‘Virtual Rick-ality’ is a VR treat for ‘Rick and Morty’ fans

The game puts you in the role of a lowly Morty clone who’s initially created just to do Rick’s dirty laundry. That menial task serves as a cheeky way to learn how to interact with the environment, a loving recreation of Rick’s garage lab. You’ll notice plenty of callbacks to jokes from the show, but you won’t get much of a chance to explore them at first. For the task at hand, all you need to do is throw the dirty laundry into the washer, add some detergent, and you’re done. If you start fumbling and take too long, Rick and the actual Morty won’t waste any time berating you.

Eventually you’re tasked with retrieving an intergalactic delivery using a clone of Mr. Meseeks — a character that’s originally introduced in the show, but serves a very different purpose here. It exists purely to mimic all of your movement in VR, and it comes out of a device resembling a Poke Ball from Pokemon. Since you can throw that device anywhere, the clone ends up being a smart way to interact with objects outside of your virtual play space. And, after playing plenty of VR games, its ability to mimic your movements feels very original.

Throughout Virtual Rick-ality, you’ll notice plenty of mechanical similarities to the popular VR title Job Simulator. Both games were developed by Owlchemy labs, after all. Instead of flipping burgers, you’re given jobs befitting the weird world of Rick and Morty. The mere act of recharging a battery becomes an exhausting battle to turn dials, flip switches and pull levers. It’s a bit infuriating at first (especially if your VR setup has tracking hiccups), but eventually I got into the flow of the puzzle.

I played the game using an Oculus Rift with Touch Controllers, and it was a mostly pleasant experience. I could only play it in a small area, but Vive users can also play it with room-scale tracking, which gives you a bit more freedom to walk around the virtual environments. Since you’re spending much of the time teleporting around and grabbing objects, Virtual Rick-ality isn’t very intense. Instead, it’s more focused on the little details, like recreating the interface for Rick’s computer, or developing a complex puzzle to fix Rick’s spaceship.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/rick-and-morty-vr-virtual-rickality/

Google Home can now recognize more than one person

As it stands, the lack of multi-user support is a nuisance. While Home can still give everyone general information and trivia via the Knowledge Graph (and more erratic “featured snippets”), it can only create appointments and do other user-specific stuff for one designated Google account. Recently, however, it started displaying a message saying “multiple users are supported,” a clue that a change was in the offing.

Google Home can now recognize more than one person

To set it up, update the Google Home app on your smartphone (iOS or Android), then look for a card that says “multi-user is available” — if you don’t see it, click the top right icon to see your connected devices, as shown in the GIF above. Once you see Google Home, just click on “link your account,” and you’re ready to start training it.

After you say “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” twice each, the AI will store those phrases and use them to verify your voice characteristics in the future. “This comparison takes place only in your device, in a matter of milliseconds,” Google explains, to clear up any worries you may have about security or speed.

As shown in the video below, after a man asks about his day, Google Home lets him know that traffic is bad on his route. When his partner (who has a similar voice) asks the same question, it gives him separate, account-specific information about his schedule.

That’s something Alexa can’t do, though Amazon is reportedly working on its own multi-user feature, according to a leak from back in February. Until it gets that going, Google can finally claim some bragging rights — but it still has a lot of catching up to do.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/google-home-can-now-recognize-more-than-one-person/

Secure your data with Private Internet Access, now $100 off

Private Internet Access offers encrypted browsing protection with server nodes in over 25 countries worldwide. Broad availability means that your secure connection won’t suffer slowdowns when switching networks, and it provides a more effective cover for you internet activity. You can prevent IP-derived location tracking, and circumvent annoying geographic content restrictions for up to 5 of your devices with 1-click installation. As an added bonus, their MACE technology blocks intrusive ads and malware.

For a fast, high-quality VPN that won’t log any of your activity, Private Internet Access is hard to beat. Get a 2-year subscription for $59.95, over 60 percent off the standard price.

Check out these other popular offers from GDGT Deals:

Engadget is teaming up with StackCommerce to bring you deals on the latest gadgets, tech toys, apps, and tutorials. This post does not constitute editorial endorsement, and we earn a portion of all sales. If you have any questions about the products you see here or previous purchases, please contact StackCommerce support here.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/secure-data-private-internet-access/

Uber might have to pay £2 million to operate in London

Uber has more than 30,000 drivers in the capital, so would almost certainly fall into this tier. If we take 30,000 as gospel, that would mean a fee of £453,304 per year, or £2.2 million for a five-year licence.

