android 12

Earlier this year in April, HMD Global unveiled a pair of Nokia X series smartphones powered by Qualcomm’s budget 5G-enabled Snapdragon 480 SoC. The company also promised to serve three generations of Android updates for the phone duo. Among them, the Nokia X20 has already received its first major software update in the form of Android 12. Now, it is time for the Nokia X10 to get a taste of Android 12. Nokia X10 and X20 XDA Forums According to the official announcement thread on the Nokia Community forums, the stable Android 12 update is now rolling out to select Nokia X10 users across the globe. The release carries version number V2.230 (via Nokiapoweruser) and along with the obvious jump to Android 12, the new build also packs the November 2021 security patches. As usual, Nokia is pushing the OTAs in a phased manner. During the first wave, the new build will be rolling out in several Asian and European countries. HMD Global says every Nokia X10 user in the approved markets should be able to receive the Android 12 update by December 26. The first wave of Nokia X10’s Android 12 update covers the following regions: If you’re in one of the aforementioned regions, you should get an update prompt on your Nokia X10. Details about the wave 2 countries will be shared soon by the company. Power users interested in sideloading the OTA will be disappointed, as there is no known way to manually flash an update package on this phone. Nonetheless, if you want to take a look inside the Nokia X10’s Android 12 build, you can do so after downloading the full OTA ZIP from the link below. Nokia X10 Android 12 Stable (V2.230) Full OTA

 

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0.5
Microsoft informs customers of 'NotLegit' Azure bug

Microsoft's Security Response Center has released a blog explaining its response to the "NotLegit" bug in Azure that was discovered by cloud security company Wiz. io. Wiz.io said all PHP, Node, Ruby, and Python applications that were deployed using "Local Git" on a clean default application in Azure App Service since September 2017 are affected. They added that all PHP, Node, Ruby, and Python applications that were deployed in Azure App Service from September 2017 onward using any Git source, after a file was created or modified in the application container, were also affected. Microsoft clarified in their response that the issue affects App Service Linux customers who deployed applications using Local Git after files were created or modified in the content root directory. They explained that this happens "because the system attempts to preserve the currently deployed files as part of repository contents, and activates what is referred to as in-place deployments by deployment engine (Kudu)." "The images used for PHP runtime were configured to serve all static content in the content root folder. After this issue was brought to our attention, we updated all PHP images to disallow serving the. git folder as static content as a defense in depth measure", Microsoft explained. "For these languages since the application code controls whether it serves static content, we recommend customers review the code to make sure that only the relevant code is served out." They noted that not all users of Local Git were impacted by the vulnerability and that the Azure App Service Windows was not affected. Microsoft has notified the customers that are affected by the problem, including those that were impacted due to the activation of in-place deployment and those who had the. git folder uploaded to the content directory. They also updated their Security Recommendations document with an additional section on securing source code and updated the documentation for in-place deployments. The Wiz Research Team said on Tuesday that it first notified Microsoft of the issue on October 7 and worked with them through the month to address it. The fix was deployed in November and customers were notified by December. Wiz was paid a bug bounty of $7,500. Microsoft did not say if the vulnerability has been exploited but Wiz said "NotLegit" is "extremely easy, common, and is actively being exploited." "To assess the chance of exposure with the issue we found, we deployed a vulnerable Azure App Service application, linked it to an unused domain, and waited patiently to see if anyone tried to reach the. git files. Within 4 days of deploying, we were not surprised to see multiple requests for the. git folder from unknown actors", the researchers explained. "Small groups of customers are still potentially exposed and should take certain user actions to protect their applications, as detailed in several email alerts Microsoft issued between the 7th - 15th of December, 2021." The Wiz Research Team noted that accidentally exposing the Git folder through user error is a security issue that has impacted organizations like the United Nations and a number of Indian government sites. Vectra CTO Oliver Tavakoli said the impact of the vulnerability will be highly variable. Accessing the source code underlying an application (and possibly other files which might have been left in the same directory) may provide information that could be leveraged for other attacks, Tavakoli said. "The fact that the researchers set up what amounts to a honeypot and saw the vulnerability exploited in the wild is of particular concern as it means that the vulnerability was not a well-kept secret", Tavakoli explained. JupiterOne field security director Jasmine Henry told ZDNet that leaked source code puts an organization in an incredibly vulnerable position to threat actors who can instantly steal intellectual property or launch an exploit tailored to unique weaknesses in the source code. "The NotLegit vulnerability is especially eye-opening since it highlights the growing security risk caused by privileged accounts and services, even in the absence of developer error", Henry said.

 

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0.5
Hawkeye's End Credits Scene Confused the Director, Too

Did you sit through the end credits of the Hawkeye finale to see what was next for our heroes, only to be a little shocked by what was shown? You aren’t the only one. The episode’s director felt the same way. End credits scenes have become a crucial part of the Marvel Studios DNA. With each and every film, fans sit through the credits expecting to see a tease of what’s to come for the future of the franchise. It’s a tradition that’s even continued into Marvel’s live-action Disney+ shows, with WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki all saving a little something extra for their respective finales. So everyone expected the same for Hawkeye and, well, what we got was rather untraditional. The end credits of Hawkeye are interrupted by Marvel Studios wishing its fans “Happy Holidays,” followed by the entire production of “Save the City” from Rogers the Musical, which is glimpsed in parts during the show’s first episode. Here though we get the full song from beginning to end— a nd the decision to make it the end credits scene left the episode’s director, Rhys Thomas, a bit befuddled. “I was not aware,” Thomas told Collider when asked about the scene. “It wasn’t planned that that was going to be the way that the show was going to close. I was actually a little in the dark too. I was curious, like, ‘Is this slot going to be reserved for teeing something else up, in the tradition that Marvel’s known for?’ I was waiting for what that was going to be. Yeah, they made the decision to put the musical at the end there, which honestly, I was slightly conflicted about because like a fan, I’m like, ‘The people, they want to see something, they want to know what’s coming next. Is this going to disappoint?’” So Thomas, like fans, was expecting something a bit more narrative-driven, but he explained why that wasn’t the case. “In all fairness again, to the team, it’s like, ‘No, no, no, it’s Christmas, it’s light. We’ve got so much blood in this episode, it’s just fun. It’s a fun release at the end, and it’s a nice way to send people off,’” he said. “That’s how that came about and in terms of what it was, that was part of. Obviously, when we shot it for e pisode one, we shot the entire thing, but obviously in e pisode one, the focus was Jeremy [Renner] and less of the performance. It was [an] evolution of that.” It’s important to note that Marvel credits scenes aren’t always big stunning reveals. One of my personal favorites is the final one in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is just Captain America teasing you for sitting through the credits. So there’s certainly precedent for something fun and cheeky, but with so many questions still unanswered about Kingpin, Clint, Kate, and the rest, it was a slightly surprising, but not unwelcome, decision. Head over to Collider to read more from Thomas about the finale. It’s a great interview that dives into how much of the action was actually shot in Rockefeller Center, the secrecy behind Kingpin, the banter between Kate and Yelena, and more. Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.

 

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0.5
Navigating a forever changed communications landscape

The past few years have presented a number of challenges for both businesses and consumers when it comes to how they communicate. With face-to-face interactions off the table, video conferencing software and other digital channels quickly became the norm. At the same time, the way in which consumers engage with businesses also changed and organizations turned to live chat software and direct messaging to better serve the needs of their customers. Now that many employees have begun returning to the office some days and working at home on others as part of their organizations' hybrid work initiatives, the software and communication methods they adopted during the pandemic are still proving useful. In fact, many continue to rely on these new technologies and experiences throughout their workdays. To learn more about how the pandemic has changed the global communications landscape for the better, TechRadar Pro spoke with Senior Vice President of API Global Sales at Vonage, Sunny Rao. We've also rounded up the best VoIP services, best business phone systems and best cloud phone systems

 

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0.5
Cezanne HR review

Human Resource tasks have long since moved from manual processes to an online platform. With that in mind, Cezanne HR introduced its online, cloud-based HR software platform to market, focused on the UK and international organizations. It counts among the organizations that it supports the ASL Aviation Group, Brook, Triple Point, and Aztec. While Cezanne HR indicates that it has “Remarkable cost-effective” pricing, with an all inclusive subscription model, after that the specifics are lacking as we encounter the all too common opaque pricing situation as the company requests that we “Get in touch” with our business credentials, and then we can be contacted by a salesperson to assess our needs, and provide a quote for the chosen plan. While we can certainly appreciate this approach from Cezanne HR’s perspective, we also wish that potential customers could better assess the pricing, and possible tiers of plans from the website, and be in a better position to comparison shop between providers. Cezanne HR does indicate that its all inclusive plan does include a pile of features, such as world class hosting on Amazon Web Services ( AWS), and boasts an uptime of 99.9%, not including maintenance windows. There are also automatic updates, expert support from UK reps, mobile apps, an ideas forum, and 24/7 monitoring for security and stability. This all sounds great, but somewhat hard to place into context without an actual specific price. Cezanne HR targets mid-sized organizations, with an HR solution that covers all the pieces of HR. There are a number of modules that are named: Throughout these modules, some features permeate such as this is cloud based, enabling it to have cross platform support to be used from any modern browser. There is also better coordination through centralized reporting, and notifications and alerts to keep people on task. Global capabilities are enabled via language translations for international use. Processes can be enhanced via approval workflows, with configuration tools for the ability to customize workflows. There is also role based security to control which users can see and work with what they need for their job, while keeping other areas secure. Efforts are made to make the transition to Cezanne HR as smoothly as possible. Included is a “Free core HR data upload” to get onto this new platform. Also available are additional setup services that are a “Low-cost fixed-fee” as an option depending on what the organization needs. A significant activity of HR is to manage paid time off. This not only includes paid vacation leave, but also sick leave, holidays, and unpaid leave situations. While this all can easily turn into a burdensome math issue, Cezanne HR has this all under control. Rules get defined such as rounding, carryovers, accruals and seniority, and then employee entitlement time gets calculated, and subtracted in light of the hours worked, the rules of the employer, and also the local calendar. Employees interface with the system via the “Secure online self-service absence management software.” This enables the employee to then check the accruals, and also request time off. There are even team diaries- kept up to date in real time- that can prevent conflicts from everyone requesting the same week off. Cezanne HR appears to fall short in the direct support department, as it is not indicated that there is a direct phone number or email for a connection. When there is a time critical issue, or a more complicated problem, these can often be the preferred methods to get it addressed- which Cezanne HR does not have. Rather, Cezanne HR has a 24/7 support portal from which users can post questions, review answers, or access an “Expanding library of product guides and how-to videos.” It is not made clear what the expected turnaround time is for an answer when a query gets posted, nor what the hours and days of operation are, or if it is staffed 24/7. That being stated, we do like to see that as new features are added to the platform, that release notes get emailed out. This also includes links to the latest product guides and videos to keep users completely up-to-date. Another support feature is the active community that gets accessed via the Support Portal. In this community, users can post suggestions for new features, upvote potential new features that others have suggested, and also get a glimpse into the ideas that are in progress of being worked on. Cezanne HR indicates that many of the new features get driven through this process, and that this community gives a voice to its customers. Cezanne HR is a well rounded, and mature approach via a SaaS to an HR software solution. We point out such high points as the impressive 99.9% uptime, the included hosting via AWS, the user community to request new functionality, cross platform support, and the well done approach to scheduling time off. We do identify some areas for improvement, such as the way too opaque pricing with potential additional transition costs, and the lack of direct support options with unclear hours of operation of the support portal. Overall, Cezanne HR offers a comprehensive solution for those that can get past the shortcomings. We've also featured the best HR software, best payroll software and best HR outsourcing services

 

 49 /173 

0.6
gamerant.com

Red Dead Online is a popular multiplayer experience that prides itself in the almost endless amount of freedom it offers players. From an expansive open-world filled with diverse NPCs to the ability for Red Dead Online players to build a moonshine enterprise, Rockstar Games' action-adventure Western tends to have a hands-off approach to gameplay. With that said, one player has broken one of its most infamous restrictions by using a hilarious bridge glitch. For the uninitiated, Mexico has played a pivotal part in the overall narrative of the Red Dead Redemption franchise since its initiation. Not only does the North American country serve as a metaphor for many details, themes, features that are inseparable from the Western series, but Mexico was integral to Red Dead Redemption's plot, with the second act of the game's story taking place there as John Marston tracks down his former gang mate Javier Escuella. However, Mexico was unfortunately absent from the sequel, which left many Red Dead Redemption 2 fans disappointed. RELATED: Red Dead Online Player Recreates Clint Eastwood's Character from Unforgiven Although now, despite this in-game restriction, Reddit user ClayCanoe has posted a short 29-second-long clip of them breaking the invisible land-lock barrier but with devastatingly hilarious consequences. Leaving many gamers both amused and confused at another funny glitch in Red Dead Online, the video starts bizarrely enough with the player throwing knives into the planks of the bridge to bug it. As the bridge glitches, ClayCanoe steps onto it, which causes their character to rag-doll and scream as they are flung into the sky. The Red Dead Online player flies through the air, high above the ground and across the border, until they swan dive headfirst into Mexican soil. Albeit, before the death screen is prompted, ClayCanoe manages to catch a glimpse of a fully rendered canyon, complete with shrubs, tumbleweed, and detailed rock formations. With all of this stunning graphical steppe just sitting untouched on the horizon of the map, it has left many players craving for Red Dead Online Mexico update that does the iconic land justice. After all, since Red Dead Online has received a standalone release, the game has seen a lot of growth as Rockstar somewhat continues to support the title in some interesting ways. With that in mind, the idea of expanding on the regions seems like it would be an interesting integration that could bring new activities, missions, or heists. Until that day arrives, players will have to take matters into their own hands. However, whether it be glitches or full-on Red Dead Redemption 2 Mexico mods, it's clear the community is ready to explore the region and will continue to do so even if Rockstar Games states otherwise. Red Dead Online is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Stadia, and Xbox One. MORE: Red Dead Online Could Be Improved by Adding Real Estate, Vehicles

 

 50 /173 

0.8
Best gaming mouse 2021: the best gaming mice we've tested

One of the easiest ways to improve your gaming experience is by upgrading to the best gaming mouse you can find. It doesn’t matter what kind of power your setup has if your peripherals aren’t up to the task. So, don’t let a lacklustre mouse hold you back. After all, a gaming mouse needs to do more than just point and click these days, especially if you’re using one to game with. You want one that will make you feel like you’re directly connected to your gaming PC, so that when you’re exploring AAA PC games or battling in demanding free titles, it’s helping you instead of getting in the way. These mice are able to bring that level of performance thanks to the inclusion of a wider DPI range, speedier polling rates, and improved sensors. They also allow you to remap buttons for extra customization as well as offer game-specific features like weight adjustments for a better-balanced mouse and RGB lighting to fit in with the rest of your gaming rig. Squeeze as much out of your setup as you can by upgrading to one of the best gaming mice out there. Though there are more options than ever to choose from, we’re here to help you find the one that’s best for you. So, take a look at our top picks below and remember to consult our included price comparison tool to find the best prices. The Roccat Burst Core proves that you don’t need to pay more than $50/£50 to get a premium mouse. This affordable wired option wins as much in performance and build and it does in price. Though minimal on frills, it’s an absolute stand-out in everything else, including ergonomics and lightweight design. RGB fans might want to go for the pricier Roccat Burst Pro, but if you don’t mind something more minimalist and classy, this one is the one to go for no matter your budget. Read the full review: Roccat Burst Core Competitive fast-paced games require a gaming mouse that can keep up, and for that, you’d want to take a look at the Razer Viper 8K. This is among the fastest and most responsive gaming mice out there, thanks to its 8,000Hz polling rate and <0.125ms click latency. It’s also inherited the Razer Viper line’s impressive build as well as the ambidextrous design that some of its models come with. You'll need a speedy monitor to get the full benefit from the Viper 8K though, but if you need the most responsive mouse possible, this is the best one for you. Read the full review: Razer Viper 8K Impressive wireless gaming mice are hardly a dime a dozen. Due to their latency, wireless mice are generally not ideal for gaming where every fraction of a second counts. This is why the Corsair Dark Core RGB has impressed us even more. With its sub-1ms speed, incredibly low latency, and reliability, this is truly a mouse we can game with, wireless or otherwise. And, that’s without mentioning its highly customizable RGB lighting and very robust software. There’s one catch: it’s not ideal for claw grip gamers as its palm rest is a bit flat. However, if you’re a palm gripper, you’ll love how it fits in your hand. Read the full review: Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro Wireless Inheriting the Rival 600’s best attributes but also keeping its price of entry affordable, SteelSeries’ latest addition to its gaming mouse family is more than a solid contender in the battle for the best gaming mouse. The SteelSeries Rival 5’s greatness is apparent in both its design and its features, as it very much does in its performance. It’s lightweight and comes with more side buttons – not to mention, nearly flawless in its performance, making it an undeniable excellent value for gamers. Read the full review: Steelseries Rival 5 Its onboard profile customization and nice matte finish are just two of the things you’ll love about the SteelSeries Sensei Ten. Most importantly, this ambidextrous mouse boasts a top-of-the-line sensor, making it one of the best gaming mice we’ve tested. It delivers such impressive acceleration and deceleration customization options, as well as butter-smooth performance. SteelSeries tops it all off with Tilt Tracking, which essentially keeps tracking consistent and precise even when you’re lifting your mouse and putting it back down at tilted angles. Read the full review: SteelSeries Sensei Ten With up to 450 hours in Bluetooth mode, the Razer Basilisk X Hyperspeed is one of the longest lasting wireless mouse on the market. But, it’s got more going for it than just longevity. It also boasts excellent performance with 450 IPS tracking speed and up to 40G acceleration. It’s key feature, however, is the HyperSpeed Wireless, which reduces the time it takes to send data between your mouse and PC so it’s 25% faster than any other wireless gaming technology. Read the full review: Razer Basilisk X Hyperspeed The Corsair Sabre RGB Pro Champion Series may lack all the frills and pizazz of other mice for gaming, but its minimalist design is made up for by its speed. Designed by esports gamers, this mouse is all about being fast with its 8,000Hz polling rate, the AXON hyper-processing technology, and Quickstrike buttons with fast actuation. And, it does so without setting you back a whole lot, making it a great option for competitive gamers who want to be economical. Read the full review: Corsair Sabre Pro The Logitech G305 Lightspeed may not seem like a gaming mouse with its adorable exterior and multiple colorways it comes in but it’s a serious performer. Not only does it give you up to 12,000 DPI but you also get the ability to remap the mouse to your hearts’ content. Add in the fact that it's very reasonably priced and you can tell that there’s a lot of value with this mouse. As with any peripheral on the cheaper side, it has a few drawbacks such as no Bluetooth connection and the battery life is not anything to write home about. Read the full review: Logitech G305 Lightspeed The unique shape of the Cooler Master MM720 may harken back to some of Cooler Master’s older designs but there’s more to this mouse than the way it looks. It’s incredibly light, thanks to its honeycomb posterior, and performs wonderfully since it has up to 16,000 DPI on tap. It also comes with RGB though that’s a bit limited and onboard memory. And, though it’s remappable like any good gaming mouse, its DPI cycle button has strangely been placed on the bottom of the mouse. However, if that’s not an issue for you, this is a powerful mouse at a very affordable price. Read the full review: Cooler Master MM720 Roccat’s Kone Pro is undeniably stunning, combining the brand’s clean and minimalist and gorgeous RGB lighting uniquely located underneath the left and right buttons. But, it also doesn’t go by looks alone. Light as a feather yet also as fast as lighting, this high-end gaming mouse boasts serious esports grade performance, making it an excellent option for pros and those who take gaming seriously. To make it truly yours, Roccat even slaps on a respectable slew of customization options for good measure. Read the full review: Roccat Kone Pro While you’ll definitely find the best gaming mouse of your gaming dreams, doing so might take some time and effort. That’s expected; there’s a ton of complicated technical jargon that goes into the best gaming mice – terms like polling rates and DPI ratings that a regular buyer may not be familiar with. For the record, you’ll want a higher number of both, even though these two terms mean very different things. For newcomers to the world of PC gaming, when you come across the term DPI, that is shorthand for ‘dots per inch.’ The higher the number, the wider the range wherein you can specify how sensitive your mouse is. If you don’t have a lot of desk space available, but you still want accuracy and precision, then opt for the best gaming mouse with a higher DPI rating that can toggle to a lower DPI, in case you get a bigger desk. Meanwhile, a high polling rate means you’re getting faster response time s. The polling rate is measured in hertz, and it usually ranges from around 125 to 1,000Hz. The latter means that your mouse’s position is reported to your computer 1,000 times per second. Other key gaming mouse factors you’ll want to keep in mind are ergonomics – particularly if you’re left-handed – and RGB lighting. Gaming mice come in all shapes, sizes, and quality, so of course we test each one that lands on our desks. There’s a lot that we do to ensure that every mouse is up to gamers’ standards, but naturally, we start with the design. We take a look at its aesthetics as well as its ergonomics and ease of use, making sure that it feels as good as it looks. If there’s RGB lighting, we test that as well, checking to see if it works as it should. Then we move on to its performance – from its responsiveness to its accuracy and speed. We use it extensively to play the latest and greatest games, ensuring that it delivers as promised. If it comes with software customizations for RGB lighting, macros, and key remapping, we check those too. If it’s a wireless gaming mouse, we also test its connectivity, range, and battery life. Finally, we gather all the information we’ve collected and decide if it’s worth the price and if it’s of great value to the target audience.

 

 51 /173 

0.2
gamerant.com

Much like the real world, there are plenty of secrets to uncover beneath the murky waves of Final Fantasy 14. In fact, there's a good bit of content to be had in terms of the main story, side quests, and advanced fishing under the seas of Final Fantasy 14. Unfortunately, it isn't always clear how to dive down below the depths outside of a one-time tutorial. And for players returning thanks to the new Endwalker expansion, those that are new, or those that have simply forgotten, there are a few ways to dive depending on the control scheme used. RELATED: Final Fantasy 14 Players Aren't Impressed With Endwalker Updated Grapes The default key combination for diving using a keyboard and mouse is CTRL + Spacebar. If players opt to play with a controller, be they on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, or simply playing with a controller on PC, it's just as easy to dive. When using a PlayStation controller, press the O button and for an Xbox controller, press the B button. Diving is a bit counterintuitive in that it isn't an inherent ability that players possess. Instead, they must reach the Level 63 MSQ quest "In Soroban We Trust." It's a little lengthy and requires watching several cutscenes. However, once complete, players will be able to dive into the Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and Endwalker expansions. Once under the waves, FF14 players can use their mounts just like usual to navigate more quickly than swimming alone can. In fact, if mounted, players simply need to position the camera down towards the water to dive. Outside of the MSQ portion of Stormblood, there isn't technically a need to go underwater, unless a player is trying to complete all of the many sidequests or wants to work on their spearfishing. To unlock spearfishing, players will need to speak with Sumitsubo in The Ruby Sea at X: 28.9 Y: 15.9. He will provide the quest, "A New Fishing Ex-spear-ience", which can be accessed at Fisher Level 61. Armed with the necessary and sometimes critical information to dive, players can fully explore the land, skies, and seas of Eorzea. Be it a matter of exploring and progressing through the underwater-heavy sections of the Stormblood expansion, or simply moving through the many sidequests, popping down for a dip has never been easier. Final Fantasy 14 is available now for PC, PS4, and PS5. MORE: Final Fantasy 14: Every Imperial Legion Explained

 

 52 /173 

0.6
The best free photo editors for PC in 2021: Adobe alternatives

Grab one of the best free photo editors if you’re hoping to bring out the full potential of your photos. From correcting colors to erasing unsightly blemishes, you have a lot of control touching up memories from your last vacation. Though professionals might gravitate towards something as robust as Adobe Photoshop for all their photo-related needs, you can find some fantastic editors that are completely free. GIMP is our current top pick if you’re looking for a free editor. It’s open-source, comes with more features than plenty of paid-for options, like plugins, masks, and layers, and is probably as close to Adobe’s offerings as you can get. Additionally, you can even open and edit Photoshop’s PSD documents. Some potential users might find that overkill, however. If you’re hoping to just do some simple edits like crop or straighten a picture, there are other, simpler options gathered here. It doesn’t matter if you’re just trying to adjust a photo before sharing it with friends or are using your laptop for photography. We’ve collected the most ideal tools to help you turn good photos into great ones. If you also need some extra photos for a project you’re working on, take a look at our guide for the best free stock photos. When you're choosing a free photo editor, the first thing to consider is your level of confidence and experience. If you simply want to make a few adjustments (removing blemishes and improving colors, for example) then a simple online tool might be perfect, doing the job well without overwhelming you with options. If, on the other hand, you're interested in more advanced editing then you'll want to focus on desktop software that offers tools such as layers and masks, giving you full control over the process. Desktop software is also a good choice if you have several photos to edit, and some free photo editors can even edit photos in batches, which can save you an enormous amount of time. It's also worth considering what you'll be using the exported photos for. Online photo editors can often only export images in JPG format, and only at relatively low resolutions. That might be fine for images you want to display online (and many such photo editors include tools for sending images directly to Facebook or Twitter) but if you want to print your work then you'll be better off with a tool like GIMP or Paint. NET that will let you export in just about any format, in high resolutions. GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is the best free photo editor around. It's packed with the kind of image-enhancing tools you'd find in premium software, and more are being added every day. The photo editing toolkit is breathtaking, and features layers, masks, curves, and levels. You can eliminate flaws easily with the excellent clone stamp and healing tools, create custom brushes, apply perspective changes, and apply changes to isolated areas with smart selection tools. GIMP is an open source free photo editor, and its community of users and developers have created a huge collection of plugins to extend its utility even further. Many of these come pre-installed, and you can download more from the official glossary. If that's not enough, you can even install Photoshop plugins. Read our full review: GIMP If you've got a lot of photos that you need to edit in a hurry, Ashampoo Photo Optimizer could be the tool for you. Its interface is clean and uncluttered, and utterly devoid of ads (although you'll need to submit an email address before you can start using it). Importing pictures is a breeze, and once they've been added to the pool, you can select several at once to rotate or mirror, saving you valuable time. You can also choose individual photos to enhance with the software's one-click optimization tool. In our tests this worked particularly well on landscapes, but wasn't always great for other subjects. If you want to make manual color and exposure corrections, there are half a dozen sliders to let you do exactly that. It's a shame you can't also apply the same color changes to a whole set of pictures at once, but this is otherwise a brilliant free photo editor for making quick corrections. For more advanced editing, check out Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 7 – the premium version of the software with enhanced optimization tools. Read our full review: Ashampoo Photo Optimizer Canva is a photo editor that runs in your web browser, and is ideal for turning your favorite snaps into cards, posters, invitations and social media posts. If you're interested in maintaining a polished online presence, it's the perfect tool for you. Canva has two tiers, free and paid, but the free level is perfect for home users. Just sign up with your email address and you'll get 1GB free cloud storage for your snaps and designs, 8,000 templates to use and edit, and two folders to keep your work organized. You won't find advanced tools like clone brushes and smart selectors here, but there's a set of handy sliders for applying tints, vignette effects, sharpening, adjusting brightness, saturation and contrast, and much more. The text editing tools are intuitive, and there's a great selection of backgrounds and other graphics to complete your designs. Read our full review: Canva Fotor is a free photo editor that's ideal for giving your pictures a boost quickly. If there's specific area of retouching you need doing with, say, the clone brush or healing tool, you're out of luck. However, if your needs are simple, its stack of high-end filters really shine. There's a foolproof tilt-shift tool, for example, and a raft of vintage and vibrant colour tweaks, all easily accessed through Fotor's clever menu system. You can manually alter your own curves and levels, too, but without the complexity of high-end tools. Fotor's standout function, and one that's sorely lacking in many free photo editors, is its batch processing tool – feed it a pile of pics and it'll filter the lot of them in one go, perfect if you have a memory card full of holiday snaps and need to cover up the results of a dodgy camera or shaky hand. Read our full review: Fotor Photo Pos Pro isn't as well known as Paint. net and GIMP, but it's another top-quality free photo editor that's packed with advanced image-enhancing tools. This free photo editor's interface is smarter and more accessible than GIMP's array of menus and toolbars, with everything arranged in a logical and consistent way. If it's still too intimidating, there's also an optional 'novice' layout that resembles Fotor's filter-based approach. The choice is yours. The 'expert' layout offers both layers and layer masks for sophisticated editing, as well as tools for adjusting curves and levels manually. You can still access the one-click filters via the main menu, but the focus is much more on fine editing. It's a shame that the free version of Photo Pos Pro only allows you to export at a maximum of 1,024 x 1,024 pixels. If you're preparing images to share online this might not be a problem, but it limits the software's usefulness if you want to print you work. Read our full review: Photo Pos Pro More is not, believe it or not, always better. Paint. NET's simplicity is one of its main selling points; it's a quick, easy to operate free photo editor that's ideal for trivial tasks that don't necessarily justify the sheer power of tools like GIMP. Don't let the name fool you, though. This isn't just a cheap copy of Microsoft's ultra-basic Paint – even if it was originally meant to replace it. It's a proper photo editor, just one that lands on the basic side of the curve. Paint. NET’s interface will remind you of its namesake, but over the years, they’ve added advanced editing tools like layers, an undo history, a ton of filters, myriad community-created plugins, and a brilliant 3D rotate/zoom function that's handy for recomposing images. Read our full review: Paint. NET PhotoScape might look like a rather simple free photo editor, but take a look at its main menu and you'll find a wealth of features: raw conversion, photo splitting and merging, animated GIF creation, and even a rather odd (but useful) function with which you can print lined, graph or sheet music paper. The meat, of course, is in the photo editing. PhotoScape's interface is among the most esoteric of all the apps we've looked at here, with tools grouped into pages in odd configurations. It certainly doesn't attempt to ape Photoshop, and includes fewer features. We'd definitely point this towards the beginner, but that doesn't mean you can't get some solid results. PhotoScape's filters are pretty advanced, so it's if good choice if you need to quickly level, sharpen or add mild filtering to pictures in a snap. Read our full review: Photoscape Pixlr X is the successor to Pixlr Editor, which was one of our favorite free online photo editors for many years. Pixlr X makes several improvements on its predecessor. For starters, it's based on HTML5 rather than Flash, which means it can run in any modern browser. It's also slick and well designed, with an interface that's reminiscent of Photoshop Express, and a choice of dark or light color schemes. With Pixlr X, you can make fine changes to colors and saturation, sharpen and blur images, apply vignette effects and frames, and combine multiple images. There's also support for layers, which you won't find in many free online photo editors, and an array of tools for painting and drawing. A great choice for even advanced tasks. Read our full review: Pixlr X As its name suggests, Adobe Photoshop Express Editor is a trimmed-down, browser-based version of the company's world-leading photo editing software. Perhaps surprisingly, it features a more extensive toolkit than the downloadable Photoshop Express app, but it only supports images in JPG format that are below 16MB. Again, this is a Flash-based tool, but Adobe provides handy mobile apps for all platforms so you won’t miss out if you’re using a smartphone or tablet. This free online photo editor has all the panache you’d expect from Adobe, and although it doesn’t boast quite as many tools as some of its rivals, everything that’s there is polished to perfection. Adobe Photoshop Express Editor is a pleasure to use. Its only drawbacks are the limits on uploaded file size and types, and lack of support for layers. Read our full review: Adobe Photoshop Express Editor Free online photo editor PiZap is available in both HTML5 and Flash editions, making it suitable for any device. You can choose to work with a photo from your hard drive, Facebook, Google Photos, Google Drive, Google Search, or a catalog of stock images. This is an impressive choice, though some of the stock images are only available to premium subscribers, and you'll need to watch out for copyright issues if you use a pic straight from Google Images. piZap’s editing interface has a dark, modern design that makes heavy use of sliders for quick adjustments – a system that works much better than tricky icons and drop-down menus if you’re using a touchscreen device. When you’re done, you can share your creation on all the biggest social media networks, as well as piZap’s own servers, Dropbox and Google Drive. Alternatively, you can save it to your hard drive, send it via email, or grab an embed code. You can only export your work in high quality if you’ve opened your wallet for the premium editor, but for silly social sharing that’s unlikely to be a problem. Read our full review: PiZap

 

 53 /173 

0.2
New System Would Let Us Know If Aliens Are Using Lasers to Communicate

It’s conceivable that extraterrestrial intelligences are using powerful lasers to grab our attention, but we lack the proper tools to notice. A newly deployed system might be exactly what’s needed for us to finally make contact. Two laser-detecting devices were recently installed on the summit of Haleakalā, also known as East Maui Volcano, according to a University of Hawai’i press release. The devices, mounted on the rooftops of an existing building, will now work in concert with similar devices installed in California, at the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Sonoma. Together, these scanners will scour the Pacific skies in hopes of detecting powerful laser pulses sent by an extraterrestrial civilization. Unlike traditional SETI, which seeks to detect alien radio transmissions, optical SETI looks for signs of artificially created light. It makes sense that advanced aliens would want to use lasers for the purpose of communication, as messages transmitted over light have “a fundamental advantage over radio in that it can, in principle, convey far more bits per second—typically a half-million times as many,” according to the SETI Institute, which runs the LaserSETI program. Aliens could use lasers to communicate across interstellar distances, whether to off-world colonies or fledgling civilizations seeking to make first contact. The newly installed system, a collaboration between the SETI Institute and the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA), can now monitor more sky than before. “UH has had a long involvement in astrobiology to explore the possibility of life elsewhere—both through research related to formation of habitable worlds, discovery of exoplanets, and the development of new innovative mirror and telescope technology to detect planets,” Karen Meech, a professor of astronomy at IfA, said in the press release. “It is exciting to add a new direction to this investigation by searching for technological signatures.” Previous efforts to detect alien lasers have relied on photomultiplier tubes, which essentially act as one-pixel cameras. Only a small amount of space has been examined as a result, and optical SETI has so far failed to find laser-spewing aliens. The new system is different, as it works under the assumption that alien flashes will be monochromatic—an “intrinsic characteristic of lasers,” according to the press release; stars emit a full spectrum from blue to red, but lasers only appear as a single wavelength. This meant that the new LaserSETI devices could be built from relatively slow, two-dimensional solid-state sensors like those found in commercial video cameras. Each device is equipped with two identical cameras, rotated 90 degrees to one another along the viewing axis. A splitter divides the incoming light into spectra, which the camera records at a rapid rate. The wide-angle commercial lenses used in the LaserSETI devices are capable of imaging around 75 degrees, so only a few are needed to scan the entire night sky. Eliot Gillum, principal investigator for LaserSETI, said it’s “a big step forward in searching for technosignatures,” and that it’s the “first project in either optical or radio astronomy designed to cover the entire sky.” The LaserSETI devices in Maui point east, while the ones previously installed in California point west, allowing for simultaneous coverage at a distance. This will be important for triangulating sources located outside our solar system and for ruling out local sources like airplanes and satellites. This laser-detecting system is starting to take shape. In addition to these two bases, 10 more instruments are planned for deployment in Puerto Rico, the Canary Islands, and Chile. That’ll cover much of the Western hemisphere, but the SETI Institute’s ultimate goal for this $5 million program is to cover the entire night sky. If aliens are out there somewhere, with their blinking laser lights, we’ll need to be ready. More: 60 million stars and not one alien detected.

 

 54 /173 

0.7
Deal Alert: OnePlus 9 Pro price hits new low

OnePlus 9 Pro is arguably this year’s one of the best flagship Android smartphones, and for a limited period of time, you buy the smartphone at a record low price. The OnePlus 9 Pro 5G(12GB+256GB) smartphone is now selling at a price point of $849.99, down from $1,069.00. However, the discount is available only on Morning Mist and Pine Green color variants of the 9 Pro. And if this is what you want to get, you should make the purchase right now to avail the discount. You can buy OnePlus 9 Pro 5G(256GB) at a discounted price here from Amazon. OnePlus 9 Pro features a 6.7-inch fluid AMOLED display that has a screen refresh rate of 120 Hz. The smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon 888 chipset coupled with 8GB/12GB of RAM. It has a quad-camera setup, consisting 48 MP (wide) + 8 MP (telephoto) + 50 MP (ultrawide) + 2 MP (depth). For selfies, you get a 16 MP (wide) sensor. Other camera features include Hasselblad Color Calibration, dual-LED flash, HDR, and panorama. Meanwhile, you can click here to track all our OnePlus 9-related coverage.

 

 55 /173 

0.2
gamerant.com

There are a few genres from the early days of gaming that have persisted into the modern day. One of those genres that has fallen by the wayside a bit is the Metroidvania, pioneered by the Metroid and Castlevania franchises. These games combine 2D side-scrolling action with dynamic puzzling that often requires players to double back once they've received new abilities, creating a replayability that is seldom found in other genres. In recent years, much of the genre has been supported by indies keeping the tradition alive, but one half of the genre's namesake has recently returned in the form of Metroid Dread. Metroid Dread was a long time coming for fans of the franchise, and it turned out to be a massive success both critically and financially. It combined the charm of previous installments with some intriguing innovations, and gave the Metroidvania genre a jolt of mainstream recognition. When wrapping up the sci-fi adventures of Metroid Dread, players might want to find more games that speak to the enjoyment of the genre as a whole. Luckily in the time it took Metroid to make its comeback, a few games were released in the meantime for those looking to continue their Metroidvania adventures. RELATED: Metroid Dread's Game Awards Win Solidifies the Franchise's Successful Return One of the most visually striking Metroidvanias from the last decade, Ori and the Blind Forest has a very similar design philosophy to Metroid Dread. Using the trademark exploration mechanics that Metroidvanias are known for, Ori and the Blind Forest takes players through a mystical adventure full of spirits and natural wonders. This game also utilizes a unique save feature that allows players to create checkpoints at the expense of energy cells that are collected through gameplay. By combining the traditional with the innovative, Blind Forest manages to create a Metroidvania experience for a wide range of fans. While it's one thing to create a game that follows in the footsteps of all Metroidvanias that came before, Dead Cells delivers an experience that combines elements of the roguelike genre. Through a variety of procedurally generated dungeons and permadeath systems, Dead Cells can be a distinct follow up for fans of Metroid Dread 's difficulty curve. It may not be what fans of the traditional Metroidvania might expect, but Dead Cell s ' unique gameplay mechanics and dynamic encounters make it a must-try for those that want an experience that's hard to find anywhere else. Similarly to Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight delivers a Metroidvania experience that is just as visually striking as it is fun to play. Set in an ancient underground world besieged by hostile insects, Hollow Knight has players take on challenging bosses and environments that are made to keep players on their toes. Where the game really diversifies itself from Dread is how it forces players to defeat a ghost of themself to regain resources should they die, which becomes very reminiscent of some Soulslike titles. All in all, Hollow Knight demonstrates a strong understanding of what has kept the Metroidvania genre going for so long. Metroid Dread was a big step towards bringing both Metroid and the Metroidvania genre back into the mainstream spotlight. It's too soon to say when Metroid might return to its 2D roots for yet another sequel, but there are more than enough games in the Metroidvania genre to keep fans satisfied. Not only do they demonstrate the lasting power of Metroidvanias, but many of them also show how capable indie studios are of making a lasting effect on the larger industry as a whole. Metroid Dread is available now for the Nintendo Switch. MORE: Every Video Game Release Coming Soon For Nintendo Switch

 

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Huawei's New Gadgets Look Cool As Hell, but Good Luck Buying Them

Huawei today announced a bunch of new devices, but like most of its products, folks living in the U.S. probably won’t be able to buy them anytime soon (if at all). And unfortunately these aren’t the type of gadgets where you can easily find an alternative; we’re talking about a new foldable phone with an eye-catching design, the latest in Huawei’s critically praised MateBook X laptop series, and a pair of smart glasses with cervical spine health features. Here is a rundown of what most of us will likely miss out on. Let’s start with the glitzy P50 Pocket, a foldable with a similar shape as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 but with a circular 1-inch external screen for notifications and widgets. The exterior is all glamour, available in gold with a pattern on the front that resembles feathers, or silver/white with a textured diamond pattern. Digging into the specs, the phone has a 6.9-inch OLED display at a 21:9 aspect ratio when unfolded. The panel sports a 120Hz refresh rate so fast-moving objects should look smooth as they shift from one half of the panel to the other. Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and keeping it powered is a 4000 mAh battery that supports 40W super-fast charging. On the back of the phone (when closed), is a triple camera array next to the mini screen that consists of a 40-megapixel main sensor, a 13-MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and what Huawei calls a 32-MP “super spectrum” lens for capturing a wider range of colors. There is a 10.7-megapixel front-facing hole-punch camera in the main display, but you probably won’t need it because you can take a selfie with the main camera when the phone is closed and use the circular cutout display as a viewfinder. The P50 Pocket runs on Hauwei’s Harmony OS 2, an Android replacement created after the U.S. blacklisted the Chinese electronics maker, a policy that led to Huawei and others losing access to Google’s mobile OS. The P50 Pocket will go on sale in China today for ¥8,988 (or around $1,400) for a model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Upgrading to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage raises the price to ¥10,988 (around $1,700). Prior to Huawei being blacklisted, some of the best Windows laptops in the U.S. were made by the Chinese electronics company with its MateBook X series. Now the company is launching a new Huawei MateBook X Pro for 2022 with some impressive specs, including a 14.2-inch, 3120 x 2080-pixel (3:2) touchscreen at a 90Hz refresh rate. Huawei says the laptop can reach up to an impressive 500 nits of brightness and cover 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The notebook is fairly portable for 14- incher, weighing in at around 3 pounds and measuring 0.6 inches. Interestingly, the MateBook X Pro runs on 11th-g en Intel chips, not the 12th-g en processors we’re expecting soon; graphics are integrated Iris Xe while RAM and storage go up to 16GB and 1TB, respectively. The laptop doesn’t ship with Windows 11 like most other new notebooks and will instead come with Windows 10. Available in China today, a Core i5 model with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD will cost CNY 9,499 ($1,490) while a Core i7 config with a 1TB SSD goes for CNY 12,499 ($1,961). Huawei also expanded its collection of wearables with a new pair of smart glasses. Similar to the Bose Frames, these shades come with 128mm speakers in the temples so you can listen to music, chat on phone calls, or get directions from the virtual assistant. That assistant is Huawei’s Celia and it runs on HarmonyOS, making these the first smart glasses to use Huawei’s proprietary software. There are three frame types: rectangular, vintage round, and aviator. I’m no fashion icon, but I really like how all of these look and could see myself wearing the aviators around without feeling silly. What’s cool is that the frames can actually be swapped, so instead of having to buy a bunch of different glasses for different occasions, you can pop off the frames and replace them with another. It’s a clever feature, and one I’d use to pop on some blue light-filtering glasses at home then swap to sunglasses to protect me from the brutal Texas sun. Huawei says there are a dozen different frames available for its smart glasses. Perhaps my favorite feature is designed to protect the integrity of your cervical spine by alerting you when your head is in a downward position for too long. It can also determine your weight-bearing status (the further forward your head is, the more weight is placed on your spine) and spit out a report about the overall health of your spine. It’s another feature I’d use as someone who’s had spinal problems, and often catch myself looking down at my phone in awkward positions for too long. Alas, these are launching today exclusively in China at 1,699 CNY ($267) for normal glasses or 1,899 CNY ($298) for sunglasses. We’ve reached out to Huawei to ask about the availability of any of these products in other regions and will update this article once we learn more.

 

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0.3
gamerant.com

For Fortnite players looking to earn extra XP over the holiday season, not only are there Winterfest quests to complete daily but there are new Season quests this week, too. One of the challenges that might stump players this week requires them to search through five coolers or ice machines on the Fortnite Chapter 3 map. Unlike most Fortnite quests, the game won't show quest-goers the locations of the ice machines and coolers, so it's up to the player to find it for themselves. And that's where this Fortnite guide comes into play. Players can check out some easy locations to find five ice machines and coolers in a single match. RELATED: Fortnite: Where to Collect Toy Biplanes at Condo Canyon, Greasy Grove, or Sleepy Sound Fortnite players should head to the southeastern corner of the map to find two named points of interest: Condo Canyon, and Chonker's Speedway. This is the dry, desert area of the map, and since it's probably warmer here than other landmarks, players should have no trouble finding some coolers and ice machines. The image below shows where players can find at least five of them throughout these two areas: The one on the north side of Condo Canyon can be found outside a building called Spillexx. There's a mending machine in front of it, and there should be an ice machine beside it. If it's not there, players should be able to quit the game and come back to this area, and it might show up. Sometimes these ice machines will appear in different spots. Press the interact button to search through it, and some items will pop out of it. If players walk south from the previous location towards the middle of Condo Canyon, players will see an area with shops called Canyon Plaza. There's a store on the left side called NOMS, and players should be able to find an ice machine in the back. Sometimes an ice machine will also appear near the pool on the east side of Condo Canyon, not too far from the plaza. And to wrap this Fortnite quest up, players can leave Condo Canyon and head southwest to Chonker's Speedway. There are a lot of coolers just lying around the entire area, but players should be able to find at least three in the southeastern corner of Chonker's. There are multiple RVs with picnic benches and folding chairs, and there will be numerous coolers on the ground. Once players find the five they need, they will earn 25K XP. Fortnite is now available for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. MORE: 10 Best Video Game Collaborations and Crossovers of 2021

 

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Hey gamers, Samsung's 2022 QLED TVs can automatically calibrate themselves

The days of calibrating your TV when starting a new game could be quickly coming to an end thanks to a new technology called HDR10+ Gaming. Unveiled in a blog on Samsung’s website, HDR10+ Gaming aims to give gamers an automatic solution for calibrating key settings like brightness, contrast, and gamma for a “true reference mode”. Besides calibrating the TVs settings, HDR10+ Gaming enables features like Variable Refresh Rate on Samsung's new TVs and monitors, which should help smooth out fast motion. The catch? Games must be optimized for HDR10+ Gaming. Samsung says Sabre Interactive - the publisher behind Redout 2 and Pinball FX - already has games in the format, and Samsung is expected to debut more at CES 2022. In terms of supported hardware, you’ll need a Samsung 2022 monitor or TV, as well as an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series, RTX 20 Series, and GTX 16 Series GPU. Those cards should all receive an update early next year to support the format. Unfortunately, Samsung’s post doesn’t mention big console platforms like Microsoft’s Xbox Series X or Sony’s PS5, which means console gamers might not see support for a while. That said, HDR10+ Gaming does offer some nice benefits that truly take advantage of the latest HDMI 2.1 specification and could be a real boon to gamers who’ve struggled in the past to get the perfect display settings.

