The Morning After: Thursday, June 22nd 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to Thursday morning. We’re reliving the ’90s through, as Sega launches a selection of classic hits both with ads and without. We’re also talking Instagram and its stealth shills, and new emoji. We hope you like fairies.


It should focus less on surprise and more on delight.Apple’s paranoia about leaks is misplaced

Apple’s inability to keep its secrets is so bad that even its internal presentation about confidentiality leaked. It reportedly conducted an hour-long briefing titled “Stopping Leakers — Keeping Confidential at Apple” for about 100 employees to make sure they understood the importance of not leaking information. But that concern is misplaced: Clamping down on leaks won’t help Apple’s bottom line.


The games are free, but you can pay $ 2 to drop the advertisementsSega Forever makes Genesis classics free on mobile

The Sega Forever collection is five titles meant to begin “a retro revolution that will transport players back through two decades of console gaming.” Starting today, the 1991 version of Sonic the Hedgehog, fan-favorite RPG Phantasy Star II, classic arcade-style beat ’em up Comix Zone, platformer Kid Chameleon and Greek mythology-themed beat ’em up Altered Beast will be available on Google Play and iTunes as free ad-supported games.


Can Travis Kalanick’s resignation fix Uber?Uber’s future is still tied to its founder

Uber’s disruptive effect on the taxi business, went hand in hand with throwing out the rulebook. Some of the rules avoided, however, included strict background checks on drivers, and safety laws to ensure that drivers didn’t work for too long, according to Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, who sits as chairperson of the company’s board. He said the team “failed to build some of the systems that every company needs to scale successfully.” Those systems included restrictions on employees sexually harassing their colleagues and preventing engineers from developing tools to hinder law enforcement investigations. Following Travis Kalanick’s resignation, can Uber change enough?


Your next set of emoji includes zombies, vampires, fairies and dinosaurs. The latest emoji update is a playful one

Finally, the monocle emoji.


A new tool could make hidden ads more obvious — if shills use it.Instagram gives social media influencers the benefit of the doubt

social media platform. The “Paid partnership with [enter brand name here]” post format is designed for users who want to advertise products on their page, letting them easily disclose when one of their posts is an ad. Instagram says this is an effort to bring the platform some much-needed transparency. The feature is set to roll out in the coming weeks to a “small number” of creators and businesses, according to the company. The question remains: Will influencers actually use the feature? And what will happen if they don’t?


The monsters caught with cheating tools may not behave normally.‘Pokémon Go’ will flag creatures caught using cheats

Niantic has decided that forcing Pokémon Go cheaters to a life of catching Pidgeys isn’t quite enough punishment. Now, any Pokémon caught using “third-party services that circumvent normal gameplay” will be marked with a slash in people’s inventories and “may not behave as expected.”

But wait, there’s more…

  • Airbus imagines a faster helicopter with wings
  • Google gets closer to building its own city in San Jose
  • Lenovo’s pro workstation is as light as a MacBook Air
  • An iPhone is your only option on Virgin Mobile
  • Self-driving shuttles are coming to U of M this fall
  • Todoist ‘Twist’ is supposed to be better than email, less annoying than Slack

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What we’re listening to in June

We spend every minute of the working day bringing you news, reviews and features on every aspect of technology. Like everyone else, though, we also use tech outside of work hours. Last month we launched a new series about the gadgets we use every day, the apps and services we can’t live without and what we watch and play.

This week, it’s time for music and podcasts. We start with a personal story from Dana Wollman on her on-again-off-again relationship with podcasts, before four other editors offer quick takes on the music and shows they’ve been obsessing over this month.


Dana Wollman

Dana Wollman
Executive Editor

The first time I tried to get into podcasts, it was to impress a guy. He loved podcasts, so I was going to love them too. Looking back, my early collection mostly amounted to NPR’s greatest hits, with a few other public radio standards thrown in. Think: Planet Money, Marketplace, Radiolab, This American Life. Generally speaking, it was basic stuff, with a heavy dose of pundits engaged in rambling conversation.

Being the purist I am, I made myself back-listen to older episodes that had piled up, even news programs like NPR Politics that, by definition, had a limited shelf life. It didn’t help that I had a tendency to listen precisely when my concentration was at its most impaired. Pro tip: If you’re riding the train home drunk from Brooklyn to Harlem at 2AM on a Sunday morning, Ira Glass’s voice isn’t the best pick-me-up.

Soon enough, I burned out. I went on to date men who were indifferent to podcasts, and I ignored all of you as you grew obsessed with Serial. I continued to appear as guest on various programs — including Engadget’s own! — but never subscribed to any myself.

