PlayStation Now still isn’t good enough

PlayStation Now still isn’t good enough

Sony launched its subscription plans for PlayStation Now, a service that lets you download and stream games from an ever-growing library, on January 13th, 2015. Since then, a lot has changed. The company has added PS4 blockbusters and PS2 classics to its once PS3-only catalog. Meanwhile, Xbox Games Pass, Discord Nitro and others have emerged as competent pay-once, play-anything contenders on rival platforms. Many technology behemoths, including Google and, reportedly, Amazon and Verizon, are also experimenting with hardware-agnostic game streaming.

In 2019, is PlayStation Now worth $19.99 per month? Or a $100 annual subscription? For a narrow subset of PC and PlayStation 4 owners, yes.

Sony’s subscription service currently offers over 700 games. (I counted 646 on February 11th, 2019, in the UK.) The company’s marketing is quick to highlight its biggest and most-loved titles, including Red Dead Redemption, Steep and Mafia III. Scroll across to the ‘All Games’ tab, however, and you’ll find that the heavyweight pickings are slim. The bulk of the library is filled with forgettable titles such as Alien Spidy, Gem Smashers and Kung Fu Rabbit. There are four Formula 1 games — yes, four — ranging from F1 2014 to 2017. While a valuable form of game preservation, they feel like needless padding. How many people want to go back and play F1 2014?

The catalog does have some big hitters, however, including The Last of Us (the PS3 version, not the PS4 remaster), Fallout: New Vegas and BioShock Infinite. But as I started bookmarking titles, I quickly realized how many were already sitting in my library. Bloodborne, Until Dawn, For Honor, Mafia III, Journey, God of War III: Remastered — I had earned all of these through PlayStation Plus, an older subscription service that costs $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year and is required to play PS4 games online.

As I started bookmarking titles, I quickly realized how many were already sitting in my library.

You don’t need PS Plus to take out a PlayStation Now subscription. That means you could ditch PS Plus — which usually means forfeiting your library of ‘free’ games — and still have access to the titles I just mentioned.

So which, if any, should you choose? If you own a PS4 and play anything with an online multiplayer component, you obviously need PS Plus. PlayStation Now has a bigger and broader selection of ‘free’ games, though, in particular for people who are new to the ecosystem and haven’t accrued a decent library of PS Plus games.

If, like me, you’ve had PS Plus for some time (and religiously added the monthly games to your library), you’ll be underwhelmed by the selection of PS4 games in PlayStation Now. Instead, I found myself gravitating towards the grab-bag of PlayStation 2 and 3 titles, which include Ape Escape, Dark Cloud, Resistance 3 and the original Uncharted trilogy.

Seventeen years later, Ico is still a masterpiece.

The PlayStation 4 doesn’t support traditional backward compatibility. Shove a Fallout 3 disc into your PS4 Pro, for instance, and nothing will happen. This is due to the custom Cell processor that Sony used in the PS3. It was a capable but notoriously difficult chip for developers to work with, and the company wisely chose to switch to the more common x86 architecture for the PS4 in 2013. Sony has cracked PS2 emulation, however, and currently offers a small selection of classics in the PlayStation Store.

As a result, on the PS4, PlayStation Now only offers downloads for PS4 and PS2 games. Everything from the PS3 era has to be streamed over a Sony-controlled server. (If you’re on PC, the entire service is streaming only.) I tried the critically acclaimed Ico (the HD remaster that was released for the PS3 in 2011, not the PS2 original) over my admittedly ropey home broadband connection. PlayStation Now tested my setup, however, and deemed it acceptable for game streaming. In theory, then, my experience should have been as Sony and the participating developers intended.

Ico worked well enough, and I was immediately captivated by the atmospheric puzzler crafted by Fumito Ueda in 2001. It helped, of course, that the slow-paced adventure didn’t require precise platforming or ninja-like reactions to defeat its shadowy monsters. I did notice the occasional slow-down and dropped frame, but there was no perceptible input lag.

Buoyed with confidence, I tried Sonic Generations, a blazing-fast mixture of 2D and 3D stages. I charged through the first couple of levels with a grimace, rather than a Cheshire cat grin on my face. Something about the platforming felt a tad off. A short delay, perhaps, between my thumb hitting the X button and watching the blue blur launching himself over a chasm of game-ending spikes. I was suddenly aware that my eyeballs were watching a feed, rather than a game running natively on the PS4.

Sonic Generations

I had a hard time playing Sonic Generations.

To verify these feelings, I downloaded two PS4 games through PlayStation Now: Steep, an extreme sports title that was recently given away as part of PS Plus, and Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion, a family-friendly game based on the Cartoon Network phenomenon. The process took considerably longer than starting a new stream, of course. But no longer than a game would normally take to download after purchasing it through the PlayStation Store. Unsurprisingly, both games ran beautifully. I quickly dumped more than a dozen hours into Steep, descending both Alaska and the Alps via snowboard, wingsuit and paraglider. Likewise, I was soon swept up in the colorful adventure featuring Finn, Jake and Marceline.

The flawless performance made me think of Xbox Games Pass, a subscription service that leverages the true backward compatibility of the Xbox One. There’s no way that Sony can match this, of course. But it could aim for a similar breadth and quality of current-gen titles. Xbox Games Pass offers every Microsoft exclusive on the same day that it hits store shelves. Meanwhile, I have no idea if the God of War reboot, Detroit: Become Human and Insomniac’s Spider-Man will ever come to PlayStation Now.

You can download any PS4 game included with PlayStation Now, including Steep.

I have a few other gripes with the service. Navigating to PlayStation Now through the PlayStation Store, for instance, is hugely inconvenient. If a shortcut doesn’t appear on your PlayStation 4 home screen (it didn’t on my system), adding it manually isn’t straightforward. I would also like the option to boot into PlayStation Now automatically — bypassing the traditional home screen altogether — if I decide that the service is my primary way of purchasing and playing games.

PlayStation Now will also end your stream if you’ve been inactive for too long. I discovered this after pausing Ico and eating dinner partway through a difficult puzzle. The PS2 classic doesn’t have an autosave feature, so I was forced to restart the stream and pick up from my last manual save. I understand why Sony does this — server management is crucial to maintain stream performance — but it’s still annoying.

