Cadillac pauses its $1,800-per-month car subscription service

Cadillac pauses its $1,800-per-month car subscription service


jetcityimage via Getty Images

Just one year after launching it, Cadillac is temporarily ending its expensive car subscription service, the Wall Street Journal reported. Book by Cadillac, which charged drivers $1,800 to be behind the wheel of one of the company’s cars, will be paused started December 1st. Subscribers will have 30 days to turn in the vehicles they were renting through the service, meaning they’ll have to find another ride pretty quickly.

Cadillac rolled out the pricey subscription plan with the intention of letting Cadillac fans swap between vehicles at will. Subscribers in the pilot markets — New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles — were given access to five different Cadillac-made rides: the ATS-V, CTS-V, CT6, XT5 and Escalade. They were allotted a total of 2,000 miles per month that they could put on the vehicles, and could switch rides at will up to 18 times per year. The $1,800 per month price tag covered the cost of taxes, registration, insurance and vehicle upkeep.

Cadillac seems set on bringing back some version of the service at a later date, but it’s unlikely that it’ll take keep its same form. According to the Wall Street Journal, the program was more costly than expected and suffered from some technical difficulties that complicated the whole process.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Cadillac’s now-defunct service, just about every car manufacturer has one nowadays. Audi, BMW, Ford, Volvo, Lexus, Lincoln, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz all have a subscription option, though most are available only in certain markets.

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‘Diablo Immortal’ brings Blizzard’s action RPG to iOS and Android

‘Diablo Immortal’ brings Blizzard’s action RPG to iOS and Android


Blizzard

On the same day it released Diablo III on Nintendo Switch, Blizzard announced it’s bringing the Diablo franchise to even more platforms. The studio revealed at Blizzcon that Diablo Immortal, which is coming to iOS and Android, will be the first mobile game in the series.

The action RPG is set after Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and before Diablo III. It features six customizable classes (Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer and Wizard) with more planned for the future. You’ll be able to drop in and out of groups in the MMO and take part in “dynamic events” across Sanctuary. In the hub of Westmarch, you can craft items, upgrade your gear and form groups. And, of course, you’ll be able to battle your way through dungeons with your allies.

Blizzard says that Diablo Immortal will have regular updates featuring storylines, loot and challenges. The studio, which is developing the game with NetEase, has opened pre-registration for the beta. If you sign up, you’ll receive news and updates, and you might earn some extra in-game rewards. Blizzard said a few months ago that it was working on “multiple Diablo projects,” so there could be even more in the works, such as additional Diablo III seasons or even new games.

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Alexa can tell you when your favorite artists release new music

Alexa can tell you when your favorite artists release new music


Amazon

If you’re an Amazon Music subscriber in the US, you can receive notifications when your favorite artists drop new music, simply by asking Alexa to follow them. All you need to do is say something like “Alexa, follow Anderson .Paak on Amazon Music” or “Alexa, tell me when Imagine Dragons has new music.” You can also follow an artist through their page on the Amazon Music iOS or Android apps or web player.

When the song or album you’ve been waiting for is available, Alexa will let you know with a yellow light notification on your Echo device. You’ll see a notification in the Amazon Music app too. Amazon has also partnered with some artists for the feature, so you might hear your favorite singer telling you their new record has hit the streaming service.

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Adidas is using augmented reality to sell limited-edition sneakers

Adidas is using augmented reality to sell limited-edition sneakers

It’s never been easy to buy limited-edition sneakers, especially for consumers who may not have the same resources as a reseller. This can be anything from automated scripts (aka bots), to an army of people waiting in line outside a store ready to take all the stock. That’s why brands such as Nike and Adidas are using technology to try to even the playing field for everyone, be it through random launches on an app or by using experiences based around emerging mediums like augmented reality. On November 3rd and 4th, at ComplexCon in Long Beach, California, Adidas Originals will debut a new AR feature that’s going to let attendees buy some of the hottest shoes of the year — including its Dragon Ball Z collaboration.