When I finally did give podcasts another try, it was also because of a guy — one who I didn’t want to think about any more.

Incidentally, when I finally did give podcasts another try, it was also because of a guy — one I didn’t want to think about anymore. I had to get out of my head, away from my tired Spotify playlists and daydreams of running into him on the street.

This time around, I started with S-Town from the team behind Serial and This American Life, which launched to critical acclaim about a month before my current podcast kick. Despite those accolades, I somehow loved it even more than I expected. No longer was I nodding off on the train, losing 10-, 15-, 20-minute chunks. I was listening intently, on my commute to work, and then home again. When I walked through my door, the episode continued, on my phone or laptop speaker.

This was aural literature and, indeed, I was as reluctant to finish it as I would have been a great novel. I wanted to talk to people about the storytelling, the narrative arc, the ethical problems with delving into the life of a man who never consented to be profiled, per se. I even tried to get my dad (a book lover in his own right) to give podcasts, and S-Town in particular, a try. Who was I?

The truth is, I like my brain better on podcasts. I’m learning, I’m thinking critically and I’m not ruminating — or if I am, it’s nowadays usually not about myself. In my case, podcasts have distracted me from disappointment and sadness. But I’ve heard various friends say the same, including people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others still who would otherwise find their workweek dull and repetitive.

In addition to S-Town, I’ve binge-listened to Codebreaker, The Leap and Still Processing, along with the first season of Serial. You guys were right: It’s pretty good. For politics, my current diet includes Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It and the occasional Pod Save the People, with a tolerable amount of overlap there. My Dad Wrote a Porno is the only podcast that can make me laugh out loud on the subway, though I’ve also been enjoying 2 Dope Queens, a standup-comedy roundup hosted by Jessica Williams ofThe Daily Show fame.

Not everything I’ve tried has stuck. I feel like the only human on the planet who doesn’t find Jordan, Jesse, Go! funny. I listened to Missing Richard Simmons with interest but ultimately found it ethically suspect, with one interview, in particular, amounting to a character assassination. I also gave The Human Race from Runner’s World, Girl Friday and New York Magazine‘s Sex Lives a try, but haven’t yet committed to any of them.

I did also give news podcasts another shot, by the way. The Daily from the The New York Times is a 20-minute morning podcast in which host Michael Barbaro interviews two or so Times reporters about whatever big story they broke the afternoon or evening before. I’ve been enjoying the concise length, the added insight and, in particular, the behind-the-scenes element of hearing journalists discuss their work. Even so, listening to The Daily still sometimes feels like eating my vegetables before I can proceed to dessert (in this case, true crime stories and tales of dating schadenfreude). Maybe news podcasts really aren’t my jam.

My Favorite Murder

Jessica Conditt

Jessica Conditt
Senior Reporter

Like many women across the world, my life is tinged with the subtle yet constant anxiety that, one day, when I least expect it, I’m going to be raped and murdered. On top of this anxiety — or perhaps because of it — I’ve sustained a lifelong obsession with the macabre mental processes of serial killers. How do they choose their victims? Why do they do such horrific things? Would I be able to spot a murderous sociopath at the bar? Would he be able to spot me?

My Favorite Murder doesn’t answer all of these questions, but it scratches all of my most morbid itches. It’s hosted by two hilarious women, Georgia Hardstark (Drunk History) and Karen Kilgariff (Mr. Show), who manage to infuse the most disturbing descriptions of brutality with sarcasm, wit and warmth. My Favorite Murder is a podcast about the violent death of innocence, but it feels more like a slumber party at Rory and Lorelai Gilmore’s house.

True crime has been hot since Serial and Making a Murderer burst onto the scene, and there’s no shortage of podcasts covering crazed killers. But My Favorite Murder occupies a unique space within the genre. Consider The Last Podcast on the Left: It’s a fantastic show that happens to be hosted by a group of dudes who often dive into murders from the perspective of the killers, using words like “prostitute” to describe female victims without pause. My Favorite Murder tends to focus just as much attention on the killers and the victims, often with an undertone of, “That could have been any of us.” This is usually followed by a joke about the dangers of men with briefcases, of course.

My Favorite Murder has spawned a litany of fan-favorite lines, including “Fuck politeness,” “You’re in a cult. Call your dad,” and “Stay out of the forest.” But, the show’s sign-off offers a perfect summary of its place in the true-crime podcasting universe: “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.”

