Crocodiles have complex past: Modern-day crocodiles and alligators came from variety of surroundings

Crocodiles have complex past: Modern-day crocodiles and alligators came from variety of surroundings

A new study throws into question the notion that today’s crocodiles and alligators have a simple evolutionary past.

Previous research has pointed to crocodiles and alligators starting with a land-based ancestor some 200 million years ago and then moving to fresh water, becoming the semi-aquatic ambush predators they are today.

But a new analysis, published online today in the journal Scientific Reports, offers a different story. Modern crocodiles and alligators came from a variety of surroundings beginning in the early Jurassic Period, and various species occupied a host of ecosystems over time, including land, estuarine, freshwater and marine.

As University of Iowa researcher and study co-author Christopher Brochu says, “Crocodiles are not living fossils. Transitions between land, sea, and freshwater were more frequent than we thought, and the transitions were not always land-to-freshwater or freshwater-to-marine.”

Brochu and colleagues from Stony Brook University pieced together crocodile and alligator ancestry by analyzing a large family tree showing the evolutionary history of living and extinct crocodylomorphs (modern crocodiles and alligators and their extinct relatives). The team was then able to predict the ancestral habitat for several divergence points on the evolutionary tree.

This suggests a complex evolutionary history not only of habitat, but of form. Those living at sea had paddles instead of limbs, and those on land often had hoof-like claws and long legs. These did not all evolve from ancestors that looked like modern crocodiles, as has long been assumed.

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2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid review: An electrified crossover champ

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid review: An electrified crossover champ

Toyota sold more than 400,000 examples of its RAV4 crossover last year. So when it came time to redesign that sales superstar, the pressure was on not to screw it up. Thankfully, Toyota’s done a great job with this new RAV4, but there’s another trick up this SUV’s sleeve. Meet the RAV4 Hybrid, a vehicle that takes all the great accolades about Toyota’s compact crossover and adds a healthy dose of efficiency.

Hybrid benefits

While the majority of RAV4s driving off dealer lots will be gasoline-only models with a 203-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, people who really value efficiency will likely be enticed by the hybrid. It’s got stellar EPA-estimated fuel economy figures of 41 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway — a huge benefit over the 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway ratings of the standard RAV4. All-wheel drive is standard with a rear-mounted electric motor moving the back wheels, and as a whole, the powertrain is a little more powerful than its gas-only sibling, with a combined system output of 219 horsepower.

Working with a continuously variable transmission, the engine provides more than enough kick to get up to speed in a semi-quick fashion. The CVT hallmark of annoyingly loud engine drone under hard acceleration remains, but the way that the drivetrain switches between gas, electric or a combination of the two for propulsion is impressively seamless.

Regenerative brake tuning is also on point, offering strong stopping muscle and modulation abilities. Older Toyota hybrids had brake pedals that felt like on/off switches when switching between regenerative and mechanical braking, and this is one area where the company has really come a long way.

Middle-ground handling

At the foundation of all fifth-generation RAV4s is a variant of the TNGA-K platform that’s also underpins the Avalon and Camry sedans. That accounts for 57 percent better rigidity than the outgoing car and allows the drivetrain to be mounted lower, bringing the center of gravity closer to the ground.

Ride comfort is high on the 18-inch Dunlop tires.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

All of that sounds promising dynamically speaking, but a more forgiving suspension and numb off-center steering response prevent the RAV4 from having reflexes as sharp as the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5. Overall handling characteristics are still decent for a 3,800-pound crossover, with controlled initial body roll entering corners. The 18-inch wheels and Dunlop Grandtrek tires offer a ride quality that will satisfy the majority of consumers, as well. Dreaded Midwest roads littered with potholes and frost heaves don’t rattle the RAV4 as the suspension soaks up impacts. This is a noticeable improvement over the old car that felt crashy over small- to medium-sized bumps.

Beefier looks and better comfort

As most of its competitors adopt rounder, car-like lines, designers took the RAV4 in a boxier and more substantial-looking direction. The front takes cues from Toyota trucks like the 4Runner and Tacoma with my Limited test car wearing a hexagon-pattern grille insert. At the sides, there are squared-off wheel arches, while the rear also strikes a chunkier appearance. As a big fan of the boxy 4Runner, I do like the new look.

Inside, a blockier dash and door panels continue the truck-like theme. Thankfully, unlike the RAV4’s truck brethren that are filled with acres of hard plastic, materials inside this Toyota are near the top of its class. All major surfaces have soft-touch surfacing with some accent stitching sprinkled in for good measure. Other nice touches are the rubber door pull handles and center stack knobs that add to the crossover’s slightly more premium feel.

The outside adopts a boxier look from Toyota trucks like the 4Runner and Tacoma.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Both cabin comfort and functionality are good. The front seats are cushy but could use a little more side bolstering. Outward visibility is excellent from all angles. There’s serviceable room for adults in both rows, and lots of storage cubbies to stash items. The 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space in back is helpful during a weekly grocery run, but a trip to the wholesale restaurant supply store (hey, I’ve got to help the family business when I can) requires folding the rear seats to use all of the RAV4’s 69.8 cubic feet of hauling real estate.

Stronger tech

Taking care of infotainment duties in my range-topping Hybrid Limited test car is the Toyota Entune 3 interface with a responsive 8-inch touchscreen. This tester comes with onboard navigation, an 11-speaker JBL audio setup, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The Entune screen is intuitively laid out with big and clear screen icons and handy hard shortcut buttons flanking the screen to quickly call up the most commonly used menus. As for Entune knocks, it still doesn’t offer Android Auto, and the graphics look seriously dated.

Entune’s 8-inch touchscreen is responsive, but graphics look dated.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

To charge phones and tablets, a USB port, 12-volt outlet and optional wireless charge pad sit at the base of the center stack, while a couple of 2.1-amp USBs reside in the center armrest. Rear passengers also have easy access to two 2.1-amp USB ports on the back of the center console.

All RAV4 Hybrids receive forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, road sign assist and lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist. Limited trims also get standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and an adjustable, digital rearview mirror. A 360-degree surround-view camera is available as an option.

