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2023-03-27 19:08:17| Engadget

Add Binance to the list of crypto heavyweights facing serious legal trouble. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged Binance, founder Changpeng Zhao and former compliance chief Samuel Lim with allegedly violating both the agency's regulations and the Commodity Exchange Act. The company supposedly offered unregistered crypto derivatives, didn't ask users for mandatory identity verification, structured itself to avoid US regulation and even told customers how to dodge its own compliance system for US-based customers.Zhao directed much of the rulebreaking himself, the CFTC claims, and there are reportedly chats and emails as evidence. Lim, who left Binance in 2022, is accused of knowingly aiding in the scheme. Among other things, he purportedly encouraged American users to mask trades through a VPN and even create new accounts through shell companies. The activity indicates that Binance's compliance mechanisms "have been a sham," CFTC chief counsel Gretchen Lowe says.The Commission hopes to permanently ban Binance's registration and trading. It also hopes to levy fines and make the firm disgorge its gains. There's no estimated financial penalty.We've asked Binance for comment and will let you know if we hear back. The company has historically defended itself against accusations. Zhao's brand is also facing a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation over its BNB token, and a long-running probe has looked into possible insider trading. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently sent Zhao a letter accusing him of creating a "hotbed of illegal financial activity" that enables crooks and sanction-dodgers.The charges come in the wake of multiple scandals rocking the crypto industry. The fraud charges levelled against FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried are the most notable examples, but there are also allegations and investigations targeting Celsius' former CEO, Coinbase and Terraform Labs, among others. Binance is the largest crypto exchange left, and a US ban could significantly affect the industry as customers are forced to move to smaller outfits.The CFTC is also staking out territory with this move. Both it and the SEC have argued that they should regulate crypto in the absence of laws outlining their roles. With these charges, the CFTC is signalling that it wants to be the de facto regulator for crypto trading. House and Senate members may limit the Commission's authority if they pass legislation, but the agency clearly isn't willing to wait before cracking down.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/crypto-giant-binance-charged-with-violating-us-trading-and-derivatives-laws-170817954.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 18:29:49| Engadget

Microsoft is overhauling Teams to make it faster and easier to use. In a blog post published Monday, the company said Teams users can look forward to a redesigned app that is up to two times faster than the current release, with tasks like launching the program and joining video calls taking half as much time. The overhauled app also offers smoother scrolling while avoiding the use of placeholder assets. At the same time, Microsoft says the new Teams uses 50 percent less memory.Separately, the company has redesigned the interface to reduce the number of clicks it takes to do things like manage your notifications, search for information and organize channels. It has also added more robust authentication, synchronization and notification systems to make jumping between different accounts and tenants easier.Naturally, the new Teams will support AI features, starting with the intelligent recap and Copilot ones Microsoft announced earlier this year, and with more to come in the future. We will use AI to take the work out of working together by getting you up to speed on what happened before you joined a meeting or chat and answering your questions all in the flow of the discussion, the company said. Were only just beginning to see the potential of AI inside of Teams, and we will have lots more to share in the future. Not mentioned in Microsoft's blog post are the 3D avatars the company has been testing for more than a year. The company recently said it anticipates those will become publicly available sometime in May, so expect them to be part of the new Teams experience too. A public preview of the new Teams is rolling out on Windows today, with general availability to follow sometime later this year. A Mac preview should arrive before the end of 2023 as well. If your organization uses Teams, your IT department will need to enroll you in the preview before you can try out the new experience. Notably, the redesigned app will ship with a toggle at the top that will allow you to switch between the two versions of Teams. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsofts-redesigned-teams-app-is-faster-and-less-of-a-memory-hog-162949623.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 16:52:43| Engadget

