Tesla SpaceX Model concept hypercar gets massive rocket boosters like a Batmobile

We’re still eagerly waiting for the Tesla Roadster to show up as Elon Musk has promised over a period of the last five years. More so because the tycoon said it would get crazy rocket boosters for that extra thump when needed. The street car will go from 0-60mph in just 1.1 seconds. Now, that’ll give all those racy supercars something to think about.

Even before we get a first live glimpse of the future-forward roadster, a Germany-based automotive designer has mustered up design for a Tesla hypercar that fuels our imagination. And yes, it gets massive rocket boosters on the rear and four on each axis for speed, braking and cornering assist to make it extra dynamic.

Designer: Maximilian Schneider

Dubbed the Tesla SpaceX Model, the concept is intricately detailed to the last bit which sets it apart from other digital blueprints of concept hypercars we come across. That’s pretty understandable since Maximilian has years of experience with brands like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, and HiPhi. Now the inventive designer has kicked off his own YouTube channel “Design to the Max” with this aerodynamic Tesla concept catching our attention. His motto of “design to the max” is surely reflected in this amazing concept.

The wild hypercar takes Elon’s vision for a roadster to another level with humongous boosters – something akin to Batman’s Batmobile. The design of the SpaceX-inspired hypercar is radically evolved from what the Tesla Roadster is destined to be, and that makes sense for a prototype. It’ll be powered by an electric drivetrain and the rocket thrusters will be fueled by the liquid-hydrogen propellant.

Those independent moving rocket thrusters will push the car downwards in braking mode – much like a rocket’s boosters. They will also provide stability control to take corners at high speed by providing downwards thrust on the opposite side. There will be two variants of the Tesla SpaceX Model concept – a standard car and a race version. The latter will have 467 km/h (290 mph) top speed, and 2,950 hp while the former gets 526 km/h (327 mph) top speed.

The contoured shape of the hypercar is more like a prototype racer with balanced aesthetics as can be seen from the etched wheel arches, aerodynamic wheel covers and massive fins. That glass cockpit positioned more towards the front lends the concept hypercar an intimidating stance that is so magnetic. Overall, it’s a cool Tesla concept that we wish catches Elon’s eye and brings inspiration for his future projects!

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Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp could soon have exclusive features for those willing to pay

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp could soon have specialized features available only to users willing to pay for them. Meta is forming a new division called New Monetization Experiences that will be solely focused on paid features for the company’s app, according to a memo reported byThe Verge.

Wile Facebook and Instagram already have a number of paid features that cater to creators, like Stars, paid events and various subscription products, it sounds like the new division at Meta will be separate from those initiatives. (Of note, Meta had pledged not to take a cut of creator earnings until 2023.)

It’s not clear what type of paid features might come out of the effort, but Meta’s VP of monetization John Hegeman told The Verge the company is keeping a close eye on its industry peers. Twitter, Snapchat and Telegram have all recently launched monthly subscriptions that unlock exclusive features and other in-app perks for paid subscribers.

Paid features could help Meta find new sources of non-advertising revenue. The company’s multibillion-dollar advertising business has taken a significant hit of late due to iOS privacy changes and an economic downturn that’s also affected its competitors.

This shapeshifting Game Boy console has the soul of a Nintendo Switch

It’s a Game Boy, it’s a Switch, it’s… both?!

Meet the Game Boy Famicom, a conceptual gaming console that pays tribute to the handheld console, the modern-day modular Nintendo Switch, and most importantly, the consoles that came before it – namely the cassette-based consoles like the SNES, SEGA Genesis, etc. It’s handheld, but features a modular design that lets you simply plug the screen into a dock the way you would a cassette (or even the Switch) for a more console-style gaming experience. The Famicom offers a landscape style gaming experience, but in a device that’s portrait in its orientation. This breaks away from the Switch’s elongated profile, giving you a console that’s more compact and easier to carry around with you. One could argue that it’s cooler too?!

Designer: Dopamine Design

The Game Boy Famicom is basically a tablet gaming device with a modular base. You can either use it with its plug-and-play controls, or swap the controls out for an adapter that lets you plug the Famicom into a rather retro-inspired dock that lets you beam your game to a larger screen like a TV or projector. It’s a conceptual successor to the Nintendo Switch, or rather, feels more like a Nintendo Switch from an alternate timeline in which the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP didn’t exist!

