Posts By Michelle Turner

MediaTek’s new Dimensity 9000 is the world’s first 4nm mobile chipset – coming to flagship smartphones in 2022

Having rehabilitated its reputation in the smartphone segment with its new breed of Dimensity chipsets, MediaTek has just announced its latest flagship processor, the Dimensity 9000, which is a slight leap up from the brand’s previous flagship chip, the Dimensity 1200. The world’s first 4nm smartphone processor, the Dimensity 9000 follows an Octa-core design and […]

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The best Google Pixel 6 Pro cases and covers

The Pixel 6 Pro features a powerful Google-made chipset and a triple-lens camera. Protect it with the best Google Pixel 6 Pro cases available now.
Android | Digital Trends

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro buying guide: Everything you need to know

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are finally official. Here’s everything we know about them so far when it comes to specs, features, and more.
Android | Digital Trends

Don’t miss this Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Black Friday deal — save $150

Here is the best Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Black Friday deal you can shop today, with some useful buying advice to help you make the right decision.
Android | Digital Trends

‘Windjammers 2’ is coming to Xbox Game Pass

Three years after its initial announcement, Windjammers 2 doesn’t have a release date yet, but the good news is it’s coming to Xbox Game Pass. Developer Dotemu shared that tidbit of new information in a trailer it posted on Wednesday. When it finally launches, Windjammers 2 will be available on Game Pass for both PC and Xbox, and it will support online crossplay across all Xbox and PC versions of the title. That means Steam and Game Pass users will have the chance to play against one another.

The trailer also offers a look at the two final characters that will make up the game’s initial 12-person roster. There’s Jodi Costa, who fans will recognize from the 1994 original, and newcomer Sammy Ho. Both have their own set of special moves you’ll need to master to make the most of their capabilities. In addition to PC and Xbox, Dotemu will release Windjammers 2 on Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, PlayStation 4 and PS5.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

The Realme Pad is now on sale in Europe

We reviewed the Realme Pad a little while ago and found it to be a solid first step into the tablet segment for the Realme Brand. Powered by MediaTek’s Helio G80 Octa-core processor, the Realme Pad offers enough grunt for enjoyable gameplay and comes with a starting price of €239. Just 6.9mm thick and weighing […]

Come comment on this article: The Realme Pad is now on sale in Europe


Tidal adds a free tier and brings HiFi audio to its $10 plan

Tidal is adding a free, ad-supported tier as it seeks to expand its user base. The option, which is only available in the US for now, includes access to Tidal's entire library of 80 million songs as well as playlists. The service noted on Twitter that it's introducing the free tier to "remain competitive" with its rivals, eight months after Square bought a majority stake in the company. Tidal says the plan is rolling out on Android and "will be available on all devices in the coming days."

There are some trade-offs beyond occasional ads, of course. The audio quality tops out at 160 kbps, there's no offline listening option and it doesn't appear that you'll have unlimited skips. The later feature is mentioned explicitly as part of the revamped $ 10/month Tidal HiFi plan.

Tidal says users on that plan can now listen to music in HiFi quality — up to 1,411 kbps. There are no ads and you'll gain access to more than 350,000 videos. Users can listen to music in HiFi quality on connected devices through Tidal Connect, and they'll be able to track and share what they're listening to via a new activity feed.

In addition, there's a $ 20/month HiFi Plus plan. It includes everything from the HiFi tier, as well as master-quality audio at up to 9,216 kbps. The plan also offers immersive, spatial audio formats, such as Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio, and early access to upcoming features. Both HiFi plans are available in all countries in which Tidal operates.

What's more, the HiFi Plus tier has a couple of new features centered around artists. One of those is direct-to-artist payments, which Tidal is rolling out today. Every month, 10 percent of a HiFi Plus user's subscription fees (i.e. $ 2) will go to the artist they listen to the most. That's on top of regular streaming royalties. It's another way for users to support their favorite artists.

Starting in January, Tidal will roll out a revamped artist payment system called fan-centered royalties. Every time a HiFi Plus user listens to one of their songs, they'll receive a "significantly higher" per-stream payment than other music streaming services' payouts. Apple Music pays a penny per stream, while artists have long been asking Spotify for a similar rate.

Tidal says "royalties attributed to HiFi Plus subscribers will not be aggregated." Payments will be tied to each individual user's listening activity, but only on that tier. HiFi Plus users will be able to see how those payments are divvied up through their activity feed.

In addition to revamping the payment model, Tidal is aiming to ensure "quick and seamless" payouts to artists around the world. It's working with Square, Cash App and PayPal to facilitate those.

These are bold, but perhaps necessary moves by Tidal as it aims to become more competitive with larger music streaming services. Tidal was one of the first major proponents of lossless audio, but as rivals started offering that option at no extra cost, it more or less had to bring that option to the $ 10/month plan.