You don't have to settle for trailers if you're curious to know how The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will play. Nintendo and series producer Eiji Aonuma will showcase 10 minutes of Tears gameplay in a live premiere on the company's YouTube channel. It's not clear just what you'll see, but it's safe to presume the demo will feature new mechanics and steer clear of major plot spoilers.The new title shares the open-world experience that made Breath of the Wild a hit when the Switch launched, but adds both a new environment (the floating islands above Hyrule) and an abundance of new ways to traverse the landscape. You can fly on a giant hoverboard, cross the ground in a motorized chariot and even grind rails. While Nintendo hasn't revealed everything there is to know about Tears of the Kingdom, we'd expect numerous other gameplay tweaks.Join The Legend of #Zelda series producer, Eiji Aonuma, for roughly 10 minutes of gameplay from The Legend of Zelda: #TearsOfTheKingdom on 3/28 at 7:00 a.m. PT on our YouTube channel. https://t.co/uMUCfVjFQLpic.twitter.com/y49N4jRUTz Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 27, 2023The sequel will debut on May 12th, with pre-orders available now. There's a lot riding on Tears. Its predecessor was the Switch's stand-out launch title, and arguably helped Nintendo's system become one of the best-selling consoles of all time. This new game is arriving six years later with lofty expectations and a much larger potential fan base.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nintendo-will-show-10-minutes-of-legend-of-zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-gameplay-tomorrow-145243370.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 16:00:52| Engadget

The Nintendo eShop for the Wii U and 3DS game consoles officially closed for business on March 27th, 2023, permanently disabling all new purchases on the platforms. We knew this was coming. Nintendo quietly announced the eShop's closure over a year ago, asserting that it was the "natural life cycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time." That's true. It's even a reasonable business justification. That doesn't make it any less of a loss for Nintendo fans, because legally playing some of these consoles best games is now not only harder, but in some cases, nearly impossible.The time to argue that Nintendo should keep this aging digital storefront open has long since passed (though yes, they should have). The eShop is closed, but it's worth reflecting on what consumers are losing with it: one of the last affordable, convenient and legal options for buying a vast library of games. And not just Nintendo's retro library of "Virtual Console" titles from its classic era, either. Between the 3DS and Wii U eShop's closure, consumers have lost easy access to modern and classic games from a dozen platforms from more recent systems like the Wii U and 3DS, to the original Wii, the DS and DSi, three flavors of Game Boy handhelds (Advance, Color and original), the Sega Game Gear, the TurboGraphix-16, as well as the Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo and original Nintendo Entertainment System. Losing these libraries now is especially painful, as it's becoming harder than ever to find and play older games.It used to be easy. Unless you were looking for something rare, building a modest library of classic and recent games was fun and affordable. Recently, that changed. Prices for used games shot up dramatically since March of 2020 a 2021 analysis from Pricecharting.com found that retro game prices shot up 33% in just a year and prices have remained high. To make matters worse, the retro market has also been flooded with bootleg cartridges, which often aren't properly labeled as reproductions.Digital storefronts like the Nintendo eShop offered an affordable alternative. Let's say you wanted to play Metroid Prime, for example. You could pick up Metroid Prime Remastered on the Nintendo Switch for $40 and enjoy the updated visuals and new features, but if you wanted to play the other two games in the series, you'd have to find a copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii. According to PriceCharting.com, that'll set you back between $80 and $90 $117 if you want it in the original case. The Wii U eShop, on the other hand, sold a digital copy for just $19.99.There are countless similar examples. Game & Wario sells for between $30 and $80 on eBay, but it could have been had for $30 on the eShop. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, which still hasn't been ported to the Switch, goes for between $30 and $100 used but the eShop let you play it for just $20. If you are itching to play the 3DS versions of Dragon Quest VII and VIII, you'd have to pay in the ballpark of $100 each on the secondhand market, but the 3DS eShop sold them for $49.99, their original retail price.The eShop was also home to a lot of exclusives we may never see again, like Pushmo, Attack of the Friday Monsters, Dr. Luigi and more. All gone, now that consumers no longer have convenient, legal access to the eShops library. In the past, Nintendo has pointed to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription as the future home for classic games, but the service's current offerings are a paltry sampling of was available before. Not only is this solution limited, and only available if youre subscribed to a service, but it offers only a modest selection of nostalgic classics, without the depth of the eShops back catalog of retail games. Players looking for affordable ways to play hard to find Wii, Wii U and 3DS games are now just out of luck.Not that accessing those games was remotely easy. The Wii U and 3DS digital libraries (not to mention Sonys counterparts for the PS3 and PS Vita) may be vast archives containing multiple generations of playable gaming history, but each of these storefronts is chained to an aging platform. As Nintendo Fans dusted off their old consoles before the eShops closure, some found that their Wii U consoles were suffering from memory corruption, potentially the fallout of having sat unused for so long. Even accessing these stores on a healthy device presented a fair share of hurdles: all of these platforms have disabled native payment options, forcing users to add funds