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2023-03-23 22:18:35| Engadget

You no longer have to wonder whether or not the revived Twitter Blue subscription is available in your country. Twitter has confirmed that Blue is now available worldwide. Pay $8 per month ($11 if you sign up through the iOS app) and you'll get the no-longer-that-special blue checkmark as well as 4,000-character tweets, higher ranking in replies, post editing and other perks.Organizations, meanwhile, can pursue a more useful tick next to their names. Twitter has begun accepting applications for the grey checkmarks that verify government officials and organizations, not to mention their equivalents at multilateral institutions. As you might guess, the criteria is stricter. Applicants have to use either their government ID or a valid email address, and have to describe their positions and functions. Businesses can already apply for gold checkmarks.Twitter Blue is now available globally! Sign up today to get your blue checkmark, prioritized ranking in conversations, half ads, long Tweets, Bookmark Folders, custom navigation, Edit Tweet, Undo Tweet, and more. Sign up here: https://t.co/SBRLJccMxD Twitter Blue (@TwitterBlue) March 23, 2023The new Twitter Blue launched in November, but it quickly ran into problems. As the checkmark looked the same whether you'd paid for it or were a legacy verified user, people quickly used the membership to impersonate notable figures. Twitter soon blocked brand new accounts from signing up for Blue, and had to relaunch the tier in December with gold and grey checkmarks in tow. A global rollout may be essential to boosting Blue's popularity. According to a leak source, the paid option reportedly had just 180,000 subscribers in the US as of mid-January. CEO Elon Musk is said to want half of Twitter's revenue to come from subscriptions, and that requires reaching a wide audience. Now, it's less a question of availability and more whether enough users will consider the extra features worth the outlay.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/twitter-blue-subscriptions-are-now-available-worldwide-211835305.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 21:16:57| Engadget

At his first Congressional hearing, TikTok CEO Shou Chew tried to downplay TikToks ties to China and parent company ByteDance. But lawmakers at the House Energy and Commerce Committee were far from satisfied with his answers.In her opening statements, committee chair Representative Cathy Rodgers said that TikTok should be banned. "ByteDance is beholden to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], and ByteDance and TikTok are one and the same," she said.Chew, who in his written testimony said that ByteDance is not an agent of China repeatedly pointed to Project Texas, the companys sweeping plan to lock down US users data in the United States. But lawmakers on the committee were skeptical of the plan, which TikTok officials have said would do more to protect users than an outright ban.Chew repeated multiple times that US user data would be inaccessible to employees in other countries after Project Texas is completed later this year. Still, committee members were skeptical of the plan, which has been in the works for more than a year. Rodgers called it a marketing scheme, Representative Frank Pallone said "Project Texas is simply not acceptable," and Representative Angie Craig said the plan doesnt pass the smell test.The more than five-hour showdown between Chew and lawmakers, who have found suspicion of TikTok to be a rare source of bipartisan agreement, comes as US officials have told the company it could ban the app if it doesnt separate itself from ByteDance.As with previous hearings with social media executives, lawmakers pressed Chew for yes or no answers to complex questions, and grew frustrated when he declined to give one. In one exchange, Representative Tony Cardenas asked Chew whether ByteDance was a Chinese company. He would only admit that it was a global firm with a Chinese founder. In another, Representative Debbie Lesko asked if he would agree with a statement that the Chinese government persecutes the Uighur population in China. He would only say that "it's deeply concerning to hear about all the kinds of human rights abuse" and tried to pivot to saying those statements are allowed on TikTok.And Chew dodged other questions about the inner workings of ByteDance and its China-based employees. He was sharply criticized for his response to a question about whether ByteDance employees had spied on American journalists. I dont think spying is the right way to describe it, Chew said. This is ultimately an internal investigation. (TikTok was quick to point out Chew denied spying had happened at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party.)The hearing was also notably different than previous hearings with other social media company CEOs because the vast majority of lawmakers are not active on TikTok. Not all of their questions were nuanced, though. At one point, Representative Richard Hudson demanded to know whether TikTok can access the home WiFi network. And multiple lawmakers asked why TikToks moderation practices are different from the aggressive censorship of its Chinese counterpart, Douyin.Beyond national security concerns, several lawmakers also raised the issue of teen safety, including TikToks