Apple Music added lossless and Dolby Atmos spatial audio features in June. Amazon Music Unlimited dropped the premium fee for HD and Ultra HD streaming in May. It too offers spatial audio as part of the regular plan.

Meanwhile, many of Tidal's rivals have long offered ad-supported free streaming options, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer and YouTube Music. At the opposite end of the scale, Spotify announced plans in February to roll out a CD-quality audio plan, also called HiFi, in select markets at some point this year. It has yet to do so.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Evo camera lets you send snaps directly to your phone

Fujifilm has unveiled the Instax Mini Evo, its new flagship instant film camera with a premium build, higher resolution than previous models and improved smartphone integration. As with other Instax cameras, you can take photos and instantly develop them to Fujifilm's credit card-sized Instax Mini film, but it offers a number of features not available on previous models. 

As a hybrid camera, you can review photos on the LCD monitor and choose the ones you want to print. However, the new model is the first Instax camera with a print lever and lens/film filter dials. That lets you take a picture then choose among 100 combinations of effects (including "Soft Focus," "Light Leak," "Monochrome" and "Retro") and print the image afterwards by pulling the print lever. Fujifilm said the camera also delivers better quality prints as it has twice the exposure resolution of previous models. 

Fujifilm's hybrid Instax Mini Evo camera has double the resolution of past models

The Instax Mini Evo is also effectively a mini-printer for your smartphone. You can transfer images from your phone to the Evo Mini wirelessly, then print them using the "Direct Print" button. And for the first time, you can transfer snaps you take with the Mini Evo back over to your smartphone, complete with the film border. Finally, you can use your smartphone to take pictures remotely with the camera. 

Fujifilm also unveiled a new Instax Mini film format called "Stone Grey" with a gray background. The new camera arrives in Japan on December 3rd and will come to the US in February with a price of $ 200. 

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Google Maps is adding new shopping tools for the holiday season

Google has several new features in Google Maps to help you avoid crowds, find your way around malls, and get your holiday dinner shopping done.
Mobile | Digital Trends

The best 5G phones to buy in 2021

5G coverage is constantly growing. If you’re near a major city, maybe it’s time to start shopping for a new 5G phone. Here are the top phones that support 5G.
Android | Digital Trends

The Oura Ring Gen 3 is still amazing wearable tech — just wait to upgrade

The latest Oura Ring adds new sensors to the same platform as before, ensuring it remains the best smart jewelry you can buy. But should you upgrade?
Wearables | Digital Trends

Best iPhone 12 deals for November 2021: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro

If you’re after iPhone 12 deals, iPhone 12 Pro deals, or discounts on the iPhone Mini, we’ve got them all right here.
Mobile | Digital Trends

The most common AirPods problems and how to fix them

From static noise to dropped calls, there are lots of AirPods quirks with not-always-obvious solutions. We have plenty of tips to help improve your experience.
Mobile | Digital Trends

Google may be canceling Pixel Fold plans in face of Samsung’s market dominance

Google is reportedly no longer working on a foldable as Samsung dominates the market.
Android | Digital Trends

Apple Watch Series 7 just got a price cut at Amazon for Black Friday

Today Amazon is offering a $ 10 discount on the green Apple Watch Series 7, marking it down to $ 390 for an early Black Friday deal.
Wearables | Digital Trends

Samsung isn’t launching a new Exynos chip on November 19 after all

Samsung isn’t launching a new Exynos chip on November 19 as previously assumed, the company clarified in response to speculation.
Android | Digital Trends

Best Black Friday Chromebook Deals 2021: Cheapest prices today

Need a new laptop for work or study? Here’s are the best 2021 Black Friday Chromebook deals you can shop now.
Android | Digital Trends

Tesla is deploying Starlink satellite internet dishes at Superchargers

Don't despair if you want to stream a show at a Tesla Supercharger but aren't paying for Premium Connectivity — you might have an official alternative. According to Electrek, Tesla EV owners have spotted Starlink satellite internet dishes at Supercharger stations. It's not yet clear how many there are or if they're accessible to drivers, but the deployment at least includes Florida.

Tesla hasn't commented on the rollout and is believe to have disbanded its PR team.

There are multiple possible uses for Starlink broadband at Superchargers. At the least, it could replace or supplement the existing connections that handle basics like payments and charger status. That could help the company deploy Superchargers faster and in more remote areas. That's important when the brand hopes to allow charging for non-Tesla EVs and triple the size of its station network.

You don't need that much bandwidth (the median US Starlink connection is about 97Mbps) just to process transactions, though, and it wouldn't be surprising if Tesla used the satellite link to provide WiFi to Supercharger customers. You're typically parked at a charger for long enough to watch some TV episodes — you could stream shows without a Premium Connectivity subscription or using your phone as a hotspot. Network congestion could be a problem if the chargers are busy, but it would be convenient and potentially sell customers on Starlink service at home.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Should You Buy an iPad Air on Black Friday 2021?