Those who happen to be at the event will need to download the ComplexCon app, which works for iOS and Android, and enable push notifications. Once doors open and Adidas is ready to start selling the hyped kicks, the application will send information on where to go to “Unlock the Drop,” which is going to be at various beacons that have been setup inside the venue.

After users make their way to one of these locations, they can point their smartphone at the AR-powered signs (as pictured above) and then follow instructions to pick a size and complete the checkout process. The last step will be for people to go to a designated locker at ComplexCon and, voila, pick up whatever model they bought — all, from the very first step, without having to interact with any Adidas Originals staff.



While Adidas says it is “reinventing” the shoe drop with this ComplexCon experience, Nike has actually been experimenting with augmented reality to sell highly coveted sneakers since 2017, when it launched the SB Dunk High Pro “Momofuku” via its SNKRS app. Adidas itself has tested AR features, though that was simply for marketing purposes. Now that Adidas is actually using the tech to sell its shoes, it’s yet another example of how sportswear brands are serious about the potential of augmented reality as a tool to combat bots.

“A transaction that would have taken over two hours in the past is now served within minutes of the AR release,” Chris Murphy, Adidas North America’s senior director of digital activation, told Engadget. “At events like ComplexCon you have a very diverse mix of attendees that go from resellers, collectors to fashion enthusiasts and culture makers… and everyone gets a fair chance at the same release.”

He said Adidas has been looking heavily into augmented reality for the past couple of years, and that what we’re going to see at ComplexCon is only a small taste of what the company has planned for the near future. “Before the end of the year,” Murphy added, “we aim to provide more access to our most desired product through the digital lens.” For now, Adidas will be hoping that its Unlock the Drop AR feature is at least going to keep people from fighting for pairs, considering how last year’s ComplexCon turned out to be quite chaotic.

Gallery: Adidas Originals ‘Unlock the Drop’ at ComplexCon | 10 Photos

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NASA and the ESA release first 8K video from space

NASA and the ESA release first 8K video from space


NASA

NASA and the European Space Agency have teamed up on a new video about astronauts in the International Space Station. But this one is a little different than the videos you’ve watched in the past because it’s the first 8K ultra high definition video delivered by the agencies, shot with a Helium 8K camera from RED.

The camera was delivered to the ISS in April by a SpaceX cargo resupply mission, and the new video shows astronauts living aboard the ISS as they work and conduct experiments. Some of the experiments included in the video are the BEST investigation, which uses DNA sequencing to identify microbes in the space station; an experiment that compares plants grown in space to those grown on Earth; and the BCAT-CS study, which investigates the dynamic forces that exist between sediment particles.

“We’re excited to embrace new technology that improves our ability to engage our audiences in space station research,” David Brady said in a statement. Brady serves as the assistant program scientist for the International Space Station Program Science Office at Johnson. “Each improvement in imagery fidelity brings that person on Earth closer to the in-space experience, allowing them to see what human spaceflight is doing to improve their life, as well as enable humanity to explore the universe.”

NASA has released some pretty amazing 4K videos in the past, including one that shows what happens when you combine water droplets, food coloring and antacid a microgravity environment. Of course, most people won’t be able to watch the 8K video in all of its glory since there just aren’t many displays available yet that can resolve 8K. But if you do end up dropping some dough on an 8K TV in the near future, NASA has you covered. You can download the video in full resolution here.

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Amazon lets Prime members choose a weekly delivery day

Amazon lets Prime members choose a weekly delivery day


ASSOCIATED PRESS

Amazon is introducing a new delivery option, allowing Prime members in the US to select a certain day of the week on which their orders will be delivered. The company is calling it Amazon Day and it’s currently being rolled out on an invite-only basis, according to CNET. With this option, Prime members can choose a day of the week that’s most convenient for them, and on that day, they’ll receive all of the orders they placed that week that they instructed to be delivered on their Amazon Day.

