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Tech News

iHeartRadio adds Spotify-like personalized playlists

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

iHeartRadio

iHeartRadio announced today that it’s adding a new playlist for users to stream — a weekly updated selection of tunes based on what you listen to. Your Weekly Mixtape will be refreshed every Monday and will include 30 to 75 songs chosen for you based on the stations and artists you listen to and the tracks you give a thumbs up. It sounds an awful lot like Spotify’s Discover Weekly, even down to the day it’s released. But iHeartRadio’s chief product officer, Chris Williams, told CNET that there is a difference between the two.

Whereas Spotify’s weekly playlist is more about finding users new music they might enjoy, Williams notes, he says that iHeartRadio’s curated playlist is about giving users a selection of songs they know and love. “We want to make sure they’re getting a playlist they can sing along to,” he said. However, the company says the playlist will also include both new releases and trending music a user might like.

Earlier this year, iHeartRadio opened up its activity-, era- and genre-based playlists to all users. And it’s not the only streaming service to offer a Discover Weekly-like playlist. Pandora announced its version in March while Apple Music has a handful of personalized playlists for users to choose from as well. Spotify’s personalized lists also include its Daily Mixes, Your Time Capsule and Your Summer Rewind.

iHeartRadio’s Your Weekly Mixtape is rolling out to all users, paid and free, now. You can find yours through the “For You” tab on the iHeartRadio website or the “Your Library” section of the iOS and Android apps.

Tech News

Some Dropbox users are getting an extra 1TB for free

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Thomas White / Reuters

Dropbox Professional and Business Standard users have more storage to play with starting today, as the company is bumping up the capacity on each plan by 1TB. Professional users now have double the space with 2TB, and Business Standard teams will share 3TB between their members.

It’s a useful increase for those who use Dropbox on a more-than-casual basis, especially if they have large video files to share. New users will have the increased storage capacity when they sign up, while existing users will get the upgrade over the next few weeks. The Professional plan costs $20/month (or $199/year), with more features than the $10/month Plus plan, while Business Standard runs $12.50/user/month with a minimum of three people per team.

However, Plus users are not getting an increase on their 1TB limit at the minute, despite more aggressive pricing from Google, which announced the One program in May. Google is offering 2TB for $10/month, including family sharing with private storage for up to six members.

Tech News

YouTube may produce more original programming outside the US

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

YouTube is working on original programming for international markets in an effort to boost paid subscriber numbers, Reuters reports. The company plans to develop shows for customers in France, Germany, Japan and Mexico, adding to series that have already been released in South Korea and India. Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original programming, told Reuters that new productions will include music documentaries, reality series, talk shows and scripted series.

“We are targeting markets where we believe we have a tremendous upside in potential subscribers,” said Daniels. Already, the company has seen success with a Hindi talk show about cricket, which was released in India, and a reality show about South Korean pop band Big Bang. YouTube is planning to add more original programming to its India market as well.

YouTube’s expansion into international markets with local language programming follows similar moves from Netflix and Amazon. Earlier this year, Netflix said it was aiming to have around 700 original shows and movies on its streaming service this year with about 80 originals being produced outside of the US. So far, it has announced a slew of local language shows including new series produced in Mexico, Sweden and Brazil. Amazon has been pushing into other markets as well, inking a licensing deal earlier this year with Televisa for several Spanish-language series.

More information about YouTube’s international efforts will be released in the coming weeks. Some of the new content will be included in the company’s subscription service YouTube Premium, and some will be available to stream for free.

Tech News

Apple Music documentary chronicles the making of Kesha's ‘Rainbow’

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

LISA O’CONNOR via Getty Images

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of the release of Kesha’s Rainbow, an album that confronts deep pain, features “spine-shivering feats” as Billboard noted and includes what Rolling Stone called the “best music of her career.” On August 10th, Apple Music will celebrate the album and the woman behind it with a documentary about Kesha and the making of Rainbow. Rainbow – The Film includes never-before-seen footage of Kesha performances, the writing and recording of Rainbow and “psychedelic vignettes” that depict the artist’s struggles and inner demons.

“Making Rainbow the album was such a therapeutic process and given the opportunity to turn it into a three dimensional piece of art has helped me find even deeper healing and catharsis,” Kesha said in a statement. “I hope this film inspires others to never give up even if you feel full of hurt or lost, because after the storm comes a rainbow. Depression, anxiety and mental illness are things we all need to talk about more, and there is no shame in asking for help. Making the decision to work on yourself is the bravest thing you can do. I hope this film helps bring light and love to everyone.”