Should you buy an iPad Air on Black Friday, buy now and take advantage of early deals, or wait until after the holidays? We break it down.
Mobile | Digital Trends

COP26 climate change deal falls short on coal targets

The COP26 climate conference has come to an end, but it probably won't satisfy some of its more outspoken critics. Reuters and The Washington Post report that the United Nations-helmed summit has reached a final deal on efforts to accelerate emissions reduction and otherwise keep to a Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5C. There are some areas where the new arrangement (billed by the UN as the Glasgow Climate Pact) may offer significant progress, but there are also concerns it doesn't hold countries to stricter standards — including a move away from coal energy.

In negotiations that extended roughly a day past the original November 12th deadline, representatives from China and India successfully changed language in the COP26 agreement that asked countries to "phase-down" unabated coal use rather than "phase-out." While COP26 president Alok Sharma and numerous countries' delegates wanted the tougher language, Sharma said it was "vital" to protect the deal. However, there are worries this will give coal-dependent countries like China and India an excuse to avoid firmer commitments to emissions reduction.

Previous critics blasted wealthier nations for failing to act on a promise of giving poorer countries $ 100 billion per year until 2023 to help them deal with climate change. The Glasgow deal only committed to making a new plan in the next three years.

The final pact does include some notable measures. It asks countries "revisit and strengthen" their climate change plans before the end of 2022, as New Scientistnoted. Similarly, there's a strategy to address long-running disputes over global carbon credit markets. Numerous countries promised to reduce methane emissions and stop deforestation, and the agreement called for reduced subsidies on fossil fuels. Separately, the US and China reached a deal to limit climate change in the 2020s, including a new recognition from China that methane had a significant impact on rising temperatures.

Nonetheless, there are fears the COP26 arrangement is generally too soft. It doesn't set many binding targets. The final language only "requests" that countries rethink their plans, for instance. The pact might prompt some countries to step up their environmental initiatives, but others may face relatively few consequences if they fall short.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

FBI email servers were hacked to target a security researcher

The FBI appears to have been used as a pawn in a fight between hackers and security researchers. According to Bleeping Computer, the FBI has confirmed intruders compromised its email servers early today (November 13th) to send fake messages claiming recipients had fallen prone to data breaches. The emails tried to pin the non-existent attacks on Vinny Troia, the leader of dark web security firms NightLion and Shadowbyte.

The non-profit intelligence organization Spamhaus quickly shed light on the bogus messages. The attackers used legitimate FBI systems to conduct the attack, using email addresses scraped from a database for the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), among other sources. Over 100,000 addresses received the fake emails in at least two waves.

The FBI described the hack as an "ongoing situation" and didn't initially have more details to share. It asked email recipients to report messages like these to the bureau's Internet Crime Complaint Center or the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Troia told Bleeping Computer he believed the perpetrators might be linked to "Pompomourin," a persona that has attacked the researcher in the past.

Feuds between hackers and the security community aren't new. In March, attackers exploiting Microsoft Exchange servers tried to implicate security journalist Brian Krebs using a rogue domain. However, it's rare that they use real domains from a government agency like the FBI as part of their campaign. While that may be more effective than usual (the FBI was swamped with calls from anxious IT administrators), it might also prompt a particularly swift response — law enforcement won't take kindly to being a victim.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

GameSir T4 Mini review: One of the best pocket game controllers

New week, new game controller to review. There’s no shortage of these for any kind of preference you might have, and GameSir has been putting out tons of great options over the last few months, whether you want an Xbox-style controller, something designed for touch screens, or anything else you have an itch for. We’re […]

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Three reasons Apple’s anti-sideloading rant misses the point

Apple Craig Federighi tackled sideloading at this week’s Web Summit 2021 with a misleading rant. Here are three reasons he’s wrong.
Mobile | Digital Trends

The November update for the Surface Duo is available but it’s not what you hoped for

When we say November update, we mean the November Security Patch and not the long-awaited upgrade to Android 11. Despite launching in September 2020, the original Surface Duo is still running on Android 10, the same version of Android that it launched with. This is simply not good enough for a device that cost $ 1,400 […]

Come comment on this article: The November update for the Surface Duo is available but it’s not what you hoped for


AT&T’s Black Friday Deals are here with savings of up to $800 off the Pixel 6 Pro and more

We know it isn’t Black Friday yet but it seems that in 2021 the entirety of November is dedicated to deals and savings. AT&T is getting in on the action early with a bunch of deals and offers on post- and pre-paid services, phones, tablets, and Chromebooks. A selection of AT&T’s Black Friday deals are […]

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Google Pixel 6 review: Don’t overlook the cheaper Pixel

