Recent News from Engadget

Here’s how to deal with those badly written equations you find online

Spend enough time on social media and it’s likely that you’ll see what I’ve started to call a Bad Math Scam. This is where an account, looking to juice their engagement figures, posts an equation with a challenge for people to solve it. Often, it’ll sa…

Instagram is testing tools to make it easier for creators to find sponsors

Instagram is testing new tools to make it easier for creators to earn money through its service. The app is now testing affiliate shops, a feature it first previewed at its Creator Week event in June, and a dedicated “partnerships” inbox.Affiliate shop…

PlayStation’s next State of Play is set for October 27th

Sony has announced when its next State of Play stream will take place. You can watch it on October 27th at 5PM ET on Twitch or YouTube.

It’ll be a short broadcast, clocking in at 20 minutes or so, but as we saw with Sony’s blockbuster showcase in September, it can pack a lot into these events. The company didn’t say what games will be featured nor did it rule anything out. However, the focus will be on third-party titles for PS4 and PS5.

Along with reveals from some of its partners, Sony is promising more info about previously announced games. Here’s hoping for a firm release date for Bethesda and Tango Gameworks’ delayed Ghostwire: Tokyo, which is scheduled for next spring. Square Enix’s Forspoken is also penciled in for that timeframe, so perhaps Sony will reveal exactly when that game’s coming too. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn more about the PS5 version of Grand Theft Auto V, which is due to arrive in March.

The remastered Grand Theft Auto trilogy arrives November 11th

Today is the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto III. Although Rockstar Games didn’t mark the occasion with a sudden surprise release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition, it revealed when you’ll be able to get your hands on the upgraded versions of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas.

The bundle arrives digitally on November 11th (the former release date for the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of GTA V) on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. Physical editions will be available for consoles on December 7th.

Rockstar is charging $60 for the trilogy, which might be hard to swallow for some given that the original versions were often available for a few bucks each before the publisher pulled them from digital storefronts this month. It’s worth noting that the remastered GTA: San Andreas hits Xbox Game Pass on November 11th and the upgraded GTA III will arrive on PlayStation Now on December 7th.

The most obvious changes to the games are upgraded, richer visuals. Rockstar has added higher resolution textures, enhanced the weather effects, improved character and vehicle models, overhauled the lighting system and increased draw distances — all while trying to hang onto each game’s original aesthetic. Vice City, for one thing, looks far more vibrant than the original, but it’s clearly still Vice City.

There are some platform-specific enhancements. PS5 and Xbox Series X players will be able to run the games in 4K at up to 60 frames per second. On PC, there’s support for NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) upscaling tech. Switch players, meanwhile, will have gyro controls and can use the touchscreen to to navigate menus and to zoom and pan the camera.

Rockstar has tweaked the gameplay in other ways. The controller layout now matches that of GTA V, and there are changes to gunplay and targeting, the weapon and radio station selection wheels and minimaps (such as the ability to set waypoints). You’ll also be able to immediately restart a mission after failing too, which is a great quality of life update.

‘Stardew Valley’ creator’s next game is ‘Haunted Chocolatier’

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, aka “ConcernedApe,” has made a surprise unveiling of his next game, Haunted Chocolatier. It has the same pixelated SNES look as Stardew, with characters, set-pieces and themes that are similarly cute and quirky. 

“In this game, you will play as a chocolatier living in a haunted castle. In order to thrive in your new role, you will have to gather rare ingredients, make delicious chocolates, and sell them in a chocolate shop,” according to Barone’s blog on the new website. The video shows characters heading out into into a town, the castle, a mountain and other scenarios to seek ingredients and fend off creatures.

It’s Barone’s first game since Stardew Valley launched in 2016, but so far it’s not a lot more than a demo. Barone has yet to finalize the gameplay systems, and said he doesn’t even want to be “tied down to any particular concept of what the game is” ahead of launch. 