TfL says the new structure is a better reflection of the industry and the costs, including licensing and compliance, that it accrues while managing minicab operators. As the Evening Standard notes, TfL is in the midst of a hiring spree that will take its compliance team to 300 this summer. That figure is the largest in mayoral history and reflects the growth in ride-hailing, as well as the numbers needed to curb illegal activity.

“Given the emergence of large operators in recent years with, in a few cases, many thousands of drivers/vehicles working for them, it is clear that the current structure does not now, in any way, reflect the true cost of compliance activity for larger operators,” TfL said in its consultation. “To illustrate the scale of this discrepancy, the largest operator [note: this is probably Uber] currently pays the equivalent of just £565 per annum (over five years) for a licence which costs over £500,000 per annum to enforce.”

Uber declined to comment.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/uber-transport-for-london-private-hire-licence/

Samsung and Amazon counter Dolby Vision HDR with HDR10+

Like Dolby Vision, HDR10+ uses “dynamic metadata” that’s encoded into scenes ahead of time, as opposed to the fixed metadata in HDR10. That’ll allow an HDR10+ TV to adjust brightness on a “scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame basis,” Samsung says. For instance, with HDR10, dark scenes in a generally bright movie may look “significantly darker than was originally envisioned by the director,” it adds. The new tech will adjust for that on the fly, making films look more as their creators intended.

Samsung and Amazon counter Dolby Vision HDR with HDR10+

That sounds very similar to how Dolby describes its tech, and as with Dolby Vision, HDR10+ metadata will have to be baked into content before TVs can decode it. As such, Samsung has teamed with Colorfront to incorporate HDR10+ mastering into its “Transkoder” systems used by post-production houses. It also worked with MulticoreWare to integrate HDR10+ into the newish x265 high efficiency video coding (HEVC) codec used by UltraHD Blu-ray, Netflix and satellite and terrestrial broadcasters.

While Dolby charges royalties for its tech, HDR10+ is an open standard, so it can be adopted by other TV manufacturers for free. However, HDR10+ still lacks some of Dolby Vision’s features, in particular its wider 12-bit color range and maximum 10,000 nit brightness — both features aimed at future TVs. Dolby Vision also works with the older HDMI 1.4a standard, while HDR10 requires HDMI 2.0. Dolby Vision is backwardly compatible to HDR10, but it’s not clear if it will work with the new standard.

Samsung has avoided Dolby Vision, but most other manufacturers including Sony and TCL have opted in. Dolby also has deals with Warner Bros., MGM, Universal and other studios to use its encoding tech. At the same time, Amazon, one of the main consumer streaming companies, has committed to start broadcasting HDR10+ globally “later this year,” it said. In other words, this format rivalry probably isn’t going away anytime soon.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/samsung-and-amazon-counter-dolby-vision-hdr-with-hdr10/

How to buy legal weed in the online era

Unless you’re lucky enough to already live in one of the seven states that have legalized recreational cannabis, the first thing you’ll need to do is acquire a medical cannabis license to treat the valid medical condition that you are suffering from. If you’re not sure whether you have a qualifying condition, you can find out here. Obtaining a license is especially easy to do online in California, where apps like EazeMD and NuggMD offer discounted evaluations that can be completed in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite so simple in other states and you’ll likely have to make an in-person appointment instead. Luckily, sites like Medical Marijuana Doctors and Leafly maintain up-to-date listings of local doctors, as well as pricing and office hours. In some cases you can even make your appointment online too. How easy is that?

Once you have been legally empowered to purchase medical cannabis, it’s time to educate yourself about what you’re about to put in your body. Once again, your two best options are Leafly and Massroots, both of which offer in-depth strain guides that will present you with a good deal of factual knowledge — at least a lot more than a list of strain names like Blue Dream, Green Crack and Sour Diesel will. Both sites also allow you to search for strains based on your medical condition or the desired effects you wish to achieve. You can even research the ever-growing range of edibles, from THC-infused honey sticks to intimate massage oils, and concentrates like oils, crumbles, waxes and shatters.

