Court axes FCC robocall rule for being too broad

The current, pro-deregulation FCC is mostly happy with the decision. Chairman Ajit Pai called the rule a “misguided decision” and said the agency needed to focus on “bad actors.” Banks and credit card providers were certainly eager to quash this particular rule — they were worried that they’d break the law through some calls to their customers.

Not everyone is happy, however. FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has warned that robocalling is “already out of control,” and argued that the volume of spam calls would “continue to increase” unless the FCC offered a “serious response.”

The commission has taken some action against robocalls, such as measures that let telecoms block spoofed calls. However, the question is whether or not these efforts have any teeth. Critics have complained that the anti-spoofing rule doesn’t require read more

The Infiniti QX80 is too pricey to have this little tech

But like my old abode, it’s not exactly on the cutting edge of technology. Sure, it’s filled with modern touches you would expect from a luxury SUV, but the QX80 is in a weird spot right now. With parent company Nissan introducing its impressive semi-autonomous driving system ProPilot Assist to the Infiniti Q50 sedan and CarPlay making its way into Nissans, the QX80 feels left behind.

As people generally opt for larger cars and SUVs, the luxury SUV is edging out the high-end sedan as the opulent vehicle of choice. Typically, these lavish cars are where the latest tech lands first. If you’re paying a premium, your entire experience should be premium — from the wood paneling and smooth-as-butter ride, to the latest semi-autonomous features and infotainment system. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Further advancing INFINITI's presence in the full-size luxury SUV segment, the 2018 QX80 takes INFINITI's "Powerful Elegance" design language in a bold new direction, creating a powerful, contemporary and commanding aesthetic.

Sitting in the QX80, you lord over other passenger vehicles. It’s a comfortable throne with access to the vehicle’s 400 horsepower and 413 read more

Food app Ritual is sharing users’ precise workplace information

TL;DR: Ritual users are by default sharing info with anyone about what floor & address they work at (can’t be hidden) & sending push alerts about where they’re planning to go for meals.

My best friend couldn’t block a stalker on Spotify from sending her messages. This is worse.
— Caitlin read more

The best gaming mouse

How we picked and tested

We tested wired and wireless gaming mice. Some looked like they belong on Batman’s utility belt and others were hardly any different than normal mice. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

In our survey, Wirecutter readers identified the key characteristics they look for in a gaming mouse:

  • Comfort: Whether or not a mouse feels good in your hand is the most important feature.
  • Buttons: We focused on mice with fewer than 10 buttons.
  • Sensor: We looked for modern sensors, including the Pixart 3360 and its variants, all of which have at least 12,000 DPI resolution.
  • Software: Most gaming mice come with software suites to assign keystrokes and macros, tweak its sensitivity, and customize its lighting. The software should support multiple profiles to match the game you’re playing.
  • Price: Half of our survey respondents said they’d prefer to pay between $51 and $75 for a gaming mouse, which happens to be how much a great gaming mouse costs.

For wireless mice, we also considered:

  • Performance: A wireless mouse should have no latency, interference, or lag, because if it does, there’s no point in buying one for gaming. We looked for mice you can also use with a wired connection.
  • Battery life: Because of high polling rates and lighting effects, wireless gaming mice tend to have awful battery life compared with regular wireless mice, often peaking at just 25 to 30 hours.

We read editorial reviews and forums and surveyed our readers to prune our list to eight wired mice and four wireless options. We ran each mouse through MouseTester to evaluate tracking speed, jitter and anti-jitter, polling rate, and sensitivity. Every mouse we tested passed these tests without issue.

Then, we used each mouse to play several hours of Overwatch and Starcraft II. We also used each for work over several weeks. Finally, we asked a group of Wirecutter staffers and friends with a range of hand sizes and grip styles to evaluate the finalists.

To read about our testing procedures in more detail, please see our full guide to gaming mice.

Our pick: Razer DeathAdder Elite

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Bite-sized, black-and-white game ‘Minit’ lands April 3rd

“Every pixel matters. It’s a big adventure, compressed into a tiny amount of time,”one of Minit’s developers Kitty Calis, previously a producer on Horizon: Zero Dawn, said in a press release. “No matter the direction you head in, countless challenges, shady secrets, and needy characters await.”

