Garmin’s Forerunner 955 review: Still king for runners and cyclists

ARS Technica - Sat, 03/25/2023 - 04:00
Garmin’s Forerunner 955 review: Still king for runners and cyclists

Enlarge (credit: Corey Gaskin)

Garmin Forerunner 955 (Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.) If you're at all familiar with Garmin's wearables, you know that GPS-equipped running watches have always been the company's primary strength. Garmin's fitness watches have been a staple among athletes due to their features that aren't found on Fitbits and Apple Watches. The Forerunner series is still where the company introduces some of its most innovative tracking and training features.

The Forerunner 955 continues that tradition. It sits atop the Forerunner series as the most feature-packed watch in the bunch, and this year it gains some modern touches like a touchscreen and daily exercise readiness assessments (à la Fitbit's Daily Readiness feature, but free to users), while introducing new features not present on any other Garmin watch. That includes the higher-end Fenix series of watches, from which the Forerunner 955 is also starting to steal some cues, like solar-charging options and multi-band GPS.

We trained with the Forerunner 955 for a few weeks to see how its newest features improve on a platform we already love and to determine just how afraid Garmin should be about Apple or Fitbit catching up.

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Categories: Tech News

How Arm aims to squeeze device makers for cash rather than pocket pennies for cores

The Register - Sat, 03/25/2023 - 01:54
I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further

Analysis  The rumors and whispering of Arm substantially hiking its prices, right as an IPO looms, just won't go away.…

Categories: Tech News

RIP Gordon Moore: Intel co-founder dies, aged 94

The Register - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 19:42
'Impossible to imagine the world we live in today ... without his contributions'

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore has died, the microprocessor giant confirmed this evening. He was 94.…

Categories: Tech News

Rising seas will cut off many properties before they’re flooded

ARS Technica - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 15:51
Image of a road with a low lying section under water.

Enlarge / If this road is your only route to the outside world, it might not matter that your house didn't flood. (credit: Maurice Alcorn / EyeEm)

Climate change produces lots of risks that are difficult to predict. While it will make some events—heatwaves, droughts, extreme storms, etc.—more probable, all of those events depend heavily on year-to-year variation in the weather. So, while the odds may go up, it's impossible to know when one of these events will strike a given location.

In contrast, sea level rise seems far simpler. While there's still uncertainty about just how quickly ocean levels will rise, other aspects seem pretty predictable. Given a predicted rate of sea level rise, it's easy to tell when a site will start ending up underwater. And that sort of analysis has been done for various regions.

But having a property above water won't be much good if flooding nearby means you can't get to a hospital or grocery store when you need to or lose access to electricity or other services. It's entirely possible for rising seas to leave a property high, dry, but uninhabitable as rising seas cut connections to essential services. A group of researchers has analyzed the risk of isolation driven by sea level rise, and shows it's a major contributor to the future risks the US faces.

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Categories: Tech News

Utah outlaws social media addiction for kids, sets a digital curfew

The Register - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 15:41
Age verification, a private right to sue Big Tech ... when someone does think of the children?

To protect children, Utah Governor Spencer Cox on Thursday signed two bills aimed at "holding social media companies accountable."…

Categories: Tech News

AI voice generation helps mod Fallout 4’s narrow dialogue choices

ARS Technica - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 15:29
Image of Fallout 4 default protagonist with voice options, including

Enlarge / Just because you're still alive in a retro-futuristic-post-apocalyptic Commonwealth doesn't mean you're necessarily witty. (credit: Bethesda / ProfMajowski)

Modders can change many things inside their favorite games, but dialogue from professionally voiced characters hasn't been one of those things—at least until recently. AI voice generation could open up new modding avenues for some games, as it has already done with one Fallout 4 mod package.

Roleplayer's Expanded Dialogue (RED) is listed in the NexusMods catalog as a "Massive expansion of vanilla dialogue," adding more than 300 entirely new lines of dialogue to the game. Those lines aim to solve an issue near to the hearts of fans of Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas: role-playing. If you're playing as a ruthless jerk, a brilliant nuclear scientist, or a strong but dimwitted dolt, you'll see more dialogue options that reflect this. Mechanically, the roll-the-dice speech "checks," which are based solely on your charisma level in the default game, can now be unlocked using related traits or skills.

If you're going to let a player be a cannibal, let them talk about it, too.

If you're going to let a player be a cannibal, let them talk about it, too. (credit: Bethesda / ProjMajowski)

They're not just new labels on existing dialogue, either. RED, created by NexusMods user ProfMajowski (and first seen by us at PCGamesN), says it used ElevenLabs voice AI to generate its more in-character lines. The results can sometimes "sound a little 'emotionless,'" the creator writes, but "otherwise they basically sound like the real thing." Nothing your character can newly say now will change the game's mechanics or reactions, but it should sound a bit more in character.

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Categories: Tech News

Help! I’m Obsessed With Soom Tahini

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 14:56

Hi, my name is Adam, and I’m obsessed with tahini. [Hi, Adam.]

You know, I think I’ve always known I had a problem. [Takes a long pull of cigarette.] There were the heaping cups I’d use when I first started making hummus for my friends in college; then, later, I began putting it on pasta instead of cheese. Maybe my friends and family knew before I did. A lot of Jews have this problem—it’s in our blood (read: tahini is huge in Middle-Eastern cuisine); I guess writing “The Best Jewish Food Cookbooks” could have been a sign, or maybe it was the years of cooking Hanukkah and Rosh Hashanah dinners for my homies. Anyway, I think it’s time to accept that I might be obsessed with tahini. The more I ignore it, the closer it gets. I’m wasting my time.