I just love the Game Boy Famicom’s overall vibe. It’s understated yet expressive. Minimalist yet functional and non-compromising. There’s nothing about it that makes it feel ‘lesser’ than the Switch, just because the Famicom’s design pretty much dots all I’s and crosses all T’s. Its controls are minimalistic yet detailed. You’ve got a D-pad on the left, XYAB controls on the right, and a speaker in between. A ring around the D-pad also doubles as a volume knob, letting you crank the volume on high or mute gameplay depending on where you are.

The dock is a retro icon too. The white and grey color scheme with accents of orange gives the Game Boy Famicom a major Teenage Engineering appeal that elevates the concept to another level entirely. Sigh… if only this existed!

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This shirt was made from the same fabric used by Egyptians to wrap mummies… and it’ll last decades

If you ever looked at a nettle (those plants that give you a nasty sting) and thought – hey, this could make a great fabric for clothing people, chances are you’re either Egyptian, or you’re someone at Vollebak. The London-based alternative clothing brand is known for working with kinds of materials that you’d never find at your local GAP or Forever 21. After having somehow integrated materials like ceramics, carbon fiber, kevlar, and even Dyneema into their clothes, the company’s now managed to find a way to turn the hostile nettle into a soothing, comfortable fabric that you can wear for decades… centuries even. Although they weren’t the first.

Five thousand years ago, the Egyptians developed a method to turn the nettle into fibers that could be woven into a durable, comfortable fabric that resists heat and humidity well. They used the same fabric to wrap their mummies, and those threads lasted 5 millennia so there’s no reason Vollebak’s shirt won’t. The fabric, now commonly known as ‘ramie’ is now mostly seen being used to build parachutes… and it’s the primary fabric used in Vollebak’s Off Grid shirt.

Designer: Vollebak

The Off Grid shirt, as its name suggests, was built to live off the grid. It uses materials that existed long before the grid was even a fleeting thought, which works because these shirts were built to withstand ‘unconventional living’…

The Off Grid shirt works rather well in heat and humidity, and just by virtue of its fabric, has these unique wrinkles on the shirt that contribute to its character. The shirt uses a proprietary blend of ramie (nettle fabric) and Pima cotton. As a fiber, ramie is incredibly resistant to bacteria and mildew, and unlike other fibers, grows stronger with time (it’s no wonder the mummies look so good, eh?) Pima cotton, on the other hand, gives the shirt its softness and keeps it light. The blend of cotton also wicks moisture rather well and dries off pretty fast, making it perfect for humidity.

Vollebak doesn’t stop there, though. The shirts, once stitched, are dyed with either leftover Japanese turnips, or with blueberries. “The Turnip edition is dyed using red turnips from the Japanese mountain town of Kiso. Despite their red outer skin, the turnips have white flesh which produces a light-colored dye,” say Nick and Steve Tidball, the twin founders of Vollebak. “The turnips we use are excess ones left over from the production of sunki pickles. Rather than let them go to waste we use them to make 90% of the dye for the shirt”, they add.

While the off-white variant of the Off Grid shirt uses turnips, its slightly darker, almost mauve-colored sibling uses unwanted blueberries from a Japanese fruit farm in the Nara prefecture. “Some blueberries don’t make the cut during harvesting because they’re damaged or oddly shaped. So rather than let them go to waste we use them to make 90% of the dye for the shirt”, Steve and Nick mention.

Once woven and dyed, the shirts are finished using Ōmi sarashi, an ancient Japanese kneading technique that helps make the fabric soft yet rugged, and gives them their signature wrinkled pattern. Steve and Nick don’t quite mention how long the Off Grid shirt is supposed to last, but given their track record of making garments that can last well over a hundred years, it’s fair to assume these shirts should easily be in your wardrobe for the rest of your life!

Each Off Grid shirt comes with two large chest pockets for carrying your belongings in.

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Valve has now certified 5,000 games as Steam Deck compatible

Valve wants to help Steam Deck owners and folks interested in picking up the device easily find out what games can actually run on it. Through its verification program, it hopes to let people see at a glance whether a game is compatible. Although it will be a long process to test every game (assuming it goes that far), Valve just passed an important milestone. The company has now certified 5,000 games as Verified or Playable on Steam Deck.

If Valve slaps a Verified label on a game, the Steam Deck should be able to handle it with few, if any, issues. Should Valve determine that a title is Playable, it will work, but there might be a few caveats or niggling issues. On the other hand, Valve has listed nearly 2,000 games as Unsupported, according to SteamDB, meaning they probably (or definitely) won't work on Steam Deck. 