through other consoles, web portals or by redeeming retail points cards.You want proof that Nintendo's not going to take responsibility for keeping games in print? This is the NOW DELETED question and answer from their own FAQ. The answer to whether it's their obligation to keep games available is "we sell some old stuff on Switch so it's fine." pic.twitter.com/x2sB7evtIx Frank Cifaldi (GDC).nes (@frankcifaldi) February 16, 2022Its a frustrating situation, because historically, Nintendo has taken a strong stance against piracy. Now, it's leaving its fans with fewer options than ever. In a now deleted section of a FAQ about the eShops closure, Nintendo dodged its own question about having an obligation to preserve its back catalog stating that it has no plans to offer classic content apart from the previously mentioned Nintendo Switch Online subscription service.In lieu of Nintendos discarded obligation, independent games preservationists have taken up the task. Jirard Khalil, creator of The Completionist on YouTube, recently bought every piece of content on the 3DS and Wii U eShops. The effort cost $22,791 and took almost a year to complete, due to wallet limits, interface frustrations and the limited storage capacity of the consoles themselves. Hes donating the completed archive of 866 Wii U games and 1,547 3DS games, plus all relevant DLC, to the Video Game History Foundation. Thats a noble endeavor, but that doesnt help the average consumer that wants to play these games. As VGHF co-founder Kelsey Lewin recently told Ars Technica, even if these games were made available from a preservation entity like VGHF, the only way one could legally play one of them would be to physically visit the library themselves and sign a consent form to play it on-site.Thanks to the work of games preservationists and the emulation community, almost no game is truly out of reach if someone wants to play it, so long as youre comfortable exploring the hobby pirate scene. But there's still a big market for those of us who want legal, convenient access to older games. It's why the NES and SNES Classic both sold so well. It's why Sony reversed course on closing the PlayStation 3 and Vita stores in 2021. And its why the closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShops is such a loss for keeping video game history accessible to consumers.We cant rely on the commercial games industry to preserve its own history. Publishers have proven to us time and time again that these fleeting windows into nostalgia will be closed when they are no longer profitable. Publically mourning the loss of Nintendos digital stores, and fearing the eventual end of PlayStation Store support for the PS3 and Vita, wont likely stop these companies closing them in favor of streaming, subscription services and other, newer trends. Still, I hope one day these companies will realize that while their back catalogs may not be the most lucrative part of their business, they still hold a lot of value for many fans. And well happily pay to access them if you let us.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nintendos-eshop-closures-are-putting-generations-of-games-out-of-reach-140052823.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 15:30:18| Engadget

You didn't have to wait long for Samsung's latest phones to receive steep discounts. Amazon is running a sale on the Galaxy S23 series that brings the flagship devices to record-low prices. Most notably, the Galaxy S23 Ultra with 512GB of storage and 12GB of RAM is down to $1,200 (normally $1,380). You can roll the savings into wireless earbuds, a case and other accessories.You're still poised to save money if the Ultra is more than you need. The Galaxy S23+ 512GB is on sale for $1,000 (normally $1,200), while the standard S23 with 256GB is available for $800 (usually $860). You don't have to skimp on capacity just to get one of the more affordable models.The Galaxy S23 Ultra is our favorite Android phone, and for good reason. While it's an iterative upgrade to last year's model, it delivers improvements where they matter most: better cameras, longer battery life and faster performance. So long as you're okay with a large screen, this is a versatile device that can handle just about any situation.Not that the other models are slouches. We liked the Galaxy S23+ for its exceptionally long battery life, vivid display and speedy chip, and the base model won't be far behind. While the low-light photography isn't quite as strong as with other high-end phones, this is a straightforward pick if you're either upgrading from an earlier Samsung phone or want more power than the Pixel 7 line can deliver.Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsung-galaxy-s23-phones-drop-to-record-low-prices-at-amazon-133018495.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 15:15:33| Engadget

The Nintendo Switch OLED is a big improvement over the original, due in particular to the 7-inch OLED display that's larger and brighter than the original model. It's also $50 more than its predecessor, but a sale (today only) helps negate some of that. Woot is selling the Switch OLED for just $320, a savings of $30 over the regular price, and the best deal we've seen to date. The Switch OLED scored a solid 89 in our review and various Switch models have featured in our latest console buyer's guide. The compact size makes it the perfect travel companion, and the more efficient OLED screen delivers up to seven hours of battery life on Metroid Dread significantly more than the OG Switch. At the same time, the screen is noticeably brighter while delivering more vibrant colors and deeper blacks. It comes with the same CPU and GPU to ensure compatibility with all your Switch titles. However there are improvements in the stand, welcome tweaks to the buttons and a new textured plastic material that makes it nicer to hold. The only drawbacks are a bit of extra weight and the higher price, but the latter is offset significantly by the savings. If you're interested, act quickly the deal is only good for today or until all stock is gone. Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-nintendo-switch-oled-is-30-off-right-now-131533906.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 15:00:53| Engadget