Should you subscribe to PlayStation Now? If you have a ridiculously fast internet connection and don’t own many games, I think it’s worth considering. You can always subscribe for a month or two and blitz through the games that interest you the most. It’ll be cheaper than buying them individually through even the steepest sales on the PlayStation Store. If you already own some of the games, however, or have a backlog like me — just play those instead. You can download and enjoy them without any of the technical worries associated with streaming.

It’s cheaper for me to stream the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, for instance, than buy a second-hand PS3.

Similarly, if you spend a good chunk of time playing Fortnite, Apex Legends and other online titles, don’t bother. You’re already paying for PS Plus and don’t have the hours required to extract the true value of PlayStation Now. (You could, I suppose, make the argument for both if you have buckets of money and near-limitless free time.)

If you fully commit to the service, though, there are savings to be had. It’s cheaper for me to stream the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, for instance, than buy a second-hand PS3. You also never have to worry about buyer’s remorse or any sense of obligation to finish something you purchased. With a Netflix-style library, you can just put it down and try something else with zero financial repercussions. For PC players, too, it’s an affordable way of accessing PS4 exclusives like Bloodborne and Until Dawn.

Still, I wish the library was broader. Twenty bucks is hard to justify if you’re only mildly interested in the games it has to offer. I would pay a slightly higher fee, similar to EA’s Origin Access Premier, for immediate access to new PlayStation exclusives. Otherwise, I’m happy with my PS Plus subscription and trawling the PlayStation Store for great deals.

Images: Cartoon Network, Outright Games (Adventure Time); Sony (Ico); Sega (Sonic Generations); Ubisoft (Steep)

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Researchers blame YouTube for the rise in Flat Earthers

Researchers blame YouTube for the rise in Flat Earthers


Ian Cuming via Getty Images

Despite steps taken to counteract problematic material YouTube is still a hotbed of hoaxes and fake news — a problem that’s become so prevalent the site recently announced it is changing its AI in a bid to improve matters. But now the scope of the problem has really come to light, as new research suggests that the increasing number of Flat Earthers can be attributed to conspiracy videos hosted on the site.

According to Asheley Landrum, assistant professor of science communication at Texas Tech University, all but one of 30 Flat Earthers interviewed said they hadn’t considered the Earth to be flat until watching videos promoting the theory on YouTube. Presenting her results at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC, Landrum said that most were recommended the videos after watching clips about other conspiracies, such as alternative 9/11 theories and fake moon landing theories.

Landrum’s interest in the topic was first piqued after she attended the world’s largest gatherings of Flat Earthers at the movement’s annual conference in Rayleigh, North Carolina, in 2017. She visited the conference again in 2018, when it took place in Denver, Colorado, to interview a number of the attendees. According to Landrum, the one person who didn’t point to YouTube as a catalyst for their opinion change had their mind changed by family members who themselves were convinced by YouTube videos.

As AI expert Guillaume Chaslot explained on Twitter earlier this month, conspiracy theory videos tend to be promoted by YouTube’s AI more than fact-based videos because platforms that use AI often become biased by small groups of very active users. This explains why Microsoft’s AI chatbot Tay became a racist nightmare in less than 24 hours when it was left in the care of Twitter users.

According to Landrum, YouTube isn’t doing anything wrong, but it could be doing more to protect viewers from misinformation. “Their algorithms make it easy to end up going down the rabbit hole, by presenting information to people who are going to be more susceptible to it.” She called on scientists and other creators to make their own videos to counteract the slew of conspiracy videos. “We don’t want YouTube to be full of videos saying here are all these reasons the Earth is flat. We need other videos saying here’s why those reasons aren’t real and here’s a bunch of ways you can research it for yourself.”

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Tiny fibers create unseen plastic pollution

Tiny fibers create unseen plastic pollution

While the polyester leisure suit was a 1970s mistake, polyester and other synthetic fibers like nylon are still around and are a major contributor to the microplastics load in the environment, according to a Penn State materials scientist, who suggests switching to biosynthetic fibers to solve this problem.

“These materials, during production, processing and after use, break down into and release microfibers that can now be found in everything and everyone,” said Melik Demirel, Lloyd and Dorothy Foehr Huck Endowed Chair in Biomimetic Materials.

Unlike natural fibers like wool, cotton and silk, current synthetic fibers are petroleum-based products and are mostly not biodegradable. While natural fibers can be recycled and biodegrade, mixed fibers that contain natural and synthetic fibers are difficult or costly to recycle.

Islands of floating plastic trash in the oceans are a visible problem, but the pollution produced by textiles is invisible and ubiquitous. In the oceans, these microscopic plastic pieces become incorporated into plants and animals. Harvested fish carry these particles to market and, when people eat them, they consume microplastic particles as well.

Demirel suggested four possible approaches to solving this problem, today (Feb. 16) at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. The first is to minimize the use of synthetic fibers and switch back to natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk and linen. However, synthetic fibers are less expensive and natural fibers have other environmental costs, such as water and land-use issues.

Because much of the microfiber load that ends up in water sources comes from laundering, he suggests aftermarket filters for washing-machine outflow hoses. Clothes dryers have filters that catch lint — also microfiber waste — but current, front-loading washing machines usually do not.

“Capturing the microplastics at the source is the best filtering option,” said Demirel.

He also notes that bacteria that consume plastics do exist, but are currently at the academic research phase, which takes some time to gain industrial momentum. If bacteria were used on a large scale, they could aid in biodegradation of the fibers or break the fibers down to be reused.

While these three options are possible, they do not solve the problem of the tons of synthetic fibers currently used in clothing around the world. Biosynthetic fibers, a fourth option, are both recyclable and biodegradable and could directly substitute for the synthetic fibers. They could also be blended with natural fibers to provide the durability of synthetic fibers but allow the blends to be recycled.

Derived from natural proteins, biosynthetic fibers also can be manipulated to have desirable characteristics. Demirel, who developed a biosynthetic fiber composed of proteins similar to silk but inspired by those found in squid ring teeth, suggests that by altering the number of tandem repeats in the sequencing of the proteins, the polymers can be altered to meet a variety of properties.

For example, material manufactured from biosynthetic squid ring-teeth proteins, called Squitex, is self-healing. Broken fibers or sections will reattach with water and a little pressure and enhance the mechanical properties of recycled cotton as a blend. Also, because the fibers are organic, they are completely biodegradable as well.

The Army Research Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research supported the squid-inspired biosynthetic material. Demirel is the co-founder of a company planning to commercialize Squitex.