content moderation practices and how it deals with viral challenges. Chew often pointed to recent updates like TikTokd addition of a STEM-themed feed, new screentime settings and algorithm tweaks to limit repetitive patterns of potentially harmful content.But, after more than five hours of questioning, it seemed his testimony hadnt done much to persuade the members of the committee that Project Texas will be able to address their concerns. For now, TikToks future is uncertain, and even Chew seemed unwilling to speculate. Chinese officials said Thursday they oppose a sale of TikTok. When asked in the hearing if he agreed with those comments, Chew instead pointed to Project Texas."We will need to look at this because Project Texas is designed to move forward here in the United States and we are not discussing this," he said.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/heres-what-tiktoks-ceo-told-congress-about-the-apps-ties-to-china-and-teen-safety-201657076.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 20:37:55| Engadget

After a particularly long incubation process, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is almost ready to ship. Daedalic has revealed that its stealth action take on JRR Tolkien's fantasy world will be available May 25th on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. A Switch version is due later in the year. While the mechanics of the game are by now familiar, this still promises to be a fresh take if you weren't enthused with the hack-and-slash of Monolith's Middle-earth games.You play Gollum in a previously unrecorded story of his search for (what else?) the Precious during the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. He's clearly not a brawler, so he has to sneak and climb to survive. And crucially, the battle inside his corrupted mind plays a key role. You have to choose between giving into Gollum's darker impulses or hanging on to the shreds of kindness from Smeagol. While this is an original tale based on the books, you'll run into familiar characters and navigate a world heavily inspired by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies.To say Gollum has taken a while to finish would be an understatement. It was originally unveiled in 2019, and even then wasn't expected to arrive until 2021. That year came and went (the pandemic didn't help speed development), and even a tentative September 2022 release didn't happen after a delay that was only supposed to last "a few months" as Daedalic took extra time to polish the title.The timing might work in the game's favor. In 2019, Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV series was still in its infancy, and the last big Tolkien game (Middle-earth: Shadow of War) was old news. Flash forward to 2023 and it's another story. Amazon's The Rings of Power show is a major success, and movie effects house Weta Workshop is making its own game set in the franchise. There's a renewed interest in hobbits and orcs, and Gollum might benefit from that demand.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lord-of-the-rings-gollum-will-finally-arrive-on-may-25th-193755108.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 20:13:52| Engadget

Archer Aviation and United Airlines announced a partnership today to launch a commercial air taxi route in Chicago. The companies plan to open the flight path between downtown and OHare International Airport in 2025.Besides being Uniteds headquarters and largest hub, Chicago's airport commute makes it an ideal testbed for flying taxis. For example, the drive to or from OHare, in the western suburb of Rosemont, can take anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic; even in one of the citys elevated trains, it can take around 45 minutes. But Archer estimates a flight in one of its air taxis will only take 10 minutes to travel from OHare to its destination at a downtown helipad. The program will initially be limited to the mainline OHare / downtown route, but the companies eventually plan to add smaller paths to surrounding communities.Archer describes the upcoming route as cost competitive for passengers without going into specifics. But even if its initially limited to deep-pocketed business travelers, the program should be good for the environment. Archers air taxis use electric motors and batteries and dont produce emissions. This exciting new technology will further decarbonize our means of transportation, taking us another step forward in our fight against climate change, said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Im pleased that Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this innovative, convenient form of travel.The partnership is the latest in Uniteds aggressive investments in flying taxis. Last year, the airline ordered at least 200 electric flying taxis from Eve Air Mobility; that followed a $10 million deposit it placed with Archer the month prior.In addition to Chicagos (ground-based) taxis and ride shares, the city has a robust public transportation system built around elevated trains and buses, the latter of which the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has committed to converting to electric by 2040. (The CTA already deploys 23 electric buses.) If all goes according to plan, the flight path will help decrease emissions and traffic congestion, something most Chi-town residents can get behind.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/united-and-archer-will-open-an-air-taxi-route-to-chicagos-ohare-airport-in-2025-191352804.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 19:29:00| Engadget