Cheaper means not as good, right? That’s not necessarily accurate, as the $ 599 Pixel 6 proves in our review.
Android | Digital Trends

The latest Google Photos update magically erases the Magic Eraser feature on the Pixel 6

Tired of my complaining about the Pixel 6’s fingerprint issues and explaining why I returned my 6 Pro? Relax, this isn’t one of those articles, instead, we have news of a different calamity to befall Google’s new phones in which the latest update to the Google Photos app magically wipes the Magic Eraser function out […]

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Google could add Face Unlock to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, eventually

The Pixel 6’s fingerprint complaint doesn’t seem to be going away although it’s important to state that many users have a perfectly good experience unlocking their new Google phones. Still, it’s looking more and more as if Google will bolster the beleaguered fingerprint sensor on its Pixel 6 series with the return of face unlock, […]

Come comment on this article: Google could add Face Unlock to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, eventually


Two years and a pandemic later, fast-charging graphene batteries are hitting shelves

After years of research, products leveraging the amazing properties of graphene are finally available for batteries. What do we get from this new tech?
Emerging Tech | Digital Trends

The best tablets for 2021: Which should you buy on Black Friday?

Here are our picks for the best tablets in every category, so you can find the right one to fit your needs.
Android | Digital Trends

Best Black Friday Phone Deals 2021: Cheapest prices today

Here are all the best Black Friday phone deals you can shop today, as well as some buying advice to help you make the right decision.
Android | Digital Trends

Best Black Friday Tablet Deals 2021: Cheapest prices today

Here are all the best Black Friday tablet deals you can shop today, with some useful buying advice to help you make the right decision.
Android | Digital Trends

Samsung will reportedly announce the much-delayed Galaxy S21 FE on January 4th, 2022

I’m not sure how many times we’ve run some version of the above headline for the Galaxy S21 FE but it’s probably more than any other phone. Having suffered delay after delay due to the ongoing chip shortage, the Galaxy S21 FE will apparently make its debut on January 4th, 2022 which is just a […]

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The best cheap Fitbit alternatives for workouts

As much as we love Fitbits, they’re rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives.
Mobile | Digital Trends

The best Fitbit for men in 2021

Attention guys! If you are intent on a healthier lifestyle, a Fitbit may be in your near future. Here are some of the best Fitbits available for men.
Wearables | Digital Trends

The best gifts for the creatives in your life

If there’s an artist in your life the best gift you can give them is inspiration. Whether they’re a painter, writer, musician or anything else. Something to get their creative juices flowing will be welcome. Trust us. There are countless ways to spur creativity and aid the creative process — many of which don’t require spending any money, like meditation or simply taking a long walk. But there are tools out there that can help someone stretch beyond their comfort zone, or simply document and fine-tune their own ideas. From subscriptions, to books, to extremely bizarre instruments, here are the best gifts for the creative in your life.

You Are an Artist by Sarah Urist Green

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Penguin Books

It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes just being told what to do is a great way to spur creativity. Because, truth is, rarely is the actually creative part in the original idea, but rather in the execution of it. The problem is, once someone leaves school nobody is giving them assignments any more. That’s where You Are an Artist comes in, a book compiled by Sarah Urist Green, the host of PBS’ The Art Assignment on YouTube. It’s a collection of 50 assignments crafted by a diverse set of artists to help get the creative on your list, well, creating.

Many of the assignments focus on visual arts, asking them to make endless copies of an image using a Xerox machine, or to take random photos of a location and make notes on details they might normally miss. But there are others that encourage them to hum or clap along with the sounds of traffic, or engage in word games. You Are an Artist is the sort of book they’ll probably revisit time and time again. — Terrence O'Brien, Managing Editor

Buy You Are an Artist at Amazon – $ 13

Apple Pencil (second-gen)

Apple Pencil 2nd generation
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

The iPad has become a key tool for creatives over the years and arguably nothing has contributed to that more than the Apple Pencil. Most of the newest iPads support the second-generation Pencil and it’s admittedly much more convenient than the first purely for its magnetic charging method. But otherwise, the Apple Pencil is the best stylus I’ve ever used because it has little to no latency and that helps mimic the feeling of drawing with a traditional pen and paper.