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After Math: Love is in the AR

After Math: Love is in the AR


Netflix

While most of us are still recovering from the frenzied orgy of capitalist affection that is Valentine’s Day, companies from all over the industry continue to fly forth like arrows fired from Cupid’s bow. Google announced it will be spreading some of its “computer love” to nearly half the US by year’s end, while Activision isn’t showing its now ex-employees any. Oh yeah, and Benedict Cumberbatch is Satan.

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Google will have offices and data centers in 24 states by the end of 2019

Google apparently has a spare $13 billion burning a hole in its pockets and, as such, announced plans this week to pursue “major expansions” in 14 states, raising its total US footprint to nearly half of America’s provinces. The plan could lead to as many as 10,000 new construction jobs, though there’s no word on the workforce needs once the buildings have been built.

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Vuzix’s smart glasses still aren’t ready for prime time

$1,000 is a lot of money. Especially for a pair of augmented reality glasses that just aren’t that bright. Engadget reporter Nicole Lee puts a pair of the “smart specs” through their paces.

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Sonar drone discovers long-lost WWII aircraft carrier USS Hornet

More than 76 years after it was lost to the ocean’s depths, families and descendents of those who served aboard the USS Hornet can finally rest knowing the fate of the WWII warship and its crew. A sonar drone operated by the late Paul Allen’s undersea search operation discovered the largely intact vessel more than 17,000 feet below the surface near the Solomon Islands.

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Benedict Cumberbatch will play Satan in Amazon’s ‘Good Omens’ series

Everybody’s favorite neighborhood wizard will be taking on a new challenge in Amazon’s upcoming Good Omens series by playing Satan. And not just any Crown Prince of Darkness — no, no, a 400-foot tall animated Crown Prince of Darkness. Can. Not. Wait.

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Activision Blizzard lays off nearly 800 employees after ‘record’ 2018

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A marquee company, a real titan of its respective industry, enjoys a banner year of sales, revenue and profits. The company then turns around and lays off 800 staffers in order to “restructure” the business. Because that’s what Blizzard just did.

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Study says 37 percent of Americans have faced ‘severe’ online harassment

Look to your left. Now look to your right. Of you and the two people on either side, at least one has had to endure “severe” online harassment. Maybe figure out which one of you it is and give them a hug.

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Twitter can keep copies of your deleted DMs for years

Twitter can keep copies of your deleted DMs for years


SIPA USA/PA Images

Twitter might still have copies of your DMs saved in its system even if it’s been years since you deactivated your account. Security researcher Karan Saini told TechCrunch that he found years-old messages in an archive of his Twitter data — which you can request from Twitter itself under the Settings menu — even if they were from accounts that had been deleted or suspended. The publication has confirmed Saini’s report by looking through an archive and finding a conversation with a suspended account from way back in March 2016.

Under Twitter’s guidelines, the company wrote that “there is a very brief period in which [it] may be able to access account information, including Tweets.” You can only restore your account with all its data intact within 30 days, after all. Twitter accepts requests from law enforcement to preserve records, but the platform said it will only keep a temporary snapshot of relevant account records for only 90 days.

In addition, the security researcher discovered that those archives could also come with messages you’ve previously deleted or were deleted by the person you were chatting with. While Twitter now only removes DMs you delete from your own inbox, Twitter used to scrub them from the recipient’s inbox, as well. It looks like the platform can still keep a copy of them either way.

Saini said the records remain accessible due to a “functional bug” rather than a security flaw. Whatever it is that causes this issue, it’s clearly a privacy problem — one that Twitter still doesn’t have a full grasp of. A Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch that it’s “looking into this further to ensure [the company has] considered the entire scope of the issue.”

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Netflix will explore Transformers’ origins in upcoming animated series

Netflix will explore Transformers’ origins in upcoming animated series


Netflix

Transformers spinoff Bumblebee proved the franchise still has legs and now Netflix wants a slice of the action. The streaming service has ordered War for Cybertron, a new animated series that explores the “expansive universe” of the Autobots’ home world. Netflix has drafted a wealth of behind-the-scenes talent from other Transformers cartoon spinoffs to pen the show, which hits the service in 2020. Meanwhile, WarnerMedia’s Rooster Teeth is on production duties with Polygon Pictures tasked with crafting the show’s “new look” animation style.

Netflix signed a multi-year deal with Transformers toy-maker Hasbro in 2012 that brought its golden oldies to the streamer. The new spinoff should feel at home alongside Netflix’s other ’80s toon revivals, including Voltron Legendary Defender and She-Ra and The Princesses of Power.

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North chops $400 from the price of its Focals smart glasses

North chops $400 from the price of its Focals smart glasses


North

The jury is still out on just how useful the recently-released Focals “smart glasses” are, but if you’re the kind of person who’s wanted to give head-mounted AR a shot, they at least are now a lot cheaper. Focals creator North just announced a big price cut: the glasses now cost $599, down from the $999 the company was originally asking.

Additionally, North says that you can now get Focals with prescription lenses — so those of us who have to wear glasses every day can get in on the fun. The glasses work by utilizing a tiny project in the right “arm” that reflects off a lens element that then focuses the image back onto your eye. The end result is that the glasses can project things into the real world without needing a little screen, which adds bulk and — if Google Glass taught us anything — looks super strange.

The only downside to this price cut is that those who need prescription lenses will have to pay $200 extra, but that’s not unreasonable given how much custom lenses generally cost. If you want to buy them, though, you’ll need to visit a North shop. Right now, they’re only in Brooklyn and Toronto, but pop-up shops are coming to Seattle and the Bay Area soon. It’s clearly still early says for Focals, but them being cheaper and available with prescriptions should help widen their appeal.

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Vuzix’s smart glasses still aren’t ready for prime time

Vuzix’s smart glasses still aren’t ready for prime time

After years of development, Vuzix is now ready to ship the Blade, its first pair of consumer-ready smart glasses. I had a good look at it last month, but at the time, it was lacking a few core features like Alexa integration and step-by-step directions. Over the past week however, Vuzix shipped a couple of big software updates and I was finally able to test them out. The features certainly make the Blade a lot more functional than before, but they’re still not enough for me to recommend these $1,000 pair of glasses.