“Amazon is always innovating and looking for new ways to surprise and delight our customers, and we’re excited to be testing a new service aimed at making the delivery experience more convenient for customers,” an Amazon spokesperson told Engadget.

Amazon Day is the latest delivery option from the company geared towards convenience. Last year, Amazon debuted its Key service that lets couriers deliver packages inside your home or vehicle. With Amazon Day, users can still choose to take advantage of one-day, two-day and no-rush options when available, and CNET says most items available for two-day shipments will be eligible for Amazon Day delivery. Any day of the week can be selected, including weekends as long as weekend deliveries are offered in the customer’s area.

There are a few benefits with Amazon Day. Fewer deliveries will often mean fewer boxes are used for shipments, and for customers, controlling when orders will arrive could help calm fears of delivery theft — which will be extra useful as the holidays approach. Of course, for Amazon, fewer deliveries means reduced costs on its end.

Company employees have been testing Amazon Day over the past few months, CNET reports, and a small group of Prime members are being invited to use the program starting today. Amazon reportedly plans to invite additional customers in the coming months.

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Lego reveals six ‘Overwatch’ sets that are coming next year

Lego reveals six ‘Overwatch’ sets that are coming next year


Lego

Overwatch has been such a phenomenon that it’s starting to take eek into everything. The latest example of Overwatch creep comes to the world of Lego. The company is releasing six Overwatch-themed building sets that feature vehicles, characters and weapons from the game. The Lego Overwatch collection will be available starting next year.

Gallery: Lego Overwatch sets | 12 Photos

Most of the sets feature multiple Overwatch characters and highlight a specific map from the game. The Tracer vs. Widowmaker set recreates the drone satellite from the Watchpoint: Gibraltar map. Hanzo vs. Genji pits dragon brothers against one another at the Hanamura dojo. A set called Dorado Showdown places Soldier: 76, Reaper and McCree in buildings from the Dorado map. A D.Va and Reinhardt set comes with buildable mech suit and powered armor that the tank heroes rock into battle. The Bastion set comes with a buildable version of the character that can be configured for both recon mode and sentry mode. The sizable, 730-piece Watchpoint: Gibraltar set comes with Mercy, Reaper, Winston and Pharah.

Lego Overwatch sets will start at $14.99 and range all the way up to $89.99. You’ll be able to get your hands on them for the Overwatch fan in your life (even if that’s just yourself) starting January 1st, 2019.

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Smartwatch shipments grow 67 percent in Q3 thanks to Apple and Fitbit

Smartwatch shipments grow 67 percent in Q3 thanks to Apple and Fitbit


Dana Wollman/Engadget

The smartwatch market doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, and it might have just hit a major milestone in the process. Strategy Analytics estimates that smartwatch shipments grew a whopping 67 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2018, with 10 million devices heading out the door. The frontrunner won’t surprise you — Apple is believed to have shipped 4.5 million watches (nearly a million more than last year) thanks to the debut of its overhauled Series 4. Fitbit proved to be the real upstart, through, jumping from zero to 1.5 million thanks mostly to the Versa.

Other competitors did grow, but in smaller numbers. Samsung held on to third place with 1.1 million devices due in no small part to the Galaxy Watch launch. Garmin, however, was struggling. While its shipments did go up to 800,000, the relatively small increase (200,000) left it losing market share to its faster-growing challengers.

There’s a good chance this trend continues. The holiday is likely to see a surge in sales, especially for brand new models like the Apple Watch Series 4 and low-cost options like the Versa. If there’s a danger for the market, it’s that smaller companies might find themselves squeezed out as gift-givers flock to the major options.

