The Morning After: Is a famous coding influencer fake?

Eduards Sizovs is the founder of DevTernity, a software development conference that had to cancel its most recent event. Mostly because the lineup included female speakers who, under closer inspection, turned out to be fictional. But this may not be the first time Sizovs has invented a woman, and he might also be behind a massively popular coding influencer.

Coding_Unicorn has over 115,000 Instagram followers and purports to be run by Julia Kirsina, who shares tips on software development below her selfies. 404 Media has posted evidence connecting her to Sizovs, suggesting the account is a sock puppet. Evidence includes images from a YouTube video showing Sizovs logged in to her email account, and that a lot of her posts mirror ones posted by Sizovs.

— Dan Cooper

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Google's first geothermal energy project is up and running

It produces 3.5 megawatts of electricity.

Overhead image of Google and Fervo Energy's first geothermal energy plant in the Nevada desert.
Google / Fervo Energy

Google is showing off a first-of-its-kind enhanced geothermal energy plant in Nevada, which is now operational. The search giant, in partnership with clean power startup Fervo Energy, dug a pair of narrow wells in the desert, 8,000 feet deep. When filled with cold water, the resulting steam is powerful enough to run a turbine generating 3.5 megawatts around the clock.

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Ayaneo's Macintosh-inspired mini PC starts at $149 with internals to match

It makes no sense, but that doesn’t stop me wanting one.

Image of the Ayaneo AM01 Mini PC on a grey table, flipped up on its side so its Apple Mac-inspired design is visible.

Ayaneo’s next project is the AM01, a small form factor PC with a case that sorta looks like an original Apple Mac. The handheld gaming pioneer isn’t going to blow too many socks off with the specs, with the $149 base model packing a Ryzen 3 3200U, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. But, and I cannot stress this enough, it does look cute.

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IKEA's new smart home sensors focus on safety and avoiding water damage

Yes, even IKEA makes a water leak sensor now.

Promotional image of the new IKEA smart home sensors, which are white, on a pink background alongside a red plastic speaker and yellow sunglasses.

IKEA may not be the first name you think of in the smart home space, but it has quietly built up an impressive suite of tools. The latest additions to its range include window and door sensors as well as a water leak detector, all of which are compatible with its most recent hub. And while the US pricing hasn’t been announced, all the units are so cheap in Europe they’re a no-brainer.

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Meta pauses Quest 3 Elite Battery Strap sales, reportedly due to a charging flaw

It also had issues with the Quest 2 Elite strap.

A side-view image of the Meta Quest, which is white, on a white background.

Meta has paused sales of its Elite Strap with Battery for the Quest 3, citing a firmware-related charging defect. It says, when fixed, it’ll replace already-sold units, as and when buyers contact the company. The strap is meant to boost battery life by two hours on the standalone VR headset, but users have found it stops charging earlier than expected.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Doctor Who: The Star Beast reminds us that money isn’t everything

The following discusses spoilers for “The Star Beast” and references transphobia.

If there’s one thing the rebooted Doctor Who always tried to do, it was avoid cliches about its predecessor’s small budget. The 1963 - 1989 run was made on a shoestring, leading to lazy gags about wobbly sets and bad visual effects. The 2005 revival was well-budgeted compared to its British TV peers, but still had to work hard to not "embarrass" itself. Now, the show is back, armed with bags of cash from Disney in exchange for its international broadcast rights. And, for the first time in possibly forever Doctor Who can boast about how rich it is.

But, much as we fans may feel inferior when comparing their love to those glossy Treks and Wars, money isn’t everything. For all those wobbly sets and dodgy effects, Doctor Who is a writer’s and actor’s medium first; great writing and acting can go a long way. It can make you believe an alien parasite consuming a person inside out is real, and not just green bubble wrap. It’s also the reason Doctor Who never succeeds when its creative team tries to ram it into the same cult-sci-fi-TV pigeonhole as its supposed American counterparts. This show thrives on taking left turns and playing on the fringes of the epic rather than aping the SyFy-industrial complex.

So what happens when Russell T. Davies returns to re-reboot the show with a big pile of Disney dollars? He writes a kitchen sink drama about a struggling family that’s thrust into the middle of an alien conflict. He writes a script that hinges not on an extended battle sequence with plenty of practical effects, or a lavish CGI moment of London being torn apart. But one where the big blockbuster moment is when Catherine Tate is locked in a tiny room across from David Tennant. This is the story of a mother who loves her daughter so much that she opts to sacrifice herself without a second thought. The Star Beast says, both in its production and dialogue, that there are better things to have than money, including love. And money was never the thing that made Doctor Who good.