Gallery: Vuzix Blade photos | 16 Photos

As a reminder, the Blade is essentially a modern-day reimagining of Google Glass. As I said in my initial hands-on, the Blade isn’t meant to go up against the likes of augmented reality headsets like the Magic Leap or Microsoft’s HoloLens. Instead, it’s designed to be a smartphone companion, much like a smartwatch. Except rather than getting notifications on your wrist, you’d see them floating in front of your eyes thanks to a full-color see-thru display on the right lens. It runs on a proprietary Blade OS that’s based on Android, and you can download a bunch of apps for it as well.

A lot of the core features on the Blade are very smartphone-like. For example, I was finally able to test the Blade’s call and messaging functions (I tested the Blade with a Google Pixel 3 as well as an iPhone XS). When incoming calls appear on the Blade’s display, you can answer or decline them by tapping on the side of the glasses. However, do note that you’ll still need your phone around to actually chat with the person on the other end, as the Blade doesn’t have speakers built-in. Vuzix says it’s working on making it possible to chat using a Bluetooth headset connected to the Blade, but that functionality is not available just yet.

Responding to messages works in much the same way, except they appear in the form of a drop down notification. When selected, you can choose one of several quick or preset responses such as “I’m busy” or “I’ll call you back” from either the Blade or the companion app. That said, message replies only work when I was using the Pixel 3. That’s because this feature only works with the Blade connected to an Android phone, and not on iPhones.

Vuzix Blade

Another feature that only works with Android is Google Maps notifications. This is especially useful, because you can use the Blade for step-by-step walking directions. Whenever I approached a corner where I had to make a turn, I would get a notification on the Blade’s screen telling me to make a right or a left. Or, at least, that’s the idea. There were times when I wouldn’t get the notification until I had overshot the intersection.

I was also able to test the Alexa app for a few days. As mentioned in the previous hands-on, in order to trigger Alexa, you have to swipe over to the app and tap the touchpad to activate it, then tap it again to end it. Since it uses Alexa’s Smart Screen SDK, it’s a little like having a mini Echo Show in the glasses. I asked it for the weather, for example, and it showed me the five-day forecast in addition to telling me about the current conditions. That’s pretty useful, but the app does have a couple of issues. For one thing, the Alexa app requires the Blade to have a direct WiFi connection; simply connecting to your phone isn’t enough. Additionally, the Blade doesn’t have a speaker, so you need to use a Bluetooth headset in order to hear what the Alexa app is saying. Because of these barriers, I ended up not really using the Alexa app anyway.

Last but not least, Vuzix has updated the companion app so you’re now able to access photos captured on the Blade. From there, you can share them on social media or just save them for safekeeping. You’re still not able to share them directly from the Blade, but I don’t think that’s a big deal.

Vuzix Blade

All of these features certainly make the Blade more useful than an ordinary pair of glasses. But it still has too many downsides for me to recommend it. As I mentioned in my initial hands-on, the Blade looks clunky, and I found it to be a little too heavy and big for my face. Plus, the battery life isn’t great either. In my testing, it lasted about three or four hours at most with just minimal tasks like using Alexa, snapping a couple of photos and getting notifications. According to Vuzix, the Blade can last around 12 hours with intermittent use, and that might be true if you cut down on the number of notifications you get, but that negates the purpose of the glasses a little in my opinion.

The Blade also isn’t the only pair of smart glasses on the market right now. North’s recently released Focals are meant to be a smartphone companion as well. Like the Blade, they cost at least $1,000 and you can use them to respond to messages, get directions and they’re powered by Alexa too. The Focals also have a speaker built-in, so you don’t need to use a Bluetooth headset to hear Alexa.

You interact with the Focals using a thumb joystick, which means you don’t need to mess around with tapping a touchpad on the side of your glasses (which I did find a little annoying). Plus, the Focals are far more attractive. No, the Focals don’t have a camera, you can’t use them to watch videos or play games, and they’re only available in certain markets right now. But looks are important when it comes to wearables, and if I’m going to spend $1,000 on something I’ll wear on my face, I’d want it to look as good as possible.

In the end, the Blade has too many shortcomings for me to recommend it. I can see it being interesting for a subsection of the population that wants to try out cutting edge tech, but that’s about it. Some features seem a little half-baked, the battery life isn’t great, and it has a clunky, unattractive appearance. That just isn’t worth $1,000 in my book.

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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LG’s G8 uses its OLED screen for audio too

LG’s G8 uses its OLED screen for audio too


LG

Even though we’ve likely seen all of the outside of LG’s next flagship phone, there’s still a lot to learn about the G8 ThinQ and the company is sticking to its custom by slowly releasing info as we near its MWC 2019 launch. Tonight LG has revealed more about its audio setup, which includes a “Crystal Sound OLED.” Similar to LG-developed OLED technology we’ve seen come to market in Sony’s TVs, it vibrates the screen to produce sound, with an effect that the company claims increases volume, with musical notes more discernible and voices clearer.

This doesn’t mean the phone’s screen will be shaking all the time, however, as LG explains that in speakerphone mode it will deliver audio through the bottom speaker, and step up to two channels with the top part of the screen. Other audio features we’ll need to experience in Barcelona include support for emulated 7.1 surround using DTS:X with or without headphones, and its “Boombox Speaker” design that uses space within the phone as a resonance chamber to fill out its sound. It even supports the Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) encoded audio that Tidal uses and has a Hi-Fi Quad DAC.

Catch up on all the latest news from MWC 2019 here!

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Google will have offices and data centers in 24 states by the end of 2019

Google will have offices and data centers in 24 states by the end of 2019


AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Google is still closely associated with California to many people (and to a lesser degree New York), but it’s determined to change that reputation. The company is launching a $13 billion expansion in 2019 that will give it a total US footprint of 24 states, including “major expansions” in 14 states. The growth includes its first data center in Nevada, a new office in Georgia, and multi-facility expansions in places like Texas and Virginia. This is on top of known projects like its future New York City campus.

The company is unsurprisingly eager to brag about job creation. It didn’t say how many permanent jobs it would offer, but CEO Sundar Pichai expected “more than 10,000” construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia. This will be the second year where Google will be growing “faster outside of the [San Francisco] Bay Area than in it,” Pichai said.

While it’s a significant expansion, it might not be quite as sweet as it sounds. Modern data centers are highly automated affairs that only need a small number of workers to keep them running. The construction jobs will go away once the buildings are finished — the permanent headcount increase is likely to be considerably smaller. This is still an important move that extends Google’s interests well beyond its Mountain View campus, but it’s as much about burnishing the firm’s public image as it is delivering practical improvements.