 

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0.1
Chrome 100 could break your website - but Google is on it

After launching back in 2008, Chrome will reach version 100 early next year but unfortunately this milestone will cause some websites to no longer work in Google's browser. Although there are no major changes or revolutionary new features planned for Chrome 100, the search giant has been aware for some time that this major release will likely lead to problems for older websites. While Chrome 100 will release in March of next year, Google already began warning users and site owners about potential issues in a blog post published in November, saying: “In the first half of 2022, Chrome will reach a three-digit major version number: 100! When browsers first reached version 10 many eons ago, lots of issues were discovered with User-Agent parsing libraries as the major version number went from one digit to two. Now that we are approaching version 100 in both Chrome and Firefox, with Edge not far behind, we want to detect possible issues related to three-digit version number early, so we are ready when it becomes a reality.” When Chrome's major version number goes from two digits to three, websites developed with the web design kit Duda will no longer display correctly. Thankfully though, Google has a plan to avoid disrupting the web and the company has already begun contacting individual developers to warn them about the upcoming change. In order for a website to know what browser and what version of it you're currently using, the site will check the User Agent string which is essentially a line of text that your browser attaches to every web connection it makes. Here is an example of a User Agent string: “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/96.0.4664.110 Safari/537.36”. At the end, you can see “Chrome/96.0.4664.110” which means we're running Chrome version 96. The problem with Duda resides in the fact that its developers chose to only read the first two digits so “Chrome/96” would be 96 while “Chrome/100” would be seen as 10 or version 10 to be more precise. To make matters worse, Duda automatically blocks any version of Chrome below version 40. For this reason, Chrome 100 will seen as Chrome 10 and will be automatically blocked by the web design kit, rendering websites built using it unreadable. While Google has considered forcing the major version number to the minor version position and staying at 99 so “Chrome/100” would instead be “Chrome/99.100”, this is only a backup plan. Instead, the search giant has begun contacting individual developers to let them know about this issue before Chrome 100 is released. Google has also added a new flag to Chrome (#force-major-version-to-100) which developers can use to see whether or not their sites will be affected. Although moving to version 100 has the potential to disrupt a lot of older sites, Google and Mozilla are working hard to address the issue before the rollouts of version 100 of both Chrome and Firefox next year. We've also highlighted the best browser, best website builder and best web hosting Via 9To5Google

 

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0.4
gamerant.com

It's been a while since audiences have seen The Riddler on the live-action stage, but the depictions of past performers will differ significantly from the character Matt Reeves plans to revive within his new take on The Batman. Trailers from the new Batman film indicate that Paul Dano's version will carry a darker atmospheric tone. "What's black and blue and dead all over? You", were the words echoed by the sadistic character toward the masked vigilante within the first pieces of footage delivered from The Batman. Dano's version of the character will present a more serious threat that many have associated with antagonists commonly seen within horror films. The Batman synopsis paints the villain as a killer targeting Gotham's elite with a series of perverse machinations, which will spark immediate comparisons between The Riddler and Jigsaw from the renowned Saw franchise. In addition, the character will stay true to form through the clues and cryptic messages he eaves for the young Bruce Wayne, building a bridge of connection to a nightmarish presence of physical reality. RELATED: The Batman Director Shares Riddler-Inspired Motion Poster With Robert Pattinson In a recent interview with Empire, Dano spoke about the influences that fabricated the intimidatory villain. "So there are some grounding forces like the Zodiac Killer, right? But it's still The Batman, and for me, it's much bigger, so it was important to let my imagination react to the script, rather than strictly basing it on a serial killer", stated Dano, who saw the Zodiac Killer influences as a starting point for the grounded film. Reeves previously spoke about the connected dots between The Riddler and the Zodiac Killer, who taunt heavily with coded and cryptic letters. Dano did not simply want to mimic this sadistic individual but used the influence as a leaping point to dive into the twisted psychology he sought to bring into existence. Dano's ability to balance his imaginative take with reality gives this antagonist the ability to become something memorable, but the costume design carries the most intrigue. "The costume was very intense", stated Dano, pointing out the absence of the ostentatious flare commonly associated with most villains. "I think the potential DIY element you're talking about was scarier to me than the more sophisticated or composed designs we might have played with. I found working with the costume to be very powerful. When you put on something like that, there's a way to let it speak to you, and tell your body something. There's a way to let it have a life of its own." Classic images of the Riddler usually showcase the character dressed to the nines in his iconic green suit with question marks scattered throughout his attire. The decision to simplify Dano's costume places the character firmly within realism but creates an acutely disturbing horrific aura. Many will argue that the new version of the villain does not represent how the character is depicted, thus robbing it of its comic book accuracy. However, The Batman seeks to be grounded more realistically, which makes the presence of a serial killer within Gotham City understandable. The trailer points to a foreboding direction of the Bruce Wayne narrative, which helps the natural feel of the moments presented to create the horrific ambience audiences hope to experience. Christopher Nolan changed the direction of the superheroes arc, introducing a relatable character entrenched within a more realistic world. That realism connects with audiences and hopefully allows Dano's villainous take on The Riddler to exceed expectations significantly. Will the power Dano sees within his character carry over into the audience's perception of the character? Patience will have to reign before an answer eventually floats to the surface. The presented trailers have generated a tremendous amount of buzz for The Batman as the narrative seeks to return to heights it hasn't reached in almost a decade. Dano sees the intensity and power rooted within his character's physical and mental attributes. The Batman swims within the theme of vengeance, but Dano's role carries the most weight. The Batman lands into theaters March 4, 2022. MORE: 8 Highly-Anticipated Movies Coming Out In 2022 Source: Empire

 

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0.9
gamerant.com

Hirohiko Araki, the famous mangaka who brought JoJo's Bizarre Adventure to life, is well known for his unique art style. With 6 out of the eight JoJo parts animated, fans of the show are familiar with Araki's art style. Fans are also not surprised to see a style change with the release of Stone Ocean. A couple of changes stylistically from a trained artist isn't a surprise. Many artists will find new influences or perfect new techniques that make their art look subtly different. For Araki, the differences aren't as subtle. From giant muscular men in part one to thin fashion-forward teens in part five, it can sometimes be challenging to keep track of all the changes to Araki's art. Generally, Araki's parts can be broken down into two different categories regarding style. Parts one through three showcases Araki's interest in figures, hypermasculinity, and extreme muscles similar to comic book heroes. Whereas in parts four through six, Araki's focus changes to where the characters are smaller, and more attention is taken to clothing. However, a closer look at each of these parts will show smaller changes made by Araki. Related: JoJo: Why the Series Moved on From Hamon In the first installment of JoJo; Phantom Blood, Araki's style leans heavily into muscular men and generally the characters' masculinity. This is especially seen in Jonathan Joestar's figure. Much like Superman from DC comics, Jonathan has a broad chest, rippling muscles, a thick neck, and a small head in comparison. Now the large body of Jonathan Joestar can look comical. There are some reasons as to why Araki drew him this way. Araki decided to depict Jonathan as a wall of muscles because he is meant to be the opposite of Dio. In the first part of JoJo, before transforming into a vampire, Dio relies on his wits. Physically he can't compete with Jojo; instead, he must use his intelligence to keep up with him. After the transformation, Dio gains more muscles, making him almost more powerful than Jonathan. Thankfully Zeppeli was able to teach Jojo Hamon. In Battle Tendency, Araki changes the proportions slightly in the male characters. Unlike in part one, Josephs's build has a better balance. The muscular and masculine elements are still present in this part, but instead, the shoulders are smaller, making the heads look proportionate to the body. Overall there aren't many changes that can be seen from parts one to two. Stardust Crusaders is the first part where a significant change in style can be seen, and it is also the last where the characters are depicted as hypermasculine and muscular. In part three, some of the most notable differences are the large circular shoulders, tapered wastes, and the harsh shading on the characters. The changes made to Araki's art style make the crusaders look like they were wearing armor. They are supposed to appear battle-ready since they are traveling to kill off Dio. Altogether, these first three parts each have a distinct look to them. These parts are the hardest on the characters' bodies, but also they were released in the late 80s. During this time, many comic books and male actors were highly muscular. Araki was influenced to draw the same thing with so much imagery of hypermasculine men. This pattern breaks with the next part. In part four of JoJo, the most significant shift in Araki's art style happens. The biggest of them is how muscular the characters appear. It's clear that some male characters do have muscle, but not to the degree that it was before. Structurally the faces change, with the characters taking on a rounded nose and pouted lips. Something that isn't quite as noticeable but is popular in the fandom is fashion. Fans of Jojo may know that part four is Araki's favorite part, and Rohan is his favorite character. So, it is not that surprising to see Araki's interest in fashion shine through on Rohan's wardrobe. An argument can be made that Golden Wind has some of the most beautiful art in all the parts of Jojo. Araki pulled a lot of his influence from Roman and Greek artwork. These influences pop up in the cloud imagery, death scenes, and overall build of the characters. This influence also appears in Giorno's design. Supposedly, Araki's goal was to make Giorno look like Michelangelo's David. With the latest JoJo anime adaptation, there is a balance between parts four and five's art styles. With years of experience, it would seem that Araki is settling into a specific style. Part six is the first and only part, with a female protagonist, and some concern of making the characters overly feminine is founded. But Araki does an excellent job keeping the character's feminine without looking stereotypical. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fans adore Araki's art even with so many style changes. He isn't afraid to take inspiration from odd locations and implement them into his art. He's also one of the only mangakas with such a wide variety of looks, styles, and poses for his characters. More: JoJo: Top Fights in Stone Ocean

 

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0.7
gamerant.com

Smithing is an essential skill that every weapon-wielding Skyrim player should invest a lot of time developing. At maximum skill level, the Smithing skill lets players create some of the most powerful arms and armor available in the whole game - towards the end of the Smithing skill tree is the ability to create Ebony Ingots at a smelter. RELATED: Skyrim: Guide To Legendary Skills Ebony Ingots are primarily used in Skyrim to smith end-game gear and is combined with other materials to forge even more powerful equipment. It's a great material for gold farmers, too, as it's easy to create and can be sold for a large chunk of cash, provided you have the Perk of course. Ebony Ingots are used when forging Ebony armor, Ebony weapons, and other Ebony items at a Forge or Anvil. It's one of the highest-tier armor types available in Skyrim, and Ebony weapons are almost unparalleled. In fact, some of the few weapons that do more damage than Ebony weapons are only available in the Creation Club or Skyrim Anniversary Edition. It is also used in creating Daedric and Dragonbone arms and armor, both of which are more defensive than Ebony on its own. Ebony Ore itself is rarer and more valuable than any other ore in Skyrim, though smelting it into ingots and then forging gear tends to be more efficient than selling the ores outright. Ebony Ingots are created from Ebony Ore at a Smelter, which are usually found around Skyrim 's forges or crafting areas in major cities. The Ebony Ore itself can be rarely mined from Ebony Veins out in the world, but three locations serve as the game's only permanent sources of Ebony: Gloombound Mine in Eastmarch, Redbelly Mine in The Rift, and Raven Rock Mine in Solstheim. Simply equip a pickaxe and interact with the vein to mine Ebony Ore. At mid-to-high levels Ebony Ore and Ebony Ingots can be purchased from vendors around Skyrim, particularly from blacksmiths in major cities. It will cost a lot of Gold, even if the player has points in Speech, though this is a much more convenient way of getting these materials. Vendors tend to sell Ebony Ore and Ebony Ingots at around Level 25. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox One and Series X| S MORE: The Complete Guide to Skyrim - Items, Quests, Mods, Builds, and Tips

 

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Here's how 2022 will bring us faster internet

When I started networking, 300 bits per second (BPS) was the best you could do from home and our brand new 802.3 Ethernet gave us a big 10 Megabits per second (MBPS) at the office. I wanted more. Today, with cable gigabit to my home office and 2 Gigabit per second (GBPS) in my office. I still want more. Everyone wants faster, better networking. In 2022, we'll get what we want. First, 5G is finally going to actually make a difference. To date, most of what we've been getting is 5G hype. You see 5G has three major different network approaches. Only one of these -- millimeter-wave (mmWave) -- can give you gigabit speeds. But, and it's a big but, mmWave, which Verizon calls 5G Ultra-Wideband, has a range that's better measured in feet instead of yards and it can be blocked by ordinary window glass. In short, you can forget about getting gigabit speeds for all practical purposes. So, why is Verizon advertising it has 5G everywhere? Because it offers another 5G approach: Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS). Verizon 5G DSS performance is the same as you've already been getting from Verizon 4G LTE. In short, it's a pure advertising gimmick with no real speed advantage. DSS does, however, deliver much better latency than 4G LTE. As more and more 4G phones are replaced with 5G models, DSS-based 5G will start delivering more speed. It will never be gigabit speeds, but it will be better than old-style 4G. However, 4G is also getting a speed boost. Verizon is using a new frequency range, Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS) --which has nothing to do with the CB radio of truckers and Burt Reynolds movies-- can increase 4G speeds up to 800 Megabits per second (Mbps). So, don't be in too much of a hurry to move to 5G. 4G may work better for you in 2022. Another 5G technology, mid-band, is another story. This one, which today is mostly deployed by T-Mobile, has an average speed of 162 Mbps. Now that doesn't sound fast, but that's only because you've been drinking 5G marketing kool-aid. It's the fastest average 5G internet in the US today. The real reason why T-Mobile's mid-band 5G matters isn't so much its speed as its range. Instead of feet or yards, it has a range in miles. This makes it ideal for bringing broadband to users who don't live in cities. If you live in the country, T-Mobile is probably your best choice for your smartphone, office, and home. With 41% 5G coverage of the country, T-Mobile out-distances its 5G rivals. Another big advance is that while some of us are lucky enough to live in places with fast broadband, many of us are still stuck with DSL or even--shudder--dial-up internet connections, things are finally changing for the better. Jessica Rosenworcel, a net neutrality proponent, is now the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair. What's even more important is that Congress passed President Joe Biden's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This act included more than $65 billion to build out broadband networks and make broadband more affordable. How this will be spent depends on each state, but the bottom line is it will end up paying to get broadband deployed to places that have never dreamed of seeing real internet speed. Some of that money will be spent on broadband that doesn't need new, expensive cable buildouts. Instead, it will go to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites such as SpaceX's Starlink. Starlink is finally moving from beta to production. While Starlink isn't as fast as the top cable or fiber networks, it's still much faster than most rural users have ever seen. For all the buzz Starlink has generated, keep two things in mind. First, Starlink terminal production has gone much slower than originally planned. For example, I've been on the waitlist for nine months now and I was recently told I can't expect to see my unit until some time in the summer of 2022. If you were to order one today, you can expect to wait until the end of 2022 or early 2023. Ouch! Another problem is that because of the demand, Starlink's average download speed has declined from 97.23 Mbps during Q2 2021 to 87.25 Mbps in Q3 2021. That's still a lot faster than what my friends and family currently get back in Calhoun County WV and other rural areas, but it's still a disturbing trend. Finally, if you're still using 3G, and I know some of you are, get ready for your old phones to stop working. All the major cell companies are turning off their 3G services. AT&T is shutting down its 3G services in February 2022; T-Mobile flips the switch on March 31, 2022; and Verizon will hold off the longest and pull the plug in December 2022. All-in-all, next year should see most of us get faster internet no matter where we live or what services we use. We'll still want more, of course, we always do, but 2022 will still be a good one for internet users. Related Stories:

 

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0.4
Self-Declared 'Vaccine Police' Says He'll 'Lawfully' Arrest Louisiana Governor

The conspiracy theorist behind an anti-vaxx group called the “Vaccine Police” has promised to conduct a citizen’s arrest of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards for refusing to halt vaccinations of children against the coronavirus. As the Daily Beast first reported, Christopher Key, the pretend officer in question, went on right-wing radio host Clay Clark’s show on Wednesday to tell listeners, “I am the vaccine police. We have shut down pharmacists. We have shut down boards of education. And we will be arresting the governor of Louisiana on February the 7th if he does not stand down and not vaccinate the children of Louisiana.” “We will do this legally, we will do this lawfully, we will do this out of love,” Key added, because “right now they are trying to start a civil war, Clay, and they are coming for our children. This is not a vaccine. This is a bioweapon.” “I 100% agree with you,” Clark responded. Edwards, a Democrat, recently announced that the covid-19 vaccine would be added to the list of mandatory inoculations for K-12 students in Louisiana, joining shots protecting against diseases like tetanus, polio, measles, meningitis, and whooping cough. The decision predictably resulted in backlash from conservative state legislators, who with the rest of the mainline Republican Party have banded together in an alliance of ideological and political convenience with anti-vaxxers. Nearly 800,000 coronavirus infections have been reported throughout the state since the start of the pandemic, according to Louisiana Department of Health data, and just shy of 15,000 people have died. Only 50% of Louisiana’s population is fully vaccinated. The state health department found that unvaccinated individuals currently account for 69% of new infections, 82% of deaths, and 85% of hospitalizations. Conspiracy theorists in the U.S. and Canada have in recent years become obsessed with the idea of citizen’s arrests as a way of dealing with perceived traitors, particularly when it comes to coronavirus policies they don’t like. In 2020, anti-vaxxers camped out around Parliament of Canada in Ottowa, aiming to “arrest” any unprotected legislators they could get their hands on. Incidents in the U.S. have included threats against a local health department in Michigan, an arrest in Arizona after three men showed up on a school campus with zip ties, and arrests of 14 men who planned to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in October 2020 (with a sympathetic sheriff floating the citizen’s arrest defense). Citizen’s arrests obviously do not work this way, regardless of whatever legal babble is offered up to justify illegal detentions. State laws vary, but generally limit the practice to temporary detention of a person witnessed or reasonably suspected of committing a crime. It is extremely ill-advised in almost all situations. Anyone conducting such an “arrest” in the U.S. could potentially face consequences ranging from false arrest lawsuits to kidnapping charges, especially if no crime actually occurred. Of course, any attempt to detain Edwards in the first place would require Key to get past the governor’s bodyguards, the Louisiana State Police Protective Services Unit. Key, who is from Alabama, is a sort of sports supplements peddler turned traveling anti-vaxx sideshow under his “Vaccine Police” moniker and travels from city to city while live-streaming. Despite his fondness for declaring himself to be the police, he falls somewhere on the scale of legal authority below ( the former) Officer Big Mac, who could at least plausibly tackle the Hamburglar. Key wears a costume apparently intended to resemble a police official, such as a golf shirt with the words “VACCINE POLICE” emblazoned on his left breast and a badge on a lanyard. In some photos uploaded to Facebook, Key is shown brandishing semi-automatic rifles. His reference to shutting down pharmacists appears to relate to an incident earlier this year in which Key temporarily inconvenienced staff at a Walmart pharmacy counter. According to the , Keys and several followers arrived at a Walmart pharmacy in Springfield, Missouri, in August, threatening pharmacy staff that vaccinations are “crimes against humanity” and “if they do not stand down immediately, then they could be executed. They could be hung in this state.” “If you allow one more shot in one more person’s body, you yourself will be executed in violation of the Nuremberg Code,” Key said during a livestream as he singled out a Walmart employee, the Post reported. “We don’t want that to happen to any of you guys at all. We love you guys. We want to keep you safe.” Key cleverly switched his tactics to pretending to actually be there for a covid-19 vaccine once police arrived, according to the Springfield News-Leader, but was told to leave the premises. Everything he said about the Nuremberg Code, a set of research ethics principles laid out by a U.S. court during the post-WWII trial of 23 German doctors who committed medical atrocities during the Nazi era, is completely irrelevant because covid-19 vaccinations are not medical experimentation. On his website, Key describes himself as unemployed and takes personal credit for supposedly defeating a mask mandate at a school district in Alabama. Earlier this year, the National School Boards Association mentioned Key in a letter to Joe Biden asking for federal assistance to investigate and put a halt to violent rhetoric and threats against school board members debating coronavirus policies. “I was recently fired from my job of six years for being a patriot and standing against a tyrannical school board in Alabama,” Key wrote. “Because of these efforts, the mask mandate was lifted, and kids will not have to provide proof of inoculation to return to in-person learning in the fall.” Neither Key nor the Louisiana State Police immediately returned a request for comment from Gizmodo, but we’ll update this post if we hear back.

 

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The best franchise tie-in Yule Log videos

Celebrate the holidays by thinking too hard about branded chimney fires Yule Log videos have become a holiday fad and a small, specific offshoot of streaming culture. They’re easier to assemble than an actual fire, they’re more practical for apartment-dwellers or people living in warm climates, and they don’t require any clean-up. Finding one online is a quick, easy process, and they provide some warming color and a festive tone for holiday celebrations. But since they’re also easy to make and distribute, suddenly every streaming platform has its own fireplace videos. And so, it seems, does every entertainment franchise. There are two official Frozen Yule Logs, a handful of Marvel ones, and branded Yule Logs for Hearthstone and Minecraft, Outlander, and Shrek. Slapping a franchise name and theme on a fireplace video is all fun and games for big entertainment corporations, until you pause for a moment and consider: “Wait, does this mean this Yule Log is canon?!” Good question. For the 2021 holiday season, we’ve updated our exhaustive look at franchise-specific Yule Log videos from across the internet and evaluated their enjoyment factor, as well as their deeper canonical implications, and handpicked the best. We have fun here. The Frozen Yule Logs (Disney Plus): Arendelle Castle Yule Log and Arendelle Castle Yule Log: Paper Edition How long are they? Around three hours each, perfect to play in the background during Family Game Night. Christmas cheer levels? The Arendelle Castle Yule Log boasts presents, stockings hung by the fire with care, and a wee little Christmas tree off to the side. There are garlands and holly, all adding to a cozy holiday feeling. No holiday music or covers of “Let it Go” play, so this is solely a fireplace experience. Tte Paper Edition features cutouts of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, as well as paper-rendered flames. It’s quite gorgeous, though not specifically Christmas themed. Do they fit with canon? This is the very fireplace that Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven play charades in front of in Frozen 2. Arendelle canonically celebrates a multitude of winter holidays, as seen in the 21-minute short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” so this Yule Log setting fits right in with the world. The Paper Edition does not really have any canonical value, but who is to say it does not exist in the Frozen world?. How long is it? A tinge above an hour. Christmas cheer levels? If you call a gritty, colorful, literal trash fire Christmas cheer, then it has it in loads. Does it fit with canon? Yes. The graffiti on the wall and the garbage can are all elements that fit right into the grungy, street-level world of Bright, which is the “cinematic embodiment of a busted, spewing sewage pipe.” How long is it? 10 hours. Christmas cheer levels? The whole scene is festive and decorated, with stockings o’er the hearth, a tree in the corner, and a menorah on the table to be inclusive. Does it fit with canon? There are stockings for Diana, Clark, Bruce, and Dick (which gets changed to Jason towards the end). A trident rests on the fireplace and in lieu of tinsel, it appears to be Wonder Woman’s lasso adorning the hearth. Is it canon? Hard to say why there would fireplace revealing a bunch of secret identities, but it is cute. How long is it? Just five minutes. Christmas cheer levels? It is a literal paper bag on fire. But it is set upon a festively decorated doorstep and the crude drawing of Deadpool on it does have a Santa hat. Does it fit with canon? Sure. Deadpool. Funny. How long is it? The first is a bit over two hours, the second is almost exactly two hours. Christmas cheer levels? The first has a Christmas fireplace in the background, with stockings, garland, and a tree. The centerpiece, though, is the Tardis snow globe, which has a little wreath on the inside. This one has some lovely orchestral music as well, original to the show. It’s not explicitly Christmas-y, but instead feels very Doctor Who in tone. The second is a fully decorated fireplace, with stockings, a TARDIS garland, lights, and a tree. There are stringed lights above, and when the camera pans out, we see a plate of cookies. (Er, biscuits, since this is a British video.) How cute! But it’s notable that there seem to be falling leaves outside the window, not falling snow. Does it fit with canon? The first video has some bizarre moments where Doctors step out of the snowglobe TARDIS, and there are ads for the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special, so it clearly isn’t set within the show. The second one, however, is more clearly in canon. The Thirteenth Doctor shows up on a few occasions to warm her hands. At one point, she departs in the TARDIS, then returns later to rekindle the fire. We don’t know where this is, or what she’s doing, but considering the Doctor’s whole schtick is being able to travel through time and space, this could work just about anywhere and any-when. The official FX channel has a selection of what I can only describe as ironic Yule Logs. Are they festive? No. Are they absolutely hilarious? Yes. They are certainly worthy of inclusion, but perhaps not interrogated for their canonical value or cheer levels. Both are about half-an-hour long and actually seamlessly fit into preexisting scenes. How long is it? Just 10 minutes. Christmas cheer levels? Unless you’re from Florida or somewhere else warm doesn’t necessarily spell holiday cheer. Does it fit with canon? The scene in the video looks like it fits right in with Molly Knox Osterag’s graphic novel. It might not be super Christmas-y, but it is super sweet and worthy of inclusion. How long is it? A whopping 12 hours long. You can keep this on all throughout Christmas day. Christmas cheer levels? Not so much, considering that Hades not only takes place before modern decorative touchstones of Christmas were popularized, but also before Christianity was a thing. Still, there are pomegranate wreaths and a big ol’ satyr bag, so it’s festive in a very Underworld way! Does it fit with canon? Yup! All the touchstones are there and one almost expects Cerberus to walk up and take a cozy snooze by the fireside. How long is it? A hair over 53 minutes, good as a present-opening background. Christmas cheer levels? At first, not so much, but as it goes on, and more Murlocs appear on screen, the fireplace gets more and more decorated. By the end of the video, it’s a fully festively decorated scene. Christmas music plays in the background occasionally — but sung by Murlocs. Does it fit with canon? It takes place within the tavern where Hearthstone presumably takes place. You can hear the sound of people playing the game. The décor is themed to the world, as is the aforementioned Murloc-sung music. Overall, it’s a charming addition to the Hearthstone canon. There are a handful of Marvel comics specific fireplaces, but some of them notably do not have Christmas cheer (seriously, Tony Stark’s lonely, cheerless apartment is just kinda dismal). How long is it? A few seconds over an hour. Christmas cheer levels? Cap’s apartment is pretty bare, but some jazzy Christmas standards play in the background to set the tone. It isn’t as warm as crowd chatter, but it’s still something. Does it fit with canon? More so than some of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe Yule Logs. The close-up version reveals a framed picture of former love interest Peggy, which is heartwarming, albeit slightly sad, since this whole fireside series seemingly takes place in the comics-verse. Even if it didn’t, this video’s from 2016 so it’s pre- Avengers: Endgame Steggy reunion. (Close-up version) How long is it? An hour and change. How much Christmas cheer? Not much, but that’s fine, because Kamala Khan doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s a warm fireplace in the cold New Jersey winter, and a good time to enjoy some non-denominational warmth. We hear the chatter of a party going on, which in and of itself brings some holiday joy. Does it fit with canon? There’s nothing to suggest this is canon, but also nothing to suggest it isn’t. A cute little touch on this one is Kamala’s costume draped over her couch — better hide that before someone sees! How long is it? Two hours, so right in the middle of most of these Yule Log videos. Not long enough to keep you entertained all day, but not too short that you’ll have to click “restart” too many times. Christmas cheer levels? So much! The hearth is decorated, it is snowing outside, there are presents galore. So cozy, so quaint. It’s a perfect Christmas experience. Some nice Christmas surprises wander onto the screen every so often. Does it fit with canon? Minecraft canon is ultimately what you make of it, so sure, this could be canon. Maybe there isn’t an actual Santa NPC, but there can be if you believe very hard, by which we mean if you download a Santa skin. Also, someone breaks into the house at one point and steals a gift. Ain’t that the Minecraft way? How long is it? Both the 2019 and 2014 Christmas versions are about an hour. The 2019 kitchen one is about 90 minutes. Christmas cheer levels? More subtle décor in these, befitting of the period piece. Two of them contain animals that appear in the show, which is not specifically Christmas-y, but is very cheerful. Two of them play the main theme song, which does actually sound pretty Christmas-y, in the sad sort of way that “O Holy Night” does. It then switches to general festive Celtic-sounding music. The kitchen one is the exception, with just a roaring fireplace and minimal festive decor. Does it fit with canon? The inclusion of the cat in the most recent video is a nice touch to tie these fireplace videos back to canon. The more recent video has wee kitten Adso, who was introduced in the latest season of Outlander. The one from five years ago has two dogs, who don’t really have any canonical ties, but they sure are cute! Overall, they stylistically fit into the show, and that’s good enough. How long is it? A little over an hour. Christmas cheer levels? This video is notably lacking in Christmas cheer, but that’s OK, because it is full of Festivus cheer! Does it fit with canon? Not sure whose apartment this is, or which of the Seinfeld crew would even have such a luxurious-looking fireplace in their apartments, but sure! The only thing that really drags it out of canon is the tiny little Seinfeld-labelled book in the basket. How long is it? A little under 30 minutes, so you may need to press replay a couple o’ times. Christmas cheer levels? The hearth itself is decorated with garlands. Some jaunty tunes play in the background. You can hear chattering children and guests. What’s really missing, though, is the sound of the fire, which is lost beneath the Shrek characters occasionally wandering on screen. Does it fit with canon? The short spin-off special Shrek the Halls established that Christmas does exist in the Shrek universe and the short that this Yule Log was originally paired with Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular continues this trend. We see right away where we are — Shrek’s swampside haven — and where this scene fits in: Shrek lights the fire right before he and Fiona have guests over for the holidays. We are in the Shrek universe, hanging out with Shrek and his family. A perfect watch if you crave the warm familiarity of family, but only have YouTube. How long is it? Also a bit under 30 minutes, so as with the Shrek Yule Log, you’ll need to press repeat. Or play them back-to-back! Christmas cheer levels? The “Snoggletog Log” is just a window into fantasy Christmas in the How to Train Your Dragon world, down to the decorations and the cheerful Christmas music playing in the background. As with the Shrek video, a lot of the actual fire sounds get lost amid the background music and the characters wandering onscreen. Does it fit with canon? Yup! Much like the Shrek one was a companion to Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular, the Snoggletog Log is a companion to How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming, which premiered earlier this month on NBC. The short film takes place after the events of the final How to Train Your Dragon film, exploring the aftermath of the trilogy. Hiccup and Astrid have kids, and so do Toothless and the Light Fury, and they all appear here. It fits snuggly into canon. How long is it? An hour! Christmas cheer level? It starts out pretty unassuming, but as the video progresses, Sonic runs and gets more and more decor, till the whole hearth is incredibly festive. There’s a tree, stockings, gifts, a wishlist for Santa, and more. Does it fit with canon? The main characters have their own stockings and Sonic is probably the type of fella who gets very excited for the holidays. There are currently two of them: a cutesy animated one and a more realistic-looking one for Venom: Let There Be Carnage. How long is it? The first is 10 hours, but it seems to be solely a 10-second loop of animated Venom bouncing slightly and drinking hot cocoa. (Disclaimer: we did not watch all 10 hours. Maybe he does something complicated and exciting seven hours in.) The second is also 10 hours long, with the lights changing and flashing at intervals. Christmas cheer levels? Animated Venom sits next to a cozy fireplace, under a portrait of Venom wearing a fancy rich-person silk jacket. Nothing about it says Christmas, but it does say massive cheer. Meanwhile, the second one features stockings for both Venom and Eddie (Venom’s is noticeably larger), along with lights and garlands. Does it fit with canon? The animated one does not, but the newer one could very well take place in the current Venom-verse. There is even a little sign reminding Venom not to eat Santa! There is, however, a Venom Blu-Ray in Venom’s stocking, which is a little canon-breaking

 

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How to set up voicemail on your iPhone

The visual voicemail feature on your iPhone allows you to see all your voicemails without needing to call a number first. Visual voicemail lists all of your voicemail messages so you can choose which ones to listen to now or later and which to share or delete. Depending on your iPhone model and location, you may also be able to read transcripts of your voicemail messages with the iPhone’s voicemail-to-text feature. You can organize, delete, and play voicemails from this handy menu, but first, you need to know how to set it up to work properly. This process should work on most modern iPhones, right up to the new iPhone 13 models, although you will want to make sure that iOS is updated before you begin — do this via Settings > General > Software Update. Once you’ve updated to the latest version of iOS 15, you should be all set. You can even save your visual voicemail messages as notes or voice memos or share them with Apple’s built-in apps — Messages, Mail, or AirDrop. Nearly every cellular service provider in North America supports Apple's Visual Voicemail, even many of the smaller ones. Apple offers a full list of carriers and what features they support for your reference, but it's safe to say that you're covered if you use any of the big carriers. However, it's important to be aware that not every plan includes Visual Voicemail by default, and some carriers may charge extra for it. To make matters even more confusing, some carriers use the term "Visual Voicemail" to refer to a variety of different services that also cover Android smartphones and other devices, so make sure you have iPhone Visual Voicemail set up as part of your plan. Most carriers do this automatically if you purchased your iPhone directly from them, but you may need to be more specific about your requirements if you're bringing your own iPhone onto a new carrier. It's pretty easy to tell if you don't have the correct iPhone Visual Voicemail plan, as none of the steps below will work. Instead, tapping the Voicemail button in your Phone app will simply place a call to your basic voicemail service, where you'll need to key in your passcode and retrieve messages the old-fashioned way, using the numeric phone keypad. Once you've subscribed to a plan with the proper iPhone Visual Voicemail service, setting it up is pretty straightforward. Here's how to proceed: Step 1: Open the Phone app, which is located at the bottom of your iPhone home screen by default. Step 2: Tap the Voicemail button in the bottom-right corner. This is also how you will access your voicemail messages once everything has been set up. Step 3: This should bring you to a screen with instructions on how to set up Visual Voicemail with a Set Up Now button in the center of it. If this shows a Call Voicemail button instead, or automatically dials your voicemail service and shows you a numeric keypad, you haven't properly subscribed to Visual Voicemail. In this case, you'll need to contact your carrier to help you get the correct service added to your plan. Step 4: Tap Set Up Now to begin configuring your Visual Voicemail service. Step 5: When prompted, enter a passcode for your voicemail service. This passcode will be needed if you ever want to access your voicemail messages from another phone, or if your iPhone can't access the Visual Voicemail service, such as when you have no data coverage. Step 6: After you've selected a passcode and confirmed it, it's time to select how you would like callers to be greeted when they reach your voicemail. Select Default to use the standard visual voicemail greeting, or Custom to record a message of your own. Step 7: If you choose to use a custom greeting, tap the Record button to begin recording your greeting. Tap Stop when finished. Tap Play to listen to your greeting, or Record to erase the previous recording and try again. Step 8: When satisfied with your greeting, tap Save. Once Visual Voicemail has been configured, new voicemail messages will appear in the Phone app in much the same way that emails appear in your Inbox. You'll be able to see a full list of all of the voicemail messages that you've received, including the date and time, who they're from, and their length. You can open and listen to any message simply by tapping on it, without the need to go through the more cumbersome process of dialing into your voicemail service and using the numeric keypad to navigate through it. Step 1: Open your Phone app. Step 2: Tap the Voicemail button in the bottom-right corner. You should see a list of any voicemail messages you've received. New messages will be marked with a blue dot. Step 3: Tap on a voicemail message to listen to it. New messages will play back automatically, while a message you've already heard will simply expand to show a playback button that you'll need to tap on to listen to it again. From this expanded view, you can also tap the speaker button to switch between the earpiece, speakerphone, or another audio device such as a set of AirPods. Additional buttons let you call the person back, share the voicemail message as an audio file, open the contact details, or delete the message entirely. One of the great things about Visual Voicemail is that you can also call up your messages directly using Siri. This isn't confined to just new messages either; you can ask Siri to play back messages from specific callers, or even listen to messages from specific dates. Here are a few examples of things you can say to Siri to call up your Visual Voicemail messages: Note that if you specifically ask for new voicemail messages, Siri won't play anything back unless there are actually new messages that match your request. However, if you simply ask Siri to "listen to voicemail messages", without adding the word "new", then you'll first be told that there are no new messages before Siri offers to play back your saved messages instead. You can also dial into Apple's Visual Voicemail service like a traditional basic voicemail service, so you can still check your messages when you're away from your iPhone or otherwise unable to use it. Here's how: Step 1: Using another phone, dial your own mobile number. Step 2: When you hear your voicemail greeting, press * or # to bypass the greeting. Step 3: Enter your voicemail password. Step 4: Follow the verbal instructions to listen to your voicemail messages. This may vary between different carriers. Also note that since Visual Voicemail requires a data connection, it won't be available if your cellular data is off and there's no Wi-Fi network nearby. In this case, you'll see a message at the top of your Voicemail screen letting you know that Visual Voicemail is currently unavailable, along with a Call Voicemail button that can be used to dial into your voicemail directly. Although you'll need to choose a greeting when you first set up Visual Voicemail on your iPhone, it's easy to change at any time. You can even switch back to the default greeting if you decide you don't want to use a custom greeting anymore. Here's how to update your voicemail greeting: Step 1: Open your Phone app. Step 2: Tap the Voicemail button in the bottom-right corner. Step 3: Tap Greeting in the top-right corner of the screen. Step 4: If you're using a Dual SIM configuration with more than one phone line available, choose which line you'd like to update the greeting for. Step 5: The next screen will show you your current greeting settings. Step 6: If you're using a custom greeting, you can tap Play to listen to it, or Record to record a new one. You can also tap Default to switch back to the standard default greeting, which usually just offers up an automated voice that says you're not available and reads back your phone number. Step 7: If you're using the default greeting, you can tap Custom to switch to a custom greeting instead. Tap the Record button to begin recording your greeting, and tap Stop when finished. To listen to your greeting, tap Play. You can also hit Record to erase the previous recording and try again. Step 8: When you're satisfied with your greeting, tap Save in the top-right corner. Once you've set up Visual Voicemail, you may also be able to take advantage of Voicemail Transcription, a feature that Apple introduced in iOS 10 that uses Siri's on-device intelligence to attempt to translate your voicemail messages into readable text. Note that this feature is still technically in "beta", so it doesn't usually produce a perfect rendering of the message. Still, it's usually enough to get a gist of what the person wants, and it can be a great timesaver if the message is something really simple like "call me back", since it will save you the trouble of listening to the message. Since Voicemail Transcription occurs entirely on the iPhone, and not on Apple's servers, it only works on the iPhone 6s and later models. You'll also need to be running at least iOS 10, and Siri's language must be set to either English (United States) or English (Canada). Step 1: Open your Phone app. Step 2: Tap the Voicemail button in the bottom-right corner. Step 3: Tap on a voicemail message to open it. If Voicemail Transcription is working properly, you should either see a transcript of the message below the playback button, or the phrase Unable to Transcribe This Message if your iPhone wasn't able to make any sense of it at all. Note that for longer transcripts, you may need to scroll to read the whole thing, as the voicemail details only expand so far. Step 4: At the bottom of the transcript, you'll see buttons where you can offer feedback to Apple on whether a transcription was useful or not. If you tap one of these buttons, you'll be notified that your voicemail message will be sent to Apple for analysis, and asked to confirm that you actually want to do this. Choose Submit to send the voicemail to Apple, or Cancel to change your mind. If you cancel, no information is sent to Apple. If your carrier doesn't support Visual Voicemail, or it's simply an add-on you'd rather not pay for, then you can still use your iPhone with a basic voicemail service. The exact setup procedures for this will vary depending on your carrier, although they all typically follow the same steps of dialing the correct number and setting up your voicemail over the phone. Here's a quick overview of how this works for the major U.S. carriers: AT&T: You can find AT&T’s specific instructions here. Tap 1 or the Voicemail button to specifically navigate to your voicemail. You will be prompted to choose or record a greeting if you have not done so previously. AT&T will request that you create a password. If you get many calls, you can choose to upgrade your voicemail for more storage, but that isn’t necessary for visual voicemail. Verizon:: Verizon’s website offers an FAQ help page to set up voicemail on an Android phone. If you’re an iPhone user, though, you’ll need to check out Apple’s specific instruction page to get visual voicemail set up. T-Mobile:: T-Mobile sends users directly to Apple’s instruction page to launch visual voicemail. Sprint: Press 1 on your Sprint phone to open voicemail. To set up your voicemail, we recommend clicking to learn more about the process here.

 

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0.4
gamerant.com

Final Fantasy 14 is a couple of weeks into the launch of Endwalker, its fourth expansion pack. Square Enix recently rolled out its first small update, which added some new content, buffed the polygon count of the infamous Endwalker crystal grapes, and increased the experience points earned from new dungeons and hunt marks. When players first began Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker, many noticed the experience gains from the new dungeons seemed a bit low. Additionally, hunt marks–daily bounties for slaying specific creatures that award experience and currency–seemed to give twice as much EXP as those from Shadowbringers, versus the much larger growth between previous expansions’ hunts. RELATED: Final Fantasy 14 Fans Are Furious at Grubhub for its Messy Pizza Emote Promotion In the first two weeks of Endwalker’s run, a single run of a level-appropriate Endwalker dungeon gave about 1/3rd of a level. Now, it gives over half a level. Likewise, hunt experience has been increased from between 120k-140k experience to over 200k for each mark, meaning players can get about 3 million experience from defeating the 15 creatures a day, up from around 2 million. The increase in experience gains are almost certainly a byproduct of Final Fantasy 14 adjusting numbers after the value downscaling in Endwalker. The “Stat Squish” saw numbers from across the game, from damage to health to experience and stats, reduced. The metrics of such a change can have ramifications in unexpected places across the game, and the lower-than-usual experience gains was likely one of those places. Needless to say, Final Fantasy 14 players are happy to see the EXP boost. While leveling via dungeons is one of many ways to gain experience points in the game, increasing those gains makes it a more attractive option. Before, spamming world events in Bozja–a Shadowbringers zone used to level and craft relic weapons–was the most efficient way to level, though not the most fun or inspired. Now, players seeking variety in their leveling experiences can run a few dungeons and not feel they are leveling inefficiently. Some players are concerned the experience boost might make leveling a bit too easy, however. The experience gains are closer to those from the Shadowbringers expansion, but some feel they actually exceed those amounts. Additionally, the new increase in dungeon experience means a player’s job will rapidly outlevel their Trust avatars–NPCs who can run dungeons for solo content–meaning it will take multiple jobs to increase all 7 avatars to maximum level in Final Fantasy 14. Nevertheless, few players plan on looking the gift horse in the mouth, as more efficient leveling options means less incentive to burn out doing the same content over and over again simply because it is the fastest option. Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker is available now on PC, PS4, and PS5. MORE: 20 Most Breathtaking Locations In Final Fantasy 14 Source: Final Fantasy 14

 

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0.4
NVIDIA’s Bluefield SmartNIC Bashes The Old IOPS Record

Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom| Dec 23, 2021| General Tech| 0 NVIDIA’s Bluefield SmartNIC has blown through the previous record for throughput on network attached storage, with data transfer between two HP Proliant servers hitting up to 41.5 million IOPS. That is miles ahead of the 2 million IOPS Intel’s Optane P5800X drive offers and over several times higher than the previous record of 13.8 million IOPS which Intel set a while back. NVIDIA’s triumph is made somewhat more impressive by the fact they do not have complete control over all of the hardware used in the tests they performed. The idea that network attached storage is now significantly faster than the best local storage may seem bizarre but it is indeed the case now, not that you will be able to run this sort of thing in your home any time soon. SmartNICs are a step above the 10Gbps NIC you now see in high end motherboards, they have their own onboard CPU to help with traffic control and a relatively high end one at at that. As is now tradition, it is possible that NVIDIA could have seen higher throughput as Bluefield saturated the 400Gb/s bandwidth the physical wiring could provide. If you do happen to have a data centre and are a little green with envy keep an eye out for VMware’s Project Monterey in the coming year, as that is touted to likely be the first readily available product which offers SmartNIC connectivity Of course, supply chains being what they are right now, it may not be all that easy to source. Share:

 

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0.3
gamerant.com

Final Fantasy 6 is one of the most beloved games in the series, and is usually named among the best titles in the SNES library. Characters like Terra, Kefka, Locke, and Celes have become icons in their own right, while Nobuo Uematsu's masterfully crafted music is still considered a classic. Although players have nothing but love for the experience, there wasn't a version of the game that was free of compromises. Originally released in the late SNES era, Final Fantasy 6 came out in 1994 in both Japan and the Americas, where it was called Final Fantasy 3, as three games in the series had been skipped. While Final Fantasy 7 was the one that took the world by storm, it was not like its predecessor did poorly, having sold over three million copies in both territories, more than double of what Final Fantasy 4 had sold. Ever since then, the game has been re-released many times, with the Pixel Remaster version being the latest version. This could finally be the ultimate incarnation that fixed the technical issues of its predecessors. RELATED: Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster Release Delayed The original release of the game for the SNES is the version of Final Fantasy 6 that players remember the most. Sporting an incredible story and cast with 14 party members, players took control of a group of rebels fighting against the Empire, a narrative trope that would be repeated in many other entries. This version of the game took full advantage of what the SNES could do; displaying maps in mode 7 to create the illusion of 3D, using its full palette for detailed sprites, and a soundtrack with music influences from opera and classical music, to rocking basses and drums for battle themes. Final Fantasy 6 on SNES is still possibly the best way to enjoy the game, and is the version on the incredibly successful SNES Classic. The problem was that it was also packed with all kinds of bugs and glitches that make the gameplay experience less than ideal. For example, the evade stat is absolutely useless in the game and does nothing, which made status effects like blind useless. Also, because casting Vanish made enemies easier to target with magic, casting it and then using instant death spells such as Doom or X-Zone is basically a cheat code in many encounters. Some other bugs were more game-breaking, such as losing Interceptor forever, losing the airship because of traveling between worlds, and such. Besides these bugs, there was also the spotty translation which, although charming, was far from ideal. Lines such as "That’s Shadow…! He’d slit his mama’s throat for a nickel!” and the almighty Kefka 's "Son of a submariner!" have become meme material since then. After the world changed with the release of Final Fantasy 7 and gamers hungered for more JRPGs, Square Enix saw the potential in re-releasing older titles. A few days after the release of Final Fantasy 8 in 1999, the Final Fantasy Anthology released, which included both Final Fantasy 6 and Final Fantasy 5. This new version was very similar to the SNES in look and feel and fixed some of the most game-breaking Final Fantasy 6 spells to work as intended, but also threw in an FMV opening and ending to take advantage of the CD technology. Still, it came with a few quirks of its own. The biggest issue in Final Fantasy 6 for the PS1 was that, as the game had to be read from a CD instead of a cartridge, loading times had been lengthened. Even things like going to the menu to check your characters' status, which players do a lot in RPGs, took longer than in the SNES. While this might seem minor, it is incredibly annoying in the long run, and this problem has carried over even to the PSP and PS3 ports on PSN, which do not even run from a physical disc. This is a shame, as it is the only version of Terra's story ever released for Sony users. RELATED: Why Final Fantasy 5 and 6 Deserve the Remake Treatment The first significant revision of the game came out in 2006 under the name Final Fantasy 6 Advance, and featured many upgrades on the technical side. The new translation was more consistent with the Japanese original script, it featured slightly better visuals, and kept the bestiary feature from the PS1. Although it had to drop the FMV videos, it had also the least amount of bugs, and two new areas with new summons. It was a perfect opportunity to spend more time with Locke, Celes, Sabin, Edgar, and the others. The problem with Final Fantasy 6 Advance came not from Square Enix's work, but from the hardware capabilities of the Gameboy Advance itself. The tiny speaker doesn't really do Uematsu's work justice, but even listening with headphones, there is a clear downgrade in the sound department. Besides this, the final issue is that it was discontinued in 2008, so the mere act of getting access to this version is not that easy in 2021. Final Fantasy 6 was released for mobile phones in 2014, and with it came a new art style that fans weren't crazy about. These mobile ports turned the game in HD, but in the process traded its grungy look for almost pastel colors and characters that compromised the game's original aesthetic, too far for fans' tastes. This version was released for PC on Steam too, but is generally so disliked that it will be replaced by Final Fantasy 6 's Pixel Remaster. Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster could finally be the incarnation of the game fans have been waiting for. Simply by not having the shortcomings of the other systems, it is uniquely positioned to do everything right. Granted, it won't have the extra content from the GBA game, which all previous Pixel Remaster versions ditched as well. However, simply loading quickly, having the new translation, not having game-breaking bugs, and using the re-recorded interpretations of the music, fans will be able to access the best version yet. Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster will release for PC and Mobile in February 2022. MORE: Final Fantasy 6: Kefka's Lore Explained

 

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FDA Approves a New RNA-Based Treatment to Lower Cholesterol

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a novel type of cholesterol-lowering drug developed by the pharmaceutical company Novartis. The treatment, called Leqvio, uses RNA to help keep levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood low, which is important for people with certain cardiovascular diseases. The injectable therapy will supplement diet and other cholesterol drugs known as statins, and will only need to be taken as infrequently as twice a year. RNA, along with DNA, is a type of genetic information that has several different functions in biology. One of these roles is to serve as a messenger (mRNA), relaying instructions to cells so that they can produce important proteins and other components. A now well-known example of this function comes from the mRNA-based covid-19 vaccines. An injection of the vaccine tells t he body’s cells how to produce a key but incomplete part of the coronavirus, which then trains the immune system to recognize the virus, without actually causing an infection. But there’s another form of RNA called small interfering RNA (siRNA), which acts as a sort of counterbalance to mRNA. siRNA will tell the body’s cells to degrade a specific bit of mRNA, preventing the cell from carrying out the genetic instructions contained in that mRNA. This is a normal part of our biology, but as with mRNA, scientists have been hopeful about the possibility of creating synthetic bits of siRNA for medical purposes. In Leqvio’s case, the siRNA has been crafted to reduce the production of a protein from our liver’s cells—a protein that’s important for regulating levels of LDL circulating in our blood (LDC-C). Constantly high LDL-C cholesterol, often known as the “bad” cholesterol, is thought to contribute to arteriosclerosis, or the hardening of our arteries, which can then raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Lowering LDL-C is thought to lower the risk of these complications. Leqvio was tested in three clinical trials of nearly 3,500 patients with arteriosclerosis along with patients who had heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), a hereditary condition that causes very high choleste rol levels. These patients were already on the maximum dose of statins, a long-used treatment for reducing cholesterol, that they could tolerate. Compared to the placebo group, levels of LDL-C dropped by 52% on average for Leqvio users after 17 months. Common side effects included joint stiffness, urinary tract infection, diarrhea, bronchitis, and injection site pain. A theoretical risk of siRNA-based therapies—triggering an immune response against the drug that could affect its success or cause other adverse effects—doesn’t appear to have been seen in trials, the FDA noted, though long-term safety data will be needed to keep an eye on that. The drug will only be prescribed as an add-on to diet and statin medication for people with arteriosclerosis or HeFH who still have too- high levels of LDL-C. Patients will get the first two subcutaneous injections three months apart, then every six months, at a doctor’s office. As with other cholesterol-lowering drugs, Leqvio will not be recommended for people who are pregnant. siRNA therapy has been previously approved to treat some genetic disorders. But this is the first drug of its type to be approved for lowering cholesterol, and it’s likely to have a much wider patient base. HeFH is a rare disease, but millions of Americans with arteriosclerosis who are taking statins still have higher- than- healthy levels of LDL. O ne important test for Leqvio will be whether its use actually leads to fewer cardiovascular events and longer life expectancy, a question that the clinical trial data wasn’t able to answer definitively. Assuming Leqvio is as successful as Novartis hopes, though, it may signal a new frontier of medicine, following in the footsteps of mRNA vaccines. Other siRNA-based therapies are being tested out in Phase III trials for a variety of medical conditions, including kidney injury, hemophilia, and certain chronic eye disorders.