The Star Beast has a difficult job, serving as a 60th anniversary special and as a jumping-on point for new viewers. Doctor Who is already a global hit, but its arrival on Disney+ means it’ll no longer be something people need to seek out in order to find. But beyond a short prologue where the Doctor explains why Donna can’t get her memories back, or else she’ll die, you’re dropped in cold. Keep up. The episode is an adaptation of the ‘70s comic of the same name, where the alien Beep the Meep lands on Earth, pursued by the Wrarth Warriors.

The Doctor (David Tennant), with his new / old face and a new sonic, arrives in Camden in time to bump into Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and her daughter, Rose (Yasmin Finney). He’s anxious to get out of their way since, if Donna remembers him or their time together, she will die. (In the resolution to 2008’s Journey’s End, Donna absorbed a bunch of the Doctor’s regeneration energy, becoming a human-Time Lord hybrid. But in doing so, nearly burned out her own brain until the Doctor wiped her memory in order to save her life.) But while she’s packing a box of shopping, a falling spaceship streaks across the sky, crashing into a nearby steel works. The Doctor hijacks a taxi driven by Shaun (Karl Collins), Donna’s husband, and asks him to drive to the steel works while finding out what Donna has been up to in the last 15 years.

Last time we saw Donna, the Doctor handed her a winning lottery ticket as a gift to celebrate her marriage to Shaun. But beyond paying for the house they live in, she gave the rest of her £160 million windfall to good causes, leaving them on the poverty line. Rose, her daughter, has set up a sewing business selling handmade toys to rich people in Dubai, to help earn some extra money. And as they walk home Rose, who is trans, is deadnamed by a bunch of kids from her school, much to Donna’s ire.

The Doctor investigates the crashed spaceship, avoiding the UNIT soldiers who are swarming the plant. But he is spotted by Shirley Ann Bingham (Ruth Madeley), UNIT’s new scientific advisor – the 56th – the latest in a long line of advisors to follow the Doctor. Rose, meanwhile, encounters Beep the Meep (Miriam Margolyes), a cuddly alien who is on the run from some giant green bug-eyed monsters with laser gun hands. Her compassion sees her hide Beep in her sewing room in the garden shed, which is eventually discovered by Donna. And then the Doctor turns up, followed soon after by a squad of UNIT soldiers who have been hypnotized by some glowing form in the spaceship.

A pitched and lengthy battle ensues where the Doctor fashions an escape by breaking through the walls between houses to get around the warring factions. It’s here, in a set piece that drags out far too long, that you can feel the show reveling in its supersized budget. Doctor Who of old could have probably staged something like this in its late-noughties heyday but not without a lot of cutting elsewhere. But we’re allowed a moment or two of self-indulgence when you get so much money you can flip a Land Rover onto a parked car and have them both explode in flames, right?

After escaping, the Doctor pulls out a judge’s wig from inside his coat and beams in two Wrarth Warriors. He’s not so sure that the cute and cuddly Beep is as innocent as it initially claimed – as fans of the comic will already know – instead being a genocidal maniac. It was Beep that possessed the squad of UNIT soldiers, and plans to wreak more havoc on the universe as soon as their ship is repaired. Meep kills the two Wrarth Warriors and is about to do the same to everyone else but the Doctor convinces them to take them hostage instead. Marched back to the steelworks, where they’re saved by Shirley who has a set of hidden guns and a rocket launcher hidden inside her wheelchair. Beep’s spaceship is ready to go, whereby its Dagger Drive engine will burrow into London and burn the city, and its nine million or so inhabitants, to fuel its takeoff.

The Star Beast reminded me of a lengthy email, written by Russell T. Davies, in the tail end of Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale. Towards the end of his first tenure running the show, Davies wrote to Benjamin Cook discussing his process. But the email also had the tone of someone addressing the criticisms that had perhaps dogged much of his initial tenure on the series. I’m paraphrasing, but his point was that structure was far less important to him than emotional catharsis. A Davies story is often messy and disorganized, much like life, in contrast to the Swiss Watch formalism of his successor, Steven Moffat. It should come as no surprise that The Star Beast doesn’t quite gel on the structural level, and is instead a series of big, emotionally cathartic set pieces.