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2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL review: Dated, but still plenty relevant

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL review: Dated, but still plenty relevant

Poor Santa Fe XL. Despite getting a new name for 2019, it’s actually the old version of Hyundai’s Santa Fe crossover. Its five-passenger counterpart got a complete redesign for this year, and the XL will soon be replaced by the brand-new 2020 Hyundai Palisade later this year.

But despite existing on borrowed time, and being long in the tooth, it has a silver lining to its story. For folks who need a well-rounded, three-row SUV, the Santa Fe XL is still remarkably compelling.

Touchy first impression

The Santa Fe XL is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 with 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque sent through a six-speed automatic transmission. My top-trim Limited Ultimate tester sends power to its front wheels, but all-wheel drive is available.

In fact, all-wheel drive is the setup I’d prefer. The V6 engine offers plenty of low-end torque which, combined with a sensitive throttle, means it’s easy to chirp the tires pulling away from a stoplight. A better distribution of power might make for smoother off-the-line starts.

But with a careful right foot, the Santa Fe XL reveals itself to be a smooth operator. The big Santa Fe feels more like a plush luxury sedan than a tall crossover, thanks to its well-sorted suspension. The Hyundai’s ride quality comes close to rivaling the Lexus ES 300h I tested recently.

Solid powertrain the Santa Fe XL’s got here.


Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

But smooth-riding as it is, the Santa Fe XL, feels out of sorts when I elevate the pace. Body roll is noticeable, a reminder of this thing’s sheer size. The Honda Pilot is more composed when driven in a hurry but still offers a compliant ride.

Everything else about the Santa Fe XL’s driving experience is just fine. The steering is nicely weighted, while reasonably direct and accurate in its response. The brake pedal is well-modulated, too. Highway passing power is respectable. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and feels eager to drop down on the freeway, but fades into the background when I’m just cruising along.

At 18 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg highway, the Santa Fe XL is one of the less-efficient three-row crossovers on the market, according to the EPA, but my mileage fared better than the government’s estimates. After a tank of mostly highway miles, I saw 26.6 mpg.

While the exterior still looks with the times, the interior is ripe for a redesign.


Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Fresh outside, dated inside

Even though the Santa Fe XL is long in the tooth, I still find it rather attractive. Inside, it’s a different story, though I can’t say the cabin is poorly designed. The quality of materials is appropriate for a midsize SUV, and there’s ample space in the first and second rows. That said, the third row is cramped, and the story only gets worse when you venture into the cargo hold to find just 13.5 cubic feet of space with all the seats raised.

So, yes, you can carry up to seven occupants in the Santa Fe XL, but good luck finding room for all their stuff. Competitors like the Chevy Traverse, Ford Explorer and Volkswagen Atlas offer more than 20 cubic feet behind their third rows, as well as more cargo room behind their first and second rows. At least the Santa Fe can tow up to 5,000 pounds, just like those other SUVs.

Getting the Hyundai’s back seats folded is a breeze. The third row disappears in an instant after tugging at a couple of straps, and the middle row is just as easily leveled with the simple pull of a lever at the side of each captain’s chair. Power-folding rear seats are nice, but nothing beats the simplicity — and speed — of conventional folding.

My tester’s touchscreen is an inch larger than the standard unit, and includes embedded navigation to boot.


Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Baked-in modern tech

The base Santa Fe XL SE comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a 7-inch touchscreen. HD and satellite radio also come standard with a six-speaker stereo. That’s a lot more standard kit than many of the Santa Fe XL’s competitors.

Conversely, Hyundai is rather stingy with the driver-assistance tech. If you want pedestrian-detecting collision-mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and adaptive headlights with automatic high-beams, not only do you need to step up to the $39,550 Limited Ultimate trim, but then you have to elect for the $2,100 Tech Package.

How I’d spec it

The Santa Fe XL starts at $30,850, but even all decked out, the Santa Fe XL falls on the cheaper side of the three-row crossover segment. That in mind, I’d go all out, and start with the top Limited Ultimate trim, which comes with 19-inch wheels and keyless access. Inside, there’s push-button start, a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, memory driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, an upgraded 8-inch touchscreen with embedded navigation, Infinity premium audio system and a hands-free power liftgate out back.

The Santa Fe’s Achilles’ heel lies in its cargo capacity that can’t measure up to others in the class.


Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

The top trim also features standard blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera. Of course, I’d add the aforementioned Tech Package, and all-wheel drive for $1,750. With every box checked, we’re looking at $44,445 out the door.

Not to be overlooked

The Hyundai Santa Fe XL is kind of a lame duck crossover at this point. Soon, we’ll have the all-new Palisade to woo American three-row crossover consumers.

But despite this inherent obsolescence, the Santa Fe XL still holds up really well. It’s nicely appointed and enjoyable to drive. And with a base price that undercuts many of its toughest competitors, it’s still a perfectly good way to get three-row utility in 2019.

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Cryptocurrency Was Their Way Out of South Korea’s Lowest Rungs. They’re Still Trying.

Cryptocurrency Was Their Way Out of South Korea’s Lowest Rungs. They’re Still Trying.

SEOUL, South Korea — Kim Ki-won is keeping a secret from his parents.

It isn’t just that he has bought and sold an immense number of digital coins. Mr. Kim, who is 27 and lives with his parents, once made so much money trading cryptocurrencies that he was spending $1,000 a month on whatever he wanted. He quit his job. He borrowed to buy more. He planned to buy a house.

Today he sits slumped over, at times hiding his eyes behind his hair. Which brings us back to Mr. Kim’s secret: He has lost a lot of money, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars.

“I don’t think it’s fair that people call it gambling,” he said of his cryptocurrency obsession. “But there are elements of truth here and there.”

A generation of young South Koreans like Mr. Kim, looking for a way out of their dead-end prospects, has helped turn the country into a capital of the wild world of cryptocurrencies. Now that the market has virtually collapsed, many people young and old are mired in debt and losses. Still, many young South Koreans continue to see digital money as a way break out.

South Korea remains the third-largest market for virtual currency, behind the United States and Japan. A total of $6.8 billion in cryptocurrencies changed hands in January, according to the data provider Messari. South Korea is a major trading hub for Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency, as well as a wide variety of other virtual currencies that exist without the backing of any country’s central bank.