Haunted Chocolatier does sound and look a lot like Stardew at first take. However, in a FAQ, Barone said there will be some substantial differences, particularly when it comes to gameplay.

Like Stardew Valley, Haunted Chocolatier is another “town game,” where you move to a new town and try your hand at a new way of living. You’ll get to know the townspeople, achieve your goals and make progress in many ways. All of that is similar to Stardew Valley. However, the core gameplay and theming are quite a bit different. Haunted Chocolatier is more of an action-RPG compared to Stardew Valley. And instead of a farm being the focal point of your endeavors, it’s a chocolate shop.

Barone wouldn’t reveal other details, like whether the new title is set in the same world as Stardew, nor a release date or even a general timeframe. He did say that it would be single-player only, with no plans for multiplayer. The game will “100 percent” come to PC, though he has “every intention of bringing it to the other major platforms as well.”

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones fall to $248, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals

This week brought our first official early Black Friday sale, courtesy of Best Buy. While we expect to see even more of these events before we hit Black Friday proper, there are a bunch of gadgets at record-low prices right now that are worth considering. Both Amazon and Best Buy knocked $150 off the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphone, and both retailers have some of our favorite Sony headphones and earbuds for less. Plus, the new Galaxy Watch 4 wearables are down to all-time-low prices thanks to a Samsung deals event on Amazon. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4
Engadget

Sony’s excellent WH-1000XM4 headphones remain on sale for $248, which is a record low. These are our current favorite pair of ANC headphones and they earned a score of 94 from us for their solid sound quality, powerful ANC and multi-device connectivity.

Buy WH-1000XM4 at Amazon – $248Buy WH-1000XM4 at Best Buy – $248

12.9-inch iPad Pro

Apple iPad Pro (2021) review
Chris Velazco/Engadget

The 256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $200 off, bringing it down to $999. That’s the same price as the 128GB version right now, so you’re essentially getting double the storage at no extra cost. We gave the tablet a score of 87 for its gorgeous display, impressive performance and handy Center Stage camera.

Buy 12.9-inch iPad Pro (256GB) at Amazon – $999

Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds
Billy Steele/Engadget

The previous-gen Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds are down to $128, more than $70 off their normal price. We gave these buds a score of 89 for their excellent sound, great battery life and comprehensive companion app.

Buy WF-1000XM3 at Amazon – $128Buy WF-1000XM3 at Best Buy – $128

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 half folded and set up on a table.
David Imel for Engadget

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 foldable smartphone is still on sale for $850, or $150 off. This is the most practical version of a Samsung foldable yet, and we gave it a score of 82 for its more durable design, attractive build and new water resistance.

Buy Galaxy Z Flip 3 at Amazon – $850Buy Galaxy Z Flip 3 at Best Buy – $850

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

A black Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a wrist
David Imel for Engadget

Both the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are down to record-low prices, $220 and $300, respectively. These remain the best smartwatches for Android users and we gave the Watch 4 a score of 85 for its comprehensive health tracking abilities, lovely screen and better support for third-party apps.

Buy Galaxy Watch 4 at Amazon – $220Buy Galaxy Watch 4 Classic at Amazon – $300

Roku Streambar

Roku Streambar soundbar on a white table.
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

The Roku Streambar is on sale for $99 right now, or $30 off its normal price. We gave the compact soundbar a score of 86 for its good sound quality, Dolby Audio support, built-in 4K HDR streaming tech and its ability to work as a Bluetooth speaker. Also, the more advanced (and larger) Streambar Pro is down to a record low of $150.

Buy Roku Streambar at Amazon – $99Buy Roku Streambar at Best Buy – $99Buy Streambar Pro at Amazon – $150

Roku Ultra

TV streaming box
Roku

Roku’s most powerful streaming device, the Ultra, is on sale for only $69 at the moment. That’s $30 off its normal price and a great deal if you want 4K HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content, along with speedy WiFi and the option to hardware the set-top box into your setup via its Ethernet port.

Buy Roku Ultra at Best Buy – $69

Jabra Elite 75t

Jabra Elite 75t wireless earbuds
Billy Steele / Engadget

Jabra’s Elite 75t earbuds are cheaper than ever at $80, which is nearly half off their normal price. These are some of our favorite true wireless earbuds thanks to their compact, comfortable design, long battery life and new ANC capabilities.

Buy Elite 75t at Amazon – $80Buy Elite 75t at Best Buy – $80

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 revivew
Billy Steele/Engadget

The new Galaxy Buds 2 are down to $130 right now, or $20 off their normal price. It may be $5 more than their record low, but this is still a good deal to consider if you’ve been eyeing a pair of the company’s true wireless earbuds. We gave the Buds 2 a score of 84 for their comfortable design, improved sound quality and adjustable ambient sound mode.

Buy Galaxy Buds 2 at Amazon – $130

New tech deals

Apple TV 4K

The latest Apple TV 4K is on sale for $130 at Verizon right now. This is the best price we’ve seen it, and you’ll get the model with the latest processor, support for Dolby Vision and Atmos and the much improved new Siri remote.

Buy Apple TV 4K at Verizon – $130

Crucial MX500 SSD (2TB)

The 2TB Crucial MX500 internal SSD is down to an all-time low of $170. This is a good option if you need extra storage in your desktop or laptop, and we like that it has AES 256-bit hardware based encryption and integrated power loss immunity.

Buy Crucial MX500 (2TB) at Amazon – $170

Rubik’s Connected

This Bluetooth-connected Rubik’s cube is $10 off thanks to a coupon you can apply on the product page, bringing the toy down to roughly $50. Rather than going nuts trying to solve the puzzle on your own, this one has a companion app that actually teaches you how to do so. You can then complete challenges, better your skills and try to get atop the global leaderboard.

Buy Rubik’s Connected at Amazon – $50

NordVPN

NordVPN, one of our favorite VPNs, is running a sale on a two-year subscription. You can sign up and pay $99 for two years, plus you’ll get an extra three months free. We like NordVPN for its speed, its no-logs policy, the thousands of servers it has to choose from and that one account supports up to six connected devices.

Buy NordVPN (2 years) – $99

Tunnelbear

Another one of our top VPN services, Tunnelbear, is offering a two-year subscription for $100. You’ll save 58 percent if you sign up with this deal, and we think Tunnelbear is one of the easiest VPNs to use, especially for those that don’t want to go crazy configuring their connections.

Buy Tunnelbear (2 years) – $100

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Trump’s social network was defaced before it even launched

It took only a few hours for pranksters to find and deface a test version of former President Trump’s yet-to-launch social media platform called TRUTH Social. According to The Washington Post, someone signed up for an account on the test website, took the username “donaldjtrump” and posted a photo of a defecating pig. 

Trump and his team recently announced that they’re launching TRUTH Social in early 2022 and that beta tests will begin in November. In its announcement, the team said that the platform is part of its efforts to fight against “the Big Tech companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”

The test website has already been pulled down, but not before one of the publication’s reporters was able to sign up under the name “mikepence” without encountering any safeguards that would prevent them from doing so. Based on the mock photos on its App Store listing, TRUTH Social looks like a Twitter clone, where users can post “Truths” similar to tweets and repost “Re-Truths,” which are basically retweets. It has a news feed called the Truth Feed and a notification system, as well.

The website’s code shows that it runs on a mostly unmodified version of open source software Mastodon, The Post says. Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko told Vice that the platform might be violating its licensing rules, since it requires developers to share any modification with the public and to give credit by linking to the original source code. The test website didn’t just reveal TRUTH Social’s code, though, but also its terms of service. A sub-section in the ToS shows that the website hopes to be protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Part of the ToS reads: “[W]e are not responsible for any Third-Party Websites accessed through the Site or any Third-Party Content posted on, available through, or installed from the Site, including the content, accuracy, offensiveness, opinions, reliability, privacy practices, or other policies of or contained in the Third-Party Websites or the Third-Party Content.”

