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2018-07-20T00:48:53.295Z
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Today at San Diego Comic-Con, the Syfy Channel hosted a panel with its cast and crew for its upcoming space horror show, Nightflyers, and showed off the first full trailer for the series. The show, based on a novella by George R.R. Martin, teases the horrors that the crew of an interstellar spacecraft face when they embark on their mission.

When we got a first look at the show in March, Martin said that it would be like “Psycho in space.” This new trailer teases out a bit more of the story: Earth is dying, the crew of the Nightflyer is going further into space than anyone has before, and it is humanity’s only hope of survival. But once the mission gets underway, there’s a “malfunction” that kills several people, and the crew begins to realize that there’s something wrong with the ship, and that it can’t return to Earth. In Martin’s original novella, the crew is bound for an alien spacecraft, and we’ll see how that figures into the series when the show premieres at some point this fall.

The trailer showcases a slick-looking space opera from Syfy — which recently canceled The Expanse and Dark Matter — and it reminds us more than a little of another science fiction classic, Alien. Martin revealed that Syfy would pick up the series in November 2017, while Syfy made it official in January. The book was originally adapted...

Sony is no stranger to releasing custom-edition PlayStation 4 consoles to celebrate the launch of big games, but sometimes they can frankly be pretty hideous. But this red PS4 Pro, available as part of a Spider-Man bundle on September 7th, is definitely going to appeal to gamers who love their comic books. It’s red. It’s vibrant. Sony calls it “Amazing Red,” according to the box. There’s a huge Spider-Man logo stamped onto the top. What else do you want?

It also comes with a physical copy of the game and vouchers for DLC. Here it is from another angle:

The included controller perfectly matches the console’s color scheme, too. I’m a little confused as to whether the top of the console is glossy or not — Sony’s video makes it seem like it might be. But these photos? Less so. Whatever the case, preorders for the limited edition Spider-Man PS4 Pro bundle start immediately for $399.

If you’ve been holding off on upgrading your regular PS4 to the more powerful Pro device, what’s better than a hotly anticipated game from Insomniac and a one-of-a-kind design? Spider-Man nails the web slinging aspect of becoming Marvel’s super hero; come September 7th, you’ll be able to find out...

Hackers have already targeted at least three 2018 Congressional candidates, according to a Microsoft executive, who disclosed the attempted cyber-intrusions today during a panel at the Aspen Security Forum.

Tom Burt, corporate vice president for customer security and trust at Microsoft, noted at the panel today that the company had tracked attempts to use fake Microsoft domains for espionage activities in 2016. Those attempts were linked to a group Microsoft calls “Strontium” — the same hackers who targeted the Democratic National Committee in 2016, and who have been tied to Russian military intelligence. The company has been active in taking down those domains, he said, but similar activity has continued into this year.

“Those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates”

“Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks, and we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who were all standing for election in the midterm elections,” Burt said.

Burt, who said the company worked with the United States government to stop the attacks, declined to identify the candidates, and said that the phishing attempts were unsuccessful. It was not clear from the panel whether Microsoft believed the GRU-linked group was responsible for the 2018 hacking attempt. The Verge has asked the company for clarification.

US government officials have said that election meddling tied to the Russian government...

Scooter-sharing startup Bird is ditching the $1 base ride fee for people in need of financial assistance, the company announced today. People who are “currently enrolled in or eligible for” state or federal assistance programs like SNAP or Medicaid will instead only have to pay the 15 cent-per-mile fee that Bird charges all riders.

Individuals who want to access the discount have to email a specific account that Bird has set up for the program with proof of their enrollment or qualification, name, and phone number. Bird says approval should take two to three business days. The company is offering the discount in all eighteen cities that it currently operates in.

As TechCrunch points out, Bird competitor Lime spun up a similar program earlier this year where riders who are enrolled in assistance programs can apply to get 100 bike rides for just $5. New York City’s Citi Bike program — which is run by a company called Motivate that was recently acquired by Lyft — also recently announced discounted rides for people who live in public housing. And other bike-share programs around the country have offered discounted, sometimes completely free, rides to people in lower income brackets.