Cryptocurrencies have become a cultural phenomenon in the country.

Coffee shops print their own digital coins. A national television network made a game show called “Block Battle,” in which contestants — one named “Kimchi Powered” — battled to build a company based on cryptotechnology.

On a recent evening in Seoul, a group of women and men in their 60s and 70s gathered at an event lit by strobe lights for the start of a new digital coin.

Image
The winning team and other contestants on the set of “Block Battle,” a television show in which contestants competed to build a business based on blockchain technology.CreditJean Chung for The New York Times

But it was millennials like Mr. Kim who led the charge. Many call themselves “dirt spoons,” a reference in South Korea to economic and social status, with gold and silver spoons being the best off and dirt spoons being the worst.

Cryptocurrencies seemed to be a way to disrupt that social order.

“There is no true opportunity in South Korea for the average young person,” said Kim Han-gyeol, 23, who graduated from a vocational school and became a part-time software developer for an e-book company.

She lives with her parents and works part time at Dunkin’ Donuts, studying English online at night.

At first, she made a lot of money investing in cryptocurrencies. She used a few thousand dollars she made to buy nice clothes for herself and her mother, and dreamed of starting a coffee shop with her loot. Then, she lost nearly all of it.

“I felt a sense of shame when I lost money on my Bitcoin investments, not once but twice because of my greed to make a fortune in one go,” she said. Even still, she added, she’ll stick to digital coins.

“There is nowhere else to go to recover my losses anyway,” she said.

Being young in South Korea can be defeating and stifling. To succeed is to get either a government position or a job at one of a small but powerful group of family-owned conglomerates that control most of the products Koreans use. This requires getting into one of a handful of exclusive universities, a feat that has become so difficult that many young people delay applying for several years.

Income inequality is among the worst in Asia. Youth unemployment is 10.5 percent and has hovered near that figure for the past five years even as overall unemployment is 3.4 percent.

Young Koreans are called the “sampo generation,” a portmanteau referring to the three things they have given up on: courtship, marriage and family.

Adding to their sense of disillusionment are a string of political scandals, including one that led to the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye, that exposed the deeply entrenched ties between South Korea’s powerful conglomerates and politicians.

When cryptocurrency came along, it set off discussions in chat rooms, weekly hangouts and even intellectual salons created just for digital coins: Could this new system uproot South Korea’s rigid social order?

Buying digital coins was a lot easier than buying stocks or getting a loan to start a business. Kim Ki-won needed to invest only a small amount in the early days. “It was an opportunity for me to make big money,” he said, his eyes wide with excitement even now thinking about the prospect.

For Remy Kim, a 29-year-old who is host to several cryptocurrency channels on the social media app Telegram, digital money could mean nothing short of revolution.

Image

Remy Kim, a 29-year-old cryptocurrency investor, believes he is the youngest person in South Korea to own a Rolls-Royce.CreditJean Chung for The New York Times

Online he goes by “Les Mis,” after “Les Misérables,” the Victor Hugo tale of the poor rising up in revolution. Mr. Kim writes about Cryptopia, a future where everyone is equal and the social constructs that money creates don’t exist.

“Crypto played a role in shifting wealth from one group in society to another,” he said. “It has affected Korean society tremendously.”

Mr. Kim discovered cryptocurrencies after his computer was hacked by a person who demanded Bitcoin in ransom. In the end, he paid the hacker 1.2 Bitcoins — which at the time was worth nearly $800.

Soon he was buying digital coins for himself, riding a Bitcoin bubble that peaked at more than $19,000 for a single Bitcoin.

He made enough to buy himself a half-million-dollar navy blue Rolls-Royce. As far as he knows, “I’m the youngest person in Korea with a Rolls-Royce,” he said.

Mr. Kim said he had since lost much of what he made, but he doesn’t like to dwell on this. (He still has the Rolls.)

Last year, South Korea’s government mulled shutting down virtual currency exchanges where investors buy and sell, saying that it was starting to look a lot like gambling.

At the time, some exchanges were processing transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But the news caused an outcry, and the government merely barred cryptocurrency investors from opening new anonymous accounts linked to banks in an attempt to crack down on money laundering.

Even some former cryptocurrency evangelists warn that the best days are over. They include Kimchi Powered, the contestant on the “Block Battle” television show.

Kimchi Powered, whose real name is Jung Ki-young, made it all the way to the show’s finals, in part by entertaining the judges with silly costumes. On the night of the final round, Mr. Jung, 36, wore a shimmering suit jacket.

Image

Jung Ki-young, a one-man team called Kimchi Powered, made it to the finals of “Block Battle.”CreditJean Chung for The New York Times

He still invests in cryptocurrencies, but warns others that there aren’t as many opportunities to make money as before.

“Many people are very depressed these days because the price of Bitcoin has dropped,” he said in an interview. “It was my intention to give people a reason to laugh rather than trying to win the competition.”

Falling prices aren’t the only reason South Koreans can’t make money as they did before.

Big companies increasingly overshadow small investors. Hyundai, a major conglomerate, created a blockchain platform called HDAC and advertised the technology at the World Cup. A unit of Lotte, a conglomerate that became embroiled in a corruption scandal in 2017, has worked with blockchain start-ups.

A number of South Koreans have also been hit by scams.

“Koreans lack knowledge about finance,” said Remy Kim, the investor who goes by Les Mis and who gives tips and information on how cryptocurrencies work. “They are stingy at the store, but then they poured everything into cryptocurrencies.”

Still, many dirt spoons hold on to the hope that cryptocurrencies will turn back around.

Kim Ki-won said he would tell his parents about his cryptocurrency obsession soon. But first, he wants to make enough to start a business. He is sure that the market will turn around.

“I have nothing to lose,” he said. “I always wanted to be rich.”

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Microsoft begs you to stop using Internet Explorer

Microsoft begs you to stop using Internet Explorer


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Old habits die hard, but they do eventually have to die. Microsoft knows there are still plenty of businesses and organizations out there using Internet Explorer because the outdated browser supports legacy web apps, but the company is asking people to finally let go of their old ways and to embrace a modern browser.

In a blog post, Microsoft senior cybersecurity architect Chris Jackson said continuing to use Internet Explorer is racking up companies a ton of “technical debt.” Essentially, by continuing to use IE, organizations are creating additional costs down the line by selecting the easiest, most convenient solution now rather than the approach that is best for the long term. Jackson laid out a scenario in which a company, choosing the easiest possible route since Internet Explorer 6, goes to make a webpage today and ends up using a 1999 implementation of web standards by default.

