Tesla made a phone battery pack that mimics Supercharger monuments

Tesla dropped an electric semi truck and a new Roadster at a recent event, but it apparently launched another product that didn't get any stage time. The automaker has released, of all things, an external battery pack (the Powerbank) with USB, microUSB and Apple lightning connections that can charge your Android phone or iPhone on the go. Maybe that's not as strange as it sounds, considering Tesla has a Gigafactory that pumps out batteries, including one for homes called Powerwall. In fact, the Powerbank uses a single 18650 cell with 3,350mAh capacity that's also found in its Model S and X electric vehicles. (Obviously, though, the cars are powered by more than one cell.)

But you likely wouldn't buy a $45 battery pack with those specs if it weren't designed by Tesla when there are numerous cheaper alternatives. That's probably why the company made sure it looks like a Tesla product through and through. It was designed after Tesla Design Studio's Supercharger monument and wouldn't look out of place inside one of the EV-maker's cars. Unfortunately, you can't get one anymore, no matter how much you're willing and able to shell out $45 for the portable battery: it's already marked sold out on the company's website. You'll just have to cross your fingers and hope Elon Musk and his team decide to produce another batch.

Via: 9to5mac

Source: Tesla

The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to the weekend. We'll recap this week's news highlights (take another look at Tesla's new sports car) and check out notable stories from Friday.

Time for a new gift idea.Apple's HomePod smart speaker delayed

Google and Amazon are already duking it out in the smart speaker market, but Apple won't join them this year. The company announced on Friday that HomePod needs "a little more time before it's ready." Now it's scheduled for release in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.

What's next, parkour?Watch Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot nail a backflip

We've grown accustomed to seeing Boston Dynamics' impressive line-up of robots strutting about in periodic video updates, each more terrifying than the last. But, every once in a while, the company unleashes a clip so awesome you can't help but watch.

It's way more than one election.Bad Password: Digital democracy's steep decline

This week, columnist Violet Blue explains why we need to pressure Facebook, Google and other leading tech companies for information on what they're doing to keep democracy-unraveling propaganda at bay.

Temptation.LG has steep Black Friday discounts on its premium OLED TVs

LG's 2017 OLED TVs are as impressive as they are expensive, but this week the company is cutting prices by as much as $1,000. The 55-inch B7A will be available for $1,500, while a 65-inch will cost $2,300 -- keep an eye out for the lower pricing starting on Sunday.

Get to know Moira.Try the new 'Overwatch' hero this weekend for free

Blizzard just delivered the newest Overwatch character (and a major nerf for Mercy) in an update, and it's all just in time for a free play weekend on all platforms so you can see how the game has changed recently. Whether you're intrigued by its eSports potential or not, you at least have a couple of days to play without spending any money.

Zero to sixty in 1.9 seconds.Tesla reveals a new Roadster, due in 2020

Elon Musk calls this four-seater "a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars."

It can't be worse than 'The Emoji Movie.'The Rock is Chicago's only hope in 'Rampage'

After years of chatter, we're finally getting a look at the movie adaptation of the classic arcade game Rampage.

But wait, there's more...

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Bloomberg: Verizon’s new NFL streaming deal will stretch to TV

Since 2010, Verizon's wireless arm has had an arrangement for streaming NFL games to phones (and, after they became a thing, also tablets), but Bloomberg reports it will stretch to TVs soon. According to unnamed sources, both parties are close to a new deal that will not only include all sizes of screens but also drop the company's exclusivity. That's key even for people who don't have Verizon because until now, it has kept internet TV services like DirecTV Now and Sling TV from streaming NFL games to mobile devices. On Verizon's end, expanding and adding content from sources like the NBA and NFL is expected to "prime the pump" according to Bloomberg, for the whole Oath media unit (which Engadget is a part of.)

Source: Bloomberg

Senators propose ‘USA Liberty Act’ to reauthorize NSA surveillance

The question of how to reign in monitoring enabled by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has been in the spotlight ever since the Edward Snowden PRISM revelations. What exactly to do about it has gone back and forth, but the latest attempt to "reform" surveillance is here in the form of the USA Liberty Act, a bipartisan proposal introduced by Senators Mike Lee and Patrick Leahy (PDF). The Washington Post figures it has little chance of passage, however, it does contain language that would make government agencies get a warrant before searching information collected by the NSA under Section 702.

Even with that, there are critics saying it doesn't go far enough. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says that most importantly, it doesn't stop the NSA from collecting data on innocent people. Further, its rules on "new reporting requirements, new defaults around data deletion, and new guidance for amicus engagement with the FISA Court" don't go far enough, and won't end so-called "backdoor searching." Still, ACLU counsel Neema Singh Guliani called it an improvement over the House legislation, noting its warrant requirement.

Section 702 is supposed to let the NSA collect emails and communications of foreigners living overseas from US companies, but because those people communicate with Americans, all of that data is potentially accessible. This prospect of domestic spying without a warrant, as other agencies can ask for access the NSA's data. It also needs to be reauthorized periodically, which is why lawmakers are considering this now.

Source: Patrick Leahy, USA Liberty Act

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has a power problem

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has a power problem. When operating at peak performance, it may draw more power than its stock charger or Surface Dock can handle. What we’ve discovered after talking to Microsoft is that it’s not a bug—it’s a feature.