How I’d spec it

As enticing as the more affordable XSE model, I would go with a Limited for the extra creature comforts and blind-spot monitoring. The Limited begins at a not-too-expensive $36,745, including $1,045 for destination. I would only add the $1,015 Limited Weather Package mostly for the heated steering wheel to bring the price tag of my RAV4 Hybrid to $37,760. The car pictured here punches in at $39,565.

Make my RAV4 Hybrid a full-zoot Limited.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Top choice

When it comes to small gas/electric crossovers, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a lot going for it. With a base price of $28,745, it only carries are $800 price premium over its gas-only counterparts so it won’t break the bank. Making it a more compelling package are the fuel economy benefits along with the new styling, nicer interior and tech upgrades.

The only direct mild hybrid competitor at the moment is the Nissan Rogue Hybrid, with its forgettable looks, not to mention the fact that it’s painfully slow and doesn’t come close to matching the Toyota’s efficiency. So if you’re shopping for a compact hybrid crossover, the new RAV4 truly is the best thing going.

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All the laptops that came out at CES 2019

All the laptops that came out at CES 2019

With the latest release of NVIDIA’s RTX ray-tracing laptop chips, any manufacturer can make a fast and lightweight laptop. To stand out now, you need to try something new, so this year at CES 2019, the focus was on displays and eccentric designs.

Dell and HP showed that the future of gaming and multimedia laptop panels is both brighter and faster. Alienware’s laptop featured an upgradeable CPU and GPU, ASUS unveiled an all-in-one-like ROG laptop and Acer’s Predator Triton 900 had a singular hinge and exorbitant price tag. At the same time, there were many excellent-looking new models rocking NVIDIA’s latest chips. Without further ado, here’s a roundup of everything we saw.

HP

HP Spectre 15 x360 with AMOLED display

When it unveiled the Omen 15, HP thought it was announcing the first ever laptop with a 240Hz display. That wasn’t quite the case (more on that in a second), but it was an impressive reveal nonetheless. The Omen 15 (above) will ship in July with a 15.6-inch, 1080p 240Hz panel with G-SYNC, an Intel i7-8750H CPU, 802.11ax wireless and NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics. All of that tech fits into a 5.2-pound body, so it’ll be a powerful gaming machine you can take anywhere. We haven’t heard the price yet, but cutting-edge tech usually ain’t cheap.

HP also announced that it would release the first 15-inch laptop with an AMOLED display, the Spectre x360. It will deliver 33 percent more colors than regular sRGB screens and boast a superb 100,000:1 contrast ratio. That will make it a great content creation PC, and it will also get a high-end Intel 8th-generation CPU and NVIDIA RTX graphics. If portability is more your jam than gaming, HP also released a 4K version of the Spectre Folio, a Surface-like laptop clad in leather rather metal.

Dell and Alienware

Alienware got the jump on HP by unveiling the m15 lightweight gaming laptop, which also has a 240Hz display and will arrive in March, ahead of the Omen 15. It will be lighter and more powerful thanks to a Core i9 CPU and GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, and weigh in at just 4.76 pounds. For content creation, it will also be available in March with an OLED display. The 17-inch, 5.8 pound Alienware m17 will be similarly equipped, but without the OLED and 240Hz display options.

Alienware took a walk on the wild side with the Area 51M. The 17-inch laptop is about pure power and versatility, giving enthusiasts the rare ability to upgrade both the CPU and GPU. You won’t need to do that for a while, though, as it already has stellar specs with Intel’s Core i9 CPU and an NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU. The Area 51M will start at $2,549 when it arrives on January 29th.

Dell unveiled the latest XPS 13 model with a new design. The 13.3-inch will be available with a very bright (400 nit) 4K HDR display that supports Dolby Vision, a first for a Dell laptop. It has tiny bezels, weighs in at just 2.7 pounds, and can go up to 21 hours on a charge. If you’re looking for a bigger PC, the XPS 15 will soon pack an OLED display, HP said. The XPS 13 is available today starting at $900, but expect to pay more for the Dolby Vision model.

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 laptop

For 2-in-1 fans, Dell unveiled its Latitude 7400. It’s the first model with Intel’s Proximity sensor that logs you in automatically when you approach the device. It’s tiny for a 14-inch laptop, weighing in at just three pounds, thanks to the tiny bezels and aluminum shell. It’ll start at $1,599 when it arrives in March, 2019.

Dell’s G-series gaming laptops got a huge boost, with the G7 15- and 17-inch models now packing NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics and up to Core i9-8950HK 6-core CPUs. They come with 144Hz 1080p displays and you can get the 15-inch model with a 4K 60Hz OLED touch display. The latest G5 15/15 SE models, meanwhile, pack up to 8th-gen Intel i7 CPUs and NVIDIA RTX 1070 Max-Q graphics. They’ll go on sale January 19th starting at $999 (G5 15), $1,099 (G7 15-inch) and $1,380 for the G7 17-inch laptop.

ASUS

ASUS was the most prolific laptop maker at CES 2019 and the most experimental, to — even if it wasn’t an official exhibitor. It unveiled the ASUS ROG Mothership GZ700, a 17-inch laptop with a truly weird design. At the push of a button, a kickstand protrudes from behind the screen, and you can detach the keyboard completely, like a huge Surface Studio. It packs an Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU that’s overclocked up to 4.78 GHz, a 1080p 144Hz display with G-SYNC support, up to 64GB of RAM, and three 512GB NVMe SSDs. There’s no price or availability yet, but count on paying a bundle.

Still on gaming, ASUS turned to AMD for its latest TUF laptops. They pack four-core Ryzen 2 3550H APUs and Radeon RX 560X discrete graphics, which should make for decent mid-range performance. Both models have military-spec toughness, and will arrive sometime this quarter. We should know the pricing soon.

On the Chromebook side, ASUS unveiled its first Chrome OS tablet, the Flip C214, with a 9.7-inch QXGA display covered in tempered glass. It packs a rugged exterior, spill-proof keyboard and a 360-degree hinge. ASUS is also introducing the Flip C434 Chromebook with 360-degree hinge that converts into a tablet. It features a 14-inch NanoEdge display, an Intel Core i7-8500Y processor, plus a maximum of 8GB of RAM. Pricing for those Chromebooks has yet to be revealed, other than the Flip C434, which arrives later this year for $570.