Tahini is really a simple condiment—it’s just toasted, ground sesame seeds. It has an earthy, savory flavor and an impossibly creamy, luscious texture (at least, the good stuff does). It’s sort of a logical next step from peanut butter, a gateway ingredient if I’ve ever seen one. It makes sense that I can’t get enough of either. My favorite lunch these days is steamed veggies, brown rice or quinoa, and a decadent lemon-tahini dressing that I’ve come to be able to whip up in about 45 seconds (and hot sauce, obviously). It’s muscle memory at this point.

I’d heard about Soom tahini for a while, as the ultra popular brand is really no secret. I guess I put off trying it, since it was everywhere. But the hype built up and became too great for me. I couldn’t resist. I’d previously been a regular 365 tahini-buyer; or, if I was at the international market, I’d get Ziyad, a perennial banger. Many of my most respected friends and favorite restaurants, however, use Soom; last summer, I visited Philadelphia, and Michael Solomonov’s falafel mecca, Goldie’s, was selling Soom as merchandise. I didn’t seem to be able to escape the pull of Soom, so I gave in. It’s an understatement to say I don’t regret it. It’s absolutely delicious; it has the perfect sesame-rich taste and velvet-thick texture.

I’ve always heavily stocked tahini at home, and Soom is no different. I go through more of it now than ever before—dips, dressings, desserts, Ottolenghi recipes (I dare you to try the “smoky, creamy pasta with burnt aubergine and tahini” from Shelf Love—it’s a miracle). In my household, the tahini never stops flowing. I’m here to say—comically late, but a tahini-obsessive arrives precisely when he means to—that Soom tahini is, indeed, worth the hype. Now that I’ve finally come to own my cosmic love of tahini, I’m hoping it can prevent me from going even deeper… because I know that once I taste chocolate tahini, I’ll be too far gone.

Anyway, it’s time for lunch.

Buy Soom tahini on Amazon.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

The Best Fire Pits for Your Spring 2023 Conjuring

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 14:30

Come closer, child. Let me wipe your poppers-induced tears. Stare with me into the light-polluted night sky, crack a White Claw, and gather ‘round the patio fire pit in your old Supreme hoodie, ever the big city druid you were destined to be. The time is nigh for backyard kickbacks, BBQs, and drinks with friends, and we’re here to make sure the vibe runneth strong with your setup for moon-licking flames. Brood X demands it: The focal point of the backyard this spring must be a new, cult-ready fire pit. 

But, the best fire pits are for actual houses, you may think. Or, Is there really a fire pit safe out there that’s idiot-proof enough for me? Of course there is, sweet bean. There’s a fire pit for every one of your Gemini personalities that surfaces in the spring, from a laid-back, terracotta chiminea, to a minimalist fire pit that could be in the backyard of an influencer in Calabasas. If you’re excited about being outdoors and not freezing, or telling Tinder ghost stories around a fire with your bros, we got you. And, as we continue the quest for new outdoor patio furniture (speaking of which, we've found a bunch under $100 right under this rock), we’re making a case for prioritizing the fire pit. There’s something so gratifying about owning one. It’s a very adult meta moment, wherein we realize we have become the beer commercial we grew up watching—only, the bulb lights are Grateful Dead bears and no one's teeth are actor-straight. 

Fire pits come in all shapes, sizes, and sexual orientations. Some are tabletop stones that will make you feel like a minimalist, mountain-dwelling hermit. Some are great for camping, heading to the beach, or taking over to your friend’s place. Some run into the hundreds, but a lot are available for just a few dozen clams. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Check your local fire pit laws. Don’t be the Mrs. O'Leary of the summer. Listen to the Allstate dude, don’t go Zoolander with your fuel, and make sure you read the instructors. 

Happy conjuring.

People are calling this one a “life changer”

Behind that e-tab pile of YETI drinkware and Pendleton throws, it waits: The choicest, best fire pit online, beloved by the outdoorsy people who don’t need this article and already know that this shiny smokeless Solo Stove is the move. “Our Signature 360° airflow design creates a super efficient burn,” say its lumbersexual designers, “[so it’s] not only mesmerizing to watch, but a joy to sit around.” Thousands of reviewers have joined the Solo Stove cult, saying there’s no annoying smoke, it’s easy to carry, and that it’s actually become an unexpected, integral part of finding little ritualistic joys during the pandemic. As Sebastian S. wrote, “[It’s a] life-changer in and out [of] corona times […] have a small terrasse [sic], got the stove, wood, cold beer, and invited a buddy, yasssss!!!! best night in over a year!” It’s on sale RN, too, so this is truly the optimal moment to join the cult.

This mid-century mouth 

Remember that one time you and the ghouls rented a mid-century haus in Palm Springs, and thought, Damn, how can I transport all this horny gravel and Googie architecture to my own home? This primal-feeling fireplace is your move. The only thing missing is a conversation about your tech start-up, but we imagine that’ll flow freely once this baby is lit.

“Big fire, tiny presence”

So goes the moniker of this smooooool dual log burner, which is kind of like the American Girl doll-sized version of the Solo Stove, bringing the same energy to a pit that is “slimmer than an inch when compact.” It also has a schmancy engineered airflow situation, and “a scooping base [that] allows for clean pack-down and collection of the ashes, creating the first disposal conscious fire containment base.” At under $100, it’s also one of the most cost-accessible of the lot.