Those numbers suggest Valve has tested at least 7,000 Steam games on the system. There's a long way to go to check all of them, though, since there are well north of 50,000 titles on the platform. It's worth noting that many of the games currently labeled as Unknown work just fine on Steam Deck, even without a Verified or Playable sticker.

Valve uses four criteria to check Steam Deck compatibility. It assesses whether a game has controller support (and an onscreen keyboard when needed) or any compatibility warnings. It also looks for support for the screen's native 1,280 by 800 resolution and if the game has any issues with the Proton compatibility layer Valve employs to run Windows games.

There's now a vast library of games that will work on Steam Deck, more than most people can possibly play in a lifetime — you might have a shot at getting through them if you can tear yourself away from Vampire Survivors for long enough. This should come as more good news for those waiting on a Steam Deck delivery after Valve ramped up production in the last few months. If you reserve one now, you should still be able to get a Steam Deck by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Valve has revealed the top 10 most-played on Steam Deck for August. The list includes Elden Ring, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, MultiVersus and, yes, Vampire Survivors.

Apple releases rare iOS 12 update to address security flaw on older iPhones and iPads

Apple has released an iOS 12 update users of older iPhone and iPad devices should download as soon as possible. The new version of the company’s 2018 operating system addresses a major vulnerability that Apple recently patched within iOS 15. According to a support document, the WebKit flaw could have allowed a website to run malicious code on your device. In its usual terse manner, Apple notes it is “aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

For that reason, you should download the update as soon as possible if you’re still using an iOS 12 device. That’s a list that includes the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, as well as iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3. You can download iOS 12.5.6 by opening the Settings app, tapping on “General” and then selecting “Software Update.”

Rock-inspired Ottoman stools were also designed to be stacked and played with

The origin of the Balanco stools is a rather interesting one. It was designed as a response to the pandemic, when the entire world was forced to stay at home. Putting home decor at the forefront while also giving kids (and adults) something to play and interact with, the Balanco set of stools takes its inspiration from rocks and boulders, giving you the ability to stack them in different forms and formats, creating art in the process. I call it putting ‘fun’ in ‘funiture’!

The idea for the Balanco stools came from the Japanese practice of stacking pebbles to create towers. While the pebbles mostly consist of rounded forms, designers Lisa Lai and Joel Wong decided that chiseled rock-like shapes would create more visual dynamism while offering a variety of flat surfaces that are ideal for stacking and layering. “As it requires significant patience and calmness to balance the blocks, it serves as one of the practical yet fun solutions for friends and families to enjoy with one another”, say Lisa and Joel. “When it is not used as objects for play, it doubles as stools and tables for adults and children.”

Designers: Lisa Lai and Joel Wong

Although boulder-like, the Balanco poufs are deceptively light, thanks to the foam inside them. The foam blocks are clad with sheets of felt that are stitched together with exposed edges that create the black lines on the boulders, giving them their chiseled, sharp, edgy appearance. This also allows the individual surfaces to remain relatively flat, so they stack on each other rather beautifully.

When not being used as toy blocks to create odd rocky totems, the individual Balanco stools can be used as seats, poufs, or footrests. Their uneven shape means you can orient them in a multitude of ways and height-adjust them accordingly. Although I don’t entirely endorse this, they’ll probably make for rather realistic-looking pillow fights!

The Balanco Stools are a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2022.

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You can finally watch Showtime in the Paramount+ app

The marriage of Paramount+ and Showtime's streaming offerings is finally complete. Starting today, you'll be able to access all of Showtime's content from within the Paramount+ app, Variety reports. That integration has been in the works since February, and it should make life easier for fans of Star Trek who may also want to catch up on Showtime's Yellowjackets. Previously, Paramount offered both services for a limited-time bundle price, but users had to access the apps separately.

To sweeten the deal, Paramount is offering another bundled discount through October 2nd: $7.99 a month for the "Essential Plan," which includes ad-supported Paramount+ and ad-free Showtime, and $12.99 for the completely ad-free "Premium Plan." After that, they'll cost $11.99 and $14.99 a month, respectively. (The Essential plan doesn't include access to your local CBS station—for that, you'll have to go premium.)

On its own, Paramount+ currently costs $4.99 a month/$49.99 a year for the limited plan, or $9.99 a month/$99.99 a year for the premium offering. If you've stuck with the service to get your Star Trek fix, it's not a huge leap to spend a few more bucks to get Showtime at the discounted rate. And no matter how you look at it, the bundled plans are also a better deal than spending $10.99 a month for Showtime alone.