 

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The best 17-inch laptop 2021: top large-screen notebooks for any budget

The best 17-inch laptops prove that you don’t have to suffer through a small screen just because you need something portable. You’ll find that these larger notebooks actually offer some advantages over their smaller counterparts and not just because of that larger screen. Beyond that larger display which gives you more screen real estate, they also have a bigger chassis which allows for more powerful internals as well as better cooling. Smaller notebooks do have their place. 13-inch laptops can’t be beat in terms of portability and 15-inch laptops usually strike a nice balance between performance and lightweight design. But, 17-inch portables have their place too. Besides providing better thermal efficiency and a larger screen, they often pack a bigger punch than smaller laptops, as they’re often equipped with better processors and GPUs. If you’re hoping to tackle more demanding projects on the road, such as gaming or video editing, these behemoths can’t be beat. Some of them even come with larger batteries for longevity. While you can find more portable options out there, the best 17-inch laptops have a lot to offer, especially if you do a lot of processor-intensive or graphics-heavy tasks. We’ve collected our top picks here to help you find the right notebook for you. If you don’t know already, Dell makes some of the most amazing laptops on the market, especially with its XPS line. So, it’s no surprise that the Dell XPS 17 (2021) tops our best 17-inch laptops list. It’s pricey but for good reason. It comes with the kind of components that can get you through any task including up to an Intel Core i9 CPU, 64GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX GeForce 3060 while touting a stunner of a screen and a design that will take your breath away. We only wish it came with more ports, but it is a nearly perfect laptop in every other way. Read the full review: Dell XPS 17 (2021) Laptops for work are rejoining the 17-inch fray and leading them is the much-lauded LG Gram 17 whose amazingly thin and light form factor has won awards. It’s back in 2021 and better than ever, with more powerful internals like the 11th-generation Intel chips and the Iris Xe graphics as well as two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. The long battery life and stunner of a screen are back, though as is its steep price tag. It’s worth it though, as this is among the best 17-inch laptops for non-gaming folks. Read the full review: LG Gram 17 (2021) A tactile mechanical keyboard and a 300Hz refresh rate display are just the beginning. The Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021) touts an incredible gaming performance that might just be worthy of desktop gaming PCs. With one of the RTX 3000 GPUs under the hood, this will see you through the most graphics-intensive games, including competitive ones. And, because of its impressive battery life, you can do so away from a power source. More than just the best 17-inch laptop right now, this is among the best gaming laptops of 2021. Read the full review: Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021) One of the most powerful gaming laptops that money can buy in 2021, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 barely breaks a sweat. That excellent performance is due to the impressive specs it’s kitted out with, which also sadly put out of most people’s reach, price-wise. If you can afford it, however, there are a few other things you’ll love about it, including that unapologetic design that lights up like Christmas due to its resplendent RGB lighting and that optical mechanical keyboard that’s simply one of the best we've experienced on a laptop. This isn’t just one of the best 17-inch laptops. This is among the best of the best out there, and a worthy consideration if you’re not limited by your budget. Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 If you’re looking for an absolute beast, the best gaming laptop for you might just be this follow-up to Razer’s 17-inch leviathan. More than just a gaming portable, it makes for an excellent mobile workstation for creators as well – although gamers who have the cash will appreciate the RTX 3000 GPU, up to 64GB of memory, and display with fast refresh rates. It’s pretty expensive, though, so unless you need all that power or you just have the money to throw away, you really have to make sure you’ll make the most of it. Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021) Who says you can’t have your gaming cake and eat it, because with laptops like this ROG Zephyrus, it’s possible to have an incredibly powerful portable which isn’t even remotely hefty, but remains very svelte and, er, portable. It is, in short, a gaming machine for which you don’t have to employ air quotes around the word ‘portable’, being 18.7mm thick (or rather, thin) and weighing 2.7kg. Compare that to the above Alienware which is 43mm and 4.8kg… Yet with this Asus 17-inch laptop you still get a Core i7-8750H hexa-core CPU backed by a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 8GB of video RAM (there’s up to 24GB of system memory, incidentally). All this means you can ramp up the detail levels and enjoy any game you want. The display is also a fabulous piece of work, and what’s more it’s Pantone Validated with 100% sRGB color gamut, meaning the color accuracy is spot-on out-of-the-box, and this notebook can be used for professional photo or video editing. Bear in mind however that battery life is disappointingly short, and the price is disappointingly hefty. For those who don’t have the hefty budget to cope with this, or the aforementioned Alienware laptop’s price tag, breathe easier and check out our next entry for a more affordable gaming option. Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 The words ‘cheap’ and ‘gaming laptop’ don’t mix well. Simply put, if you’re on a strict budget, you won’t get a machine capable of playing the latest games at palatable frame-rates – especially if you want a 17-inch screen to boot. So that’s why the FX705DT is our ‘affordable’ pick as opposed to ‘budget’. Remember, if you want to go really bargain basement, you’ll be confined to casual gaming only. This Asus gaming laptop, however, packs a Ryzen 5 3550H processor with a GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB of video RAM, plus there’s 8GB of system memory. The FX705DT also boasts a roomy 512GB NVMe SSD and a backlit keyboard optimized for gaming. All of which makes it a great choice for tackling the majority of games at good detail levels while still keeping things pretty smooth – and remaining relatively wallet-friendly. At the time of writing, there are some pretty tempting deals to be had on this Asus machine, too. One of the most powerful mobile workstations out there, the Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) comes with a lot of power, a gorgeous display, and a whole lotta ports. Best yet, it’s priced well below its less-powerful rivals, making it a better proposition even if you have a more flexible budget. It isn’t by any means perfect. The battery life could use a bit of a boost, for example. But, for how much you’re paying and for the other things you’re getting in return, it’s a minuscule sacrifice. Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) This is another mobile workstation, but it represents a somewhat cheaper – and indeed a slightly slimmer – alternative to the above HP machine, with the P73 being ideally suited to content creators. You get the choice of an Intel Xeon E-2276M processor or 9th-gen Intel Core CPU (up to an i9-9880H with vPro), with up to Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 graphics and up to 128GB of system memory. But the display is the jewel in the crown featuring a 4K resolution, 400 nits brightness, Dolby Vision HDR and 100% coverage of the Adobe color gamut. The screen is, quite simply, ideal for serious photo or video editing. The cutting-edge hardware support continues with Wi-Fi 6 on board, and you get a good selection of ports for wired connectivity, including a pair of Thunderbolt 3 connectors. Creative pros need to look no further for something that can cater for all their needs, at a relatively reasonable asking price for the workstation market. Every 17-inch laptop on this list has been extensively tested by us because we know that buying a new laptop can be a huge investment. So, we don’t just look at their design, although we do pay close attention to that as well. We take a look at every laptop’s portability, how light and easy to carry it is, how comfortable it is to work on, how responsive and easy to use its keyboard and trackpad are. To test the performance, we use every 17-inch laptop in our day-to-day lives – that’s for work, entertainment and everything else. We run various Windows 10 apps to see how fast they load and real-world tasks to see just how responsive the laptop is. If it’s a gaming laptop, we naturally see how they perform with the best games both indie and AAA. Naturally, we also perform a number of synthetic benchmarks to get those numbers and compare them to rivaling notebooks. A laptop’s battery life is just as important as its performance, and in the case of 17-inch ones with heftier components, it’s even worth paying attention to. To test each laptop’s battery, we pay attention to how long we can use it performing regular tasks before it requires charging. We also perform our looped 1080p movie test until the battery dies as well as the PC Mark 10 battery life benchmark. Finally, since these days, webcams and microphones have become integral in our daily lives again, we also take time to see how well they work, paying close attention to such things as resolution, image clarity, and sound quality. When all is said and done, we take all that information we’ve collected for our final verdict, comparing it to the price to decide whether or not it’s a good value for its target users. 15-inch laptops vs 17-inch laptops Deciding between a 15-inch and 17-inch laptop has probably never been harder. Just a few years ago, only 17-inch laptops came with the kind of power to handle the most demanding tasks. But, since components have gotten smaller and more powerful over the years, you don’t have to stick with the largest laptops anymore to get great performance. You can find portables in both sizes with robust CPUs, GPUs, and plenty of storage space. However, the two sizes do come with their own advantages. If portability is a factor for you, a 15-inch laptop is always going to be smaller, lighter, and easier to carry around. And, unlike the smaller 13-inch models, it can still come with plenty of power. But, a 17-inch laptop will still have that bigger screen. And, even though a smaller laptop can come equipped with a powerful GPU, its thermal solutions won’t be as well implemented as that of these larger portables. What is the best resolution for a 17-inch laptop Picking the best resolution for your 17-inch laptop will come down to a few things. Though plenty of the best ones come with a standard 1080p resolution which is more than enough for most people, your needs might be a little different. If you’re hoping to do some photo or video editing, you probably want to get a higher resolution so you can see what you’re working on in its intended resolution. And, if you’re getting one to game on and you like to play immersive story-driven or open-world games, you’ll appreciate getting a laptop with 1440p or 4k. Of course, it’s only worth getting that higher resolution if your portable’s components can keep up. That means having a solid discrete GPU to run your favorite apps or games at those higher resolutions. Higher resolution also means more screen real estate. So, if you’re a multitasker looking to keep multiple tabs open and visible at once, a QHD or higher resolution will only help. However, if you’re getting one of the more budget options whether it’s for productivity or gaming, particularly competitive gaming, a 1080p resolution will more than suffice.

 

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Nervous about using public Wi-Fi while you travel? You shouldn’t be. Here’s why

When you’re out and about, and especially when you’re traveling, you might find yourself feeling quite a bit of anxiety when logging into public Wi-Fi. Maybe you’re sitting in an airport waiting for your flight, and the siren call of that Wi-Fi network is making your ears itch. You’ve got one of the best laptops you can buy, but you’ve always heard that public Wi-Fi is dangerous, or your work strictly prohibits it. So what is a traveling techie to do? I sat down with Chester Wisniewski, Principal Research Scientist for Sophos to find out just how terrible it was. Funny story. It turns out it’s not so bad. Most of what you’ve heard about public Wi-Fi likely dates back a decade or more. That’s where the terrible reputation comes from. But things have changed, and it’s important to understand how, and part of the how includes the why. There’s a little history to go over to see how we got here though. Many moons ago, the internet was largely unsecured. We relied on our networks to keep our network traffic protected. As a result, people were vulnerable to attacks with cute names like “evil twin” and “man in the middle.” These attacks allowed a hacker to see everything that was happening as it flowed through the internet. Type in www. facebook. com and enter your username and password and all of that was just sitting there, waiting to be intercepted. But it was cool because the network protected everything. But just under a decade ago, a man named Edward Snowden popped up on the world’s radar and everyone suddenly realized that everything we do on the internet could be watched and/or collected. When that happened, we all freaked out. Fortunately, we freaked out in a good way; we started locking everything down as much as possible. This brings us to where we are today. Says Wisniewski “Today if I go to Starbucks and I try to hack you, I get nothing. At best the most I’ll see is ‘Adam is going to Facebook’ but I have no idea what he’s doing on Facebook. I don’t know if he’s logging in as him, or if he’s logging in as his alter ego. I have no concept because all of that is encrypted and protected at the application layer rather than the network.” Spoiler alert, I wasn’t logging in at all, and in fact, I never go to Facebook, but that’s another article for another time. It took some time for all of this to be put into place, but in 2019, Google reported that almost 92% of all traffic on the internet was encrypted. It turns out the answer was in our address bar all this time. The “s” in “https: //” indicates that the traffic you’re generating is encrypted. It uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt data sent over the internet, and it does this at the application level. It’s worth noting that “the application level” refers to both the website, such as facebook. com and the Facebook app. The only information that leaks unencrypted is DNS lookup information. For example, if you open a browser and go to www. digitaltrends. com, and someone intercepts your signal, they can see that you went to the best tech website ever, but they wouldn’t be able to see what you did when you got there. Even that is changing according to Wisniewski. Both Firefox and Google Chrome hide DNS lookup information by default, and most other web browsers offer the ability to do so. Windows 11 has a system-wide option that you can enable to hide that information in any browser. Additionally, HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) adds another layer of security. HSTS basically teaches your computer what a website looks like on your first visit. Every subsequent visit confirms for your browser that you’re at the correct one. There’s even an HSTS preloaded list of tens of thousands of domains that your browser knows about even before your first visit. This prevents man-in-the-middle attacks from sending you to the wrong site made up to look like the right site and compromising your traffic. So what that all boils down to is that for the most part, public Wi-Fi is about as safe as you can reasonably ask for, but there are a few caveats to that. This will sound similar to our Scream trailer smart home hacking article, but similar circumstances call for caution in this case. If you are the kind of person who routinely handles extremely sensitive information and/or information that other people would really want, then you should think twice before connecting to any network that you or your company/agency didn’t set up yourselves. While the encryption we use every day is robust enough to handle casual attackers, if you handle information that others would literally kill for, public Wi-Fi is not for you. Another big caveat comes in the form of companies whose policies specifically forbid you from using public Wi-Fi. If you work for such a company or agency, simply don’t do it. In the company’s opinion, there aren’t enough protections in place, and they sign your paychecks, so who are you to argue? The bottom line is, companies have rules and as an employee, it’s your job to follow them, despite what a tech website has to say about the matter. Finally, check in with your gut. If you feel uncomfortable logging into your bank from your local airport, don’t. After all, this is your data. You can use a banking app to log in from your phone on 5G or LTE which is about as secure as networks can get. So are there ways that you can make your web traffic even safer? I asked about VPNs for example. One theory is that a Virtual Private Network is a good way to hide data, and to an extent, Wisniewski agrees. But in cases like that, he describes a VPN as “reassigning trust.” While most of your traffic is already encrypted, using a VPN shifts the unsecured stuff (like DNS lookups for example) over to the VPN. If you trust your VPN more than the network engineers at Starbucks, that will help you out with the limited amount of data that isn’t already encrypted. One of the most important messages Wisniewski left me with was a warning against clicking through security messages. When you’re visiting a website, and your browser pops up a warning saying the site may not be safe, it’s probably not safe. The problem may be as simple as a typo, or an expired security certificate, but suffice it to say, if you’re getting a warning, there’s a reason. Double-check everything, and when in doubt, just skip it and come back another time. Beyond that, password managers are a great tool to use to stay safe on the internet, regardless of how you’re connecting. Password managers are inherently stringent when it comes to security, and they prevent reuse or oversimplification of passwords. Plus, if a password suffers a breach, it’s simple enough to change. But the overall message here is that in general, for most people, public Wi-Fi is safe, and the reason for that is because as a society, we’re a lot more security conscious than we were even 10 years ago. As such, we have demanded that our information be more protected, and the internet has responded. So if you’re traveling or just out and about, it’s probably OK to grab a coffee and take in some Netflix.

 

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How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC

The PlayStation 4 was all the rage a couple of years ago. Now, with the PS5 on the market, it may not be long before you start to consider retiring your PS4. Before you decide to get rid of it, however, you might want to keep it in your gaming rotation by using it in conjunction with your PC. Connecting your PS4 controller to your PC only takes a little bit of time, a mini-USB cable, and these few simple steps. Steam, the most popular PC gaming portal, offers native controller support for the DualShock 4. It’s incredibly easy to use your DualShock 4 to play games on Steam. Step 1: Make sure your Steam client is updated. Step 2: Plug your controller into your PC. Step 3: Done! Well, almost. Even if Steam is up-to-date, you may encounter a few hiccups while setting up your controller. Steam supports the DS4 as a platform, but that doesn’t mean every PC game works with the controller automatically. If you fire up Dark Souls III, you’ll see what we mean. Steam detects the controller, but Dark Souls III doesn’t. If you find yourself in that boat, or just want to use your controller wirelessly without using Steam, you’re not out of luck. DS4Windows might be the solution for you. This solution requires a bit of setup, but it’s still the best way to get your PC and DualShock 4 controllers talking without any major headaches. You can connect your DualShock 4 controller to your PC using DS4Windows, a third-party application, in either wired or wireless mode (if your PC has Bluetooth). Unless you buy the adapter, this is the best option if you plan to play games through Origin, Ubisoft Connect, GoG, or other PC gaming portals. DS4Windows essentially tricks your system into believing it’s using an Xbox 360 controller, but you’ll still have access to motion controls and even the touchpad for many games. Step 1: Download the latest version of DS4Windows, which can be found on the application’s official website. Step 2: Extract it using an archive manager such as WinRAR or 7Zip. You will then have two files: DS4Windows and DS4Update. Step 3: Double-click DS4Windows to run the installer, which will prompt the following dialogue box: Step 4: Follow the on-screen instructions, beginning with driver installation. The installation is quick, so you won’t have to wait long. Click on Install 360 Driver if you’re running Windows 7 or older — the driver comes preloaded on Windows 8 and 10 machines. Step 5: Once you’ve completed both installations, your controller is ready to be connected. Simply plug the DualShock 4 into your PC using a micro USB cable (the same kind used for most Android phones). This will also charge the DualShock 4 battery, but in order to use the DualShock 4 wirelessly, you’ll need to pair the controller with your PC using Bluetooth. Step 6: Simultaneously hold the PS Button and Share Button on your DualShock 4 for three seconds, or until the light bar begins to flash. Step 7: Open the Bluetooth settings on your PC. Step 8: Connect to Wireless Controller. Step 9: If prompted to input a pairing code, enter “0000”. Step 10: Click Finish on the DS4Windows installer. The primary DS4Windows interface allows players to adjust almost every facet of the controller, right down to the color of the LED light bar. The default controller profile should work for most recent PC games, especially if they’re designed to work with the Xbox controller already. For games that aren’t easily adaptable to controllers, users can select specific pre-made profiles or create their own, assigning more or less any keystroke to any of the DualShock’s buttons. Touchpad sensitivity, macros, and game-specific profiles are supported — just look around to see what works best for you. If you run into issues while using your DualShock 4 controller, you have a couple of options. Step 1: First, under the settings tab is an option to Hide DS4 Controller. This is handy if your DualShock 4 is taking priority over other connected controllers — such as an Xbox 360 controller — or if you want to make sure your DS4Windows settings take precedence over Steam’s DualShock 4 configuration. Step 2: Similarly, if the DualShock 4 isn’t working correctly while other input devices are connected, there is a button at the bottom of DS4Windows you can select to connect the DualShock 4 exclusively, making it the primary input source for games. Step 3: The other file involved in the DS4Windows install, DS4Update, will watch for the most advanced version of DS4Windows and install it automatically. You should regularly perform this update inspection to make sure that the most current version of DualShock 4 is working at the highest level on your PC. Although we aren’t huge fans of this particular method, we recognize that Sony has stopped manufacturing the Sony Wireless Adapter. GameStop has even gone as far as to list the telltale price at the terminated item price of 97 cents. We’ve stumbled across these listings, which are still floating around online (though not at the $25 price). If you want to take this route when trying to connect your PS4 controller, we say go for it. Below are a few simple steps that can help you when you’re ready to connect using a wireless adapter. Step 1: Plug the Sony Wireless Adapter into your PC. Step 2: Plug the other end of the cord into your DualShock 4 controller. The two will pair automatically. Because of the canceled adapter, this process isn’t the best overall. However, it’s still the simplest means of establishing a link between your PS4 controller and PC. Make sure to free up some space for this 2-inch adapter, which is an extra expense for effortless connectivity. All that being said, you still have many other options when it comes to connecting your controller if you can’t seem to find this discontinued adapter.

 

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Deal Alert: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 with Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD available for $1,206

You can now get Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 with Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD for just $1,206 (was $1699) from Amazon US. If you prefer a laptop with a touch screen, check out the deal on Surface Book 3 from Microsoft Store. You can now get Surface Book 3 13-inch with Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD for $1499 (was $1999). Find the deal here at Microsoft Store. Surface Laptop 4 features: Find the deal here at Amazon.

 

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gamerant.com

Grand Theft Auto Online has once again been making headlines in recent weeks, thanks to the announcement and subsequent arrival of its largest ever post-launch content drop. Dubbed fittingly as ‘The Contract’ by Rockstar Games, players have been diving back into the seedy crime-riddled underworld of Los Santos since the end of last week, in an attempt to track down Dr. Dre’s missing phone and music tracklist. Amongst all of the returning real-world celebrities and multiplayer shenanigans, the latest update to the game also reintroduces the fan-favorite and former playable character Franklin to the mix. Franklin’s return to the limelight, albeit whilst no longer being under the player’s direct control as many had likely once envisioned, answers a number of questions that fans have had about Grand Theft Auto Online ’s lore for several years at this point. The first of these relates to when exactly the latest update, and wider events within the multiplayer mode, take place within the sometimes complicated GTA timeline. Answering that question isn’t as straightforward as just providing a concrete when-based response, however. Thanks to the concept of parallel dimensions, ‘where’ The Contract expansion takes place in relation to the single-player narrative of GTA 5 is also of vital importance as well. RELATED: GTA Online Losing Songs is Inevitable Throughout its life, Grand Theft Auto Online ’s place within the wider timeline of GTA 5 has been a frequent topic of discussion amongst fans. When the multiplayer mode finally arrived back on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013, most of the initial content that was available was understood to actually take place just before the main events of the single-player story. Establishing that events like the main heist missions, import/export update, and biker gang content, all take place just two weeks before the aforementioned narrative adventure allowed Rockstar to pull in characters from the main game. As GTA Online has continued to grow and persist since then, however, condensing everything into that shrinking time frame has become a harder feat for the publisher to convincingly pull off. It’s for this reason that Rockstar Games has gone to some considerable effort to point out that recent updates, like this year’s Los Santos Tuners content, all roughly take place in fictionalized versions of the time they were initially released. This trend has in many ways led up directly to The Contract content drop, which is subsequently said to take place during December 2021. Thanks to this clarification, players now know for certain that 8 long years have taken place between the latest missions, and the end of Grand Theft Auto 5 ’s 2013-set single-player story. Fittingly and somewhat conveniently, just like in the real world. Changes to Grand Theft Auto Online ’s map that weren’t present in GTA 5 ’s single-player story, like Los Santos’ popular Vinewood Casino, now make more sense and can be viewed as physical representations of time having passed within the wider region of San Andreas. The fact that character’s like Franklin, Lamar, and Chop, have all been noticeably aged up for The Contract expansion is perhaps the most obvious consequence of the time jump that fans will pick up on. RELATED: Rockstar Apologizes for GTA Trilogy and is Bringing the Original Games Back Thanks to the interconnected nature of Grand Theft Auto Online ’s version of San Andreas, and the fact that players can undertake missions in any order they choose, it’s worth keeping in mind that The Contract is a continuation of another point in the wider GTA 5 timeline as well. While Franklin and his past are no doubt the biggest pull and concept players should be aware of before playing, the fact that the DLC revolves around the retrieval of Dr. Dre’s phone ensures that it’s also a direct sequel to 2020’s Cayo Perico Heist expansion. During the introductory cutscene for the aforementioned heist, Dr. Dre and his associates realize that his contact and music-loaded device has been stolen, which in turn plays into the narrative of the island-based crime-themed adventure. Seeing these events play out in real-time isn’t a requirement to trigger the latest expansion, however, as a call from Lamar will unlock it once the update has been successfully installed. Being primarily a cameo-based setup also ensures that playing through the previous content shouldn’t be a barrier to entry for those looking to reconnect with Franklin. The Contract takes place a year after the robbery events have escalated for all involved either way, which arguably further demonstrates Rockstar Games’ desire to now utilize its timeline to a greater extent. Even though the idea has gained mainstream publicity in recent years thanks to its incorporation into institutions like Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series is no stranger to the concept of the multiverse either. Over the years the publisher has routinely reconfirmed the existence of three distinct universes within the franchise. The 2D era one that’s made up of the original PS1 and PC entries in the series, the 3D era featured in the Grand Theft Auto: Trilogy, and the HD era that currently includes GTA 4 and GTA 5. Barring a few noteworthy exceptions, and a few cheeky winks to the past, characters and events rarely ever crossover directly between the universal divides. With the release of Grand Theft Auto Online ’s latest content expansion, things have taken a step into uncharted territory. That’s because during the conclusion of GTA 5 ’s single-player campaign, three distinct endings were presented for players to choose between. Two where Franklin either kills Trevor or Michael, or a third where the youngster pulls the team together to overcome their pursuers and metaphorical demons. GTA Online ’s The Contract expansion directly continues one of these timelines whilst discarding the others, due to the fact that Franklin alludes to both of his former associates still being alive and active within 2021’s version of Los Santos. Canonizing GTA 5 ’s most wholesome ending as the one that happened in the multiplayer mode therefore places the events of the expansion 8 years into the future of that one specific universe. Grand Theft Auto Online is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with PS5 and Xbox Series X/S support planned for March 2022. MORE: How Rockstar Can Bounce Back From GTA Trilogy Remastered's Mixed Reception

 

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0.5
Leaked hands-on videos of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE confirms its design and key specifications

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has got to be one of the most leaked phones of all time. We know everything there is to know about it, and we’ve had that information re-confirmed a number of additional times, too. We’ve seen countless images, specification dumps, and we’ve even seen it potentially canceled and revived. We then saw a new wave of leaks and renders cropping up, along with European pricing, too. Now it’s going a step further, as the first real-life hands-on video has surfaced on Instagram. The phone in the Instagram reels video ( via Max Jambor) looks nearly identical to the regular Samsung Galaxy S21, with the same triple-camera system as the S21 and S21 Plus, an Exynos 2100 chipset (at least in Europe), and a 6.4-inch OLED screen. We’re expecting to see the phone launched in early January, and while earlier rumors put it at a January 11th launch, the associated Galaxy Unpacked event may be as early as January 4th now according to Jon Prosser — though it would still ship on the 11th. That’s not all though, as a leaked hands-on video ( via @chunvn8888) was briefly live on YouTube before being made private. The video showed off an unboxing along with more shots of the phone, confirming that, at least in Vietnam, there’s no charger in the box, either. The same YouTuber also confirmed that the phone would launch with Android 12 based on OneUI 4.0. Screenshots via @chunvn8888 The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE’s pricing seems fairly competitive, at least in Europe, but it’s also launching with a chipset a generation behind the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. We’re also approaching the expected release date for the Galaxy S22 series, so it will be interesting to see how the S21 FE’s release will be affected by Samsung’s newer phones. The S22 series will almost certainly be more expensive, but it could still drive potential sales away from the S21 FE.

 

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0.7
Krita 5 launches with better performance and more efficient memory usage

The team behind the open-source raster graphics editor Krita has announced the launch of Krita 5. It has been described as a ‘huge release’ and among the new features are the software’s improved performance and memory efficiency. The project has been making the software available through more stores such as the Play Store and with Krita 5, it’s making it available through the Mac App Store. By being able to download Krita through the Windows Store, Epic Store, Steam, Google Play, and the Mac App Store, users know they’re downloading the legitimate software. With that said, it doesn't force you to download Krita from these sources as it also offers direct downloads with accompanying verification signatures so you can check if your download has been tampered with. The highlights of this update are as follows: You check out the video below to see some of the new features in action: To get started with Krita, head of to the downloads page and select the package designed for your operating system. For added security, you can download the GPG signature to verify your download but it’s entirely optional.

 

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0.4
Polar Grit X Pro Titan review: Informed training, recovery, and testing on a premium watch

Polar released its Grit X sports watch in early 2020, just as the global pandemic sent people home and into lockdown situations. The Grit X was advertised and designed as an outdoor multisport watch with rugged build quality and features designed to help you tackle hills, long runs, and more. The new Polar Grit X Pro Titan builds upon that Grit X foundation while also rolling in advanced features from Polar's Vantage V2 watch. Various performance tests from the V2 are present on the Grit X Pro, along with music controls, Recovery Pro, outdoor dashboards, and much more. It's primarily a design preference when it comes to choosing between a new Grit X Pro and a Vantage V2. We've been running, hiking, biking, sleeping, commuting, working, and playing with the Polar Grit X Pro Titan on one wrist for more than two months. The light weight titanium material makes wearing the larger watch a pleasure, which is one very surprising benefit that we did not expect. I have larger wrists and enjoy wearing large watches, but the 53 gram weight of the Grit X Pro Titan is a significant factor when you look at watches like the 89 gram Vertix 2 or even the 49 grams of the smaller Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE. It has been a couple of years since I tested a Polar watch and I never had a chance to try out the Grit X so I went into this review with no expectations. The default option is made of stainless steel, but for $100 more you can purchase the titanium model that also comes with an extra band. The retail model ships with both an FKM and perforated leather band, but my review unit just included the leather model. I had to find another standard 22mm silicone strap to take the Grit X Pro outside for exercise so I don't ruin the leather band. See also: Best sports watch 2021: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and more The Polar Grit X Pro is perfectly sized for me with a 47mm diameter shell and a 1.2-inch display that is easily readable in various lighting conditions. I turned up the brightness of the backlighting because my 52-year old eyes are starting to falter. The backlight only comes on when you need it so I haven't seen any measurable impact on the battery life. There is a rather wide black bezel around the watch face and this is one area I would like to see reduced in the future or incorporate solar charging like we see on some Garmin watches. The bezel has a compass, which looks attractive and matches the aesthetic of the watch. The display is a touchscreen display that is disabled by default during exercises, which is exactly what I prefer. The touchscreen seems quite responsive too, which hasn't always been the case for Polar watches. There are five buttons around the edge of the watch so if you are new then spend some time getting familiar with their functions. Many Garmin watches also have five buttons and that is the brand I have been using for years so it took a couple of weeks to retrain myself to press the intended buttons. The buttons have excellent texture and are easy to manipulate. The center right button has a red dot in the center. The top left button is for the light, the bottom left button is the back/menu option, the upper right is to move up the screen while the bottom right moves down, and the center right button (with center red dot) is the OK/start selection button. Pressing and holding some buttons also provides other options, such as pressing and holding the top left to lock/unlock the buttons and display as well as pressing and holding the bottom left button to initiate a sync to your phone. Button functions also change in pre-training, training, and time view modes. A large heart rate sensor, sporting Polar Precision Prime OHR technology, is centered on the back with a host of green and red LEDs to measure blood flow through your skin. Surprisingly, there is no blood oxygen saturation measurement capability on the watch. Given the outdoor focus, I expected to see SPO2 capability for those who climb mountains, run trails, ski, and exercise in higher elevations. We have also seen blood oxygen metrics as key indicators of COVID-19 infections, but I also understand that Polar is focused on athletic performance and its ANS calculation is very advanced and worthwhile. Standard 22mm watch bands with quick release pins fit right into the Polar Grit X Pro Titan, which is perfect. I was never a fan of the proprietary Vantage V bands, but there is also now a V2 Shift Edition that enables the use of standard 22mm bands. I like to switch bands for work, play, and various exercises. The most obvious new feature of the watch software is the implementation of the new outdoor dashbards. Dashboards are called widgets by others and are quick glanceable information on the watch face. You can either swipe left and right or use the up and down hardware buttons on the right side to scroll through these various dashboards. Dashboards currently available include altimeter, coordinates, compass, weather, and daylight times. Existing dashboards that you can add to these new options include heart rate, nightly recharge, FitSpark, cardio load status, activity, time, weekly summary, and more. After selecting one of the available dashboards, press the center right button to view more details and then scroll up and down through the entire dashboard to view details of your data in tables, charts, and various colors. You can spend a lot of time exploring the extensive amount of data captured by the Polar Grit X Pro Titan. See also: COROS Vertix 2 outdoor sports watch review: Challenging Garmin with longer battery life, lower price, dual GNSS support Press the lower left button to access another area of the watch. A single press brings up the Start Training option and then a press of the center right button lets you select your exercise and initiate a GPS connection and connection to other sensors. If you press the light button, upper left, when you first choose an exercise then you can access and modify specific settings for that exercise. These settings include power save, backlight, HR broadcast, training suggestion, race pace, interval timer, countdown timer, routes, back to start, and other exercise specific settings and options. Note up at the top of the training screen that Polar provides you with estimated battery life for the specific exercise and settings you select so you can confirm there is enough juice left in the watch to start your training session. If you then press the up or down buttons after a single lower left button press then you can choose from settings, tests, watch face views, timers, fueling, Strava live segments, and serene breathing options. Press the center right button to choose one of these options and access more information and options. Settings include general, physical, and watch options. General settings include HR tracking options, airplane mode toggle, backlight brightness, time and date formats, phone notifications, music controls, and more. Physical settings are simply where you enter your body particulars. Watch options include alarm, watch face, time, date, and the first day of week settings. Orthostatic, leg recovery, cycling, running, and fitness tests are supported on the Grit X Pro Titan. Watch face views support views from the main default watch face, with the exception of the new outdoor dashboards. Strava live segments are synced over from the Polar Flow website, timers are self-explanatory, and fueling is useful for long runs or bike rides where you need to fuel up to keep going. The serene option provides breathing exercise options and also initiates breathing exercises for improved health and wellness. Polar has a smartphone app for iOS and Android that captures all of the data from the watch and provides various glimpses of that data. The Polar Flow website is much more comprehensive than the app and the app has always been my least favorite aspect of the Polar experience. Garmin, COROS, Fitbit, and Zepp apps are much more robust and useful. However, in the last few weeks Polar released an updated application that offers a new Diary view that is greatly appreciated due to its glanceable usefulness. The menu on the left side of the Polar Flow app has options for diary, activity, start, calendar, sleep, nightly recharge, blog, notifications, balance, favorites, shop, feature tutorials, sports profiles, devices, general settings, and support. I am not a software developer, but better organization of the application is worth considering even with the new diary page. The diary view provides you with your training status, activity status, and sleep status. Tapping on any of these areas opens up further details, such as cardio load and activity view. The activity view give you a 24 hour view of various activities and summary data collected during the day. You can tap on different elements to view more details. The Polar Flow app can be used to track your workouts too so the start option opens up the display that shows training or testing options. This can be handy if your Polar watch is charging or you want to use your phone to track an activity for some reason. The calendar options hows your planned scheduled workouts and your history of workouts. Tapping on any workout opens up the full details of that workout. The sleep options shows you all of the sleep details captured by your Polar watch while the nightly recharge option shows you the recharge focused results. The blog option provides links to articles on the Polar website, many of which are guides, tips & tricks, or other useful information about using your Polar watch to its full potential. The balance option shows you all of the details about your weight, but you need a Polar Balance scale for this to be useful. See also: Polar announces new Grit X Pro, updates to Vantage V2 and Unite: Wearables for the outdoors The Polar Grit X watch experience has improved over the years and the outdoor dashboards help make the Polar Grit X Pro Titan a compelling GPS sports watch. The Polar Flow online service has always been one of the best aspects of the Polar experience and serves as a powerful virtual coach. The website has improved over the years with the main tabs at the top arranged as diary, reports, community, and programs. Over to the far right there are also links to manage your profile, settings, and sports profiles, but after setting these up once they are rarely needed for continued use of your Polar watch. The diary section is further divided into the diary, training history, activity, recovery status, sleep, and balance tabs. In the diary view you can see all of your workouts on a calendard with red circles, on a scale of one to five, showing you the cardio load level from that workout. Activity and training summaries are found at the bottom of the page. Clicking on any of the workouts opens up the vast details of that workout so you can further view and analyze the workout. Training history is similar to the diary, but shows you lists of your workouts in one, three, and six month segments with the ability to quickly filter your training history by sport. Summary key metrics are shown to the right of the workout and if you click on a workout you are again taken to the detailed page showing everything about that workout. The activity view of the diary provides an overall view of the day's activities, including sleep, sitting, and basic movements captured during the day. Health benefits are shown, along with sleep, and it is very interesting to see how your activity can be improving your life. The activity view is presented only in a daily format, but is very interesting and quite extensive. The recovery status view under the main diary category provides you with a link to your cardio load, muscle load, and perceived load while presenting your recovery status graphically. The data is viewable by day, week, or month with activity and training summaries at the bottom of the page. Recovery status appears in undertrained, balanced, strained, and very strained zones. If you wear your Polar watch to bed then sleep data is presented in a timeline view with further details below this plot. You can view one night or a week of sleep data in the view with sleep scores, sleep time, and more provided for review. Lastly under the diary option is the balance data. A Polar Balance scale is needed to sync weight data to this plot of your weight trend. I currently use a Garmin scale, but have not found a way to manually enter my weight to be able to track my progress in Polar Flow. The reports section is divided into training, activity, sleep, tests, running index, and cardio load. These reports are developed from the data captured by your Polar watch and offer another view of the data. The training report is similar to the training history, but with the ability to plot bar and line graphs with various metrics. Best sessions, heart rate zones, and sports are also shown below the training history. The activity report is similar to the training report, but has all of the other activity data shown in the plots. The sleep report can be plotted for one, three, or six months and is useful for seeing longer term trends in sleep scores, various sleep stages, and sleep/wake times. The tests report provides you with graphical results of the various tests that are supported by your Polar watch, including fitness test, jump test, running test, cycling test, and orthostatic test. The running index report is one of the reports I view the most as it provides you information on your maximal running performance and is calculated each time you complete a running exercise. I'm not sure I believe the elite status that Polar puts me into, but it does motivate me to not fall into the very good category for men of my age. The cardio load report is very useful for helping you maintain a training level where you keep below the level of increased risk or injury. I listen to my body and to be honest the feel of my body and the Polar results seem to match so that is encouraging. The programs tab shows you where you are in your current training program. You can shift workouts here, but I found it more useful to do so in the smartphone app since you can move workouts across weeks. I sometimes have work trips or other obligations that prevent me from completing a planned workout. Using my smartphone I can move these around to make sure I complete them some time and the great thing about Polar is that all of this is used to calculate real-life status of your body and progress. Over the years I have tested a lot of wearables and find the Polar running programs to be the best for me since they let you choose your level of activity, training session length, and intensity while also mixing in body weight and stretching routines. Polar has programs for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon races. Even better, Polar also offers a fantastic season planner option because people like me are not always preparing for a race. With the season planner tool you select the start and end weeks, give it a name, add periods for training, add duration and distancess, and even add themes for the type of workout you are planning. This takes a bit of time to create, but is an awesome tool for the off season and there are even a few examples to help you get started. Once you setup a running or seasonal program, the program is synced to your Polar Grit X Pro Titan so you can then train and record the results. You can purchase a Polar Grit X Pro Titan now for $599.95. The Titan model has a titanium case and is an amazing 24 grams lighter than the stainless steel model while also including a perforated leather band in the package. The Grit X Pro, stainless steel instead of titanium, is available for $499.95 in Black DLC, Nordic Copper, and Arctic Gold. The Grit X Pro Titan is extremely well made and I still cannot believe how light it is for such a large watch. The GPS tracking, heart rate measurements, sleep stages, and daily tracking are accurate and reliable. Komoot turn-by-turn guidance is supported with the Polar Grit X Pro Titan, but I have not yet had a chance to get out in the mountains to test out this functionality. There is no onboard music, wrist-based payment systems, or advanced smartphone connectivity, but this watch is focused on helping you train and improve your performance rather than serving as a smartphone companion. The watch does support music controls so if you run with a phone and listen to music, then you can use the Polar Grit X Pro Titan to easily control your music. I don't run with my phone all of the time, but when I do then music is playing and controlling this from my watch is an essential function so it's great to see the support here. I typically charge up the watch once a week, which is perfect for a watch focused on helping you train and track your health and wellness 24/7. The new outdoor dashboards are quite useful and I use them throughout each day to quickly view various pieces of information. It has a touchscreen, but I always forget that and prefer to use the five buttons to navigate the interface. Sleep tracking failed me a few times and the watch is a bit large to wear comfortably if you happen to toss and turn in bed. There is no way to edit your sleep start/end so it's a take it or leave it situation when it comes to sleep tracking. It is very light and comfortable, but it is not a small watch either. The Polar Flow website is amazing and extremely useful for coaching, reports, and viewing the details of your workout. The Grit X Pro captures all of the hills I run and I found this very useful since I live at the top of a hill and every single one of my runs includes lots of elevation changes. You can put in routes and then slope angles and elevations will appear on your watch as you run so you know how you are progressing and what lies ahead. Unlike smartwatches, you can fully customize the data that is displayed on the Grit X Pro screens for each type of workout you participate in so it is one of the most personal sports watches available. The data is viewable in all environments and helpful for motivating you to succeed. The Polar Grit X Pro Titan is the best Polar watch I have ever tested and brings just about everything offered by Polar to an extremely well constructed watch with a compelling form factor and design. It is clearly a GPS sports watch with a heavy focus on helping you train and reduce the chance of injury. It's comparably priced with other high-end wearables, but is limited in its smartwatch functionality and some other advanced features seen in competitors (payment, music).