Technology is our friend 

Is this a real fire pit that burns actual logs and charcoal? Yes. Is there also an electric, integrated air fan that makes this fire pit look like one of those robot dogs has spontaneously combusted? Also yes. If the flaming robot dog part wasn’t enough, there’s also a grill top you can throw on here to create a “hibachi-style grilling experience.” This one feels dystopian, but I’m also, like, profoundly drawn to it. Real talk, the 360-degree floating fire vibe is cool as hell.

This is YOUR season of The Bachelor 

At some point in reality TV history, two women named Jennifer and McKenzie have definitely fought beside this fire pit, and now it’s your chance to passive-aggressively sip from your Mai Tai about a nonexistent problem. It’s wood-burning, can be placed directly on the wooden deck (we don’t have), and takes up less space than most low slung, wide fire pits. It’s weather resistant, so you can leave it out with no worries.

The one you found in the creekbed

“What, this? I just happened upon this humble rock during my evening stroll in the valley,” you’ll tell your buds as they roll up to your earthy yet minimal outdoor situation, wherein this graphite stone sits on a side table by a National Parks-themed puzzle. This pit is clean-burning (it’s powered by an odorless gel fuel canister that can run for up to three hours) and a great intro-pit for beginners.

You like a nice silhouette

Maybe don’t overfill this one? Really into the Southwestern bat-ear silhouette that this steel, wood-burning tabletop fire pit provides. Also love the enigmatic instructions: “Safe for Use on Wooden Deck: Cannot be placed on a Wooden Deck.” Crystal clear.

Absolutely not overkill

Based on the Snaggletooth War Pig first designed by Joe Petagno for Motörhead, this very metal, made-to-order fire pit is the ideal patio accessory. Please propose to someone in front of it, or at least have fun stabbing bratwursts on the teeth.

Burn bright my jabronis, and don’t forget to find the sexy ashtrays.  

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.

Categories: Tech News

The Best Rolling Luggage (for Traveling Smarter, not Harder)

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 14:20

If you’re anything like us, you’re preparing for a jam-packed season of never-ending weddings, bachelor parties, and hedonistic weekend trips, and that ratty suitcase hiding at the top of your closet is probably the last thing on your mind… that is, until you’re packing for said travel and the handle of your carry-on flies off when you try to get it down from its resting place. Now you’re screwed and either have to struggle through the entire trip with scrubby luggage or shoulder indentations from a heavy duffel bag, or run to TJ Maxx six hours before your flight trying to decide between a violently teal suitcase or a hardshell emblazoned with stars and stripes ( at least there won’t be any confusion at baggage claim?). As we all know, running through the airport is a million times easier and more comfortable when your luggage is on happy, slippery, swiveling wheels, which is why a smooth-gliding rolling suitcase is so clutch—and necessary.

Don’t panic—we did the thinking ahead for you, and have gone ahead and narrowed down the absolute best rolling luggage for getting you through your travels with as little stress and anxiety as possible. Whether you just need some cheap luggage that won’t fall apart after one use or are ready to splurge on some luxury luggage, these are the best carry-ons and checked bags with wheels. Hey, no one wants to be that person re-packing their bag on the floor of the airport to avoid paying an overweight bag fee. 

Away luggage

By now, we’re pretty sure everyone and their great-aunt has heard about Away, and for good reason. The brand was really the first direct-to-consumer luggage brand that reimagined the way we travel. Not only is it sleek, streamlined and design-forward, the luggage also features details commonly found in luxury brands for a fraction of the price like a light-weight hard outer shell, those highly coveted 360-degree spinner wheels, a combination lock and a laundry bag. After eight years on the market, the brand is still thriving, which goes to show that Away's bags hold up. While the classic suitcases feature a durable, lightweight polycarbonate shell (The Carry-On is seven pounds and The Medium is under 10), Away also offers all of its rolling luggage in aluminum, for less than half the price of other luxury brands. 

Amazon Basics luggage

If you don’t have a ton of cheddar to throw at a new suitcase (crypto is down/you went all in on an MLM), no prob—Amazon Basics makes a shockingly sturdy line of hardside spinner luggage that has over 39,000 reviews and a rating of 4.6 stars. One ecstatic reviewer who’s owned the luggage for over four years commented, “I'm really glad I didn't spend the extra money… they've been thrown all over the world by airlines (and us) and still work and function great. No cracking, no visible scratching, no fading, no broken zippers, wheels, or handles.” We’d call that a ringing endorsement. 

Beis luggage

If you haven’t yet heard of Beis as a premium travel brand, it’s probably because they first went viral for their insanely practical diaper bags. Before you start scrolling, we’ll tell you why that’s actually a great place to start when designing all sorts of travel bags and luggage. Not only has Beis thought of every possible detail—including cushioned handles, stain-resistant materials, and a built-in weight indicator so there are no surprises once you get to check-in. In addition to polycarbonate luggage, Beis also makes an ingenious collapsible soft-sided roller that flattens down to 6.5 inches in thickness for super-easy stowing. Did we mention all of Beis’ products come with a lifetime warranty?

Calpak luggage

Sick of seeing everyone rolling the same drab luggage? Without shelling out your entire paycheck for custom trunks or monogrammed baggage, we highly suggest scoping out the endless possibilities at Calpak. The new Trunk line features a faux-crocodile and leather strap embossed exterior that will make you look like you have a personal butler to fetch all your belongings. What’s that Jeeves? The Mini Carry-On is perfect for a weekend getaway to St. Tropez? We couldn’t agree more. 