If you pay attention to the music industry, youve probably heard about spatial audio. The promise is that music will envelop the user from all directions without needing a room full of speakers to achieve the effect. Apple has pushed it a lot in the last few years, in Apple Music, its line of AirPods headphones and the latest HomePod speaker. Amazons streaming service also offers spatial audio, and its Echo Studio speaker can play back compatible tracks.Sonos has been paying attention, as well its recent Arc and Beam soundbars support Dolby Atmos for movies, and now the company is releasing its first music speaker designed for spatial audio, the Era 300. This beast is large and has an unusual shape to accommodate all the drivers needed for achieving these room-filling effects. At $450, youd expect this speaker to sound excellent, regardless of whether its playing back spatial audio or not, but support for this new format is what sets it apart from other speakers. As such, the big question on my mind is whether this feature is a game changer, a gimmick, or somewhere in between?Photo by Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetDesignTheres nothing in the Sonos lineup to compare the Era 300 to. From a size and weight perspective, its a large speaker, similar to the Sonos Five, but its unusual shape immediately sets it apart. Seen from the front its oval reminds me of a race track, but any other angle reveals a distinctive footprint. If you look at it from the top, its thinner near the middle than it is on the ends; the best way I can describe it is a knocked-over hourglass.This is to accommodate the complex driver array inside the Era 300. Theres one tweeter pushing out from dead center, and two more sending audio out the left and right sides. Finally, theres a fourth tweeter inside a directional horn pointed upwards; Sonos says that its at a specific angle optimized for spatial audio. Two woofers, again on either side of the speaker, complete the array.The Era 300 reminds me of most other recent Sonos products. It is well-built, exceedingly sturdy and generally feels like a product that justifies its high price tag. That said, its physical appearance is definitely more unusual than the companys other speakers. I recognize that its functional, but the combo of its size and strange tapering make it stand out more than you might like.Photo by Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetA lot of new features and changes in the Era 100 are also found in the Era 300. This includes a redesigned set of touch controls on the top panel, a USB-C port for line-in and ethernet (provided you shell out for the optional adapters), a Bluetooth toggle and a switch to physically disconnect the microphone on the back. For more on these features, Ill point you to the relevant section of my Era 100 review. Most everything I said there applies. That said, for $450, its a little disappointing that Sonos requires an adapter for line in or Ethernet. The $550 Sonos Five has both of those built right in. Im sure the company has the data showing that a small percentage of owners use those features, so Im glad they havent been removed completely, but it would definitely be nice if they didnt require an adapter.SetupSetting up the Era 300 is pretty simple, even if you dont already have a Sonos system. Youll need to download the Sonos app to your phone and set up an account; from there, the app will look and see if there are any speakers to add. Youll also need to log in to your audio services of choice if you want to try spatial audio, youll need either Apple Music or Amazon Music Unlimited. You can search for and play music through the Sonos app, but there are also a bunch of options if youd rather stick with the music apps youre used to. You can use AirPlay 2 to shoot audio from Apple Music and other services on the iPhone directly to the Era 300, or use Spotify Connect without needing to go through the Sonos app. That said, its worth noting that if you want to play back tracks in spatial audio, youre required to use the Sonos app.There are a few optional but useful things you can do while youre setting up the Era 300. The first is Trueplay, a feature that tunes your speakers output based upon where its placed in your room. Trueplay has been around since 2015, but in the past it required you to have an iPhone. Youd have to walk around your room slowly raising and lowering the phone while the speaker played a test tone. The Era 300, though, can use its built-in microphones to listen and optimize its output that process is much simpler and faster than the old technique, and Android users arent left out either.Ive been extremely happy with Trueplays results in the past, so Id recommend that everyone try this out. That said, I did find that the old, manual tuning process yielded slightly better results. So while I appreciate the ease of use in the new Trueplay system, Ill probably still walk around my room waving my phone but I wont judge you if you take the easier route.If you like using voice controls, you can also add a voice assistant to the Era 300. Amazons Alexa has been