Future Islands

Jamie Rigg

Jamie Rigg
Reviews Editor, Engadget UK

I swear by my Spotify Discover playlist, but first thing on a Monday morning, my brain typically relegates it to white noise. On this initial playthrough, it’s rare a track stands out enough to steal my attention away from stimulants and Twitter. One recent such song, however, was “Vireo’s Eye” by Future Islands; thus started a several weeklong binge of the band’s back catalog.

The dominant bassline and muffled, repeating vocals of “Vireo’s Eye” gave me serious Cure vibes, leading me to believe Future Islands were an ’80s group that had somehow passed me by. I was surprised to see, then, that the synthpop act — Wikipedia’s description, not mine (I’m useless at genre determination) — had released a new album just a few weeks before my fortuitous discovery.

Turns out that Future Islands have only been around for the past decade, but the influence of late-20th-century rock and pop is palpable throughout their music. And that is very much my jam — or one of them, at least. For a time, the five albums available on Spotify were even upgraded to offline download status, which is quite the honor considering storage space on my 16GB iPhone is at a premium.

Not all of Future Islands’ tracks are quite as anthemic as “Vireo’s Eye,” which is the perfect introduction to their signature sound of slightly OTT vocals, commanding bass guitar, melancholic undertones and healthy doses of synth. It’s variety within the band’s catalog that’s kept me coming back, though. “Walking Through That Door” and “Long Flight” are relatively high-intensity, whereas “The Great Fire” and “Where I Found You” sound like tracks pulled from Donnie Darko‘s slow-dance playlist. Then there’s the aching vocals on “Beach Foam,” which make it one of my favorites.

A friend tells me that vocalist Samuel Herring is even more charismatic live than he sounds on studio recordings, so I’ll most definitely be catching a Future Islands gig the next time the opportunity presents itself.

The Handsome Rambler

Timothy J. Seppala

Timothy J. Seppala
Associate Editor

Hannibal Burress isn’t the only comedian with a podcast, but he’s the only one I listen to. In fact, The Handsome Rambler is the only podcast I listen to, period. Like my boss Dana, I took an extended break from podcasts, but my reasoning was I got tired of listening to video game shows and not having a commute means my time for listening was basically nonexistent. And when I’m home, I’d rather listen to music than talking heads or my TV. After switching over from night shift recently, though, I started walking a few miles a day for exercise and needed a soundtrack for my jaunts — something to completely zone out to and take my mind off from work and current events. At the recommendation of my coworker Richard Lawler, I gave Rambler a spin.

I’m a stand-up comedy nerd and have devoured almost everything Burress has put out in the past few years. I even saw him play in Michigan last fall. I’m not sure what I was expecting out of Rambler but what’s there never fails to make me smile. The show isn’t him just testing out new material or talking solo into a mic for an hour. More often than not, it’s just Burress having a conversation with his friend and touring companion Tony Trim about everything from the Airbnb reviews they’ve gotten, life on the road and the different “energies” everyone gives off.

The best parts, though, are the commercials. A running joke is that once he finishes his comedy career, he’s going to become a rapper and producer. He doesn’t have a record contract, so commercials for MeUndies, Seat Geek and Squarespace are his outlet. They’re absurd in the best way possible, usually freestyle rapped over a beat from Trim. There’s no real way to do them justice by describing them, though, but know that Autotune and a Moog Theremini appear in the most random places at the most random times. Listen to the SoundCloud embed above to hear what I’m talking about.

Lofi Hip Hop Radio

Nick Summers

Nick Summers
Associate Editor, Engadget UK

At the peak of Vine’s popularity, I was obsessed with a six-second subgenre that blended classic anime moments with relaxing, jazz-infused beats. I’ve seen the terms “vaporwave” and “chillwave” attached to the movement, but honestly, I have no idea if they’re accurate — music categorization isn’t my forte. What I can confirm is their sumptuous tone and considered, note-perfect editing. Studio Ghibli films were a popular choice, no doubt because of their slow, melancholic tone. Cowboy Bebop, Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion would crop up too, slowly stretching the genre and the people that stumbled upon it.

Vine’s collapse left a Spike Spiegel-shaped hole in my heart. Thankfully, a similar community has popped up on YouTube. Channels like AnimeVibe and Lophee are posting the same sort of music in full, but with anime stills or fanart in the background. The thoughtful editing is gone, and while that’s a shame, I can still appreciate the music and nostalgic anime callbacks. My favorite upload, however, is a 24-hour livestream managed by “ChilledCow.” It’s a nonstop playlist of lo-fi hip hop that is constantly updated with new tracks from up-and-coming beat-makers. For a writer like me, it’s the perfect office soundtrack.