 

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0.1
Everything we know about Sonic Frontiers

Sonic Frontiers is the latest development from Sonic Team, and it’s looking to be the biggest game the studio has ever released. First revealed during The Game Awards 2021, Sonic Frontiers is still shrouded in mystery — but we do have a few juicy bits of info. From release date and gameplay to its storyline and multiplayer, here’s everything we know about Sonic Frontiers. Further reading Sonic Frontiers is currently slated for a holiday 2022 release. But considering the scale of the game — and the difficulties of game development during the ongoing pandemic — don’t be surprised if the title gets bumped to 2023. Frontiers looks to be a huge leap forward for the loveable hedgehog, and Sonic Team isn’t likely to rush it to market. According to Sonic Team, Sonic Frontiers will be available on the following platforms: It’s unclear if all platforms will see the title arrive on the same day (and what corners will be cut to bring it to Switch and last-gen consoles), but it’s great that the highly anticipated title is heading to just about every console under the sun. Only one trailer has been released so far, and it doesn’t reveal much. Clocking in at over a minute in length, the Announce Trailer shows Sonic speeding through a forest before perching on the edge of a cliff and getting a good look at his surroundings. We also get a glimpse of a few gigantic enemies — check it out for yourself below: No official gameplay has been revealed, and we can only guess how Sonic Frontiers will handle when it arrives at the tail end of 2022. However, a description on its official website does spill a few details: “An experience like never before, accelerate to new heights and experience the thrill of high-velocity, open-zone freedom,” reads the Sonic Frontiers website. “Battle powerful enemies as you speed through the Starfall Islands — landscapes brimming with dense forests, overflowing waterfalls, sizzling deserts, and more!” Sonic Frontiers is clearly billed as an open-world game, but little is known beyond that exciting fact. Sonic, Tails, and Amy were all confirmed for the cast during a Sonic Official Livestream, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Knuckles make an appearance, too. Sonic Team isn’t mentioning which antagonist Sonic will be chasing down in this installment, although Doctor Eggman seems like a logical choice. Not only do the gigantic robots in the trailer fit his MO, but offering him as a villain in Sonic Frontiers would offer an easy way to cross-promote the game with Sonic Movie 2 — which is also slated for a 2022 release. No information regarding multiplayer has been revealed by Sonic Team. However, the title is currently listed as a single-player action-adventure game on Steam. It’s possible we’ll see co-op added in the future, but for now, it sounds like Sonic Frontiers is strictly a solo outing. No DLC plans have been revealed for Sonic Frontiers. Pre-orders are not yet live for Sonic Frontiers. Check back in the months leading up to launch for more details.

 

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0.6
gamerant.com

This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Marvel's newest film, Spider-Man: No Way Home has quickly formulated a reputation that has many eager to see what the studio will do next. As the third film of Tom Holland's run as the iconic Marvel hero, it marks a huge turn in the future of the MCU. The massive cinematic event is a culmination of the web-slinging hero's cinematic history that spans over 19 years, containing 3 Spider-Men and over 10 villains. Many of these characters reappear in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Following the effects Disney Plus series like WandaVision and Loki have had on the terrain on the MCU, the complexities of the Multiverse continue to be witnessed on screen. No Way Home built on this by bringing both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield into the mix, along with several of their villains. Amidst the stacked cast in No Way Home, Garfield manages to steal the show. RELATED: Willem Dafoe Had One Condition For Returning As Green Goblin In Spider-Man: No Way Home In No Way Home, Garfield reprised his dual role as Peter Parker and Spider-Man alongside Maguire and Holland. The film is full of references to both Maguire and Garfield's previous films and as exciting as Garfield and Maguire's return is, No Way Home is a particularly important film for Garfield. Unable to complete The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, No Way Home gives Garfield's rendition of Peter Parker and Spider-Man the closure that both the franchise and Garfield never had. While his screen time in No Way Home isn't a significant amount, Garfield does make the moments he has on-screen count. From the moment Garfield arrives on screen, his passion for the Spider-Man character radiates through the screen. As he steps through the portal opened by Ned, Garfield immediately launches into the quirky and charming performance as Spider-Man that many adored throughout The Amazing Spider-Man. He has a charming exchange with MJ and Ned before the arrival of Maguire, and goes on to have many more heartwarming moments with his fellow Spider-Men. In addition to his own passion for the character, Garfield has also publically said that he thinks Holland is the perfect Spider-Man. In Garfield's own scenes with Holland, his happiness and excitement for Holland's embodiment of the character and his ability to share the screen with him, shines bright. With No Way Home first and foremost being Holland's third film, its job isn't to wrap up the storylines of Maguire and Garfield's characters, but it does offer some additional closure to their stories. No Way Home expands on what life for Garfield's Spider-Man was like following the loss of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It is clear that he is still dealing with the guilt he feels over not being able to save her and for not upholding the promise he made to Gwen's father shortly before his own death. No Way Home offers some insight into what life held for Garfield's Spider-Man in the midst of all this, as he attempts to connect with Holland's Peter following the loss of Aunt May. When Holland's Peter tries to send the villains back to their respective universes without continuing to try and help them as May wanted, Garfield's character recalls his own struggle to continue being Spider-Man. Even though Garfield wasn't able to save Gwen, he says that he knows Gwen would've wanted him to put on the Spider-Man suit again and continue to stick up for the little guy. Without direct glimpses of Garfield's Spider-Man in the aftermath of Gwen's death, viewers are left to cling onto the words of Garfield in No Way Home as he recounts the aggressive, grieving side of himself. This arguably gives Garfield's lines and the story they tell much more significance than any other character in the film. Garfield himself has previous discussed his experience as Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man series, and called the experience "heartbreaking." Many of the events within The Amazing Spider-Man movies are as equally gut-wrenching and No Way Home uses one of the saddest scenes from the previous franchise to bring closure to Garfield's Spider-Man. When MJ begins to fall from the Statue of Liberty during No Way Home's climactic battle sequence, Garfield is the one that catches and therefore saves her. His face contains a look of equal triumph and heartbreak, as he relishes in the moment of saving the MCU's Peter from more heartache, while also redeeming himself on behalf of Gwen. Garfield is a scene-stealer throughout No Way Home because of what his presence means for him on both a personal and professional level. As stellar as his performance in No Way Home is, his Sony franchise wasn't as lucky. The Amazing Spider-Man films are the most heavily criticized of any of the live-action Spider-Man movies. On Rotten Tomatoes, The Amazing Spider-Man holds a 72% rating from critics and a 77% audience score. It is the seventh highest-rated Spider-Man film, only ranking above Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which has a 52% critic rating and a 64% audience score. Both Amazing Spider-Man films are also the lowest-grossing live-action Spider-Man films despite appearing on the top-10 list for the highest-grossing movies worldwide in both 2012 and 2014. With statistics like this, it's a surprise that many fans have taken to social media, advocating for The Amazing Spider-Man 3. For fans of Garfield and his performance as Spider-Man, this sudden surge of support is bittersweet. While Garfield is now getting the recognition many felt he always deserved in the role, the advocation for Garfield's next Amazing Spider-Man installment arrives a bit late. Nevertheless, Garfield's passion and raw emotion was a great addition to No Way Home and the heavy theme of grief within the film. Even if he doesn't ever receive his third installment of The Amazing Spider-Man, the new form of recognition for his performance is well deserved. Spider-Man: No Way Home is now in theaters. MORE: The Amazing Spider-Man: 8 Things About The Movies That Have Aged Well

 

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0.7
gamerant.com

Skyrim mods are the lifeblood of the game, helping it to stay fresh and relevant more than a decade after its release. Some mods change core aspects of Skyrim that fundamentally change how the game is experienced – Ordinator is such a mod, one that offers countless new possibilities by radically altering every Perk in every Skill Tree. RELATED: Skyrim: Best VR Mods Installing mods in Skyrim is normally done in one of three ways: through Bethesda's in-game Modding platform, a third-party mod manager, or manually. While Ordinator can be downloaded in-game (and therefore can be used on consoles) it has caused issues for some players who have upgraded to Skyrim Anniversary Edition. The Ordinator mod completely overhauls the Skill Tree system of Skyrim by altering how some Perks work and by adding dozens and dozens of new options. Every Skill Tree is made more viable and more balanced across the board, giving players lots of new skill paths and builds to try out. For example, the Smithing Skill Tree now offers a Perk that lets players build defensive Automatons, while the Archery Skill Tree gives players the ability to place a Tripwire that knocks enemies down. The Ordinator mod is compatible with other mods except for those that alter Skill Trees or Perks. When using it with Skyrim Anniversary Edition make sure to back up your existing saves. Installing the Ordinator mod can be done through Skyrim Special Edition 's mod menu, the Skyrim Nexus Mod Manager, or manually. It can be installed with other third-party mod managers like Wyre Bash or TESMM, but the Nexus tends to be the most straightforward of these popular options. It's typically not a good idea to install mods manually as it can mess with your existing files with very few ways to fully uninstall. Even if you use a barebones mod manager, it's still better than having to track down files that aren't working on your own. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox One and Series X| S MORE: The Complete Guide to Skyrim - Items, Quests, Mods, Builds, and Tips

 

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0.0
Don’t Look Up is a hellishly unfunny ride through The Discourse

There’s dark credibility to Don’t Look Up, director Adam McKay’s gallows humor Netflix comedy about the end of the world. In it, scientists discover that a planet-killing comet is heading directly for Earth, and our window for averting extinction is incredibly narrow. When this urgent news is brought to the United States government, the response is one that is extremely plausible: doing nothing.

 

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The Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t better than the Oppo Find N, and that’s a good thing

If the Oppo Find N is one of the most important smartphones released this year, due to its chance to truly challenge Samsung’s current dominance in folding phones, how does it really compare with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 when you use them each day? Since the Oppo Find N arrived last week, I’ve been using it alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, initially expecting to come up with a solid answer about which one is the best at being a folding smartphone. However, as time passed, I found neither of them is better than the other, and then realized this was the best possible outcome. Here’s why. Before we get into how the two phones work alongside each other, we need to talk about the differences. Although both the Oppo Find N and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 operate in basically the same way, there are some differences that change the way you use both phones. Let’s go through some specs first, so we know what we’re dealing with: The Oppo Find N is smaller overall, and this makes it more manageable, but surprisingly the Z Fold 3 is slightly lighter at 271 grams, compared to the 275 gram Find N. The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s larger body houses a 7.6-inch screen on the inside and a 6.2-inch, 25:9 aspect ratio screen on the outside, while the Oppo Find N has a smaller 7.1-inch inner display, and a 5.49-inch, 18:9 aspect ratio screen on the outside. The cameras also differ. There are three 12-megapixel cameras in the module on the back of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for main, wide-angle, and 2x telephoto duties, and a 50MP main, 13MP 2x telephoto, and 16MP wide-angle combination on the Find N. There are two selfie cameras on both phones, with the Find N getting two 32MP cameras in hole-punch cutouts. The Z Fold 3 has a 10MP outer camera in a hole-punch, but the 4MP inside selfie camera is an Under Display Camera, so it’s hidden from view. Both phones use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor though, but the Z Fold 3 only comes with 12GB of RAM, while the cheapest Find N gets 8GB of RAM, and you have to splash out for the top model to get 12GB. Android 11 is the operating system on both, the batteries have a similar capacity, and each is secured using a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Now the stats are out of the way, what struck me first about using the two phones often was how I initially expected the Oppo Find N to always be more comfortable to hold, considering its smaller size and similar weight. In reality, it turned out to not be so simple. When swiping and tapping the open screens, the widescreen (by comparison) Find N is harder to support comfortably with one hand than the squarer Z Fold 3, which has less overhang and therefore feels better balanced. Scrolling through Twitter with the Z Fold 3 in one hand (the chassis resting on your pinky finger, naturally), there’s little chance the phone will take a spill, but the wider Find N really does need to be supported by your other hand to feel truly stable. This surprised me as if you hold the Find N with one hand and don’t interact with the screen, such as when reading an eBook, it’s better weighted than the Fold 3. The additional thickness in the chassis helps grip, and the smaller, squarer shape made me hold it between my thumb and forefinger at the corner, much like I would an Amazon Kindle. The Z Fold 3’s extra size makes it more fatiguing to hold this way. Closed it’s a different story. The Z Fold 3’s thin, elongated body makes it a real pain to type on, while it’s far easier and more natural on the regularly shaped Find N. Apps scale more normally, too, while many have a weird pinched, vertical-letterbox look on the Z Fold 3. This is annoying, especially on apps that don’t scale correctly on the open Z Fold 3, forcing you to use the Cover Display instead. At least when this happens on the Find N it’s less irritating to interact with buttons and enter text. They may share the same basic design, but one is not better to hold and use than the other. Which one is best for you will come down to how you want to use the phones, much like making the decision between the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3, a comparison which also has an impact on the next section. The open screen is made for watching movies and playing games, so what are these two like? The Oppo Find N’s screen configuration means you don’t have to rotate the phone to watch video in landscape orientation, and that makes it feel seamless and well thought out, although it’s hardly an effort to switch the Z Fold 3 round when you watch something. The Z Fold 3’s screen is warmer and more vividly colored than the Find N’s cooler palette, but both are equally sharp. What strikes you watching video on both is how phone-like the Find N is, and how tablet-like the Z Fold 3 is. You may not think the 0.5-inch difference in screen size would change things much, but it really does. Video on the open Find N is similarly sized to a big non-folding smartphone like the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Pixel 6 Pro. It’s immersive and enjoyable, but with the Z Fold 3, watching video is just more special, as the screen is clearly larger. The crease may be far less noticeable on the Find N when it’s switched off, but you can’t spot one on the Z Fold 3 when it’s playing video either. This definitely made me consider the Oppo Find N more of a competitor to the Galaxy Z Flip 3, and more ideally suited to people who want a compact phone without sacrificing a large screen should they want it. There’s no such compromise available with the Z Fold 3, and the large open screen is its main selling point. If you want to watch a lot of video, the Z Fold 3 is the way to go in this respect. The audio experience is excellent on both phones, with loud sound delivered through stereo speakers. The big screen is as good for games as it is for video, and neither phones feel heavy when holding them with two hands. You do have to stretch for buttons sometimes, depending on the game, much like you may have to when playing on a tablet. I played Asphalt 9: Legends on both phones for a while, and while I do think the Z Fold 3 was a tiny bit smoother, you probably wouldn’t notice unless you played back-to-back. I’m using the 12GB Find N. However, there was an issue, and it’s to do with the software. The Oppo Find N is a China-only phone at the moment and although my review sample came with Google Play installed, it did not have full Google integration. Despite installing and activating Google Play Games, Asphalt 9: Legends would not connect so I couldn’t switch to my existing profile. If you rely on Play Games, consider this if you’re thinking about importing one, as more work will be needed to make it work. No, the Oppo Find N is not better than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, or vice versa, and before anyone shouts about indecision, don’t be so quick to judge this as a wishy-washy conclusion, because it’s actually the best possible outcome. There are so few folding smartphones available it would be disappointing if these two major 2021 releases crossed over and simply served the same niche. Instead, the Oppo Find N manages to squeeze in-between the Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3, becoming the answer for people who want a large folding smartphone, but with some of the convenience provided by mid-size foldables like the Z Flip 3. On the outside, it could be seen as more of what we’ve already got, whether it’s the Z Fold 3 or the Huawei Mate X2, but in reality, Oppo has engineered the Find N to be just different enough that it enhances the world of folding smartphones, rather than simply joining the club. Yet it’s still absolutely a true folding smartphone, unlike the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, which for all its high-tech cleverness is still two normal phones with a hinge in the middle. There is one obvious caveat to the “neither is better” conclusion, and that’s unless you live in China, you won’t be able to buy the Oppo Find N, making it harder to get hold of than the widely available Galaxy Z Fold 3. But the Find N’s existence and success as a genuine alternative gives me hope we’ll see more folding smartphones in 2022 that, if you’ll forgive the pun, open up this exciting new tech to a lot more people.

 

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0.7
How to claim your Escape From Tarkov Christmas Gift?

As with every other wipe, Battlestate games will give their fair share of presents to all Escape From Tarkov players. In light of the upcoming holidays and New Year, players will get a chance to claim the gift through the official Escape From Tarkov website. The present consists of multiple items, even if the MK17 SCAR is the hero on the image itself. So, what exactly are we getting for this year’s present? Remember that the gift will be active in the next ten days. The only way to get it is by claiming it through EscapeFromTarkov. com. To do that, follow the instructions below. This is how the image looks. Happy holidays and happy new year! Have a blast and a bunch of bountiful experiences in Escape From Tarkov.

 

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0.6
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Could Be a Carbon Bomb

When the bipartisan infrastructure bill was signed into law, Sen. Joe Manchin said it was a “major investment in the needs of America.” Just don’t tell that to the climate. Manchin recently torpedoed the current iteration of Democrats’ actual climate agenda, the Build Back Better Act. But a new analysis reveals why the bipartisan bill he championed is no substitute. In fact, t he analysis from the Georgetown Climate Center found the legislation — officially called Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act— could actually have the unintended consequence of adding more carbon emissions to the atmosphere. According to the analysis, the bill could potentially increase emissions by 1.6% compared to a baseline scenario by 2032 if funds from the legislation are used primarily to invest in new surface roads and highways rather than mass transit and green energy. That might sound surprising given that the infrastructure bill that the Biden White House promoted as a no-nonsense piece of legislation that “boosts clean energy jobs” and “advances environmental justice.” In some ways, it does just that. The bill includes billions to invest in electric vehicles, mass transit, and green energy technologies, but it also sets aside big bucks for surface transportation. Here’s where things get tricky. Surface transportation can include a variety of things, ranging from investment in public transit and sidewalks to highways and roads. However, each individual state gets to decide how specifically it wants to allocate these funds. If states decide to use these funds to maintain current roads and invest in public transit, electric vehicles, and charging infrastructure, the Georgetown Climate Center expects the initiatives would be an emissions reducer. If, on the other hand, states decide instead to use those funds to build more roads and add additional road lanes, the bill could have the opposite effect. New roads are a major source of carbon pollution because, rather than reduce traffic, they encourage more driving. The researchers refer to this as “induced demand.” Invoking Field of Dreams, the researchers summed up this effect with the phrase, “if you build it, they will come.” (Road construction itself is also quite carbon-intensive.) If states go on a roadbuilding bender, the bill could increase emissions by 1.6%. The researchers note that’s roughly equivalent to the annual emissions from 4.5 million passenger vehicles. That’s a worst-case scenario. If states do everything right, the bill could end up cutting emissions by 1.3% by 2032. The analysis indicates that a more middle-of-the-road (sorry) scenario is more likely than either of these two relative extremes. A number of states have climate plans in place, and the money from the bill could help them meet those goals. Transportation is the largest source of U.S. emissions so getting funds used the right way is vital to getting a handle on them as well as air pollution. “In the end, we expect that actual investment levels for most strategies will fall between these approaches and will depend on the choices state, local, and federal policymakers make about how to spend these funds, given the discretion and flexibility that they are afforded under the law,” the authors wrote. “Importantly, decision makers looking to achieve climate goals have the opportunity to steer decisions in the direction of the lower-emission scenario.” Even if all states end up doing the right things with the funds, though, there’s still a long way to go to actually do the hard work of cutting emissions. Biden has pledged that the U.S. will reduce carbon pollution at least 50% by 2030, and the Build Back Better Act is one possible route to get closer to that track. Manchin has fought his fellow Democrats on key climate issues in the act every step of the way. (Republican senators, for their part, have done absolutely nothing.) The West Virginia senator has been the top recipient of fossil fuel money this election cycle for any senator and has a friendly relationship with fossil fuel bosses. But the main coal union in the U.S. just came out asking Manchin to reconsider his opposition to the bill. That puts the ball in his court on if he comes around because it’s never been clearer the bipartisan legislation alone isn’t enough.

 

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0.3
gamerant.com

Rockstar Games is a prolific video game studio that is responsible for releases that have reshaped the gaming world over the years. Whether it be the crime-ridden streets of Grand Theft Auto or the playground antics of Bully, the studio has, through its genius game design and impressive attention to detail, created immersive worlds and left an unignorable mark on gaming history. However, Rockstar 's fame has not come without equal amounts of controversy that have put it at odds with the law and, at times, even gamers. Fans of the company will be delighted to know that Rockstar Games is giving away some of its most iconic titles for free during December and January. There are a few hoops that players have to jump through to get those games, but it is arguably worth it. The games on offer represent some of the best that Rockstar Games has to offer, and the gesture of goodwill will likely go a long way towards repairing the public's trust in the company after the somewhat disastrous launch of the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy remaster. RELATED: How GTA 5 Has Lasted Three Console Generations Rockstar's giveaway is for a limited time, and the offer will run until January 5, 2022, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. That leaves gamers with about two weeks to redeem the free game of their choice. Although five games are part of the free game offer, players can only claim one of them. Furthermore, the free games being offered can only be claimed through Rockstar Launcher. Consequently, the free game offer is available on PC only. The biggest condition is that the free games are only available to gamers who have purchased Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition on PC from the Rockstar Store. For gamers who are not interested in any of the free games on offer, the option to claim free money in Grand Theft Auto: Online or Red Dead Online is also available. The five games that are part of the giveaway are all highlights of Rockstar's illustrious past. Hence, it is wise for those eligible to not skip it. The first game available to claim is Grand Theft Auto 5: Premium Edition. Although it was originally released on PC in 2015, the game has stood the test of time and has managed to be one of the bestselling games year after year. The game takes players to Los Santos, a beautifully crafted city filled with things to do, whether it be leisurely activities or criminal heists. Players can easily switch between three protagonists, who each have different special abilities and offer a unique perspective of Los Santos. Grand Theft Auto 5 's story is one of betrayal, the pursuit of the American Dream, and the dangers of striking deals with the devil. The premium edition also includes access to GTA: Online, which regularly receives updates. RELATED: Best Red Dead Online Character Creations of 2021 GTA 5 's predecessor, Grand Theft Auto 4, is also on offer. GTA 3 's iconic Liberty City is reproduced in GTA 4, taking players to a fictionalized version of New York that is crawling with crimelords, crooked cops, and hustlers waiting for their opportunity to make millions. Protagonist Niko Bellic finds himself sucked into this world after traveling to America only to find that his cousin Roman has sold him false stories of what to expect. GTA 4: Complete Edition also features two singleplayer DLCs. Each is so packed with content that they would be impressive even if they were standalone titles. The Lost & Damned has gamers playing as Johnny, who is part of a biker gang. The other DLC is titled The Ballad of Gay Tony, and it paints Liberty City in a more colorful light. Players take control of Luis, who works alongside nightclub owner Tony Prince. Also on the giveaway lineup is L.A. Noire, a detective game that centers on Detective Cole Phelps who works for the Los Angeles Police Department. His investigation into a morphine distribution ring leads him to join forces with Jack Kelso. Soon enough, they begin to unravel dark secrets about LA. Although it was originally released in 2011, the game holds up surprisingly well, and it does not take long to find oneself completely immersed in the experience. Like many of the games Rockstar is giving away, L.A. Noire is an open-world title that allows for plenty of free-roaming. If none of the listed games seem intriguing so far, Max Payne 3 is also available. The game features the titular Max Payne who is a former detective that finds himself embroiled in more mysteries and conspiracies after becoming a private security contractor in Brazil. Many modern games owe a lot to the Max Payne series for pioneering and popularizing the bullet-time effect. Lastly, there is Bully: Scholarship Edition, also known as Canis Canem Edit in some regions. Bully is yet another open-world game, except this title takes players to Bullworth Academy, a place where bullies rule the playground and survival of the fittest is a way of life. Players take control of Jimmy Hopkins, a kid who aspires to rise to the top of the school's social hierarchy while dealing with the various bullies he comes across. While the game features Rockstar's typical immature humor, it also has a story that has plenty of heart. For gamers on the fence about which game to pick, Bully may prove to be unexpectedly satisfying. Although Rockstar Games may have done a lot of damage to its reputation with the release of the remastered GTA Trilogy, the giveaway may begin the reconciliation process between the company and gamers. Although some may be put off by the age of the games on offer, they are all great titles that serve as a reminder of what Rockstar is capable of when it dedicates itself to a project. Rockstar Games ' free game offer will run until January 5, 2022. MORE: Is Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition Worth Playing After Its New Update?

 

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0.4
How to level grind in Final Fantasy XIV

With four expansions now under its belt, Final Fantasy XIV has seen its level cap go from 50 all the way to 90 — unless you only have the FFXIV free trial. That’s a lot of levels to fight, chop, and craft your way through, but we have some essential tips for the hardcore or casual player who is in a rush to maximize gains and reach the cap fast. Over the years, Final Fantasy XIV has introduced a dizzying number of ways to gain EXP. It's not as clear-cut as the classic MMO days of grinding the same mob cluster for days on end. The most time-efficient method is to rely on daily and weekly bonuses. Those with ample time on their hands, plenty of snacks, and maybe a spare screen for some Netflix bingeing can master all the avenues to grind their way to the top. Here's how to quickly reach the max level in Final Fantasy XIV. Final Fantasy XIV is built around battle content. You can absolutely live your life as a crafter or gatherer once you hit the level cap, but you’ll need to do so in a single battle class before you can turn your life around like that. You have to plod through the game’s main storyline before you’re truly free to do your own thing. There are plenty of ways to level up in Final Fantasy XIV, but new players should focus on the main scenario quests, something we touch on a bit in our FFXIV beginner’s guide. This way, you’ll level up and experience the game and its locations as the developers intended. It won’t be a fast journey, but you’ll have to complete the main quests to do the top-tier stuff anyway, so you might as well just go with the flow. Items that boost experience points are available — like the “Brand-New Ring” awarded through the Hall of the Novice questline at level 15, a headpiece through Recruit-A-Friend, or several signature outfits bought with real money through the online FFXIV item shop. Final Fantasy XIV is different from most other MMOs. A single character is free to master every class, meaning sidequests will eventually run dry. To aid that, any battle class under your highest level class will always gain experience points at 100% of the usual rate, dropping to 50% at level 70 and above. It’s an invisible buff we call the Armory Bonus, and it magically cuts the grind of leveling subsequent classes by a good margin. But sidequests aren’t the best way to grind levels on subsequent classes. They can send you on a goose chase for not a lot of EXP. So what do you do? Well, there are a bunch of ways to level subsequent classes, and while some are faster than others, they’re generally far more repetitive, risking player burnout that much faster. The ideal leveling process incorporates daily bonuses that make playing in bursts generally more favorable than rushing through the experience. But if you absolutely must grind your way to the finish line, choosing between FATEs and Deep Dungeon runs tends to be the go-to route. Before Shadowbringers released, running a dungeon at the unlock level offered the best EXP gains thanks to the Chain Bonus. You won’t get that addictive, time-limited EXP buff these days, but dungeon EXP was boosted to make runs less chain-focused and intensive gauntlets. What that means is dungeons are still a good way to grind EXP, but with new ones being around three levels between each other, the repetitive runs can get old fast. You’ll get a bonus for your first run of each dungeon on a single character (not class), so if you’re new to the game, you’ll have plenty of bonuses to get from the dozen or so dungeons you’ll unlock at each previous expansion’s level cap. If you’re not in the mood to run with real players, running select dungeons with A.I. squadron members can fill in. You’ll have to contend with some wonky A.I. from time to time, but the raw killing power of these NPCs paired with massively increased EXP rates can make short work of the 18 to 50 portion of the Final Fantasy XIV level grind these days. Reach the Second Lieutenant rank with your Grand Company to access them. Once the bastion of level grinding, FATE farming isn’t quite the behemoth it used to be. Still, it’s a decent way to push through levels when you’re between optimal dungeon runs and/or waiting for a queue to pop. FATEs are found all over the game world, can usually be easily soloed with appropriate gear, and award a decent chunk of your EXP bar for the few minutes they can take to complete. In Heavensward zones and above, these can sometimes offer up 2x their normal experience points. Just look on the map for those 2x bonuses. Better yet, if you see the mention of the “stench of death” attracting a Forlorn Maiden to the field during a FATE, be sure to kill it to get a buff that will award 2x EXP on your next FATE clear. The boosts can really add up over time. Unlike the last relic-specific zone we had in Stormblood — called Eureka — the Bozjan Southern Front won’t have us gaining experience independent of our main level. Any class level 72 and above is welcome. The typical relic grind it’s expected to deliver will double up as an easier way to get secondary classes caught up with our max level roles. Hardcore grind method: If you’re up for playing 12 hours a day, FATEs are, as they always have been, the way to go. Regular and Deep Dungeon runs are good, too, but they’re harder to double up with a source of entertainment — like a Let’s Play series on your phone. You can carry this on all the way to 80 or jump into the Bozjan Southern Front at 72 to add a bit of variety to the final dash. Casual grind method: If you only have a few hours to spare each day, the game’s daily/weekly bonuses can get you a lot of EXP fast. Rely on Squadron dungeon runs and the Hunting Log to reach level 50 while avoiding matchmaking queues. Switch that up with FATEs if you run out of Grand Company currencies. Get the Guildhest and Dungeon first-time bonuses when they’re relevant to your level, clear your weekly challenge logs, and focus on burning through any extra rested EXP you’ve accumulated while at work, etc. At 50 and above, the hardcore method comes into effect again, but take it easy once the weekly bonuses have been spent, as you’ll notice things slow considerably after this point. Final Fantasy XIV has slowly introduced more and more ways to boost experience point gains. By stacking as many of these equipment pieces and consumables with the Armory Bonus, you can boost your experience point gains from battle up to as much as 250%. A subset of classes in Final Fantasy XIV, Disciples of the Hand are a collection of crafting-based classes like Blacksmithing, Culinarian, and Goldsmithing. There are a total of eight crafting classes right now, and we don’t anticipate another arriving anytime soon. Leveling these classes can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but each one can help with the other that remain, making each new class a little easier than the last. Just like combat classes, there are a few different ways to go about leveling. While not absolutely necessary, new crafters can enjoy a burst of experience points simply by crafting an item for the first time. Notice that little checkmark next to that item you just whipped up for the first time? You can do that for any item on your recipe list, and doing so grants a one-time experience point bonus. You’ll want all the practice you can get if you’re new to crafting, so ticking off each item isn’t a bad way to chip away at your experience bar. The more you raise the item’s quality, the more EXP you’ll get when you finish the craft. Available at around level 50, these weekly turn-ins are quick and easy to pull off. Simply check the week’s delivery list, buy the necessary items from the appropriate vendor, and craft six of the requested items as best you can. You’ll earn plenty of experience points when delivering these items, and you’ll even get “scrips” used to purchase powerful crafting gear. Often overlooked these days, your chosen Grand Company will request a random level-appropriate craft from you each day at the turn-in counter. Just like levequests, handing in a high-quality item will net more experience points. It’s a quick and easy way to get some bonus experience each day. Probably the best (and cheapest) way to level any crafting class at this point is to devote yourself to Levequests. These repeatable quests task players with delivering certain items to NPCs for a generous amount of experience points. They come in a few flavors, but “Charity” Guildleves, denoted with the image of two female crafters, tend to offer the greatest time/experience ratio as you can turn in three sets of items at a time. The experience point rewards are generous and multiply for high-quality crafts. Better yet, most will reward you with the materials you used to craft the item in question, making it that much easier to repeat the Levequest over and over. If you’re rolling in Gil, you can even buy the required items and pass them off as your own. Casual grind method: There isn’t much reason not to abuse Levequests all the way to the level cap. They’re fast, convenient, and award a metric ton of experience points compared to other methods. Custom deliveries offer quick and easy bonus experience each week, and the scrips are an added bonus. Feel free to complete those if and when you’re able. Beast Tribe dailies like the Namazu and Moogles can offer a reliable boost each day. Hardcore grind method: Craft, craft, craft. Preferably without using Quick Synthesis. Like any class in Final Fantasy XIV right now, crafting classes can utilize a bunch of buffs to increase their gains. Stacking them will make for a much faster crafting experience and should be in effect at all times. They won’t do much when turning in Guildleves, but they’ll really help speed things along when doing actual crafts. The final type of Final Fantasy XIV class is the humble Disciple of the Land. With just Fishing, Botany, and Mining available right now, these gathering classes are far fewer than their crafting counterparts – but they go hand in hand in numerous ways. Leveling these classes will be fairly uneventful, but their predictability and relative simplicity make them great candidates for things to level while you watch a movie or listen to a podcast. Grinding still won’t be the fastest way, but it sure is less demanding of your attention. For those willing to pay a bit more attention, Leves will be the way forward yet again. Similar to crafting classes, discovering a new item awards bonus experience points. If you see any “unknown” items on the gathering list when you open up a node, successfully gathering them for the first time will uncover their true identify and give a decent amount of bonus EXP compared to each swing at the same item. Chain bonuses for successful swings at the same item in a single node means farming the same Ash Log might not actually be a bad idea. Just uncover each new item in a new area and then go after the one with the best gathering chance. A simple swing and a miss will reset that beautiful chain bonus. Just stick a movie or audiobook on in the background and get to work. Gathering Levequests – or Guildleves – usually asks you to gather a specific amount of items from a specific amount of nodes. Too many failed gathering attempts can lead to drastically reduced EXP rewards. It’s a good idea to burn Gathering Points (GP) on abilities during these missions to increase gathering percentages, so stock up on Cordials, bring some decent stat-boosting food, and hope the odds are in your favor. They’re not all too different from regular gathering, but they do require some simple math to ensure you hit their goals. Locked behind the game’s first major expansion, Collectables feel like a combination of traditional grind gathering and Levequests. Available through timed nodes, time management is key as you follow the clock around zones and rely on your class abilities to gather specific items. Get lucky with your appraisals and you’ll turn these items in for some very impressive experience points. Better yet, the scrips you earn for doing so can then be exchanged for some simple endgame gathering gear. Fishers have a unique way to reach the cap faster. Previously one of the more long-winded classes to grind, the Ocean Fishing mini-game has turned it into a breeze. Whether you’re hardcore grinding or taking a more casual approach, hopping on the boat each hour Ocean Fishing starts up will net you the best gains. That’s a little fish pun for you there. Another repeated activity, custom deliveries are just as good for gathering classes as they are for crafters. Identify the requested item on the list, locate it out in the field, and gather it at the highest collectability value that you’re able to. Turning in six of these gets you a big chunk of weekly experience points and some scrips to boot. You can use these on new equipment or books that will unlock gathering nodes, some of which are exceptionally rare and valuable. Casual grind method: Until about level 15, you can hit several new nodes. Until level 60, roughly, you can rush Levequests. Collect some valuable gear, and then focus your attention on Collectibles and Custom Deliveries. You’ll find that you can get a significant bump up through Beast Tribe dailies like the Namazu. If you’re an angler, focus on tackling Ocean Fishing as much as you can. Hardcore grind method: For this method, players should continue hitting the maximum level node they can chain comfortably. Be wary, though; that action could have a negative effect— players will face the consequences for the swings they miss mid-combo. Fishers, keep leveling up by hitting level-appropriate holes. Eventually, you can try spearfishing between Ocean Fishing runs. At that level, you’ll find the game is pretty similar to other gathering classes. If you’re a gatherer, you can speed up the game and up the ante by using experience-boosting tools, a lot like the crafting classes. Don’t waste the bonus items you win this way. These items have critical value for gatherers, unlike crafters, because you have to gather during Levequest grinds. To move quickly, we advise stacking as many things as possible and making sure you keep any Company-Issue Survival Manuals. Those disappear very quickly.

 

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0.5
Nintendo Switch Indie World sale offers savings on Hades, Boyfriend Dungeon, and more

Nintendo Switch owners can find savings on Hades, Art of Rally, Streets of Rage 4, Necrobarista: Final Pour and other indie delights during the Indie World Holiday sale running until Dec. 31. Thirty games are being offered for up to 75% off, though some savings are a bit more modest. Among Us, for example, is already a must-have at $5, but this sale knocks off another dollar. In fairness, that is a 20% discount. Axiom Verge 2, which launched in August, is down to $17.99 (from $19.99) and Boyfriend Dungeon (one of Polygon’s 50 best games of 2021) is $16.99 (also formerly $19.99). And flip-the-script River City Girls, which launched in 2019, turns damsels into damage-dealers for $20.99, down from $29.99. Also on sale until Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST are five other curated lists from indie developers and publishers: Serenity Forge, Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, Annapurna Interactive, Humble, and Finji. Those labels are offering selected wares at discounts reaching 50%, 70%, and 80%.

 

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0.2
Star Trek: Discovery Heads Out Into the Black to Find a Startling New Crewmate

Remember a few weeks ago when I said it was good the crew of the Discovery was getting some much-needed therapy? Yeah, it turns out that should’ve included the starship itself. “Stormy Weather,” like much of Discovery ’s fourth season so far, offers a quintessentially modern Trek twist on a classic Star Trek premise again —this time even literally referencing the events that came before it, as the Discovery heads into a tear in subspace left behind by the Dark Matter Anomaly, only to find a complete void of nothingness. Star Trek loves itself a void of nothingness— The Animated Series had “The Time Trap,” which had a similar idea of the Enterprise being trapped in a dimension it could seemingly not get out of, The Next Generation had “Where Silence Has Lease.” Hell, Voyager, also name-checked here, loved voids of nothingness so much it got trapped in two of them! Which means we find ourselves in something of a bottle episode—we practically experience the entire episode on the bridge and in Discovery ’s lounge, a rarity for a show that loves showing off lavish locations, and a scenario not really explored since season 1's excellent Harry Mudd time loop episode. Naturally, no one on the Discovery wants to go outside in a void of nothingness, especially after they send a Dot drone out into it and it promptly gets disintegrated by whatever primal unknown forces are out there in the black. The countdown begins, as it has several times this season: Discovery ’s crew has to find the data on the DMA they need from the void before its forces encroach any further in past its shielding and rips the ship apart. All this is very intense and high stakes, of course, and it’s actually a pleasure to see the rare sight of Discovery ’s still-under-utilized Bridge officer crew put their thinking caps on as they, Burnham, and Saru all try to figure out ways to keep themselves alive and attempt to probe the void’s mysteries. It’s action-packed, for the most part, in that old-school Trek style: No whizzbang combative phaser fights, but probes, experiments, hail mary systems scans—it’s Star Trek sciencing in a way that Discovery hasn’t really had the time to do unless its cast is also being thrown about the place and buffeted by explosions. It’s a welcome mirror to the show’s more cinematic approach to raised stakes, still just as tense and riveting to get through but not necessarily so loud. But this is Discovery, which means that it’s also a bit of an emotional wringer for everyone involved. The first is Ian Alexander’s Gray, who finds himself by his lonesome in the Discovery lounge when Captain Burnham orders all of the Starfleet crew—Adira included—to their duty stations to help solve the void’s mysteries. Already feeling listless about finding a place on the ship now he has physical form, isolating Gray immediately leaves him vulnerable. Frustrated that his status aboard the ship as a civilian means he can’t help in the way he wants to, even when he’s training to do so as a Trill Guardian. And so Gray strikes up an immediate connection to the other major character of “Stormy Weather”: Zora (voiced by Annabelle Wallis), the Discovery ’s evolving ship Computer. Discovery ’s fourth season has sown the seeds that something has happened to the computer since integrating the sphere data it inherited all the way back in season 2: Not only has it chosen a name, but the AI has become more emotive, more caring of the crew that looked to safeguard the information it housed within the Discovery ’s systems. Seeing Gray in need when he reaches out to her, Zora responds in kind. and even opens up about the emotional turmoil she finds herself in, a ship confronted with sensor readings that make no sense, a pocket of reality that she cannot understand. What follows is the crucible for Zora to become more than just a particularly chatty Star Trek ship computer. As things start getting more and more dangerous for the crew as the void closes in on the ship—seemingly cutting them off from a path back out of it—it’s not just Michael and the bridge crew that come under strain, but Zora herself, all but revealing that the Discovery has become something of a sentient being in secret. She gets frustrated, anxious, overwhelmed as the more things start happening and the more stress time weighs down upon the ship and the crew: all things that a starship computer, as least as we’ve known them so far, really shouldn’t be. But being something of an emotional wreck is what Discovery has settled on as something of its own Star Trek selling point now: a reminder that, beneath the veneer of a Starfleet officer, there is a person, and that person can be flawed, can have good days and bad days; they can be compromised by their feelings. It’s now come time for Zora and the ship itself to reflect that too, making her as vital a crewmate as anyone else aboard the ship. Which happens just in time, considering Burnham needs to lean on Zora to get everyone else out alive. When it becomes clear that the path the crew has figured out for itself to flee the void won’t get them out in time before the ship is rendered inhospitable at best, in tiny little bits at worst, the Captain makes the risky, and yet very Burnham family decision to put herself at risk to keep everyone else out of harm’s way. Getting Zora to beam everyone into the transporter pattern buffer—suspending them in limbo so they are protected from the intense heat generated as Discovery rams its way out of the rift—Michael has to single-handedly guide the ship to safety, even as she starts succumbing to the strain, emotional or literal. And so, Zora steps up as any good Star Trek officer would, to support their Captain: She overcomes her own fear to keep Michael focused, while as literally the ship itself, also guiding her out of harm’s way, singing the titular Ethel Waters classic to calm the pair of them down in the face of oblivion. Is it a bit overtly sentimental? Yes, but honestly that’s just the kind of show Discovery is at this point. It’s deeply interested in the emotionality of its stars, and reflecting on the fact that no matter how much they strive to be cut from the same cloth as the icons of Starfleet that came before them, this crew has been through so much, and that’s left them vulnerable and deeply human (and. well, you know what we mean, other Trek species are available). It makes sense that now even the ship itself is on board with that idea too, and every bit as important a character in the ensemble as the beings aboard it. In forging that new idea out of a classic Trek premise, Discovery once again reminds us that it’s quite perfectly capable of being its own spin on Star Trek as we know it—and gains a “new” crewmate in Zora that is full of potential to explore as the season progresses. Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.

 

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0.6
This robot vacuum deal at Walmart slashes over $200 off the price tag

If you’re a techie and a neat freak, vacuum deals and robot vacuum deals will probably catch your eye, but landing the Anker eufy RoboVac G30 robot vacuum for only $144 will likely have you jumping for joy. This amazing robot vacuum is discounted to that amazingly low price today at Walmart, making for a savings of over $200 from its regular price of $350. That’s an impressive savings, and when you factor in free shipping, pouncing on this deal is a no-brainer. Robot vacuums bring an element of modern convenience to keeping your house free of dust, dirt, pet hair, and the messes of daily foot traffic. The eufy G30 RoboVac, specifically, has new smart features that make it an exceptional option for such a role in your smart home. It features Home Tracking with Smart Dynamic Navigation 2.0, complete with a path-tracking sensor to clean across all surfaces, rather than just a random path for cleaning. The G30 RoboVac’s smarts are on full display when it connects with the included app, which allows you to set cleaning patterns and check cleaning history. And with Boost IQ technology, suction automatically increases when extra vacuuming strength is necessary. In addition to its smarts, the eufy G30 RoboVac isn’t short on functionality. It has ultra-strong 2000Pa of suction power, ensuring more debris is picked up across all surfaces, and ensuring you have to do less sweeping and dusting of your own. It’s also a quiet robot vacuum, as it has an advanced brushless motor that significantly reduces noise. It’s the perfect option for anyone with a houseful of pets or kids, or anyone who could do with a cool new piece of tech picking up after them throughout the house. The Anker eufy G30 RoboVac is quite a deal at this amazingly low price of only $144. This is a massive savings of over $200 from its regular price of $350, and the Anker eufy G30 RoboVac isn’t likely to last long at this price point. Free shipping is part of the deal, so grab yours now and have a new Anker eufy G30 RoboVac keeping your smart home clean in no time.

 

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0.5
OnePlus 7, 7T series get the December 2021 security update

OnePlus is now rolling out OxygenOS 11.0.5.1. to OnePlus 7, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7T, and OnePlus 7T Pro. OnePlus claims to have fixed the bug where WhatsApp users couldn’t send or receive media files. Apart from that, the update also brings system stability improvements alongside the Android December 2021 security patch. You can see the official changelog below. Talking about the OxygenOS 11.0.5.1., this update is being rolled out in a phased manner, meaning that if you’re one of the few who are using the smartphone right now, you might not get it today. OnePlus, however, confirmed that it’ll begin a broader rollout in a few days.

 

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0.4
YouTubers Can Finally Monetize Content Featuring Gender-Affirming Products

If you read enough stories about the nuts and bolts of ad revenue, you’ll notice this weird incongruity that crops up again and again. On one hand, online ads are a crucial (albeit annoying AF) piece of internet architecture; the hundreds of billions of dollars in digital ad spend getting poured into the internet each year is the financial fuel that keeps your favorite streamers, retailers, and news outlets in business. But this financial fuel gets doled out by countless tiny intermediaries, each with their own arbitrary automated systems for deciding how many dollars get doled out where. The result, usually, is that some of these dollars don’t get doled out at all, and the ones that do are more likely to wind up funding hate speech than a site focused on, say, LGBTQ + issues. Queer media has gotten the short end of this stick for a while, even though gay-friendly content litters countless TikTok feeds and Instagram ads, not to mention local storefront windows come June every year. Taylor Swift has a queer anthem! “Holigays” is just a word people say now! But in spite of this utter mainstream-ification of all things LGBTQ +, these middlemen will still typically regard queer content—no matter how benign—as too “icky” or “adult ” to bother monetizing. So queer outlets shutter, queer journalists struggle to keep their jobs, and queer streamers scramble to keep their channels monetized. Depressing? You betcha. But there is some good news: T his month, YouTube announced it would be expanding its “Advertiser-friendly content guidelines” to include videos featuring “gender identity devices.” Specifically: The line between nudity and something that just “resembles” nudity is still ultimately up to YouTube’s discretion, but the guidelines do offer some basics: T he objects can’t primarily be used “for sexual gratification,” for one thing, and should instead be used “to simulate the weight or appearance of genitalia on the body.” This means that a transmasculine person can’t run ads alongside, say, a review of their favorite sex toy, but they can run ads alongside a review of their favorite packer, or even their favorite stand-to-pee devices. Ads are also free to run alongside videos featuring binders, artificial breasts, or any other device that’s expressly built to help a creator with their, well, “gender dysphoria journey,” as YouTube put it. The platform is throwing the LGBTQ + community a pretty small bone here—and one that will undoubtedly exclude countless queer creators who express their gender outside of YouTube’s vaguely defined guardrails. But it’s something, and something that comes in the wake of years’ worth of the exact opposite. Starting mid-2017, YouTubers who focused their videos on queer or trans topics were suddenly finding that the platform’s automated review systems were demonetizing their content. Despite the fact that these clips were entirely safe-for-work, the fact that they discussed LGBTQ + topics was enough to get the content restricted from public view and inaccessible to advertisers. When one creator tried to get to the bottom of the problem in 2019, he found evidence that YouTube’s own automated system —like those of its adtech contemporaries—was simply flagging words like “gay” or “lesbian” as too “adult” for most advertisers (“heterosexual” is a-okay though). YouTube denied any discriminatory practices at the time, but it didn’t offer any public explanation for the queer creators that were finding themselves demonetized en masse. A suit filed against the platform in 2019 by a handful of those queer creators was thrown out by a California judge earlier this year. YouTube had effectively beat this battle—so why the change of heart? Well, for starters, there’s no shortage of rival pl a tforms chomping at the bit to court YouTubers onto their services right now. And while YouTube can— and has! —offered oodles of cash in an attempt to convince its talent to stay, ultimately Instagram and TikTok have creator funds of their own. Not only that, but both of those apps have strong footholds in the queer community, which is an advantage that YouTube clearly lacks. Even if this update is more about sticking it to competitors than it is about helping out queer creators, the net effect is the same. YouTube’s parent company, Google, accounts for more than a quarter (28.6%!) of digital ad spending across the entire internet, a figure that’s only rivaled by fellow tech giants Facebook and Amazon. It reported more than $7 billion in ad revenue this most recent quarter, and that number isn’t showing any signs of getting smaller. In other words, YouTube is kind of a Big Deal in the world of online advertising—and when it makes changes like this, the rest of the online ad ecosystem takes note. Now we just need to see what they do next.