Following the release the new GPT-4 engine and Whisper API in March, OpenAI announced Thursday that it has begun introducing plugins for ChatGPT. These will enable the chatbot to interact with 3rd-party APIs, tailoring its responses to specific circumstances as defined by the developers while expanding the bot's range of capable actions.Say you want to develop a chatbot that users can talk sports with. Before the latest GPT-4 upgrade, the chatbot would only be able to discuss games and scores that happened in the past, specifically in 2021 which is when GPT-3's training data was assembled. It wouldn't pull real-time data or even be aware that the year 2022 existed. With a chatGPT plugin, you'll be able to tack ChatGPT functionality onto your existing code stack where it will be able to do anything from retrieve real-time information calls (sports scores, stock prices, breaking news) to pulling specific knowledge-base information like your company's internal documents or from your personal cloud. It will even be able to take action on behalf of the user like booking a flight or ordering take-out think, an installable Google Assistant made by the OpenAI folks.we are starting our rollout of ChatGPT plugins. you can install plugins to help with a wide variety of tasks. we are excited to see what developers create!https://t.co/NQ684Yp2LKpic.twitter.com/m7b6vJrj5D Sam Altman (@sama) March 23, 2023"The AI model acts as an intelligent API caller. Given an API spec and a natural-language description of when to use the API, the model proactively calls the API to perform actions," the OpenAI team wrote. "For instance, if a user asks, 'Where should I stay in Paris for a couple nights?', the model may choose to call a hotel reservation plugin API, receive the API response, and generate a user-facing answer combining the API data and its natural language capabilities."The company also notes that using plug-ins to bridge the knowledge gap between what the model was trained on and what has happened since should help reduce the AI's tendency to hallucinate facts when answering complex questions. "These references not only enhance the models utility but also enable users to assess the trustworthiness of the models output and double-check its accuracy, potentially mitigating risks related to over-reliance," the team wrote.The added capabilities and information afforded the model through its plug-in also greatly increase the chances of the model returning problematic responses. To avoid the $100 billion hit that Google took over Bard, OpenAI has reportedly stress-tested these plug-ins extensively. "Weve performed red-teaming exercises, both internally and with external collaborators, that have revealed a number of possible concerning scenarios," the team wrote. They plan to use those findings to, "inform safety-by-design mitigations" to improve transparency and hobble the plug-in against partaking risky behaviors.  The plug-in itself is still in early alpha with limited availability. OpenAI granted early access to a handful of partner companies including Expedia, Instacart, KAYAK, OpenTable, Shopify, Slack, Wolfram, and Zapier for use in their existing apps. You'll need to add your name to the waitlist to try it for yourself.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/chatgpts-new-plugins-will-deliver-real-time-stats-182900388.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 19:00:21| Engadget

Digital audio workstations (DAWs) tend to be power-hungry, so it was already a pretty big deal when Soundation managed to fit most of the required features in a handy web app. But now the company has refined the code to allow anyone to embed a fully-functional music recording station right on their website.For the uninitiated, digital audio workstations are where the vast majority of modern music-making takes place. These software suites integrate with all manner of hardware and feature standard timeline-based recording functions. Soundations new tools open these features up to any person or company with an active website. All you have to do is copy and paste a bit of code and the software does the rest. Of note, you can place an empty DAW on your website, just waiting to be filled with music, or a DAW that already features audio content.What are the use cases here? You can drop a fresh and empty DAW just waiting for visitors to add sounds and effects. This is the ideal scenario for collaborative classes and the like. Remember, a DAW features all of the tools you need to record audio, edit audio, drag and drop MIDImidi, and add effects.Things get more interesting when you factor in DAWs pre-loaded with musical content, which could lead to a user-friendly way to remix pre-existing songs. The artist just has to embed a preloaded DAW on their site and let fans work their magic. This technology will also allow customers to try before they buy when it comes to sample packs and standalone beats. You can rearrange the samples on the fly and really get into the nitty-gritty, instead of just listening to demo clips.Embedding lets you change up the visual features of the DAW, including the thumbnail, aspect ratio, colors, and more. So your specific DAW should look completely different from the beatmaker next door, leading to unique remix competitions hosted by music marketplaces and teachers using different DAW templates for each class.The technology is available right now to try, but it does require a Soundation subscription that starts at $5 per month. However, subscribing also gets you access to real-time collaboration tools and other perks.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/you-can-now-embed-a-legitimate-audio-workstation-right-on-your-website-180021810.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 18:15:58| Engadget