Microsoft has tried to limit the technical debt accrued when using IE, including creating an Enterprise Mode for the browser back in 2014. Enterprise Mode lets websites render as they would in previous verisons of IE to avoid compatibility issues with old web apps. However, the best way to make sure you’re not falling behind is by switching to a modern browser. Microsoft killed support for IE 8, 9 and 10 in 2016. Most developers don’t test for compatibility with IE because most people don’t use it. It might be convenient to run old apps in IE, but it’s safer, smarter and better long term to move to a modern browser.

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With the Moto G7 family, Motorola has a mid-range phone for everyone

With the Moto G7 family, Motorola has a mid-range phone for everyone

Motorola’s flip-phone-inspired foldable might be generating all the buzz, but the Lenovo-owned brand is arguably still best known for its mid-range Moto G phones. That’s not a bad thing, either. Year after year, Motorola dutifully churns out some of the best wallet-friendly smartphones you’ll find, and with the introduction of the new, $299 Moto G7, that streak seems to be going strong in 2019. With all that said, though, Motorola’s mid-range plan this year isn’t exactly business as usual.

For one, it seems like Motorola is trying to dodge a glut of trade show news by announcing its new stuff ahead of this year’s Mobile World Congress. And more importantly, we’re getting three — three! — new Moto G phones right off the bat. There’s the G7 itself, plus two variations on the theme: the $199 G7 Play for shoppers on a tighter budget and the $249 G7 Power for people who need insanely long battery life. (To confuse matters further, there’s an even higher-performance version called the Moto G7 Plus, but the company doesn’t plan to bring it to North America — oh well.)

Gallery: Hands-on: Moto G7, G7 Play and G7 Power | 19 Photos

In years past, Motorola gave G-series phones in the same family different processors, but that has changed too. Each version of the G7 coming to the US packs one of Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 632 chipsets, albeit with different RAM allotments — the Play has 2GB, the Power has 3GB and the top-tier G7 has 4GB. That power parity was a pleasant surprise, and during some hands-on time at an event in New York City, all three felt plenty responsive. (It definitely doesn’t hurt that all three devices run near-stock versions of Android 9.0 Pie). These phones aren’t going to run identically, but they seem close enough that a smartphone shopper doesn’t need to worry too much about buying the wrong one. This year, Motorola seems more concerned with giving people the right phone for the right context.


The Moto G7 is the cheapest and least interesting of the lot.

The G7 Play, for instance, is the cheap model geared toward people who prefer smaller devices. It packs a 5.7-inch, 19:9 MaxVision display running at 1512×720, along with 32GB of internal storage, a microSD slot that takes cards as large at 512GB, a headphone jack and a mostly-just-OK 13-megapixel camera. Of all the new G7 models, the Play is the most comfortable to use because of its relatively compact design, and unless you had your nose pressed right up against that notched display, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell it was running at less than 1080p.

As mentioned, it’s pretty snappy in the performance department, too, though the 2GB of onboard RAM mean the Play is bound to slow down more noticeably once you have lots of apps running. All told, it’s a perfectly serviceable option for folks who really don’t want to spend too much on a smartphone, but the Play is easily the least interesting of Motorola’s new devices.

Price-wise, the G7 Power sits in the middle of the pack, but its standout feature gives it a clear edge over the rest of Motorola’s new line-up. Despite being only marginally bigger than the more premium G7, the Power packs a whopper of a 5,000mAh battery, which Motorola says is rated for up to three days of use off a single charge. (We’ll be the judges of that, thank you very much.)

That Motorola managed to squeeze such a big battery into a body that really doesn’t feel that big is a feat worth admiring, even if it made me wish the company had done the same for the G7. Squeezing three days of use out of a phone required some compromises, though: the Power’s 6.2-inch screen is just as big as the G7’s but it runs at 1520×720, so individual pixels will be more noticeable when you get really close to the display.

To be clear, the notched screen here is still more than adequate for daily use, and for people who care about battery life more than anything else, the trade-off is easily worth it. The 12-megapixel camera isn’t half bad either, and while it technically shoots at a lower resolution than the cheaper Play, the Power’s sensor has larger pixels for improved low-light performance. Throw in an extra gig of RAM compared to the G7 Play, 32GB of storage (again expandable with microSD cards), a headphone jack and a decent 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and we’re left with a tantalizing twist on the G7 formula.

That leaves us with the regular G7, which, despite not having a more descriptive name, is the best of the lot. The G7 also happens to be the prettiest of the three, for a few important reasons. Instead of a wide, Apple-style notch to house the speaker and front-facing camera, the G7 uses a now-common teardrop cut-out to hide its 8-megapixel front camera. The 19:9, 6.2-inch display also runs at Full HD+ (2270×1080, for those keeping track) making it the nicest G7 model to actually look at. The bezels running around that screen are the thinnest you’ll find on all of the new G7 variants. And while last year’s Moto G6 had a body covered mostly in Gorilla Glass 3, the G7 adds an eye-catching metal frame that’s also quite nice to hold onto. (There’s a lovely white model in addition to the standard black, too, and man is it pretty.)



Since it packs the most RAM, it’s little surprise that the G7 is the most capable of the phones Moto is bringing to North America. While it didn’t run noticeably faster than either of its less expensive siblings, that extra memory will be reason enough for some to splurge on Moto’s priciest new G series phone — it’ll just hold up better over time. Motorola also paid special attention to the G7’s 12MP+5MP dual camera, fleshing it out with new features and some helpful holdovers from earlier devices. You’ll be able to shoot portraits as usual, isolate colors in photos and shoot the same kooky, partially animated Cinemagraphs that Motorola embraced in its Z3 last year.

On paper at least, the most helpful new camera feature here is Motorola’s high-resolution zoom, which combines multiple exposures into a single image once you zoom past 2x. In theory, those imaging smarts should make for slightly crisper photos, but I didn’t notice much difference while taking test shots on a busy New York street. Motorola says there’s a sweet spot between 2x and 4x that should produce the best results, but even then, photos taken within that range still looked pretty muddy. Digital zoom has never been the ideal way to get really tight on a subject, and even with new software tricks, it’s best avoided whenever possible.