While investing in a paper-like screen protector will blur the lines even further, you don’t have to do that to get an excellent experience from the Apple Pencil. Drawing is seamless, taking notes is a breeze (especially with iPadOS 15 if you use Apple’s Notes app) and the possibilities are endless once you get familiar with third-party programs like Procreate. Battery life is superb, too: I’ve spent hours drawing in Procreate or experimenting with different planner layouts in GoodNotes and I have yet to pause a session to recharge the Pencil. While the Apple Pencil hasn’t completely replaced traditional art forms for me, it’s certainly the most useful tool I own for when I want to be creative. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy Apple Pencil (2nd gen) at Amazon – $ 129

Astrohaus Freewrite smart typewriter

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Dan Cooper / Engadget

The Freewrite smart typewriter is a niche device that would nonetheless make a wonderful present for any aspiring writer. Or, come to think of it, anyone who is already committed to the art of putting words to the page. The Freewrite combines an excellent mechanical keyboard with an E Ink display, and while it can get online to sync drafts to the web, that's the only thing it can do. There's no way to browse the web, play a game, or watch YouTube on the Freewrite, which makes it a lot easier to just sit down and get into a flow state. The E Ink screen and keyboard can take a little getting used to, but both things quickly become assets when just looking to get some writing done. And thanks to the low-power display, the Freewrite lasts for a week or two of heavy writing. At $ 600, it's a serious investment — but gifting one to an aspiring writer should give them great motivation to write that book they're always talking about. — Nathan Ingraham, Deputy Managing Editor

Buy Smart Typewriter at Freewrite – $ 600

Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album

Mute: A Visual Document: From 1978 – Tomorrow

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Thames & Hudson

Decades worth of record label design offers a wellspring of visual aesthetics to kickstart your own creativity. There are even a few monoliths of music and design culture that succeeded in the record industry without succumbing to the corporate machine. Factory and Mute records are such creatures. Spawned in the UK in the late ‘70s (though only Mute remains today), both companies informed generations through tales of — sometimes careless — business tactics and quality curated output. In general, they were groups driven by a DIY aesthetic and creativity unhindered by official structure.

Not only did these labels champion freedom of musical expression and help drive new genres of music, but they also became an outlet for visual designers. Most notably, Peter Saville’s (found) cover art for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album (Factory) is ubiquitous today with its mountainous range of wavy lines. Spending time digging through either of these books which are chock full of art, music and history can get your creative juices flowing. Either are a welcome gift for family, friends or even yourself. — Jon Turi, Homepage Editor

Buy Factory Records at Amazon – $ 34Buy Mute: A Visual Document at Amazon – $ 45

Ruhlman's Twenty by Michael Ruhlman

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Chronicle Books

I’ve gotten to the point in my cooking journey where trying recipes isn’t as interesting to me as learning new techniques. Do I have a pile of go-to recipes in my Paprika app? Yes, but now I’m more interested in mastering cooking methods that essentially set you up to make your own recipes from scratch. Ruhlman’s Twenty is one of the “cookbooks” I’ve been turning to the most in my quest, and if some of the concepts in the book may seem basic, that’s because they are. Most cooking shows and online recipe blogs don’t explain why they add an acid to a tomato sauce or how to get a perfectly crispy french fry rather than an oily, soggy mess — but this book does. It takes you back to basics, explaining the proper techniques behind different ways of cooking, so that you can understand what’s happening to your food as you prepare it. And don’t worry, it doesn’t read like a textbook and there are even complete recipes in there for you to follow if you wish. Ultimately, Ruhlman’s Twenty has made me a more competent cook who isn’t forced to consult a recipe every time I prepare a meal. — V.P.

Buy Ruhlman's Twenty at Amazon – $ 19

Make Noise Strega

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Make Noise

A new instrument can be a decent way to snap someone out of a creative rut. But even better than a new instrument is a weird instrument. And if the musician in your life likes things on the weird side, I highly recommend the Make Noise Strega. It was designed in collaboration with Alessandro Cortini (touring member of Nine Inch Nails), and eschews most of your usual synth controls and makes sounds that are best described as weathered.

The front panel is a confounding array of glyphs and lines that look like something out of a book on the occult. The express goal of the Strega is to get someone experimenting — literally poking and prodding at the various touch panels that serve as modulation sources and destinations using a person's own body as a patch cable. It won’t be for everyone, but if you’re shopping for the kind of person who loves lo-fi warbles and nightmarish drones, they’ll love the Strega. — T.O.

Buy Make Noise Strega at Sweetwater – $ 599

POTAR Design's Sound Urchin

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
POTAR Design

Okay, calling the Sound Urchin an “instrument” might seem like a stretch, but the otherworldly sounds it creates are sure to inspire the musician in your life to tackle composing differently. It’s essentially a bunch of metal rods stuck to a guitar pedal enclosure with a microphone inside it. The rods aren’t really tuned in any traditional way, which allows for the creation of unexpected melodies, but it can also be a source of clanging percussion or ominous wails. When paired with some effects this strange little box is capable of being the basis for an entire composition — albeit a slightly odd one.

This particular recommendation came courtesy of Abby Santourian, a Chicago-based musician and music gear expert at Reverb who told Engadget via email: “For centuries, artists have been inspired by the sea, but I think this takes that idea to a new level…. When combined with other pedals and effects, the sonic possibilities and combinations are seriously endless.” — T.O.