But Davies’ instincts are right, and while many shows would build to a wide-frame and glossy climax, Davies shrinks it down. Catherine Tate leaps onto the spaceship to help the Doctor, willingly risking her life to save her daughter and the rest of London. Here, when it’s just David Tennant and Catherine Tate in a small, round room, separated by a glass partition, that things get intense. The whole episode, in fact, hinges on Tate’s acting as she makes the decision to die to save her family, a bigger and better moment than a thousand flipped Land Rovers.

And to fix things, the Doctor has to unlock those memories, sealed away inside Donna’s brain, of when her mind had merged with the Doctor. With it, she is able to help destroy the ship’s launch mechanism in a big moment of heroism before dying in the Doctor’s arms. But, when rescue arrives, she’s not actually dead, and it’s all thanks to Rose, who was helping outside all along. The hidden memories, and the Doctor’s power, were passed down to Rose in the womb who diluted their intensity enough not to overwhelm and kill Donna. It’s a seemingly sweet way to resolve the story, but I’m not sure if the implication the show makes is the one Davies intends. But I’m going to leave the nature of the episode’s resolution, and how it relates to Rose’s gender in the hands of infinitely better-qualified writers.

The episode ends with the Doctor and Donna cruelly preventing Rose from taking a look at the new TARDIS. Which, much like the rest of the episode, is a big money moment, with what feels like the biggest console room set ever. Again, there are probably too many beauty passes over the architecture as the show reminds everyone what it can do with some extra cash. Sadly, the coffee machine gets just one run out before Donna spills a cup all over the console and the TARDIS is engulfed in flame. Man, it feels good to be excited about the next episode of Doctor Who, and that’s a feeling I haven’t felt since March 1st, 2020.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Apple will adopt RCS in 2024

Apple has announced it will begin supporting the RCS messaging standard at some point next year. RCS, or Rich Communication Services, was developed by the mobile industry as an upgrade on SMS and MMS. But Apple has been resistant to adopt it both because it prefers its home-grown iMessage platform, and because it’s not secure by default. It doesn’t help that Google has used RCS as a cudgel in its own text-message–bubble-color culture war with the iPhone maker.

In a statement, presumably typed through gritted teeth, Apple said RCS would offer better interoperability compared to SMS and MMS. But added that iMessage, which, unlike RCS, is end-to-end encrypted by default, remains the “best and most secure messaging experience.” It’s likely the change was, in part, motivated by the European Union, which has been turning its attention to the ways the technology industry makes life harder for consumers.

— Dan Cooper

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Lucid’s Gravity electric SUV will have a max range of 440 miles

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Amazon will start selling Hyundais next year

You can click and collect (from your local dealership).

Promotional image featuring a white, featureless office block so favored by bland corporate types, in front of which are a series of car-sized Amazon packages.

It’s hard to tell if there’s magic in buying a car, or if the dealership just puts on a show to make you think there is. We’ll find out for ourselves next year when Amazon enables direct car sales on its platform. The first automaker to sign up is Hyundai, who is, in return, adding Alexa to its 2025-era vehicles.

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YouTube’s first AI-generated music tools can clone artist voices and turn hums into melodies

John Legend and Charli XCX will let you use their vocal stylings.

YouTube’s newest feature uses an AI to cook up 30-second backing tracks using the voices of high-profile artists. With Dream Track, users specify a general idea for the system to knock out music and lyrics in the style of a selected star. That includes Charli XCX and John Legend, who have both signed up to lend their simulated pipes to your next short clip.

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Unity launches a suite of AI tools intended to simplify game creation

Unity Muse costs $30 a month.

Unity is now making its suite of AI-enhanced game development tools available to everyone for $30 a month. It’s designed to take a lot of the hard work out of making a new title, by automating the coding process. In the future, you can expect to see tools to create game graphics, set NPC behaviors and animate characters, which could be a very big deal indeed.

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Hackers use a new SEC rule to snitch on the company they infiltrated

Who’d have thought?

Earlier this year, the SEC mandated companies had four days to notify regulators if they suffer a material cybersecurity breach. So, when hackers accessed fintech company MeridianLink and saw the SEC hadn’t been notified, they took matters into their own hands. Reporting was a way to force the company to negotiate, but it’s still wild to think they reported their own hack to regulators.

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Kia’s latest EV concepts go big on geometrics and cabin vibes

Retro-futurism never looked so boxy.

Image of a Kia concept vehicle, a light green SUV on a light green background.