Competitor Lime has a similar program, as do other bike-sharing companies

Bird is one of a handful of companies pushing electric scooters as a way to augment how people get around cities, an idea that...

The US and other regions are now heavily saturated with smartphone users, so tech's biggest companies have their eyes on India as the next key battleground to compete for market share. In the second quarter, Samsung and Xiaomi continued to lead all other competitors, with each company shipping 9.9 million smartphones in the country, according to new numbers from Canalys.

Together, Samsung and Xiaomi made up 60 percent of India’s total mobile shipments, which is a jump from 43 percent last year. Vivo and Oppo round out the list, tallying 11 percent and 10 percent of shipments, respectively. Samsung’s most popular model was the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro, a phone initially aimed at students in South Korea that curiously has no access to the internet. Xiaomi, on the other hand, sold 3.3 million units of the Redmi 5A, a budget version of its Redmi Note 5.

Samsung saw its best quarter since 2015

Both companies grew substantially in Q2. Xiaomi grew more from last year’s Q2 by jumping from 18 percent share to 30, while Samsung saw its best quarter since 2015. Canalys analyst TuanAnh Nguyen said in a statement that Samsung was “hitting back” against Xiaomi: “It has launched devices pitted directly against Xiaomi’s portfolio and is focusing on its cameras and imaging capabilities.”

Image: Canalys

For those who’ve been on the fence about jumping into high-end virtual reality, Oculus VR is trying to sweeten the deal ahead of the launch of its new flagship game, Marvel Powers United VR. The title features a number of official Marvel heroes as playable characters in a co-op narrative-focused brawler, and it’s due out next week on July 29th.

Today at San Diego Comic-Con, Oculus, which funded the game produced alongside developer Sanzaru Games, is announcing a retail bundle for $399 that will come with a free copy of the game, a Rift headset, and two Touch controllers. Marvel Powers United VR is slated to retail for $39.99.

Image: Oculus VR

The standard Oculus Rift headset costs about that much, so this is reasonable way to get your hands on the product alongside a game that features a solid range of VR experiences — from multiplayer co-op play to story-driven single-player missions. The full Marvel lineup featured in the game will be revealed next week when it launches, but there’s already a healthy cast confirmed, including Captain America, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Hulk.

It’s been over a year since Apple first announced that it would let device manufacturers add support for its HomeKit smart home standard with just software authentication (instead of requiring an Apple-approved physical chip), and now the Wemo Mini smart plug is the first device to implement the standard with a firmware update that’s already beginning to roll out today.

Hopefully the first of many

Once the update hits, Wemo Mini owners will be able to use the smart outlets directly with HomeKit, without having to pay extra for the $40 Wemo Bridge hub that was previously required to use the devices with Apple’s smart home standard. That said, you’ll still need the hub if you have other Wemo devices you’d like to use — although Wemo says that it is looking to add HomeKit support to other Wemo products later this year.

Hopefully, now that the ball has finally started rolling, it won’t be long before other manufacturers start to add HomeKit software updates to their devices, too.

During the 10th Anniversary Clone Wars panel at San Diego Comic Con, creator and producer Dave Filoni announced that the show would return on Disney’s streaming service finishing off the story that was widely considered to be left hanging after the show’s abrupt cancelation in 2013.

From 2008 to 2013, The Clone Wars ran on Cartoon Network, revealing the massive war that took place between the theatrical, live-action movies Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It featured existing characters such as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as a number of original fan-favorite characters, including Anakin’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano, and Captain Rex. In 2013, Lucasfilm announced that it was “winding down” the show, eventually sending its final, six-episode season to Netflix, while another unfinished story arc was written up as a novel, Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple. LucasFilm and Disney then focused on creating a follow-up Star Wars animated show, Star Wars Rebels, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope / Rogue One. After a four-season run, Rebels ended earlier this year. More recently, LucasFilm announced a third animated show, Star Wars Resistance, set prior to The Force Awakens.

Filoni was joined by fellow producer Athena Portillo, Ahsoka voice actress Ashley Eckstein, Anakin Skywalker voice actor Matt Lanter, and series composer Kevin Keiner, who used the panel to look back over the production of the series. At...

