Spotify is selling tickets directly to fans in its latest test

Spotify has quietly debuted a new website where fans can purchase tickets to their favorite artists' concerts directly from the streaming platform. There's no fanfare surrounding Spotify Tickets' launch, because it's strictly a test product at the moment, and it's only selling pre-sale tickets to a limited number of artists' upcoming events. The portal's debut artists include Limbeck, Annie DiRusso, Dirty Honey, Crows, TOKiMONSTA, Four Year Strong and Osees. According to MusicAlly, the tickets Spotify will start selling today will come from the artists' pre-sale allocations for upcoming concerts.

The music streaming service already has an in-app Live Events Feed where it links to ticketing partners, including Ticketmaster, AXS, DICE, Eventbrite and See Tickets. As TechCrunch notes, the events listed on the new website aren't available on the Live Events Feed yet, though that could change in the future. Spotify Tickets' official support page says that the company sells tickets on behalf of event partners, such as venues, event promoters, fan clubs and artists themselves. That means those partners set the tickets' prices, but Spotify will charge a booking fee that it promises to make clear to buyers before they hit the purchase button.

The service could become an important revenue stream from artists who'd rather sell their own tickets. It could also help ensure that tickets are purchased by real fans and not by scalpers. The service's support page says buyers may not "resell, assign or transfer" tickets except in select states. And since buyers will need to present a government-issued ID to enter an event, they'll have to transfer ownership of a ticket if they do decide to sell it. The process is quite involved and requires sellers to contact Spotify to change the name associated with a ticket.

Spotify told us it doesn't have much to share at the moment, since the service is just a test. There's no official launch date — or even assurances that it will make its way out of the testing phase — for the product right now. The spokesperson said: "At Spotify, we routinely test new products and ideas to improve our user experience. Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings. Tickets.spotify.com is our latest test. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time."

Samsung’s 1TB T7 Shield SSD drops back down to $100

Samsung's 1TB T7 Shield SSD is back to its all-time low price of $100, or $60 less than what it usually sells for on Amazon. The last time it was listed for $100 on the website was on Prime Day in July — if you missed the chance to get one at the time and now need a rugged SSD for whatever reason, you may want to head on over to its product page. The T7 Shield is a tougher version of its standard counterpart, one that's encased in a rubber casing to give it the durability needed to survive up to 9.8-foot drops. That rubber exterior with its Dynamic Thermal Guard also prevents overheating so it suffers no performance drops even while transferring massive files. In addition, the T7 Shield is resistant to water and dust.

Buy Samsung T7 Shield 1TB at Amazon - $100

When it comes to performance, the T7 Shield has sequential read speeds of up to 1,050 MB/s and write speeds of up to 1,000 MB/s, which Samsung says are the fastest transfer speeds available today based on the USB 3.2 Gen2 standard. It employs the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard so it can keep your data secure in case you lose it. And while it only has one USB-C port, it comes with a USB Type C-to-C and a Type C-to-A cable.

Take note that the model on sale for $100 right now is the 1TB version, but you can also get the 2TB variant at a discount. The bigger capacity SSD is currently listed for $200, which is $90 less than its normal price. Both versions are available in blue, black and beige. 

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SpaceX successfully completes static fire test of Starship’s Super Heavy booster

SpaceX has cleared an important hurdle that brings it closer to the Starship system's first orbital flight test. The company has successfully completed a static fire test of the Super Heavy's current prototype, the Booster 7, a month after its previous attempt ended up in in flames. SpaceX used the Booster 7 for this test again but fired only a single Raptor engine on the orbital launch pad, igniting it for a few seconds to give engineers a close look at how it's performing. 

The Booster 7 is equipped with 33 Raptor version 2 engines meant to give it lift it needs to launch both the first stage itself and its upper stage companion, the Starship spacecraft. During the company's previous static fire test attempt, the booster caught fire on the launch pad. Company chief Elon Musk revealed on Twitter back then that the issue had stemmed from the engine spin start test SpaceX had conducted and that going forward, the company "won't do a spin start test with all 33 engines at once" anymore.

In addition to testing Booster 7, SpaceX also did a static fire test on two of the six Raptor engines on Starship 24. That's the current prototype for the launch system's upper stage, and it's what will fly to space for the system's first orbital flight test. It's still unclear when SpaceX intends to send the Starship to orbit for the first time, but it likely has to conduct more testing before that happens, including static firing more of its Raptor engines. 

US Justice Department is reportedly poised to sue Google over its digital ad dominance

Google may soon be facing its second antitrust lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice. According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is gearing up to sue the tech giant as soon as September after a year of looking into whether it's been using its dominant position to illegally control the digital ad market. The Justice Department's lawyers have reportedly been conducting another round of interviews to glean additional information that could help make their case stronger. These new interviews are expected to build on previous ones conducted much earlier on in the investigation. 

The Justice Department first filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company back in 2020, accusing it of having an unfair monopoly over search and search-related advertising. For that particular case, the agency argued that forcing Android phone manufacturers to set Google as the default search engine prevents rivals from gaining traction and ensures that the company will earn an enormous amount of money from search-related advertising. 

