‘Secret World Legends’ expands into disaster-ridden Tokyo

“The Tokyo updates represent the final part of the storyline that was The Secret World,” said Executive Producer Scott Junior in a statement. “But there is much more to come, and we especially want our veteran players to know that as the storyline of The Secret World ends, the storyline of Secret World Legends is about to start. This winter, a brand new story will be revealed.”

Tokyo: Back to the Beginning brings players to Kaidan, Tokyo, also known as Ground Zero since it’s where all of The Secret World events were set in motion. With the expansion come enemies based on Japanese folklore, shady parts of Tokyo to explore and Kaidan’s “horror-haunted avenues.” Players will also come across a lot of quarantined areas that will become accessible with the two additional Tokyo updates. Once all three updates are launched, the game will begin a new story that will bring with it new locations, characters and adventures.

Tokyo: Back to the Beginning is available now.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/secret-world-legends-expands-tokyo/

This Infiniti EV defies all logic, but you will want it anyway

The Infiniti Prototype 9 is the embodiment of feeling, a magnificent vehicle that takes design cues from the 1940s and creates a piece of art that exudes adventure. The car started off as a request to look into Infiniti’s (and parent company Nissan’s) past and find something that links it to today’s world.

Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti senior vice president of global design, looked back further than expected, to the grand prix races in 1940s Japan. “As soon as that hit, it kind of dominoed,” he said. What started as a sketch turned into foam mock-ups before passing through Nissan’s research center in Oppama — all built in seclusion. The automaker’s advanced engineering team also got in on the action, making it an electric vehicle. Employees from various departments all came together to work after hours to make the metal EV racer a reality.

This Infiniti EV defies all logic, but you will want it anyway

Typically when you see the early photos of a new car or concept vehicle it’s expected that it won’t look quite as good in reality. But when I saw the Prototype 9 on an abandoned runway in Alameda, California, I was taken aback by how stunning it was in real life. I actually joked that I would trade a kidney for the car. I might have been half serious.

While I was there, the car was driven rather gingerly up and down the runway. The Prototype 9’s silent drivetrain is a stark contrast to the roar of the vehicles it’s based on. Infiniti says the steel-framed car, wrapped in hammered steel panels, is capable of doing 105.6 miles per hour and will get from zero to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 5.5 seconds.

Neither of those benchmarks were shown off in Alameda, and frankly, those numbers only matter if Infiniti decides it’ll use the Prototype 9 as the basis for a new EV — and hopefully it’ll do just that. The Prototype 9 has been well received, so there’s a chance something like it will appear in showrooms in a few years. Electric cars need a new roadster: After all, the Tesla is getting long in the tooth, and Elon Musk’s company now has its hands full with all of those Model 3s it needs to build.

Infiniti’s current lineup lacks a convertible and its future (like the future of most automakers) is filled with SUVs and crossovers. People want big cars. They want to know that their raised station wagon could handle some off-roading should the opportunity ever present itself. But there’s still a market for a car without a top. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is proof of that.

While I wait for an EV without a roof I can actually buy, I was able to sit in the concept of one briefly. I wasn’t allowed to drive it; maybe they knew I’d leave and never return? Like nearly all race cars it’s too small for my tall frame. But I squeezed in, and it reminded me of the first time I drove my first car: A Datsun roadster with a horrible yellow paint job and a laundry list of problems. But I was instantly reminded of how much I loved that car at the time and the freedom it afforded me.

This Infiniti EV defies all logic, but you will want it anyway

It’s ridiculous to assign emotions to an inanimate object, but that’s what we do with our cars. They’re our escape, or second home and, more importantly, an extension of ourselves. It’s going to be decades before autonomous cars take over the roads. Until that happens, let’s bask in the joy of driving and celebrate the art of cars like the Prototype 9 and hope that we get something similar from an automaker in the future. Just let’s hope it comes with more leg room.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/17/this-infiniti-prototype-9-ev-defies-all-logic/

‘EVE: Valkyrie’ won’t require VR come September

EVE: Valkyrie was one of the first games Oculus used to show off one of its Rift prototypes, and since 2014, the game has been associated exclusively with virtual reality. That’s changing. The game’s “Warzone” update will strip the VR headset requirement, allowing anyone with a PlayStation 4 or powerful enough PC to play the game. If you’re keeping track at home, that means true cross-platform multiplayer is here; you’ll be able to battle folks on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PC, PS4 and PSVR.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/15/eve-valkyrie-no-vr-required/

Alleged Microsoft memo says Surface reliability issues are fixed

In a post on his site Thurrott, tech journalist Paul Thurrott described the memo. Written by Microsoft vice president Panos Panay, it reaffirmed that all current Surface devices enjoy low failure rates and high customer satisfaction. However, two devices released concurrently in 2015, the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, had significant return rates soon after they launched (as seen in the graph below). Irate consumers complaining about these products from this time frame might have been disproportionately represented in Consumer Reports’ survey data, Panay suggested.

Alleged Microsoft memo says Surface reliability issues are fixed

Why the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book had such high “failure” rates is a story unto itself: Competing narratives from inside sources blame either Intel’s then-new Skylake generation of chips that Microsoft loaded into those devices, or that the tech company just flubbed when creating custom drivers and settings for its hybrid devices, Thurrott recalled.

Commitments to improve later devices paid off, Panay continued in the memo, which is reflected in the lower return rates for more recent Surface devices. Across the whole product family, Surfaces currently have less than one percent of “incidents per unit.” Panay also took issue with what Consumer Reports’ considers a ‘failure:’ Frozen screens or unresponsive touch are minor incidents that the user can easily fix.

Whether they should have to or not apparently didn’t reflect the other metric Panay brought up: That Surface products beat competing devices with consistently-higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a version of customer satisfaction measuring whether consumers would recommend others buy the same model. But that isn’t the same as reliability, which is what Consumer Reports was originally surveying, Thurrott points out.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft to confirm the existence of this memo as it’s described and will report when we hear back. But Thurrott has a good history of uncovering information ahead of time, like when he revealed that Microsoft’s Hololens wouldn’t be released ahead of 2019.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/14/alleged-microsoft-memo-says-surface-reliability-issues-are-fixed/

GM expands car rental service for gig economy workers

Pricing starts at $189 a week for the Cruze and runs up to $229 for the Bolt EV (plus taxes). That sounds like a lot (over $1,000 per month for the Bolt), but the price does include unlimited miles, commercial-use insurance and maintenance. That covers most of the expenses required, except gas, and you can walk away if you no longer need it. Considering that drivers earn around $14.50 per hour with Uber on average (about $580 per week), however, that doesn’t leave a lot at the end.

Drivers want the Bolt EV because of cost savings as well as helping with energy and environmental goals.

Chevy says the Bolt EV is the most popular ride for Maven Gig renters, and it will be available in the new cities, with 20 available in Boston to start with. “We are committed to bringing Bolt EVs to all Maven Gig markets,” says GM’s Rachel Bhattacharya. “Drivers want the Bolt EV because of cost savings as well as helping with energy and environmental goals.”

Indeed, since electricity is a lot cheaper than gas, the Bolt may be the cheapest way to do ride-sharing. The only problem is the 238 mile range, which could limit the number of hours drivers work — a typical taxi drives about 250-300 miles per day in New York City, for instance (70,000 miles per year).

Chevy points out that the cars can be used for hauling restaurant or grocery deliveries as well as passengers. As such, it recently teamed with HopSkipDrive, a ride service for when parents can’t drive their kids themselves, as well as GrubHub, Instacart and Roadie.

GM is bullish on the gig economy, but Uber, for one, has seen recently drivers leaving in droves, according to analytics outfit Apptopia — in part due to lower rates of pay. If they’re using GM’s Maven Gig rental service, however, they’ll at least be able to make a clean break.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/10/gm-maven-gig-chevy-bolt-car-rentals/

PS4 Pro owners get 60FPS Twitch streaming in next update

There’s more whether or not you have a Pro. Families now have the option of multiple adult accounts, and you can set parental controls on a per-account basis (teens can have more freedom than their younger siblings, for instance). You can also follow anyone’s account, not just well-known developers and video personalities. And if you’re tired of having to go back to the home screen to see your system notifications, they’ll be available in the Quick Menu.

It’s still not certain when 5.0 will show up, but Sony started taking sign-ups for beta testing in mid-July. There could still be weeks to go before there’s a publicly available version. When it does arrive, though, it could launch alongside a revamped PlayStation mobile app with an upgraded design.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/09/ps4-firmware-5-update/

Tesla fans reach a symbolic long-distance EV driving milestone

Like many past record-holders, the Italian team had to hypermile (that is, optimize their driving behavior) to keep the P100D going for as long as possible. They drove around Salerno at a pokey 40km/h (24.9MPH) with low rolling resistance tires, the air conditioning turned off and an emphasis on smooth driving techniques (such as the use of Autopilot) that made the most of the battery. All told, the feat took 29 hours — you wouldn’t want to try this if you were in a hurry to get anywhere.

You likely won’t see EVs achieving this kind of mileage in everyday driving any time soon. Tesla officially rates the P100D’s range at less than half this figure for a good reason, since the realities of the road are going to shrink the usable distance. However, the fact that it’s achievable at all is important. It suggests that truly long-range EVs aren’t that far away.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/05/tesla-model-s-drivers-reach-long-distance-milestone/

The best mechanical keyboards

How we picked

Mechanical keyboards are best for people who spend most of the day typing, and want a keyboard that’s durable, comfortable, and pleasant to use. For the most part, we focused on Cherry switches in this guide, because they’re by far the most prevalent and have a decades-long reputation for reliability. But we also considered some of the clones that have appeared since Cherry’s switch patents expired in 2014, as well as other, completely different types of mechanical switches, such as Topre and Alps clones (the latter found in our Mac pick).

Each of Cherry’s switches is named after a color, with the Cherry MX Browns, Blues, and Clears being the most popular according to GoMechanicalKeyboard’s survey of enthusiasts. Because everyone has different preferences, we can’t recommend one particular switch that’s best for everyone. We recommend buying (or borrowing) a switch tester, trying a friend’s keyboard, or going to a store and poking some mechanical keyboards for yourself. And be sure to reference our handy chart detailing the types of Cherry switches in our full guide.

There are three common sizes of mechanical keyboard: full, tenkeyless, and 60 percent. Full keyboards have all the keys: letters, numbers, modifiers, function keys, arrow keys, and a number pad. Tenkeyless (often abbreviated TKL) keyboards lack a number pad, but have all the other keys. Lastly, 60 percent keyboards—popular in the mechanical-keyboard enthusiast community—include only the essential block of letters, numbers, and modifiers, and have no function keys, no arrow keys, and no numpad.

If you need the number pad all the time, you should stick to full keyboards, but most people are best off with a tenkeyless board. We recommend a 60 percent keyboard only if you’re very sure you don’t need the arrow or function keys.

Our pick: WASD Code 87-Key

The best mechanical keyboards

The WASD Code 87-Key looks great on a desk, and feels great to type on. Photo: Michael Hession

If you spend most of your time typing, the WASD Code 87-Key is a fantastic option. This keyboard is available with all the most popular switch options for general use and typists: Cherry MX Brown, MX Clear, MX Blue, or MX Green. It’s available in international layouts, too. But it lacks multicolor backlighting and can’t record or store macros.

Our panelists universally loved the Code because of its subtle, elegant design and unmatched build quality. The keycaps feel smooth but not slippery, and make a solid clacking noise when depressed into the steel backplate. The trade-off for the Code’s superior build quality is that it weighs 2 pounds, but we don’t think this is a dealbreaker.

With a number pad: WASD Code 104-Key

The best mechanical keyboards

The Code 104-Key is identical to the 87-Key, but with the addition of a number pad. Photo: Michael Hession

If you need a full-size number pad, get the Code 104-Key instead. It’s exactly the same as our main pick, but includes a number pad and weighs a bit more (2.42 pounds). The Code 104-Key is available in all the same switches: Cherry MX Brown, MX Clear, MX Blue, and MX Green.

For Mac enthusiasts: Matias Tactile Pro

The best mechanical keyboards

The Tactile Pro gives you a fully Mac-standard layout, Mac-specific keys and labels, and a great typing experience. Photo: Michael Hession

If you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard for your Mac, we recommend Matias’s Tactile Pro. This full-size keyboard offers an unmatched combination of a Mac-standard layout, great custom switches, Mac-specific function keys, solid construction, and exceptionally useful key labels for accessing alternate characters. It also has a three-port USB 2.0 hub, with ports on each end and one in the back.