Kia’s concept vehicles merit attention because so many features wind up carrying over to the production model. So, if you’re curious about what a next-generation Kia will look like, take a gander at this gallery. Hope you love boxy shapes and straight lines.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: The best early Black Friday deals for 2023

November 24 might be a few days away yet, but that hasn’t stopped swathes of the industry from posting their deals early. Engadget’s crack team of coupon-heads has pored over countless listings to find you some absolutely jaw-dropping bargains. That includes hefty bits of cash knocked off the price of a new Mac Mini M2, iPad, Meta Quest and Apple Watch. Even better, you can pick up a pair of Sony XM5s, long regarded as the best in their class, for just $328. Well, you can. Your humble narrator is in the UK, so is ineligible to grab any of these utterly sweet early deals.

— Dan Cooper

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WhatsApp chats backed up to Google Drive will soon take up storage space

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Lawmakers question Apple over cancellation of Jon Stewart’s show

Officials want to know if the rumors are true.

The Problem with Jon Stewart was, in theory, the ideal vehicle for the combative former Daily Show host. A well-heeled venture where Stewart could go deep on tough political topics, backed by a megacorporation too rich to be cowed by advertiser pressure. Except, so the rumors go, Apple pulled the plug on the series to prevent episodes critical of AI and China. Now, a bipartisan group from the House of Representatives is querying what happened and why.

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$1,900 Tesla Cyberquad is on sale again, less likely to maim children

Radio Flyer has updated the model to meet (checks notes) basic safety standards.

Promotional image of a Cyberquad for kids.
Radio Flyer / Tesla

Radio Flyer has announced its kids’ version of the Tesla Cyberquad is back on sale, now with less risk to its rider. It launched back in 2021, only for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall it for not meeting safety standards. Now, it’s back for $1,900, plus the cost of a helmet and some knee and elbow pads (not included).

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The Analogue Pocket will soon come in 8 Game Boy Pocket/Advance colors

They look beautiful.

Promotional image for the Analogue Pocket Color in a variety of Game Boy-aping shades.

The Game Boy-aping Analogue Pocket will soon be available in eight gorgeous new colors to give us all some retro-gaming feels. Given they’re limited editions, and Analogue units sell out pretty quick, you’d better have your fingers ready when pre-orders open on November 17.

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Master & Dynamic MW09 review: Premium materials, impeccable clarity

Gorgeous, expensive and… not as good as its cheaper rivals.

Image of the Master and Dynamic MW09 on a wooden tabletop in front of some books, and with a red notebook and a black pen in the foreground.
Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Master & Dynamic hasn’t quite become a dominant, class-topping force in the world of true wireless earbuds. Its latest entry, the MW09, has been put through its paces by audio guru Billy Steele. Sadly, while it’s an improvement on previous offerings, it’s still not good enough to whip better, more affordable products into shape.

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Researchers printed a robotic hand with bones, ligaments and tendons for the first time

Yes, it does remind us of Westworld.

Image of two all-in-one 3D-printed robotic hands, one holding a marker pen, the other gripping an empty clear plastic water bottle. Both are stood on plinths in front of a dark grey background.
ETH Zurich / Thomas Buchner

A significant development in 3D printing technology may have far-reaching implications for the future of medical prostheses and soft robots. Researchers printed a hand with tendons, ligaments and bones, making them simultaneously rather than separately. The technique offers more durability and flexibility, making it the ideal basis for complex prostheses.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Amazon’s dinky Astro robot is now available as a security guard

It’s been a couple of years since Amazon first showed off Astro, its Alexa-equipped home robot with an extendable camera. Now the company is announcing Astro for Business which will let small and medium-size businesses use Astro as a security guard. Amazon thinks it’s here they’ll get the most use from the platform, keeping watch over business sites no larger than 5,000 square feet.

It’s $2,350 for a unit, and the buying company will get four months free access to both Ring Protect Pro ($20 a month) and Astro Security ($60 a month). The former lets you hook up to an existing Ring setup, while the latter lets you set up specific patrol routes and alerts. Users that pay for both will also get the chance to upgrade to Virtual Security Guard for $99, which routes the feed to a local monitoring company when it detects something is awry.

Astro has been kinda/sorta available to consumers for a while now, but only part as a limited, invite-only system. Amazon has been testing it in business contexts for the better part of a year and this is likely the first time it’ll be available to buy without any sort of barriers to entry. Although even if you had missed out so far, the prohibitive pricing might dissuade you from taking advantage.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: iMessage comes to Nothing’s Android phones (for now)

In the US, Apple’s iMessage is so popular that the fact it shows texts from non-iOS handsets in a different color is a big deal. This status anxiety is so great, the Android world has begged regulators to force Apple to… change the color of a text bubble. Now, Nothing is taking matters into its own hands, partnering with unified messaging platform Sunbird to hide that shame. Sunbird uses your Apple ID to route comms between your Nothing phone and your friends’ iPhones through a server farm of Mac Minis. If it works as well as promised, it means your friends won’t know you own an Android handset… until the next time you see them in person.