In the same year, Texas filed a multi-state lawsuit against Google, with the state's Attorney General accusing the company of using its "monopolistic power to control" ad pricing. The company's ad practices are under scrutiny not just in the US but in other parts of the world: The European Commission also opened a probe to look into whether Google limits rival services' access to user data for ad purposes last year. As a concession to the EU's concerns, Reuters reported in June that Google may let rival ad platforms run ads on YouTube.

While the DOJ has yet to officially file its case, Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels defended the company's ad business in a statement to Bloomberg, which says: "Our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content, and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world. The enormous competition in online advertising has made online ads more relevant, reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers."

Intel introduces Arc Pro GPUs for workstations

When Intel introduced the Arc branding last year for its high-performance consumer graphics products, it demonstrated what the line's GPUs can do using video games. The company's latest Arc GPUs, however, aren't for gaming at all: They were designed for desktop and mobile workstations running apps like Adobe Premiere Pro, Handbrake and DaVinci Resolve Studio. Intel has launched its Arc Pro lineup with three models, starting with the Arc Pro A40 that has a "tiny, single-slot form factor." The Arc Pro A50 is a step up and has a larger dual-slot form, while the A30M was made specifically for laptops. 

All three models offer built-in ray tracing and machine learning capabilities, but their key specs differ a bit from each other. The A40 and the A30M, for instance, have 3.50 teraflops of graphical power, while the A50 has 4.80 teraflops. Both desktop models come with 6GB of memory, wheres the one for laptops comes with 4GB. Plus, all models support AV1 hardware encoding acceleration in what Intel says is an industry first. The new GPUs also have four mini-display ports for multiple screen setups and can support two 8K displays with a refresh rate of 60Hz, one 5K 240Hz display, two 5K 120 Hz displays or four 60 Hz 4K displays.

Intel has yet to reveal how much these new discrete GPUs for workstations will cost, but it said they will be available starting later this year "from leading mobile and desktop ecosystem partners."

Snapchat Family Center shows parents their children’s friends list

Snapchat has launched a parental control portal that allows parents to keep an eye on who their young teenagers have been chatting with. The new in-app feature called Family Center shows parents their kids' friends list, as well as who they've messaged in the last seven days. Take note that parents can only see who their teens have been talking to, but they won't be able to read their chat history. Snap says the center was designed to "reflect the way... parents engage with their teens in the real world" in that they know (for the most part) who their kids have been hanging out with but don't listen in on their conversations.

In addition, parents can confidentially report accounts they think might be violating Snap's rules straight from the Family Center. Back in January, Snapchat changed its friend recommendation feature following calls for increased safety on the app by making it harder for adults to connect with teen users: In particular, it stopped showing accounts owned by 13-to-17-year-old users in Quick Add. Teens also can't have public profiles and have to be mutual friends to be able to communicate with each other. Plus, their accounts will only show up in search results under certain circumstances, such as if the one searching has a mutual friend with them.

Snap promised to launch new parental controls and other features designed to protect underage users on its service last year. The company revealed its plans in a hearing wherein lawmakers put the pressure on social networks and apps that cater to teens, such as Snapchat and TikTok, to do more to protect children on their platforms. 

Family Center is completely voluntary, and teens can always leave the portal if they want — they'll even be given the choice to accept or ignore a parent's invitation to join. And since the feature was made for underage teens, users who turn 18 will automatically be removed from the tool.

The company plans to roll out more features for the Family Center on top of what it already has. It will allow parents to easily see the newest friends their teens have added in the coming weeks. And over the next months, Snap will add content controls for parents, as well as the ability for teens to notify their parents whenever they report an account or a piece of content.

LG’s T90 earbuds come with Dolby Head Tracking technology

LG has launched its Tone Free wireless earbud lineup for 2022, and the new flagship model comes with built-in equalizer and support for Dolby's Head Tracking technology. Similar to Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro, which also has Dolby's 360 audio feature, the T90 has the capability to recalibrate sounds as you move your head to make it appear as if they're truly coming from all around you. LG says the T90s are also the first earbuds to feature an audio virtualizer that Dolby designed for the form factor in order to expand its "spatial dimensionality" for a more immersive experience. 

The company's other new Tone Free model is its first fitness-focused earbuds called the Tone Free Fit or TF8, which were designed with a secure fit to keep them in place so they don't fall out in the middle of workout sessions. This model can last for up to 10 hours without its hybrid Active Noise Cancellation switched on, while the T90 can last for up to nine hours so long as its adaptive ANC is not in use. 

Both models' charging cases come with a feature that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria on the earbuds using UV-C light. Plus, the T90's charging case doubles as a Bluetooth transmitter that lets you add wireless connectivity to source devices that don't it. If you have sensitive skin or get an allergic reaction to most earbuds, it's worth noting that the T90s have medical-grade, hypoallergenic ear gels, as well.

LG Tone Free T90
LG Tone Free T90

LG has yet to reveal how much the new earbuds cost, but they will be available in the US starting in September. 