The updated 13.9-inch ZenBook S has the “world’s slimmest” bezels, ASUS claims, at a mere 2.5mm thick. You can get it with an Intel Core i5-8265U or a higher-performance i7-8565U and up to 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM. Despite those decent specs, it weighs just 2.5 pounds.

ASUS unveiled a variety of VivoBooks in 14-, 15.6, and 17-inch sizes. They come with Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA GeForce MX130 graphics for light gaming, and can transform into tablets thanks to the 360-degree hinge. There’s no pricing or shipping dates for either the Zenbook or VivoBook models.

If 3D modeling or video editing is more your jam, ASUS unveiled the more serious-minded StudioBook S. The workstation-class machine packs a 16:10 17-inch Pantone-certified 1,920 x 1,200 display that’s essentially squeezed into a 15-inch body. And you can get it with professional parts, like a Xeon E-2176M 6-core processor and NVIDIA Quadro P3200 graphics, backed up by 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage. There’s no word on pricing, but it’ll ship in Q2 of this year.

MSI

MSI has been killing it of late, with last year’s MS65 laptop setting new milestones for lightweight gaming. It continues the trend at CES 2018 with the 17-inch GS75 and 15.6-inch GS75, with RTX 2080 Max-Q and RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics, respectively. The 15.6-inch model weighs just 4.19 pounds, making it one of the lightest gaming laptops you can get. If power is more important, however, there’s the GE75 Raider, with a desktop-class GeForce RTX 2080 GPU.

Acer

If small and light is what you need, how about this: Acer’s Swift 7 laptop has a 14-inch screen that’s bigger than the last model, but is just 1.9 pounds and 9.95mm thin. It’ll be able to take on most PC chores (other than heavy gaming or graphics), thanks to the 8th-gen Core i7-8500Y CPU, 512GB of PCIe SSD storage, 16GB of RAM and 10 hours of battery life. You’ll pay for those tiny bezels and slim form factor, though, as it’ll start at $1,699 when it arrives in North America in May.

On the gaming side, Acer flaunted its $4,000 Triton 900 laptop. The headline feature is the unusual hinge that tilts the 4K 17-inch screen in multiple ways, including a stylus-friendly stand mode. It also packs an 8th-gen Intel CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 GPU and up to 1TB of storage. The Triton 500 is a more conventional and much lighter 4.6 pound laptop that also has NVIDIA RTX 2080 graphics and a 8th-gen Core i7 CPU. The Triton 900 will arrive in March, while the Triton 500 arrives in February starting at $1,799.

Getting away from Windows laptops and Intel chips, Acer also revealed the Chromebook 315, its first with an AMD chip. It comes with AMD’s A4 or A6 dual-core processors with integrated Radeon graphics, so it should have enough power to run Chrome OS or Android apps. AMD chips are largely untested on Chrome OS, but considering it starts at $269 (and arrives in the US next month), the risk isn’t too great.

Lenovo

Lenovo’s Legion gaming laptops have retained the subtle design of the last models, but luckily, the performance is now drastically improved. The Y740 15- and 17-inch notebooks are now available with NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q and RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, respectively, along with 6-core Intel Core i7-8750H 6-core chips and up to 32GB of ram. The 15-inch Legion Y540 packs a still-respectable RTX 2060 GPU and affordable $930 price, while the Y740 will cost $1,750 and $1,980 for the 15-inch and 17-inch models, respectively, and arrive in February.

And while it’s not a laptop, Lenovo’s 27-inch Yoga A940 all-in-one is a serious rival to Microsoft’s Surface Studio and costs hundreds less. It works with Lenovo’s Active Pen Stylus and has a tilt-able display for graphics artists and designers. The hinge-mounted Precision Dial lets you swap tools and adjust brush sizes. You get a 27-inch 4K display, Intel Core i7 CPU and AMD Radeon RX560 graphics for $2,350 when it arrives in March.

Samsung

If you’re looking for something between a notebook and tablet, Samsung unveiled the Notebook 9 Pen. As the name implies, it’s all about the S Pen stylus, for artists and students who need to sketch or take notes on the go. It’s pretty powerful for its petite 2.2 pound size, packing an Intel Core i7 chipset, up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 13.3-inch 1080p display. There’s no price or shipping date yet.

Samsung has never quite got gaming laptops right, but it’s giving it another go with the Odyssey. It boasts very decent specs, running up to RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, a 15.6-inch 144Hz 1080p screen with G-SYNC and up to 16 GB of RAM. However, most other gaming laptops can do that now, and the Odyssey is a bit, well, homely. It also weighs in at slightly chunky 5.2 pounds. The price has yet to be determined, but it should arrive in early 2019.

The rest

LG’s Gram defies convention for 17-inch laptops thanks to its thin profile and incredibly light 2.95 pound weight. With an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, nearly 20 hour battery life and a 512GB SSD, it’ll make the ideal multimedia machine, letting you watch movies all day long. Lightweight and thin comes at a price: $1,699 when the Gram arrives later this year.

Origin’s EVO16-S is a 16-inch gaming laptop that weighs a remarkable 4.5 pounds, lighter than many 15.6-inch models we saw at CES. Performance won’t be a concern, as it boasts a 6-core Intel i7-8750H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, 1080p 144Hz screen and up to 32GB of RAM. The 17-inch EVO17-S packs similar specs and weighs 5.5 pounds, but if you need more grunt, the EON17-X’s Intel Core i9-9900K desktop 8-core CPU and NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU will do the job. Pricing or availability has yet to be revealed.

Gigabyte has an interesting gimmick this year for its Aero 15-X9 and all-new Aero 15-Y9: It uses Microsoft’s Azure AI to optimize gaming performance. If you don’t care about that, both models are spec’d to the gills, with up to an i9-8950HK 6-core chip, 15.6-inch 4K X-Rite Pantone certified panel, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics (RTX 2070 Max-Q on the Aero 15-X9), 64 GB of RAM and two M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD slots. All of that is packed into a 4.4 pound laptop that won’t weigh you down. Pricing and availability are not yet available.

Follow all the latest news from CES 2019 here!