If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for on either of those sites, you’re still in luck, because this is the internet. Classic stoner mags like High Times have long since made the jump to digital and have been joined by a plethora of reputable sites like Cannabis News, which aggregates stories from various wire services. There’s also The Cannabist, which covers both breaking news and the wider stoner culture, and The Merry Jane, a news-and-features site started by Snoop Dogg.

Now that you have your license and know what you’re doing, it’s time to score some weed. Relax, it’s 2017: the process is pretty mundane at this point. On one hand, you can schlep over to the nearest dispensary and stand in line. On the other hand, you could just pull out your phone and have your order delivered to your front door. A number of dispensaries, like The Green Cross and Medithrive in San Francisco, offer online ordering and GrubHub-style delivery.

Additionally, outfits like SpeedWeed in LA, Eaze and Meadow all offer dedicated delivery services, and sites like Where’s Weed and Weed Maps will point you to reputable third parties. Unfortunately, as with online recommendations, the law on deliveries varies from state to state (and sometimes city to city), so make sure you know which side of the law your delivery guy is on.

Finally, we get to the good part: partaking. But I swear to all that is good and stony, you will put that homebrew honeybear bong down right now. You just went through all that trouble to get a license, educate yourself, find a dispensary, and buy some weed using your pocket computer and you’re going to smoke it out of a … is, is that a goddamn apple? That’s like cooking a Wagyu steak to well-done and then slathering it in ketchup. I mean, we’re living in the 21st century. We’ve got AI assistants and self-driving cars and you want to smoke weed that has been scientifically engineered to be as potent as possible, and tenderly grown in a state-of-the-art hydroponic farm, out of an empty soda can like it’s 1983. For shame.

See, there’s this new thing called vaping, which vaporizes the active ingredients (namely THC and the cannabinoids) of the flower without combusting the actual plant matter itself. That way, you get all of the beneficial effects without the gross tar and carcinogens.

There are a plethora of both tabletop and handheld vaporizers on the market today. Marquee brands like Volcano, Vape Xhale and Pax are generally both safe bets, but expect to pay a premium price for their premium performance. If you can’t afford those, here are some things to look for in your vapes:

  • Always go for convection heating elements over conduction coils if at all possible. The coils tend to burn out quickly and get gummed up with concentrate.
  • Put the torch down. If you’re getting into dabs, you’ll be far better (and more safely) served by upgrading to an e-nail like the White Rhino Torrid, which retrofits your existing water pipe into a dabbing rig, or the Dr Dabber Boost and Source Nail, which allow you to do honest-to-goodness dabs while on the go.
  • Avoid knockoffs. There are a ton of cheap vapes circulating online, so make sure you know what you’re buying before reaching for your wallet. The Wirecutter is always a good resource in these matters.

With these online resources, you should be able to better understand — and more responsibly enjoy — the wondrous world of semi-legalized weed using only your smartphone. Finally, you can stop tipping your delivery guy in nugs.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/how-to-buy-legal-weed-online/

Stream from your Android device to an Apple TV with an $8 app

Non-Apple-device Airplay streaming to Apple TV effectively died when Apple pushed tvOS 10.2 into the world. But the folks who enabled it in the first place, doubleTwist, have returned to fix that. “We went ahead and added support for Apple’s new pairing process in the latest doubleTwist Pro release because we believe the era of walled gardens is long gone,” a post on the developer’s blog says. Meaning, if you didn’t already have the premium app, all it’ll cost to get FLAC files from your Android device to your Apple TV is a spare $8. Handy!

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/doubletwist-update-android-airplay-streaming/

GoPro’s Fusion spherical camera is six GoPros in one

The company first hinted that it’s working on a consumer-level 360-degree camera in a promo video showing its partnership with MotoGP. It featured a device with back-to-back lenses attached to the back of a motorbike. Woodman also told Engadget at CES earlier this year that he envisions a future where you can “record your activities with one multi-lensed GoPro” and create a matching 2D video for sharing with a phone app. It’s unclear if the Fusion can do that, since GoPro isn’t quite ready to release it yet and has revealed but a few details about the device. We don’t even know if it’ll look like what’s in the image above, though you can see samples of what it can do in the video below.

The company’s pilot partners will be some of the first people to see Fusion in person when the program begins this summer. In fact, GoPro is now accepting applications from professional content creators, brands and agencies who want to test it out. It’s also planning a limited commercial release for the end of 2017 — unfortunately, we can’t say how much you’ll have to set aside, because the company hasn’t revealed its pricing (and exact availability) yet.