Seen from above, the mountainous national park directly above Tham Luang Nang Non, the Great Cave of the Sleeping Lady, appears tranquil — like someone lying on their side, if they were furred with trees and ran the along much of the length of Thailand’s border with Myanmar. It hardly seems like the site of a two-week-long, 10,000-person rescue operation that would pit the resolve of at least one government against the near-constant rain of the country’s monsoon season, in a contest to save the Wild Boars, a local boys soccer team. It’s unlikelier still as a battleground for international public opinion about Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, which produces luxury electric cars, and SpaceX, which stages private rocket flights for the American government.

Nevertheless, it was. Two weeks ago, a week into the world watching rescue efforts progress, Musk announced he would step in to help. He’d ordered his engineers at SpaceX and the Boring Company, which aims to use tunnels burrowed under cities to clear traffic on the streets above, to head to Thailand to see if they could find a way to get the kids out. The engineers decided to repurpose a liquid oxygen transfer tube from one of SpaceX’s rockets as a child-sized submarine, eventually simulating a cave rescue with divers in a pool in Los Angeles. The sub — which Musk named Wild Boar, after the soccer team — eventually made it to Thailand...

The $20 Wyze Cam security camera may not be the best option out there for a connected home security device, but it’s certainly the cheapest. And now it’s getting even more useful with an update that adds support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, via TechCrunch.

The new functionality is only available on the second-gen version of the Wyze Cam and the slightly pricier Wyze Cam Pan, but once you’ve updated the Alexa app, you’ll be able to use Amazon’s voice assistant to view live feeds with your Echo device on connected Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Fire TV devices, just like you can with Amazon’s own Cloud Cam (which costs $120, but is still The Verge’s top pick for the best indoor security camera.)

Still, if you’re looking to put together a home security setup on the cheap, it’s tough to beat the Wyze Cam’s price.

Microsoft posted the fourth quarter of its 2018 financial results today, reporting revenue of $30.1 billion and net income of $8.9 billion. Revenue has increased 17 percent year over year, and net income is up an impressive 35 percent. Microsoft’s Office and cloud offerings continue to fuel the company’s growth, but both the Surface and gaming businesses are up this quarter, too.

Surface revenue has jumped 25 percent year over year this quarter to $1.1 billion, “driven by strong performance of the latest editions of Surface” says Microsoft. The billion dollar target was important this quarter, as it means Surface has now ended the financial year as a billion dollar business. Microsoft recently unveiled the new Surface Go, but the smaller 10-inch tablet doesn’t go on sale until next month. Microsoft has relied on existing Surface devices to fuel growth this quarter, as the company has not yet launched refreshed models this year.

Microsoft’s gaming business is also growing, just as the company has unveiled its plans for game streaming. Gaming revenue increased 39 percent this quarter, alongside Xbox software and services revenue growth of 36 percent. Microsoft no longer reveals Xbox hardware sales, so it’s still not clear exactly how its consoles are contributing to the way it now reports its gaming business. Still, Xbox Live active users also grew to 57 million, thanks to users across Xbox One, Windows 10, iOS, and Android.

Developing...

The Trump administration is redefining how the government will protect endangered plants and animals. Today, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that they are considering rolling back regulations outlined in the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a 45-year-old law aimed at saving species that face extinction. The potential changes could limit the areas that can be designated as critical habitats, and alter the kinds of protections that threatened species receive.

To start, threatened species are getting a new definition. Right now, these species are considered as those that are at risk of becoming endangered in the “foreseeable future.” The agencies will change what “foreseeable future” means, making it clear that it “extends only so far into the future as the [agencies] can reasonably determine” that the risk of extinction is probable. The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to get rid of the ESA’s blanket rule that gave threatened species the same protections as endangered species.

threatened species are getting a new definition

The agencies propose changing how species are listed and delisted as endangered under the act. Now, a species will be delisted using the same criteria as the government uses to put a species on the endangered or threatened list.