Smartwatch shipment estimates, Q3 2018

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Bethesda enlists Ninja and Rick and Morty for ‘Fallout 76’ livestream

Bethesda enlists Ninja and Rick and Morty for ‘Fallout 76’ livestream


The Washington Post via Getty Images

To build up hype for the upcoming release of Fallout 76, Bethesda pulled the handle on the pop culture slot machine and it landed on Ninja, Logic and Rick and Morty. That motley crew of nerd stardom will play through the new online survival game on during a livestream event. The broadcast will be available on Bethesda’s Twitch and Mixer channels, as well as Microsoft’s Mixer. The stream will start at 9 PM ET on Thursday, November 8th.

Bethesda hasn’t provided much detail as to what to expect out of the stream, but the names of the guest stars alone are probably enough to pique the interest of most gamers. Ninja is one of the most famous streamers on Twitch — he averages more than 60,000 viewers each time he hops online — and broke the record for most concurrent viewers on the platform earlier this year when he played Fortnite with Drake. Logic is a wildly popular rapper with a platinum-certified record to his name. Rick and Morty is the only show in history to inspire widespread outrage over dipping sauce availability at McDonald’s.

The gang will apparently be playing through Fallout 76 together on Xbox One. If watching nerd royalty play the game isn’t all that satisfying, you can play the beta version of Fallout 76 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or PC by pre-ordering the game (though be careful, it’s pretty buggy). Fallout 76 officially releases on November 14th.

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The latest ‘Overwatch’ hero is gunslinging gang leader Ashe

The latest ‘Overwatch’ hero is gunslinging gang leader Ashe


Blizzard

As ever at Blizzcon, Blizzard had a new Overwatch hero to reveal. The 29th playable character is Ashe, the damage-dealing leader of the Deadlock Gang. Along with her main weapon, a semi-automatic rifle, she can use her coach gun to knock enemies away and thrust herself backwards. Her dynamite attack sets enemies on fire, dealing some extra damage over time. For her ultimate ability, she can call in her robot cohort, B.O.B., to barrel through the opposing team and attack them with his arm cannons.

Blizzard also revealed a new animated short, “Reunion,” which highlights Ashe’s relationship with outlaw McCree. Set on the Route 66 map, it shows just what happened with that train robbery outside the diner.

The studio had previously confirmed that, unlike at the last two Blizzcons, it would not announce a new map at this year’s event. The Overwatch side of Blizzcon continues over the weekend with the Overwatch World Cup — you can watch the matches from any perspective using a new viewer tool. Oh, and you can also get your hands on a cereal based on everyone’s favorite wall-riding Brazilian, Lucio, as well as the DJ’s debut album.

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‘Destiny 2’ for PC is free until November 18th

‘Destiny 2’ for PC is free until November 18th


Bungie/Activision

Bungie and Activision aren’t going to stop at handing out free copies of Destiny 2 to console gamers. Right in time for the launch of BlizzCon, they’re making the base PC version of the shared-world shooter available for free from now through November 18th. You’ll need to enable SMS-based two-factor authentication if you’re brand new to Battle.net, but you’re otherwise good to go. Just remember that this is the base game, not Forsaken — you’ll still need to pay to stay current, which is no doubt what Bungie is hoping for.

If you don’t snag Forsaken, you’ll have an opportunity to play the extended game’s PvP/PvE hybrid game mode, Gambit, between November 9th and November 11th.

The giveaway is meant to mark the first anniversary of Destiny 2‘s PC release, but it’s also a strategic move: this puts the game in the hands of legions of people who otherwise wouldn’t give it a try. Even if they don’t translate to paying customers, they’ll expand the size of the community and give veterans a reason to keep coming back.

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Dear tech: Stop doing business with Nazis

Dear tech: Stop doing business with Nazis

Kicking Nazis off tech companies’ services is so easy, and such a simple thing to do. It is such a basic act of human decency, a trivial task that would stop PayPal, Stripe, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, GoDaddy and many more from being unquestionably complicit in the deadly rise of American Naziism. Stakes climb as we approach next week’s elections. And yet.