Thankfully, Motorola’s auto smile capture feature works much better. As the name suggests, the camera will automatically snap a photo whenever it detects a smile, and it correctly triggered the shutter almost every time I tried. It’s not exactly perfect yet, though: it’s great for identifying grins that show teeth, but my timid, awkward, closed-mouth smiles didn’t always do the trick.



All told, Motorola has done some impressive work here, but I have to wonder whether Motorola actually needed to introduce three new mid-range phones at once. True, each of these devices bring something different to the table. Its solid screen, slight edge in performance and more flexible camera mean the G7 maintains Motorola’s tradition of building mid-range phones that feel much better to use than most. The G7 Power’s massive battery is sure to win it some fans. And the G7 Play? Well, it’s really cheap.

Maybe some more time with these devices will unearth some revelation about usability, but for now at least, the Play seems like a tough sell, especially when the Power only costs $50 more. It almost feels superfluous. Motorola says its plan to expand its G series line-up was based purely on customer feedback, so perhaps it’s on the right track after all. If nothing else, though, budget smartphone shoppers are flush with choice, and it’s hard to complain about that.

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Properties Are Still Being Sold for Cryptocurrency Despite the Bear Market – Bitcoin News

Properties Are Still Being Sold for Cryptocurrency Despite the Bear Market – Bitcoin News

Bitcoin and many other digital assets have lost more than 80 percent of their fiat value since 2017. Despite this, the trend for people selling homes for cryptocurrency continues to thrive amidst one of the longest bear markets in crypto history.

Also read: Canadian Exchange Insolvent After CEO Dies With Keys to $145M of Cryptocurrency

The Real Estate and Crypto Asset Trend Continues in 2019

It’s been one of the longest bear markets ever in bitcoin land, but digital asset proponents are trucking along with relentless faith hoping that the lows will eventually come to an end. Because of the price drop, the entire cryptocurrency economy has been affected as blockchain companies have suffered layoffs and cryptocurrency-related internet searches have dropped significantly. Not all crypto trends have been downwards however: people are still interested in crypto-focused conferences and over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin volumes have been climbing. Another trend that’s managed to survive is the real estate market and its newfound relationship with cryptocurrencies. Back in late 2017, when crypto assets were extremely valuable, people were selling real estate for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. And now, even after the 80+ percent drop in value, individuals and real estate firms are still putting homes on the market for digital currencies.

Properties Are Still Being Sold for Cryptocurrency Despite the Bear Market
A Saddlebunch Key estate located in Key West, Florida can be exchanged for digital currencies.

Home Owners in Australia Are Still Selling for Cryptocurrencies

On Jan. 30, a regional news outlet reported how property in Australia is still being sold for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. For instance, Real Estate agency Ray White is selling a luxurious three-bathroom home in Surfers Paradise for $580,000 and the owner is willing to accept payment in BTC. In a suburb of Darwin, an apartment is selling for roughly 126 BTC or $600,000. The private listing says “We are happy to accept Bitcoin or any other major cryptocurrency instead of Australian dollars for this property.” Not only are homes selling for cryptocurrencies in Australia but people can purchase parcels of land with digital assets as well. Another listing located in the town of Helidon, Queensland has the homeowner seeking the equivalent of $86,000 paid in BTC. “You can purchase this property entirely using bitcoins,” the listing details.

Properties Are Still Being Sold for Cryptocurrency Despite the Bear Market
Ray White Real Estate is selling a Surfers Paradise home for $580,000 which can be purchased with BTC.

There Are People Listing Luxury Apartments, Estates and More for Digital Assets in 2019

Australia isn’t the only region seeing this trend, as real estate listings being sold for cryptocurrencies has become a mainstay over the last two years. For instance, in San Fransisco, according to a Craigslist ad, a mid-century hillside estate can be purchased for $3.3 million. “The seller may consider offers including consideration paid in bitcoin or other forms of cryptocurrency,” explains the advertisement.

Properties Are Still Being Sold for Cryptocurrency Despite the Bear Market
This Playa Colorado beach home is for sale and the owner is happy to accept cryptocurrencies.

In Hughson California, you can buy a $2.3 million 5,138 sq ft luxury cherry estate with four bedrooms. The property also includes 14 acres of land and was designed by Conrad Sanchez. For 70 BTC, a property in the beautiful region of Playa Colorado can be purchased that includes its own private beach club and restaurant membership. For $900,000 in digital currencies, there’s a 3-bedroom, 1,800 sq ft Key West estate for sale located on Saddlebunch Key.

Properties Are Still Being Sold for Cryptocurrency Despite the Bear Market
A $2.3 million 5138 sq ft luxury cherry estate in California with four bedrooms is being sold for digital currencies.

Lots of Parcels and Acreage for Sale

Homes and apartments are not the only types of properties being listed for cryptocurrencies as there are lots of plots of land for sale too. You can use BTC, ETH, or LTC to purchase 41 hectares of land by the Baltic Sea which consists of eight interconnected parcels.

Properties Are Still Being Sold for Cryptocurrency Despite the Bear Market
The owner of over 300 acres of land located in Bouse, Arizona will sell the large parcel for digital assets.

In Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, someone could snatch up a vacant Poconos lot and acquire a ½ acre of this popular vacation land for digital currencies. There are almost 12 acres of land for sale that borders Boise in the region of Sweet, Idaho and the owner is interested in a digital currency trade. Or if you want a whole bunch of acreage, for $475,000 in cryptos you can purchase a 300-acre farm with water in Bouse, Arizona.

It seems that people are still finding value in listing luxury homes, apartments and lots of acreage in exchange for cryptocurrencies. The lower cryptocurrency values may entice owners selling properties because essentially they can gather a lot more coins. So far, in 2019, there are still plenty of sellers who are attracted to this form of payment and are happy to accept cryptocurrencies instead of fiat in exchange for property.

What do you think about the continued trend of people listing homes and land in exchange for cryptocurrencies? Why do you think this trend has been persistent? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse these real estate products/services. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned listings, advertisements, companies or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com and the author are not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. This editorial is for informational purposes only. 


Image credits: Shutterstock, Ray White Real Estate, and Craigslist. 


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Acres, Apartments, Australia, BCH, Bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Blockchain, BTC, Buyers, Condos, Cryptocurrencies, Digital Assets, Global, Home Owners, Land, Luxury Homes, N-Featured, Plots, Ray White Real Estate, Real estate, Real Estate Listings, Sellers

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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