While it's all a bit confusing at the moment, consolidating its streaming services makes sense for Paramount. It has to compete with the combined forces of HBO Max and Discovery+, which will unify their platforms next year, as well as Netflix's upcoming ad-supported tier. Both Paramount+ and Showtime have dedicated fanbases, but for many consumers, they're also the sort of services that may get cancelled when their favorite shows aren't airing new episodes. Together, though, they may have just enough content to keep subscribers around.

Snap confirms it’s laying off around 1,300 employees

Snap has confirmed reports that it will lay off around 20 percent of its employees — approximately 1,300 people — to reduce costs. The company has also canceled most original Snapchat shows (save for the long-running politics and news series Good Luck America) and shelved other projects. For one thing, Snap said it's putting games and mini-apps into maintenance mode. It will also sunset the standalone Zenly and Voisey apps to focus on Snapchat's Snap Map and Sounds features.

On the hardware front, Snap is "narrowing our investment scope in Spectacles to focus on highly differentiated long-term research and development efforts." In addition, the company has halted further development of its Pixy selfie drone only a few months after it started selling the device.

Snap said in a note to investors that the layoffs, project cancellations and other restructuring will save the company approximately $500 million in the annualized cash cost structure relative to the April-June quarter (for which Snap posted lackluster earnings results). The figure includes a $50 million reduction in content costs. The restructuring costs will be around $110 million to $175 million. Approximately $95 million to $135 million of that will likely be incurred in adjusted operating expenses, mostly in the current quarter.

"Unfortunately, given our current lower rate of revenue growth, it has become clear that we must reduce our cost structure to avoid incurring significant ongoing losses," Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wrote in a letter to staff. "While we have built substantial capital reserves, and have made extensive efforts to avoid reductions in the size of our team by reducing spend in other areas, we must now face the consequences of our lower revenue growth and adapt to the market environment."

Speigel noted that the company is restructuring around three pillars: community growth, revenue growth and augmented reality. "Projects that don’t directly contribute to these areas will be discontinued or receive substantially reduced investment," he added. 

Snap has been feeling the brunt of a broader economic slow down. Its share price has slumped by 80 percent this year (though it rebounded slightly following news of the layoffs and restructuring). So far in 2022, the company's year-over-year revenue growth is eight percent, which Speigel said is "well below what we were expecting earlier this year." However, the Snapchat+ subscription service is off to a positive start, with more than a million users signing up within the first month or so.

Meanwhile, company's leadership team has a fresh look. This week, its two top advertising executives departed for Netflix, which will soon start offering an ad-supported tier. Snap has promoted its former senior vice president of engineering Jerry Hunter to the position of chief operating officer. It will also bring in Ronan Harris, Google's UK and Ireland vice president and managing director, as president of its Europe, Middle East and Africa division.

Microsoft found a severe one-click exploit in TikTok’s Android app

A serious vulnerability found by Microsoft in the TikTok Android app could have allowed hackers to hijack millions of accounts. On Wednesday, the company’s 365 Defender Research Team detailed a one-click exploit it informed TikTok of in February. The good news is that the social media company promptly patched the vulnerability before today’s disclosure and Microsoft says it has no evidence of someone using it out in the wild.

“We gave them information about the vulnerability and collaborated to help fix this issue,” Microsoft’s Tanmay Ganacharya told The Verge. “TikTok responded quickly, and we commend the efficient and professional resolution from the security team.”

According to Microsoft, the vulnerability involved an oversight with TikTok’s deep linking functionality. On Android, developers can program their apps to handle certain URLs in specific ways. For instance, when you tap on a Twitter embed in Chrome and the Twitter app automatically opens on your phone as a result, that’s an example of the deep linking feature working as intended.

However, Microsoft found a way to bypass the verification process TikTok had in place to restrict deep links from executing certain actions. They then discovered they could use that vulnerability to access all the primary functions of an account, including the ability to post content and message other TikTok users. The flaw was present in both global versions of TikTok’s Android app. The two releases have more than 1.5 billion downloads between them, meaning the potential impact of someone discovering the vulnerability before it was patched could have been massive.

Microsoft recommends all TikTok users on Android download the latest version of the app as soon as they can. More broadly, you can protect yourself in the future from similar exploits by not clicking on sketchy links. It’s also good practice to avoid sideloading apps as you don’t know how someone could have altered the APK.