Two weeks ago, a man emboldened and encouraged by the community on the neo-Nazi pro-Trump social network Gab followed through with the website’s grooming and committed the largest massacre of Jews in American history. Robert D. Bowers told his online community he was “going in” and murdered 11 elderly people while they were praying.

Despite every person with a lick of common sense knowing full well that this was what Gab was about, the eventual endgame of online hate, it took tech businesses a week to cease facilitating the site by providing it with services. First was PayPal, followed Stripe, and Joyent. GoDaddy joined the sudden attack of conscience and booted Gab as well.

At time of writing, Gab remains sort-of offline, with a single-page statement of defiance keeping watch over the domain. The Nazi networking site also appealed to its enabler-in-Chief, Donald Trump, for help.

'No Nazis in our White House' sign at a protest rally...

“PayPal didn’t provide an immediate reason for the ban in its message to Gab,” we reported, yet it told press “The company is diligent in performing reviews and taking account actions. When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action.”

Yeah. About that.

PayPal and Stripe were warned at length, and in detail, about exactly what Gab was fomenting back in August. “@DeplatformHate has been documenting the far right’s partnerships with Silicon Valley for nearly a year and repeatedly tweeted about Stripe’s ties to Gab in August,” reported Daily Beast. “After Stripe’s general counsel reached out on August 17, Deplatform Hate sent him and Stripe’s CEO a long email on August 24, documenting the issue.”

What’s more:

“Gab is a massive hive mind of neo-Nazis that have actively doxed journalists families that work on stories of neonazi violence,” Deplatform Hate wrote in an August 24 email shared with The Daily Beast, in which he cited white supremacists who used Gab to publish journalists’ personal information, including home addresses.

… [@DeplatformHate told Stripe] You can muddy the story of ‘oh but the first amendment’ — you’re a lawyer. You know that doesn’t hold up in the US and that private companies can have moral systems if they’re not discriminating against protected classes. Last time I checked, Nazis weren’t a protected class.”

Daily Beast noted, “While Stripe didn’t ban Gab for violence, it sent the company a warning about hosting porn earlier this month.”

Oh no, not porn. Anything but that. I’m certain absolutely no one said “well if a payment processor has to pick between consensual adult sexuality or actually-murderous Nazis, I guess we’re safer with the Nazis.”

Really saving lives where it counts, guys.

Deplatform Hate had previously contacted PayPal in July, in several detailed emails that alerted the payment platform to violent content. “PayPal had been closely monitoring and reviewing Gab and was in the process of canceling the site’s account before the tragic events occurred,” PayPal told Daily Beast.

It only takes 4chan haters telling PayPal that ASMR creators might be making sex noises to get their accounts instantly banned. But let’s take comfort that before the literal worst happened, the company was thinking about maybe not doing business with violent Nazis. “Some Gab users, including alleged synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, broke Stripe’s and PayPal’s terms of service on a daily basis,” added Daily Beast.

Of course, this reminds us all of what happened with Daily Stormer. That was August of last year, when it took the murder of Heather Heyer by white supremacists — the same band ‘o Nazis as on Gab — and attempted murders of others to get tech companies to enforce their hate speech and violence policies.

It wasn’t Hayer’s murder that made the companies stop facilitating Daily Stormer. It was the press attention Daily Stormer got for mocking her death that finally moved the needle for Google, YouTube, Twitter, Sendgrid, Zoho, Cloudflare, PayPal, Apple Pay, Discord, Reddit, Spotify, Facebook, and GoDaddy. Hayer was not the first. Daily Stormer had been giving the Heyer treatment to black people since at least 2014, calling call Michael Brown’s mother a “stupid ape” (2014), mocking Freddie Gray’s 2016 murder as a “chimpout,” and stating that a “hero put down [a] rabid dog” regarding the death of Tamir Rice in 2017.

Effectively, it’s only thanks to the general public and journalists that companies like PayPal, Square, and GoDaddy are kinda-sorta kicking some Nazis off their services. Even still, Instagram — which routinely purges and deletes the accounts of adult performers based solely on their names and associations, not content violations — is a shit-smeared playpen for violent Nazis and virulent nationalists.