LG’s T90 earbuds come with Dolby Head Tracking technology

LG has launched its Tone Free wireless earbud lineup for 2022, and the new flagship model comes with built-in equalizer and support for Dolby's Head Tracking technology. Similar to Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro, which also has Dolby's 360 audio feature, the T90 has the capability to recalibrate sounds as you move your head to make it appear as if they're truly coming from all around you. LG says the T90s are also the first earbuds to feature an audio virtualizer that Dolby designed for the form factor in order to expand its "spatial dimensionality" for a more immersive experience. 

The company's other new Tone Free model is its first fitness-focused earbuds called the Tone Free Fit or TF8, which were designed with a secure fit to keep them in place so they don't fall out in the middle of workout sessions. This model can last for up to 10 hours without its hybrid Active Noise Cancellation switched on, while the T90 can last for up to nine hours so long as its adaptive ANC is not in use. 

Both models' charging cases come with a feature that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria on the earbuds using UV-C light. Plus, the T90's charging case doubles as a Bluetooth transmitter that lets you add wireless connectivity to source devices that don't it. If you have sensitive skin or get an allergic reaction to most earbuds, it's worth noting that the T90s have medical-grade, hypoallergenic ear gels, as well.

LG Tone Free T90
LG Tone Free T90

LG has yet to reveal how much the new earbuds cost, but they will be available in the US starting in September. 

California DMV accuses Tesla of falsely portraying its vehicles as fully autonomous

Tesla uses advertising language on its website for its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving products that's untrue and misleading to customers, the California DMV said. According to The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, the agency has filed complaints with the California Office of Administrative Hearings, accusing the automaker of making statements "not based on facts" that make it seem like its vehicles are capable of full autonomous driving. The DMV pointed to the name of the products themselves in the complaints, as well as to other misleading language on Tesla's website. 

One example the DMV noted in its complaints is language Tesla used for its Full Self-Driving product, which says:

"All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and freeways."

Tesla vehicles come with the hardware needed to activate Full Self-Driving, which customers can unlock for a payment of $12,000. The automaker's active Autopilot features include the ability to automatically change lanes and do parallel or perpendicular parking for the driver. There's also a smart summon feature that will have the vehicle navigating complex parking lots to find its owner. And those who pay for FSD, which is currently in beta, have access to a feature that identifies stop signs and traffic lights. The technology will then automatically slow their car down on approach. 

Neither technology, however, can drive a car without the need for a person behind the wheel. Tesla chief Elon Musk recently said that FSD would have that capability next year, but the executive is known for his aggressively optimistic timelines.

While Tesla already warns drivers not to take their hands off the wheel even while they're using Autopilot or FSD, the DMV says that disclaimer isn't enough. The worst result the company could get is for its licenses in the state to be suspended or revoked, but a DMV spokesperson told the publications that the agency isn't seeking to put the company out of business in California. It will merely ask Tesla to "better educate Tesla drivers about the capabilities of its ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ features, including cautionary warnings regarding the limitations of the features, and for other actions as appropriate given the violations."

Back in 2016, Tesla also got in trouble with Germany's Federal Motor Authority, which told the automaker to stop using the term "autopilot" in its advertising out of concerns that people would misinterpret its capabilities. Last year, Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company over its "misleading advertising and marketing" of the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies, as well.

California DMV accuses Tesla of falsely portraying its vehicles as fully autonomous

Tesla uses advertising language on its website for its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving products that's untrue and misleading to customers, the California DMV said. According to The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, the agency has filed complaints with the California Office of Administrative Hearings, accusing the automaker of making statements "not based on facts" that make it seem like its vehicles are capable of full autonomous driving. The DMV pointed to the name of the products themselves in the complaints, as well as to other misleading language on Tesla's website. 

One example the DMV noted in its complaints is language Tesla used for its Full Self-Driving product, which says:

"All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and freeways."

Tesla vehicles come with the hardware needed to activate Full Self-Driving, which customers can unlock for a payment of $12,000. The automaker's active Autopilot features include the ability to automatically change lanes and do parallel or perpendicular parking for the driver. There's also a smart summon feature that will have the vehicle navigating complex parking lots to find its owner. And those who pay for FSD, which is currently in beta, have access to a feature that identifies stop signs and traffic lights. The technology will then automatically slow their car down on approach. 

Neither technology, however, can drive a car without the need for a person behind the wheel. Tesla chief Elon Musk recently said that FSD would have that capability next year, but the executive is known for his aggressively optimistic timelines.

While Tesla already warns drivers not to take their hands off the wheel even while they're using Autopilot or FSD, the DMV says that disclaimer isn't enough. The worst result the company could get is for its licenses in the state to be suspended or revoked, but a DMV spokesperson told the publications that the agency isn't seeking to put the company out of business in California. It will merely ask Tesla to "better educate Tesla drivers about the capabilities of its ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ features, including cautionary warnings regarding the limitations of the features, and for other actions as appropriate given the violations."

Back in 2016, Tesla also got in trouble with Germany's Federal Motor Authority, which told the automaker to stop using the term "autopilot" in its advertising out of concerns that people would misinterpret its capabilities. Last year, Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company over its "misleading advertising and marketing" of the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies, as well.