Pre-order Sound Urchin at Potar Designs – $ 125

The Artist Way by Julia Cameron

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Souvenir Press

If you’ve heard about Morning Pages, or Artist Dates, both are two core habits established in The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s decades-old book on creative practice. That’s probably the most straightforward way to describe this book, which walks you through a 12-week program of writing exercises and tasks, all aimed at freeing up your creative powers. The crux of it is demanding three pages of handwritten writing every day. While it’s often a stream of consciousness — and if your handwriting is atrocious, barely legible — Cameron’s advice is to simply put the writing out there, and see where it takes you. Famous fans include Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, Alicia Keys and practically half of the comedians whose podcasts I listen to, it seems. The book does get a little bit spiritual at times, which you may or may not be fine with, but the core exercises and ideas can be pretty powerful, especially if you’re in a creative rut, or simply looking to add more artistic output to your day-to-day life. — Mat Smith, UK Bureau Chief

Buy The Artist's Way at Amazon – $ 25

Moog Subharmonicon

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.

Another slightly weird instrument to consider is the Moog Subharmonicon. The sounds it produces are more “standard” than the Strega (for lack of a better term), but its sequencer and focus on subharmonics are anything but. It takes inspiration from a pair of early experimental electronic instruments — the Mixtur-Trautonium and the Rhythmicon. The Subharmonicon encourages one to explore the concepts of subharmonics and polyrhythms to create unexpected melodies and rhythms. It’s capable of that classic Moog sound, but it will also force someone out of their comfort zone. — T.O.

Buy Moog Subharmonicon at Amazon – $ 699

Sensel Morph with Thunder overlay

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Sometimes a person doesn’t need whole new sounds to get the creative juices flowing, but just a new way of making those sounds. The Sensel Morph is an impressively portable and flexible MPE MIDI controller with amazing shapeshifting possibilities. It can be a piano, a pad-based drum machine, a sketch pad, or an obscure controller inspired by Don Buchla — the driving force of West Coast-style synthesis.

The Buchla Thunder overlay marries the expressive possibilities of the Morph with an approach to composing melodies and harmonies that it’s fairly safe to assume your giftee has never experienced. Instead of a traditional piano layout it’s a series of pads organized into a roughly bird-like shape that you’re supposed to tap and slide along to create unique timbres. Its unfamiliarity forces anyone to stop thinking about what they already know about playing music and focus instead on the results.

Plus, the Morph has a number of other overlays so, if the Thunder has worn out its welcome, it’s still incredibly useful and flexible. — T.O.

Buy Morph with Thunder overlay at Sensel – $ 269

Splice Creator plan

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.

Sure it’s easy to just grab a drum loop from the top of the Splice charts and wind up sounding like everyone else. But there are far more interesting ways to find sounds. For one, search results can be shuffled. So, rather than just using the same Rhodes sample that thousands of other bedroom producers have relied on, a person can hit the shuffle button and grab something that might be flying under the radar. This technique can also be combined with searching for random terms on Splice, rather than pulling up specific instruments. (Just Google “random word generator” and use that as the basis for a search.) There are lots of interesting and sometimes strange sounds and loops to be found by searching for things like “clinic” and “preparation.”

The entry-level $ 10 Sounds+ plan includes 100 sample credits. But your giftee would probably really appreciate the upgrade to the Creator Plan. That includes 200 credits, plus access to Splice’s surprisingly excellent Astra soft synth, its Beatmaker drum machine plugin and a library of tutorials and lessons on music production under the Skills banner. Sometimes, when you’re not sure what to do, simply learning a new skill or trick can get the creative juices flowing again. — T.O.

Get Splice Creator Plan

Tascam DR-05X

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.

A decent field recorder should be in pretty much every artist’s arsenal. For a musician, obviously, it’s valuable for recording samples and capturing impromptu jam sessions. Anyone can buy sample packs, sure, but building a custom drum kit from snapping twigs and the crunch of dead leaves is a surefire way to get someone thinking outside the box.

But even beyond that, it’s great for documenting ideas and finding inspiration. Yes, there are voice-note apps, but your giftee might like having a dedicated (and distraction-free) tool for documenting ideas, inspiring sounds and capturing interesting lectures or panels. A writer can set a recorder up and talk through the plot of a novel they’re working on, without worrying that their battery will die. Or a painter can record the ambience of a cafe they frequented while traveling in Paris and revisit it to find inspiration for a new work. — T.O.

Buy Tascam DR-05X at Amazon – $ 119

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

NASA pushes back crewed moon landing to 2025

NASA has officially adjusted its timeline for the Artemis III mission and won't be landing on the Moon in 2024. The agency is now aiming to land the first woman and next American man on the lunar surface in 2025 at the earliest, NASA administrator Bill Nelson has announced. NASA was originally targeting a 2028 launch date for its return to the Moon, but the Trump administration moved that date up by four years back in 2017. In a conference call with reporters, Nelson said "the Trump administration's target of 2024 human landing was not grounded in technical feasibility."