“One thing we heard over and over again was that ESA implementation was not consistent and often times very confusing to navigate,” Greg Sheehan, the principal deputy director for the US Fish...

iFixit was the first to discover that Apple’s quieter, redesigned MacBook Pro keyboards featured a membrane beneath the keycaps, which a leaked Apple repair document confirmed was to help block out unwanted dust and debris from damaging the delicate mechanism. Now, after a more thorough teardown and testing, it has confirmed that the new membrane succeeds in doing just that.

When testing the keyboard, iFixit pumped the device with a fine, powdered paint additive to see if the new membranes were merely added to cut down on the noise or if they really would block dust. As seen in the image below, the new membrane seems to be pretty effective at keeping the paint powder away from the middle part of the mechanism. iFixit notes that in a similar test, the old and membrane-less keyboard fared far worse. That said, the new keyboard still failed to protect against higher-grit particles, like sand, so you probably won’t want to bring your brand-new $6,700 MacBook Pro to the beach anytime soon.

Photo: iFixit

Part of the reason that the new keyboard works so well at blocking dust is that, as iFixit’s later investigations have found, the membrane is actually one solid sheet of silicone with cutouts for individual keys, which makes it much harder for...

Doctor Who’s upcoming 11th season got a new trailer at Comic-Con 2018, and much like the teaser aired during the World Cup final last week, the focus is all on the three new companions that will be accompanying Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor on her journeys through time and space.

“All of this is new to me.”

“All of this is new to me,” intones the Doctor in a voiceover, “New faces, new worlds, new times,” — a fitting sentiment, given that the long-running British sci-fi show is entering an entirely new era: along with Whittaker beginning her run as the Doctor, Chris Chibnall is taking the helm behind the scenes as the new showrunnner. Whittaker is also the first woman to play the role of Doctor, taking over for Peter Capaldi, who portrayed the Twelfth Doctor for the past few seasons.

New Doctor, New Sonic Screwdriver. #DoctorWho pic.twitter.com/ThXlmJLKer— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) July 19, 2018

The new trailer doesn’t give away much — just a few clips of the Doctor, a glimpse of her new sonic screwdriver, some presumably alien landscapes, and a couple of shots of the three new companions revealed last week: Graham, Yasmin, and Ryan (played by Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, and Tosin Cole, respectively). But we shouldn’t have too long to wait — the new series is expected to premiere sometime in October.

If you were going to see an emoji musical, would you expect to see anthropomorphized emoji dying onstage? Would you expect to be asked angsty questions like “What if none of this matters?” by a woman in a Mountain Dew-colored wig? It doesn’t matter what you expect, since you can’t control what happens to you, and neither can I. Emojiland, a new stage musical written by Keith and Laura Nicole Harrison, is written to make this perfectly clear.

Emojiland is being staged through July 22nd as part of the New York Musical Festival. People in the New York area who love death or appreciate spectacle, no matter the form, can walk through Times Square past the Port Authority Bus Terminal, past 9th Avenue and its somewhat fake-looking rectories, and wind up at the Acorn Theatre, which is basically a series of well-kept stairwells and a 200-seat auditorium. There, you can pay $13.75 to experience two and a half hours of existential terror.

To be fair, Emojiland’s tagline is “a textistential new musical,” which I should have taken more seriously. I was honestly too busy listening to the woman behind me sound it out, then explain to her seat partner what the real word was. She pronounced it “exit-sensual.” Who can blame her?

Much like The Emoji Movie, which came out in July 2017 and nearly ended my life, the...

Walmart is gearing up to compete with Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix in the streaming video space with an offering of its own that’s branded under the Vudu name, according to a report from Variety. The service would be similar to other streaming services by blending a mix of licensed content with original video. Variety reports that it may cost around $8 a month. News of Walmart’s video-on-demand ambitions was first reported earlier this week by The Information.

It’s not clear how Vudu plans to differentiate itself from existing companies, many of which have shifted resources toward original content production as big rights holders like Disney, ESPN, and others have begun launching streaming services of their own. At the moment, Vudu acts more as an iTunes and Amazon Video competitor in the movie rental market, offering around 150,000 titles to rent or buy with a much more limited selection available for free as part of its ad-supported Movies On Us service. Walmart purchased the service in 2010, and while it has since moved away from developing its own set-top boxes, Vudu is a more well-known name in the smart TV market. It typically exists as a preinstalled app on some streaming hardware and smart TVs.