This is the latest addition to Apple Music’s growing list of documentaries, which include subjects like Major Lazer, Pink, Clive Davis, Cash Money and Harry Styles’ hair.

Rainbow – The Film will be available exclusively through Apple Music. You can check out the trailer below.

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Tech News

‘Gran Turismo Sport’ update lets you pay real money for cars

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Polyphony Digital

Gran Turismo Sport just released a new patch, and amid gameplay and cosmetic updates, you’ll find the option to buy cars with your real hard-earned money. Developer Polyphony Digital is putting more than 200 cars on sale in PS Store and Brand Central despite earlier assurances that the game would not include microtransactions.

However, this isn’t a pay-to-win situation, as some may have feared. You can still buy all of these cars with in-game credits, and you can’t purchase the top-end vehicles with real money. You’ll need to grind your way to the best cars in the game — only vehicles costing under two million credits are available as DLC. You can buy them today if you’re in Asia or the Americas, and starting August 2nd elsewhere.

The update also adds seven cars, including Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 Formula 1 title-winning racer. There’s a new circuit with three layout options along with a trio of fresh GT League events, while the livery editor now lets you customize racing suits and helmets.

The big news, though, is the option to buy cars with real money. While it’s clear that paying for cars won’t give players a massive advantage over the competition, it remains to be seen how the community welcomes the change amid the broader conversation on microtransactions in games.

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Tech News

John Oliver made his own version of Facebook’s ‘we're sorry’ video

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

HBO

In April, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted, Facebook put out an ad that was meant to reassure users about how their data would be treated going forward. Dubbed the “Here Together” ad, the video points to some of the issues that have come along with Facebook, like spam, clickbait and fake news, though the closest it gets to actually acknowledging the Cambridge Analytica debacle is noting “data misuse.” “Facebook will do more to keep you safe and protect your privacy,” said the ad. Well last week, Facebook’s stock prices plummeted, knocking off around $120 billion in market value from the social media giant and inspiring John Oliver to tweak the ad just a bit.

The parody ad Oliver played on Last Week Tonight starts out similarly, a soothing voice dubbed over various Facebook posts while a piano plays in the background. It talks about the friends that brought you to Facebook in the first place. But then, rather than highlighting how it wants to get back to a focus on friends, as the original ad did, Oliver’s goes on to describe just how much data Facebook collects on its users, and how much money it makes off of that data.

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“Your data enabled us to make a fuck-ton of money from corporations, app developers and political campaigns,” says the ad. “Seriously you guys, we were making so much money off of you, you don’t even understand. But then, you found out about it. And we had to testify and issue bullshit apology ads, all so we could lose $120 billion.” But what will Facebook do going forward? “But here’s the thing,” it says, “nothing’s really gonna change. We’ve got your data. We’ve got your friends. And, really, where are you gonna go? Friendster? Fuck you.”

The ad then says in no uncertain terms that Facebook will continue to find “subtle ways to violate your privacy.” And while users watch videos of cats eating corn, dogs riding horses and kids “beating the shit out of each other,” the company will just keep making “an ungodly amount of money.” It wraps up with a poignant, “Facebook: We own who you are.”

You can check out the segment in the video above.

Tech News

Mobile MOBA ‘Vainglory’ is coming to PC

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Super Evil Megacorp

Although it’s far more common to see PC games ported to mobile (Hearthstone, The Talos Principle, This War of Mine), that formula is occasionally reversed. Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory is a case in point — the high fantasy MOBA is coming to both Mac and PC.

On PC, Dota 2 and League of Legends have a long established reign over the MOBA domain. But rather than immediately establish Vainglory as a direct competitor, Super Evil Megacorp chose to release the title in the less-crowded mobile space — an ostensibly safer option, which also let them take advantage of Apple’s A8 chip and the inherent mobility of touch screen devices. Of course, it was only a matter of time before rival games like mobile-only Arena of Valor — which boasts a 200 million strong player base in China — wanted to expand their audiences in the US.

Although Super Evil Megacorp always wanted Vainglory to deliver “a full, uncompromising MOBA experience to the touch-screen generation”, the developer says its custom game engine — the result of over 10 years of blood, sweat and tears — is helping with the cross-platform transition.

Anyone that’s keen on diving into Vainglory can test the Windows or Mac version right now. Super Evil Megacorp says it hasn’t sacrificed Vainglory‘s tactical depth, strategy or graphical fidelity, but expect the usual lot of alpha build imperfections — bugs, potential UI issues and key binding weirdness.