Coolife luggage

This highly rated Coolife set (with a 4.6-star rating from more than 22,000 reviews) from Amazon is perfect if you’re starting off fresh. Snag an entire four-piece set (which can all be stored inside each other like Russian nesting luggage) for under $250. With a dozen colors to choose from, built-in combination locks, and a two-year warranty, it’s almost insane not to buy this set. 

July luggage

July makes #aesthetic luggage in a ton of unexpected colors that comes with all of the bells and whistles of competitor’s luggage—i.e. aerospace-grade German polycarbonate, SilentMove 360-spinning wheels, and an integrated TSA lock, with one big addition that other seem to be lacking—an ejectable battery that charges your devices with USB-C so now many how many times your flight is delayed, you don’t have to fight your fellow passengers for access to the single outlet at the gate. 

Travelpro luggage

Ever wondered what brand makes those compact bags that flight attendants and pilots use? It’s Travelpro, and those pro picks are usually from the Maxlite super lightweight soft-sided collection. For just over $100, you can get the Underseat Tote that will undoubtedly fit wherever you need to smash it, even if you’re the last one to board the plane. Don’t worry about durability—it's made with a stain-resistant and water-repellent polyester fabric with plenty of pockets and compartments for easily accessing important items like your passport and charging cables. 

Au revoir, auf wiedersehen, and safe travels. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals?Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft scrambles to fix Windows 11 'aCropalypse' privacy-battering bug

The Register - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 14:18
All your previously cropped images aren't, basically

Microsoft is said to be preparing to fix the high-profile "aCropalypse" privacy bug in its Snipping Tool for Windows 11.…

Categories: Tech News

Two more dead as patients report horrifying details of eye drop outbreak

ARS Technica - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 14:11
Young man applying eye drops.

Enlarge (credit: Getty | UniversalImagesGroup)

Two more people have died and more details of horrifying eye infections are emerging in a nationwide outbreak linked to recalled eye drops from EzriCare and Delsam.

The death toll now stands at three, according to an outbreak update this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 68 people in 16 states have been infected with a rare, extensively drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain linked to the eye drops. In addition to the deaths, eight people have reported vision loss and four have had their eyeballs surgically removed (enucleation).

In a case report published this week in JAMA Ophthalmology, eye doctors at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System, reported details of one case linked to the outbreak—a case in a 72-year-old man who has an ongoing infection in his right eye with vision loss, despite weeks of treatment with multiple antibiotics. When the man first sought treatment he reported pain in his right eye, which only had the ability to detect motion at the point, while his left eye had 20/20 vision. Doctors noted that the white of his right eye was entirely red and white blood cells had visibly pooled on his cornea and in the front inner chamber of his eye.

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Categories: Tech News

We Found the (Sold Out) Hoka Bondi 7 in Stock—and on Sale

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 14:01

By now, you know we don’t STFU about Hoka and how much we love its swaggy, functional sneakers. And, we have no plans to do so. It’s hard when the running brand is constantly wowing us with new styles. So, can you blame us? With the Bondi 8 and Clifton 9 recently launching, it’s only natural that Hoka puts its older models on the back-burner. With that context, we have some tragic news: the beloved Bondi 7 is now nowhere to be found on Hoka’s website. We’ll give you a second to wipe away your tears. 

Don’t worry, though, there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel. We found the adored running kicks at an outdoorsman’s favorite superstore, REI, and better yet, they’re $31 off! 

The elevated-soled shoe is known to be one of the most cushioned among the brand’s lineup, It has a compression-molded midsole and breathable mesh exterior, enabling the sneaker to form to your feet while allowing adequate air flow. To minimize the impact of running, its plush collar design accommodates all ankle structures so nothing gets in the way of your run. One of our writers swears they helped her save her feet during a 10K race, thanks to their wide stature and top-notch support. It’s easy to believe, since the Bondi 7s have a 4.5-star average on REI’s website and over 4,000 customer reviews. The shoes also have received a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association, which recognizes products beneficial to foot health. 

Since Hoka’s Bondi 7s seem to be wiped clean from other retailer’s sites except maybe a size or two, now would be the chance to snag them from REI before they poof away. We mean, c’mon, they have nine different men’s sizes!

Hoka’s Bondi 7 shoes are available for purchase on REI.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Daily Horoscope: March 25, 2023

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 14:00

A big shift in energy could arrive as Mars enters Cancer at 7:45 AM! Mars is the planet of action, but Cancer has a cautious way of going about things. A feeling of careful progress may be in the atmosphere. The moon in Taurus connects with Neptune in Pisces at 9:19 AM, encouraging us to connect with our intuition, and the moon enters Gemini at 8:42 PM, asking us to take a detached, logical look at things. The moon connects with Pluto in Aquarius at 8:46 PM, creating a powerful atmosphere for transformation and connecting with our inner power!

All times ET.

Read your monthly horoscope for March!

Stay in the cosmic loop with the VICE horoscopes newsletter. Get horoscopes straight to your inbox when you sign up here!

Aries glyph Aries: March 20, 2023 - April 20, 2023

Your ruling planet Mars enters water sign Cancer, which could find you making a decision regarding your home, family, or personal life. You may be moving, rearranging your space, or setting boundaries. The moon enters Gemini, encouraging communication.

Taurus glyphs Taurus: April 20, 2023 - May 21, 2023

Conversations begin moving along quickly as Mars enters Cancer. You may be reflecting on how to say something straightforwardly, but tactfully. Be honest, and balance criticism with appreciation and understanding. The moon enters Gemini, bringing your focus to themes like money, security, and comfort.