The team includes Jan Willem Nijman, half of the Dutch indie studio Vlambeer, which has released such celebrated titles as Ridiculous Fishing, Nuclear Throne and LUFTRAUSERS. Musician Jukio Kallio, who provided the soundtracks for the latter two games, will do the same for Minit. Graphic designer Dominik Johann lends his talents to the title; He’d previously worked on other indie games like Hotline Miami 2.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget

Alexa’s ‘Brief Mode’ makes the digital assistant way less chatty

Not too long ago, people got creeped out by Amazon’s Alexa devices randomly laughing at them. Now Jeff Bezos’ digital assistant is offering folks the chance to put a sock in its mouth. Err, speaker. Reddit users first noticed that when asked to turn light on, Alexa would complete the task and then append the exchange by saying it’d be the last time it would use a verbal confirmation. Instead, it’d beep upon a task’s completion from that point forward, noting that this was a new feature called “Brief Mode” that’d curtail its speech. That was with a first-gen Echo. In our tests with a second-gen device, the same thing happened, with Alexa asking if we wanted to enable the different audio option.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget

The Puffco Peak vaporizer is a quick hit of concentrated genius

Cannabis concentrates possess a number of advantages over the flowers from which they’re derived but “ease of consumption” isn’t one of them. Depending on the extraction method, they can range from crystalline crumbles to sticky honey oils and tar-like rosins. Ingesting them isn’t a walk in the park either. While you can simply roll up loose leaf weed in a sheet of paper and be good to go, concentrates typically require convoluted heating implements and specialized tools. Seriously, getting lit should never require the use of a blowtorch. With the new Puffco Peak, you won’t need rigs, nails, spikes, e-rings or any of the other conventional accoutrements dabbing used to demand.

Though it is a vaporizer, the Peak is shaped like the lovechild of a conventional water pipe and Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head. It offers an upward-facing ceramic bowl situated in front of a tapered glass stem which read more

‘Battlefront II’ will finally make in-game progression fair next week

Now, daily play is the exclusive way to earn crates, which will only include emotes and cosmetic tweaks for your gear. In the bullet point on the blog post, EA repeated that crates won’t contain anything that impacts gameplay. Anything you’ve already bought or earned will stay in your possession regardless of how you came about it, as well. If you still feel like dropping real-world money for Battlefront gear in-game, however, EA isn’t going to stop you. But, the appearance packs and skins you buy with Crystals, are again, purely cosmetic. You’ll also be able to purchase those with in-game credits earned from gameplay.

It sounds like pressure from lawmakers in Belgium, Hawaii and Washington worked as intended. Now that this seems to be taken care of, we can start speculating how EA will bungle Battlefront the next time.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget

‘#WarGames’ is the ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ of interactive cinema

“We kind of riffed on the idea of video conferencing, of video chat,” Barlow said. “And there were some great examples of a few particular sites where members of some of these hacking groups would hang out in video chat just to kind of shoot the shit and socialize. When we started talking about this, thinking about it, it was a really neat interface. Because we’re all now used to using video chat ourselves. The phone that I might be watching #WarGames on might be the same phone that I use to FaceTime my kid.”

Meanwhile, the series itself tracks which scenes each viewer watches and the narrative shifts according to their preferences. It’s a living, interactive TV series powered by technology from Eko, the company Barlow joined in 2016.

“We got the idea that if we give people that environment and give them some level of interaction, some reason to be touching the screen, then it will draw them in closer into the experience,” Barlow said. “And read more

Microsoft is giving away ‘Sea of Thieves’ with Xbox purchases

If there’s a catch, is that akin to most of Microsoft’s other free game deals –including PUBG most recently — this is a digital copy. But like Destiny and other games of this ilk, that’s a bit more convenient than having to get up and swap discs whenever you feel like making someone walk the plank. Can’t justify the $500 One X investment? Maybe Redmond can tempt you with a Xbox One S bundle for $200 less. And, of course, if you already have an Xbox subscribing to Game Pass means setting sail will only cost you $10 a month.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget