Stream ‘Powerpuff Girls’ on Cartoon Network’s Roku app

The app has full-length episodes from popular shows like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Powerpuff Girls, and Teen Titans Go!. It also premieres “See It First” episodes via the app before they air on television as well as “hilarious clips, customized video mixes and other fun surprises.” You’ll still need to log in with your TV provider, though there will be some content available for those without a login, too.

If retro cartoons are more your thing, Roku also has the Warner Bros. Boomerang app to check out, which offers new original series along with classic shows like Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, The Jetsons and The Flintstones.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/stream-powerpuff-girls-cartoon-network-roku-app/

North Korea claims Trump declared war with a tweet

The talk doesn’t currently amount to much more than grandstanding when North Korea has used the “declaration of war” rhetoric before, and is likely fully aware that firing the first shot would amount to a death sentence. The language of the tweet certainly doesn’t suggest that an American first strike is imminent. However, this is the first time the North has used an internet post as a pretext for its bluster.

Also, the incident underscores the problems that can arise when political leaders post to social networks without any filters. Even an off-hand comment can spark a diplomatic row, and walking it back might not be as simple as deleting the tweet or issuing a quick apology.

Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/north-korea-claims-trump-declared-war-with-tweet/

‘Platoons’ of autonomous Freightliner trucks will drive across Oregon

Daimler will start with a test linking two of its larger Freightliner New Cascadia trucks that are ‘paired’ to move in sequence, tech that the company first publicly experimented with in a 2016 Europe-spanning challenge. In short, the autonomous trucks will ‘talk’ to each other and coordinate their driving to maximize efficiency, including keeping the trailing vehicle behind the front one to minimize drag, similar to how trains of cyclists ‘draft’ behind the leading one. The self-driving tech is also safer behind the wheel than humans, Daimler’s press release claims, reacting to traffic in three-tenths of a second when it typically takes a person more than one to respond.

‘Platooning’ has been on automakers’ radar as an intriguing automated evolution to long-haul trucking. Back in January, Toyota and Volkswagen started a three-year truck convoy test. Even Tesla is investigating the technology, leaked DMV correspondence revealed.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/platoons-of-autonomous-freightliner-trucks-will-drive-across-o/

Pinterest’s Lens tech powers Target’s visual search tool

First, you’ll see the Lens-style visual search integrated into the Target registry system, and then it will show up in the main Target app itself. Taking a picture of something you want will lead to a connection with Target, which can then fulfill your retail needs via online or brick and mortar stores. “This Pinterest partnership quite literally helps us shorten the distance from when our guests have an idea to when they’re ready to make a purchase,” said Target’s Rick Gomez in a statement. He also notes that Target can take a look at what people are searching for via the new visual search tool and then plan to carry styles and products that people actually want to buy.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/pinterests-lens-tech-powers-target-visual-search/

Lyft offers drivers 24/7 access to support services

These updates follow other recent changes aimed at make the driver experience better. Earlier this month, Lyft began allowing drivers to set a destination in the Driver app so that they could have the opportunity to pick up fares as they travel to where they need to be. Drivers can also now sign up in advance for scheduled pickups and a redesigned “Last Ride” button makes it simpler for drivers to let the app know that they’re done working. Lyft has also made new ride requests easier to notice for drivers with hearing impairments.

Lyft has been growing quite rapidly this year, overtaking Uber in growth, surpassing one million rides per day and, last month, expanding into 32 additional states. Improving the experience for its drivers only stands to help the company as it goes forward.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/lyft-drivers-24-7-access-support-services/

macOS High Sierra is well worth the upgrade

A better Safari

macOS High Sierra is well worth the upgrade

Apple claims that Safari 11 in High Sierra is the world’s fastest web browser. My testing with the JetStream benchmark confirmed that it was faster than both Chrome and Firefox on my MacBook Air. Safari clocked in with a score of 176.8, while the other two browsers came in around 129 (and yes, higher is better). Even so, I still found myself relying on the other browsers most of the time. Some of Google’s services, like Hangouts, only work on Chrome. And Firefox is typically the browser I use for dealing with anything related to work (it’s helpful having two browsers open at once for managing multiple Google accounts). While Safari tended to load some sites faster, that wasn’t enough to make me switch over.

As for other tweaks, Safari 11 mutes auto-playing web videos by default, which should help bring some peace as more sites push unwanted video on their readers. You can also enable the cleaner “Reader” mode automatically for specific sites, or have it automatically turn on for every website that supports the feature. That’s something you can only do with Chrome through settings hacks, or by installing third-party extensions. Apple also claims Safari will let you browse the web for two hours longer than the other two browsers, as well as watch Netflix for four hours longer.

Photos upgrades

macOS High Sierra is well worth the upgrade

As we covered in our preview piece, the Photos app got a slew of tweaks. But after testing the OS for the past few months, I ended up appreciating the new Live Photos capabilities the most. Just like in iOS 11, you can now turn Live Photos into short animated clips that resemble GIFs. You can choose from Loop, which just repeats the clip; Bounce, which moves it back and forth in time; and Long Exposure, a unique effect that mimics the dreamy photos you can get by manipulating exposure settings on bigger cameras. They’re not groundbreaking effects, but they finally make Live Photos seem useful, rather than a waste of space.

macOS High Sierra is well worth the upgrade

All of other Photos upgrades from iOS 11 also show up in High Sierra. That includes smarter people recognition (which can sync across all of your iCloud-connected devices), more automatic Memories options, and a wider assortment of photo filters. Another helpful upgrade: Third-party companies can now create extensions for Photos, which allows you to do things like prepare photo books without leaving the app.

VR support

macOS High Sierra is well worth the upgrade

Thanks to Metal 2, Apple’s updated graphics API, MacOS can finally handle virtual reality. Right now, it’s limited to the HTC Vive using SteamVR — sorry, Oculus Rift fans. And, just like with typical games, not every title supports Macs yet. Sure, it’s very much early days for VR on Macs, but at least it’s possible now with High Sierra.

We didn’t have any beefy Macs to test out the OS’s VR capabilities, unfortunately. As we’ve noted before, figuring out which Macs can actually support VR is surprisingly confusing. But at least High Sierra also brings support for external GPU docks, which means you can conceivably upgrade any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac with faster graphics capabilities.

Metal 2 should also make High Sierra more efficient at rendering windows and typical UI elements, especially if you have a decent dedicated GPU. I didn’t notice much of a difference on my 2014 MacBook Air as I tested the new OS over the past few months.

Wrapping up

A few other points worth noting:

  • Apple made a big deal about its upgraded Apple File System when it first announced High Sierra, but I didn’t notice much of a difference as I was testing the OS. Surprisingly, the company also dropped support for APFS on hybrid Fusion drives — at this point it only works on SSDs.
  • Siri brings over its improved voice and DJ abilities that we first saw in iOS 11.
  • You can now check on your airline flight status right from the Spotlight search bar.

We always knew High Sierra was going to be an iterative update for Apple, but I’m surprised by how few visible changes there are. It’s tough to tell you’ve even upgraded from Sierra unless you peek at your system’s settings. Together with a similarly humdrum iOS 11 update (unless you’re on an iPad), it seems like Apple was more focused on its new hardware this year than its software.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/macos-high-sierra-upgrade/

Google Home adds reminders to its voice-control repertoire

Google Home users can now set one-off and recurring reminders (daily or weekly) and even set reminders for months down the road. Google Assistant also understands context – if you ask it to remind you to walk the dog at 6 while you get ready for bed, for example, it will know to set the reminder to 6 AM. Reminders you set on Google Home will also notify your Android phone, as long as it’s running Android M+. In addition, if you have more than one user on Google Home, you’ll only hear reminders for you.

Sure, Alexa has had this feature since June, and Apple’s Siri has done the same thing for years (though only on your iPhone), but it’s good for those who opted for Home instead of one of Google’s competitors. You can check out all the details on Google’s Home support page, including how to check and update your Android version on your phone, set up multiple Home users, setting and managing reminders and how to deal with reminder notifications on Home or your handset.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/google-home-adds-reminders-to-its-voice-control-repertoire/

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ deserves better than CBS’s streaming service

It’s becoming increasingly clear we’re past the point where you could subscribe to just one or two streaming services and watch most of what you wanted. More and more companies are creating their own exclusive services, but you have to have the content to justify that. CBS All Access, at least as it exists right now, does not. Because the other offerings on the streaming service are so poor (it doesn’t even have full back catalogs of its own shows), CBS is basically asking people to pay $7 a month for the privilege of watching one show, maybe two (with commercials. To remove them, it’s $10 per month). That being said, the strategy appears to be working: CBS claims it had a record number of signups in a single-day for the debut.

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ deserves better than CBS’s streaming service

CBS also has been on the defensive when it comes to its fall lineup of television. They didn’t pick up a single show for the network with a female lead (though they have a high percentage of women viewers), which makes it all the more baffling that Discovery is confined to All Access. Here is a show with a black female lead. Why wouldn’t you want that on your network, easily accessible for all to enjoy? It’s doubly frustrating that All Access’s other exclusive property, The Good Fight (a spinoff of The Good Wife starring Christine Baranski) is also female-led.

Additionally, at a time when it seems as though every headline contains dire news, we need Star Trek. It’s always been a groundbreaking show, centering values of diversity. What we watch influences how we think about the world, and Star Trek shaped so many young minds. The idea that children from less affluent homes, who can’t afford to subscribe, will be denied the chance to see a new installment of the show is upsetting.

But it also makes the show difficult to talk about. I’ve been tweeting about Discovery quite a bit since it was announced, and at every turn, I’m faced with people complaining at me about the fee to watch it. I sympathize, though I’m willing to pay for it. But this discussion essentially derails any and every conversation around it. What’s more, in the future, it will mean less productive chatter surrounding any problematic aspects of Discovery, which shape how television grows and adapts. Fans of a franchise are often going to be less critical of it than those who are trying it out for the first time.

Ultimately, CBS is short-changing Discovery, a show with potential that is so much greater than what they’re currently allowing. It’s a visually stunning show. And it should be — it costs about $8 million to produce a single episode. But Star Trek isn’t about cinematics. The real fear among existing Star Trek fans was that in trying to make the show speak to a post-9/11 world, and the desire to attract new fans, it would be too grim. It would erase the very core of hope and optimism that defines Star Trek.

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ deserves better than CBS’s streaming service

The show is dark, to be sure. It’s also action-packed. It has the slick aesthetics of the movies. What this show does very well is marrying the Abrams-verse look with the essence of a Star Trek television show. It’s not the Trek we’re used to, but expecting it to be the same show it was three decades ago is not realistic. They threaded a very difficult needle — making this show relevant to our current times (which the franchise has always done) while also giving it the feel of Star Trek. And it excels at that.

Is it perfect? Definitely not — but no Star Trek is, and trying to hold this show to those expectations is unfair, to say the least. Plotting and dialogue are uneven. Additionally, the decision to treat the two episodes separately, rather than making it a two-hour pilot, is baffling. It’s one complete story that sets up the rest of the show, and the second half is the stronger of the two. Presumably, CBS only wanted to give non-subscribers access to half of it. But they shouldn’t just be milking an existing fan base for cash; this has the potential to bring in new viewers as well.

Star Trek: Discovery is too good to be hidden behind that kind of paywall. This is a show that deserves to unfold over years and be widely seen. It’s got some growing up to do, and I’m eager to see it happen. I just hope it gets the chance.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/star-trek-discovery-shouldnt-be-streaming-only/

Snapchat’s new filters make your photo backgrounds look surreal

Snap has been playing with augmented reality for a little while now. It’s recent offerings include World Lenses, introduced to Snapchat earlier this year, which let users place 3D objects within the real world image captured by their camera. And this month, Snapchat added 3D Bitmoji to its World Lens offerings. We’ll likely see even more advanced AR features in the future as Snap has spent quite a bit of money on its augmented reality technology and has bought a few useful companies along the way.

Some other recent Snapchat additions include extended video recording, backdrops and the Snap Map.

Sky Filters are rolling out today on both iOS and Android as Snapchat gears up for its sixth birthday.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/snapchat-filters-make-backgrounds-look-surreal/

In-flight Netflix will be available on more airlines in 2018

As you might have already surmised, mobile encoding uses far less bandwidth than what you get on the desktop. A “DVD quality” stream uses just 250Kbps, for instance. You won’t confuse that with a 4K HDR stream at home, but it’s good enough for a seat-back display or a tablet. And importantly, it won’t clog an aircraft’s WiFi network. You’d still need a reasonably fast connection to serve a large volume of passengers, but it beats having to limit access to just a few people or none at all.

Partnerships with airlines should kick off sometime in early 2018. Netflix isn’t naming specific allies, but it’s safe to say that this opens the door to carriers that couldn’t even consider the idea before. The big question is whether or not it’ll work as well in practice as it does in theory. This could be great for avoiding the mediocre movie and TV selections you frequently find on airlines, but it won’t help much if it renders airborne WiFi unusable the moment there’s a new Stranger Things season.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/in-flight-netflix-comes-to-more-airlines/