Gemini glyph Gemini: May 21, 2023 - June 21, 2023

You could feel reenergized to meet your financial goals or build wealth as Mars enters Cancer. Your negotiation skills can be especially strong! The moon enters your sign, Gemini, encouraging you to connect with your feelings and focus on self care.

Cancer glyph Cancer: June 21, 2023 - July 22, 2023

Mars enters your sign today, Cancer, which can find you revitalized with energy, though taking it slow and making sure you’re well rested may be a priority as the moon enters Gemini. You could be making exciting moves soon, but do so after a good night’s sleep!

Leo glyph Leo: July 22, 2023 - August 23, 2023

Mars enters Cancer, which might find you feeling quite restless! Make time for journaling or meditation. Carve out extra space to rest and catch up on alone time. Find a new creative outlet. The moon enters Gemini, inspiring a busy atmosphere in your social life, too.

Virgo glyph Virgo: August 23, 2023 - September 23, 2023

Your social life could become quite busy as Mars enters Cancer! This is a very productive time for group efforts. The moon enters Gemini, which may find you receiving recognition or rewards for your talents!

Libra glyph Libra: September 23, 2023 - October 23, 2023

You may feel reenergized and ready to tackle big career goals as Mars enters Cancer. Great achievements can take place in the coming weeks! The moon enters Gemini, perhaps finding you planning your next trip.

Scorpio glyph Scorpio: October 23, 2023 - November 22, 2023

Your ruling planet Mars enters fellow water sign Cancer, which could find you embarking on an exciting journey. You may be making great strides in your education or with work that you want to publish. The moon enters Gemini, which can also find you getting your bills organized.

Sagittarius glyph Sagittarius: November 22, 2023 - December 21, 2023

You may be settling a debt, taking care of taxes, or dealing with other financial issues head-on over the coming weeks thanks to Mars entering Cancer. The moon enters Gemini, encouraging communication and collaboration.

Capricorn glyph Capricorn: December 21, 2023 - January 20, 2024

Mars enters your opposite sign Cancer, encouraging you and your partners (in love, business, or otherwise) to address issues head-on: This isn’t about being confrontational, but taking action and protecting what’s important to both of you. The moon enters Gemini, inspiring productivity, and finding you reorganizing your schedule.

Aquarius glyphs Aquarius: January 20, 2023 - February 18, 2023

Mars enters Cancer, which can find you feeling especially productive. You may be tackling projects that have been lingering on your to do list, and you might even start a new gig or routine. The moon enters Gemini, inspiring a playful, romantic atmosphere!

Pisces glyph Pisces:  February 18, 2023 - March 20, 2023

Mars enters fellow water sign Cancer, revving up the romance and creativity sector of your chart! This is an exciting time to connect with lovers. You could make great progress with a creative project during this period, too. The moon enters Gemini, bringing your focus to home and family.

Categories: Tech News

West Elm’s Warehouse Sale Means 60% Off Mid-Century Modern Decor and More

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 13:46

Can’t afford a Tesla? No worries, comrade. We, too, aren’t yet in “self-driving car” territory with our personal wealth management, but we are all about finding affordable ways to look upgraded. And today, we’re talkin’ about shopping the West Elm Warehouse Sale with tons of furniture and home goods at markdowns of up to 60% off. The sale features discounts across all categories on thousands of pieces, including living room furniture, dining chairs, bedroom furniture, bedding, planters, and decor. Skeptical that you won’t achieve the old money look? Maybe this coffee table that looks like a hunk of 14-karat gold—for over $100 off—will convince you. The sale is in its final weekend, so get your act together, browse, score, and thank us later. 

Perhaps you’re trying to radiate the vibes of a five-star hotel lobby, and we don’t blame you. To fill that void, we found the Cozy Swivel Chair with distressed velvet fabric for lounging and sipping a whiskey sour (or La Croix).

If you’re anti-swivel (we get it—you may have had enough spins over the weekend), the Viv Slipper Chair is another cushy choice, this time with sleek, sloping metal legs and a small-space-friendly design. 

Apartment living is tough, especially if you have roommates. Get some much-needed privacy with this foldable room divider. 

If these pieces aren’t hitting the spot for you, here is some more buried treasure that our staff has eyes on. 

In case it went in one ear out the other, this is the final weekend of West Elm’s 60% off Warehouse Sale. Cop it while it’s hot, matey. 

Shop the entire West Elm Warehouse Sale here.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

The Cops Suing Afroman Might Actually Have a Case

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 13:17

From an outsider’s perspective, it might look like Afroman is currently living every shit-talker’s worst nightmare: He’s getting sued for, among other things, being rude online. 

Last summer, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office raided the “Because I Got High” rapper’s Ohio home. After they failed to charge him with a crime, Afroman used footage captured by his home security camera to create a pair of music videos inspired by the whole thing. Now, as Motherboard reported, seven deputies have filed a complaint against him and his record company, alleging “emotional distress.”

Afroman’s Instagram is another point of contention, thanks to the unflattering side-by-side photos of deputies involved in the raid—comparing one to Quasimodo and another to a fucked-up looking picture of Sam Watterson.

Speaking to VICE, Afroman argued that he was the one who suffered distress. “What’s more embarrassing than people kicking down your door, accusing you of kidnapping, getting your shows canceled, stealing your money?” he said. “That’s embarrassing. I’m powerless. You can come through my kitchen with a gun, but I can’t crack a joke about you? You can act like you’re gonna kill me in front of my kids, but I can’t call you a comical name on my social media while I deal with the trauma you brought to my life? I did the most positive thing I thought I could do: I made lemonade with lemons… Or should I say I made lemon pound cake with lemons.” 