Nvidia wants game developers to remember that ray tracing isnt the end of the line. A new Cyberpunk 2077 technology preview (Overdrive Mode) supports path tracing, the next goalpost to make games look even prettier and keep you buying expensive new GPUs. The two-year-old game joins Minecraft, Portal and Quake II titles with relatively primitive graphics in supporting the technology. In addition, Nvidia announced the availability of a developer kit to pave the way for the next generation of bleeding-edge graphics.While ray tracing follows a single beam of light across a virtual scene, path tracing follows the light as it bounces around an environment, more realistically mimicking how it works in the physical world. It determines how nearby surfaces reflect or absorb the light, producing physically accurate soft shadows that more easily convince our brains that were viewing a natural, real-life scene. And humans perceiving graphics as more realistic is (naturally) an advancement the gaming industry will pursue without hesitation. Hollywood has used path tracing for decades, but it was a slow and expensive process that couldnt work on consumer gear or in anything close to real-time.However, we need to keep our expectations in check for the moment: Youll need the most powerful Nvidia RTX 40-series GPUs to enjoy Cyberpunk 2077s path tracing (and those who do may run into performance issues). Still, Nvidia is eager to nudge the industry toward what will be increasingly possible for consumer graphics in the coming years.Nvidia says two of its technologies were vital in producing this milestone: DLSS 3 (AI-based image upscaling without performance loss) and Shader Execution Reordering (more efficient ray tracing without losing quality). DLSS allows games to render 1/8th of the pixels, then uses AI and GeForce RTX Tensor Cores to reconstruct the rest, dramatically multiplying frame rates, while delivering crisp, high-quality images that rival native resolution, Nvidia explained in its announcement.Although well probably have to wait a while before this technology becomes widely accessible, Nvidia launched a new SDK this week to let developers prepare. Owners of the latest and greatest Nvidia GPUs can test the Cyberpunk 2077 Overdrive Mode tech preview starting on April 11th.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/cyberpunk-2077-is-getting-a-path-tracing-overdrive-mode-in-april-171558980.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 18:00:21| Engadget

There have been many attempts to build an upgradable gaming laptop, and all of them have failed. Technology moves on, or the manufacturer stops being able, or willing, to support users who have already bought a machine. The most infamous example must be the A51M, which had swappable GPU modules designed to keep it close to the cutting edge. But Dell killed off the plan to produce new modules for that machine the very next year. Its this arena, littered with high expectations and broken promises that Framework is entering with its first gaming notebook. Its called the Framework Laptop 16 and it could be the standard bearer for a new paradigm in portable computing. No pressure.The Framework Laptop 16 is the companys second product after its perpetually-upgraded 13-inch notebook. That has earned it plaudits from across the industry, and has given it the confidence to turn its sights toward a far harder group to win over; gamers, creatives and power users. But despite the beefier internals, the machine retains the promise of being an entirely modular, fully-repairable laptop. Its all of the repairability and upgradeability that exists in the Framework Laptop 13, in a larger, higher-performance form factor, said company founder Nirav Patel. He told me he believes that Framework is now delivering on the holy grail in high-performance notebooks, which is the ability to upgrade the GPU independently of the rest of the system.At first blush, its clear that the Framework 16 doesnt try to disguise the modular nature of its construction like its smaller sibling. Thats both a function of the sheer level of customization on hand, and an intentional choice to be loud and proud about what this machine is. Patel said that while the default build is fairly discreet (Id be tempted to disagree), theres so much you can reconfigure and customize that you can build something totally insane so expect the models seen in the wild to be immediately eye-catching. And, if you had to sum up its aesthetics in a single word, Id be tempted to coin the phrase legopunk.What we dont have today, and wont learn for a little while longer, is what specs are going to be found inside this chassis. Todays announcements are essentially just preparing the ground for a fuller media blitz closer to