Of course, none of this is happening with Apple’s blessing, so it needs a workaround. You need to hand over your credentials to a third party and risk the fallout should Apple decide to intervene. Nothing CEO Carl Pei believes Apple can’t risk the bad PR if it shuts Sunbird down, but that’s not a bet I’d like to take. It’s worth saying this is almost unique to the US — most of the world just uses third-party platforms like WhatsApp. Not to mention if your friends give you grief because of the phone you own, they aren’t your friends.

— Dan Cooper

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The 16 best gift ideas for remote workers

Make life easier when you’re WFH-ing.

Hero image of our Working from Home buyer's guide
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Working from home makes you happier, healthier, more productive and helps you keep on top of things outside of office life. It’s no surprise people enjoying those benefits are keen to improve their domestic working environment. Today’s guide is a list of handy gifts for home workers, including productivity timers, ergonomic mice, extra monitors and more.

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Opal’s Tadpole proves webcams don’t need to be big or boring

It’s so small, but mighty.

Image of the Opal Tadpole webcam on a brown desk with its white, braided USB-C cable beside it.
Photo by James Trew / Engadget

Opal makes ultra-premium webcams in surprisingly small bodies. Its latest, the Tadpole, is absolutely for laptop users. James Trew put the dinky device through its paces, and he thinks it might be a winner. Picture quality is pretty good, but the directional audio helps screen out enough unwanted audio that it deserved extra praise.

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AI is starting to outperform meteorologists

But can an LLM make cheesy jokes on the news?

A machine-learning algorithm that can predict weather patterns is causing a storm in the meteorological community. DeepMind’s GraphCast can predict 10 days of patterns in under a minute and, according to one study, vastly outperform the existing technology. It’s already borne fruit, too, successfully predicting when Hurricane Lee would land on Long Island 10 days before it happened.

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Uber is cracking down on users who give bad ratings just to get refunds

It’s to prevent drivers being blamed for things out of their control.

Uber says it wants to make the platform better for riders and drivers alike and will now clamp down on users who give bad reviews just to score a refund. The company is targeting those negative nellies and will discard or downrank their complaints to protect the ratings of otherwise good drivers.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Sony whiffs another gaming handheld

In the history of modern gaming handhelds, Sony was there in the fairly early days with the PSP and Vita. Both were well regarded, if flawed, living and dying long before the age of the Switch and the Steam Deck. So it would be reasonable to expect the new PlayStation Portal, which marks Sony’s return to handhelds, would be a triumph. Yeah. About that.

Portal is a $200 handheld that can only stream from your own PlayStation 5, either at home or when you’re on the go. There are no local titles, or any bells and whistles for that matter, it’s just a way to play on your own PS5 when the TV isn’t available. Devindra Hardawar has been testing one for a while and the obvious flaws remain obvious.

If your internet connection isn’t rock-solid, then the Portal isn’t very useful, especially when you can pick up a mobile handheld dock for a lot less cash. It doesn’t help that Sony’s not the best at perfectly integrating its hardware and software, so things you might expect to be seamless are anything but. Click to read Devindra’s full review, but if you’re a Sony diehard, it might be best to hide behind your hands while you do so.

— Dan Cooper

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Threads users can now opt out of automatically sharing posts to Facebook and Instagram

Google reportedly pays Apple 36 percent of search-advertising revenues from Safari

Spoiler: It’s a lot of money.

It’s common knowledge that Google pays Apple a king’s ransom to be the default search engine on Safari. What is less well known is Google also hands over a 36 percent commission on the revenue generated by those searches. The news accidentally let slip during a recent hearing, despite both companies’ insistence the figure remain strictly confidential. Oops.

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Volvo’s EM90 ‘living room on the move’ minivan has up to 450 miles of EV range

It’s a relaxing way to sit in traffic.

Image of the Volvo EM90's interior with a pair of white plush reclining chairs.

Volvo’s first fully electric minivan, the EM90, which it describes as a “living room on the move,” has been announced for the Chinese market. Based on the Zeekr 009, it includes plush reclining chairs, air suspension and external noise cancellation. The range is no slouch, either, with a promised 450 miles on a single charge, if you can believe those sorts of promises.