supported since the One launched back in 2017, and last year Sonos added its own music-focused assistant. Setting up the Sonos assistant is a little easier than Alexa, because you dont need to go linking your Amazon account, but both are pretty straightforward at this point. One thing to note: past Sonos speakers with microphones also worked with Google Assistant, but thats no longer the case. The Era 100 only works with Alexa and the Sonos assistant, likely due to the ongoing patent battles between Google and Sonos. I personally prefer Google Assistant over Alexa, so this is a bit of a bummer. But I also mostly just talk to my speaker to play music, so the Sonos option works well enough.Audio quality and the spatial experiencePutting aside the potential of spatial audio for a moment, the Era 300 sounds excellent as it should, given its price. It doesnt quite match the stunning detail and bass presence of the Sonos Five, which remains the most impressive audio-focused speaker Sonos sells. But for $100 less, youre getting a premium experience that far surpasses the Era 100 and other speakers like Apples HomePod. I was very impressed with the Era 100, but playing the speakers back side-by-side shows just how much better the Era 300 is at making each separate component of a song shine. Bass, vocals and instrumentation are all reproduced in excellent detail that smaller speakers simply cant match.But the real question with the Era 300 is the value of spatial audio does it really provide a new and worthwhile listening experience? For me, the answer is a big sometimes. Right now, I think that the trick of spatial audio, to a large extent, remains just that: a trick. I spent a lot of time bouncing between Atmos versions of songs on Apple Music and Amazon, comparing them to the standard versions on Spotify. I could always tell there was a difference, but I also didnt always feel that it was an improvement. Broadly speaking, spatial audio tracks did feel less like they were coming out of a single point in space. But a lot of times, the immediacy of the songs original mix was lost and the vocals felt drenched in reverb rather than being right up close.In some cases, especially when I listened to older albums that were remixed for spatial audio, the results were simply worse. The excellent guitarwork and vocals on the Alice in Chains classic Down in a Hole from 1992s Dirt sounded a million miles away. I had high hopes for the multi-layered doom rock of Rain When I Die, but again the mix felt mushy and poorly defined. Alice in Chains 1990 debut Facelift was also released in Atmos recently, and it sounds far better than Dirt, so its clear that older albums and spatial audio arent inherently incompatible. Pearl Jams 1991 debut Ten didnt sound bad, but there was still a lack of definition to too much of the mix. By contrast, the recently-released Atmos mix of 1998s Yield was an enjoyable listen, but Im not convinced its better than the original. For the record, this isnt a fault of the speaker, but rather a fault of these mixes I noticed the same issues when listening through Apples HomePod or AirPods Max.Photo by Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetNewer songs and albums that are likely recorded, produced, and mastered with spatial audio, in mind sounded better. The acoustic guitar and hushed vocals of Billie Eiishs Billie Bossa Nova felt wonderfully close, and the club beats of Dua Lipas Future Nostalgia were lively and impressive. In most cases, though, the mixes that sounded best to me were only slightly different than the originals, and I still often felt like the Atmos versions put too much reverb into the mix. This was particularly true on Carly Rae Jepsens latest album The Loneliest Time. Instrumentation sounded lush and vibrant, but the vocals lacked impact. In a best case scenario, with a single Era 300, the difference between the best spatial audio and standard mixes is often going to be fairly subtle.I will admit that when I simply put on a playlist of new songs (many of which were in spatial audio) and stopped thinking about it, I enjoyed myself a lot more. It helps that newly-released songs generally sound much better in Atmos than the remixes of older albums Ive come across. When I wasnt obsessively comparing the new mixes to old versions of songs I knew inside and out, it was easier to appreciate the Era 300 for the great-sounding speaker it is. But thats the case whether youre listening to an Atmos version of a song or the standard mix, so spatial audio shouldnt be the main reason to buy the Era 300.Like basically all Sonos speakers, you can pair two Era 300s together for stereo playback, though Im not sure stereo is the right word when were talking about spatial audio. The fact that you cant adjust the left / right balance between them kinda proves that point. Regardless of what you call it, two Era 300s provide an absolutely massive experience that does a better job of delivering on the promise of spatial audio. With two speakers, theres no real sweet spot; instead, music sounds consistently excellent regardless of where you are relative to the speakers. And if you want to get really wild, you can use a pair of Era 300s as rear speakers along with a Sonos Arc or second-gen Beam soundbar to get Dolby Atmos home theater playback. I dont have the right living room or soundbar setup to make this work, but I can say it was impressive in a demo Sonos gave the press last month. Of course, considering how much an Arc and two Era 300s costs, it had better be.Wrap-upThe Era 300 is in a slightly strange place in the Sonos portfolio. Its higher price means its not going to be as broadly appealing as the $250 Era 100. Its closer