In addition to the unrealistic deadline, Nelson blamed Blue Origin's lawsuit against the agency for the delay. It had to put its contract with SpaceX on hold and pause work on the lunar lander that's meant to take astronauts to the surface of the Moon for a couple of times. NASA lost almost seven months of work on the lander as a result, which had cast doubts on the 2024 landing even before Nelson made his announcement. 

If you'll recall, NASA awarded SpaceX a $ 2.9 billion contract to develop a Starship-based lunar landing system back in April. The agency historically works with more than one contractor for each mission, but in this instance, it inked a deal with Elon Musk's company alone. Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin sued NASA over that decision, arguing that it wasn't given the chance to revise its bid for the project. 

Based on legal documents The Verge obtained in September, however, NASA felt that Blue Origin "gambled" with its proposed $ 5.9 billion lunar lander bid. The company allegedly set the price higher than necessary, because it assumed that NASA would award it a contract but negotiate for a lower price. The Federal Court of Claims ultimately ruled against Blue Origin a few days ago, dismissing its claims that NASA ignored "key flight safety requirements" when it awarded SpaceX the lunar lander contract.

Nelson's announcement comes shortly after NASA moved the uncrewed Artemis I flight test launch from this year to February 2022. That's assuming everything will go as planned — the Orion capsule and Space Launch System that will be used for the mission will still have to go through a battery of tests before NASA can schedule it for blastoff.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

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A League of Legends rhythm runner game is coming to Switch, PC and Netflix

It's a big month for Riot, as the company is going all out to promote Arcane, the Netflix animated series based on League of Legends. But the company hasn't forgotten about the gaming side of things. Its publishing label, Riot Forge, has announced a rhythm runner game set in the LoL universe.

In Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story, you'll play as Ziggs, a Yordle and Hexplosives expert, who wants to build the greatest bomb in the history of Runeterra. You'll carry out bomb jumps and attacks as you bypass obstacles, disarm enemies and light fuses to the beat of this platformer's soundtrack.

In terms of gameplay, Hextech Mayhem looks a little like the Bit.Trip series. That shouldn't be too surprising, since Choice Provisions is the developer behind both.

More details will be revealed during a Riot Forge video showcase at 11AM ET on November 16th. Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story will be available on Nintendo Switch, Steam, GOG and the Epic Games Store on the same day. If you pre-order, you'll snag an exclusive skin for Ziggs.

The game is also coming to Netflix at a later date. It's the first new title announced for Netflix's nascent gaming service since the company expanded it to all Android users last week. The current lineup of five mobile games will be available to iOS users soon. Netflix subscribers will be able to play Hextech Mayhem at no extra cost.

Meanwhile, Riot Forge said it will share more info about the long-awaited turn-based RPG Ruined King: A League of Legends Story in the coming weeks.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Robinhood reports data breach affecting 7 million customers

Online stock trading platform Robinhood has been hit by a data breach affecting seven million of its customers, the company revealed on Monday, November 8.
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How Google’s Magic Eraser changes history, one small human at a time

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Best Garmin watch deals for November 2021

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The funny formula: Why machine-generated humor is the holy grail of A.I.

A.I. can beat us at games like chess, Jeopardy!, and even poker — but it still can’t tell a good joke. Here’s why humor is such a huge challenge for machines.
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It’s a case of “Oh Dear” as Google’s Pixel 6 Pro maxes out at 22W charging and not 30W as implied

When does a phone with 30W charging not charge at 30W? When it’s a Pixel 6 Pro apparently. In the run-up to the phone’s launch just 2 weeks ago it seemed that Google would finally upgrade the charging rate from a miserable 18W to 30W on the Pixel 6 Pro, but it seems that this […]

Come comment on this article: It’s a case of “Oh Dear” as Google’s Pixel 6 Pro maxes out at 22W charging and not 30W as implied


Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is ONLY $200 at Best Buy today

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The 100 best Android apps (November 2021)

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Iraqi prime minister say he was the target of a drone assassination attempt

Drones are apparently turning into assassination tools. According to CBS News and Reuters, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi says he survived a drone-based assassination attempt today (November 7th) at his home in Baghdad's highly secure Green Zone. The country's Interior Ministry said the attack involved three drones, including at least one bomb-laden vehicle. Six bodyguards were injured during the incident, and an official speaking talking to Reuters claimed security forces obtained the remnants of a small drone at the scene.

While the Iraqi government publicly said it was "premature" to identify culprits, CBS sources suspected the perpetrators belonged to pro-Iranian militias that have used similar tactics against Erbil International Airport and the US Embassy. The militias directly blamed al-Kadhimi for casualties in a fight between Iraqi security forces and pro-militia protesters who objected to their side's losses in an October 10th parliamentary vote.

