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Bird got a COVID-19 bailout loan of at least $5 million

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Bird, the beleaguered e-scooter company, received a loan worth between $5 million and $10 million from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in late April. The company said in its application to the Treasury Department and the Small Business Association that the loan would help it retain 341 jobs. But less than a month later, Bird laid off over 400 employees, or about 30 percent of its staff.

Bird was among the names of companies that got small business loans over $150,000 released today by the Treasury Department after lawmakers pushed for greater transparency. In addition to the scooter startup, there are a number of prominent autonomous vehicle firms, LIDAR makers, and other “mobility” companies on the list.

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Summer game fest: how to watch this summer’s digital gaming events

Image: Summer Game Fest

Even though E3, Gamescom, and other summer gaming events have become online-only or outright canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has already been a lot of gaming news this summer. We finally know what the PlayStation 5 looks like and some of the games coming to the system, for example, and we’ve been given previews of Cyberpunk 2077, Star Wars: Squadrons, the future of Destiny 2, and more.

But there are still more events ahead — including another Xbox digital games showcase, where Microsoft is expected to show Halo Infinite. We’ve collected every event that we know about in this post and put together details about each event, when they’re scheduled to happen, and how to watch them. Be sure to check back here often; we’ll be...

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Sennheiser received a bailout loan worth over $2 million

Sennheiser M2 Sennheiser M2 | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Audio company Sennheiser received between $2 million and $5 million as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to newly released US Department of Treasury data. It’s one of many privately held tech companies to receive support through the program, which offers small businesses forgivable loans that can be spent on payroll, rent, or utility costs.

Treasury data indicates that the loan is intended to help Sennheiser retain 128 jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. (The German company employed a total of 2,800 employees in 2019, approximately 10 percent of whom were based in the Americas.) While we don’t know the precise dollar number, it’s one of the PPP’s larger payments — single loans top out at $10 million, and the...

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Is anyone watching Quibi?

Illustration: Vulture and Photos Courtesy of Quibi

The streaming platform raised $1.75 billion and secured a roster of A-list talent, but it can’t get audiences to notice

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Chinese EV startups Byton and Nio received paycheck protection loans o

Chinese EV startups Byton, Nio, and Karma Automotive were among the companies that received the largest loans from the government’s COVID-19-related Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in April, with each receiving loans of between $5 million and $10 million, according to new data released by the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Byton received its loan shortly after it furloughed hundreds of employees in April. The company — which is backed by Chinese state-owned automaker First Auto Works — said in its application to the Treasury Department and the Small Business Association (SBA) that the loan would help it retain 387 jobs. But just last week, the startup announced it is halting operations for at least six...

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Watch this Pokémon Go commercial directed by Rian Johnson

At its best, Pokémon Go blends the real world and the virtual, thanks to its use of location-based gameplay and augmented reality. That sensation really comes across in a new 30-second commercial for the game, directed by none other than Rian Johnson, best known for films like Knives Out and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The short clip features players literally peeling away the world around them to unveil hidden pokémon, and it was actually produced remotely; the production team was in New Zealand, while Johnson directed from Los Angeles.

Pokémon Go has kept me engaged with my friends remotely as I’ve been practicing physical distancing these past few months,” Johnson said in a statement. “As a longtime Pokémon trainer, it was a real...

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South Korean drone display reminds watchers to wash hands and wear mas

Drones remind citizens in Seoul, South Korea, to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. | Photo: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

South Korea has done a remarkably good job of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. But as experts warn of a second wave of infections, the government has organized an unusual way to both thank its frontline medical staff for their hard work and remind citizens to abide by preventative measures: a drone light show over the Han River in the capital of Seoul.

As reported by France 24 and Al Jazeera, the show took place last Friday, July 6th, and featured 300 drones in a 10-minute show. The display was organized by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and was intended to thank frontline health care workers.

It began with messages reminding citizens to wear masks, wash their hands, and...

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How to convert a PDF file for your Kindle

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Recently, a friend sent me a preview of a book that she was about to have published and asked me to read it. I was delighted — but unfortunately, the copy she sent was formatted as a PDF file. And as many of us know, reading a PDF on a smartphone or even on an ebook reader is a recipe for eyestrain.

I spent a frustrating three days squinting at my screen until somebody reminded me that you can email a PDF file to your Amazon account, and it will convert the file to Amazon’s .Mobi format, making the document much easier to read on a phone or a Kindle.

It worked like a charm. There are a few quirks in the resulting document (no indents to indicate paragraphs and the occasional strange symbol), but it is much easier to read. If you ever...

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How to personalize your Google Chrome homepage with any GIF

I spend a lot of time trying to personalize every aspect of my laptop: pasting stickers on the top, separating all of my icons into folders on my desktop, and, thanks to a little trick I learned on TikTok, using my favorite GIFs as backgrounds on Google Chrome.

It’s a super simple process that makes using Google Chrome feel a little more personalized. All it takes is a few seconds and you go from having a dreary white non-background like this:

to this very good GIF of Marceline performing a song in Adventure Time.

To customize your own Google Chrome page, here’s what to do:

  • Find any GIF you want to use. Right-click to bring up the drop-down menu.
  • After selecting the “Save As” option, make sure to add...

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How to personalize your Google Chrome homepage with any GIF

I spend a lot of time trying to personalize every aspect of my laptop: pasting stickers on the top, separating all of my icons into folders on my desktop, and, thanks to a little trick I learned on TikTok, using my favorite GIFs as backgrounds on Google Chrome.

It’s a super simple process that makes using Google Chrome feel a little more personalized. All it takes is a few seconds and you go from having a dreary white non-background like this:

to this very good GIF of Marceline performing a song in Adventure Time.

To customize your own Google Chrome page, here’s what to do:

  • Find any GIF you want to use. Right-click to bring up the drop-down menu.
  • After selecting the “Save As” option, make sure to add...

Continue reading…

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