to the $550 Sonos Five, which is probably a superior speaker despite lacking spatial audio capabilities. But, for $100 less, the Era 300 still provides a premium audio experience and has a handful of improvements over the Five, including built-in microphones and automatic Trueplay tuning. For $500, you could also buy a pair of Era 100 speakers and run them in stereo those speakers sound great, and youll get excellent coverage with two of them working together.And, of course, theres the messy potential for spatial audio. After spending a lot of time listening to the Era 300, I dont think its a game-changer yet. In the best cases, it provides a different listening experience, but its not always better in fact, Ive been surprised at how often it has been worse. While lots of new music is being released in spatial audio, most older music is only available in good old stereo, so the catalog of songs available in the new format is comparatively small.Fortunately, the Era 300 is a great speaker, whether or not it is playing songs in Dolby Atmos. Its crisp, loud, detailed and has lively bass and when Ive stopped thinking about spatial audio, it has been a joy to listen to. Spatial audio is a potentially interesting feature, especially if more and more musicians and producers embrace it, but Id recommend that you not buy the Era 300 with only that in mind. Buy it if youre really interested in a premium speaker that does a great job filling a room with sound, whether its an Atmos mix or not.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sonos-era-300-review-a-big-bet-on-spatial-audio-130053487.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 15:00:07| Engadget

Of the two speakers Sonos announced earlier this month, the Era 100 is much easier to sum up: its a replacement for the Sonos One, which was first introduced in 2017. Unlike the Era 300, theres no need to ponder the value of spatial audio; the Era 100 is a relatively straightforward mono speaker, just like the One and the Play:1 before it. Dont let that simple description deceive you, though the $250 Era 100 is a complete redesign, inside and out, and the end result is a worthy upgrade and a very versatile speaker.DesignAt first glance, the Era 100 looks quite similar to the One, but upon further examination youll notice a number of small but meaningful changes. That starts with the vertically-oriented Sonos logo that youll find on most of their other speakers like the Roam and, naturally, the Era 300. The Era 100 is slightly taller and deeper than the One; its also slightly deeper than it is wide. But it should fit basically anywhere the older speaker did.Photo by Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetThe most significant external change is on top of the speaker. There, youll find a redesigned set of touch controls, including dedicated track forward and back buttons for the first time. Those surround the play / pause button instead of the volume controls that youll find on the One. Volume has been moved to a touch slider in the center of the touch panel. Tapping either side of it raises or lowers the volume, or you can slide your finger left and right. Using the slider takes a little practice, and its far too easy to go from silent to deafening, but theres no doubt its better for rapid adjustments than tapping a button repeatedly. Theres also a spot to mute the mic, just like on the One.There are also some major changes on the Era 100s back. Theres no more ethernet jack or setup button. Instead, theres a USB-C port you can use to plug in the $20 line-in adapter or the $40 combo line-in / ethernet adapter. On the one hand, its annoying to have to shell out extra cash for these adapters but this is the first time Sonos has offered line-in at all on a speaker in this price range, so its not a total bummer.Aside from the USB-C port, youll find another switch for muting the mic. Unlike the top button, which just mutes it with software, this physically disconnects the mic for additional privacy. Finally, theres a Bluetooth button that puts the speaker in pairing mode.As with most Sonos products, the company has done a good job here marrying clean, attractive design without compromising on functionality. Yes, the loss of the Ethernet jack will rankle a small number of users, but for the most part these changes are improvements. I wish that they just put a line-in right on the speaker instead of requiring a dongle, but Im more glad that the feature is here at all than I am annoyed at needing to buy an extra piece of plastic.Photo by Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetSetupGetting the Era 100 up and running is pretty simple, even if you dont already have a Sonos system. Youll need to download the Sonos app to your phone and set up an account; from there, the app will look and see if there are any speakers plugged in it can add. Youll also need to log in to your audio services of choice, but after that you should be good to go. Obviously you can search for and play music through the Sonos app, but there are also options if youd rather stick with the music apps youre used to, like AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect.There are a few optional but useful things you can do while youre setting up the Era 100, though. The first is Trueplay, a feature that tunes your speakers audio output based upon where its placed in your room. Trueplay has been around since 2015, but in the past it required you to have an iPhone. Youd have to walk around your room slowly raising and lowering the phone while the speaker played a test tone.The Era 100, though, can use its built-in microphones to listen and optimize its output that process is much