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Popular AI platform introduces rewards system to encourage deepfakes of real people

Oh grow up, people.

There are plenty of words a respectable newsletter writer can’t use when describing how people behave online. You’ll just have to imagine how I’d like to describe the operators and members of an AI marketplace encouraging its users to create the most realistic-looking deepfakes of real people. It’s not just creepy requests for celebrities, which would be bad enough, either, since reporters also found requests for fakes of private citizens.

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Baldur’s Gate 3 and Alan Wake 2 lead the 2023 Game Awards nominees

It reflects a blockbuster year of games.

Image from Baldur's Gate 3
Larian Studios

2023 has been an odd year for the gaming industry, pairing the highest highs with the lowest lows. The Game Awards’ lineup of nominees reflects the former, since this year we’ve had a stellar lineup of new releases. It speaks volumes about the quality of the year’s run that it’s hard to identify a nailed-on winner for Game of the Year.

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ASUS revealed to be total anime fan poseur via costly typo on motherboard

This is almost as bad as third impact.

Image comparing the promotional Z790 EVA Hero Edition with the sold version, with an amusing typo.

ASUS has reminded us all why it’s important to double check your work in case an error gets through. It launched a series of motherboards catering to fans of blockbuster anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. But a misprint means the units instead bear the name EVANGENLION, which probably makes them even more of a collector’s item than they were before.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Is the M3 iMac worth it?

Unlike many of my peers, I prefer desktops to laptops, so I’m always excited when a new iMac rolls off the production line. I’ve had my eye on one for a while, especially now it’s packing an M3 chip with all the power that promises. Sadly for me and other desktop lovers, while Nathan Ingraham’s got plenty of compliments for the new iMac, it’s not all great.

On one hand, he praises the power of the M3, the elegant and clutter-free design and the ease of portability. But that’s paired with the feeling the base model has been hobbled to force users into spending more than they expected. Apple’s always stingy with RAM, but that feeling of being nickel-and-dimed extends to paying more for TouchID, gigabit ethernet and more USB ports.

It’s indicative of the iMac’s price and how it’s positioned that Nathan’s conclusion is to buy a Mac Mini and external display instead. You might lose the clutter-free environment on your desk, but you’ll get significantly more computer for the same amount of cash.

— Dan Cooper

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NASA can’t talk to its Mars robots for two weeks because the sun is in the way


Image, supplied by NASA, of a solar conjunction demonstrating that the Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the sun, preventing easy communication.

NASA’s Mars robots have been told to get on with it and don’t make a mess while the parents are away. That’s because Earth and Mars are now on opposite sides of the sun, which blocks missives between the two celestial bodies. Instead, from now until November 25, the various craft on the planet will gather data alone and otherwise hunker down. And no throwing any wild parties, ya hear?

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Apple’s iPad refresh next year could bring OLED iPad Pros and a 12.9-inch iPad Air

The lineup will get more confusing, not less.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, whose track record is solid enough to warrant attention, says Apple will launch a 12.9-inch iPad Air in 2024. It’s part of a big refresh of the tablet lineup bringing new iPad Airs and a new OLED-equipped iPad Pro. Click through to read what Apple may have in store, which appears to be an even more cluttered lineup than it has right now.

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What happened to Washington’s wildlife after the largest dam removal in US history

Nature found a way.

In 1910, Washington State dammed the Elwha River, stopping 40 miles of river reaching the open ocean. It caused massive disruption to the local ecosystem, blocking native salmon from making their annual spawning trek and causing countless second-order effects. A successful years-long battle to take down the dam offered researchers the chance to see what happens when we leave nature to recover. And, oh boy, did it recover.

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Tesla fine print says it may sue Cybertruck resellers for $50K if they flip it too soon

That’s if you can even find a willing buyer.

If you buy a Cybertruck, you won’t be able to move it on to a third party for a year after your purchase. That’s down to a freshly added clause in the purchase agreement, with Tesla saying you can’t sell the vehicle unless you get the automaker’s prior permission. Failure to do so might see the car company suing you for $50,000 — which might discourage resellers.

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Star Trek: Lower Decks’ season finale delivers exactly what it promises

The following article contains spoilers for Lower Decks, Season Four, Episode Ten.

Four seasons in, and you more or less know what you’ll get from a Star Trek: Lower Decks season finale. A hefty dose of in-jokes and references that conclude the season arc by pulling the Cerritos crew together. There’s a focus on teamwork over individual valor, and a belief that Starfleet’s mission is the right one. Add in a gag or two about how Star Trek is better when it’s slow and cerebral, add in a cliffhanger that threatens the show’s status quo, and you’re done.