when pre-orders open later this Spring. More importantly, its to get the ever-growing community of Framework developers and hobbyists attuned to whats coming, and the tools that theyll be given free-reign to play with to help customize and tweak their own machines. Patel believes that theres plenty of potential toys for people to want to fiddle with, both inside the machine, and on the top of its deck. As part of this push, a slew of open source data, from mechanical drawings to electrical reference designs has been uploaded to GitHub.Much of our discussion focused on the big question that will likely hang over this machine for at least the next year or so. Plenty of companies have made gaming laptops with the promise of a future roadmap to upgrades, and none of them could deliver on that year-after-year. Its been tried in the past, its failed horribly, so much so that theres a class action lawsuit, admitted Patel. What they did wrong, we learned all of [their] lessons so what were building is an expansion bay system. Rather than constrain components to a single size and hope that they can conform to those requirements forever, the laptop itself will grow (or shrink) as required.Framework has made room in the chassis to support both a current generation GPU module as well as future ones. Instead of getting stuck where we cant support new generations he said, we have that flexibility within that expansion bay to reconfigure any internal or external aspect of it to make sure it works. This even stretches to the external dimensions of the laptop itself, and you can swap out the standard deck case for one with a longer rear vent, a common feature on many high-performance machines. Weve designed ourselves a way where we have pretty much complete flexibility to support changes when it comes to GPUs, said Patel.Internally, the 16s mainboard is set up in such a way as to allow a connection over PCIe x8, which Patel says offers enough high power and display support in both directions for a laptop of this intended size and class. When asked if that connection was enough, he said that the machine still has to behave like a gaming laptop, rather than trying to bolt on overpowered desktop-class modules. It wouldnt make sense to put a 300 watt GPU into such a fairly thin form factor, especially given the thermal constraints any laptop has, let alone a gaming one.FrameworkIt should be easy enough to make changes, with Patel explaining that those who need integrated graphics can just add a default thermal module into the bay. But when the persons needs change, they can fly in a graphics module to get that higher level of performance. But the expansion card bay isnt just designed for an annual cadence of new GPUs, but instead will be offered up for a variety of purposes.The bay, and its connection, will be opened up to Frameworks developer community enabling them to build their own modules. The company has already built a dual M.2 SSD that uses the bay, offering up to 16TB of additional storage. But Patel envisions a wide variety of other tools that could be plugged in, like a video capture card, streaming hardware, dedicated AI modules or even a software-defined radio transmitter.As well as the unprecedented level of internal customization, the 16 also offers hot-swappable keyboard, mousepad and anything-else-on-the-top-deck modules. Patel said, based on market research, theres a clean 50-50 split between people who love, and those who hate, numpads. So, we thought, why not let people choose? Consequently, the whole top deck of the 16 is user reconfigurable. Patel added that owners can actually remove the keyboard, remove the numpad, slide the keyboard into the center and add input modules to the left and right all while the machine is running.Much like the expansion cards, Framework says it is opening these tools up to developers as well. Patel said that the company has already developed a secondary display, haptic slider and an LED matrix display. Framework is also developing regular backlit keyboards as well as, since this is a gaming laptop after all, an RGB-backlit version. Many of the modules are built on QMK keyboard software based on the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, and the company is releasing open-source firmware to help enable the developer community to build their own projects. In its release, the company said it was hoping to see fans building their own jog wheels, sliders, touchscreen displays, e-ink notepads, smart card readers and more.Another holdover from the older Framework Laptop is the expansion cards: USB-connected peripherals which let you choose which integral ports your laptop has, and where you put them. The bigger chassis size means that the 16 has three ports on either side, copared to the two on its smaller sibling. But one of those, depending on how you feel about having a dedicated headphone jack, might already be reserved. The gaming audience is either using wireless or USB headsets, said Patel, who paused and smiled to himself before adding that the company has had the courage to remove the dedicated 3.5mm port from the bigger machine. But well introduce an audio expansion card [to replace it] giving users the choice of having the port, or not, and to pick which side of the chassis they want that wire running to.If theres one thing that will hopefully ensure that Framework doesnt