 

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0.4
Lenovo bows out of CES due to Covid-19 concerns

In brief: Several tech leaders including Amazon, Meta and Twitter have already bailed on the in-person aspect of next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas over concerns surrounding the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Now, we can add Lenovo to the growing list of companies that won’t have a physical presence at CES. A Lenovo spokesperson told TechCrunch that after closely monitoring trends surrounding Covid, they believe it is in the best interest of the health and safety of employees, customers, partners and the community in general to suspend all on-site activity planned for Las Vegas. Lenovo’s new technology is still scheduled to launch as originally planned on January 4 and January 5, the spokesperson added. The Consumer Tech Association, the organizing body of CES, reiterated on Tuesday that CES 2022 will be in person in Las Vegas from January 5 through January 8. There will be “strong safety measures” in place, we’re told, which includes showing proof of Covid-19 vaccination to attend the in-person gathering. CES 2022 will also have a virtual component for those that can’t / aren’t willing to make the trip out to the desert. With the holidays upon us and New Year’s celebrations coming a week later, the virus situation is likely only to get worse before it improves. If we had to guess, Lenovo won’t be the last major player to pull out of in-person activities at CES. What we don’t yet know is when or if the CTA will shut down the entire physical event.

 

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0.0
NSO spyware used to hack Polish politicians, Khashoggi's wife, others

Spyware from Israeli tech company NSO Group has been implicated in the hack of a leading opposition politician in Poland and several others, according to University of Toronto nonprofit Citizen Lab. In partnership with the Associated Press, Citizen Lab revealed on Thursday that Polish Senator Krzysztof Brejza was hacked using NSO Group 's Pegasus spyware 33 times between April 26, 2019 and October 23, 2019. Brejza helped run the opposition campaign against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki that is currently in power. Doctored photos from Brejza's smartphone falsely implicated him in several scandals and were shared by government-backed news outlets. Morawiecki eventually won the election by a razor-thin margin. Brejza, who has gained popularity as a hardliner against corruption, was horrified to learn of the hack. Access to his phone would provide anyone with information about his campaign strategy as well as the corruption whistleblowers who put their trust in him. Earlier this week, Citizen Lab revealed that Pegasus was also used to hack into the phones of outspoken Polish prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek and Roman Giertych, a lawyer for Brejza's party Civic Platform. While Morawiecki and the Polish government have denied any involvement in the hacking, EU member states have begun to speak out about the incident. "EU governments using spyware on political opponents and critics is unacceptable. ⁦EU Commission ⁩has to stop ducking the issue. Such practices have no place in the EU and must be banned", Dutch EU parliamentarian Sophie in 't Veld tweeted on Wednesday. The news adds to disastrous stories about NSO Group. Citizen Lab provided the with evidence showing the UAE used Pegasus to hack and track the phone of Hanan Elatr, wife of deceased Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Her phone was hacked months before her husband was assassinated by Saudi officials. Also: NSO Group's spyware used against journalists and political activists worldwide NSO Group chief executive Shalev Hulio in July denied that Elatr and Khashoggi were ever targets of Pegasus customers. Even with the new forensic information, NSO Group continued to deny that Elatr was ever targeted. That story came after Citizen Lab provided information to The Guardian showing that UN war crimes investigator Kamel Jendoubi was hacked with Pegasus while he served as chairman of the Group of Eminent Experts in Yemen. NSO Group was blacklisted by the US government last month after it was revealed Pegasus was used to hack into the phones of several US State Department officials in Uganda. NSO Group is now facing significant trouble, including lawsuits from Apple and a potential default on more than $300 million in loans. Citizen Lab has worked with multiple news outlets throughout the year to reveal the scale of NSO Group's work. In July, the " Pegasus Project " used information from Amnesty International, Citizen Lab, and Forbidden Stories to uncover that the NSO Group's spyware was used to target at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and at least 600 politicians. The Israeli government's spy agency used the tool to hack the phones of six Palestinian human rights activists. The ruler of the UAE used Pegasus to spy on his ex-wife and her British lawyers. Targeted government officials included French President Emmanuel Macron, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Iraqi President Barham Salih. Cabinet ministers from dozens of countries, including Egypt and Pakistan, were also targeted. John Scott-Railton, senior researcher at Citizen Lab, told ZDNet that the Polish victims of Pegasus were particularly notable because they suggest that Pegasus is being used for political purposes in a European democracy. The Khashoggi case reinforces the knowledge that there were Pegasus infections in the reporter's close circle prior to his murder, according to Scott-Railton. He added that the case further undermines NSO Group's credibility because it directly contradicts multiple statements they have made. Overall, the stories revealed researchers' worst fears: Pegasus was being used profusely to impact politics and human rights. "Pegasus is also being used to erode key international institutions and the people who work at them. Taken together, alongside NSO's dismal recent economic news, the picture is of a company that behaves recklessly and ignored the tremendous harms it was causing", Scott-Railton said, noting that NSO Group is not the only spyware company causing damage. He explained, "The problem extends far beyond NSO. NSO has just made itself the poster child for how bad the industry is."

 

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0.0
COVID-19 study finds 'broader' antibody response maintains immunity to Omicron variant

Since the announcement of a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on November 26th, researchers have been moving on multiple fronts to gauge the severity of the disease caused by the new variant, but also its likelihood to resist existing vaccines. A study published Monday by biotech firm Vir Biotechnology of Switzerland, in conjunction with multiple research institutions, suggests some monoclonal antibodies developed to fight COVID-19 may work better when they have what the researchers call "broadly neutralizing" tendencies, meaning that they recognize many parts of the mutated virus. "Strikingly, we found three potent neutralizing mAbs that bind to the RBM that are not affected by Omicron mutations", write lead author Elisabetta Cameroni of Vir, along with dozens of collaborating authors from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington University in St. Louis, the Università di Milano, the Institute of Medical Science in Tokyo, and multiple other research institutions, in the paper, "Broadly neutralizing antibodies overcome SARS-CoV-2 Omicron antigenic shift", posted on the BioarXiv pre-print server. The authors conclude that antibodies that act "broadly", meaning, they recognize parts of the virus that don't change, can be a key weapon against mutations. The paper is not yet peer-reviewed and so its results should be viewed with caution. Also: COVID-19 Study finds some individuals both recovered and vaccinated maintain good immunity to Omicron variant Antibodies are one of the bodies most prevalent defenses against viruses. If you've contracted COVID-19 and recovered, one way you may find out you've had it is via an antibody test that indicates the presence of antibodies in your bloodstream, among which the most common of which is immunoglobulin G, or "IgG." Drug companies create a form of antibodies known as monoclonal antibodies that can be specific in what they target in a virus or other pathogen — a given target, or "epitope", as its known. The element of Omicron that has struck researchers is how much it has mutated versus the previous four strains of the virus. In particular, the spike protein, where the "receptor binding domain" dwells, has undergone more than thirty transformations from its form in prior variants. That proliferation of mutations may be enabling what's called "immune escape", whereby the virus not only is more transmissible but is better able to evade the antibody response. Since it appeared, Omicron has caused alarm because of how fast it spreads. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Monday announced that Omicron now makes up 73% of U.S. cases of SARS-CoV-2, up from 13%. That pace has outstripped the CDC's expectations, according to The Financial Times 's Peter Wells and Kiran Stacey. The RBD is the main target for antibodies that can block the virus's activity, and so scientists are trying to determine to what extent the mutations are allowing the virus to escape antibodies' neutralizing effects. In the Vir study, the scientists proceeded in multiple stages. They first tested the blood sera of both recovered and vaccinated individuals, including all subjects representing the major available vaccines, including the Moderna "mRNA-1273", the Pfizer/BioNtech "BNT162b2" and the AstraZeneca "AZD1222." The researchers noted a general loss of immunity in both the recovered and the vaccinated individuals, including with some showing no immune response, and some showing immune responses that were up to to 44 times less potent. Interestingly, the scientists note there was a "broadening" of immune response for those individuals who had both recovered from COVID-19 and also been vaccinated. That echoes findings in a study put out this week by researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute. As the authors write, Next, they tested the action of 44 different monoclonal antibodies against Omicron in vitro, meaning, in the lab, not in human subjects. The researchers synthesized a "pseudovirus" of Omicron, a version prepared in the lab by harvesting from "seed" cells, a process known as vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) pseudotyping that is common in studying pathogens. Up against the synthesized particles of virus, they tested eight monoclonal antibodies that are "currently authorized or approved." They noticed that only one of the monoclonal antibodies retained any effectiveness, called sotrovimab. It is noteworthy because it doesn't target the RBD in the spike protein. Instead, it acts by "targeting non-RBM epitopes shared across many sarbecoviruses, including SARS-CoV." The authors then did a test on 36 other monoclonal antibodies. Most of these failed, but three in particular "retained potent neutralizing activity against Omicron." Another two "retained activity against Omicron", they write. The key is that all six, including sotrovimab, target parts of the RBD that don't change. "These mAbs recognize four antigenic sites in the RBD that are conserved in Omicron and other sarbecoviruses", they write. The prospect, the authors write, is that "Collectively, these data may guide future efforts to develop SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and therapies to counteract antigenic shift and future sarbecovirus zoonotic spillovers."

 

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1.0
SD Times news digest: GrapeCity Documents v5 release, Tempo acquires ALM Works; Microsoft Graph Bookings API update

GrapeCity, provider of enterprise software development tools, today announced the GrapeCity Documents v5 release. This latest version brings users new features in all products in GrapeCity’s document API suite. The GrapeCity Documents APIs are supported in. NET 6 applications without extra steps to generate documents. Additionally, The GrapeCity Documents API supports features that do not have a dependency on Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Excel, or Microsoft Word. This release brings new SVG support in GrapeCity Documents for PDF and GrapeCity Documents for Imaging, allowing developers to have more control over the image appearance in SVG format. With this, users can create, load, inspect, and modify the internal structure of an SVG image. Tempo Software, provider of team time management and productivity-enhancing solutions, recently announced the acquisition of ALM Works, a project management solution and developer of the Structure for Jira software suite. This combination enables project managers to more easily understand if initiatives are on track and meeting objectives. This helps to provide organizations with the necessary visibility in order to move between strategy and daily execution, make informed decisions, and share progress with executives and shareholders. In combination with Tempo’s recent acquisition of Roadmunk, the addition of ALM Works further strengthens its strategic portfolio management offering. This helps to meet the growing needs of distributed product organizations who need to project, plan, and adapt based on data and insights. Microsoft recently announced the launch of new key features being added to the Microsoft Graph Bookings APIs. These features include SMS notifications, online meetings, group appointments, and custom questions. Currently, the SMS notification feature in the Bookings API is only available for users in the United States and Canada on Bookings Calendars created in the NAM region. SMS notifications can be enabled for a bookingService as well as at bookingAppointment level. For more information, visit here.

 

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0.7
Best Android emulator in 2021

If you’ve ever wanted to run Android games or apps on your PC or MAC, consider getting one of the best Android emulators on the market. Maybe you’re working on an app for Android and want to test it on a computer instead of a mobile device. You can not only do that with one of these Android emulators but you can simulate various screen sizes and phone models as well, letting you see how it does in different circumstances. Or, maybe you want to run an app that’s only available on Android. Take Instagram, for example. Unless you’re on the mobile app, you’re limited in what you can do with the social media platform. But, with an emulator, you can edit and upload photos from your PC or Mac desktop – something you just can't do otherwise. Since many Android business apps are already SaaS-based cloud apps, you might find using a browser on your desktop PC to be just as easy for those. But, if you’re hoping to do some gaming, you’ll want to take advantage of one of these emulators. So, if you’re interested in running some mobile apps on your computer, consider our top choices for the best Android emulators. Or, use Android apps on the best business smartphones and best business tablets. BlueStacks App Player is perhaps the best-known Android emulator, and it's hardly surprising given its quality and reliability. BlueStacks has been designed with ease of use in mind, and looks and feels just like Android on a tablet or smartphone. There are free and paid-for versions available. The free one includes some ads and the occasional sponsored app, but these are pretty discreet. BlueStacks is primarily about games and the interface is essentially a front end for downloading and installing them, but it's also possible to visit the Google Play Store and search for other apps and if you want to add apps and games from other sources, you have the option of using standalone APK files. In our experience set up was simple and easy, and we could install Summoners War fine, but we couldn't use an existing account login so watch out for that. Overall, though, performance is decent assuming your hardware is reasonably powerful, making this a great way to bring Android to the big screen. Like BlueStacks App Player, NoxPlayer is a fast, slick Android emulator for PC and Mac. If you're planning to use NoxPlayer for gaming, you'll be pleased to learn that you can use your favorite gamepad, and you have the option of mapping keys or buttons to perform various Android gestures. NoxPlayer gives you a stock version of Android, and while it's designed with gamers in mind, you can install other apps from the Google Play Store too. NoxPlayer is completely free, but it includes a number of great extras accessible from a vertical toolbar on the right-hand side of the window. Here you'll find screenshot and video recording shortcut, a link to a macro record, and the option to install software from APKs obtained from outside of Google Play. GameLoop is another Android emulator that is primarily for use as a gaming platform. Among its most popular titles includes Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile, with Tencent previously declaring it to be the official emulator for their COD games. There are other titles, of course, with other major titles such as Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto V available to play through the emulator, along with a host of other games. However, like BlueStack this is really the purpose of GameLoop - the title gives it away - so if you're looking to use mobile apps for business and office then this probably isn't the platform for you. However, if you're looking for easy access to major Android games on your desktop then GameLoop serves as a fine emulator. Based on VMWare Player, AndY is an interesting – if rather huge – Android emulator; the installation weighs in at a colossal 3GB. There are a couple of optional – and probably unwanted – extras bundled in the installer, so keep an eye out and decline them. Again, the primary idea behind AndY is to bring Android gaming to the desktop, and there's support for not only Xbox and PlayStation controllers, but also the option of using your Android phone as a gamepad. Getting the emulator up and running is rather trickier and less intuitive than the other tools featured here though, and might be enough to put some people off. This is a shame because AndY is very impressive and it would be great to make it a little more accessible. Available for both Mac and Windows, it also gives you the option of rooting your virtual Android device to run more software. It's one of the newer Android emulators on the block, but MEmu has managed to make quite a name for itself – and with good reason. Given that its full name is MEmu Play, it should come as no surprise that – once again – the focus here is on gaming. To get the best performance, it is recommended that you enable virtualization for your CPU. With support for Intel and AMD chips, as well as integrated and dedicated graphics, support levels are very good here. There's a wealth of keyboard mapping options to enhance your gaming, and you have the option of installing software through the Google Play Store, or by dragging and dropping APKs on to the program window. Additionally, you may like to check out our featured best Android phones.

 

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0.2
gamerant.com

The Matrix, the story of a young girl trapped in a false reality, but with the help of technology and the wire, she can set herself free. Wait, that's not The Matrix. This storyline belongs to the forgotten anime Serial Experiments Lain. This 1998 anime might have similar themes to The Matrix and Neon Genesis Evangelion, but nothing compares to the satirical world of Serial Experiments Lain. Some classic anime fans are probably not familiar with this extraordinary story, and for whatever reason, Serial Experiments Lain isn't as popular as other animes of its time. The thirteen episodes that make up the story follow a fourteen-year-old girl named Lain Iwakura. Like other girls in her class, Lain receives an email from Chisa Yomoda, a girl from her class who committed suicide. Except these emails were sent out after Chisa's death. In the email, Chisa claims to be alive in the wire. This shocks Lain, leading her down a path of self-discovery. Though creator Yasuyuki Ueda and head writer Chiaki J. Konaka didn't just create another anime, as the world of Serial Experiments Lain is filled with symbolism, themes, and messages the audience can take with them. When first watching Serial Experiments Lain important messages and symbols can be overlooked due to the bizarre and surreal nature of its world. Instead, by looking at the themes present in the anime, a better understanding of Ueda's message can be had. Related: Shonen Anime Heroes With the Coolest Last Lines The obvious theme in Serial Experiments Lain is technology. At first, Lain isn't as familiar with the wire, but she is given an updated Navi courtesy of her dad, Yasuo Iwakura. Navi is the predominant brand of computers and phones, similar to Apple. Unlike Apple products, Navi is easy to modify and tailor to allow better access into the wire. Lain takes this ability farther than any other, consuming her every thought. It is comparable to a drug. The more Lain upgraded her Navi, the further in she got, making it impossible to leave. A little ironic since there is also a drug called Accela made from nanotech that supposedly makes the user's brain operate faster. Ueda's word appears to be a darker parallel of our own. Technology has taken over the lives of many, leading them to seek it out like a drug. Others wish to abandon the real world for the digital entirely or, worse, merge the two. Though satirical, Ueda's message is clear, the internet is perfect for communication though it serves as no substitute for reality, but what about religion? Another prevalent theme in Serial Experiments Lain is religion. While discovering more about the wire, Lain hears whispers of a God that lives within. Conversations on if this God was created in the wire or if it created the world are questioned. During her pursuit to learn more about this God, Lain's skills on the wire are considered legendary, leading Lain to become god-like herself. Besides insane abilities in the wire and cross imagery in the show, a scene outright depicts Lain appearing out of the clouds in a halo of light. RELATED: The Second Season Anime Fans Desperately Want (But Will Probably Never Get) Ueda's use of these images concerning Lain and technology seems to comment on how people view technology as an all-powerful being. As for Lain being compared to a god, it can be seen as any other person on the internet. On the wire/internet, a person can be anything, even a God. Identity is shaped to fit the mold the user wants, sometimes transforming into something awful. The final theme of identity is the hardest Lain has to face. The horrible rumor spread causes Lain to discover more parts of her identity than she initially believed. Broken down into parts, Lain can be seen having three distinct identities throughout the show. The first identity is her sweet-natured self that lives in the real world. Her detached and cruel half resides on the wire, and lastly, there is her true self. Lain is software. She is a high-school girl, a friend, a daughter, and a memory. It can be hard to discover an identity, especially for a high schooler. Ueda takes this surreal story and adds a grounding element that allows viewers to relate to the main character by incorporating this theme into the story. In the end, that's all Lain ever wanted was to discover who she was and where she should be. Serial Experiments Lain is phenomenal anime with so much to it that hours could be spent analyzing it. The story takes the audience on a journey like no other anime out there. Serial Experiments Lain should not be forgotten; instead, anime fans should seek this show and experience it for themselves. Serial Experiments Lain is available to stream on Funimation. More: Underrated Fall 2021 Anime You Should Watch

 

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0.1
gamerant.com

Fans have already been exploring the world of Teyvat since the free-to-play Genshin Impact was released last year, and they soon may have some additional cosmetic options to look forward to. Releasing cosmetics for characters has never been as popular in Genshin Impact, at least compared to most free-to-play games. Developers at miHoYo may be working on a couple of new skins for existing Genshin Impact characters according to a popular leaker on Twitter. RELATED: Genshin Impact 2.4: First Double Banner Limited Characters Leaked A recent leak on by a credible Genshin Impact leaker has apparently revealed the new skin for Ningguang that will arrive in the upcoming Genshin Impact update 2.4. According to previous leaks, Ningguang's Orchid's Evening Gown skin will be obtainable for free during the limited 2.4 events. Previously, another credible leaker named Genshin Intel apparently revealed more information about the upcoming Lantern Rite event which should arrive in one of the banner cycles for update 2.4. Ningguang will apparently not be the only character to receive a new set of cosmetics as the leak mentions that another Liyue character, Keqing, might get a skin as well. However, players will need to spend Genesis Crystals in order to unlock Keqing's Opulent Splendor skin. Every new Genshin Impact update brings at least two sets of events, one for each of the two banners. A credible Genshin Impact leaker has revealed additional information about the Lantern Rite event which will arrive in the upcoming 2.4 update. According to the leak, the new event will have the following themes: Genshin Impact updates usually bring new events, characters, and enemies. Even though playable characters are usually the focal point of each update, adding new enemies has proven to be just as exciting, especially if they have a special personality like the Azhdaha weekly boss. A recent post by a credible Genshin Impact leaker has apparently revealed the model for a new boss enemy, and it's a familiar face. The Oceanic Defender, also known as Osial, has brought one of the biggest story boss fights so far. The monster was defeated by the Liyue squad after Tartaglia broke the legendary seal. Genshin Impact is now available on Mobile, PC, PS4, and PS5 with a Switch version in development. MORE: Genshin Impact: Which Characters May Be Playable Soon

 

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12 Best Buy deals that can be picked up in time for Christmas

We're just days away from the holiday weekend, and if you're still scrolling through circulars in hopes of on-time delivery dates, your best bet may require a little more effort. Best Buy is currently hosting a last-second savings event, which, you guessed it, features thrifty discounts for procrastinating gift shoppers. But to get the products in your hands before Saturday comes along, you'll have to pick them up at the store. This week, Best Buy is promising to have your online orders ready for pick up one hour after you place them. Obviously, that means you'll need to get out of the house and make a trip to your local brick and mortar, but securing those gifts and saving yourself from anxiously peeking out the window for packages will be worth it.

 

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0.7
gamerant.com

In competitive games like Overwatch, players are always looking for whatever advantages they can get over one another. Tactics can range from well-rounded team compositions to cheeky Roadhog hooks, or buffing DPS characters like Bastion to make them as effective as possible. While all of these options are conventional ways to push for victory and test players’ skills, the less appreciated practice of smurfing is a problem that has been present in Overwatch almost since its release. While smurfing can be used for higher-skilled players that want to be able to play with their lower-ranked friends in competitive matches, frequently this thinly veiled motive isn’t the case. Smurfing often is the result of players ranked at higher levels making new accounts to play games like Overwatch, League of Legends, and Valorant to play easier matches. On new accounts, players can be placed against others that generally don’t have the same amount of skill as them, allowing for very one-sided games. While unenjoyable in quickplay games, these matches can become infuriating on the ranked bracket. They create an unfair advantage for enemy teams who might have a player that on their main account is ranked one or two tiers higher than they are on their alternate. RELATED: Pro Overwatch Team Reveals Incredible Grinch Winston Skin Concept While Valorant has taken measures against players who smurf, Overwatch continues to stand out by allowing the practice. Rookie players who are forced to play against veterans that might be ranked in Diamond or above on their main account will often find themselves hopelessly outgunned by these smurfs. This has helped to create a somewhat toxic player environment where the threshold for new Overwatch players to enjoy competitive matches can feel too high. An individual player might not seem like much for an objective and team-based game, but anyone who can skillfully use the strongest DPS characters in Overwatch can make quick work of their lower-ranked opponents. Matches then become incredibly one-sided, and instead of lower-ranked players being able to enjoy the game as they get better, they can find themselves dropping in rank as they’re beat in back-to-back matches. This can make the player experience miserable for these players, but for those that use smurfing, it’s something that can become an incentive. Whether a smurf is feeling frustrated because they can’t seem to beat opponents at their skill level or they just want to grab a couple of easy wins for fun, smurfing can become an easy out. This can result in smurfs continuing the practice, using their alternate account to test characters rather than risking their rank on their main account. This cycle then rewards smurfs while punishing players in the lower tiers during the Overwatch ranked seasons. Diamond players and above get an avenue to test nerfs and buffs in a competitive setting, as lower-ranked players succumb to the occasionally overpowered experimental changes to Mei and other Overwatch characters. The cycle continues, and rookie Overwatch players can then find themselves in a perpetual loop where the competitive side of the game can feel un-fun and inaccessible. All of this in itself takes away from the positive experiences players can have with Overwatch, but what should be one of smurfing’s biggest deterrents makes it worse. While Overwatch is currently free for a limited time, it normally costs at least $20. Other titles that have problems with smurfs are often free-to-play, which can help limit some of the negative feelings that players have towards the practice. With the cost that Overwatch incurs, however, players affected by smurfs can feel that their money and time is being wasted. This only adds to how bad it can feel to come up against smurfs and highlights why the problem should be more openly addressed. If smurfs face consequences like matchmaking penalties or bans, they might become fewer in number as players decide purchasing an extra copy of Overwatch isn’t worth having the unfair advantage. It wouldn't be a perfect overnight fix to the problem, but it would show that there are more steps being taken to improve the overall player experience in Overwatch. Overwatch is available now on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. MORE: All The Overwatch 2 Hero Reworks Revealed So Far

 

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0.1
I actually miss News and Interests integration with Taskbar in Windows 11

I never thought I'd actually say this but after months of alternating between Windows 10 and Windows 11 for my daily workflows on my primary machine - on which I dual-boot both the operating systems -, I kind of miss News and Interests' integration with the Taskbar in Windows 11. Let me be clear right off the bat, I don't use News and Interests from the Taskbar on Windows 10 on a daily basis, but that information is still always there, I don't have it hidden. While it may sound extremely mundane, I find it weirdly relaxing to glance at the current temperature from time to time. It also accounts for some small talk when I'm sharing my screen with some offshore clients and colleagues and they inevitably point out how hot/cold it currently is in my country. Adding more to this utility, I also have the option to click on the temperature information in the Taskbar, which then opens a dedicated window on the left where I can see weather trends, entertainment news, stock rates, and more. I want to emphasize that this is not something I do on a daily basis, but I don't have any complaints with the information being there if I need it. It's not intrusive and is occasionally useful in terms of keeping up to date with the latest happenings. Microsoft has completely revamped this experience in Windows 11, and News and Interests does not "integrate" with the Taskbar in the traditional sense of the word anymore. Instead, that section has been split off into a dedicated app called Widgets that is still grouped as a Taskbar icon, but behaves like a separate app. When you click on it, it opens to the left of your screen instead of the right, and actually contains more information than was present in Windows 10. I have talked about my Widgets experience in detail in my Closer Look article on the topic a few months ago, so I'm not going to spend too much time retreading familiar ground. Functionality-wise, it offers more capabilities and integrations than what is present in Windows 10, but overall, I feel like it occupies too much space on the screen (as can be seen in the screenshot above) and is considerably more intrusive than its predecessor. But perhaps my main complaint is that it does not feel native to the Taskbar anymore. It is effectively a separate app. You can't configure it to show weather information at all times on the Taskbar, nor can you drag it to a less intrusive space on your display. I know that not everyone will feel about this the same way considering that it's a minor feature and my reasons for missing it are seemingly quite mundane and subjective. For example, I consider the bottom right of the display to be a less intrusive space but maybe someone else prefers having Widgets occupy half of their screen on the left. Personally, I find it annoying that the Widgets open on the left as they hide most of the icons if you have enabled them on the desktop or take up most of your "useful" screen space if you're doing something else in the background too. It shouldn't be this distracting, in my opinion. In fact, some eagle-eyed viewers may also notice that the temperature is set to Celsius (my preference) in the Windows 10 screenshot but is set to Fahrenheit in the Windows 11 screenshot. This is not something I did intentionally or even as a mistake, it just emphasizes my disinterest in the Widgets section in its current implementation, proving that I didn't even bother to set it according to my preferences. One thing I do find rather strange is that News and Interests integration on Windows 10 isn't really an old feature. It was rolled out in late April for the operating system whereas Windows 11 was announced in June, roughly two months after. However, we still get a vastly different experience which makes it feel like that both of them were designed by different teams even though they became available to users in close vicinity, in terms of rollout. Overall, this disjoint in experience does raise a few questions for me. Has Microsoft's internal testing revealed that the Widgets experience in Windows 11 is better than News and Interests in Windows 10? Or is this revamp just a way to differentiate more between the two operating systems? Will the company explore the option of unifying its experience and perhaps, offer more customization in terms of Widgets placement and Taskbar integration in the future? I hope that Microsoft answers these questions one day, but for now, I actually kind of miss News and Interests' integration with the Taskbar when using Windows 11. Do you use News and Interests or Widgets in Windows 10 and Windows 11, respectively? If so, what are your thoughts on the disjoint user experience? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

 103 /173 

0.4
gamerant.com

Since its inception in 1991, the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has spawned numerous mainline games and spin-offs. Advertised as the fastest thing alive, 2D and 3D games featuring the blue hedgehog often emphasize fast-paced gameplay. As a result, many of these titles are more horizontally oriented, giving space for the player to see what is coming next and allowing Sonic to reach and maintain his top speed. However, one developer had an idea that looked to take the character in a new direction a while back. Based in London, Nitrome is a British-based game developer known for the pixel art style of its games. Over the years, it has produced numerous titles, such as Bomb Chicken. In addition, the company is currently working on the upcoming Shovel Knight Dig. Beyond these games, the company revealed that it had pitched a game concept to SEGA in the past. RELATED: Original Sonic the Hedgehog Creator Releases New Mobile Game In a tweet from December 22, Nitrome unveiled details about a previous game concept it had worked on and pitched to SEGA. While the project had no name, it was related to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and featured the titular hedgehog. However, unlike many other games in the franchise, this concept came with a twist. Instead of focusing on running in a horizontal direction, this Sonic demo had vertical-based platforming that required players to jump from one platform to the next. In addition to revealing the game idea, Nitrome shared a video of the demo for the game concept. In the short clip, Sonic was seen on a vertical stage that necessitated him to wall run and land on springs to advance further up. The level had a nostalgic feel, as it included classic enemies and featured a setting reminiscent of that found in the iconic Green Hill Zone. Unfortunately, this intriguing game idea never saw the light of day as the “Sega Gods,” as Nitrome put it, decided not to move forward with the pitch. However, the developer revealed that the wall-running mechanic made its way into another one of its games, Super Leap Day. This isn't the only never-before-seen footage from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise to be revealed recently. A couple of days ago, an unreleased intro for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood found its way onto Twitter. While the cinematic never appeared in the Nintendo DS game, it gave fans another unique look at Sonic battling Dr. Eggman with stylized animations and a rocking music track. It’s exciting to see unreleased projects from developers finally get the recognition they deserve. For those wishing that this Sonic game concept would be made into a complete game, Nitrome revealed that it was still interested in the project. According to the developer, it would continue to work on the title if SEGA gave it the green light in the future. MORE: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood - Remembering the Sonic BioWare RPG

 

 104 /173 

0.2
gamerant.com

The Five Nights at Freddy's game timeline isn't exactly straightforward, and the latest addition to the main series only makes things more complicated. There are now seven games that are canon to the main series timeline. However, the order of release is certainly not the same as the games' chronological order, especially after the release of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach. There are several spin-off games in the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise, and those spark constant debate in the fanbase about each side game's place in the timeline. Some fans have formed detailed timelines, mapping out every piece of lore and when it originated. So, while many fans don't agree on the true Fazbear Pizza timeline, the main series games are the only ones considered canon by creator Scott Cawthon and other developers, and these games have fairly straightforward time stamps. RELATED: Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach Endings Explained The fourth installment in the series is actually the first to take place chronologically; in 1983. Unlike other games in the franchise, the player character is not a security guard at a pizzeria, but instead a child in their own bedroom. This child stays in their bed for the entirety of the game and is armed with a flashlight. As the child sits in the dark, they're visited by nightmare versions of common FNAF animatronics Chica, Bonnie, Freddy, and Foxie. They use a flashlight and strategic closing of closet doors to make it through the terrifying night. Through minigames during Five Nights at Freddy's 4, players learn that the child was the victim of the "Bite of '83", when bullies at a party placed their head inside Fredbear's mouth at Fredbear's Family Diner. This incident ultimately led to the closure of Fredbear's Family Diner and the events of later games. It's not exactly clear when the events of Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location take place, but fans generally agree that it is the second chronological game; happening shortly after FNAF4, and before the events of FNAF2. This game introduces a lot of series lore surrounding the creator of the animatronics, William Afton, and his children. Players play as Michael Afton, who finds himself at Circus Baby's Entertainment and Rental, an underground warehouse that stores animatronics that can be rented for parties. These robots come from a now-closed sister location to Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, and animatronics like Circus Baby and Ballora are unique to this game. Other Fazbear animatronics like Bonnie, Freddy, and Foxie also appear in circus-themed "Funtime" variations. Through Sister Location, Circus Baby earns the trust of Michael and eventually lures him to his death, allowing the endoskeleton of animatronic Ennard to use Michael's flesh as a disguise to leave the premises. Players take on the role of Jeremy Fitzgerald, the newest Freddy Fazbear's Pizza security guard, in Five Nights at Freddy's 2. The paycheck players receive at the end of the game confirms that the events of FNAF2 take place in November of 1987. The second game in the series features the same format as the original game, with players remaining stationary in a security office, attempting to keep deadly animatronics at bay. A nameless employee on the phone speaks to Jeremy each night and reveals information about the location and the job. Players learn that the animatronics roam freely around the building and are programmed to seek out noise, even at night. It's also revealed that old animatronics are kept in storage in the building to be used for spare parts. Eventually, Jeremy learns that there is an ongoing police investigation surrounding the restaurant, mostly like the "Bite of '87" mentioned in the first game. FNAF2 introduced post-death Atar-style minigames and "The Purple Man", whom many fans believe killed several children at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. The series namesake, Five Nights at Freddy's, has no confirmed date in the timeline, but fans widely agree that it likely takes place in 1993. Players find themselves in the shoes of Mike Schmidt, yet another nighttime security guard for Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. The game takes place at a different location than that of FNAF2, and the unnamed recorded voice informs players of the animatronics habit of mistaking humans for endoskeletons, leading them to "forcefully stuff" people inside of animatronic suits. The main series' lore found in the original 2014 game comes from newspaper clippings and some stories told in recordings. The player learns of a man hiding in an animatronic suit to lure five children to their murders. Later complaints came from guests that the animatronics smelled foul and were leaking mysterious fluids, leading fans to the speculation that the children's corpses may have been hidden inside the animatronics. RELATED: How Long is Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach? The series' third installment takes a slight turn from the previous games. Set approximately 30 years after the events of the original FNAF (around 2023), players are tasked with a security job at horror attraction "Fazbear's Fright", and keep watch during the night shift. The staff at Fazbear's Fright learn how to operate animatronic suits as costumes, but later cassette tapes discourage employees from using the suits after an "unfortunate incident at a sister location." This game also makes use of post-death minigames, eventually depicting the group of murdered children seemingly getting revenge on their killer by cornering him and forcing him to hide in an animatronic where he is crushed and killed. FNAF3 only features one physical animatronic, Springtrap, who is believed to be possessed by the late William Afton, and several apparitions of previous animatronics that cannot physically harm the player. Fans find themselves as new franchise owners of a Fazbear Entertainment restaurant in Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, tasked with furnishing and preparing the restaurant for a big party on the upcoming Saturday. Players can salvage animatronics and rearrange their restaurant layout before tackling the nights from the security office in traditional FNAF fashion. After the last night, the voice on the cassette recordings reveals that this location was created in an attempt to lure the existing Fazbear animatronics into a central location in order to destroy them all. The game plays a cutscene, showing a video of the pizzeria burning down with the animatronics trapped inside and cuts out as the fire consumes the building and its contents. It's unclear when the events of the newest installment, Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, take place besides the fact that one ending confirms that Pizzeria Simulator is prior. It's clear that the events are after 2023, and fans speculate that it happens between 2024 and 2029. Gamers play as Gregory, a young boy who has managed to stay inside of Freddy Fazbear's Mega Pizzaplex after closing, and is faced with roaming animatronics attempting to capture him. There are several endings to Security Breach, and one leads to players finding the burnt remains of the pizzeria from Pizzeria Simulator, confirming the timeline of events surrounding the two games. Since the original Five Nights at Freddy's in 2014, the timeline and lore have grown exponentially. Fans speculate and have come up with hundreds of versions of the timeline that include side games, fan games, and more. However, for now, only the seven main games and a few side materials (including novels) are certified canon by the developers. MORE: 15 Games to Play if You Love Five Nights at Freddy's

 

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0.1
How to use a blue light filter on your PC or Mac

Researchers are continually releasing studies on the potential harm of blue light. When you stare at a screen all day and into the evening, it can affect your sleep and disrupt your body's natural rhythms. For these reasons, blue light filters are incredibly important. Whether you are spending your day on a Windows PC, Mac, or Chromebook, you should enable their blue light filter to help ease the strain on your eyes. Desktop screens and laptops typically have a built-in filter you can access, and there are downloadable options in case your computer doesn’t have this feature available. If you’re looking for a blue light filter for your smartphone, however, there are plenty of great apps you can download from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store. The reason blue light hurts is purely biological. Sleep is a part of the circadian rhythm, which is the cycle of biological processes that are determined in part by the levels of light and dark exposed to our bodies. In the most natural setting, which is one where we’re only exposed to sunlight, our retinas sense when the sun descends and the environment grows darker. That induces our hypothalamus to start the process of producing melatonin and other sleep hormones and reducing our body temperature. When we use artificial lighting to extend our day, however, our bodies get confused, and the various sleep signals are disrupted. Even worse is the blue light emitted by fluorescent and LED lights — like those on our various device displays — which cause us to be more alert and produce even less melatonin. That’s why using a blue light filter is so important. Microsoft added a blue light-limiting feature to Windows 10 in the Creators Update released in April 2017. Called Night Light, this feature shifts the Windows 10 display to show warmer colors that reduce the amount of emitted blue light. Turning the feature on is a simple process. Step 1: Right-click on the Start button and select Settings on the Power User menu. Alternatively, you can press the Windows + X keys and then click Settings. Step 2: Choose System in the pop-up window. Step 3: The Display category opens by default. Scroll down on the right and toggle on the Night Light setting. Step 4: To configure the Night Light feature, click the Night Light Settings link located under the toggle. Here, you’ll find options for turning Night Light on immediately, adjusting the strength, and scheduling when it turns on and off. Step 5: To set the schedule, toggle the Schedule Night Light option to on. Then, you can either choose to let Night Light turn itself on at sunset and off at sunrise — automatically determined by your location — or you can set the time manually by clicking Set Hours and choosing when the feature should turn on and off. When you first turn the feature on, you’ll notice the color shift immediately. After a while, your eyes will adjust to the change, and it should be less obvious. By reducing the amount of blue light, however, the Night Light feature will then limit the impact of using your Windows 10 PC late at night — you could find it easier to get to sleep, and your sleep might be deeper and more restful. First introduced in iOS, Apple brought Night Shift to Macs in MacOS Sierra in March 2017. As with Windows 10, the feature is easy to turn on and configure to your tastes. Step 1: Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner and select System Preferences on the drop-down menu. Alternatively, click the System Preferences icon on the Dock. Step 2: Select Displays in the pop-up window. Step 3: Click the Night Shift tab in the following pop-up window. Here, you can configure when Night Shift automatically runs, turn it on until the next sunrise, and set your preferred color temperature. For scheduling, you can let MacOS turn it on and off at sunset and sunrise based on your location, or you can set a custom schedule. As with Windows 10’s Night Light feature, Apple’s Night Shift makes your display’s colors warmer and reduces the amount of emitted blue light. Give it a try to see if it improves your sleep habits and helpss you be healthier, more productive, and generally a happier Mac user. Devices based on Google’s Chrome OS have a built-in blue light filter called Night Light. The simplest way to enable this feature is to click on the System Clock followed by the Night Light button on the pop-up menu. The screen is automatically washed with a dark amber hue. For more control over Night Light, do the following: Step 1: Click on the System Clock and select the Gear icon on the pop-up menu. This opens the Settings window. Step 2: Select Device listed on the left. Step 3: Select Displays listed on the right. Step 4: Click on the toggle located to the right of Night Light to enable this feature. Step 5: Move the slider between Cooler and Warmer to adjust the blue light level. Step 6: Next to Schedule, click the Down Arrow to select Never, Sunrise to Sunset, or Custom. Step 7: If you select Custom, a timeline appears from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. Select the duration by moving the start and stop times accordingly. While you can change the level of blue light on the software side, external monitors may include a blue light filter you can manage with integrated On Screen Display (OCD) controls. For instance, press the OCD button on Acer’s SB220Q 21.5-inch display, and a control panel appears on the screen separate from the PC’s desktop. As shown above, it includes options for adjusting the brightness, sharpness, and blue light. You can manually switch between 50% to 80%. You will get more blue light as you increase this value. Overall, it’s more convenient to adjust the blue light level directly through your computer’s operating system than by doing so on the monitor. On the other hand, if you use the same monitor for several devices, altering the settings on the side of your monitor may be a far more straightforward approach. F.lux: F.lux is an innovative third-party alternative to adjusting your monitor’s color levels. This tech carefully monitors the sunlight level in your area and adjusts your screen’s color temperature accordingly. It’s available for free for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. You can also use it to adjust the lights in your home by pairing it with a smart lighting system. You can turn the feature off whenever you want by toggling a switch. Iris Mini: The Iris Mini is an impressive, ultra-lightweight blue light filter application. It’s a streamlined option; there are no UI, buttons, or extra steps. The feature can automatically adjust the color on your monitor to minimize effects of glare or blue light. You can change settings manually or rely on Iris Mini’s automatic feature. The automatic mode evaluates the time of day and adjusts colors accordingly. There are versions available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Windows 11 is Microsoft's latest operating system, and just like Windows 10, it has the same blue light filter. The feature is once again known as "Night Light", and you can turn it on in a few simple steps. Step 1: Hit the Windows Key + I on your keyboard to open Windows 11's Settings menu. Step 2: In the Settings app, click where it says Display. You can then flip the switch for Night Light to On. This will switch your display to a warmer color to block out blue light. Step 3: Once night light is turned on in Windows 11, you can click on the result in Settings again. There will be toggles to adjust the strength of the feature. Drag the slider all the way up and Night Light will make your screen more yellow. Drag it down, and it'll be more of it's usual color. There are also additional controls for scheduling Night Light. Just flip the switch to On, and choose the times you want the feature to be on.