simpler and faster than the old technique, and Android users arent left out either. Ive been extremely happy with Trueplays results in the past, so Id recommend that everyone try this out. That said, I did find that the old, manual tuning process yielded slightly better results.You can also add a voice assistant to the Era 100. Amazons Alexa has been supported since the One launched back in 2017, and last year Sonos added its own music-focused assistant. Setting up the Sonos assistant is a little easier than Alexa, because you dont need to link your Amazon account, but both are pretty straightforward at this point. Sadly, where past Sonos speakers supported Google Assistant the Era 100 does not. This is likely due to the ongoing patent battles between Google and Sonos. I personally prefer Google Assistant to Alexa, so this is a bit of a bummer.Photo by Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetAudio qualityWhile new features like easier Trueplay and new controls are important, what I really wanted to find out was how the Era 100 compares to the One it replaces. (Ive also been comparing it to Apples latest HomePod as well as the Era 300.) So far, Ive been extremely impressed. Its immediately obvious that the Era 100 is a notable upgrade over the One.First off, the Era 100 is loud. Surprisingly so its significntly louder than the One and the HomePod, and the Era 300 isnt that much louder. Even a single Era 100 should provide enough volume for just about any room in your house. If you have a large open floor plan, youll probably want a couple speakers to cover the space rather than cranking a single, relatively small speaker to its limit. But in the vast majority of use cases one Era 100 should be sufficient.Obviously, theres a lot more to good sound than just volume. The Era 100 has significantly improved bass performance when compared to the One, again exceeding what Id expect from a compact speaker. Bass-heavy tracks like Dua Lipas Levitating and Dragonettes T-shirt had a solid thump without being overwhelming, especially at higher volumes. It doesnt match the Era 300 or HomePod, both of which have more dynamic bass performance, but Sonos is getting a lot out of the Era 100.Photo by Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetWhile Im glad the bass has improved, Im more impressed with the speakers overall clarity. The two tweeters definitely help make higher frequencies more defined. The sound profile is crisper and more dynamic than that of the One. The nuance and sheen of California by Chvrches and Metrics Formentera came through wonderfully, while standard four-piece rock or metal like Metallicas self-titled classic and Tools AEnima sounded lively and powerful. I also checked out my go-to film and game scores from Lord of the Rings and The Last of Us, and the intricate compositions were full and well-balanced. The One now sounds somewhat muddy by comparison, with both the highs and lows less distinct. The Era 300 sounds clearer still, thanks to the many drivers it has on board, but the 100 again is doing a lot with its comparatively limited speaker array.If you have a larger space or just want increased volume and detail, I recommend getting two Era 100s and pairing them in stereo. While the Era 100 technically has left and right tweeters, the small size means theres no real stereo separation to speak of. Putting two of them together naturally yields a much wider soundstage and brings out lots of details that get erased when you squish a stereo mix down to one channel.A pair of Era 100s can also be used as rear surround speakers in a setup with one of Sonos soundbars. I didnt test this, as I dont have a great living room setup and I was more interested in the music performance, but its worth mentioning this feature. Sonos has long offered the option to use basically any of its music speakers as rear surrounds, and Im glad theyve continued with that here.The Era 100 (and 300) are the first non-portable speakers that include Bluetooth connectivity. Its exceedingly simple: just hold the Bluetooth button on the back of the speaker to put it in pairing mode and it should show up for your phone or other device to connect to it. I had no reason to use Bluetooth, but the fast setup and pairing process could be useful if you have a friend who quickly wants to play a tune over your speaker, for example. Its not essential, but having more options never hurts.Wrap-upSonos made a lot of smart decisions with the Era 100. The improvements it offers over the One are immediately obvious, both in sound quality and new features like line-in, Bluetooth and easier Trueplay setup. I dont think Sonos One owners should necessarily run out and replace their speakers, but Sonos is now offering a better product at a $30 price increase, one that I think is justified for what you get.Of course, Sonos makes things a little complicated because there are two generations of the One; theyre identical in terms of audio components, but the gen 2 model has more memory and a faster processor. If you have the One from 2017 or 2018, replacing it with an Era 100 will provide better sound and more future-proof internals.The Era 100 isnt the most exciting speaker Ive listened to I still have fond memories of being blown away by the Sonos Play:5 (now just called the Five) in 2015, and the Era 300 is also a delight. But when you take into consideration what most people will need from a speaker, the Era 100 provides impressive performance at a reasonable price.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sonos-era-100-review-affordable-multi-room-audio-that-actually-sounds-good-130007717.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 13:15:45| Engadget