Steve should have known that civil engineering was not for him when he spent most of his time at university monkeying with his 8086 clone PC. Although he graduated, a lifelong obsession of wanting the Solitaire win animation to go faster had begun. Always seeking a gadget fix, he dabbles in photography, video, 3D animation and is a licensed private pilot. He followed l’amour de sa vie from Vancouver, BC, to France and now lives in Paris.


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Watch AMD’s CES press event in under 9 minutes

Watch AMD’s CES press event in under 9 minutes

AMD didn’t just respond to introductions from Intel and NVIDIA at CES 2019 — it came out swinging. The chipmaker had plenty to show at its press event, and frequently claimed a performance edge over its rivals. The centerpiece was undoubtedly the Radeon VII, the first 7-nanometer graphics processor aimed at gamers. However, AMD had a little something for everyone, whether it was third-generation Ryzen CPUs for desktops, Epyc chips for heavy-duty number crunching and a talk about the hardware behind Google’s Project Stream. That’s a lot to digest, but our recap should help catch you up in a hurry.

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Anker’s new $600 portable projector ups the resolution to HD

Anker’s new $600 portable projector ups the resolution to HD


Engadget

It was two years ago that we first came across Anker’s soda-can media center, the Nebula Capsule. The all-in-one entertainment device crammed a projector and Bluetooth speaker into a portable package with a respectable 2.5-hour battery life. Anker’s now readied a sequel, and is showing it off at this year’s CES. The Nebula Capsule II improves upon its predecessor in a number of ways. Not only is the projector running brighter and at a higher, 720p resolution, but it now features autofocus and a more powerful, 8W speaker. Android TV 9.0 running behind scenes means it supports thousands of apps and Google’s Assistant, making it a better all-round nomadic entertainment option.

Gallery: Anker’s Nebula Capsule II | 9 Photos

If, for whatever reason, there isn’t an app for that, then the HDMI and USB ports, as well as Chromecast support, should have you covered. USB-C fast-charging takes it from zero to 100 in around 2.5 hours, but beefier insides means the second-gen version is heavier now at 1.5 pounds. Anker recently ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund the global launch of the product, raising over $1.5 million in the process and beating the original Capsule’s crowdfunding takings. Unfortunately, all early bird deals are long gone, but Anker’s still taking preorders for $599 a pop ahead of its summer 2019 launch.

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Whill’s next personal electronic vehicle drives itself

Whill’s next personal electronic vehicle drives itself

Whill released its first personal electric vehicle in 2016 (in Japan, it came west the following year). Since then it has released new models with different audiences in mind. Here at CES 2019, it’s showing its Autonomous Drive System (ADS), which as the name suggests, will shuttle you to where you want to go on its own. Thanks to the addition of front- and rear-mounted cameras, the Autonomous Drive System can navigate public (indoor or outdoor) spaces on its own.

A spokesperson told me that the ADS was partly its answer to scooters and bikes offered by the likes of Lime and Bird. Unlike those (which require full mobility), Whill is designed for everyone. Whill, is perhaps aware of the boom that scooters have enjoyed of late, and spotted an opportunity. After all, it’s easy to look at the four-wheeled device and presume it’s merely a modern take on the typical mobility devices for those unable to push, stand or ride bikes and scooters (though of course, it is that, too).

Whill Autonomous Drive System

There are obvious differences to consider though, between a lightweight scooter and a fairly robust vehicle like Whill. For one, the pick-up-and-drop where you like system used by Lime and Bird simply wouldn’t work here. But the company knows this, and instead is offering Whill to more controlled environments like Airports and shopping malls. Right now it’s partnering with La Guardia, Schipol and Heathrow airports, but hopes to expand the ADS as a service to retail spaces, theme parks and beyond. And with that autonomous driving system, you don’t need to hunt one of these down anyway, you can simply summon it to you.

Follow all the latest news from CES 2019 here!

James began writing for music magazines in the UK during the ’90s. After a few failed attempts at a DJ career, he carved out a living reviewing DJ and music production gear. Now he lives in the Bay Area, covering drones, fitness tech and culture, though he keeps his DJ gear plugged in and on show. You never know.


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Willow is back with an easier-to-use version of its smart breast pump

Willow is back with an easier-to-use version of its smart breast pump

Two years ago we came to CES looking for OLED TVs and Alexa-enabled refrigerators, but it was ultimately a smart breast pump that stole the show. Engadget, along with the rest of the tech press, initially treated the Willow Wearable Breast Pump as a curiosity; proof that the Internet of Things trend had become a caricature of itself.

In fact not: The device addressed problems that many women encounter while breastfeeding, but that you rarely see written about on tech blogs. Whereas typical breast pumps require a woman to be tethered to a wall outlet, with both hands required for the task at hand, this one was wireless: two cups that slipped inside a bra and allowed the user to walk around and retain use of her hands. Being a “smart” device, it also had a companion iOS/Android app to track how much liquid was collected.

That week, the Willow went on to win two official Best of CES awards.

Gallery: Willow Smart Breast Pump 2.0 | 12 Photos

Willow Smart Breast Pump 2.0

Since then, the device has been on sale for about two years, and now, the company has returned to CES with version 2.0. At a glance, the wireless pumping cups are similar in spirit to their predecessors, except the company claims the newer set is easier to use. This time around, the flange (the piece that covers the breast) is clear, allowing for easier nipple alignment. There’s also a see-through window where mothers can observe their milk flow. The company also moved to a quick-snap closure, a change from the interlocking mechanism in the first-gen model. I tried connecting the pieces in a brief hands-on, and quickly mastered it; the clicking sound makes the setup a no-brainer.

Willow Smart Breast Pump 2.0

Otherwise, the device claims to be as quiet as the original. I was in a public cafe of all places when I saw the new Willow, and couldn’t hear the device even after straining and getting close. So I feel confident in assuring women that they could use this discreetly in a public setting. Additionally, the pump has the same milk-bag design, which you can put directly into the freezer and later cut open at the top when ready for use. In both cases, too, the Willow’s latch was designed so that women could use it while lying down. Because the bag has a one-way valve, mothers don’t need to be vertical to avoid spillage.