SENATE TECH

As you read this, Alex Jones and Infowars are turning up the rhetoric on Instagram. “Instagram also hosts anti-Semitic content hosted by prominent conservatives,” reports Daily Beast this week. Really: this week. Milo Yiannopoulos just “lamented on Instagram that the mail bombs sent to CNN and top Democrats didn’t go off.” It took DB’s reporting in the past few days for Instagram to kick out “Proud Boys” founder Gavin McInnes and their associated Facebook groups. Also this week NYT pointed out years’ worth of Nazi content flourishing on Instagram, including hashtags promoting “Nazi ideology.”

I mean, we’ve seen from Instagram’s censorship of erotic dancers that they can silence certain things into an Orwellian ether. They just don’t want to.

And you know what? It’s so easy for these companies to take a stand against anti-Semitism, racism, QAnon conspiracy creeps, “redpill” white supremacists, right-wing extremists, and incels. It’s not hard to see these people want to kill others, and that they rile each other into doing it.

Look, look how easy it is:

Look, the takeaway here isn’t some pointless missive of hope that any company propping up the right’s “free speech” crap might tell the hate merchants they’re no longer welcome. The companies steering the internet have proven time and again that given the opportunity, they don’t. They won’t.

What’s important as we go into the elections next week is that we do not get overwhelmed by the trash fires of Silicon Valley greed. And that we take notes and remember who could’ve done something — but didn’t.

Images: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images (No nazis); Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Alex Jones)

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‘Football Manager 2019’ is out now on PC, Mac and mobile

‘Football Manager 2019’ is out now on PC, Mac and mobile

Here’s a bit of good news for those itching for some soccer simulation: Sega and Sports Interactive’s Football Manager 2019 is available today for PC and Mac. Also debuting today are Football Manager 2019 Touch and Football Manager 2019 Mobile, marking the first time all three versions of the franchise have launched on the same day.

Football Manager 2019 comes with a host of improvements over last year, including major updates to the training and tactics features. Players will be able to access the Steam Workshop, allowing them to download player-created clubs and match tactics. This year, Sports Interactive was also able to snag licensing rights for the Bundesliga football league in Germany. The Bundesliga is Germany’s premier soccer league, and its inclusion in Football Manager 2019 will add to the game’s immersion thanks to real-life club badges, player faces, and trophies.

If a full-blown management simulation sounds a little too daunting, Football Manager 2019 Touch might be for you. It’s a streamlined version of the full Football Manager experience that requires less time digging through the minuta of running a football club. Here, the focus is on picking players and honing game tactics — the rest is up to your coaching staff. Touch is available on PC and Mac, as well high-end iOS and Android tablets.

Finally, Football Manager 2019 Mobile is another on-the-go experience focused on shorter play sessions that can be played on iOS and Android devices. With three different versions of Football Manager 2019 now available, today is a good day for would-be club managers — except for Nintendo Switch fans. They’ll have to wait until the end of November to try the Switch version of Touch.

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GM is making e-bikes as it expands beyond cars

GM is making e-bikes as it expands beyond cars


GM

GM is keenly aware that it can’t depend on car sales going forward, and that now includes venturing beyond cars. The company has revealed that it’s working on two e-bikes, one compact and one folding, ahead of a launch sometime in 2019. It didn’t say much about the machines, but their low-slung designs make it clear that the focus is on efficiency rather than raw performance.

You might have a hand in shaping the launch, though. GM is crowdsourcing a name for its bike brand through a challenge that will award $10,000 for the winning name, and $1,000 each for the nine runners-up. You have until November 26th at 10AM Eastern to submit naming ideas, with winners chosen in early 2019. That sounds like a tiny sum for what could be a defining brand, but think of it this way — you could leave your mark on GM’s future, and possibly transportation at large.

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