According to a New York Times report, parts of Twitters source code were leaked online. Court filings published Friday reveal Twitter claimed copyright infringement to have the code taken down from Github as soon as possible. The code was removed the same day, but theres no report on how long it was online for or the leak's scope or depth. The Twitter executive who spoke with the NYT said the company's primary concern was that the source code could be used in future hacking efforts.Twitter executives suspect it's the work of a former employee who left "within the last year." That might not narrow down the hunt for the leak. Since Elon Musk purchased Twitter last October, the company has shed roughy 80 percent of its staff. Mat SmithThe Morning After isnt just a newsletter its also a daily podcast. Get our daily audio briefings, Monday through Friday, by subscribing right here.The biggest stories you might have missedEU agrees to allow sales of e-fuel internal combustion engine cars past 2035 Diablo IV beta preview: More polished and even more satisfying Hitting the Books: How the Godfather of Cybercrime got his start on eBay Sennheisers Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are cheaper than ever Elon Musk reportedly values Twitter at $20 billionThe billionaire bought the company last year for $44 billion.In timely fashion, Twitter owner Elon Musk says he valued Twitter at about $20 billion, according to an email seen by The Information and The New York Times. (Although this was before the reports of the source code leak.) Musk shared the valuation, a significant drop from the $44 billion he paid to buy the company last fall, in a memo he sent to Twitter employees on Friday announcing a new stock compensation program.Continue reading.It's your last chance to buy from Nintendos Wii U and 3DS eShopsYou'll still be able to download games you've already purchased.It's the end of an era: Nintendo is shutting down its Wii U and 3DS eShops today at 5 PM PT (8 PM ET). After that, you'll no longer be able to purchase new games for those consoles, but you'll still be able to redownload titles you've already purchased. Some games will disappear forever, with 450 digital-only Wii U games, 600 digital-only 3DS games and 530 virtual console titles gone (at least from official channels), according to Video Games Chronicles estimates.Continue reading.Netflix strikes last-minute deal for Arrested Development streaming rightsItll leave when its good and ready.FoxAll five seasons of Arrested Development, including the two financed by Netflix, were set to leave the service on March 15th. However, the series is now staying put, thanks to a licensing agreement the company reached with Disney-owned 20th-Century Fox, the shows original rights holder. According to Vulture, the new deal gives Netflix exclusive streaming rights to the series. As a result, the shows first three seasons will not be available to watch on Hulu as of later this year. Notably, the deal reportedly gave Disney the option to sell the linear TV rights for all five seasons.Continue reading.Intel co-founder Gordon Moore has passed awayMoore famously predicted the miniaturization of computers in 1965.Gordon Moore, co-founder and former CEO of Intel, has passed away at 94. He was the last surviving member of the Intel Trinity, which also included his fellow founder, Robert Noyce, and their first hire, Andy Grove. In 1965, Moore wrote a paper that envisioned the miniaturization of computers, introducing the world to his prediction dubbed Moore's Law.He predicted the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year, leading to the creation and production of smaller and more powerful chips that would, in turn, enable advancements in technology. By 1975, he adjusted his estimate for the doubling of transistors to every two years, though top chipmakers disagree on whether Moore's Law still holds.Continue reading.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-twitter-source-code-may-have-leaked-online-111545469.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-27 11:11:00| Engadget

If you've been waiting to purchase Microsoft 365 Family, now might be the right time. Amazon is offering a 12-month subscription for $100, down from $150  plus a $50 Amazon gift card. Basically, you save $50 and get another $50 in spending money, not so bad. Your purchase includes all the usual Microsoft programs Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook etc.  and 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage for easy sharing of photos and files across your devices.Microsoft 365 is available to download immediately for up to six family members on PCs or Macs. The Amazon gift card, on the other hand, will arrive in the mail. It has no expiration date so as long as you don't lose the little card somewhere, you can hold onto it for a while (or spend it right away, no judgement here). If you choose to buy the family package, do yourself a favor and set a calendar reminder for just under a year from now. The subscription will auto-renew annually and there's nothing worse than finding out through a credit card statement. If you love it, great. If not, you'll have the option to cancel. This deal isn't completely new as Amazon offered the same one-day discount at the end of January. If you regretted skipping it then, here's your chance. But, you have to think fast, this deal is literally here today, gone tomorrow. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-will-give-you-a-50-gift-card-when-you-buy-a-year-of-microsoft-365-family-091100773.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

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