But a lawyer VICE spoke with said Afroman might have more to worry about than the rapper seems to think. Barry Chase, an entertainment lawyer and founding partner at the Miami-based firm Chase Lawyers, said the biggest potential point of concern would be the T-shirts. These shirts, still for sale on Afroman’s website, feature Shawn Cooley, a deputy caught on camera doing a double-take at a lemon pound cake on Afroman’s counter, alongside Family Guy’s Peter Griffin. 

“The greatest protection he’s got [through the First Amendment] is the musical selections, whether audio or audiovisual,” Chase told VICE. “And to the extent that he wants to hold up the T-shirt with the sheriff during a music video, I think he’s going to be protected doing that. To the extent he’s using it to hawk T-shirts… there’s less protection there.”

Afroman, for his part, doesn’t seem concerned. In fact, he said he still feels confident he’s on the right side of the fiasco. “I’m thinking they want to play victim before I do. I’ve been very public saying I’m going to sue them,” Afroman told VICE, meaning the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. When VICE reached out, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office declined to officially comment, and a representative clarified that the lawsuit was a personal matter for its deputies. 

We dug a little deeper with Chase into whether the cops suing Afroman have a leg to stand on, or whether the suit could just be another humiliating chapter in their whole saga.

VICE: What’s your first impression of this complaint? 
Barry Chase:
I looked at the complaint. They’re arguing that there are some torts, civil wrongs, which have happened here. I think there may be some validity to part of it, and I think some of it will get bounced. I should say here that I’m not an Ohio lawyer, but it’s a little weird in that it doesn’t cite or mention Ohio law or Ohio statute. 

Right, it mostly talks about publicity in general. Could you explain a little more about what that means?
Legal standards for some of these claims will differ state to state. There was no such thing as the right to personality in American law until an article in the Harvard Law Review, where I went by the way. A privacy right has grown over time into, among other things, the property right that a celebrity has in his or her image. 

In other words, you can’t slap a picture of Fred Astaire as your logo if you own a dance company. If the estate statute says that these property rights go on beyond death, then you can’t do it in that state. You can’t do it at all, because most things now are global on the internet. The right of publicity is most strongly applied where you have value—where that property right has value and where someone would want to use it to sell something. 

So you and I have much less of a celebrity property, right? Although the courts don’t often put it this way, the fact of the matter is that Arnold Schwarzenegger has a lot more value in his image than I do. So you can’t just appropriate his image and use it for commercial purposes. 

For sure. Does it matter how those images are used, though? 
Here’s where we get into what’s interesting to me about this case. Music is fully protected by the First Amendment, just as a book or a painting or a photograph or a video or a movie would be. Even leaving aside the videos that he’s got, music in general has very robust First Amendment protection as an art form. Courts aren’t allowed, theoretically, to get into what’s good art and what’s bad art. I think that these cops will have a very tough time getting damages because of whatever the musical selections have done. 

Now, I don’t know how close he got to using these people to hawk apparel—that’s a gray area. I say that because of a famous case that involved the Three Stooges. In California, an entrepreneur stuck an old photo of the Three Stooges on a T-shirt and wanted to sell thousands of them. That wouldn’t pass as art, said the court. On the other hand, there was one single painting, a very expensive painting, by a sports illustrator. I think he called it ‘Legends of the Masters’ or something like that. And Tiger Woods sued because his photo, along with a lot of other old great golfers, was used surrounding a picture of one of the famous holes on the golf course on which the Masters played typically in April. 

Woods lost, partly because his image was transformed. So transformative use becomes important. It’s a sticky line between art and commercial use—but if you want to put something on thousands of T-shirts, it’s going to be considered commercial use. If you’re going to put it on one musical track, it’s likely not to be—even though the musical track is going to be duplicated, and downloaded thousands of times. 

But the factor that the courts really care the most about is are you invading a potential market that could be taken advantage of by the person or the work that is being distributed? Now, these cops don’t have a market for their images. 

What about the privacy issues beyond publicity? 
They’ve raised them—they’ve raised the right of privacy in terms of false light, defamation. They say they’ve had death threats. Maybe so, but if I were a court, I’d say, ‘Well, that’s not unusual for a cop.’ First of all, are they true threats, as the law calls them? In that it’s somebody who’s local, somebody that we can investigate and see whether they’ve ever caused any violent acts in the past, etc, etc. Those are true threats. If it’s somebody from California threatening you and you’re in Ohio—no, probably not. So I don’t know how well they’ll do with those. 

They won’t get anywhere asking for damages from the use of the videos of them. After all, it was taken in a location that a man owns normally. If you don’t have a warrant, you have to get his permission to enter and certainly to film on his property. This was done with his filming equipment. So I don’t think they’ve got a particularly good case against using the videos. 

What do you think of the Peter Griffin shirt?
I would say here that he’s probably on thin ice. They might prevail if he’s in the business of selling T-shirts with their image on them. There is one defense where he may get away with even this, and that is the parody defense. If you are commenting on the thing that you are ripping off from someone, you can do that. It is one of the things that’s protected by the First Amendment, because satire or parody is a powerful way of communicating, say the court—and it’s true. Here, he’s used Peter Griffin—without, I’m sure, the permission of Seth MacFarlane, so that normally would be a copyright violation. But he may get away with using Peter Griffin, and he may get away with using the sheriff, because it is parody, it is satire, and it’s criticism. 