Willow Smart Breast Pump 2.0

The Willow 2.0 is available for pre-order now and will ship in February. It costs $500 for the two cups, with 48 extra bags included as part of an introductory offer. The first-gen edition is still for sale too, with a modest price cut from $480 to $430.

Follow all the latest news from CES 2019 here!

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Engadget, where she runs a growing team of reporters and reviewers. She got her start in tech journalism a decade ago as a writer for Laptop Mag and the AP before arriving at Engadget in 2011. She appears regularly on ABC Radio and has also been a guest on Bloomberg TV, CNN, CNBC, Marketplace, NPR and Fox Business, among other outlets. Dana is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Columbia Publishing Course. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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PepsiCo is using robots to deliver snacks to college students

PepsiCo is using robots to deliver snacks to college students


PepsiCo

If walking to a regular vending machine seems too inconvenient, what if the vending machine came to you? PepsiCo is doing just that at the University of Pacific campus in Stockton, California with robots called “snackbots.” Using a smartphone app, students can order quasi-healthy snacks like Baked Lays, Sunchips or a Starbucks Cold Brew (from PepsiCo’s “Hello Goodness” vending platform), and have it delivered between 9 AM and 5 PM to one of 50 locations around the 175 acre campus.

The autonomous snackbots, built by Y-Combinator startup Robby Technologies, can travel 20 miles on a charge, and are equipped with a camera, headlights and all-wheel drive to handle rough or wet terrain. Once it arrives, you simply release the lid, grab your snacks and close it to complete the sale. The app presumably takes care of the security and dispensing end of things.

Small, sidewalk-going robots are probably the only way you’re going to get autonomous deliveries in the near future. A campus, being a relatively self-contained environment, is the perfect place to try them, and the University of Pacific will serve as a test site for three to five snackbots, starting today.

PepsiCo said it is the first major food and beverage company to test autonomous snack deliveries. However, it was beaten to the punch by the KiwiBot, which has been delivering food around the UC Berkeley campus since 2017. Unfortunately, that robot famously caught fire due to a battery issue, prompting students to hold a candlelight vigil for the apparently beloved snack-bearer. Whether or not the University of Pacific’s students will develop a similar attachment to the Snackbot remains to be seen.

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‘Fallout 76’ bug disabled nukes on New Year’s Day

‘Fallout 76’ bug disabled nukes on New Year’s Day


Bethesda

New Years came and went quietly in the apocalyptic world of Fallout 76, but it wasn’t on purpose. A bug in the multiplayer survival game caused nuclear codes to be unusable. While the sudden inability to launch weapons was originally thought to be related to the holidays, Fallout 76 developer Bethesda confirmed the issue and said it is working on a fix.

Typically at the start of each week, new nuclear codes are released in the game. Players have to track down those codes, which are usually guarded by high-level enemies, and enter them to unlock nuclear silos. Once inside the silos, players can target specific parts of the map to destroy. This week, the codes didn’t reset. Instead, players found the exact same codes that were released last week — except this time, they didn’t unlock the silos. In response to the issue, Bethesda has made the silos inaccessible altogether and is working on a hotfix that is expected to arrive today.

While there’s certainly some merit of starting the new year off with some peace and quiet, the fact that it was unplanned just further illustrates the ongoing issues that have plagued Fallout 76. A bug in the title’s beta run deleted the game entirely instead of letting people play. The latest high-profile issue for Fallout 76 was a data leak last month that revealed addresses, credit card numbers and other personal information.

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Smart displays came into their own in 2018

Smart displays came into their own in 2018

When Amazon first debuted the Echo Show last year, plenty of people, us included, mocked its unusual design. More than that, we wondered if adding a display to a smart speaker makes sense, or if it was just another one of Amazon’s gimmicks. It turns out, however, that being able to see the result of your queries is actually quite helpful; it’s easier to glance at your entire shopping list than it is to have Alexa read it line by line. Amazon later followed up with the Echo Spot bedside clock, which offers the same features in a smaller design.

But even though the Show and the Spot came out in 2017, it was in 2018 that smart displays came into their own. Despite Amazon being early to the game, it was Google that kicked off this phenomenon in earnest. In January of this year, Google announced that it was partnering with third-party manufacturers like Lenovo, JBL and LG to roll out a slew of what it called “Google Smart Displays.” By doing so, it gave a name to what would turn out to be a whole new kind of hardware category. It would also serve to intensify the Amazon and Google rivalry even further.

Now, smart displays came in not just one or two different designs, but five. What might otherwise have been a quirky novelty had quickly blossomed into a ubiquitous new product category. By doing so, it not only differentiated its Smart Display platform from phones and tablets, it also took the opportunity to beat Amazon at its own game. While the Echo Show and Spot demonstrated the value of smart displays, the screen was still somewhat secondary to Alexa.

Lenovo Smart Display

Google’s Smart Displays, on the other hand, showed maps for directions, step-by-step instructions for recipes and also offered follow-up query suggestions at the bottom of the screen. Another big feature was YouTube integration, which used to be available on the Echo Show before Google nixed it, presumably to give an advantage to its own products.

The beauty of having several hardware partners is that you can get a Google Smart Display in more than one flavor. The Lenovo Smart Display, for example, is a sleek white plastic-and-bamboo affair designed to catch your eye. The JBL Link View, on the other hand, places more emphasis on sound quality and bass, eschewing looks for thumping audio. In the same way you can get the Android phone that best suits your needs, Google is hoping that there will soon be a Google Smart Display for every kind of home.

To push this idea even further, Google came out with its very own hardware take on the Smart Display, the Google Home Hub. Instead of being big, bulky or attention-grabbing, the Home Hub is small, unobtrusive and minimal in its aesthetic. Clad in a soft fabric finish with multiple color options, the Home Hub was designed to blend in with the rest of your home decor. No longer is the smart display a curious tech gadget, now it’s simply just a part of your life.

Google Home Hub

The key point with the Home Hub is that, unlike all the other smart displays, it doesn’t have a camera. One of the more common complaints about the Echo Spot, for example, was that having a camera by your bedside feels a little creepy. Facebook’s video-chat focused Portal, with its camera that followed you around the room, had that feeling as well. With the Home Hub, this was no longer a concern.