 

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The best coffee makers for 2021

Getting the day going with that all-too-crucial cup of coffee is paramount for many of us. While rolling through the Starbucks drive-thru is a decent last-ditch resort for those with limited time, brewing coffee at home is usually preferable. After all, no one knows your taste in coffee better than you, and making coffee at home can save you quite a bit of money. That first cup can warm you up on these chilly fall mornings. Like most small appliances, there are hundreds of models available, which doesn’t make trying to buy a new model easy. From single-cup coffee makers to barista-style espresso makers, there’s a coffee maker for everyone in this extensive roundup. Our top choice, the Bonavita Connoisseur, is easy to use and makes a delicious cup of drip coffee, but there are plenty of alternatives. We even rounded up the best coffee maker deals if you’re working with a tight budget. Why we picked the Bonavita Connoisseur: Possibly the last drip-coffee machine you’ll ever want to own, the Bonavita Connoisseur is an improvement over its already stellar predecessor, the BV1900TS. The Connoisseur takes up little more than a sliver of real estate in your kitchen with its incredibly compact design, which prevents it from sticking out like a sore thumb. Aesthetics aside, this Bonavita model packs a serious punch, arguably producing the best cup of drip coffee you’ll ever taste. It does so by utilizing the underused process of pre-infusion, which wets the coffee grounds a few minutes before brewing. Pre-infusion allows for your coffee to extract evenly, producing a more consistent brew — and a heck of a good cup of coffee. Moreover, the Bonavita Connoisseur ‘s thermal eight-cup carafe keeps the coffee piping hot for hours after the brew cycle completes. Compact, sleek, and efficient, this machine is the cream of the coffee-maker crop. Why we picked the Cuisinart DCC-3200: Cuisinart’s 14-cup DCC-3200 improves upon its predecessor in so many ways that its reasonable price tag is difficult to believe. The included water filter and permanent gold-tone filter ensure you’ll always get a clean pour and it even allows you to pause the maker mid-brew to pour yourself a quick cup, in case you’re short on time. If you’re low on time in the morning, you can leverage the coffee maker’s 24-hour programming — so you can have that perfect cup of coffee ready as soon as you roll out of bed. The feature-laden DCC also boasts adjustable brew strength, allowing you to make coffee that’s as rich or as watery as you want. In addition, self-cleaning capabilities and auto-shutoff timers make this one of the most convenient, versatile coffee rigs on the market. The 3200 features a revamped system that’ll simultaneously make hotter and better-tasting coffee. However, the only drawback is its relatively large countertop footprint — this guy isn’t terribly small. One common complaint about the Cuisinart DCC-3200 was its glass carafe. Luckily, Cuisinart realized this as an issue and upgraded the DCC line to include double-walled insulated carafes. Now, your java never gets cold. Plus, the whole machine is BPA-free, so no need to worry about harmful chemicals sneaking into your brew. All in all, the DCC-3200 is an admirable upgrade to an already excellent line of coffee makers. Why we picked the Nespresso Vertuo: Taking your hot-brewed beverage game to the next level, the Nespresso Vertuo lets you concoct barista-grade coffee and espresso drinks from the comforts of your kitchen. Best of all, the drinks come courtesy of Nespresso’s capsule system. Once a pod is inserted, the Vertuo decodes info from the capsule bar code and sends it to the coffee maker, ensuring that each pour features the perfect crema layering based on the cup size you’re looking to fill. Choose between five different cup sizes, based on brewing preferences. These include espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, coffee, and alto. For those looking to craft up cappuccinos and lattes, the Vertuo is paired with Nespresso’s Aeroccino milk frother for that next-level beverage. Plus, with heat-up times of only 15 seconds, you’ll have your caffeine fast. The starter pack comes with 12 capsules to get you going. While you won’t be able to run any stand-alone grounds through the machine (pods only), the Nespresso Vertuo is perfect for those looking to brew without needing to measure quantities of this or that, as the machine does all the thinking for you. Is quantity just as important as quality? Then it sounds like the Cuisinart SS-15P1 coffee maker is for you. Allowing you to brew up to 12 cups of coffee with the glass carafe portion, the maker’s second terminal is a dedicated single-cup coffee maker that will net you 6-, 8-, and 10-ounce beverages. For those looking to get the most out of their day, you can program the coffee maker up to 24 hours in advance. Want an extra blast of caffeine in your mug? Use the Bold Coffee option for extra zing in your drink. Using Cuisinart Coffee Bar pods (Medium Roast, Dark Roast, and French Vanilla for flavors), the SS-15P1 also comes with a reusable filter cup for when you want to run your own grounds through the machine. This is a great machine for those who want the best of both brewing worlds: Coffee for the whole family and single cups for when you want to grab and go. Either way, the Cuisinart SS-15P1 is worth it. Why we picked the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew: Consistency and efficiency go a long way in making a coffee maker stand out from the crowd, both of which Mr. Coffee’s Optimal Brew machine achieves with ease. Outfitted with a stainless steel thermal carafe, the Optimal Brew keeps your beverage hotter than your average coffee maker. Moreover, the vacuum-insulated carafe keeps each pot hot regardless of whether it’s sitting within the machine or conveniently on your kitchen counter. Mr. Coffee also equipped the machine with a removable water reservoir, rendering the task of refilling the tank an absolute breeze. There’s even an onboard water filter that helps eliminate the chlorine from your tap water, that way you’re getting the best tasting cup of joe possible. Users also can program the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew to brew at a set time each day, too, and choose from either normal or bold-brew cycles. Delicious coffee and a straightforward feature set simply can’t be had for a cheaper price. Why we picked the Keurig K-Elite: One of the most user-friendly coffee makers in our roundup, this Keurig model brews five different cup sizes quickly and quietly. The device has a 75-ounce reservoir, and you can brew eight or more cups of coffee before you have to refill the water. The machine also tells you when it’s time to descale your Keurig, so you’ll always have the best-tasting cup of joe. With a sleek brushed display (comes in brushed silver, slate, or gold), the Keurig K-Elite looks like a high-quality machine that coordinates with your kitchen appliances. With features like a strong brew option for when you need an extra boost and an iced button to brew over ice, you can make a variety of different coffee, tea, cocoa, and iced-beverage creations. We’ve also found some of the best Keurig deals going on right now if you’re looking for some savings. Why we picked the Mr. Coffee All-in-One Occasions: The Occasions coffee maker manages to stay relatively compact while offering both coffee and espresso creations as needed. It has a 10-cup carafe for brewing traditional coffee, and also allows you to make a single pour for 6-, 8-, 10-, or 12-ounce cups. Then, in another mode and with a little platform, it can make two shots of espresso with a 15-bar strength pump. There’s also a built-in milk frother for creating lattes and such. It can even switch to K-Cups if you so desire. There’s also some handy smart technology built into the Mr. Coffee All-in-One Occasions, including automatic mode switching based on the attachments that you’re using, automatic water dispensing based on your choices, and temperature-control options. Yes, there are a lot of components to this coffee maker, but it can also do just about everything! Why we picked the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG: If you need to brew 10 cups of coffee fast — but still want to focus on coffee quality — then this Moccamaster model is the perfect fit. The 40-ounce carafe is just the right amount for 10 cups of coffee (well, normal-sized cups of coffee, make allowances for people who like extra-large portions), and the overall design of this beautiful coffee maker is made to facilitate ideal coffee heating and flavor. The copper heating element of the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG keeps the water at an ideal temperature and can brew in only several minutes, while the nine-hole outlet arm allows for just the right amount of ground saturation. The hot plate is designed to keep the brewed coffee between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit, making this model especially ideal for a busy office where everyone cares a lot about their coffee. This could be one of the coolest hot beverage accessories we’ve ever laid eyes on, and an excellent travel companion to boot. The tiny but mighty Minipresso GR by Wacaco is a portable coffee maker that brews pint-sized shots of your favorite blends. Just add your grounds, pour hot water in the water tank, and pump the device’s main piston to compress and pour your steamy drink. The Wacaco Minipresso GR is certainly more of a personal coffee maker, as the mini-carafe only produces up to 50 millimeters of liquid; but its sleek, ergonomic design, portability, excellent price, and delicious results are grounds enough (pun intended) to land the Minipresso on our list. Just be mindful that you’ll want to bring a kettle on your next camping trip, as the Minipresso cannot do the water-boiling for you. Coffee makers work by heating water and mixing it with grinds from a coffee grinder. Single-cup makers use pre-portioned amounts of coffee grinds in a pre-made package (like a K-Cup pod). When you place the K-Cup in the machine and press start, the machine places a small pinhole in the K-Cup and then delivers hot water through pressurized hoses from the reservoir into the K-Cup, the water then mixes with the grinds, and then the coffee falls into your cup. Standard drip coffee makers also work by holding water in a reservoir. When you place a coffee grind-filled filter into your coffee maker to start making your joe, the machine transfers the hot water through a tube and onto a perforated disc so it drips over the grinds to create coffee. You can program your coffee maker to have a fresh cup ready and waiting for you the moment you roll out of bed. On busy mornings, this can be a lifesaver when you don’t have time to brew your own. Many programmable coffee makers can brew different amounts, so you can get everything ready the night before and leave your mug or travel container beneath the spout. A fresh cup of Joe will be waiting when you roll out of bed…just give it about five minutes to fully brew. These days, coffee makers also have interesting compatibility with smart devices. That includes support for voice assistants, allowing you to create routines with Google Assistant or Alexa that automatically start your coffeemaker in the morning along with other changes. The majority of coffee makers use the drip method, but there are other ways to make coffee depending on style and flavor. You can use a French press, an Aeropress, or the pour-over method to make coffee. If you want to go old-school, you can use the stovetop Moka Pot to heat up your brew and make coffee just like they did in the 1930s. You can also use a Chemex, a particular kind of pour-over container that uses thicker filters to yield a more balanced cup of coffee. And, of course, don’t forget about cold brew coffee, a style of infusion that’s typically steeped at least overnight, and used to make powerful iced coffees. Sort of. You can empty the contents of a K-cup into a standard drip coffee maker filter, use the correct amount of water as directed on the packaging, and then brew a cup using a regular coffee maker. You typically cannot, however, just plop a K-Cup into a standard coffee maker and brew it as you would with a Keurig machine or similar device. A typical coffee maker uses around 800 watts in about 10 minutes. Some people fear Keurig coffee makers can be hazardous to their health because they can accumulate mold, and some also worry that Keurig machines or K-Cup pods may contain materials that can be harmful. Keurig K-Cups are BPA-free and are generally considered safe. In terms of mold, all coffee makers must be cleaned and maintained for maximum safety and effectiveness. If you clean your coffee maker regularly, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. However, if you’re concerned about the safety of your machine, consult the manufacturer or the product manual for additional warnings and information. Environmental impact is another question. Single-use coffee cups inherently involve a lot of wasted material. However, there are ways to be more environmentally friendly when using a K-Cup model, including looking for recyclable or compostable cups. It’s so common these days that any new coffee maker you buy should have this feature. But it’s not a guarantee, especially with the smallest coffee makers. The lifespan of each coffee maker depends on the brand, how well you maintain the machine, and other factors. However, if you notice your machine is not brewing coffee well (even after cleaning), the coffee tastes bad, or if it’s having other issues with performance (shuts off randomly, doesn’t get hot enough, etc.), it’s probably time to replace your machine. Typically, between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, although some coffee makers have wider temperature ranges so you can customize your brewing options. The Speciality Coffee Association of America says best practices are to limit water temperature to around 200 degrees, plus or minus 5 degrees. So, it’s no wonder that so many models meet this qualification. Yes. But it’s a good idea to clean the machine first, otherwise your tea could have coffee flavor. In many ways, coffee is a subjective experience. Some like it bold and piping hot, while others want a mild experience, in terms of both taste and temperature. When we test coffee makers, we take that into account and look at how customizable the process is. The most significant aspects to consider when searching for a coffee maker are time and temperature. The taste relies heavily upon the quality of the coffee grounds you’re using. The National Coffee Association indicates the proper temperature range for a delicious cup of coffee, and we use these protocols when determining whether a coffee maker is delivering coffee at the right temperature. We record the amount of time it takes to brew one cup vs. a complete pot. We also consider the coffee’s temperature when poured into the carafe and how well the carafe maintains that heat after two hours. In addition, we might also observe a coffee maker’s architecture and appeal. Most people probably don’t want their coffee maker to take up too much space. We know that the carafe must serve a clean pour and that the coffee maker needs to be easy to use (so much so that anyone in your home could make a cup or a pot without disturbing everyone else). We acknowledge that convenience is appreciated and is certainly required for optimal functionality.

 

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Xbox's Countdown Sale has started with huge discounts

As Christmas and New Year vacations are about to start, we thought we should remind you that Microsoft has started their Countdown Sale. This sale is absolutely huge with over 1000 items, so we'd say chances are fairly good you'll find something you like before the sale ends on January 2. Fortunately, there a lot of filters you can use instead of endless browsing, and also removing games you own already. We have picked ten bargains for you, which you can check out below. Also, please, let us and other Gamereactor readers know if you find something amazing so others can save a buck as well. Call of Duty: Vanguard - €45.49 / £38.99 (35% off) Far Cry 6 - €41.99 / £35.99 (40% off) Hitman 3 - €27.99 / £20.99 (60% off) Hot Wheels Unleashed - €34.99 / £27.99 (30% off) Life is Strange: True Colors - €38.99 / £32.49 (35% off) Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - €45.49 / £38.99 (35% off) Mass Effect: Legendary Edition - €34.99 / £29.99 (50% off) Psychonauts 2 - €38.99 / £35.74 (35% off) Tales of Arise (Cross-Gen Bundle) - €48.99 / £34.99 (30% off) Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep: A Wonderlands One-Shot Adventure - €4.99 / £3.99 (50% off) Do you see anything in the Countdown Sale that you will treat yourself to? You must be logged in to comment. If you are not yet a member - join now! Loading next content

 

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Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus. in Star Wars

While Life Day will always be Star Wars ’ most famous holiday, there are more. Many more. There’s an entire galaxy full of celebrations, festivals, and observances including, somewhat surprisingly, the planet Aargau’s Take Your Daughter to Work Day. And, while it’s unknown if Space Jesus was born in the Star Wars galaxy to absolve Ponda Baba (et al.) for his sins, there is a Christmas—because there’s also a Santa Claus. Please don’t think for a minute that this right jolly old elf exists in the new, Disney-approved Star Wars canon. In fact, Santa barely exists in the old Expanded Universe, having appeared ever-so-briefly in Dark Horse’s final Knights of the Old Republic comic, as a patron at Goodvalor’s Little Bivoli, a chain restaurant on Coruscant. That was more than 3,600 years before the events of A New Hope, but Santa could also be seen in 1993’s Star Wars: X-Wing video game, set during the original trilogy, on the deck of the Mon Calamari ship the Independence if you played the game on December 25. The only other listing that Wookieepedia has for Santa is the Ralph McQuarrie’s cover for West End’s role-playing game supplement Star Wars: Adventure Journal 8, which features Yoda—or a member of his species, as the wiki wants you to know—dressed head to toe in a Santa outfit, and a sack of toys slung over his shoulder. However, the best evidence for Santa’s existence comes from Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album, produced by Meco in 1980, and featuring the dulcet tones of Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. The premise is that Artoo, Threepio, and Chewbacca are hanging out in a factory where droids are making presents for an “S. Claus.” You could be forgiven for thinking the trio has somehow been whisked to our Earth, as C-3PO mentions Albert Einstein, H.G. Wells, and the nation of Japan in the second song, “ Bells, Bells, Bells”, to an increasingly bewildered R2-D2. But why, then, is S. Claus’ factory staffed by droids, and why do they specifically mention the Christmas presents they’re giving Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo? If you want to take this way too seriously, and I most certainly do, it seems more plausible that the Star Wars galaxy has its own gift-dispensing Santa—or, since Star Wars takes place a long time ago, at some point Santa relocated to our galaxy and brought Christmas with him. Because the album doesn’t feature the galaxy’s first Christmas, since the droids specifically mention they got Chewbacca a comb for Christmas last year in the album’s Top 40 holiday hit, “What Do You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)”. The answer, incidentally, is “a brush,” which is not only just as crappy a present as a comb, but way worse than what Artoo gets for Christmas, which is a song composed specifically for him titled “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” featuring a young Jon Bon Jovi on lead vocals. (I was about to say maybe the Earth rock star must have been transported to the other galaxy, but I just realized Jon Bon Jovi is a nearly perfect name for a Star Wars character, so there was probably one already there.) Things get exponentially more confusing in “A Christmas Sighting (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)” where the droids reveal S. Claus makes them all leave the factory before he arrives to pick up the toys, meaning they’ve never seen their employer (master?) in the flesh, which is extremely weird behavior. When one of the unnamed droids suggests that maybe S. Claus doesn’t exist, Threepio pipes up that he’s seen the man personally just last year. But C-3PO specifies when Santa arrives, he’s already covered in soot— before he picks up and distributes the toys the droids assembled. Is Santa doing recon? Does he not clean himself between Christmases? Does he have a chimney kink? This is followed by the final song on the album, “The Meaning of Christmas,” in which S. Claus inexplicably visits the droids in his toy factory for the very first time. But S. Claus is not the rotund, jolly fellow C-3PO spied the previous year—he’s the slim, beardless son of Santa Claus, and he helps deliver toys to all the children of the galaxy on Space Christmas. There’s really not much to say after that, except when the droids ask if they’ll be receiving presents, S. Claus tells them their gift is “the happiness your toys bring to children,” which is some serious bullshit. Again, Christmas in the Stars was no more connected to the Star Wars Expanded Universe than the Holiday Special was—in fact, it’s arguably less so, as the Special had the decency not to mention anything terrestrial (although that’s the only decency it has). And even Santa’s brief appearances in the Expanded Universe were jettisoned when Disney rebooted the canon, so I suppose it’s better to say yes, Virginia, there was a Santa Claus. But if the new Star Wars can reinstate elements of the execrable Holiday Special, why not bring back Santa to give lumps of carbonite to the bad little Siths of the galaxy? It certainly wouldn’t be the most ludicrous thing the franchise has ever done. Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.

 

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Top 10 Most Significant Nvidia GPUs of All Time

Founded in 1993, Nvidia is a youngster when compared to other semiconductor companies. However, its impact on the world of technology has been vast. According to the Steam Hardware Survey, over 70 percent of users have an Nvidia graphics card in their gaming system, while Passmark says over 60 percent of users have an Nvidia product. There was a lot of work involved in getting to that level, and while the company’s first chip in 1995, the NV1 seemed like a brilliant product offering video and 3D acceleration, a built-in sound card, and a gamepad port, its reliance on quadratic texture mapping instead of triangle polygon rendering meant that Nvidia dropped the ball on its big debut. Lesson learned as the chips that followed included some surefire hits. Let’s take a look. Image: André Karwath An acronym for Real-time Interactive Video and Animation accelerator, the RIVA 128 was the successor to the NV1 and a product that put everyone in the space on notice. Featuring support for DirectX 5 and OpenGL, the RIVA 128 didn’t repeat the same mistakes. It seemed future proof from the get-go, with 4 MB of SGRAM and AGP 2X support. At the time, it could keep up with 3Dfx Voodoo cards, which were the fastest cards on the market. Over a million units shipped within the first 4 months of the RIVA 128 release, cementing its importance as a product and a company. The successor to the RIVA 128, the TNT was good but was still outperformed by 3Dfx. But the following year, Nvidia delivered the TNT2 with several significant improvements. A process shrink to 250 nm (and later 220 nm with the TNT2 Pro) allowed for higher clock speeds (125 MHz core and 150 MHz on the memory, compared to 90/110 on the original TNT), while the chip supported larger textures, a 32-bit Z-buffer, AGP 4X and a maximum of 32 MB of memory. Compared to rival products from 3Dfx, the TNT2 featured better support for DirectX and OpenGL and packed excellent image quality with 32-bit color. Gamers took notice. In 1999, Nvidia introduced the first GeForce chip, known as the GeForce 256. There were two variants, with the high-end DDR model gaining most of the attention for its speedy memory. The GeForce 256 also featured a transformation and lighting engine (T&L) that allowed the chip to handle calculations previously covered by the CPU. This feature allowed the card to be paired with a slower processor yet still deliver excellent performance. While critics and rivals said the technology wasn’t necessary, it eventually became commonplace and found in nearly every graphics card on the market. The GeForce 256 was also the basis for the first Quadro product for computer-aided design. This line of products opened up a whole new and lucrative market for Nvidia. The early 2000s turned into a royal rumble between ATI and Nvidia, as they one-upped each other through the GeForce 2, 3, and 4 eras. After ATI dropped their Radeon 9700 and impressed everyone, Nvidia had to throw a haymaker of its own, and thus the GeForce 6800 was introduced. As one of the early products to sport GDDR3 memory, the GeForce 6800 was a speed demon, even dismissing ATI’s X800 XT with better shader model support and 32-bit float point precision, compared to the Radeon. Furthermore, since Nvidia had acquired 3Dfx, they began implementing features and technology from the former graphics company. One major part of 3Dfx’s portfolio was Scan-Line Interleave, which linked two video cards and boosted 3D processing power available. In 2004, Nvidia modernized this feature and reintroduced it as Scalable Link Interface (SLI) with many enthusiasts pairing 6800s to create the ultimate gaming PC. Two years after the GeForce 6800, Nvidia introduced the new GeForce 8800 series. The new graphics card was an absolute beast of a gaming GPU. With up to 128 streaming processors, a 575 MHz core, a 1.35 GHz shader clock, and 768 MB of GDDR3, it could actually outpace a dual GPU flagship from the previous generation. It was one of the first products to use a unified shader architecture. The GeForce 8 series was considered fast even years after its initial debut. Not everything was gravy, as a significant number of this series' chips suffered from an overheating issue that led to many failures. Just before the 2010s came around, dual-GPU boards became a hot commodity, and AMD was pretty aggressive with its ATI Radeon 4870 x2. To rival that, Nvidia brought out the GeForce GTX 295, which put two of its GeForce 200 chips on a single board. With the right drivers, this was the fastest graphics card money could buy, and at $500 it could outperform a pair of GTX 260s when a single one had an MSRP of $450, making it a bargain to enthusiasts. While the GeForce GTX 480 launch didn’t go as planned, all was well with its successor known as the GTX 580. A fully unleashed Fermi architecture meant 16 stream multiprocessor clusters, six active 64-bit memory controllers, and full-speed FP16 filtering. This graphics card was the real deal. With AMD hot on its heels, the GTX 580 needed to be everything the GTX 480 wasn’t, and fortunately it was enough to hold off AMD for a while. The top-tier dual-GPU GTX 590 was met with scathing reviews due to poor stability and the inability to upstage the Radeon HD 6990. Nvidia had been making products for PC enthusiasts, design professionals, and even supercomputers and AI researchers, but with Tegra SoCs, it made the jump into the world of mobile computing. The Arm-based Tegra lineup was designed for smartphones and tablets, but things went beyond that, and the extra processing power of the SoC went to good use in the Nintendo Switch. The success of the Switch has been off-the-charts, with nearly 70 million units sold since 2017. Each one packs the Tegra X1, which pairs an ARMv8 ARM Cortex-A57 quad-core with a Maxwell-based 256 core GPU. The 16nm fabricated GeForce GTX 1080 series was extremely influential and a big milestone for the GPU maker, showcasing Nvidia’s might and design expertise. The Pascal architecture was well ahead of the competition, so much so that GeForce GTX 10 cards remained in contention for several years which is almost an anomaly in the graphics market. The GTX 1080 became the benchmark to beat, and even the next generation of Nvidia GPUs struggled to show any significant improvement in raster performance. Speedy GDDR5X memory was matched with 2560 cores in the GTX 1080 and 3584 cores in the GTX 1080 Ti, leading to eye-popping frame rates even as you increased resolutions. The GTX 1080 was followed by the Turing-powered RTX 20 series, which implemented real-time hardware ray tracing for the first time in a consumer-oriented video card. However, there were very few games with ray tracing features at the time of its release, and in general, the RTX 20 series didn’t feel like a significant enough jump from the GTX 10 series. Nvidia upped the ante with the RTX 30 series and the Ampere architecture, leading the RTX 3080 to become the ultimate gaming card regardless of resolution or enabling demanding ray tracing features when using DLSS. The 3080 has 28.3 billion transistors and 8704 cores clocked up to 1.7 GHz, delivering a big 70% performance jump over the RTX 2080 at 4K is impressive. On the less positive side, the card features just 10GB of memory, although it's of the faster GDDR6X kind. It's also power hungry, but it's very fast and that makes up for all of it. At the original $700 MSRP (which due to the chip shortages that ensued would be a dream to have at that price), it could be considered a bargain to enthusiasts, thanks to a low cost per frame. Nvidia has grown into a graphics giant and beyond, by steadily churning out impressive and innovative products for computer gamers and enthusiasts, but most recently also providing solutions for automakers, creative studios, and researchers. Not to mention the impending (and somewhat doubtful?) acquisition of Arm. These days, Nvidia is pushing the efforts of its real-time hardware ray tracing products, which allow for photorealistic lighting. However, even without these features, its GPUs are among the fastest performing in the industry. As we sit upon a new generation of gaming, with new consoles featuring ray tracing support, it'll be interesting to see if Nvidia can increase its lead over the competition. 25 years later: How many of these have you owned? Also, don't miss our parallel feature showing off the Top 10 Most Significant AMD/ATI GPUs.

 

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0.5
gamerant.com

Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood added a huge variety of new armors and unique equipment to track down, including a number of new craftable sets. One of these sets is the Hist Whisperer set, which can be imbued onto equipment at a special crafting area in the south of the Blackwood zone. RELATED: Elder Scrolls Online: Best Furnishings In The Game The Hist Whisperer set broadly appeals to all Elder Scrolls Online playstyles and builds, though it doesn't excel for any single one. This is because its equip bonuses are unfocused and spread throughout each of the three basic resources. Although it could have a more narrow effect, its bonus to recovery across the board is not to be ignored. The Hist Whisperer set is built entirely around Health, Stamina, and Magicka Recovery alike. The two, three, and four-item bonuses each add a passive 129 Health, Stamina, and Magicka Recovery respectively, while the full set bonus gives a massive boost to Recovery across the board. Light and Heavy Attacks with the Hist Whisperer set restore 318 Magicka, Stamina, and Health with each hit. A fully-charged Heavy Attack heals for 636 on top of this for a total of more than 900 resources restored with every hit. The Hist Whisperer armor set is a crafted armor set, meaning that its bonuses can be imbue d by skilled crafters onto any piece of crafted equipment. Withered Root, the Hist Whisperer Crafting area, is located in the southeast area of Blackwood in Argonian territory. The set requires players to have researched at least three traits on the item they want to imbue with Hist Whisperer bonuses. Normal equipment can still be crafted at these stations, but to get the full bonuses of the Hist Whisperer set players must have three traits unlocked on their armor style or weapon of choice. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox One and Series X| S MORE: The Complete Guide to Skyrim - Items, Quests, Mods, Builds, and Tips

 

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The Alpha Bravo GX-1 Gaming Headset is on sale for $119.99

Today's highlighted deal comes via our Gear + Gadgets section of the Neowin Deals store, where you can pick up the Alpha Bravo GX-1 Gaming Headset for $119.99. With noise-cancellation, in-line controls, and multi-platform compatibility, this headset will immerse you to the best gaming experience every time. The Alpha Bravo GX-1 is a professional gaming headset compatible with multi-platform devices, including PlayStation, Xbox, PC/Notebooks, and Nintendo Switch. Powered by Veho, the GX-1 headset has a built-in noise-canceling microphone for precision sound, which makes them a great start for any semi-professional gamer. Specs In the box you'll find the Alpha Bravo GX-1 Gaming Headset, 3.5mm Adapter, and Quick Start Guide. This deal is only available to ship within the USA and has an expected delivery between Dec 28 - Jan 3. Additional two or three year warranty can be added at extra cost. That's OK, there are other deals on offer you can check out here or the below offer. EVERYONE GETS A LAMBO… BUT WHAT SIZE LAMBO? The Catch is You Won't Know if You'll Receive a 1/64 Diecast, Remote Controlled, Ride'On, or the Full-Sized Lambo Get MrBeast + MSCHF Everyone Gets A Car for $35 (3- and 5-pack offers also available) Neowin Deals · Free eBooks · Neowin Store Disclosure: This is a StackCommerce deal or giveaway in partnership with Neowin; an account at StackCommerce is required to participate in any deals or giveaways. For a full description of StackCommerce's privacy guidelines, go here. Neowin benefits from shared revenue of each sale made through our branded deals site, and it all goes toward the running costs.

 

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0.4
Black Mirror is the perfect 2021 Christmas watch

Every episode of Black Mirror contains its own little bleak world, but the show is known for recurring symbols that link every storyline to an interconnected universe, from the “White Bear” symbol to Waldo the bear and “ San Junipero ”/St Juniper’s hospital. But one could make the argument that another inextricable motif of Black Mirror is Christmas time. Since the show first debuted in December 2011, two seasons and two specials have aired during the holiday period. One of those specials is Bandersnatch, the interactive movie about a young game developer in 1984 (get it?) adapting a “ Choose Your Own Adventure ”-style book. (The film’s five main endings give varying degrees of meta and, like a greedy kid hopped up on too many candy canes, I’m sure many viewers went back to uncover all of them.) “White Christmas,” one of Black Mirror ’s best episodes and its most popular, centers on three interconnected stories: the three ghosts of Christmas, if you will. Each story subverts hallmarks of the festive season — technology (the most common category of gift), “cookies” (digital clones of people stored in small, egg-shaped gadget not unlike smart devices, another popular gift), family breakdown and estrangement — to illuminate its dark side like holiday lights. It ends with one of the characters stuck in a snowglobe, forced to relive Christmas and the mistakes he’s made over and over again. For the one in seven people who hate Christmas, this is a fate worse than being trapped in an elevator with Mariah Carey’s Christmas hits playing. Even the Black Mirror episodes that don’t explicitly reference the giving season have surprises like an advent calendar: A Christmas tree is visible in the background of an “Arkangle” scene putting a new spin on parent’s fears about what their children are exposed to. The events of “ USS Callister ” take place, yes, in an outer space game simulation, but the people trapped within it are from the same gaming company preparing to break from work for the Christmas holiday. But it’s more than just a backdrop. Black Mirror is uniquely positioned to critique what is marketed to us as the most wonderful time of the year but which often brings out the worst in many of us. “Traditional” Christmas pop culture is riddled with toxic men not unlike those in “White Christmas” and “USS Callister,” and bad moms akin to Marie, who plants a surveillance chip in her daughter’s brain in “Arkangel.” Layer that in with the overarching theme of Black Mirror — to examine how technology has changed our lives, most often for the worst — and if our parents and grandparents complaining about the youths spending too much time on our devices is any indication, it’s impacted the giving season as well. This year is poised to be a Christmas meltdown to end all Christmas meltdowns, what with the supply chain screwing up our gift giving plans and the first holiday back for many (as the pandemic continues to roll along) meaning tensions will be running high. But people who work in retail, of non-Christian backgrounds, who don’t have family or aren’t on good terms with them or otherwise don’t celebrate the holiday (it me) have long known this. Retail and service workers are on the receiving end of abuse from customers and employers alike, and mask and vaccine mandates created add tension. Pressure to make up for last year’s “lost” Christmas equals pressure on the hip pocket, with Americans expect to spend more on Christmas gifts this year than in the 20 years prior, and more than half of shoppers going into debt with “buy now pay later” options easier than ever. The binary of waste increase and food insecurity around the holidays is a stark one, highlighting the inequality of American life more so than any other season. And while conservatives push a “war on Christmas” agenda with any mention of the secular “holidays” rather than the birth of Christ (the exact date of which there is some consternation about), but the copious decorations and the patron saint of Christmas Mariah’s greatest hits from Thanksgiving onwards — and sometimes even earlier, despite the fact that Hanukkah started the Sunday after Thanksgiving this year! — indicate that Christmas is well and truly staying put. We are indeed living in the darkest timeline, and it’s all reflected back to us in the inky glass screens of the smart devices under the tree this Christmas from which Black Mirror draws its name. Black Mirror is at its best when it critiques things that closely affect many of our lives: technology and social media use, the disintegration of our relationships and, indeed, society. In our own lives, the pressure of the holiday season serves a similar purpose to Black Mirror, increasing tension, resentment and division, even for those who spend all year making their list and checking it twice. It’s no wonder that creator Charlie Brooker said he has no plans to make any new episodes for the foreseeable future. (Representatives of the show declined to comment for this article.) There are certainly more feel-bad holiday offerings this year than ever before — movies like Silent Night, a foreboding, domestic thriller about extended family coming together for the holidays; or HBO Max’s Station Eleven, where a viral pandemic hits the world just before Christmas. But if you’re craving a familiar flick to throw on after the presents have been unwrapped, dinner has been served and the leftovers put away for another day, you can always sub out another Home Alone rewatch for an episode of Black Mirror. After all, ’tis the season.

 

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0.9
The best Instant Pots for 2021

With an Instant Pot, cooking meals is faster and easier. You can create quick recipes for everything from shredded chicken to dessert with less time and effort. Our pick for the best Instant Pot is the tried-and-true Instant Pot Duo 8-quart. The model is large enough to fit a whole chicken or roast, yet versatile enough to cook everything from cheesecake to chili. If the Duo 8-quart isn’t for you, we’ve also picked our best Instant Pot models for an individual, a family of four, a large family, and those on a budget. If you’re looking to snag a discount, you also can check out our list of the best Instant Pot deals available today. Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo 8-quart: When people think of an Instant Pot, the Duo is usually the model that comes to mind. The 8-quart Instant Pot Duo stands out for its features and affordable price point. That’s not to say other models aren’t solid devices, because many other Instant Pots are excellent multifunctional pressure cookers. However, the Duo strikes a perfect balance between affordability and the features it offers. The Instant Pot Duo combines a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer into one convenient package. It boasts a variety of user-friendly features, ranging from a slot on the handle to place the lid to a steaming rack with handles so you can easily remove it from the pot. The 8-quart Duo can hold a lot of ingredients. You can easily fit a whole chicken into this Instant Pot, brown 3 to 4 pounds of frozen ground beef, or cook a large roast. If you like making stews, this pot can hold enough to feed eight to 12 people. For dessert lovers, the 8-quart Duo can easily fit an 8-inch springform pan and some 9-inch round pans. Check out our full review of the Instant Pot Duo Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Mini: For single people, roommates looking to save cash on takeout, or couples looking to cut down on cooking time, the Instant Pot Duo Mini is a great place to start. The small size also makes it an ideal option for college dorm rooms, camping trips, and even boating excursions. But you still can cook a decent amount of food in this appliance. Soup, stew, broth, yogurt, risotto, potato dishes, and fall-off-the-bone meats are all fair game, albeit in smaller doses. With the Instant Pot Duo Mini you’ll receive a bundle of accessories with your pressure cooker, including a rice measuring cup, stainless steel steam rack, soup spoon, and recipe booklet. If you want a larger version of the Instant Pot Duo, it also comes in 6-quart and 8-quart options. Check out our full review of the 6-quart Instant Pot Duo here. Why we picked the Instant Pot Ultra 6-quart: The Instant Pot Ultra electric pressure cooker covers just about anything you might want to do in the kitchen. It has 10 main functions, including pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, sauté/searing, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. That means you can have just one appliance take the place of several. It’s also intuitive, with a central dial that makes it easy to select different programs, adjust times, and more. The Instant Pot Ultra 6-quart also features an embedded microprocessor, which helps to monitor the pressure and temperature while adjusting the intensity accordingly, helping to ensure well-cooked food. Plus, the pressure cooker offers 11 safety features, including a new steam release reset button that makes it safer for users to handle the appliance. Six quarts is perfect for a family of four, but you can also choose the 3-quart or 8-quart option. Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11: The Duo Crisp 11 has, you guessed it, 11 cooking presets, serving as a faithful pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sous vide, sauté, food warmer, cake maker, and air fryer with two fryer lids. For a large family with people who like different foods, this cooker is ideal because it’s extremely versatile. Cooking is faster and easier in the Duo Crisp 11, as the pressure cooker lid automatically seals in place, and the multilayered air fryer basket features a dehydrating and broiling tray to deliver optimal air flow to all those fried goods. The embedded microprocessor constantly monitors the pressure, temperature, and intensity of the cooking process, evenly distributing heat to ensure a perfectly pressure-cooked and delicious creation. Another cool feature of the Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11 is Instant Pot’s patented Even Crisp Technology that uses a blend of convection and sensors to deliver a crisp golden finish to the outer layers of your food while preserving a moist, savory interior. Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Nova: The Duo Nova, one of the newer models in the Instant Pot lineup, sells for around $70 to $100 for the 6-quart size. You can find the device on sale for cheaper during events like Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. There’s a 10-quart version of the Duo Nova (sells for around $130 to $160) for when you’re hosting a large group of people or when you want to cook an exceptionally large meal. Like the Duo, it combines seven appliances in one. It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and warmer. It has 14 different programs, so you can cook anything from soup to a whole chicken to dessert. One great feature of the Duo Nova is the lid. It automatically sets to seal in pressure when you close it, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to set the sealing valve in place. The lid also includes a steam release button, which makes it much easier to perform a manual pressure release without burning your fingers. All in all, the Duo Nova offers a whole lot of features for only a little bit of cash. Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Plus: The Instant Pot Pro Plus is a fresh addition to the lineup. It packs the most features out of any other model on the list. Of course, you get the usual sautéeing, slow cooking, sous vide, and yogurt making, but you also get canning, which is only available with a few models. The real kicker is the smartphone connectivity that you can use to peruse hundreds of recipes and beam them directly to the Instant Pot Pro Plus so you can get preparations done faster. The app also lets you schedule and remotely activate the Instant Pot Pro Plus, which can be handy when you can’t spend all your time near the kitchen. A new handle design makes it easier to remove the inner bowl, plus the lid can rest easily at the sides thanks to a mounting mechanism. The is the model to get if you want all of the bells and whistles. A pressure cooker can either be an electric device you plug into the wall, or it can be a stovetop cooker that uses your cooktop’s heat. A pressure cooker builds up steam pressure inside of an airtight pot to quickly cook food. An Instant Pot is a multifunctional pressure cooker, meaning it has additional cooking functions outside of pressure cooking. Instant Pots also are slow cookers, sauté pots, warmers, steamers, and more. Other multicookers can perform many of the same functions as Instant Pots, but with Instant Pot, you’re getting a trusted and well-known brand. There are 20 different Instant Pot models, counting the various capacity levels. These are broken up into five families: Instant Pot Duo, Instant Pot, Instant Pot Duo Plus, Instant Pot Pro, Instant Pot Max, and Instant Pot Pro Plus. You can also find older discontinued models still on sale. You may have heard stories in the past of exploding pressure cookers that resulted from a malfunctioning unit or a random case of bad luck. Instant Pots have multiple built-in safety mechanisms such as lid closing and locking mechanisms, anti-blockage vents, automatic temperature controls, high temperature and burn warnings, pressure regulation and excess pressure protection mechanisms, and extreme temperature and power protection features. These safety features help to prevent accidental fires and other dangerous situations, and encountering a risky Instant Pot situation is pretty rare. Yes. Instant Pot came out with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, which has all of the features of a regular Instant Pot, and it air fries, too. Instant Pot also came out with an air fryer lid you can add to compatible Instant Pot models. The lid is an add-on accessory to can place on the Instant Pot, and it basically turns your regular Instant Pot into an air fryer. These Instant Pot models are compatible with the air frying lid: Duo 60, Duo Plus 60, Lux 60, Ultra 60, Viva 60, Nova Plus 60, Duo Nova 60. Over the past few years, Instant Pots have increased in popularity, and so have Instant Pot recipes. Creative home cooks and chefs all over the place have published countless recipes online. You can find recipes for almost anything, from desserts to appetizers to easy weeknight dinners. The Instant Pot mobile app lets you search a curated selection and beam the settings for the recipe wirelessly to your Instant Pot Pro Plus. You can make almost anything in an Instant Pot, but there are a few foods you shouldn’t cook in a pressure cooker. Unless you’re using an Instant Pot with a crisping function, foods with a breading, like chicken tenders, probably won’t turn out very well, because the Instant Pot moistens when pressure cooking. Some berries, like strawberries and blueberries, can also be a nightmare, as they tend to sputter out of the top as the pressure releases. The best Instant Pot accessories are items that will make your pot perform better and help your recipes come out tastier. But you also want additions that make cooking easier. Overall, when it comes to top-rated accessories, a good steamer basket is extremely important. While the Instant Pot comes with a trivet or steaming rack, it’s a good idea to get a larger and better one. For many recipes, like steamed veggies, most chicken recipes, eggs, and potatoes, you don’t want your ingredients touching the water at the bottom. A larger steam basket allows you to expand your instant cooking repertoire without sacrificing the flavor of the food or making more work for yourself. A glass lid is another smart accessory for your pot. Standard lids obscure your view of the food that’s cooking. With a glass lid, when you slow cook or sauté, you can see inside of the pot without uncovering your food and disrupting the cooking process. Baking accessories are another must for your Instant Pot, especially if you enjoy sweets. For example, a good springform pan or cupcake liners that fit into your pot make cooking and cleanup simpler. With the right baking accessories, you can easily follow recipes for cheesecake, brownies, lava cakes, and more. Every Instant Pot features a microprocessor that uses the amount of ingredients in the pot to adjust factors such as temperature automatically. This is a handy tool for novices. Instant Pots also include features such as 24-hour delay start times and, in some cases, LCD. If you have a model that uses Wi-Fi, you can monitor your Instant Pot with your phone. You’ll also get alerts about your meal and suggested recipes from the Instant Pot app. Instant Pots create steam pressure inside a sealed pot that cooks your food. The pot’s built-in microprocessor accounts for time, temperature, and pressure, ensuring your meal cooks safely and evenly. For a single person or couple, a 3-quart instant pot is usually sufficient. The 3-quart size is also ideal for cooking side items like rice or mashed potatoes. For three to four people, the 6-quart size is usually sufficient and for large families of five or more people, you’ll want to go with an 8-quart or 10-quart model. Instant Pots are relatively easy to clean, as you remove the inner pot to clean, and they are usually dishwasher safe. Check out our guide on how to clean an Instant Pot for more information. Absolutely. They make cooking weeknight meals a breeze, allowing you to produce a delicious dinner just by throwing a few ingredients into the pot. Instant Pots can steam vegetables, sauté food, function as a slow cooker, and even produce a flawless cheesecake. Be sure to stay up to date on the best Instant Pot deals here!

 

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2.1
gamerant.com

On December 16, several children were injured or killed in a freak accident at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania, in Australia. The school and its students were celebrating the last day of the school term with a jumping castle, inflatable Zorba balls, and water activities. In a freak accident, a strong gust of wind also described as a “freak mini-tornado” flung the jumping castle 10 meters/crudely 32 feet into the sky, injuring and killing the children who were on it. One victim, 12-year old Zane Mellor also known as Jurassic Zane in his gaming circles, is known as a dedicated gamer. The week following this terrible accident, Mellor received a funeral of hundreds of friends and relatives at Mersey Gardens Chapel, where a Fortnite poem was read in his memory, where his casket was decorated in controllers, and an image of his favorite game, Red Dead Redemption 2, stood in his honor. Please consider donating to Mellor's family on GoFundMe HERE. One eulogist read a viral poem about Fortnite that first appeared online about three years ago. The whole poem can be seen in the service pamphlet below, but the poem describes how friends got together to game—to “join the fight…stay up all day and night.” It discusses building as ways to face adversity and comradery among players, no matter their particular Fortnite skin, and ends with “for those who know, there’s no better delight, than the sweet satisfaction of winning Fortnite.” Beyond the Red Dead Redemption 2 image, Mellor's mother Georgia Gardam read an endearing and heartbreaking tribute for her son, ending with “I love you, Zaney. No matter what the weather, we’re together.” This is derived from a Red Dead Redemption 2 quote of sorts, from a song that played during the “No Matter The Weather” mission that sees John and Uncle build the house together. The unfortunate tragedy and death of Mellor and his classmates is one that evokes a loss for words, but the gaming community has always been able to come together in support. The details of Mellor’s death and his funeral have spread online, with many expressing their pain and admiration for the young boy. Already, a GoFundMe to support Mellor’s family has been created, with 276 donations raising a total of $23,168 AUD in 7 days—just short of the $25,000 goal. Please consider donating HERE. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Mellor’s friends and family, as well as to all of the friends and families impacted by this tragedy. Source: Daily Mail, The Sun

 

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0.1
Everything we know about Dune: Spice Wars

As Frank Herbert famously wrote, fear is the mind-killer, but after decades of waiting, gamers can finally put their fears aside knowing that there’s a new Dune game on the horizon. There was a litany of reveals and announcements at the 2021 Game Awards, but perhaps the least expected was Dune: Spice Wars from developer Shiro Games. While excitement is surging again for this franchise thanks to the new film adapting Herbert’s world-renowned sci-fi novels, no one was expecting a tie-in game to be announced, let alone one following in the footsteps of the classic Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty from way back in 1992. While the origins of most genres are muddled at best, it is almost undisputed that Dune 2: The Building of a Dynasty was the first true real-time strategy game. That makes it all the more appropriate for Dune: Spice Wars to return to the genre, and Shiro Games, developers of Northgard, seems like a great fit to bring this series back. This game is closer than you might expect, and while spice is the key to controlling the universe, information is a close second. Here’s everything we know about Dune: Spice Wars. Dune: Spice Wars has an ambitious turnaround time from the recent announcement at the end of 2021 to a window of 2022. Where things get a little muddled is when we look closer. The developers have announced that PC players will be able to play the game in early access to give feedback on “ensuring accessibility while staying true to the essence of Frank Herbert’s work and making a unique game where the very interesting features of the Dune universe are translated into a compelling gameplay experience.” That’s all well and good, but later on, they also touch on how long this early access period could last. “Our current estimation is 9 to 12 months depending on how quickly we are able to reach our milestones and implement all of our planned features and content. But there’s no rush.” Based on those quotes, it seems like the “release date” is meant for the early access version of the game and not the full product. If early access will last between 9 and 12 months, then 2023 would be the more accurate window for Dune: Spice Wars coming out in full. There’s no official list of platforms that Dune: Spice Wars will hit, however, we can at least say for certain that it will be coming to PC via steam since there is already a store page up for it in preparation of the early access launch. PC was all but assured for an RTS style game like this. As far as other platforms are concerned, that’s almost impossible to predict. Some RTS games, especially recently, have made the jump over to consoles better than they have in the past, but if Dune: Spice Wars is too complex, it might just be a PC exclusive. Once it hits early access, or the team officially announces platforms, we will have a better idea of what to expect. The official announcement trailer for Dune: Spice Wars is just a hair over a minute long, so there’s not too much to see, but there is plenty to dig up out of the sand. The trailer opens on the desert city of Arrakis under siege as a series of voice-overs quote a few key lines from the novels and make comments on power and war. The voices eventually overlap until nothing distinct can be heard, with the camera continuing to pull away from the city, showing off the massive desert and a giant sandworm before revealing the entire scene was held in the palm of a giant hand. The final words we hear clearly are “This is my vengeance” before the hand closes and crushes the scene into a billow of sand and all the voices at once state, “This is my Dune.” Beyond this, the story is a complete mystery. We don’t know how closely it will follow the books, if at all, with the only mention of the story from the official website being that players will “create [their] own story and play as one of several factions, including House Atreides and House Harkonnen, and compete for power of Dune and the spice.” The team at Shiro Games at least claims to have a love for the Dune property and want to do it justice, stating: “I think I speak for every single person at Shiro Games when I say that we are all massive fans of Dune — both the original novel and the new and spectacular Denis Villeneuve film. To be able to bring this universe to life as a strategy game again is incredible.” That all sounds very Dune at least, but it seems like details will have to wait until the game is closer to release. Right off the bat, we know the broad strokes of what to expect from Dune: Spice Wars since it is being billed as an RTS. Where things get a little more interesting is that it is also claimed to incorporate 4X elements as well. For those unaware, 4X stands for explore, expand, exploit, exterminate, and is typically associated with the Civilization franchise, where those are the main methods of victory. There’s no official gameplay footage out yet, but the team has made some comments about how things will work in the Dune setting. “The Dune universe is the perfect setting for a strategy game. You have major factions, such as House Atreides and House Harkonnen, with a rivalry that spans back centuries. You have political intrigue, deception, and warfare, all centered around what is by far the most valuable substance in the universe: Spice. And then there is the stage itself, Arrakis, a hostile planet full of hidden wonders to explore. Massive sandworms that can devour entire armies, sandstorms, spice harvesters, all of which our amazing team of developers have incorporated into this game.” This all implies that the scope of the game is much larger than a typical RTS, where you simply need to outproduce and overwhelm your opponent. Other, more subtle, and nonviolent options seem to be available. Another quote from the game’s official description confirms these plans. “You can deploy agents to sabotage, assassinate, and spy on your opponents; use political means to influence the Landsraad and pass beneficial resolutions; amass incredible wealth and simply overwhelm the other houses through economic and technological supremacy; or you can opt for open war.” Aside from the two mentioned factions, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, it is possible that the Fremon and Imperial Sardaukar will fill in one or more additional slots to balance the game out. The mention of the sandworms was also expanded on a little, and will apparently be something like environmental hazards that can ambush and destroy your units and spice harvesters if you don’t scan for them before traversing the desert. Finally, whatever the game does turn out to be when it first arrives, it is clear the team is going to be changing and adapting it in major ways. Player feedback will guide the team as it adds more features and content, makes balance changes, and even adds new game modes. This is another component that isn’t officially confirmed, but in all other ways is expected. RTS games, and even 4X games, are best played with and against other human players. If it follows the normal RTS structure, which Dune: Spice Wars seems poised to do, then there will probably be some form of campaign for each of the main factions, and then a full-on multiplayer mode where you pit these factions against each other. Regarding their comments about early access implementing new game modes, that alone heavily implies that it will be multiplayer-focused. Again, this is technically all still up in the air right now. Multiplayer may be in the plan, but not arrive when early access launches, similar to how Halo Infinite launched, but we have to wait and see. This is another really tough call to make right now. Based on the structure of the game coming out in early access, it seems like the team is more than willing to add features and content as they go, but who knows if that is meant to end once the game sees a full release. Multiplayer-centered DLC, assuming multiplayer is part of the package, makes the most sense. New factions are perfect additions to RTS-style games and can help prolong the life of the community. You can’t quite pre-order Dune: Spice Wars yet, although you can add the game to your Steam wish list for when the early access period begins. That is still an ambiguous time in 2022, and it will be more time after that before full pre-orders even go live. Rolling from early access into a full release, at least on PC, may even mean there won’t be any pre-orders since the early access version will technically fill that role. This is another bit of info we will have to keep an eye on in the coming months.