You can understand our confusion, given how Microsoft initially positioned the Surface Book 2. “This is a desktop,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president of devices, Panos Panay, went so far as to call it. “For many, this is likely the most performant desktop they’ve ever seen.” Most models come with a discrete Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU (the lowest-end model has a GTX 1050). At the launch event, Microsoft showed off Cuphead and Gears of War 4 playing at high frame rates on the Surface Book 2, implying that it was capable of playing PC games.

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This week’s tech titan 404s | Engadget Today

If you tend to work in Google Docs, you already know about it being down for hours on Wednesday, but only AT&T users had the pleasure of realizing their phones also didn't work for a good portion that same day. To fix it, AT&T told users to restart their phones, and that it might take multiple restarts to get it working again. T-Mobile, never one to miss a diss, jumped right into the same Twitter thread to offer frustrated users a chance to switch carriers. Ouch.

But it wasn't all bad news this week. Google added salaries to search functions in a move that job seekers everywhere will likely appreciate. From now on, the search giant will display estimated salary ranges from sources like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and PayScale whenever folks search for open positions.

Mozilla is out to reclaim former users with a brand new web browser, Firefox Quantum. The company says its twice as fast as its version from just six months ago, due to a new multi-core CSS engine, tab prioritization and bug elimination. Though getting folks to switch might take some doing. NetMarketshare shows web browser usage remains at 13 percent for Firefox and is nearly 60 percent for Chrome.

You might want to keep you eyes up or just keep refreshing SpaceX's missions page for a potential launch of the Zuma mission. According to Space, SpaceX was commissioned to make a secretive payload mission by defense technology company Northrop Grumman. The space world just found out about the move earlier this week, just a few days before it was to launch. It has since been delayed multiple times, and SpaceX is "preserving its range opportunity" for Friday, November 17, which basically means it might decide to launch after all. But it also takes great pains to say it needs to complete some data review before a likely launch. In sum, we know it's a secretive mission and if we're going to be conspiracy theorists, (and why not) uncertainty around when it intends to launch kinda fits.

Try the new ‘Overwatch’ hero during the game’s free weekend

At Blizzcon earlier this month, the studio behind Overwatch announced a new playable character for the hero shooter: Moira, a healer with evasive and damage-dealing abilities. Last night, she became available to play on PC and consoles -- and wouldn't you know it, Blizzard is making the game free to try out this weekend, starting today.

Blizzard announced Moira with none of its usual teasing build-up, but the hero should be a nice respite for players who've been asking for a new healer. While she's something of a potluck character with abilities recycled from a few other heroes, more variety in support characters has been on the community's wish list for awhile.

There's no word on when the new Overwatch map Blizzardworld, also announced at this year's Blizzcon, will come to the game. For now, new players can try out the hero shooter from 11am PT today until 11:59pm on Monday, November 20th.

Via: Glixel

Source: Overwatch, PlayOverwatch (Twitter)

Los Angeles taps a shuttle service to get riders to Metro stops

Most people find a short walk to and from a public transportation stop pretty reasonable, but the further away that stop is from their home or their destination, the less convenient it becomes. Well the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) wants to close that first mile/last mile gap and it's doing so in partnership with Via.

Via, a ridesharing service that lets users hop on a ride with others who are headed in a similar direction, uses algorithms to find which vehicle makes the most sense given the person's destination. It currently operates in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC and soon, London.

Starting next summer, Metro riders will be able to book a Via to or from three major Metro stations. The fares will be subsidized by Metro and riders will be able to pay with their TAP account -- LA's public transport fare card. The project and its reduced fare rates are funded by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

"We're making our systems more inclusive -- because access to public transportation is a right, not a privilege," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. "Everyone should be able to make a trip on Metro buses and trains, and these funds will help more riders get where they're going quickly and conveniently."

Source: Via

Google’s latest VR series takes you to the set of ‘Austin City Limits’

While Apple continues to expand its library of exclusive music documentaries, Google is now bringing a little music to its slate of VR series. Austin City Limits: Backstage takes you behind the scenes of the legendary music show and gives you backstage access to the performances, the crew and the artists that take the stage.

Some of Google's VR show offerings include a Discovery travel series, tours of supermodels' closets, an MLB series that profiles up-and-coming baseball stars, a look into the lives of NFL players, coaches, executives and fans as well as Google's Immerse series that explores race, diversity and identity.

Austin City Limits: Backstage will be a 10-part series with each episode featuring a different artist or group. The first three episodes, which are available now, focus on Ed Sheeran, the Zac Brown Band and Unsung Heroes. You can check them out using your Cardboard or Google Daydream View here.

Source: Google

Newly Revealed Flaw Could Subject IoT Devices to Airborne Attacks

Billions of voice-activated Internet of Things devices may be subject to external attack due to BlueBorne vulnerabilities, Armis revealed on Wednesday. Hackers could exploit BlueBorne to mount an airborne attack, using Bluetooth to spread malware and access critical data, including sensitive personal information. More than 20 million Amazon Echo and Google Home digital assistant speakers could have been impacted by the flaws, but both Amazon and Google already have taken the matter in hand.