fall into the same trap as the A51M, its going to be its ties with component manufacturers. The company already makes its own mainboards with Compal and Patel said Framework was already plugged into the ecosystem necessary to build its own graphics cards. He added that, much like initiatives to tackle mainboard and battery waste, Framework would also work to ensure that legacy GPU modules, the ones that get swapped out from this machine a few years down the line, will also get a second life. You can take the graphics module out of a Framework Laptop 16 and install it in an external enclosure to use as an eGPU, said Patel. The companys booth at the Game Developers Conference will be demonstrating a proof of concept for this, which will likely evolve into a purchasable product when the need arises.Patel notes that Framework now has a solid track record of supporting a model for several generations which should help quell any unease for would-be buyers. We think, with the Framework Laptop 13 having shown this third generation of products all launching within the same form factor, all continuing support all the way back to the first laptop we ever shipped, it shows we are in this for the long haul. He added that when we say were building things for longevity, were gonna keep delivering upgrades, that is something were going to deliver on. And that by open-sourcing many of its components, and offering comprehensive documentation, it enables third parties to just jump in with their own projects.Further details about the Framework Laptop 16 will be made available when pre-orders open toward the end of Spring. Patel said that theres no word on pricing, but that you should use Frameworks existing cost structure to compare against the market as it stands. Shipments are expected to begin towards the end of the year, but the real test of this machine isnt so much in its first launch, but what happens 12 and 24 months down the line. Then again, its a challenge Patel knows all too well, and believes that users are craving stability and a machine that works well for them as long as they want to. Its wild to think that, in this day and age, those are considered to be lofty promises.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/frameworks-laptop-16-is-a-modular-upgradable-gaming-laptop-170021876.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 18:00:03| Engadget

If there was a question hovering over Frameworks much-lauded modular laptop, it was for how long the company would keep supporting it. After all, companies talk a good game about being green and sustainable at launch, only to abandon those plans a year or two later. Now, were three chip generations deep, and today were getting new mainboards carrying Intels 13th generation Core CPUs. Even better, users will soon have the option to ditch Intel in favor of AMDs rival products, both for new machines and to upgrade in all of the models already shipped. Its a remarkable sign of confidence in its platform, and a signal to users that Framework is in this business, with this chassis, for the long haul.Intels 13th generation Core CPUs were first announced at CES in January and Framework is rolling them out along with a number of other updates to its laptop. Since it sells (or sold) only one model of laptop, these changes will appear in the product from now on. And these annual updates are designed to address the criticisms that some users have had with the hardware thus far. That includes a new hinge thats been redesigned to be more rigid compared to the ones found in units up until now. And, more importantly, a new, bigger 61Wh battery with a slew of firmware updates that should increase the laptops runtime by between 20 and 30 percent depending on how intense your workload is.The focus on addressing user complaints stretches to the display cover, which will now be matte as opposed to glossy. Similarly, Framework will now incorporate the 80dB louder speakers it offered in its Chromebook to some of its mainline laptops. All of these innovations will, as per Frameworks usual commitment to supporting its existing users, will also be able to buy as standalone parts. And, as I outlined last year, even someone with next-to-no aptitude for upgrading computer parts can make these fixes with relatively little fuss. Customers can now select their display bezel color and keyboard options at the buying stage, saving them from having to double purchase.The other change that well need to address is that this machine has been rechristened as the Framework Laptop 13. Thats because its now sitting alongside the companys new 16-inch gaming machine, which was announced today.I asked founder Nirav Patel if there wasnt a temptation, since were now three generations in, to start messing with the chassis. We plan to stick with it, we havent seen anything that makes us want to change it, he said, its really just being able to upgrade those modules. He said that one of the key pillars of feedback hes received is that users actually just want stability in their purchases rather than a constant stream of new hardware. He added that Frameworks pledge to keep supporting the same laptop chassis for so long is a good signal to would-be buyers that theyre investing in a stable ecosystem.Framework has promised price parity between Intel and AMDs mainboards, which will offer a Ryzen 7040 in either a Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 flavor. Pre-orders will open at the same time for both, although its thought that the AMD version might ship a little later. Framework will open pre-orders to users looking for a new machine and just the new mainboards at the same time. Those in the latter camp, who want to ditch Intel in their existing Framework 13 for AMD, will also need to buy new RAM and a new WiFi card. The one other downside for would-be switchers is that, as Patel explains, the port configuration is different in terms of what the expansion cards actually support. This is because the Intel boards universally support Thunderbolt 4, while the AMD model offers two USB 4.0, one USB 3.2 plus DisplayPort, and one vanilla USB 3.2 port.There will be some changes and tweaks depending on which model you opt for, since the different chip options mean different default builds. For instance, the new Intel models will get the louder speakers, while the AMD units do not, although those quieter speakers have been tuned for better performance. Similarly, the base models with Core i5 and Ryzen 5 will keep the older 55Wh battery, while the i7 and Ryzen 7 options will get the newer 61Wh option. As such, you might want to examine the pre-order pages in more detail to make sure you know what youre getting.As users upgrade their existing laptops with new mainboards, Framework is acutely aware there will be a raft of functional boards potentially left unused. Rather than create a new stream of e-waste, the company has so far worked to support 3D-printed cases and hobby projects. We released these open-source design files where people could 3D-print their own case, said Patel, but most people dont have 3D printers. Which is why Framework has teamed up with PC case maker CoolerMaster to produce the first official standalone case for its mainboards.The case is a similar thickness to the laptop deck at present, and is designed so a user can take that mainboard, drop it in, and [they] now have this nice simple little second PC, said Patel. It will also accommodate the same expansion cards as the Framework Laptop 13, and all the user needs to provide is a USB-C power supply of 45W or higher. It includes both its own stand and the option to VESA mount the machine, tucking it neatly behind whatever display you choose to connect it to. Itll be affordable, too, as itll cost just $39 when it launches later in Spring.Patel also expects plenty of Framework owners to upgrade their batteries for the new and improved model. He explained that the company is demonstrating a proof of concept that turns the [first-generation Framework laptop] battery into a USB-C power bank that can power any device, including a laptop.And you might expect that this, too, will get refined and polished by Frameworks committed community into something that plenty of people can experiment with.On that subject, the company is also announcing support for Fedora 38 and Ubuntu 22.04 Linux, both of which will work fantastically out of the box for both AMD and Intel models. Manjaro XFCE 22.0 and Mint 21.1 are also at an advanced stage of support, and the company says both are working great on the new hardware.The pre-built base model configurations of both Intel and AMD versions of the Framework Laptop 13 (2023) with Windows 11 will cost $1,049 before build-to-order upgrades. All units can be pre-ordered from today for the usual $100 deposit, with shipments for both expected to start at some point in May. In addition, Framework also announced that it would begin shipping to Belgium, Italy, Spain and Taiwan later in the year.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/framework-brings-updated-intel-and-amd-chips-to-its-modular-laptop-170003842.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2023-03-23 17:53:55| Engadget

Atari is betting that an acquisition will bolster its classic game library. The company is buying Nightdive Studios, best known for its upcoming System Shock remake, for $10 million in cash and stock. The move will help Atari both expand its catalog and use Nightdive's combination of technology and publishing to boost a "retro-focused" strategy. The deal is expected to close in April.Apart from the System Shock re-do, Nightdive mainly thrives on the KEX engine it uses to make vintage games run on today's PCs, in some cases with technical improvements. Its modernizations range from well-known hits like Quake and Blade Runner through to cult favorites like Darklands and Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri. Nightdive isn't a large company, having racked up $3 million in revenue last year.For Atari, this is part of a broader bid to refocus on gaming. The company has tried (and struggled with) multiple unusual ventures in recent years, including crypto, online casinos and even themed hotels. Nightdive lets Atari concentrate on making "premium" PC and console titles without relying solely on retreads of first-party games, and without spending as much time developing technology to port old software. Atari is nowhere near returning to its heyday, but it may become more relevant to gamers than it has been in a while.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/atari-buys-the-game-studio-behind-the-system-shock-remake-165355144.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

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