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Sonos and Ikea’s Symfonisk smart speakers will launch this August

Ikea and Sonos released a teaser video today revealing that their collaborative line of Symfonisk smart speakers will launch this August, as spotted by Variety. The partnership, first announced in 2017, was created to find seamless ways to integrate Sonos products into Ikea furniture and lower the cost of entry into built-in home sound systems.

The collaboration focuses on bringing “music and sound” into the home, which covers playing from streaming services and potentially also the ability to access smart assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Sonos also has said that the Symfonisk line will fully integrate with Ikea’s range of Trådfri smart devices, like lights, wall outlets, and its upcoming smart shades.

Ikea showed off...

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Teenage Engineering debuts an affordable entry into modular synthesis

Swedish audio company Teenage Engineering is expanding their popular Pocket Operator synth line with a new line of self-assembly modular units called the 16, the 170, and the 400. Meant to be a more affordable entry point into modular synthesis than most Eurorack modules — which can easily balloon into thousands of dollars — Teenage Engineering says their goal was to create a “poor man’s modular.”

The 400 is an analog modular synthesizer with what Teenage Engineering says is a “warm natural analog sound.” It is priced at $499, and comes with three oscillators, a 16-step sequencer, filter, LFO, two envelopes, noise, random generator, two VCAs, a mixer, speaker box, and power pack. The 16 is a musical keyboard with sequencer and...

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Facebook could be fined millions by US regulators for privacy violatio

Federal Trade Commission officials have discussed imposing a record-setting fine on Facebook after a year of major data breaches and revelations of improper data sharing, according to the Washington Post. Facebook may have violated a 2012 agreement with the government to protect users’ data and make clear statements about their privacy.

If imposed, this would be the first major fine Facebook has faced in the US after it was revealed last spring that the personal data of over 87 million users had been given to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, without their explicit permission. Last October, United Kingdom officials fined Facebook £500,000 as a result of Cambridge Analytica, but that amount pales in comparison to what US...

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Why The Weather Channel keeps making these terrifying mixed reality wa

Ice chunks thud to the ground at 90 miles per hour and shatter. A branch snaps off a tree under its frozen weight. A bus hurtles down an ice-slicked road. These are some of the dangers that an ice storm can unleash, and they’re featured in The Weather Channel’s new mixed reality segment just in time for a winter storm to pummel the Midwest and Northeast.

It’s the latest video in The Weather Channel’s terrifying campaign to communicate the dangers of natural hazards, before they hit. The ice storm video uses the same Immersive Mixed Reality technology that we saw in the storm surge graphic The Weather Channel launched as Hurricane Florence began battering the Carolinas. The growing collection of segments features wildfires, tornadoes,...

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Europe’s controversial ‘link tax’ in doubt after member states r

Copyright activists just scored a major victory in the ongoing fight over the European Union’s new copyright rules. An upcoming summit to advance the EU’s copyright directive has been canceled, as member states objected to the incoming rules as too restrictive to online creators.

The EU’s forthcoming copyright rules had drawn attention from activists for two measures, designated as Article 11 and Article 13, that would give publishers rights over snippets of news content shared online (the so-called “link tax”) and increase platform liability for user content. Concerns about those two articles led to the intial proposal being voted down by the European parliament in July, but a version with new safeguards was approved the following...

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Spotify will reportedly release an in-car music player later this year

Spotify is planning to release an in-car music player with voice controls later this year, anonymous sources told The Financial Times. Spotify has previously teased this type of product with pop-up screens in the Spotify app seen by some customers, as The Verge reported back in April, but today’s news further confirms its existence. The Times says the device will be priced around $100. Its rumored release comes as companies including Apple (with CarPlay), Google (Assistant and Android Auto), and Amazon (Alexa) compete for in-car dominance.

Spotify’s very first hardware device will attempt to deliver music more directly to customers instead of going through Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto, platforms found on newer vehicles that...

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Facebook’s newest ploy to bring back teen users is a meme app called

Facebook’s seemingly never-ending quest to make itself appealing to younger, teenage smartphone owners has now resulted in an app called LOL. According to TechCrunch, LOL is a simple piece of software featuring a feed of memes and GIFs categorized by topics like “animals” and “pranks,” and Facebook is currently testing it with 100 high school users with the consent of their parents. It seems LOL’s design is reminiscent of Snapchat’s Discover tab, and it will offer algorithmically curated bundles of videos users can scroll through using an interaction similar to toggling through Instagram Stories, with share and reaction buttons underneath.

According to TechCrunch, LOL is being deployed at the moment as a replacement for Facebook Watch,...

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A few gift ideas for the discerning valentine

Valentine’s Day is on February 14th, and if you plan on buying gifts, it’s best to get started now rather than resorting to a last-minute, slapdash effort.

If you do nothing else, have a nice dinner together. But if you’re looking for a few gift ideas, we provided some ideas below, covering a range of categories from gaming, tech, music, and film to activities like cooking.


The Criterion Channel Charter Subscription

The only bright side to FilmStruck shutting down at the end of 2018 was the news that The Criterion Channel would rise up from its ashes. When it launches in spring 2019, The Criterion Channel will give subscribers full access to its catalog of classic films. But you don’t have to wait until then to secure a subscription....

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Celebrate Star Trek: Discovery’s return with one of the best episode

There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

“Yesteryear,” a 1973 episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Written by D.C. Fontana (a key contributor to the original 1960s Star Trek, who penned 10 episodes and served as the story editor), “Yesteryear” takes place in the wake of a routine fact-finding mission into a “time vortex.” Though Captain James T. Kirk and the USS Enterprise’s...

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Facebook Messenger’s redesign is finally rolling out to all

Facebook Messenger’s redesign, which was first announced at Facebook’s F8 developer conference last May, is finally here. Its listing on both the App Store and the Google Play Store has been updated to show the new interface, and we’ve verified that it’s available across both operating systems, but the Messenger team has said that it might take a little time for the update to be available for everyone.

The aim of the redesign is to make the chat client simpler and to put your messages front and center once again. But despite this, it’s taken a surprising amount of time to actually see a widespread release. Following its announcement in May, the redesign entered a prolonged rollout period in October, but since then, the only way to...

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