That said, thanks to that business, Vudu does have relationships with large Hollywood studios and television networks. So it’s feasible the company could use those relationships to cut streaming deals; Variety reports that Walmart...

Lawmakers are considering making streaming services like Netflix and Spotify interrupt your song or show to broadcast emergency alerts. The idea is part of a bill that was introduced by senators from Hawaii and South Dakota called the “Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement,” or READI Act, as spotted by TechCrunch.

The idea is that you would be engrossed in a particularly thrilling episode of Jane the Virgin or Black Mirror and potentially miss a call for evacuation sent to your phone. But if Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others get on board with this bill (if it were to make it into law), they could interrupt your content with the crucial information you need to stay safe. Of course, the system would need to be secure from hackers and free of bugs, so that the partnership wouldn’t just lead to more false alarms.

The bill is one of the many measures that lawmakers are looking at after a false missile alert in Hawaii was sent to millions of residents back in January. It took 38 minutes to issue a correction to assure people that a missile was, in fact, not hitting Hawaii, so officials are looking into better training procedures and ways to fix the aged emergency alert system.

The bill also mentions making it impossible to disable country-wide alerts and creating more infrastructure to send out corrections to false alarms.

The Federal Communications Commission has published its order calling for a hearing regarding the proposed Sinclair Broadcast Group acquisition of Tribune Media, following an unexpected announcement by Chairman Pai earlier this week where he said he had “serious concerns” about the deal. The order claims that, as proposed, the merger between the two media giants would “not be in the public interest.”

The administrative hearing was approved yesterday after the Commission voted unanimously to take a closer look at the merger. In its initial response after the agency called for the hearing, Sinclair revised its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media in an attempt to salvage its deal in light of the FCC’s announcement. In the new deal, Sinclair would also acquire the WGN-TV Chicago station, along with two other Tribune stations in Texas — Dallas and Houston — that would then be put into a trust and sold by an independent trustee after the deal with Tribune is approved.

“Material questions remain.”

“Although these three applications were withdrawn today, material questions remain because the real party-in-interest issue in this case includes a potential element of misrepresentation or lack of candor that may suggest granting other, related applications by the same party would not be in the public interest,” the agency wrote.

Sinclair has denied any claims that it has attempted to mislead the agency.

In the newly released document, the agency dissects Sinclair’s new plan and claims that...

Instagram is adding a new feature that’s ripped right out of AOL Instant Messenger — a helpful green dot next to your friend’s profile pictures that lets you know that they’re online to message.

The new status indicator dot will show up in a few places in the app, including your Instagram Direct inbox and the share menu. Status indicators will only show up for friends who already follow you or for people who you’ve talked to before in Instagram Direct messages, and you’ll be able to both hide your status from others and turn off the feature completely if you want.

The new status dot should be available now on Instagram, although there’s no word yet on whether or not Instagram will be adding ‘90s-era away messages, too.

Complaining about airlines on Twitter is a universal pastime for disgruntled travelers, and yet somehow British Airways has managed to turn the activity into a data privacy debacle of its own doing. Security researcher and PhD student Mustafa Al-Bassam discovered yesterday that the airline’s social media team was demanding customers post a trove of personal information publicly on Twitter, so it could help investigate customer service claims. That included passport numbers, full addresses, and other sensitive info, as reported earlier today by TechCrunch.

Even weirder: the airline kept insisting this was to “comply with GDPR,” which is the General Data Protection Regulation. It’s the EU’s new widespread consumer privacy law designed to keep companies from collecting and selling personal information of internet users without their consent. So it doesn’t make much sense why British Airways would require customers post their personal information on Twitter for all to see just to get assistance about a missed or delayed flight. The entire thread is worth reading:

So British Airways is asking for people's personal data over social media "to comply with GDPR", and some people are even replying directly in the public feed.uwotm8 pic.twitter.com/yUvCQ5Gti9— Mustafa Al-Bassam (@musalbas) July 16, 2018

Al-Bassam notes how, after some users complained about the airline’s bizarrely worded request, it began altering its replies to say that customers should DM them the info instead. Granted, GDPR is an...