Rather than using the popular Cherry-class key switches, the Tactile Pro incorporates the same Alps switch mechanism used in the original Apple Extended Keyboard. The switches aren’t a perfect match for those on the Extended Keyboard, but they’re very similar.

Full-size budget: Logitech G610 Orion

The best mechanical keyboards

If you want a full-size keyboard for under $100, the Logitech G610 Orion is the best we found. Photo: Michael Hession

If you want a budget mechanical keyboard with a number pad, get the Logitech G610 Orion. It’s a full-size keyboard available with Cherry MX Brown or MX Red switches, and it has a fun volume-control wheel. You can assign and record Macros for the F1 through F12 keys using the Game Center software, and choose keys to disable when Game Mode is toggled. It also had one of the least-gaudy designs of the budget keyboards we considered. Most of our panel members liked the Quick Fire Rapid-i, even though it requires software to change backlight effects and has a nonremovable USB cable.

For gaming: Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma

The best mechanical keyboards

The Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma is the best option if you want macros and fun lighting effects. Photo: Michael Hession

If you want a gaming keyboard with programmable macros and multicolor LEDs, you should get the Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma. The BlackWidow TE Chroma is available with Razer’s proprietary Orange and Green switches that are roughly equivalent in feel to Cherry MX Browns and MX Blues, respectively. It has customizable RGB LEDs, allows macro recording for nearly every key, and has a gaming mode to disable keys and key combinations that can throw you out of the game. We don’t love the edgy sci-fi font or the glowing Razer logo on the front, but overall the design is more compact and elegant than that of other gaming keyboards we looked at.

Full-size gaming: Corsair K70 LUX RGB

The best mechanical keyboards

The Corsair K70 LUX RGB is the best full-size gaming keyboard, with all the bells and whistles. Photo: Michael Hession

If you want a full-size gaming keyboard with media keys and Cherry switches, the best option is the Corsair K70 LUX RGB Mechanical Gaming keyboard. It’s available with Cherry MX Brown, MX Blue, MX Red, and MX Speed switches. Though the K70 LUX was one of the more expensive full-size gaming boards we tested and doesn’t have the most tasteful design, it was still the favorite of our panel testers because of its superior build quality and flexibility, and handy media keys. You can assign macros to any key, and experiment with a whopping 13 lighting effects. And unlike our other picks, the K70 LUX has two sets of feet to prop up the board. By using only the front pair, you can achieve the slight negative slope recommended by ergonomic experts, unique among our picks.

This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/04/the-best-mechanical-keyboards/

Uber and Lyft are losing their fight against unionization

A federal judge has dealt a blow to ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft, after dismissing an appeal to block legislation that would allow their drivers to unionize. US District Court Judge Robert Lasnik rejected the lawsuit filed by the US Chamber of Commerce on behalf of its members (including Uber and Lyft), which argued that drivers are contractors, not employees, and therefore federal and state laws do not give them the right to unionize.

This is good news for advocates of Seattle’s Uber unionization law, which was passed by City Council in 2015 and gave rideshare drivers collective bargaining rights. But they’re not out of the woods yet. In April Lasnik temporarily blocked this law from going into effect while he considered its various legal challenges, and it remains blocked despite the rejection of the Chamber’s lawsuit.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/02/uber-and-lyft-are-losing-their-fight-against-unionization-Seattle-judge-ruling/

Apple agrees to pay $24.9 million to settle Siri patent lawsuit

In exchange for $24.9 million, Apple will be allowed to continue loading its devices with Siri and the assurance that it’s not going to be sued based on the same patent again… at least for the next three years. Dynamic Advances is getting $5 million as soon as the case is dropped, with the rest to follow. It expects to pocket half of the amount and divvy up the rest to pay Rensselaer and its lawyers, among the other entities involved in the case.

If you’re wondering, the patent in question is called “Natural language interface using constrained intermediate dictionary of results.” The document says the invention “relates to user interfaces, and more specifically, to user interfaces that recognize natural language.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/20/apple-settles-siri-patent-lawsuit/