 

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0.8
Best Windows laptop 2021: the top Windows 10 laptops money can buy

There’s a reason creatives and professionals gravitate towards the best Windows laptops just as much as casual users. That’s because these laptops provide a lot of performance and versatility. They have enough power to tackle just about any demanding task or project you can throw at them, as well as have the kind of features that will streamline your workflow. So, while MacBooks certainly make for a compelling alternative for content creators, particularly the new M1-powered ones, Windows machines come with a versatility that can’t be beat. That flexibility comes from such useful features as a touchscreen display and a 2-in-1 design. Additionally, many fantastic Windows notebooks are more affordable, with manufacturers like Asus and Acer leading the way to better value. And, though you’ll find many of these portables running Windows 10 out of the box, upgrading to Windows 11 is free. To help you find your next portable, we’ve gathered the best Windows laptops this year has to offer, whether you’re replacing one that’s getting long in the tooth or making the switch from another OS. No matter if you need a student laptop, or one for music production, productivity or programming, there’s something on this list that will suit you perfectly. The Dell XPS 15 might just be incredible enough to tempt hardcore Mac users, and it’s easily the best Windows laptop 2021 has to offer. Combining staggering power in a stylish thin and light chassis, this laptop doesn’t hold back when it comes to internals and features that improve your computing experience overall. Among those amazing features are a gorgeous bright display with 500 nits of brightness, an extremely comfortable keyboard, impressive speakers, and a terrific trackpad. We’re not saying that this laptop is perfect, but our coveted 5 out of 5 rating should speak for itself. Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 The Asus Zephyrus G14 may be designed like a gaming laptop, but it’s proven itself a more than capable all-around laptop. Whether you are serious about your gaming or need a powerful laptop for productivity or content creation, this is the best Windows laptops to deliver incredible performance as well as an amazing battery life, a fast screen, and a thin and light chassis that makes it super portable. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but you have to pay a premium for quality. And, if you’re an AMD fan, you’ll certainly appreciate the processor under its hood. Read the full review: Asus Zephyrus G14 The flagship HP Spectre x360 (2021) is the newest in the flagship product line and continues the tradition of pairing elegance and premium design with the newest in specs for a 2-in-1 laptop that’s as much substance as it is style. Among the best Windows laptops from HP, it comes with the new 11th-gen Intel CPU and enough battery life to get you through a long day at work. While it does come with a price tag to match and its 2-in-1 factor can be bulky for those making use of its tablet mode, not to mention that it can get loud, it’s a stunning laptop with excellent performance. Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2021) If you want the absolute best notebook for playing games on the go, then here it is – but be warned, this laptop will cause all but the very fattest of wallets to break into a sweat. Alienware’s Area-51m is a startlingly powerful gaming laptop that can be equipped with up to a 9th-gen eight-core Intel CPU and GeForce RTX 2080 graphics. What’s more, it’s a beautifully made machine, with a superbly slick and clean design, and you can upgrade this gaming notebook going forward (the CPU and GPU can be replaced, which very often isn’t the case in modern laptops). In some ways, then, this is an investment in terms of future-proofing – but as we noted, it’s definitely an expensive outlay. However, it’s always been the case that if you want the best when it comes to gaming portables, you have to pay for the privilege. If you want the absolute best Windows laptop for gaming, this is it. Read the full review: Alienware Area-51m The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 might be expensive but it’s well worth the price of entry. It’s a feature-rich 2-in-1 machine with a fantastic 16:10 screen, a garaged stylus, and a number of security-related add-ons. And, thanks to the latest generation Intel processors, Intel Xe graphics, and Evo certification, it’s a powerhouse as well. It might not be the most gorgeous portable out there and an SD card slot would have been appreciated, but the X1 is an otherwise stellar machine that will keep up with just about any user. Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 Razer is fast becoming the leading brand in the thin and light laptops market, with its latest release, the Razer Book 13, setting the ultrabook standards even higher. It’s just as good as it looks, perhaps even better, hiding a snappy performance under that svelte hood that should see you through most of your daily tasks barring graphics-heavy editing and design. And, if its portability is not enough, you’ll be impressed by that up to 14-hour battery life, which means you’ll never have to bring your charger to work ever again. This is the best Windows laptop to take to work. Read the full review: Razer Book 13 The LG Gram is back, this time with a 16-inch display version that gives the ultralight line an even more portable alternative to the much-lauded 17-inch. This model comes with the Intel Evo certification, as well as impressive features like a DCI-P3 99% color gamut, up to 22 hours of battery life, and speakers with DTS:X Ultra support. Plus, that screen will give you plenty of real estate without the whole laptop being too massive. If you have the budget, you’ll want to consider this if you’re looking for the best Windows laptop. Read the full review: LG Gram 16 (2021) The Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 is not only a fantastic ultrabook, but it’s also a top-notch Windows laptop for business. And, just like all the previous models, this portable seems to do everything right. It’s a powerful, fully-featured machine that’s also slim, lightweight, and stylish. It also comes with the kind of battery life that will last you through a full work day and more. And, though it isn’t the greatest for creative projects, it handles productivity tasks like swimmingly, thanks to that 11th gen Intel Core CPU and Intel Iris Xe graphics, not to mention at least 8GB of RAM (upgradable to 32GB). On top of that, it’s Evo-certified so you know it’s a quality machine, not to mention brimming with security features. Read the full review: Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 The formidable Acer ConceptD 7 is capable of handling complex and demanding tasks such as intensive video editing and 3D design, thanks in large part to its Nvidia RTX graphics. Clearly designed specifically with creative professionals in mind, it boasts that sheer power you’ll only find in workstations and gaming laptops. Beyond that excellent performance it delivers, it also offers decent port selection, a minimalist solid white design and that stunning Pantone-validated 4K IPS display. Obviously, it’s still pretty pricey, but no professional’s tool comes cheap. If you’re looking for a Windows-powered MacBook alternative for the creative tasks, this is the best Windows laptop for you. Read the full review: Acer ConceptD 7 The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 Black Edition (7506) is a laptop that punches above its weight. This seemingly mid-range laptop, though on the higher end of that range, comes with the kind of performance and features you would expect from higher-end machines. You would be hard pressed to find another machine in its range that comes with a 4K touchscreen, IR camera, and an active pen. While it is a bit pricey for those just needing to do basic computing, like email and light productivity, those who want a little more will find this a great option, since it can handle quite a bit of multitasking and even some AAA gaming. Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 Black Edition (7506)

 

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0.3
AI helps with drug discovery

December 23, 2021 Drug-target interaction is a prominent research area in drug discovery, which refers to the recognition of interactions between chemical compounds and the protein targets. Chemists estimate that 1060 compounds with drug-like properties could be made—that's more than the total number of atoms in the Solar System, as an article reported in the journal Nature in 2017. Drug development, on average, takes about 14 years and costs up to 1.5 billion dollars. During the journey of drug discovery in this vast "galaxy", it is apparent that traditional biological experiments for DTI detection are normally costly and time-consuming. Prof. Hou Tingjun is an expert in computer-aided drug design (CADD) at the Zhejiang University College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. In the past decades, he has been committed to developing drugs using computer technology. "The biggest challenge lies in the interactions between unknown targets and drug molecules. How can we discover them more efficiently? This involves a new breakthrough in method." Recently, artificial intelligence (AI) has opened up new possibilities. "With artificial intelligence, we may be able to reach the more upstream stage in drug discovery, thus improving the efficiency and success rate of the drug development ", said Hou. In addition to AI, multi-omics data, such as genomics, proteomics, and pharmacology, have also flourished. In each field, there has been a massive ocean of biomedical information. The information about drugs, proteins, diseases, side effects, biological processes, molecular functions, cellular components, biological enzymes and ion channels has been storied in specialized databanks. However, their value for drug discovery remains obscure. Prof. He Shibo is a scholar who specializes in big data and network science at the Zhejiang University College of Control Science and Engineering. "This domain is particularly suited for inter-disciplinary research. This considerable body of biological information can be abstracted into a multi-layered and heterogeneous network system", said He. In November 2021, Hou Tingjun, He Shibo and Cao Dongsheng at Central South University co-published a research article entitled "A unified drug-target interaction prediction framework based on knowledge graph and recommendation system" in the journal Nature Communications. In this study, researchers proposed a unified framework called KGE_NFM (knowledge graph embedding and neural factorization machine) by incorporating KGE and recommendation system techniques for drug-target interactions (DTI) prediction that are applicable to the various scenarios of drug discovery, especially when encountering new protein targets. Researchers evaluated KGE_NFM in three real-world scenarios: the warm start, the cold start for drugs and the cold start for proteins. In the first two scenarios, AI algorithms were on par with traditional ones, and sometimes even slightly inferior to the latter. In the third scenario, KGE_NFM outdistanced its rivals by 30%. "This demonstrates the remarkable ability and superiority of AI in predicting the unknown protein targets. Discovering 'the unknown drug-target interactions' from 'the unknown protein targets ' is an undeniably important undertaking in the future of drug discovery", Hou observed. "We can do a lot of interesting things using AI for complex heterogeneous networking mining", said He. For example, the team is currently working with a lab at Tencent to carry out research into virtual screening of hepatitis B drugs and drug synergy. "The use of KGE can not only expand the dimension of information but also promote the interpretability and credibility of algorithmic systems." Dec 21, 2021 3 Dec 20, 2021 1 Dec 17, 2021 0 Dec 16, 2021 0 Dec 16, 2021 0 3 hours ago 5 hours ago 23 hours ago 23 hours ago Dec 22, 2021 Dec 21, 2021 Dec 21, 2021 Dec 01, 2021 Jan 27, 2021 Jul 31, 2020 Sep 17, 2021 Jun 28, 2017 Jan 22, 2020 3 hours ago Dec 21, 2021 Dec 21, 2021 Dec 21, 2021 Dec 20, 2021 Dec 20, 2021

 

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0.5
gamerant.com

The Left 4 Dead -like seems to be a genre that's quickly become popular over the last few years. In 2021 alone, there were plenty of games that use the co-op horde shooter gameplay to explore every aspect of what makes mechanics like that fun, from Back 4 Blood to Aliens: Fireteam Elite. Given the popularity of the Left 4 Dead series, it makes sense why shooters just like it would be popping up, but it's a little curious that they've waited until now to start releasing. That's not a complaint, as co-op horde shooters are a ton of fun, but hopefully the games listed below will be able to stand out as original and gain player bases big enough to support their co-op concepts. The industry has already seen what happens to these Left 4 Dead -likes if they don't innovate or stand out, as Back 4 Blood 's player count on Steam dipped below Left 4 Dead 2 's. Further, despite the great initial pitch of " Left 4 Dead but with dinosaurs", Second Extinction 's early access hasn't quite turned the heads that it seemed like it might. Luckily, there's still plenty of time for the titles listed below to impress as their release dates grow ever closer and the games hopefully live up to the legacy of Valve's zombie co-op franchise. RELATED: Back 4 Blood vs. Aliens: Fireteam Elite - Which is the Better Left 4 Dead-Style Game? The Anacrusis takes the co-op zombie-shooter formula of Left 4 Dead and turns it into a 1960s inspired sci-fi romp where four players need to work together to shoot their way through an unrelenting alien horde and cleanse their ship of all alien life. Anyone who appreciated Deathloop 's visual style should give The Anacrusis a try when it releases as the first Left 4 Dead -like of 2022 on January 13. The game has marketed itself as being "infinitely replayable" thanks to the AI driver which changes the enemies, bosses, items, and weapons each time the players load into a level. The Anacrusis releases on January 13, 2022, for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Tom Clancy's Rainbox Six Extraction takes a more grounded approach to the survival shooter than the rest of the games in the genre coming out in 2022. It follows groups of three players who are fighting against an alien species called the Archaeans as they attempt to complete objectives and push back against the horde. Players have the option to choose from 18 different characters or operators, many of which appeared in Rainbox Six Siege, who all bring something different to the table in the form of abilities and perks. Tom Clancy's Rainbox Six Extraction releases on January 20, 2022, for Luna, PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Similar to Left 4 Dead -likes, there seems to be a resurgence in Warhammer games over the past few years with Warhammer 40,000: Darktide being one of the most anticipated titles in the 40K community. Developed by the studio that made both Warhammer Vermintide titles, Fatshark seems to be extending itself into the futuristic setting of 40K to make a horde-shooter with an interesting cast of survivors from the Warhammer universe. As more Warhammer games such as Space Marine 2 continue to release, Darktide will be an interesting first for the franchise. Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is set for release in early 2022 for PC and Xbox Series X/S. There still isn't very much known about Redfall other than it's going to be a four-person co-op shooter by Arkane that features vampires instead of Left 4 Dead 's zombies. The game essentially served as Microsoft's "mic drop" moment at the end of its E3 2021 showcase, but since there wasn't any gameplay shown, it's tough to say what exactly Redfall will be like. Redfall is set for release in Summer 2022, for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. MORE: What Back 4 Blood Can Learn from Left 4 Dead 2's Longevity

 

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0.9
The best smart light switches for 2021

Sick of not being able to control your ceiling lights with your phone? Good news! You can actually retrofit most of your home’s light fixtures to make them web-connected. While many of us don’t want to go through the hassles of replacing old lightbulbs with smart ones, we can opt for smart light switches instead. Offering a number of the same perks as today’s leading smart bulbs, smart light switches are easy to install and simple to manage — whether at home or on the go. For your consideration, here’s a roundup of the best smart light switches available right now. Further reading: As far as smart lighting systems go, this switch by Lutron is one of the easiest to install and most feature-heavy on the market. This smart light switch doesn’t require a neutral wire. Plus, it offers geofencing capabilities, which means your lights can automatically turn on when you arrive home and turn off when you leave. You also can schedule them to turn on or off by themselves at certain times of the day, a great feature that can make it seem like you’re at home when you’re actually away. The switch itself is highly functional, with different buttons indicating exactly what your options are, whether you want to turn out the lights or adjust the brightness. Want to use voice commands to control the lights? Integrate the Lutron switch with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to get started. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get the Lutron Smart Bridge to use all the features with any Lutron products, including the Lutron Caseta wireless dimmer. You can purchase a starter kit, which includes the bridge and a remote control. The bridge must be plugged into your home’s router for you to control the lights from your electronic device, such as a smartphone. WeMo is a mighty force, offering a myriad of bulbs, switches, and smart plugs for powering a smart home. One of the newest offerings is the WeMo Smart Light Switch (2nd-gen). After the quick and easy install, you’ll be able to control your lighting fixtures with the switch, the WeMo app, and Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit voice commands (smart speaker or display required). Within the WeMo app, you’ll be able to build custom schedules for your lighting and fans, cueing them to turn on at certain times of the day. If you’re heading out of town for the week, you can even turn on Away Mode, which turns your lights on/off at random to make it seem like someone is home. Conveniently, WeMo even lets you group multiple switches together for grouped controls of your lighting and other applicable features. Do be aware that the WeMo Smart Light Switch (2nd-gen) requires a neutral wire and is not compatible with three-way switches. The C by GE is a powerful amalgam of minimalist design and easy performance. The plate’s casual design isn’t obtrusive or distracting, but is, in fact, pleasant to look at. Controls are simple touch and drag gestures, and the tiny rings of lights make for an effective (but not overbearing) nightlight. Scheduling and remote control are handled by the GE C App, but the switch is also compatible with voice commands via Google Assistant or Alexa, giving you many different ways to control it, including options to dim. On its own, the GE C-Start Smart Switch also is incredibly adaptive: It can automatically dim or brighten lights based on the natural light that it detects in the space or if it senses movement in the area. As part of the Kasa family of smart devices, the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch allows for detailed schedule settings via the Kasa Smart app. Users can easily integrate timers and countdowns that the switch will respond to, along with ‘random mode,’ a feature that will throw your lights on/off at random, making it seem like someone is home. The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch is a simpler switch than some on our list, but an excellent pick for those who seek minimalist designs, or those who like TP-Link’s devices and want to keep all their devices linked and integrated. It also has great voice control options, offering compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Cortana. The Kasa app has a walk-through specifically designed to help homeowners install this switch themselves, which is really something that more smart switches should offer. There’s nothing better than having a virtual assistant at your disposal. With the iDevices Instinct, a smart light switch with built-in Alexa functionality, that’s precisely what you get. Since Alexa is behind the device, it essentially functions like any other smart speaker using Alexa. From being able to turn on/off various lights connected to the Amazon Alexa ecosystem to checking up on your future calendar appointments, the Instinct does it all. There’s also a blue ring on the switch itself to indicate Alexa’s responses and other functions. The ring also doubles as a handy night light. What we like about the iDevices Instinct is that it offers additional sensors in the package. For example, light and motion sensors can kick your lights on automatically at certain times of day (or when someone walks by). You also can receive notifications when events happen — like motion detection — even if you’re not home. In short, the Instinct can do double duty as a security system and voice assistant. The no-frills design of the Leviton Decora smart wall switch makes it perfect for someone who is just beginning the process of upgrading their home to “smart” status. The large paddle switch is no-nonsense and straightforward, and the small toggle on the right-hand side makes it easy to adjust the brightness in increments. Thanks to a row of LEDs, you’ll know how much dimmer or brighter you can go. There’s also a small LED on the bottom of the switch, so you’ll be able to find it in the dark — although it’s not so bright as to disturb your sleep. Got a large room where you want to add a smart light switch? This one by Leviton supports three-way switches, and since it connects straight to your Wi-Fi, you won’t need a bridge. As for the compatible app, you can use it to set how long the dimming LEDs and bottom LED (the one that stays on in the dark) remain on. You also can create schedules for when the lights should automatically turn off or on, meaning you can even use your lighting to wake you up in the morning. Integrate the Leviton Decora smart wall switch with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or IFTTT for a smarter, more connected home. If you’re looking to update your home with smart light switches everywhere, it’s best to have them match. This way, you get an aesthetically pleasing style, as the switches all look the same. Having the same switches also makes it easier to control your lights using the same companion app. Kasa’s three-pack of smart light switches is an excellent value, and each switch only costs around $10. You can outfit your entire home with smart switches for less than the cost of one switch from other brands. They don’t require any hub, and they work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Bixby for voice control. You will need neutral wires to install these switches, and they only work on a 2.4Ghz network, but installation isn’t too challenging. Plus, once you’re up and running, the Kasa Smart Light Switch 3-Pack allows you to set up lighting timers for the most-used rooms in your home. There’s also an Away Mode for the switches that will trigger your lights on/off at random, making it seem like someone is home while you’re away on vacation. A typical smart light switch has a regular on/off switch, giving it the ability to turn on and off like a regular switch. But, smart light switches also connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a companion app that allows you to control the switch from a distance. Most smart light switches also allow you to create schedules, scenes, that you can activate using voice control using an assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant, which makes them even more convenient. A smart light switch usually contains a wireless adapter and connects wirelessly to a companion app (usually via Wi-Fi, but sometimes via Bluetooth). You can connect that companion application to a digital assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control and centralized control along with your other smart home devices. Most modern smart light switches don’t require a hub, but some need a hub to gain full access to the switch’s features. Hubs are becoming less common, and you can find a number of affordable smart light switches that don’t require one. Most smart light and dimmer switches are designed for indoor use only. However, you can find a variety of smart plugs that work outdoors that can control string lights and other outdoor lighting. You can also install a smart switch indoors and use it to control outdoor porch or patio lighting. Yes, there are a number of ways to make non-smart lights into smart lights. You can make your lights smart by using smart bulbs, smart plugs, or using instant products like Switchmate. If your smart light switch and bulbs have dimmer capabilities, you’ll be able to dim the lights. However, you won’t be able to dim your lights if the hardware doesn’t support that feature. Some smart light switches are pricier than others, but the cost has greatly reduced as more and more models have flooded the market. You can find a quality switch for less than $30. Yes, smart light switches can save you money by helping to reduce energy consumption. Most people can install a smart light switch in an afternoon. However, keep in mind that most smart light switches require a neutral wire for installation. You should have neutral wires if your home was built after the 1980s. If you have an older home, you might need to find a smart light switch that doesn’t require a neutral wire, like the Lutron Caseta Switch. You can find smart light switches on Amazon and at big-box retailers and hardware stores like Best Buy, Walmart, and Home Depot. Amazon probably has the most comprehensive collection of smart light switch products, though.

 

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0.8
The best student laptops 2021: all the best options for school and college

If you’re in the market for one of the best laptops for college out there, you need to consider a few things before pressing that buy button. Price is going to be a huge factor, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Performance, portability, and battery life are all just as crucial. So, though you might be tempted to get the cheapest option available, it may not be up to the task depending on your or your matriculating minds’ needs. Certain types of coursework require a bit more when it comes to performance. A film student editing a project will need a more powerful portable than an English major working on an essay, for instance. One thing all students will need, however, is good battery life. That student laptop has to be able to last a whole school day without needing to be charged. And, since the best college notebooks will probably make several trips across campus in a day, they need to be light and portable enough to haul around easily, not to mention have the kind of durability to survive constantly being carried around in a backpack. It might seem like a difficult task finding the best student laptop – you don’t want to end up with a device that won’t keep up, after all – but we’re here to help guide you. Below, you’ll find our top picks for the best laptops for college, all of which we’ve tested, so you can find the most ideal one, including some of the best budget laptops. No matter if you want something to meet more demanding coursework such as a laptop for engineering or something that can easily take care of day-to-day productivity like a Chromebook, there’s something to fit your needs. And, make sure to use our included price comparison tool to find the best student laptop deals out there. Apple topped the previous year off with a bang, rolling out their much-talked about M1 silicon chip that’s so far been a real game-changer. And, the first laptop to receive it is the company’s thinnest and lightest, putting it on the list of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. With this new chip, the MacBook Air is better than ever, touting excellent performance alongside its brilliant battery life – without raising the price to keep it (fairly) affordable still. It’s not going to be the cheapest option for students, but for those who have a slightly bigger budget, this is the best student laptop to get. Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020) Have you been waiting for the day you can finally afford the premium price of Google Pixelbook? Well, with Google releasing Pixelbook Go, your wait is finally over. Granted, it isn’t quite the actual luxury device you’ve been dreaming of. However, rest assured, you will love this Chromebook, just as we have during our time with it. We love it so much, in fact, that it earned our coveted “Editor's Choice” award in the Chromebook category. It boasts incredible battery life, an even more impressive keyboard and a 1080p webcam, which you don’t see often in the more budget-friendly laptops even in 2021. And, that’s just to start. Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go The HP Chromebook 14 may not be as powerful as other Chromebooks, but this tiny laptop has a few aces up its sleeves, helping it secure a well-deserved top spot on our best laptops for students list. Those aces include striking a good balance between ample screen space and portability, as well as a surprisingly excellent keyboard and a decent trackpad. That’s without mentioning how vivid the display and how low its price tag is. Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14 Microsoft’s devices are known for their higher price tags, which is why the Surface Go line proves popular with the more budget-conscious crowd. It’s Microsoft’s best affordable premium tablet, and the follow up, Surface Go 2, continues that tradition with its reasonable price and premium design. It even runs the full Windows 10 operating system, so it’s even more capable than other tablets out there as far as what applications it can run. Unfortunately, as with the original, it suffers from the same curse of being underpowered, especially at the base configuration. However, it does offer a slight bump in performance over its predecessor. If you’re looking for the best student laptops, this one’s certainly a great contender. Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go 2 If versatility is a top priority, then look no further than the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. This all-rounder has all the makings of a great student laptop, from its good battery life to its robust build and solid usability. However, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 takes it further with its impressive levels of versatility, thanks to its abundance of ports considering its size, 2-in-1 design, portable size and excellent touchscreen display. It also boasts a keyboard and a touchpad that are not only reliable, but also satisfying to use. That’s a rare thing in a machine at this price point. Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 311 A great feature set definitely adds a lot of value, and if you’re looking for the best laptops for students, that’s one thing to keep an eye out for. It’s that combined with its affordability that makes the Acer Spin 5 (2020) a terrific candidate. This 2-in-1 laptop isn’t just versatile due to its form factors and fantastic battery life. It also comes with a 3:2 display and a feature-rich stylus that together give it that extra advantage for students over its rivals: an easy and seamless note-taking experience. If you’re one of those folks who have a contempt for typing up notes in class, this old-school approach might just seal the deal. Read the full review: Acer Spin 5 (2020) The Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook lands straight in our best student laptops list due to the fact that it is one of the most powerful Chromebooks money can buy in 2021. While you're going to pay extra for this kind of horsepower, especially if you want some of the best features that come with the high-end models, it's well worth it if you're looking for a future proof Chromebook that's going to last you for years to come – four years of college at the very least. As a 2-in-1 device, it's got the flexibility that many other Chromebooks lack, and the screen on this thing is stunning. Best of all, it comes packing the new AMD 3000C-series processors - starting with an Athlon 3150C and scaling up to a Ryzen 7 3700C - and this means you'll get more processing power out of this Chromebook than many of it's competitors. Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook The HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is nearly in a class in its own right, a 2-in-1 laptop that combines impressive CPU and GPU power with an elegant yet robust design, a stunning display, and outstanding battery life – all for an incredible price. In fact, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value for a 2-in-1, making it among the best student laptops right now. Its huge collection of ports make it an even better value, especially if you have a few peripherals in your arsenal. It’s not the most comfortable to use as a tablet, but even the most premium contenders aren’ perfect, so it’s easy to forgive this laptop for that. Read the full review: HP Envy x360 15 (2021) The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 provides a lot of benefits to any students willing to invest in its hefty price. Not only does it come with a fantastic 16:10 screen and a garaged stylus that you can use in its various form factors – it is a 2-in-1 hybrid notebook – but it comes with a number of security features to keep your work safe. It’s also a powerful laptop thanks to the latest generation Intel processors, Intel Xe graphics, and Evo certification. It also has the kind of battery life that will keep you going throughout the day without needing to charge. It might not be the most exciting looking laptop out there and that price tag might scare off some students, but the X1 is an otherwise stellar machine that will keep up with just about anyone. Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) may not have gotten a massive design overhaul, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up for big time in performance and battery life. Thanks to Apple’s groundbreaking M1 chip, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers excellent performance and exceptional battery life. Its performance is so impressive, in fact, that it can easily handle 4K - and even 8K - videos, which is great news for film students. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that keeps things small and lightweight, this is the best student laptop money can buy. Read the full review: MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) We know that buying a new laptop can be a huge investment. Even more so with laptops for college students. That’s why we take our jobs seriously, and test every laptop we recommend on this list extensively. That process involves using them in our day-to-day lives to see how long their battery lasts, how robust they are – college kids have hectic lives, after all, and how cool they stay under pressure. We also look at their design, including how stylish they are, if they are thin and light enough to carry around with, and how comfortable they are to work on. Because the webcam and microphone in a laptop is also incredibly important, especially these days, we take time to test those out as well. When it comes to performance, we use a mix of real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks to see how powerful (or not) these laptops are. This means using Windows 10 (or Chrome OS on Chromebooks and macOS on MacBooks) and running various apps and seeing how fast they load, noting down any problems. Battery lives are also important, so we’ll keep track of how long we can use the laptop without needing to charge. To get specific numbers, we also run our own battery life benchmark that plays a looped 1080p movie until the battery dies and the PC Mark 10 battery life benchmark, which replicates real-world usage, such as web browsing and document creation. These tests give us an excellent idea of how long the batteries in these laptops last. When all is said and done, we then take everything we’ve learned about the laptop and compare it to its price, to see if it offers the best value to students.

 

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1.3
gamerant.com

One of the best indie games released in 2021 was Acid Nerve’s Death’s Door, which delivered a Soulslike game with an isometric perspective. The title received overwhelming positive reviews for its gameplay, art style, and the decision to rein in the infamously-brutal difficulty of other games inspired by FromSoftware’s classic series. However, the game also has some Metroidvania qualities, with the player character gradually amassing new abilities that permit access to previously unreachable areas of the game. Stuffed with secrets for keen-eyed players to find, Death’s Door is a great example of how games can reward players for exploration. RELATED: Death's Door: How to Save Your Game Metroidvania games are named after the two stalwarts of the genre, legendary franchises Metroid and Castlevania. Although both have been around since the 1980s, the mechanics of these games are so popular that they continue to influence developers over thirty years later. One of the core components of Metroidvania games is the inclusion of impassable obstacles that can only be cleared once the player has acquired certain abilities or items. Clever placement of these barriers results in not only a curated experience, preventing players from accessing content the developer intended to feature only in the later game, but also provides a huge incentive for revisiting earlier sections once new capabilities have been acquired. This ensures that the longevity of Metroidvania games is greatly increased, rewarding players who do not simply plough through the game’s main completion route, but take the time to backtrack and look for alternative new paths that might have become available. Modern hits like Hollow Knight are great examples of how a game can be structured in this way, with deeply-buried secrets lurking in even some of the game’s earliest sections. This approach does not work only for 2D titles, of course. Many fully 3D action-adventure games contain Metroidvania elements; for example, Batman: Arkham Asylum features one sprawling map with areas that are inaccessible until certain upgrades are acquired. Acclaim’s Shadow Man was another excellent demonstration of how the genre can be delivered effectively in a 3D environment. Metroidvania mechanics are also a great fit for Soulslikes, which feature a recursive mechanic that resets all enemies whenever the player heals at a checkpoint, or leaves and then revisits an area. The repopulation of monsters in these games ensures that the player does not become bored while traipsing through a section they have visited multiple times. Death’s Door uses all of these elements to great effect, delivering a memorable experience that blends Soulslike and Metroidvania qualities. RELATED: Why Death's Door is Worth Playing on PlayStation Death’s Door features four magic spells, only one of which – the bow – is available to the player at the start of its roughly ten-hour adventure. The others – the flame spell, the bomb spell, and the “hookshot” spell – are obtained prior to battling each of the game’s three major boss characters, and allow the protagonist to set torches and other objects on fire (often acting as switches to open locked doors), smash through previously indestructible walls, or grapple their way across impassable chasms. These abilities are utilized in the classic Metroidvania style to prevent the player from accessing late-game content too early, but also to encourage the player to revisit earlier sections of the game’s world. Death’s Door helps to promote this by ensuring that all of its levels are cleverly interconnected, meaning that going back to one of these starting areas does not feel like a painful backtracking exercise. Not only does this save time for the player, but it also helps to make the world feel alive, and creates a sense of discovery when a new connection between two areas is found. This rewarding approach is very reminiscent of the famous “clockwork world” of the first Dark Souls. Death’s Door also utilizes the Dark Souls mechanic of refreshing all enemies each time the player passes between one area and the next, giving them some creatures to battle en route. Furthermore, as each enemy slain rewards the player with one or more “souls”, which act as the game’s currency, there is still a reward for revisiting areas and slaying some monsters even if no new secrets are unearthed. This is a rare occurrence, however, because as well as the gated areas that the player can access only with the appropriate spell, Death’s Door is packed with other secrets. From weapon upgrades to soul spheres to the fiendishly-hidden magic crystal shrines, exploration in Death’s Door is constantly rewarded with collectibles, and completionists have enjoyed trying to locate 100% of the game’s hidden loot. Furthermore, these pick-ups are not just “junk” treasure that is largely worthless – a criticism that has been levied at even revered titles like Sekiro – but valuable and meaningful currency or enhancements that really do reward the player’s inquisitive efforts. There is even an entire post-game, world-spanning puzzle to be unraveled if the player wants to obtain the game’s true ending, revealing some ingeniously-hidden additional content as well as a poignant conclusion for one of the game’s NPCs. Death’s Door is a worthwhile experience for all kinds of gamers, utilizing Soulslike and Metroidvania mechanics to further enhance its gameplay experience - something that helps it stand alongside true classics like Hollow Knight. Fans of the game, and of Acid Nerve’s previous release Titan Souls, will eagerly await news of the developer’s next project. Death's Door is available now for the PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. MORE: 10 Mistakes Everyone Makes While Playing Death’s Door

 

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0.6
A gaming mouse with its own 1TB SSD? That's what ADATA's XPG VAULT is

At the upcoming CES 2022 event, where memory and storage products maker ADATA will host its "Dawn of a New Xtreme" event, the firm plans to exhibit a bizarre yet interesting product. Called XPG VAULT, this will be a gaming mouse that will have its own fast storage as ADATA says that the sample prototype it currently is working on can house up to 1TB of SSD space. Here's the idea behind such a creation. If you are a gamer then ADATA says it wants you to have "your gaming library, in the palm of your hand". The current prototype samples are capable of running at up to 985MB/s and paired with 1TB storage, the product does sound pretty interesting, at least on paper. The mouse will utilize a USB Type-C connector and looking at the speed, it will probably be a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection. The company will also show off some more interesting products here including super-fast 14GB/s PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSDs that we covered yesterday, RAM, cases, coolers, gaming laptops, and more. ADATA isn't the only company to stick up an SSD on to something you'd least expect. For example, there is an actual NVMe SSD designed for audiophiles out there that apparently makes audio sound better due to its pSLC mode, among other stuff.

 

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0.1
gamerant.com

2021 has been a rollercoaster of emotions for fans of Square Enix's The World Ends With You franchise. The announcement and subsequent release of NEO: The World Ends With You, a sequel released 14 years after the original game, must have seemed a miracle to fans who have patiently been waiting. However, Square Enix then confirmed that NEO: The World Ends With You had underperformed, a disappointing conclusion to such a long wait. It's no surprise then that Square Enix now says the series' future is up in the air. The World Ends With You producer Tomohiko Hirano was perhaps a little too blunt with fans in a recent interview with PC Invasion. Hirano says straight away that Square Enix doesn't have any plans for what's next in The World Ends With You series. However, he encourages fans of the franchise to continue sharing their love for the two games with Square Enix. He says that if fans do that then it's possible Square Enix "will have us make a sequel." RELATED: NEO: The World Ends With You Sales Lower Than Expected Hirano doesn't completely pull the rug out from The World Ends With You fans, however. He also mentions that he still has ideas for what could be featured in a The World Ends With You Part 3. More specifically, he mentions that there are still " many areas in the city of Shibuya " that they could put into a game. As such, if Square Enix approved it, Hirano would very much love to make another The World Ends With You game. However, Hirano is only one piece of The World Ends With You 's development team. Series director Tatsuya Kando is also a key component of the franchise's past, as well as any future it could still have. But Kando isn't as interested in the series' future as Hirano is. "I feel like I've done what I can for the time being", says Kando, adding that he packed NEO: The World Ends With You with "fourteen years' worth of thought and emotion." For now, he'll focus on fan feedback and how the game was perceived, then think about "the best path forward" after. For fans of The World Ends With You and its sequel, these comments are obviously not what anyone wants to hear. A third game will likely require just as much of a miracle as it took to get the second game. The World Ends With You is, for the time being, going back on Square Enix 's shelf. With that said, it's not all disappointing news. Tatsuya Kando believes that NEO: The World Ends With You is everything that he wanted a sequel to be. He got to say everything he wanted to say. If The World Ends With You had to end as it is, then Hando seems to be content with it. For fans, that's hopefully enough. Perhaps another The World Ends With You anime would be a better fit. NEO: The World Ends With You is available now on PC, PS4, and Switch. MORE: Why TWEWY Fans Should Play Final Remix Before NEO: The World Ends With You Source: PC Invasion

 

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0.5
We now know the specifications of the upcoming AMD workstation CPUs

AMD will soon release several new powerful workstation processors, dubbed AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 5000, code name “Chagall.” After recent rumors revealed that the CPUs will likely be released on March 8, 2022, further leaks now show in-depth specifications of the new Threadrippers, including five different variants. Igor’sLab published an internal list of the five upcoming AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 5000 CPUs. All of these are Zen3 processors based on the sWRX8 socket, and the lineup includes models with 64, 32, 24, 16, and 12 cores. According to the internal spec sheet shared by Igor’sLab, the CPUs should all offer 8-channel DDR4 memory support as well as 128 lanes support for Gen4 PCIe. These powerful chips consume a lot of power, as each has a TDP of 280W. When it comes to the boost clocks on these CPUs, the 4.55GHz is the maximum. However, users will be able to adjust the power state to lower the TDP, and this will affect the maximum boost clock. While the base clock varies from model to model, they all cap out at 4.55GHz when it comes to the boost clock. The best model from the new line of AMD workstation CPUs is called Threadripper Pro 5995WX. It comes with 64 cores and 128 threads as well as a 256MB L3 cache, which is the same as the previous 3995WX model. However, the new flagship CPU has higher clock speeds, offering a jump from 4.2GHz to 4.55GHz. There is a good chance that this will be one of the best processors on the market. Other variants include the 5975WX with 32 cores, followed by the 5965WX with 24 cores, the 5955WX with 16 cores, and lastly, the 5945WX rounds out the list with 12 cores. Only the top CPU has a 256MB L3 cache. The 32-core and 24-core Threadripper Pros will feature a 128MB cache, while the 16-core and 12-core options have just 64MB of cache. Historically, AMD has had little competition in the workstation segment of the CPU market. However, with Intel also planning to release the new Sapphire Rapids HEDT family of processors early next year, things are bound to get interesting. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 5000 series has long been awaited: The launch of the CPUs has been postponed several times. Now, it seems that AMD may unveil the processors during CES 2022 in January and prepare for the release on March 8, 2022. It’s going to be a big year for AMD, as we can also expect the launch of AMD Ryzen 6000 consumer processors sometime in 2022.

 

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0.2
Analyzing online social networking to identify emotions and other characteristics

December 23, 2021 A comprehensive review of the various approaches to social networking user behavior analysis is reported in the International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology by a team from India. Pramod Bide and Sudhir Dhage of the Computer Engineering Department at the Sardar Patel Institute of Technology in Mumbai, Maharashtra, explain that various approaches can be used for gender prediction, the identification of malicious users, real-time user preference determination, and emotion detection. Online social networks have been with us for many years now and they each have their pros and cons for their billions of users. For researchers and other observers they are a major source of data that can be used to glean insights into human behavior and the interactions and responses of users to others and to commercial, political, and other concerns that hope to engage with those users. As such, numerous analytical approaches have been tested that might extract insights from the various online social networks, each with its own successes and failures. The team explains that hybrid techniques and ones that can be used to analyze behavior between networks can be the most powerful tools. The results that such approaches are able to glean about the networks' users can be useful to marketing departments, political campaigners, advocacy groups, and many other so-called "stakeholders" looking to make the most of the online world to fulfill their own agendas. The team concedes that the vast majority of analytical tools focus on text-based updates on social networks, but some can take images and videos into consideration too, and even audio in some instances. Indeed, they suggest that the next step will be to survey tools that focus specifically on audio-visual content. Dec 21, 2021 3 Dec 20, 2021 1 Dec 17, 2021 0 Dec 16, 2021 0 Dec 16, 2021 0 40 minutes ago 3 hours ago 5 hours ago 23 hours ago 23 hours ago Dec 22, 2021 Dec 21, 2021 Aug 04, 2021 Dec 01, 2021 Dec 06, 2021 Sep 27, 2021 Mar 04, 2021 Oct 07, 2016 Dec 16, 2021 Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021 Dec 13, 2021 Dec 09, 2021 Dec 05, 2021

 

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0.4
January's PlayStation Plus games have seemingly leaked again

Dealabs has, as of late, been in the business of leaking and revealing the games Sony has planned for the next month of its PlayStation Plus service, before Sony can do so itself. And this month is no different. While we will probably have to wait another week or so before Sony says anything official themselves, Dealabs has revealed that we can look forward to Deep Rock Galactic and Dirt 5 for PlayStation 4 and 5, as well as Persona 5 Strikers on PlayStation 4 as PlayStation Plus games from January 4. While Dealabs has a track record of being right, as this isn't official yet, we do have to take this report with a grain of salt. But still, while waiting for that confirmation, it's still possible to get Godfall: Challenger Edition, Mortal Shell, Lego DC Super-Villains, The Persistence, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners and Until You Fall without paying extra for it as part of this month's selection. You must be logged in to comment. If you are not yet a member - join now! Loading next content

 

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0.8
gamerant.com

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has always been a fan favorite because the game stands out. It is one of the few games in the series that does not take place in the kingdom of Hyrule. It also stands out due to the fact that other than one quick mention of the name, Zelda appears nowhere in the game. However, what does appear in Link's Awakening are plenty of interesting characters, a fantastic line-up of bosses, and tons of interesting optional content. One of the major entries in the optional content is the collection of the Chamber Stones. There are 14 Chamber Stones to be found in Link's Awakening. These can be given to Dampe, who will use them to create new chambers and effect panels in the Chamber Dungeon, giving the player even more exciting areas to explore. Here we will review where to find the chamber stones and the requirements to obtain them. RELATED: Link's Awakening: Angler's Tunnel Walkthrough Once Link has completed the Catfish's Maw and makes his way to Mabe Village, he can get started on the collection. 2 Chamber Stones can be won at the Trendy Game. This is a game where the player manipulates a claw to grab different items off of a moving platform. The game's location is in the bottom right corner of Mabe Village. The first of these Chamber Stones appears within the game only after unlocking and beating the fifth dungeon, Catfish's Maw. The second appears when once the player has collected all 10 Figures. A new Figure gets added to the Trendy Game after every dungeon and beating the final boss. Now it's time for Link to put his fishing skills to the test. The next 2 Chamber Stones can be found at the Fishing Pond in the northernmost part of Mabe Village. In order to collect these 2 stones, Link must not only play the fishing game but also catch 2 big cyan-colored fish called "Ol' Baron." Since it takes some skill to land the bigger fish in this minigame, it is recommended that the player drops by the Fishing Pond from time to time early in the game to hone their skill. RELATED: How To Get Every Dungeon Key In Link's Awakening The Ol' Barons only appear in the Fishing Pond after beating the sixth dungeon, Face Shrine. Link can get the first Chamber Stone by catching an Ol' Baron. Then he can get the second one by catching a much larger Ol' Baron. This second fish is enormous. So, be prepared for a fight. The Seashell Mansion is located in Ukuku Prairie. It is easy to spot because it looks like a giant seashell. Link can get 2 Chamber Stones in the mansion as rewards for finding and turning in the seashells. These take quite a bit of time to acquire due to the number of shells required. However, they are certainly not the most tedious collectible in the Zelda series. He will get the first one once he turns in 30 of the Secret Seashells. However, Link will not receive the second Chamber Stone until he turns in all 50 of the Secret Seashells, the maximum number found in the game. The player will be able to find the Raft Shop just to the east of Angler's Tunnel. Once there, a single Chamber Stone is Link's reward for completing the "Rapids Race" minigame. However, it's not enough just to finish the race. To earn the stone, Link has to complete the minigame in 30 seconds or less. RELATED: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - How to Beat Ancient Ruins Mini Boss It is not possible to get through the course that fast just by riding the currents. This requires extremely liberal and skillful uses of the Hookshot to pull off. Using the Hookshot, the player can move Link and his raft along at a much faster pace and make normally slow turns much quicker. This dramatically reduces the time it takes to finish this minigame and allows the Chamber Stone to be won. Here is where the largest gains can be made. A total of 7 Chamber Stones can be either bought or stolen from the Town Tool Shop located east of the weathervane in Mabe Village. The Stones can be purchased here for 1,280 Rupees each. If the player wants to purchase all of these, the two best ways of making Rupees are building Chamber Dungeons specifically designed to give many Rupees or by going through the "Rapid Raid" minigame. This version of the minigame costs 100 Rupees per run, but Link will easily profit off of each of these runs, as it has a ton of Red Rupees spread throughout it. Link can also obtain the 7 Chamber Stones by stealing them from the shop. While the developers made stealing the stones a lot more difficult to do in the newer version of the game than the original, it is not impossible. However, should the player decide to steal them, be warned. If Link succeeds in stealing anything from the shop, all of the characters will refer to him as "THIEF!" for the rest of the game. (The player's file name will not change.) Also, if Link enters the shop again, the cashier kills him, making it impossible to receive the ending bonus after watching the credits. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is now available for the Switch. MORE: Link's Awakening: A Step By Step Guide To Getting To Yarna Desert

 

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0.4
How to Make Sure No One Is Tracking You With an AirTag