Just because “Old Friends, New Planets” sticks to this formula, it doesn’t mean it isn’t good, and you’ll laugh plenty of times in the half hour. The show’s ability to wheel out a staggeringly left field comic premise like Twaining is one of its biggest strengths. But the episode is full of solid gags that work on a second or third re-watch, including the lampshading about who Locarno (Robert Duncan McNeill) does or does not look like.

Judged on its merits as an episode of Star Trek, and you’ll find it similarly-winning with great writing and direction. I can’t help but single out Chris Westlake’s score, whose work this season has been just as great as the last. It was wonderful, too, to see Shannon Fill and Wil Wheaton recruited for their cameos in Mariner’s flashback. Who else but a true devotee would make such an effort, and the show’s creative team led by Mike McMahan has an infectious love for Trek’s golden era.

It’s just that there’s also a sense of diminishing returns, or that the show needs to find a higher gear to operate in. The limits of a sitcom’s premise means you can’t do too much to up-end the status quo, but you can feel this desire for evolution. It’s the old trap: You can’t joke that the USS Cerritos isn’t important, and keep putting them in these high-stakes scenarios. Can you go back to fixing a warp manifold if your lead character just toppled a planet-threatening tyrant?

And now, an intervention.

Sadly, one thing bothered me about “Old Friends, New Planets,” which requires me to bring up Star Trek: Picard’s dreadful third season. I’m not relitigating matters here, but I am asking why two Trek series opted to do The Wrath of Khan homages in the same year. Isn’t spotting duplication like this and preventing it at the pre-production stage part of Franchise Overseer Alex Kurtzman’s job? Sure, he can’t be in every meeting, but surely this is why he’s credited as an executive producer on every Trek series currently running, right?

It was nice, however, that both series honored the late CGI artist Fabio Passaro.

It doesn’t help that back-to-back Wrath of Khan homages mere months apart look less like a show of admiration and more like a cry for help. When Star Trek’s creative well runs dry, it’s to Nicholas Meyer’s 1982 classic that they run to for inspiration. As I wrote back in February, the path to Khan is so well-worn I’m not sure there isn’t a single element that hasn’t been strip-mined to oblivion.

And while creatives pillage that film’s iconography, the person behind it has often been persona non grata in Trek circles. Meyer’s still around, and doing good work, but his Trek pitches haven’t had a look-in for a long while. I don’t know if it’s ageism, or if he’s awful in real life, but the fact his work is so popular yet he can’t get a look in feels unjust. And we still haven’t heard anything more about Ceti Alpha V, the Khan midquel podcast that was announced more than a year ago.

I think it’s time that we staged an intervention, and said that Star Trek is no longer allowed, even in jest, to pull anything from The Wrath of Khan. In fact, let’s make that broader, and say that we need to leave those toys in the box for a decade or more. And instead, let’s focus on telling new stories that people will be desperate to honor three or four decades in the future.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Psync’s Genie S security camera uses GPT to describe what it sees

If you ask Psync Labs, it’ll tell you the problem with smart security cameras is that they don’t know what they’re seeing. Those motion pings you get with other products? Defined by how light shifts in front of its sensor, treating an approaching figure or low-flying bird with equal alarm. So, Psync’s focus is to improve machine vision, but to also go one step further and pair this vision with GPT-enabled generative AI to help it, and you, understand what it can see. Its first product, the Genie S, is a security camera that’ll send you a written description of what (it thinks) is going on.

On paper, the Genie S has a similar feature set to plenty of other affordable home security units I could mention. There’s a powered pan-tilt base, five megapixel camera (outputting 2K Video), four LEDs, a microphone and speaker. But there are differences, like the fact it’s in the shape of a cube that, when it’s not activated, points the lens toward the base. Psync says it’s the most compact camera in its class, but probably not by as big a margin as the company hopes. Setup is easy enough — put it on a table, or use the screw mount to place it somewhere more esoteric, plug in the six foot long USB-C cable, and you’re on your way.

Psync says that a smarter camera will be better-equipped to capture what’s going on at home, but that’s not its best use case. VP of marketing Echo Wong says that the hardware is able to record those “memorable moments that fly by quicker than we can pull out our phones.” But I don’t think you would want to buy this on the off-chance it catches junior’s first word or steps. The more prosaic sales line, the one that probably wouldn’t fly as well, is that it’s a security camera with the added promise of not bugging you with needless pings because of the promise of AI smarts.