The legality of such a setup is unclear. From what I can tell, ChilledCow has (or at least seeks) permission from all of the artists he or she streams. YouTube, however, was never designed to support internet radio, and I have a hunch this playlist breaks some service terms somewhere. Regardless, it’s a hypnotic, serene and lovingly crafted playlist that never fails to brighten my mood. The looping GIF ripped straight from Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart. The live chat box that slowly scrolls by as new listeners voice their appreciation. It’s a weird but wonderful corner of the internet — one that I hope keeps streaming for many months to come.


“IRL” is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they’re buying, using, playing and streaming.

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The Morning After: Friday, June 9th 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

As this week wraps up we’re getting you ready for E3, and digging into Boston Dynamics’ new owner. Plus: A peek inside the new iMac.


The Japanese company has a ‘vision of catalyzing the next wave of smart robotics.’Softbank buys Boston Dynamics (and its robots) from Google

It’s been over a year since Google’s parent company Alphabet said it wanted to sell its robotics company Boston Dynamics, and now it has a buyer: Softbank. The Japanese company has been working on its own robots for years, including the helpful Pepper, and now they’ll be under the same umbrella as Handle, Big Dog, Atlas, WildCat and all the rest.


So many leaks that the company put out their own images.OnePlus shows off the OnePlus 5 – at an intentionally specific angle

It’s only been two days since OnePlus announced the June 20th launch date for its upcoming OnePlus 5 flagship phone, but it didn’t take long before leaks started to appear. With that dual camera, LED flash, antenna bands and shade of gray, commenters were quick to point out the heavy resemblance between this device and the iPhone 7 Plus, which is presumably why OnePlus decided to post the above image to make a point. Indeed, from this angle, the OnePlus 5 appears to feature a unique outline running from the side to the top. But, well, besides that, it still looks a lot like an iPhone.


It’s not done yetNASA’s Mars 2020 concept is perfect for Space Batman

NASA showed off a futuristic-looking concept of the Mars 2020 rover with a shiny black body and intimidating wheels at the Kennedy Space Center. If you think that it looks like it popped right out of a superhero movie or a video game than an actual vehicle meant to explore the red planet, then you’re right.


The ultimate GoProGoPro finally shows its all-in-one 360-degree shooter.

The first action camera from GoPro made for shooting 360-degree video is this Fusion. It has a 5.2K resolution but is still only a shade larger than the Hero5 Black. Despite this early preview, key facts like how much it will cost are still unknown.


Throw-and-go aerial selfie revolution isn’t quite here just yet.Flying the DJI Spark drone by waving your hand isn’t as great as it sounds

James Trew has been waving his arms at drones for the last few weeks. No, his brain hasn’t finally broken — he was testing out the DJI Spark. The drone, which can be controlled by gestures. may have an innovative new control method, but James believes it’s not quite the spontaneous, simple experience it needs to be for new drone owners.


But it isn’t easy and it will void your warrantyIt is technically possible to replace the RAM and CPU in a new iMac

While we tested what it’s like to use one of Apple’s newest all-in-ones, iFixit took their usual route of pulling one apart to see what’s inside. They found CPU and RAM that aren’t soldered to the motherboard which is a good thing for upgrades and repairs, but there’s just one small catch. Accessing them requires removing the screen and voiding your warranty.


And new ‘collaborative gameplay’ is on the way‘Pokemon Go’ anniversary celebration includes big IRL events

We’re coming up on one year since the launch of Pokemon Go, and after some ups and downs, it’s time to celebrate. The game’s developers are planning events worldwide as well as in game. More importantly, they also mentioned that gyms will shut down temporarily while they work on some new “collaborative gameplay” features that could bring head to head battles into the app.


It’s all CG, but it’s a start.‘Life is Strange’ studio’s ‘Vampyr’ arrives this November

The makers of Life is Strange, Don’t Nod, has decided to go full-tilt fantasy on its new game, Vampyr. A new trailer shows more of the studio’s supernatural take on 1918 London and confirms a November release date on PS4, PC and Xbox One.The new teaser, however, doesn’t reveal much in the way of gameplay, only showing pre-rendered footage of people lurking moodily in dark places. With the developers promising players a semi-open world, fast-paced combat, and an environment where every in-game action carries a consequence, it’s all sounding rather ambitious.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Those awkward AirPods will automatically link up to your Apple TV
  • Oppo’s 4K Blu-ray players are the first with Dolby Vision HDR
  • Roli expands its modular music gear with the touch-friendly Seaboard
  • Super realistic racing returns with ‘Project Cars 2’ in September
  • The trailer for life-creating sim ‘Everything’ could make gaming history and win an Academy Award

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