Apple’s AirTags and Samsung’s SmartTags this year joined an already crowded Bluetooth tracker market. These little devices attach to key rings, backpacks, and luggage or can be tucked inside a bag or attached to any other possession you’re afraid to lose, sending you alerts when it leaves your side and even enabling you to track down its last known location on a map. Useful, right? But there are also very valid concerns about how these gadgets can be used to track people. The most common trackers made by Apple, Tile, etc. don’t have built-in GPS, so they can’t send out a constant beacon with their location, but they can be reported as lost, at which point other phones are enlisted anonymously to find them. When you read about trackers like AirTags being misused to track people without their knowledge, this is how it’s done: It doesn’t take long for a tracker to leave the Bluetooth range of a the phone it’s connected to, but that individual can then mark the tracker as lost and get a report on its location courtesy of other users. This is handy if you’ve forgotten your phone in a bar, not so helpful if someone has slipped a tracker on your person or into your belongings without you realizing. In the case of Apple, which has close to a billion devices activated on its Find My network, that behind-the-scenes pinging means you’ll probably get a rather precise pinpoint of the tracker’s location. Networks run by Apple’s competitors are much smaller, relying on users to have a companion app installed, but unwanted tracking could still be an issue. The companies that make these trackers are very much aware of the potential problems. They’re pushing out more tools and safeguards to make it a lot harder to follow someone (or someone’s car, or someone’s bag) in this way. We’ll start with the latest on Apple AirTags, before covering some other types of trackers you might have. AirTags have had some anti-stalking measures built in since the very beginning. Any AirTag that has become separated from its owner and that seems to be moving with you will cause an alert to appear on your iPhone—although Apple doesn’t specify how long it’s going to take for this to happen, and it doesn’t help Android users. Apple also says that after “an extended period of time” (reported to be up to 24 hours), an AirTag that has traveled away from the person who originally registered it, and is on the move, will emit a sound. This offers some basic protection for both iPhone and Android users, but it’s not always going to work (it might be difficult to hear sounds from an AirTag hidden in your car, for example), and the timeframe for hearing that sound is pretty long. The iOS 15.2 beta included an extra option in the Find My app, under the Items tab, labeled Items That Can Track Me. Tapping it showed nearby AirTags that had lost their owner and could be being pinged by the Apple device network, but it has vanished from the final version of iOS 15.2 that was pushed out to users. We’re assuming that it’s still being worked on and will hopefully show up soon. Apple just introduced a new Tracker Detect app for Android users, available in the Google Play Store, that lets you manually search for unwanted AirTags. Tap Scan on the opening screen and the app starts to look around for a tracking device. Any AirTags or other Find My-compatible trackers that are near you and have been parted from their original owners will be listed, and you can prompt detected items to emit a sound to help you find them. If you find an unknown AirTag near you, you can get more information about it by holding it against an iPhone or any NFC-enabled Android phone, tap the notification that shows up, and you’ll see the tracker’s serial number and whether or not it’s been marked as lost by its owner. There are also third-party apps that will scan the area around you for low-energy Bluetooth devices—that is, devices that won’t pair in the normal way. They include LightBlue and BLE Scanner on the iPhone, and BLE Scanner and Bluetooth Scanner on Android. However, it’s difficult to tell exactly which devices might be trackers (AirTags, for example, change their Bluetooth IDs regularly as a privacy feature), and you’re likely to come up with a lot of results if you’re in a gadget-filled room or building. Aside from AirTags, the biggest name in Bluetooth trackers is Tile, and these devices will soon be supported by a new anti-stalking feature called Scan and Secure, which is rolling out in 2022. It will make the process of looking for nearby Tiles much more straightforward as a built-in feature in the Tile app for Android and iOS. “Created with guidance from an advocacy organization that are experts in this area, the new Scan and Secure feature will enable anyone with the Tile app (even if they don’t have an active Tile account) to easily scan for and detect nearby Tile devices and identify if an unknown device is near them,” explains Tile. If you’re concerned about Samsung’s SmartTags, Samsung updated its SmartThings app for Android and iOS earlier this year with a new Unknown Tag Search feature, which will scour the nearby area for tags that aren’t registered to you but that are moving with you. It should be enough to detect any tags that are trying to keep tabs on where you are without your knowledge. As you can tell, there’s a problem here: You have to download various apps to make sure you’re not being tracked by different brands of trackers. What’s more, none of these apps scan for trackers automatically—presumably to cut down on background processes and avoid destroying battery life—so you need to open and launch them all manually to look for devices. The apps we mentioned in the AirTags section above all still apply, with the same caveats—it’s going to be difficult to identify individual trackers from the list if you’re in a busy, gadget-filled area. These apps are perhaps most useful when you’re some distance from civilization and can account for the devices appearing in the Bluetooth scanning app one by one (remember Bluetooth LE has a range of around 100 meters, or 328 feet). If you’re concerned that someone is trying to track you, another approach is a decidedly more manual one: Check your bags, coat pockets, car seats, and other places where a tracker might be surreptitiously hidden. Technology has made it much easier for stalkers, abusers, and other predators to track and terrorize victims, and until there’s a better solution, a stop-gap combination of apps and awareness will hopefully keep you safe. If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

 

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0.1
gamerant.com

Fan-made project Resident Evil Revisited has released its first trailer showing thrilling gameplay and laying the foundation for a terrifying new story. In it, players see a new protagonist venture through familiar locations like the Spencer Estate in addition to new locales in the Resident Evil universe. Resident Evil Revisited was unveiled on December 5, 2021, on the project's Twitter page. The trailer itself shows off a new game done in the style of the PlayStation era games. In it, a "new" character by the name of Trent is seen heading to the Arklay Mountains before a fateful automobile accident sends him down a path of survival horror. RELATED: Viral Tik Tok Video Perfectly Recreates Resident Evil 2 Viewers with a keen eye may recognize Trent. Although it isn't explicitly stated, it is likely that this Trent is the same character from the novels by S.D. Perry. In them, Trent is a high-level employee in the Umbrella organization keen on taking it down. Over the course of the novels based on the games, and the novels with original stories, Trent will often reach out to the protagonist and provide them with valuable information to aid them on their upcoming journey. It is unlikely that the developers of Resident Evil Revisited chose this name without knowing the larger implications of it. In the trailer, Trent is shown driving through the forest of the Arklay Mountains before crashing his car in order to avoid hitting a zombie shambling across the road. Trent then views a document saying "-If the site is contaminated, retrieve any assests that are not compromised or infected. Good luck with your mission. [sic]" The remainder of the trailer shows many quick cuts with shots of the additional areas added in the Resident Evil Remake in addition to new areas like a motel. In a fun nod to Final Fantasy 8, Trent finds an issue of Timber Maniacs while exploring. For a fan project, Resident Evil Revisited looks extremely impressive. It captures the spirit of the PlayStation era of games while feeling like something new. The voice acting is a little rough but is perfectly in line with the original trilogy, thus making it more accurate than if it were done to today's standards. The graphics, movement, and inventory management all hearken back to an era many would have thought lost but is returning thanks to projects like this and the Bloodborne PlayStation demake. For fans of classic Resident Evil, this original title is certainly one to keep an eye on. Resident Evil Revisited doesn't have a release date at this time. MORE: Resident Evil 4 VR Should Bring Ada's Missions Back With Mercenaries

 

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0.8
The best robot vacuums for 2021

Robot vacuums are an excellent way to keep up with the cleanliness of your home. Easy to setup and quick to get started, robot vacs can be customized to clean when and where you want, with most models even offering support for popular voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. We’ve tested dozens of robot vacuums, and our pick for the best is the iRobot Roomba S9+. The S9+ is the Ferrari of robot vacuums, offering advanced navigation and emptying its own dust bin. We’ve also included our picks for the best value robot vacuum, as well as the best models in other categories. Still not sure which model to get? Check out our robot vacuum guide that can help you decide. Sure, a robot vacuum makes cleaning your floors a heck of a lot easier. But, you still have to empty the dustbin just about every time you run it. With its Clean Base and compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant, the S9+ is the latest model from the esteemed company that’s capable of literally vacuuming without having you lift a finger. Just say “Alexa” or “OK, Google, ask Roomba to start cleaning,” and your S9+ will start cleaning. The best part about the S9 is that it sucks dirt and debris into an anti-allergen base that holds up to 30 deposits (60 days of dirt). In addition to being one of the most user-friendly robots you can buy, the S9+ adopts a new D-shaped design to allow for better edge and corner cleaning. Naturally, it’s outfitted with the latest tech under the hood — consisting of a new 3D sensor in the front bumper that enhances Roomba’s wall detection, a more powerful cleaning head, and intelligent mapping. It can tell where it has already been and where it still needs to clean. The robot can clean your entire home, or you can instruct it to clean specific places. Its sensors can locate the higher traffic areas in your home, and the robot will be extra attentive to those dirtier areas of your floors. The S9+ is perfect for those that can’t fit a regular upright-vac cleaning into their packed schedule, thanks in part to the many automations and customizations the bot is capable of. While the iRobot Roomba S9+ is expensive, its performance and features are top-notch. If you want the best of the best in terms of robot vacuums, the S9+ is the way to go. You can check out our full review of the Roomba S9+. The Neato Botvac D8 has a laser-based navigation system, which allows it to scan and map your home and even clean in the dark. It has a large main brush that picks up pet hair and small debris, and an ultra-performance filter to trap allergens. Plus, with Neato’s D-shape build, this robotic vacuum is a boss when it comes to cornering and edging. You can easily set the Neato D8 to clean your entire home or spot clean a specific section of a room. Once set up, you can check in on the bot to schedule tasks and similarly receive notifications as rooms are cleaned via the Neato app. With a 100 minute runtime, the D8 is perfectly capable of tackling a full cleaning of a single-story home. And not to worry: If the battery runs down, the vac is smart enough to re-dock without you even needing to lift a finger. You can also create virtual “No-Go Lines” in the Neato App that tell the robot which areas to avoid, making it great for homes with delicate furniture and other cherished belongings. All of this, plus Alexa voice assistance, makes the Neato Botvac D8 a solid robot vacuum option. Whether you need a quick sweep or a full home detail, the Eufy RoboVac G30 is your best bet for getting the house spotless. With Eufy’s Smart Dynamic Navigation 2.0, your RoboVac takes a detailed scan of your home that the vac will reference during each cleaning. Where other robot vacs set off on randomized paths when enabled, the RoboVac will build its cleaning course based on what floor it’s located on, the room, and the surface type it will be cleaning. Featuring 2000Pa of suction power, the RoboVac will have zero issues with whatever carpeting, tile, hardwoods, or other surfaces your home has to throw at it. Plus, with the included BoostIQ technology, the RoboVac will automatically increase suction power when it moves from a hard surface to a carpeted area, so you won’t have to worry about adjusting suction strength in the companion app. Speaking of which, the Eufy app (for iOS and Android devices) is your one-stop command center for your Eufy RoboVac G30, allowing you to assign spot cleaning duties, create vacuum schedules, view the bot’s cleaning history, and more. The Roborock S7+ is an all-in-one vacuum, mop, and whole-home detailer. On the vacuum end of things, the S7+ features an advanced lidar scanner to build intuitive apps for your home, covering multiple floors in a pinch. When it comes to tackling the deep-seated dirt in those carpet fibers, the S7+ employs 2500pa of suction power to draw out the dirt that normally escapes us. For mopping capabilities, the S7+ uses a sensor-driven water tank that only shoots out water when cleaning, so no need to worry about watermarks on your carpet. We also love the Sonic Vibration technology that scrubs floors up to 3,000 times per minute, getting up grease and other substances that have been glued to the floor for weeks. The S5 can seamlessly traverse multiple floor types and clean for up to 2.5 hours on a single charge. We’re also big fans of the auto-empty dock that can store up to eight weeks of detritus. Once the dust bag is full, you’ll receive a notification to pull out the bag and replace it. For those concerned with airborne allergens, rest assured that the dock’s multilevel filtration will catch up to 99.9% of allergens. With the Mi app (for iOS and Android), you can create customized cleaning zones for the vac, save and load specialized cleaning maps of your home, and access real-time video of your vacuum mid-clean by tapping into the S5’s onboard camera. There’s also Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit compatibility, so you can fire up the vac or tell it to stop cleaning using voice commands. While you can purchase the Roborock S7 as a stand-alone vac, you’ll want to grab the Roborock S7+ with Auto-Empty Dock bundle for automatic dust-emptying. Read our full review of the Roborock S7 (without Auto-Empty Dock). Not only is this vac a great value, but it’s also an excellent option for pet owners. If there’s a cat or dog in your life, chances are that every crevice of your home is filled with some part of them, whether that be hair, litter, or food. The Amarey A980 is tailor-made for this kind of cleanup. It’s all thanks to the vac’s advanced cleaning tools, featuring four side brushes and a main spinning brush, allowing it to dig into those hard-to-reach cat-hair nooks. Using the companion app, you can also choose between three different cleaning modes, including automatic, spot, and max vacuuming, the latter two being excellent choices for unearthing pet dander. The A980 uses a series of advanced sensors to map your home, ensuring no corner goes untouched. Not only does this vacuum clean quietly at less than 58 decibels, but it cleans a variety of surfaces, such as wood, carpet, and tile. The A980’s 360-degree anti-drop and anti-collision sensors are also instrumental in making sure it doesn’t fall over stairs or drop-offs. Best of all, you can use Alexa voice commands to tell the Amarey 980 to start/stop cleaning. For pet owners with plenty of dander to keep up with, we can’t think of a better bot. There are more budget-flexible models and devices on the market, like the Eufy product. This vacuum doesn’t have the Wi-Fi or tech capabilities that some of the more expensive models may have. However, you’ll still benefit from a long-lasting battery charge, a drop-sensing system, and multiple cleaning settings that boast stellar suction. This vacuum runs for an hour and forty minutes before needing a recharge, and its suction ranks at 1500pa. It can tackle your dirt powerfully through three different forms of filtration. You can trust the Eufy RoboVac 12 to suck up any dirt, hair, and debris while also appearing fabulous. The anti-scratch glass will keep it looking new and the streamlined design will ensure it runs efficiently in any space. Having a mobile security camera that you can access on the go is never a bad idea. Fortunately, the Samsung Jet Bot AI+ boasts a powerful security camera that you view through the SmartThings app. Once in a room, the vac will scan the environment and send you a notification if it detects a motion. While it won’t cue up automatically, you can still build a schedule for the vac to follow. In terms of cleaning features, there’s plenty onboard to get your house spotless. Lidar sensors create detailed maps of your home while navigating the vac to all the hard-to-see cracks and crevices, employing a main roller brush and side-sweepers to grab whatever dirt and pet hair is around. Object avoidance is on-point, too, combining lidar and the camera to keep away from valuables and furniture while still getting the job done. Voice controls, a 90-minute runtime, and automatic dirt disposal are all sweet additions to this Samsung package. While the price is a bit on the high side, the Samsung Jet Bot AI+ is a phenomenal patrol vac and a solid cleaner, too. Read our full review of the Samsung Jet Bot AI+, and learn about how the vacuum uses A.I. A robot vacuum turns the normal push-and-pull labor of vacuuming your whole home into an automated cleaning experience. While you may want to hang onto an upright for ceilings and other hard-to-reach spots, a robot vacuum (depending on the type) is capable of suctioning and mopping across multiple types of floor surfaces. Additional customizations for scheduling and bot settings are adjustable in the bot’s companion app. You can also use a number of voice assistants to give commands to the bot. Typically, robot vacuums are puck-shaped and often measure no wider than 10 to 12 inches. Casing colors are usually hues that will blend in well with common home decor, with white and black featuring prominently across multiple brands. Many of today’s leading robot vacuums come with dirt-disposal stations that your bot will automatically connect to for emptying its internal debris tank. These stations often feature disposable dirt bags that can carry dirt for as long as 60 days before replacement is necessary. When your bot’s internal brushing components start to wear out, these can often be replaced directly through the bot’s manufacturer.

 

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0.3
gamerant.com

Video gaming is a medium that has the power to inspire awe, stimulate the imagination, and tantalize the senses. It is also able to facilitate the creation of friendships and communities that can come together to make unforgettable moments. Understandably, video games are a cornerstone of many childhoods, and they have helped plenty of people through incredibly difficult times in life. While it is easy to take the accessibility of video games for granted, gamers with disabilities often find themselves unable to play or complete certain games due to gameplay barriers that are difficult or impossible to overcome. Consequently, many iconic games have been cordoned off from a segment of gamers who would love to enjoy the experiences that others easily indulge in. Fortunately, slowly but surely, games have been working at accommodating various impairments. Through accessibility options, gaming has opened up to more gamers while not infringing on gameplay or the creative visions of developers. Although many gamers will entirely ignore accessibility options, their increasingly widespread use in games is perhaps the most revolutionary change in gaming in recent years. RELATED: The 10 Best Games With Accessible Options From 2021 Video games are such an intensely visual medium that it can be hard to imagine that they are playable with impaired sight. However, through innovations and creativity, developers have been able to make their games more accessible to players who may have limited vision. Some of the solutions produced are so effective that they are useful even to gamers who may not have issues with sight. Colorblindness is a condition that affects a considerable percentage of the population. The condition affects mostly men; it is estimated that 8% of males exhibit some form of colorblindness and 0.5% of women experience it. Colorblindness can make completing certain games difficult, especially when gameplay aspects are dependent on color, or when games use color to convey information to players. Some video games have attempted to remedy this by including a colorblind mode, which adds a color filter. It should be noted that although this solution can be helpful, colorblind gamers claim that it is not the best solution. The Gamer's Experience, a site that documents accessibility in video games, highlights that filters "changing all of the colors that are distinguishable to those with colorblindness makes the game look bizarre and unnatural." Hence it is typically better if video games allow players to change the color of individual elements in a game or, better yet, rely on methods other than color to convey information. This is effectively done in games like Hue and Chromagun that use symbols in place of color in colorblind mode Low vision and vision impairment is also a problem that faces players, and this should not stop them from playing their favorite games. To aid players with limited vision, The Last of Us Part 2 features a robust text-to-speech option that not only reads text but also narrates parts of the game. This includes telling gamers what gun their character has equipped, and how much ammo they have remaining. A swipe of the touchpad also lets players know their character's current status. Visually impaired players can also make use of audio cues that let players know when they are around interactable objects, when an enemy is close enough to be taken down, or when players have got their gun aimed at a foe. The Last of Us Part 2 's accessibility options for the visually impaired were enough to have a blind YouTuber named Steve Saylor bursting into tears. According to Saylor, the game is so accessible that "anyone without visual impairment could actually close their eyes and be able to play this game with all the settings turned on." Audio is an important part of most video games. A good soundtrack can elevate a game to new heights, and well-written dialogue performed by a skilled voice actor can ensure that emotional moments land with perfect precision. Unfortunately, there is a portion of gamers who cannot fully enjoy this aspect of gaming due to poor accessibility options for players who are deaf or hard of hearing. This trend is slowly changing thanks to the release of more games that provide accessibility settings for hearing. The easiest solution for players who have hearing impairments is to include subtitles. However, a surprising number of games feature subtitles that are too small and, consequently, cannot be read unless the player is sitting close to the screen. Fortunately, some games are aware of this issue and attempt to mend it. This includes Life is Strange, a game by Dontnod which allows players to change the subtitle size from normal up to "hella large." RELATED: Ikenfell Dev Talks Adding Sensitivity and Accessibility Options to More Games The best option is to have visual cues accompany audio cues so that players never have to rely solely on hearing to navigate a game. This is implemented effectively in Sucker Punch's Ghost of Tsushima; a game that lets gamers play as a samurai named Jin, who must protect Tsushima Island from the Mongol invasion. Typically, when enemies with bows are about to let off a shot, they will signal for their fellow teammates to duck via an audio cue. When Projectile Indicator is enabled, enemies with projectiles will also have a visual indicator above them that alerts players when an arrow is about to be released, giving them ample time to dodge. If the enemy is off-screen, the indicator will appear on the side of the screen. With Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut, hearing impairment accessibilities were further improved thanks to the DualSense controller, which can be used to replicate audio aspects of the game using haptic feedback. Consequently, while some players may not be able to hear the heavy hooves of a horse galloping or the low purr of a fox, they will be able to feel it in their hands. Visual cues to accompany audio cues are a useful solution, but they do require developers to develop their games around this consideration, a task that involves not making assumptions about what players are capable of and what impairments they may have. A good button-mashing game can be tons of fun, and learning complex button combinations and practicing until one can execute them speedily and flawlessly is an exhilarating experience. The excitement in a video game can also be heightened through crafting moments that require intense button tapping to mimic the exertion of the playable character on-screen. However, these moments can occasionally be the point where some gamers have to put the controller down or ask someone else to complete a section for them because of a lack of fine motor control or dexterity. A relatively simple way for developers to add accessibility options for players with impaired motor control is to give players the choice of whether to hold a button down or tap it during certain gameplay segments. This is implemented quite well in Red Dead Redemption 2 where, in typical Rockstar fashion, repeatedly tapping the sprint button makes players run (or a horse gallop faster). Luckily, players can choose to instead hold the sprint button down instead of repeatedly tapping it, which can be a lifesaver not only for players with impaired motor control, but also for players who do not want to give their fingers an exhausting exercise. Another option is to allow gamers to toggle different states so that buttons do not have to be held down for the entire duration of an action. For instance, being able to toggle between walking and running using a single button press can be incredibly useful. Toggle options are implemented quite well in Control, an eccentric game developed by the Finnish studio Remedy Entertainment. Control offers three toggle options: With "Toggle On" mode, players need to press the sprint button once and Jesse Faden, the game's heroine, will run until players stop moving her. With "Toggle On/Off" mode, Jesse will run after the sprint button is tapped once, and she will only stop running once the player presses the sprint button again. Finally, "Hold" mode will have Jesse running only for as long as the player holds down the sprint button. Toggle options are also implemented with aiming, and players can choose between holding the aim button down to keep Jesse aiming her service weapon, or pressing the aim button once to toggle aiming on and off. Allowing players to remap buttons can also be of great aid, as it lets players fine-tune their gaming experience specifically for them and their abilities. Hence, if a button is difficult to press because it is too far away, some simple remapping can fix the problem. Perhaps the greatest solution to limited mobility comes from Microsoft in the form of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. This unique device has large, programmable buttons that allow players to design the perfect controller for their needs. It can also be connected to external switches, buttons, and joysticks to allow for greater customization. According to Can I Play That, a site that reviews the accessibility of games, "the buttons and overall customization are unparalleled in the gaming industry." Accessibility options for motor control are important because it is something that can benefit a wide range of people who wish to play video games. Younger players with motor control issues are accommodated for, but it is also useful for older players who may not have fast reaction times any longer, as well as beginners of any age who have yet to acclimate themselves to the world of gaming and handling a controller. Thanks to the increasing awareness of accessibility options, games have become available for more of the public to enjoy. It is a confirmation of the fact that video games are truly for everyone, and no artificial barriers should be in place to prevent people from enjoying them. Hopefully, with enough innovation, no players will have to sit on the sidelines while the rest of the gaming world enjoys the best of what video games have to offer. MORE: 10 Games With Fantastic Accessibility Features

 

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How to set up an Amazon Echo

Investing in a smart home device is one of the best ways to automate your residence, allowing you to remotely control and manage web-connected devices with a smart speaker or smart display. These devices also allow you to fire off voice commands for music streaming, weather checks, schedule changes, timers, reminders, games, and more. If you want to learn more about individual Echo products, check out our reviews of the fourth-generation Echo (standard) and Echo Dot. You can also read our take on the Echo Show 5, 8, and 10. One of the most feature-rich smart hub lineups on the market is Amazon’s Echo family. Comprised of the standard Echo speaker, Echo Dot, Echo Studio, and various other display iterations, the Echo family is powered by Amazon’s all-knowing voice assistant, Alexa. If you’ve just bought your very first Echo product, or would appreciate a reminder on some of the basics, we’ve put together this helpful guide to get your new Echo up and running. Let’s dive right in. The free Alexa app is a must-have if you’re the owner of an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. Download the app on any smartphone or tablet running iOS 11.0 or higher, Android 6.0 or higher, or Fire OS 5.3.3 or higher. Downloading the app on a computer? Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi, then visit the Amazon Alexa website. This is probably the easiest step in the whole process, as the Echo doesn’t require any batteries. Simply plug the included power adapter directly into the Echo, then connect the plug to a power outlet. When the light ring turns blue, that means the power is connected. Then, wait for it to turn orange, as this is a sign that Alexa is preparing to greet you. After that, you’ll hear Alexa’s voice telling you the device is ready for setup. Next, you’ll need to connect your Echo device to your home Wi-Fi network. The latest versions of the Echo should guide you through this process. However, if you get stuck, simply open up the Alexa app and search through the available networks until you find yours. If you have multiple Echo devices, go to the Devices tab, then click the icon for Echo & Alexa in the top carousel and select your Alexa-enabled device. Under the Wireless heading, you should be able to see the state of the Wi-Fi network connection. Once you’re connected, you have the option of saving your Wi-Fi password to your Amazon account, which makes it easy to connect to smart home devices. You can also set up a new Alexa device on the same network should you decide to purchase more Echo speakers for other rooms. You also have the choice of connecting your Echo to a public network, although the password won’t be saved on Amazon. During setup and when you use certain apps and features, Alexa will use your location to provide relevant local data, including weather, news, and time. If you move or want to get information from another region, you can change your Echo device’s location at any time right in the Alexa app. To do so, launch the app, then tap Devices. Tap Echo & Alexa, then tap the device you want to change. Tap Device Location, then tap Save. To test, go ahead and ask Alexa what the weather is like. The assistant should answer with a local forecast for the address you’ve entered. To get started, say the wake word, which is “Alexa” by default. If there’s already someone named Alexa, Alexis, or similar in the house, you can change the wake word to something else. Simply tell the Echo, “Alexa, change the wake word.” You can also change the wake word manually by opening up the Alexa app and tapping Help & Feedback > Change the Wake Word. Currently, you can change the Echo to respond to “Echo,” “Amazon,” “Computer,” or “Ziggy.” Now, Amazon even allows you to choose between female and male-speaking voices for Alexa. Congratulations, your Amazon Echo is all set up and ready for use! To make sure everything’s working properly, you can conduct a simple test by trying out a few basic commands. For example, say "Hello" and the wake word. If your Echo is set up properly, Alexa should respond with a simple “Hello” in return. In the Alexa app menu, you will see two sections called Skills & Games and Things to Try. These are both excellent ways to learn about Alexa’s capabilities. Skills can help you customize Alexa by giving her certain abilities — think of them as mini-apps from many different creators that you can use for entertainment, organization, news, and much more. You can start using your Echo device for a range of tasks. You can make to-do lists, find out the weather, check on traffic conditions, call your friends, send text messages to your family, or stream podcasts with simple voice commands. You also have the option to expand your digital network by connecting smart home devices. Everything from color-changing light bulbs to home security cameras can communicate with your Echo. Alexa has thousands of essential and not-so-essential skills you can add, too. Check out some of the most useful things that the Amazon Echo device can help you do. Open your Alexa app and navigate to the menu on your tablet or phone. Select the Devices option. We’ve discovered that Alexa typically allows an advertisement to appear at this point, but you can tap on it to close it. Select + located at the top-right corner of the app, then tap Add Device. After this, you can select the device you’d like to join from the list. If you’re unable to find the right one, you’ll want to click Other. At this point, Alexa can connect with any smart devices that happen to be nearby. You can build more high-level Scenes where multiple devices interact simultaneously or order your accessories into Groups. We encourage you to look at our post on Routines for more details and helpful tricks and tips on how to set up these interactions. The setup apps for many smart home products will have jump-to options for setting up your new device through the Alexa app. We believe it’s worth considering connecting an external speaker to your Echo device if you’re looking to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality listening experience when enjoying an all-out jam session to your favorite tunes or listening to audiobooks. To do so, we suggest pairing a Bluetooth speaker with your Echo for expanded audio. Remember that your Echo can only connect to one Bluetooth device at a time. If you already have a Bluetooth device paired to your Echo, you’ll need to disconnect it first. Only then can you start to go through the entire setup process with the new accessory. Some other smart home devices can’t connect via Bluetooth, though, so they stay connected. One instance is your home’s security camera, which utilizes your Wi-Fi connection to communicate with your Echo device. In the Alexa app, there’s a great way to separate your Echo speaker(s) and other smart home hardware based on the rooms in your home where these devices are located. It’s a feature called Smart Home Grouping, and it allows you to control several things at once with just a single voice or app command. This is especially useful for devices like smart lights, where instead of having to tell Alexa to manually toggle each bulb, the assistant will apply on/off commands to all of the lights in a single room. To start a new group, head into the Alexa app and tap Devices. Then, tap + > Add Group. From here, you can tap Create a Room or Device Group. If you want to merge one or more preexisting groups together, you can also choose Combine Rooms or Groups. You’ll then be prompted to choose Alexa’s predesignated names for the parts of your home, or you can create your own custom name for the group. Then, select the devices that get added to each group. When you’re finished, tap Save. To try out your new group, give the room’s Echo speaker a simple on/off command for the various smart devices you’ve assigned to the room. If everything powers on/off correctly, your grouping was a success. One of our favorite features of the Echo speaker is that you can use the hub to stream for all of your favorite music and audio services. By default, when you first ask Alexa to play music, the assistant will attempt to pull tracks from Amazon Music. If you want to pair your Echo speaker to another music service, you can do so through the Alexa app. Launch the app, then tap More. Next, tap Settings > Music & Podcasts > Link New Service. Select the service you’d like to add and follow the in-app instructions for getting it merged with Alexa. From the Music & Podcasts screen, you’ll also be able to change the default music service. So, you can ask Alexa to play a song or artist without designating which music service you want to use to play the music.

 

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0.4
gamerant.com

Call of Duty is one of the most financially successful video game series of all time, and Call of Duty: Warzone, which is essentially a game within a game, shows that the series is willing to experiment with its content even with the accusations of being formulaic. Despite its campaigns being mainly about the dangers of war and having serious narratives, Call of Duty ’s multiplayer modes are the exact opposite. Like many games, Call of Duty stops being easy to take seriously once players duke it out with their friends or with random people online. Some of the things players can expect when playing these games’ multiplayer modes include goofy animations and themed skins that are completely out of place. On the topic of skins, there have dozens, if not hundreds, of different color schemes and emblems that players can give their characters and weapons throughout Call of Duty history. In Call of Duty: Warzone, one particular example of odd skins is anime-themed packs. They are predictably stylized and colorful. As a result, they clash with the gritty color scheme and realistic art style of the Call of Duty series. The juxtaposition of such drastically different art styles in one game adds layers to how ludicrous multiplayer sessions can be. RELATED: Call of Duty: Warzone's Ricochet Anti-Cheat Bans 50k Players in a Day Call of Duty: Warzone is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X| S. MORE: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Plot Developments That Happened in Multiplayer Seasons and Warzone

 

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Got a gaming PC? This $79 Razer starter kit will level up your setup

After upgrading your computer through gaming PC deals, or if you’re planning to do so, you should also think about buying new accessories that will do justice to your new machine’s capabilities. You shouldn’t settle for basic peripherals when there are offers like Walmart’s $91 discount for the Razer Power Up Gaming Bundle V2, which lowers its price to an even more affordable $79 from its original price of $170. Buy Now Razer is a popular brand among gamers, and the Power Up Gaming Bundle V2 brings together some of its best products. The bundle includes the Razer Death Adder Essential gaming mouse, which comes with a 6,400 DPI optical sensor for precise controls and an ergonomic form to maintain comfort when playing for several hours, and the Razer Cynosa Lite gaming keyboard, which features gaming-grade keys with on-the-fly macro recording and Razer Chroma that enables 16.8 million color options for a customized look. Place the mouse and keyboard on the Razer Gigantus V2, a soft pad with a textured micro-weave cloth surface that promises stability while you’re in the middle of your game. Razer is a mainstay in Digital Trends’ best gaming headsets, and the bundle includes the Razer Black Shark V2 X. The headset offers audio quality, microphone clarity, and sound isolation that meets the needs of professional gamers, which is important in multiplayer matches where you need to be in constant communication with your teammates to secure a victory. Gain an advantage that will get you ahead of the competition with the Razer Power Up Gaming Bundle V2, which is available from Walmart with a $91 discount that brings its price down to just $79 from its original price of $170. It’s unclear how long the offer will last, so if you want to take advantage of the deal, you shouldn’t waste time. Click that Buy Now button as soon as you can to secure your own Razer Power Up Gaming Bundle V2. Buy Now The accessories included in the Razer Power Up Gaming Bundle V2 work great with any kind of computer, and if you’re in the market for a new gaming PC, there’s no shortage of options across all budget ranges. To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the best gaming PC deals that you can shop right now.

 

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0.5
NASA Shares Audio From Juno's Flight Past One of Jupiter's Moons

NASA has shared a 50-second audio clip that was created using data captured by Juno, a spacecraft used to gather information about Jupiter, as it flew by one of the planet's moons. The space agency says Jupiter has at least 79 moons—53 of which have names and 26 of which don't—in total. The moon in question is called Ganymede, and Juno flew past it on June 7. "At the time of Juno’s closest approach to Ganymede – during the mission’s 34th trip around Jupiter – the spacecraft was within 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) of the moon’s surface", NASA says, "and traveling at a relative velocity of 41,600 mph (67,000 kph)." Juno uses an instrument called Waves to "measure radio and plasma waves in Jupiter’s magnetosphere" so NASA can better "understand the interactions between the planet's magnetic field, atmosphere, and magnetosphere." This is how NASA represented the data from the flyby: "This soundtrack is just wild enough to make you feel as if you were riding along as Juno sails past Ganymede for the first time in more than two decades", Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton said in a statement. "If you listen closely, you can hear the abrupt change to higher frequencies around the midpoint of the recording, which represents entry into a different region in Ganymede's magnetosphere." NASA says that "detailed analysis and modeling of the Waves data are ongoing."

 

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0.1
Amazon has a serious Alexa user retention issue

The big picture: Amazon has done remarkably well in building, marketing and selling Alexa voice-powered hardware devices during year-end holiday seasons. Like clockwork, the e-commerce giant routinely touts that its own devices, including the Echo Dot and its Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, are top sellers. We have no reason to doubt Amazon’s sales claims, but that’s apparently only half of the story. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Amazon has a dirty little secret that it has been contending with for years. Internal documents seen by Bloomberg suggest Amazon has a serious user retention problem. Data indicates that there have been some years where 15 percent to 25 percent of new Alexa users were no longer active into their second week of usage. There are likely several layers to Amazon’s Alexa engagement issue. The data mentioned by Bloomberg involves holiday sales, which likely means a significant portion of new devices are being received as gifts. Maybe these users never really wanted an Echo to begin with and only hooked it as a kind gesture to the gift-giver. Bloomberg also talks about Alexa’s usefulness as a barrier alongside privacy concerns. Some apparently only use Alexa for a handful of tasks, like setting a kitchen timer while they cook, to play music or toggle the lights on and off, oblivious to the many other functions Alexa can perform. When Amazon started having Alexa offer up suggestions more frequently, some users got annoyed. Amazon spokesperson Kinley Pearsall dismissed this pessimistic view of Alexa. "The assertion that Alexa growth is slowing is not accurate", she said. "The fact is that Alexa continues to grow - we see increases in customer usage, and Alexa is used in more households around the world than ever before." Image credit Anete Lusina, Andres Urena

 

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0.6
gamerant.com

The recent release of Halo Infinite has catapulted Master Chief back into the public consciousness, in the best of ways. Some were worried about the game after its showcase last year, but with all the innovations, the solid campaign, the surprise multiplayer drop, and the speed at which fan requests have made it into Halo Infinite ’s multiplayer has not gone unnoticed by fans. Still, Halo Infinite is held to a high standard and a higher level of scrutiny, meaning every choice is examined under a microscope. This includes Halo Infinite ’s recent addition of cat ears, which has split the fanbase. RELATED: Halo Infinite: What's The Daily Reset Time First, it should be noted that, as a cosmetic, cat ears are pretty standard fare. They are often associated with gaming directly, not just through anime and stuff like that. Still, some are not happy about the cat ears in Halo Infinite. This is a direct byproduct of Halo Infinite ’s number one complaint outside the initial progression qualms, the cosmetic microtransactions as a result of the multiplayer’s free-to-play approach. Although common nowadays, as it generates more revenue for games than a base price, it can still be taken too far. Cat ears, as it seems, are the point by which some are split if Halo Infinite skins and cosmetics will go too far. Slippery slope logic aside, some think this is also a venture away from the core aspects of Halo. Some believe Halo will turn into Fortnite or Apex Legends, while some think that cosmetics before missing game components (especially when purchased) isn’t the right way to go about the game's ongoing support. It should be noted that these are often led by different teams. Despite this split, many are enjoying the cat ears as a little bit of fun injected into the typically-serious Halo Infinite world. Again, it’s a common gaming aspect—not something too far outside the gaming realm, as far as many are concerned. Both sides seem to agree that the Halo Infinite cosmetic price is a bit steep, but that’s not stopping many from enjoying the hilarity of a Halo Infinite squad with cat ears. It remains to be seen how far this goes, but at the end of the day, Halo Infinite is a free-to-play multiplayer game. The campaign itself might as well be free given it’s on Xbox Game Pass. As such, monetization via cosmetics isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Whether Halo Infinite gets a bit out there with skins like Fortnite or whether this dies down as nothing major remains to be seen. Halo Infinite is available now for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. MORE: Heartwarming Xbox Video Celebrates 20 Years of Play

 

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Cheaper Alder Lake motherboards are finally on the horizon

According to an early listing, Intel’s B660 chipset motherboards from MSI will offer consumers fairly inexpensive options, especially compared to the company’s Z690 boards. Leaker momomo_us shared the premature listing on Twitter, which confirms that gamers will finally be offered more affordable alternatives to the flagship Z690 motherboard. The listing details five boards from MSI, with the cheapest motherboard being the B660M-A DDR4. The priciest out of the range is the B660M Mortar WiFi DDR4, which will set you back $211. The full list is as follows: These boards will undoubtedly become enticing options for gamers looking to build an Alder Lake PC. Prices for other components such as GPUs have soared well above its MSRPs, so budget-friendly choices for parts like boards become increasingly important. The increased prices attached to the latest generation of motherboards like the Z690 are attributed to the latest features and standards, including PCIe 5.0, DDR5, and the new LGA 1700 socket. As noted by Tom’s Hardware, the relatively low prices for these MSI motherboards are associated with the B660 chipset’s cutback in regard to connectivity options compared to the Z690. Only a single PCI-e Gen 5.0 interface is found on the primary x16 slot, while reductions have also been applied to USB port connectivity. DMI lanes have also been halved on B660 motherboards from eight lanes to four. Unlike the Z690, B660 boards will not be able to overclock the CPU. However, the ability to overclock the memory remains. The upcoming motherboards will aptly become a good match with the company’s recently leaked midrange, non-K Alder Lake CPUs. While connectivity has been reduced, you’ll still be left with a motherboard that will be sufficient enough for gaming purposes. Unless you’re an enthusiast who requires a broader range of connectivity options, the majority of users can depend on the B660 boards for an adequate Alder Lake-based system. When Intel launches a new generation of processors, it normally releases two chipset series as well. Enthusiasts and overclockers are offered Z-series boards, while the mainstream segment of the market receives the H-series. The latter has yet to materialize, but as pointed out by Tom’s Hardware, Intel is said to have canceled or postponed its H670 chipset in favor of the budget-friendly B660 motherboards from MSI. Intel is expected to announce the B660 range of boards at its CES 2022 conference on January 4.

 

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Here’s What Could Still Go Wrong With the Webb Space Telescope

The Webb Space T elescope, after years of delays, has finally reached the launch pad. It’s a momentous occasion, but the observatory still needs to go through a complex and unprecedented commissioning process that will require a nerve-wracking six months to complete. The hard part, it would seem, is still to come. Developed by the American, European, and Canadian space agencies, and with help from private contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Webb has been described as the “most complex and powerful telescope ever built.” With its infrared capabilities, Webb will hunt for ancient stars and galaxies, study the formation of stars and exoplanets, and search for life in the Milky Way. The space telescope has the potential to literally and figuratively transform our view of the cosmos and our understanding of our place in it. Excitement for this mission is accentuated by the fact that Webb was supposed to go up in 2007, but a major redesign having to do with its sunshield, cost overruns that nearly doubled the original quote, ongoing technical hurdles, extensive testing, issues with the chosen launch vehicle— pauses to catch breath —the covid-19 pandemic, and problems during processing at the Guiana Space Center all conspired to create the current launch date of December 25, 2021 (liftoff is currently scheduled for between 7:20 and 7:52 a.m. EST on Christmas D ay). The heavy lifting, so to speak, seems to be behind us, but plenty of steps remain before Webb can be declared fully operational. Now, I can’t possibly account for everything that could possibly go wrong from now until then, but I can go over some key stages, and even some technological gadgetry, that could create problems over the next six months. Before we get to that, however, I want to talk about the Ariane 5 rocket that will take Webb to space. The Arianespace rocket is super reliable, but a prior technical issue is making me a little nervous about the upcoming launch. On two separate occasions in 2020, the Ariane 5 rocket experienced unexpected vehicle accelerations during fairing separation. Arianespace has since corrected the issue, and everything seems good to go, but I don’t love that this happened. This will make me a little extra nervous on Christmas morning as I sip on my eggnog and watch the launch. A catastrophic rocket failure notwithstanding (heaven forbid), the launch could produce damaging vibrations. That said, Webb is specifically designed to tolerate the expected shaking. Back in 2016, vibrations testing revealed a problem with the tie-downs, or “launch restraint mechanisms,” that will hold the telescope’s mirror wings. The many acoustic and vibration tests done on the 14,300-pound instrument should have ruled this out, among other potential problems, but we won’t know until Webb finally gets to space. As Alison Nordt, Lockheed Martin space science and instrumentation director, explained in an email, Webb doesn’t just have to survive launch—it also needs to survive its rude introduction to space. “I am of course very excited for the JWST launch, and the stakes are definitely high,” said Nordt. “The space environment, including launch, presents many differences from the ground—things like launch loads (vibration and acoustics), vacuum (lack of air), temperature extremes (especially for Webb going to about -400°F), and weightlessness,” which can’t necessarily be tested on the ground. The launch sequence itself should be a routine affair, with the Ariane’s side boosters falling away a few minutes after blast off, followed by the jettisoning of the payload fairing. The rocket’s lower stage will continue to provide the needed thrust, but once out of fuel it too will need to fall away, allowing the upper stage to take over. The spacecraft must then perform a series of oscillation maneuvers to prevent solar radiation from blasting a single side of the now-exposed telescope. The upper stage will be jettisoned around 27 minutes after launch, at which time Webb will be independent and under its own power. Launches always involve an element of risk, but in this case, it’s all the stuff that will happen next that could create the biggest problems. With more folds than an origami paper sculpture, the space telescope must open up, give out a metaphorical yawn, and unfurl its many components. The spacecraft will deploy its solar panels around 33 minutes into the mission “so that Webb can start making electricity from sunshine and stop draining its battery,” as NASA writes in the Webb FAQ. “Webb will quickly establish its ability to orient itself and ‘fly’ in space.” Webb’s high gain antenna will be deployed at this time as well, in order to “enable the highest available rates of data communication as early as practical,” according to NASA. Deploying the solar arrays will be a time-sensitive affair, but so too will be the first trajectory correction. Unlike Hubble, which works in low Earth orbit, Webb will conduct its business in the second Lagrange point, or L2. This sweet spot, situated between Earth and the Sun, is highly stable, which means Webb won’t have to use an excessive amount of fuel to stay in position. L2 is located around 1 million miles (1.5 million km) from Earth, so it will take Webb a full month to get there, during which time the spacecraft will need to make some course corrections. The first, known as MCC-1a, will happen some 12.5 hours into the mission. Webb’s first day in space sounds intense, but the following weeks and months will likewise involve some very important steps, any one of which could jeopardize the mission, as SpaceNews explains: The process of deploying the telescope’s five-layer sunshield will begin three days after launch. Being an infrared telescope, Webb needs this shield to minimize potential interference; the telescope is designed to detect sources of heat, so the last thing scientists need is to be picking up heat coming off its own instruments. In the week following launch, “the most critical operations will be all the sunshield deployments and tensioning of the layers,” Nordt told Gizmodo. “The sunshield deployment is causing the most discussion in part because it was the hardest system to test-like-you-fly.” Other deployments, like the rolling out of Webb’s radiators, will take place at the same time. By week two, the team should be wrapping up the deployments, including the unfolding and latching of the secondary mirror tripod, the rotating and latching of the two primary mirror wings, and the unlocking of the primary mirror segments. Full d eployment of the telescope should be completed around 13 days into the mission. The effects of the sunshade should start to become apparent around this time, with the scientific instruments undergoing rapid cooling. “The Webb team has done everything they possibly could to test everything to ensure success, and I know we will all breathe a bit easier once all the deployments are complete and we can move on to alignments,” said Nordt. The end of the first month will involve one final course correction (on day 29) and the insertion of Webb into its L2 orbit. Excitingly, controllers will then power up the observatory’s four scientific instruments: the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), and the Fine Guidance Sensor/Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS). “Once all those deployments are complete, the next step in commissioning is the one I am personally most excited for: turning on the NIRCam to start the meticulous process of aligning the 18 primary mirror segments,” said Nordt. To start this process of fine-tuning the mirrors, “126 extremely precise actuators on the backside of the mirrors will position and subtly bend or flex each mirror into a specific prescription, a process that will take months,” NASA says. NIRCam can sense distortions in incoming light with great precision, said Nordt, and this data will allow the team in control of the individual mirror segments to “translate, rotate and change their curvature accordingly.” By the end of this alignment process, the 18 individual segments will serve as a single primary mirror. “So as you can imagine, those measurements from NIRCam have to be exactly correct in order for all this to work,” Nordt explained. These initial optics checkouts and telescope alignments will happen during months two through four. Months five and six will involve final calibrations and the completion of the commissioning process. Webb will conduct observations of representative targets to help with the calibrations, and early demonstrations will test the observatory’s ability to track objects such as asteroids, comets, and moons. The team will then prepare a preliminary report, the Early Release Observations, to showcase the telescope’s abilities. Only after this is done will the official science operations phase begin. Webb should remain functional for a minimum of five years, but the expectation is that it will work for at least 10 and p ossibly 12. Over those years, the telescope will have to perform slight engine bursts to keep it in L2, but the fuel required for these adjustments will eventually run out, after which time the telescope will just drift away, effectively ending the science stage of the mission. With no feasible way to repair the telescope should something go wrong, and potentially 10 years of scientific breakthroughs in the balance, we’ll be on the edge of our seats this Christmas morning. The next decade will be a busy one for Webb and the many astronomers planning to use it. For all this to happen however, the stars, it would seem, will need to come into perfect alignment.

 

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Microsoft Teams will get video filters in March 2022

Microsoft was supposed to release the video filters feature for Teams in the month of August. In October, Microsoft announced that the feature will be available in November. Microsoft has now confirmed that this feature will be available in March 2022. Before joining a meeting, users can use these video filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and smooth out facial features to customize their appearance. This feature will be available globally on Microsoft Teams desktop experience. Source: Microsoft

 

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GNU Nano 6 Increases Editing Area

GNU Nano 6 has been released with improvements including the ability to hide the title bar and status bar to provide more editing space. GNU nano is a command line text editor for Unix and Linux that aims to be simple and easy to use. Nano was originally named Tip and was a free replacement for the Pico text editor, part of the Pine email suite that at the time was the most widely used email package on Unix. Nano is popular as an alternative to Vi and Emacs, and while few developers use it as their major editor, it offers a small, resource friendly editor for tasks such as editing batch files. The first improvement is the addition of a -zero option that hides the title bar, status bar and help lines, meaning that all the rows of the terminal are available as the editing area. The title bar and status bar can be toggled with M-Z. The second improvement is the ability to pick terminal colors either as three-digit hexadecimal numbers in the format #rgb, or for users who dislike numbers, there are fourteen new color names: rosy, beet, plum, sea, sky, slate, teal, sage, brown, ocher, sand, tawny, brick, and crimson. Somehow, knowing Nano users, we reckon the rgb hex options will be more popular! Elsewhere, suspension is enabled by default, invokable with ^T^Z,. If you've chosen to use automatic hard-wrapping is in effect, pasting just a few words (without a line break) will now hard-wrap the line when needed. Other improvements mean the word count as shown by M-D is now affected by option --wordbounds;. With it, nano counts words as 'wc' does; without it (the new default), words are counted in what the release notes describe as "a more human way: seeing punctuation as space." Finally, the YAML syntax file is now actually included in the tarball. Nano 6 is available for download now. To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, sign up for our weekly newsletter, subscribe to the RSS feed and follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin. or email your comment to: comments@i-programmer.info