Google’s Smart Displays, it seems, were just better than the 2017 Echos in every way. So much so that when Amazon introduced the 2018 Echo Show later in the year, it replicated many of Google’s features like richer graphics, a cooking guide and its own video streaming offerings — not just Amazon Prime but NBC and Hulu, too. Amazon even reintroduced YouTube via built-in browsers, thus working around Google’s aforementioned restrictions.

What’s more, it introduced an Alexa Smart Screen SDK, opening the door for other Alexa-powered smart displays in the future. Facebook’s Portal, for example, utilizes Alexa’s Presentation Language skills for features like the weather and Spotify, though it doesn’t have nearly the same level of features as an Echo Show. There’s word, however, that Lenovo and Sony are working on their very own versions of Alexa smart displays too, so it might not be long before Amazon has its own array of Alexa-powered hardware too.

If all of this sounds a little familiar, well, that’s because it feels reminiscent of the smart speaker wars of the past few years. (With the exception of Apple’s HomePod, which is a bit of an outlier here because Siri doesn’t have nearly the same level of features as Google’s Assistant or Alexa.) Google followed Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot with the Home and Home Mini, and both companies have partnerships with various third-party makers of other Google and Alexa-powered speakers.

Amazon Echo Show

On the surface, this might seem like a good thing. After all, competition is beneficial. If Amazon hadn’t pioneered the Echo, Google might have never come out with its own line of speakers and displays. If it wasn’t for Google making competitive products, Amazon might never have improved the Echo and Echo Show with more robust features.

But what often ends up happening is that consumers are now forced to take sides. Let’s remember that Amazon and Google are more than just software and hardware makers. They are also giant corporations that own competing streaming services (YouTube vs Prime) and competing smart home devices (Nest vs Ring). Yes, there are instances where one service will work on the other company’s hardware, but it’s never as good. For example, even though you can use an Echo Show to access the camera feed of a Nest Hello video doorbell, you can’t use it to communicate with someone at the door.

As these companies get bigger and start swallowing more companies, it gets even harder to figure out one’s loyalties. What if you use Nest products, but also subscribe to Hulu Live? Or if you use Ring cams, but love YouTube? You would either need to give up one or the other, or be a crazy person and just own multiple smart displays from both companies. Ideally, there’d be one agnostic piece of hardware that could play well with both ecosystems.

There are already promises that this could happen for smart speakers in 2019, as you’ll be able to swap Alexa and Google Assistant out on Sonos One speakers. I won’t be surprised if third-party makers like Lenovo would let you do the same with displays and tablets. For the foreseeable future, however, it appears that Amazon and Google will continue their smart display dominance. And, as consumers, we’ll have to decide if we’d rather live in the world of Amazon and Alexa, or Google and Assistant.

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Raised in the tropics of Malaysia, Nicole arrived in the United States in search of love, happiness and ubiquitous broadband. That last one is still a dream, but two out of three isn’t bad. Her love for words and technology reached a fever pitch in San Francisco, where she learned you could make a living writing about gadgets, video games and the internet. Truly, a dream come true. Other interests include baseball, coffee, cooking and chasing after her precocious little cat.

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Twitter’s Jack Dorsey: ‘I don’t know enough’ about Myanmar

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey: ‘I don’t know enough’ about Myanmar


SIPA USA/PA Images

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey came under fire earlier this week when he posted a series of tone deaf tweets celebrating his recent birthday retreat in Myanmar, a country ravaged by political violence and whose government is accused of widespread genocide and ethnic cleansing. Now, he’s responded to criticism of his tweets — where he encouraged people to visit Myanmar to experience the people who were “full of joy” — claiming that he didn’t mean to undermine the “human rights atrocities and suffering” in the country.

Dorsey claims that he visited the country with the “singular objective of working on myself,” and while he says he is “aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar,” he says he doesn’t “view visiting, practicing, or talking with the people, as endorsement.” Then in a not-apology apology, he adds, “[I] could have acknowledged that I don’t know enough and need to learn more.” He’s also careful to point out that Twitter was “actively” working in Myanmar to ensure it was not used as a platform for “violent extremism and hateful conduct.”

The political situation in Myanmar has proven challenging for social media companies all around. Facebook has been accused of helping to spread hate speech within the country, and independent reports have confirmed that while the social network wasn’t the root cause of rising tensions, it played a role in amplifying calls to violence. Given the headlines surrounding Facebook’s cluelessness, many would be surprised that Dorsey could make such an insensitive blunder. However, given Twitter’s inconsistent attitude towards hate speech, some would say it’s quite an apt reflection of the company.

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2019 BMW M2 Competition: A driver’s car through and through

2019 BMW M2 Competition: A driver’s car through and through

Earlier this year, my colleague Jon Wong had a chance to drive the 2019 BMW M2 Competition on a race track in Spain. He came back raving about the car, concluding that, “I still got nothing when it comes to finding major flaws with the M2.” But would my experience driving the Competition on regular Midwestern roads — often cold, damp roads at that — lead me to the same conclusion as a blast on a sunny circuit?

Too often, cars that excel on the track are a bore on the street: the tuning that makes them so capable at full tilt can dilute driving fun and pleasure at road-legal velocities. That does not, fortunately, apply to the M2 Competition. Instead, it delights in communicating with its driver and excels in putting all its power to the road. I’m quite happy to report that the M2 Competition remains a stellar tool for driving pleasure no matter where you take it.

Built for speed

The transformation into the M2 Competition was a serious affair, with the car ditching its old single-turbo, 365-horsepower engine in favor of a 405-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six derived from that in the M3 and M4. So, too, was the entire chassis upgraded, with a gorgeous carbon-fiber strut brace from the bigger M cars, as well as enlarged brakes and new suspension parts all around.

That engine delivers stupendous acceleration, with the car’s electronically controlled differential and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires putting up a strong fight against 406 pound-feet of torque. Off the line, the M2 Competition is of course a rocket, hitting 60 miles per hour in a claimed 4.0 seconds as the tires scrabble on pavement.