Criticism of law enforcement is certainly protected by the First Amendment. There are a lot of recent cases, for example, where the cops tried to arrest someone who was videoing an arrest that took place right in front of her front lawn. The cops arrested her for interfering with police proceedings, and of course, the police lost. Citizens have a right to observe, and if it’s in public, to record what the police are doing, to or for us. 

How much is Peter Griffin, that character, known for his gluttony particularly? Are there a lot of episodes where he’s shoving stuff in his mouth manically? 

I haven’t watched that much Family Guy but I feel like that’s not the point of his whole character, no.
I’ve seen a lot of scenes where they’re sitting at the table with… I forgot his wife’s name… Lois, with the weird kids they’ve got and the daughter is the only normal person and she’s the one that no one likes. But I don’t remember that he was shoving like, you know, 10 eggs into his mouth. So I don’t know if that will protect him. It would protect him more if Peter Griffin were known for his gluttony. Because that’s what he’s suggesting in that T-shirt: That it was a guy who was in the middle of performing his duties, casting longing looks at the lemon pound cake. 

When I talked to Afroman, he told me he’d only sold around 50 of these shirts. Does that make a difference in terms of making them “commercial” versus “art”?
It really shouldn’t, in the law, make a difference. In other words, art should not become non-art simply because it is successful commercially. But that seems to be how the law has set things up. With that Three Stooges thing, for example, as opposed to the Tiger Woods case, as opposed to times where celebrity images are used satirically to sell products. If it’s a one-off painting, you get the most protection you can get, because that’s an artwork. If it’s put on something which is meant to be reproduced ad infinitum, like that T-shirt, there’s less protection. So the fact that he hasn’t sold many doesn’t matter—50 is probably enough to take it out of “art.” But it’s not enough to take it out of the parody exception. 

Does it make a difference that most of these photos are all screengrabs that Afroman got from the security footage of the raid?
Yeah. He owns those, by the way. Yeah, let me go through that. Because I mean, this, this is a many-splendored issue. This is a great case you sunk your teeth into. Keep in mind that this is Ohio law, which may be strange in some ways, but I would say he owns those images because it’s his camera equipment, right? And it says, to the extent anyone owns the copyright, in this image of the deputy, Afroman owns it. You can argue he’s got the copyright, even though he wasn’t holding the camera at the time. Can you show me another one of the Instagrams?

Sure. Here’s one of his Instagram posts with a different deputy.
This is Quasimodo, right? Yeah. I would have a similar analysis here. I think he is criticizing the activities of the cops—wow, this guy’s got an automatic rifle, doesn’t he?

Yeah—I think that’s part of the whole thing for Afroman, how aggressive the deputies were when they came to search his property. 
I understand his position. So, the fact that he’s associated this guy with Quasimodo helps. Because again, that’s satire, that’s parody. That’s, that’s criticism of something, and it’s criticism of a very public interest process—these are the cops, we depend on these people. So you’re allowed to criticize them. Just to give you an idea of the hierarchy, the First Amendment protection is most robust in the political sphere. It is less robust as you go down into ordinary speech, and probably the least robust for a commercial speech. So this year, I think the Quasimodo thing really helps them. 

What do you make of the way IP and art and privacy are kind of clashing in this case? 
There’s a lot of good talk in these cases about how our protection of intellectual property is not without cost, and the cost sometimes is privacy rights. There are costs to First Amendment protection and certainly hurt feelings. I often get inquiries about you know, “This mentally disturbed me, I’m facing ridicule from my relatives.” Well, that’s the way it is. Particularly, that’s the way it is if you have volunteered to become a public persona—and the [deputy] consented by either his position or his participation in this particular raid.

Categories: Tech News

Low on Funds, Big on Interior Design Swag? Update Your Knobs and Pulls

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 12:58

For most people, living in Landlord Special™ apartments is a rite of passage, and a test of patience. Many of the “improvements” that your ‘lord did before you (a humble renter) moved in simply cannot be undone; the dishwasher (if you have one) has been installed at an angle that defies physics, the transom window rattles, and you can’t open the oven all the way, but life goes on. There’s hope, though, because the key to your happiness as a renter is about investing in home improvement tweaks that can make a big difference.

These days, there are plenty of renter-friendly upgrades you can make to your home that will make you feel less like you’re squatting in 285 Kent a DIY showspace, and more like the star of an Architectural Digest home video tour; you can swap out that overhead boob light for a Noguchi-inspired lamp, and put down some temporary linoleum checkered tiles in the kitchen; you can 86 those beige switchplate covers for something with more personality, and upgrade those boring knobs and pulls with hardware that will make your guests think, “Wow, they must travel the world, have great sex, and read lots of books.”

You shouldn’t have to spend another moment of your precious time surrounded by drawer knobs and cabinet pulls that look like they belong in the restroom of an H&R Block (also, don’t forget to do those taxes), which is why we found you the best knobs and pulls your money can buy, from mid-century modern hardware to fruit- and veg-shaped knobs that bring a little color to your kitchen.

Dig out your screwdrivers from the junk drawer, and let’s go.

You’re here for the classics

Rejuvenation’s knobs and pulls will stand the test of time, because they’re made with high-quality materials and take inspiration from timeless designs. Cop these best-selling, solid brass balls while they’re on sale.