Buy one of these, and you’ll get the choice of a unit with 32GB built-in storage for $35 or 64GB for $40. I mention this up-front because we’re very much in “you get what you pay for” territory in terms of the picture and sound quality. It shoots vertically-oriented 2K video but the clips are pretty fuzzy, even if you can zoom in to get some halfway useful detail if required. It doesn’t like too much light, so if it’s pointed at a window (and/or anything reflective) then chunks of the image will get blown out. Similarly, the sound quality is something of a throwback to an earlier age of crunchy, over-compressed streams. You’ll get similarly crunchy audio using the talk feature, which has similarly “walkie-talkie” vibes that you won’t find on pricier hardware.

Promotional images of Psync's ViewSay AI
Psync Labs

Of course, that’s not what anyone is here for, but to see what this new company — of which little is known — has cooked up with AI. ViewSay is Psync's transcription tool which uses GPT, a form of generative AI, to essentially let the camera describe in text what it's seeing. ViewSay, which currently costs 99 cents a month, promises to identify objects, sort events that triggered the recording in a visual timeline, let you search through the clips with text and, of course, the aforementioned written pings. Pay, your fee, set this up, and your phone will ping when it spots something interesting, and give you the best description of what is going on that it can manage. Users can also set specific categories, like "Person," "Vehicle," "Pet" and will eventually be able to craft tailored alerts, like "a dog jumps on the couch."

Oh, but there is a catch — because that fairly reasonable 99 cents a month is just a limited-time trial, before leaping up to $7 a month. Which, we can all agree, is more than a little bit too much to spend on a product like this, especially in this economic climate. 

ViewSay is currently in beta, and while the app splash to get you to sign up promises plenty, the company is keen to keep expectations low. My impression so far is that while Psync has the bones of a workable idea here in theory, the nitty-gritty of practice isn’t. I pointed the camera at a neutral corner in my office and play-acted in front of it to see what it would do. My fake phone-call, where I learned that my (fictional) wife had discovered the secret to perpetual motion, went unremarked upon and undocumented. Well, kinda – the camera pinged my phone to say that “A man is sitting in a chair in a room, looking at his reflection in a mirror.” 

Actually, I’m being unfair – since the system can also make fairly accurate guesses at other times. Like, while I was setting the hardware up late one evening, the app told me “a man is sitting on the floor, holding a cell phone in his hand.” A few days later, I placed the camera facing my TV and Echo Show before turning back to use my laptop, which was only really visible in the reflection on the TV's screen. Not long after, the app pinged to say it could see a “A man is sitting in front of a laptop, looking at the screen, and possibly using it for work or entertainment purposes.” Now, this was either a massively-lucky guess, a false positive or a sign of how accurate this will be in future.

Image of the Psync Genie S in its closed position.
Photo by Daniel Cooper / Engadget.

When it detects something going on in this manner, the system records a 12-second clip to its local storage. These clips are retained for at least 14 days, and when you’ve looked at them in the app, you’re also able to save them to your phone. I understand you’ll also be able to take longer clips when motion is detected but that feature doesn’t yet appear to be available. You’ll also be able to share a live feed of your camera, using WebRTC, to up to four viewers — through a browser — for up to 30 minutes at a time. You might be wondering about how secure all of this is, and what exactly is happening to your data. Psync told me that its AI model is based on an AWS instance, and the footage is protected using 256-bit AES encryption. The footage recorded will be stored on the device locally, but the initial frame of the video is sent to the cloud for further analysis.

As something of an AI skeptic, and someone who isn’t thrilled at wiring up every corner of my home with a camera, I’m by default hostile to Psync’s plan here. But I can at least see where Psync is looking to add value to the standard security camera proposition. If you’re out and about, and you get a ping saying there’s a person in your living room, when there shouldn’t be, then that’s pretty helpful. Especially if you can then just tune into the live feed and see for yourself what’s going on and if you need to do something about it. As much as the macro story is scary, I can understand the logic someone would apply to buy one or two of these.

But it’s worth saying too that what I just described isn’t yet what Psync is selling, only what it is gesturing toward. The system will require more training, and plenty more data from a broader user base, until it can start offering you more concrete descriptions. Now, I’m sure that in a year or two that will be the case, but until then, you’re essentially buying into an ecosystem where you’re paying for the privilege of being a beta tester. And that $7 monthly subscription charge? Ouch. 

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