Trump has been a very vocal critic of Section 230. In 2020, he signed an executive order meant to limit its scope shortly after Twitter fact-checked a false tweet he made. The order was never meaningfully imposed, but President Biden revoked it completely back in May.

Engadget Podcast: Apple’s new MacBook Pros, the Pixel 6 and the Surface Duo 2

Techtober continues with a deep dive into Apple’s latest MacBook Pros, powered by the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Cherlynn and Devindra also chat about what’s new with the Pixel 6, and Mr. Mobile himself (Michael Fisher) joins to break down the Surface Duo 2. It turns out Microsoft needed more than a year to fix all of the problems with its dual-screen phone.

Listen below, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!

Subscribe!

Topics

  • Apple’s new MacBooks with M1 Pro and M1 Pro Max – 1:37

  • Google finally details Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro’s specs – 23:22

  • Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 is inconsistent and buggy – 38:41

  • Facebook may be changing its name – 1:04:05

  • Facebook Portal Go Review – 1:05:05

  • Finally, you can post to Instagram from desktop – 1:06:02

  • Samsung had yet another Unpacked event – 1:06:23

  • Also in events: Razer, DJI – 1:07:35

  • We have a trailer for the Uncharted movie – 1:07:56

  • Mel Brooks is doing History of the World: Part II for Hulu – 1:09:19

  • Fisher Price made a version of its toy phone that actually makes calls – 1:10:14

  • Working on – 1:11:25

  • Pop culture picks – 1:12:26

Video livestream

Credits
Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Guests: Michael Fisher
Producer: Ben Ellman
Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos,Luke Brooks
Graphics artists: Luke Brooks, Kyle Maack
Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien

Lyft’s first safety report reveals over 4,000 sexual assault cases

Lyft has finally published its first safety report (PDF), which sheds light on the rate of sexual assault and abuse cases on the service in the US over the course of three years. From 2017 until 2019, Lyft received a total of 4,158 sexual assault reports. The company’s safety team divided all sexual assault and misconduct incidents into 21 categories, but the cases included in this report only include five of the most serious categories of sexual assault.

Those categories are non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual/sexual body part, non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and non-consensual sexual penetration. There are lesser categories of sexual assault that weren’t included in the total number of cases.

Among the five, the most commonly reported incidents fall under the non-consensual touching of a sexual body part category. The team recorded 360 incidents of rape within that period. Lyft said that it included any incident reported over the three-year period regardless of when it actually happened, because sexual assault is chronically underreported. Further, it intentionally used broad definitions for the sub-categories.In addition to sexual assault cases, Lyft has also reported 105 motor vehicle fatalities and 10 fatal physical assaults. 

The company explained that it doesn’t proactively report safety incidents to law enforcement, knowing that it’s a deeply personal decision, especially for survivors of sexual assault. “This policy gives survivors as much agency as possible when deciding whether and how to report an incident,” it wrote. 

Lyft has been promising to release a safety report since 2018, and when CNN asked about it earlier this year, the company cited an issue with the California Public Utilities Commission for the delay. According to the news organization, at least 72 individuals are suing the ride-hailing service over alleged sexual assault incidents. Some of those cases accuse Lyft of knowing that its drivers were raping passengers and failing to take steps to protect its customers.

Uber, on the other hand, published its first safety report in 2019. The company revealed nearly 6,000 reports of sexual abuse over 2017 and 2018, as well as 19 fatal physical assaults.

The Morning After: Razer’s light-up smart face mask finally goes on sale

After a long run of teasing the RGB-lit Zephyr mask, Razer is finally ready to sell it to die-hard fans — or possibly cosplayers. The Zephyr costs $100 or there’s a $150 Starter Pack with three replacement filter kits. Alas, the Starter Pack is already listed as “out of stock,” and the mask by itself is still “coming soon.”