New to Schoolhouse? The lighting and lifestyle goods company is dedicated to the preservation of American manufacturing, and offers an abundance of gorgeous pulls and knobs. The Parker Pull—named after the one and only Charlie Parker—is our pick for the attention to detail in its design, from the satin finish to the optional backplate.

You’re into mid-century modern design

Knurled drawer pulls?? Another sick thing about updating your home hardware is that you get to unlock new, potent design terms (knurled = textured with small ridges). We’ve written an entire VICE editors’ gude to shopping at West Elm, and these matte black pulls definitely make the cut as one of its best hardware offerings for people who like MCM design and A24 movies.

If you love MCM design and you’re looking to splurge, has some stunning wood pulls by Manzoni that would make even Don Draper go weak in the knees.

You’re plant-based

Life is too short to have a sad, unappetizing kitchen aesthetic. Bring a pop of color and personality into your home with hardware that pays homage to our favorite fruits and vegetables. Garnish with one of those sensory fruit videos, and voilà.

Lend yourself hand

What, you thought knobs were just for pulling? You could trick-out your janky Craigslist dresser with hand-shaped pulls, but you could also place a single hand against a wall to carry your work bag, jump rope, or KN95s.

You’re into crystals

We know, we know. You have enough crystals, but that’s because they rock; just imagine how sexy these malachite pulls would look in your restroom? We’re entranced by the sorcery of the swirl. Next up: This labradorite one, which is definitely the doorknob version of Mother (Cate Blanchett).

You’re here for Gaudi time

We don’t collectively reminisce enough about how important the Iron Age was for home decor inspiration. Case in point: this antique-finished iron drawer pull, which is half Enyacore, half Antoni Gaudi, and full design swag thanks to its antique finish and arabesque shape. Tell all of your visitors that it was submerged in a lake of historical importance for thousands of years, and unearthed just for you.

Mix and match

If you grew up wanting to live in Howl’s Moving Castle and listening to Fleetwood Mac, we suggest mixing and matching your pulls. This eclectic ceramic set is super affordable, and has earned a 4.7-star average rating from over 3,100 reviews on Amazon. As one fan writes, “They’re easy to assemble, and don’t require any tools.”

Check yourself

A regular wood dresser with regular wood drawer pulls? Forgettable. A regular wood dresser that has been upgraded with checkered square knobs? Even Xzibit would swoon.

Amber is the color of [your knobs]

There’s just something about amber that instantly makes a space more relaxing and inviting, whether the color is beaming through our sunset lamps or reflecting off of our glass knobs.

You’re shrooming as you read this

… Congrats, shroom mage. You’ve made it far. Urban Outfitters would like to reward you with this coy little shroom knob, which will pull 1) drawers and 2) cottagecore cuties.

Go for something vintage

If you want something utterly unique and owned by no one else (are you OK?? Or maybe just a Pisces), we suggest peeping the pages of 1stDibs, Etsy, and eBay for one-of-a-kind pulls and knobs. We can picture these organic green knobs in a minimalist wabi-sabi kitchen with an amorphous wood table.

Here’s to home decor that pulls its weight.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Barred from US tech, Huawei claims to have built its own 14nm chip design suite

The Register - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 12:55
Beijing's Made in China drive fueled by Washington's export crackdowns

Huawei has reportedly completed work on electronic design automation (EDA) tools for laying out and making chips down to 14nm process nodes.…

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft wins battle with Sony as UK reverses finding on Activision merger

ARS Technica - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 12:37
Promotional image of a PlayStation 5 game console and controller.

Enlarge / Sony's PlayStation 5. (credit: Sony)

UK regulators reviewing Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard reversed their stance on a key question today, saying they no longer believe Microsoft would remove the Call of Duty franchise from Sony's PlayStation consoles.

Last month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) tentatively concluded that a combined Microsoft/Activision Blizzard would harm competition in console gaming. At the time, the CMA said evidence showed that "Microsoft would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision's games exclusive to its own consoles (or only available on PlayStation under materially worse conditions)." The agency also raised concerns about the merger affecting rivals in cloud gaming.

The preliminary finding was a victory for Sony, which has consistently expressed doubts about Microsoft's promise to keep putting Call of Duty games on PlayStation. But Microsoft argued that the CMA's financial model was flawed and was able to convince the agency to reverse its conclusion. In an announcement today, the CMA said it "received a significant amount of new evidence."

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Categories: Tech News

ChatGPT gets “eyes and ears” with plugins that can interface AI with the world

ARS Technica - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 12:29
An illustration of an eyeball

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

On Thursday, OpenAI announced a plugin system for its ChatGPT AI assistant. The plugins give ChatGPT the ability to interact with the wider world through the Internet, including booking flights, ordering groceries, browsing the web, and more. Plugins are bits of code that tell ChatGPT how to use an external resource on the Internet.

Basically, if a developer wants to give ChatGPT the ability to access any network service (for example: "looking up current stock prices") or perform any task controlled by a network service (for example: "ordering pizza through the Internet"), it is now possible, provided it doesn't go against OpenAI's rules.

Conventionally, most large language models (LLM) like ChatGPT have been constrained in a bubble, so to speak, only able to interact with the world through text conversations with a user. As OpenAI writes in its introductory blog post on ChatGPT plugins, "The only thing language models can do out-of-the-box is emit text."

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Categories: Tech News

CISA unleashes Untitled Goose Tool to honk at danger in Microsoft's cloud

The Register - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 12:16
Not a headline we expected to write today

American cybersecurity officials have released an early-warning system to protect Microsoft cloud users.…

Categories: Tech News