But it’s just as brutal at speed, dispatching passing maneuvers in the blink of an eye. Turbo lag is practically nonexistent, with the engine serving up near-instantaneous reactions to the throttle pedal. Still, horsepower builds and surges as revs rise; even though peak torque arrives at just 2,350 rpm, there’s big satisfaction in winding out the tachometer toward its 7,600 rpm redline.

2019 BMW M2 Competition

The engine, as well as several chassis components, are borrowed from the M3/M4.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

You got lots of auditory feedback, too, with growling and snarling from the quad exhausts as the engine builds speed. Still, it’s not the sort of engine note I’ll dream about and remember for years to come, but it is a fair bit more exotic — and less vacuum cleaner-like — than some other BMW M cars. Think less Adele belting out a ballad and more Rage Against The Machine shouting into their mics. Which isn’t a criticism, as performance cars are supposed to sound angry.

While there are several settings for the engine response, dual-clutch transmission performance and traction control, you won’t find a button for the suspension. Unlike nearly all modern performance cars, the M2 Competition does without adaptive dampers. I appreciate the simplicity: here’s one ideal suspension setup that’s ready to go from the moment you get in the car.

The suspension works wonders, too, keeping the BMW flat and planted no matter what the road throws at it. There’s very little dive or roll, but there is enough compliance that the rear tires don’t skitter around at every bump or expansion joint; you can drive hard on rough roads without the suspension getting unsettled. Moreover, there’s wonderful directness from the steering, both in its responses and its feel. More than any BMW in recent memory, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is chatty, twitching and weighting up in response to what the front tires are doing. All that feedback gives me more confidence to push the M2 harder.

2019 BMW M2 Competition

Wide, grippy tires and strong brakes help keep the M2’s power in check.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

My test car’s optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission does a remarkably good job of smoothing out stop-and-go driving while also serving up lightning-fast shifts when I tug the paddles. (It doesn’t, however, creep in traffic like a torque-converter transmission, which takes a bit of adjustment.) Yet as good as it is, I wouldn’t spend the $2,900 for it when I know a six-speed manual transmission is standard.

It’s perplexing that a performance car wouldn’t have an engine-temperature gauge anywhere in its cabin. But otherwise the inside of the M2 looks sufficiently Competition-spec, with matte-finish carbon fiber, lots of orange stitching, just-snug-enough bucket seats and, yes, even “M2” seat badges that illuminate when you unlock the car at night. The paddle shifters are easy to reach with my fingertips and move with a satisfying click. As ever, BMW’s M-specific shift lever is unnecessarily fiddly, with no “Park” position: simply leave the car in “Drive” and turn it off. And there’s an empty switch blank where the adaptive-damper button would be in other 2 Series models, which looks a tad cheap on a car costing north of $60K.

Tiresome companion

There is no free lunch when it comes to building performance cars, and thus like so many of its rivals, the M2 Competition is abrasive when you’re not driving at maximum attack. For starters, it’s loud, with roaring from the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and constant droning from the engine. If you’ve got the engine stop-start feature enabled, you’ll also enjoy big clunks from the dual-clutch transmission each time the engine slumbers and reawakes. (Fortunately, if you disable the stop-start system it stays off permanently — unlike most modern cars, which automatically re-enable the fuel-saving tech on every drive.)

2019 BMW M2 Competition

Orange accenting and carbon fiber dress up the cabin.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

But you may want to leave that button enabled, because the M2 Competition delivers much worse fuel economy than its predecessor. It’s rated for 17 miles per gallon city and 23 mpg highway (with the dual-clutch transmission), decreases of 3 in both measure compared to the 2018 M2. For a point of comparison, consider that those are the same EPA ratings as the Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe — a car which has two extra cylinders and 93 additional horsepower.

The BMW also rides with all the compliance of a skateboard over cobblestones; its chassis is constantly in motion, bouncing and jiggling over even the smallest road imperfections. It’s tiresome and makes me wonder if the M2 Competition actually could have used some adaptive dampers with a Comfort mode. And, of course, like many performance cars with wide tires and feelsome steering, you get plenty of tramlining and bumpsteer; the M2 needs constant steering correction on highway drives.

Of course, most buyers probably don’t care that the M2 is a bit rougher to live with than a 230i. I sure don’t: it’s worth the trade-offs for me to have so much fun behind the wheel. But the Competition is stiffer and louder than many comparable sports coupes, so if you have a long commute, it might grate on you after a while.

2019 BMW M2 Competition

The M2 Competition looks aggressive and powerful from every angle.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Modest tech complement

There’s a modest amount of onboard tech to keep you entertained. An 8.8-inch infotainment display is standard. Operable either by touching the screen or using the rotary control knob (on which you can also write letters or numbers), the system works swiftly and simply. As with other modern BMWs that use this system, allow me to gripe that while Apple CarPlay is included, you’ll need to pay an annual subscription fee; Android Auto is not supported at all. Navigation is built-in, as are M-specific displays for the engine’s instantaneous horsepower and torque output.

The level of active-safety technology of offer is about average, with precollision warning and braking and lane-departure warning standard. But there are no option packs for adding, say, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control or lane-keep assist. My tester also boasts a Wi-Fi hotspot and a wireless phone-charging pad, both of which are part of the $1,200 Executive package that also includes LED headlights and a heated steering wheel.

2019 BMW M2 Competition

The touchscreen infotainment system works well and has bright, crisp graphics.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Pay to play

Sure, the BMW M2 Competition isn’t cheap, at $59,895 with destination to start; my tester rings in at $64,545. That’s pricier than, uh, competition like the 400-hp Audi RS3 ($54,900) and even the 526-hp Ford Mustang GT350 ($60,135). But it is a decent discount versus BMW’s larger M cars, with the M3 sedan starting at $68,445 and the M4 coupe coming in at $70,145. Frankly, it’s better to drive than the M3/M4, too: the M2 is just more engaging, better able to use all its power and more exciting on public roads.

The M2 Competition is an unabashed performance machine, with heroic acceleration, mighty grip and a fantastic amount of driver involvement. While it can be a bit of a brute for the daily commute, I appreciate a sports car that doesn’t make too many compromises to appeal to a wider audience. If you want to go fast and have fun doing so, the M2 Competition is here to help.