Tech News

Please don't jump out of your car and dance to Drake, NTSB pleads

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Getty Images

Drake might be the king of memes, but the latest one for his In My Feeling track has attracted the wrong kind of viral attention. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is asking fans to please, please, not do that #InMyFeelings challenge that involves jumping out of a moving car and dancing. On top of that, drivers should definitely not film said challengers, as that’s equally stupid and in violation of pretty much all the distracted driving laws.

“Driver distraction features prominently in this viral challenge, but the more obvious risk is the poor decision to hop out of a moving vehicle to dance,” NTSB safety advocate chief Nicholas Worrell wrote. “Although ‘bad decision making’ is not on our [list of poor driver behaviors], we have seen a variety of crashes attributable to making poor choices.”

LMFAOOOOO pic.twitter.com/iUCVN19qWm

— carolina🍊 (@caarolin9) July 15, 2018

The In My Feelings challenge started as a Drake meme, via a dance featured on @TheShiggyShow. Soon, videos started popping up on social media, showing various Darwin candidates jumping out of moving cars in traffic, and naturally, falling on their faces. One particularly clueless individual planned to jump out of a car, dance, and then hop on the hood of another moving car. However, he slipped on a wet spot on the pavement and got hit by said car instead, luckily suffering only bruises and scratches.

The NTSB managed to both mildly threaten young drivers attempting this and mock them as well. “We have studied the particular challenges faced by teen drivers, and we have long focused on graduated driver licensing laws in part to gradually introduce young and novice drivers to the roadway environment,” said Worrell. “Now, it appears that certain drivers and passengers are intent on being introduced to that environment in a more literal way.”

Tech News

'Fortnite' will bring back guided missiles in a softer, gentler form

July 28, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Epic Games

Fortnite‘s guided missile certainly had its moments, but Epic dropped it with an April patch for a reason — it was so powerful (and ammo so plentiful) that you could make life a living hell for anyone who wasn’t an immediate threat. Flash forward a few months and Epic is ready to bring the weapon back… albeit not as you knew it. Epic has revealed in a developer update,that the guided missile will come back to battle royale mode, but that it’s now meant as more of a “scouting tool” than a game-deciding weapon.

Simply put, Epic has nerfed the missile in most respects. It’s slower (both in speed and turning), deals out less damage and offers a smaller ammo cap. If you were to use this for an attack, you’d most likely fire off a round or two to soften your target or take out a flimsy defensive structure. Before, you could fire a seemingly endless stream and make it difficult for anyone to offer a response.

The company didn’t say specifically when the guided missile would come back. Between this and the toned-down Compact SMG, though, it’s evident that Epic wants to eliminate some of the rough edges in Fortnite. As fun as it may be to wield overpowered weapons, they can easily sour the experience for virtually everyone else.

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Tech News

Ask Engadget: Do I need a TV for my dorm room?

July 28, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

The support shared among readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we’ve known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fact, our community’s knowledge and insights are a reason why many of you participate in the comments.

We truly value the time and detail you all spend in responding to questions from your fellow tech-obsessed commenters, which is why we’ve decided to bring back the much-missed “Ask Engadget” column. This week’s question asks how necessary it is for students to have televisions in their dorm rooms. Weigh in with your advice in the comments — and feel free to send your own questions along to ask@engadget.com!

Do I really need a TV in my dorm room? And if I do go buy one, which would be good for a student on a budget?

Devindra Hardawar
Senior Editor

Ah, dorm life. The parties, the games, the impromptu movie nights. Your question really comes down to how much space you have. As we’ve reported on Engadget, TVs have gotten much cheaper recently — you could easily find a decent 50-inch set under $500.

But can your dorm handle something that large? If you don’t know what your room is going to look like yet, I’d suggest holding off until you see what you’re working with in the fall. And if you’re a freshman with a roommate, there’s a good chance you won’t have space at all.

As with any major tech purchase, I’d also encourage you to think about what you actually plan to do with your new toy. Do you want to gather people around for movies? Maybe you want to play fighting games with friends, or just get engrossed in a game on your own? The whole point of having a TV is being able to share the screen and enjoy things communally. If you’re just a solitary gamer, you’re better off investing in a decent gaming monitor. You’ll get a much better quality screen than most TVs, though you’ll end up with a smaller display. That’s less of a problem if you’re sitting right in front of it, however.

If you absolutely have to get a TV, you could start with something like TCL’s $150 Roku TV. It’s only 32 inches and supports 720p HD, but that small size and low price makes it ideal for tiny dorm rooms. Stepping your budget, TCL’s $650 55-inch 55R617 is a fantastic 4K set, with all of the modern HDR features you’d want. It’s also Wirecutter‘s recommendation as the best overall TV, which says quite a bit about its quality.

Check out our complete 2018 back-to-school guide and find all of our student-friendly buying advice right here!