Yes, you can customize the lighting through a companion app, but the highlight is a dual-fan active air filtration system with N95 filters — something I’d never thought I’d be writing about a Razer device.

— Mat Smith

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review

Its second dual-screen hybrid is another letdown.

The Morning After
Engadget

Microsoft’s dual-screen ambitions continue to struggle. Upgraded hardware and a new Glance Bar don’t mean much when the Duo 2 is still plagued with inconsistent, finicky software. The new triple-camera array is held back by an atrocious camera app, and thermal issues cause the device to hang. All of this will cost you $1,500.

Continue reading.

‘Uncharted’ movie trailer plays Nathan Drake’s greatest hits

That cargo plane sequence looks mighty familiar.

The Morning After
Sony Pictures

Yes, Sony is finally releasing an Uncharted movie after trying to make one for over a decade. Sony Pictures included a handy reminder at the end of the trailer about a remastered bundle of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy that’s coming to PlayStation 5 and PC in early 2022.

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Do you want a Razer gaming chair?

Well, it’s pretty good.

The Morning After
Razer

Gaming chairs have proliferated over the past few years, and until now, they’ve tended to be overpriced and visually unappealing. Think: lurid colors, Bond villain lair aesthetics and giant drink holders. As Buyer’s Guide Editor Kris Naudus puts it, Razer’s new Enki chair is still a bit over the top, but at least it’s a more affordable kind of over the top.

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NVIDIA’s new GeForce Now RTX 3080 service streams games at 1440p and 120 fps

It costs $100 for six months, double the current premium tier price.

NVIDIA has unveiled its next-generation cloud gaming platform called GeForce Now RTX 3080 with “desktop-class latency” and 1440p gaming at up to 120 fps on PC or Mac. The service is powered by a new gaming supercomputer called the GeForce Now SuperPod and, at $200 for a year, costs double the price of the existing Priority tier, which recently doubled to $100.

Continue reading.

Sony’s A7 IV camera has a 33-megapixel sensor and 4K 60p video

It promises ‘flagship-class’ image quality and AI-powered AF.

The Morning After
Sony

Sony has finally revealed its mainstream $2,500 Alpha A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera, and it looks to have been worth the wait. Borrowing technology from the recent A1 and A7S III models, it has some substantial improvements over the A7 III introduced well over three years ago. There’s an all-new 33-megapixel sensor, 4K 10-bit 60 fps video, new AI autofocus tricks and a lot more, including some new live streaming and sharing features, though they’re not quite up to the level we’ve seen on other recent cameras. You can do video and audio streaming over USB-C at up to 1080p 60 or 4K 15p if resolution is a priority over smooth video.

The A7 IV is clearly a massive leap forward for Sony’s “basic” full-frame mirrorless camera series, putting it on par — or ahead of — most rivals. The only deterrent is the $2,500 price tag ($2,699 with a kit lens), which is $500 more than the A7 III cost at launch.

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How to buy a monitor in 2021

We help you narrow down the multitude of choices available.

With the pandemic still upon us and Work From Home directives continuing, a monitor is one of the most important computer buying decisions you can make. Luckily, there’s never been more choice, and we’ve seen vast improvements in color accuracy, size and resolution since our last update. Steve Dent is here to help with your buying decision. Do you need HDR, and if so, how bright should your monitor be? What size do you need? Let’s dive in.

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The biggest news stories you might have missed

iFixit’s Apple Watch Series 7 teardown shows the same display tech as iPhone 13

We can make the steel of tomorrow without the fossil fuels of yesteryear

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro offers a speed-enhancing High Power Mode

Apple will require unvaccinated employees to test for COVID-19 daily

Trump plans to launch his own social media platform in early 2022

Raspberry Pi announces first-ever price increase due to component shortages

Microsoft and AMD will give away a ‘Halo Infinite’ Radeon RX 6900 XT GPU

Seagate now offers a 2TB expansion card for your Xbox Series X/S

‘Among Us’ will hit Xbox and PlayStation on December 14th