Jake’s comparable picks

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Facebook gave Lyft and others special access to user data

Facebook gave Lyft and others special access to user data


Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Since the Cambridge Analytica revelations came to light earlier this year, there’s been quite a bit of scrutiny on what companies Facebook has given user data to. And now, documents released by the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is investigating Facebook, show how the company gave certain companies special access to user data. Among those receiving favored access were Airbnb, Lyft, Netflix and Bumble, while the documents show that Facebook also pointedly denied data access to some competitors, like Vine.

“Facebook have clearly entered into whitelisting agreements with certain companies, which meant that after the platform changes in 2014/15 they maintained full access to friends data,” Committee Chair Damian Collins said in a summary of the documents. “It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not.” While there’s surely more to be learned about the agreements Facebook entered into with these companies, it’s not a great look for a firm that has been riddled with privacy issues over the past few months.

The committee also obtained documents that included discussions of Facebook’s move to collect call and text logs from users with Android phones. Internal emails regarding the feature included conversations about whether a user permissions dialog was required and how it should be issued. In other cases, emails show Facebook linking data access to how much money companies spent on advertising.

The documents were previously under seal by a California judge as they were part of a lawsuit between the social media giant and an app developer. In a statement to CNBC, Facebook said the documents were “only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context.” The company added, “We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends’ data with developers. Like any business, we had many of internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform. But the facts are clear: we’ve never sold people’s data.”

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Keyboard Shortcuts

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Keyboard Shortcuts

In the beginning, there was the keyboard. If you wanted to issue a command to your computer, you typed it. Then came the Apple Macintosh, which popularized the mouse as standard equipment. No longer would people have to memorize key commands! No longer was the computer a plaything of the geeky intelligentsia! The menus would list all available commands, and the mouse would choose them.

Even Apple, though, hedged its bets. Nestled on either side of the space bar were keys not found on any typewriter. They were modifier keys, to be used exclusively for keyboard shortcuts, aimed at those who still found tapping keys to be more efficient than mousing to the menu.

To this day, some people live by keyboard shortcuts—on Windows it’s Control C for Copy, Control V for paste—and others use the mouse. Each looks at the other with disdain.

As a member of the former group, I think a lot about the mnemonics of keyboard shortcuts. Your English keyboard has 26 alphabet keys, plus four or five modifier keys. (Their names differ on Mac and Windows, but it’s some combination of Shift, Alt/Option, Ctrl/Command, Control, Windows and sometimes Fn.)

These shortcuts have to trigger dozens of commands in an infinitude of programs. How can anyone keep them straight? It helps that Apple came up decades ago with simple combos for the most important functions across all programs. While pressing the Command key, you press the first letter of Print (P), Bold (B), Italic (I), Underline (U), New (N), Quit (Q) or Save (S). Microsoft later adopted the same sequences (using Ctrl instead of Command), so that they’re now universal on all computers. Thank goodness for copycats—I mean, standards. But Apple also came up with Z for Undo, X for Cut, C for Copy and V for Paste. They’re consecutive keys on the bottom row, but otherwise not so memorable.

Here’s the logic that Macheads used to explain those mappings. “Well, Z, the last letter because it Undoes the last thing you’ve done. X for Cut because X looks like a pair of scissors. And V for Paste because it looks like the proofreading mark for ‘insert.’” Well, okay.

Things break down when more than one command starts with the same letter. Most of the Windows logo keystrokes on a PC are straightforward: E for Explorer, L for Lock. But what about the Start Dictation command? It can’t use S, because that’s Search; can’t use D, because that’s Display Desktop. So we get Windows H—a letter that doesn’t even appear in “Start Dictation.”

I guess keyboard shortcuts are on my mind lately because of a massive mistake Apple made in 2015. It goes like this:

If there’s one keyboard shortcut that’s nearly universal, it’s the space bar to play or pause a video or audio. It works on every video site (YouTube, Netflix, Hulu …), every editing program (Movie Maker, Final Cut, Premiere, Avid …), every photo app (Google Photos, Amazon Photos, Flickr, iPhoto, Windows Photos …).

But in 2015 Apple introduced a new Mac Photos app. In this program, the space bar did not mean “play video.” There was no keyboard shortcut for “play video.” Instead Apple had mapped the space bar for opening a photo thumbnail to see it at full size. To play a video, you had to move your hand from the keyboard to the mouse or track pad. This from the company that invented the space bar playback convention! (Fortunately, in the latest version of Photos, the space bar once again means “play/pause.” Now, to open or close a photo, you press the Return key. It’s taking me some time to adjust, but with therapy, I’m getting there.)

Truth is, you don’t have to settle for the mappings Apple and Microsoft have come up with. You can change almost any Mac keyboard shortcut to whatever you want, and free programs let you do the same in Windows. These days it’s your problem if the keystroke is awkward. But anything’s better than lifting your hand to pick up the mouse. Who wants to do that?

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Over a third of online Black Friday purchases came from phones

Over a third of online Black Friday purchases came from phones


Pattanaphong Khuankaew via Getty Images

If you spent Black Friday hunting for deals on your smartphone, you’re not the only one. Adobe analysts have determined that just over a third (33.5 percent) of online Black Friday sales were completed on smartphones — a large uptick from 29.1 percent just one year earlier. People were willing to splurge, too. There was over $2.1 billion in sales, a leap from the previous record ($1.4 billion) set on Cyber Monday, not Black Friday.

This comes on the back of a spike in Black Friday sales, with people spending $6.22 billion (a 23.6 percent increase over 2017). Not surprisingly, tech led the way — laptops, Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee and God of War were some of the biggest hits on Black Friday, while the day before saw people snapping up the Nintendo Switch, Beats headphones and Red Dead Redemption 2 in large numbers.

While it’s not clear exactly what prompted the uptick in phone-based shopping sprees, Adobe’s Taylor Schreiner credited it in part to stores crafting “better mobile experiences.” We’d add that the phones themselves might provide more enjoyable shopping through larger screens — it doesn’t feel quite so much like you’re shopping through a porthole. Whether you thrive on Black Friday or just see it as consumerism run amok, the data suggests that a growing number of people are comfortable leaving their PCs behind when they make big-ticket purchases.

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