Iraq, the US, Saudi Arabia and Iran have publicly condemned the attack. Militia leaders, however, suggested the drone attack might have been faked to distract from protesters' reported deaths.

Drone-based terrorism isn't a completely novel concept. ISIS, for instance, modified off-the-shelf drones to drop explosives. Attacks against political leaders are still very rare, though. If accurate, the reported Iraqi plot suggests drone terrorism is entering a new phase — extremists are using robotic fliers to hit major targets too dangerous to strike using conventional methods.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

‘Arcane’ is a new breed of mature animation for the Netflix gaming crowd

Vi bounces her leg when she’s nervous. It’s something she does throughout the first four episodes of Arcane, the Netflix series based on League of Legends lore, and it’s a tiny yet charming habit. Vi’s leg shakes up and down with anxious anger as she argues with her friend from a squashed armchair in their makeshift lair; later, her knee bounces as she sits alone in a dark room, facing certain doom. It’s something that makes Vi feel real, like she has a history that she carries with her, as natural as her pink hair.

Even though Arcane is packed with incredible action and delicious animation, small details like these truly bring the world to life — only for Jinx to blow it all to smithereens.

Riot Games

Warning: Slight spoilers for the first four episodes of Arcane ahead.

Arcane begins with a quintessential story of class warfare, depicting violent clashes between the rich citizens of Piltover and the oppressed, criminal society of Zaun, where Vi, Jinx and their crew live. In the first three episodes, Vi and Jinx are kids: Vi is the leader of a small gang of teen outlaws, while Jinx — who actually goes by Powder at this time — is her little sister, a few years of heist experience and growth spurts behind the others. By the fourth episode, Vi and Jinx are older and on equal footing, even when they find themselves on opposite sides.

The sisters start out surrounded by their chosen family members, including their father figure, Vander, who acts as the unofficial mayor of Zaun. A former leader of the resistance, Vander runs a bar called The Last Drop and tries to keep the peace with the Enforcers, Piltover’s militarized security team. Meanwhile, scientists in Piltover are on the verge of harnessing synthetic magic, while the most vile forces in Zaun are creating monster soldiers by feeding people shimmering purple liquid. Altogether, it’s a recipe for war.

Arcane’s disparate worlds are vibrant, vast and alive, Piltover shining gold among the clouds and Zaun buried beneath the dirt, filled with toxic green light. The show itself feels less like anime and more like an almost-R-rated Disney film, with buttery-smooth character movements and elaborate environments, courtesy of Riot Games’ go-to animation studio, Fortiche Production. The entire thing looks as if it were the product of motion-capture technology, but it’s hand-animated in a mix of 2D and 3D.

The fights in Arcane are particularly gorgeous. Vi is a boxer, diving in with her fists raised, while Jinx has a bunch of semi-functional homemade grenades covered in crayon scribbles, allowing her to participate from afar — even though she wants to be with the big kids, in the center of the action. The largest battles tend to play out in slow-motion, with emotional electronic music thrumming through the scenes and close-up shots of vicious punches, heavy kicks and last-second dodges. In wider angles, every frame of these fights has desktop-wallpaper potential.

Riot Games

Arcane takes its time establishing characters and revealing how they’re all intertwined, and by the end of episode three, this work crashes into a massive fight scene and pays off in a powerful way. In League of Legends lore, Vi and Jinx are bitter rivals, but in Arcane, they start off as sisters with a deep, true love for one another. They support each other, save each other’s lives, and fall apart together. They feel inseparable. It takes something catastrophic to rip them apart, and Arcane shows us every horrific second. It’s heartbreaking.

It’s not all about Vi and Jinx, and there are plenty of other League of Legends characters with starring roles in Arcane, including Viktor, Jayce, Ekko, Caitlyn and Heimerdinger. As a fan of the game, I feel a happy spark whenever I recognize a face or name in Arcane, but it won’t detract from the experience if you don’t already know who these people are. This is an origin story, after all.


Episode four, which will hit Netflix along with two other episodes on November 13th, fast-forwards to a time when Jinx and Vi look more like their in-game character models, and it establishes the groundwork for a future confrontation — family reunion? — between the two. Jinx and Vi are both haunted by their pasts, and their evolution is captivating. The story spins out around them, tantalizing and tense.

Arcane might ruin me. The show quickly and effortlessly establishes connections with its characters, bolstered by an enchanting animation style and emotional, raw voice acting. It’s making me feel things, and I’m only four episodes in. The first batch of three Arcane episodes is on Netflix today, November 6th, while the second bunch will land on November 13th, and the final three will hit on November 20th.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

5 dumb phone accessories that we love anyway

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