Since the device will likely cost more than the Hero models, it won’t be able to replace them right away. An all-seeing camera that allows you to choose the shots you want sounds like the perfect action cam, though. You can go as fast as possible without having to worry about framing shots or getting the most interesting things you see on cam.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/gopro-fusion-spherical-camera-vr/

A letter from your editor: Changes ahead

With each new editor at Engadget came a new direction, meant to reflect the state of technology. In those early days, we were the go-to place for exhaustive hardware news, and as gadgets went mainstream we followed suit. We broadened our vision beyond the narrow scope of gadgets, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a tech blog. We took on gaming, entertainment, politics, culture and science. We acquired the archives and expertise of early digital publishing pioneers like TUAW, Joystiq and gdgt. We moved away from aggregating press releases and started focusing on original reporting, invested heavily in new formats like video and social. Some of those changes paid off; others proved to be a distraction.

Now it’s time to do what we do best. Going forward, we’ll concentrate on the areas where we have the deepest expertise: consumer electronics (“gear”), gaming and entertainment. That doesn’t mean we’ll give up on things like diversity in the tech industry or NASA’s latest milestone, but we’ll be more selective about how we cover culture and science. You’ll also see more of the stuff Engadget built its reputation on: authoritative reporting on the tech industry and the people, products and ideas that power it.

Of course, innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and what happens today can change the course of tomorrow. The future is an exciting and unexpected place and our editors have front-row seats to the action. That’s why, after 13 years in the game, we’re leveraging our history to bring the future into focus. You’ll see more on the next phase of Engadget in the coming months, but in the meantime, allow me to introduce you to the people leading the charge.

Dana Wollman, our former managing editor and the person responsible for our industry-leading gadget reviews, has moved up the masthead to become our executive editor. You can expect her expertise to come in handy as we put the focus back on our core coverage.

Terrence O’Brien, news junkie, voice of the Engadget Podcast and our current managing editor, will remain in his position to oversee our East Coast headquarters. He’ll be joined by resident drone expert and audiophile James Trew, and Mat Smith, previously our man in Japan, who will oversee our West Coast and European operations, respectively.

Senior Editor Aaron Souppouris will be stepping up as features editor in an effort to bring you in-depth, long-form reporting on the topics you care most about. He’s the monster who’s been teaching AI to take our jobs.

Nathan Ingraham is moving up to become our deputy managing editor and will be joined by Senior News Editors Billy Steele and Richard Lawler in steering our daily news efforts. You already have these guys to thank for our 24-hour news coverage, breakneck event updates and liveblogs … all the liveblogs.

Director of Video Production Olivia Kristiansen is the woman who brought you the Webby Award-nominated documentary Super Humans: Inside the World’s First Cyborg Games.

Evan Rodgers, formerly of Vice, The Verge (because everything comes full circle) and a short retreat to the Deep South recently joined us as our social media manager.

Amber Bouman, our community manager, is the one putting the smack down in the comments, so be kind.

And then there’s you. As we look to the future, your input is more important than ever. You can get at us in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and wherever quality, ad-supported media is found. We may be strange, but don’t be a stranger.

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/a-letter-from-your-editor-changes-ahead/

Spotify lets thousands of indie labels limit free streaming

But the biggest news from this new deal is that Merlin will also get to restrict new releases from Spotify’s free tier for up to two weeks. Spotify has historically fought long and hard against splitting up its catalog between free and paid users, but it finally relented when signing a new deal with Universal Music a few weeks ago. (Some would say it didn’t have a real choice in the matter anymore.) Now, it seems that two-week window is going to become the standard when new music hits Spotify.

With new deals set for Universal and Merlin, it’s likely we’ll see Sony Music and Warner Music Group also ink new contracts in the coming months. Given that Merlin is able to take advantage of what Spotify sneakily calls its “flexible release policy,” it’s likely that Sony and Warner will also get on board here — which means that basically all notable new releases won’t be immediately available to free users.

Labels represented by Merlin include electronic-focused Armada, Beggars Group (whose sub-labels feature notable artists like Adele, Alabama Shakes, The National, Pavement, Beck, The Strokes and many more), the legendary Seattle-based Sub Pop and the punk-focused Epitaph. If you’re a fan of those labels but aren’t paying for Spotify, be aware you’ll now have to be patient when looking for new releases

This article is automatically posted by WP-AutoPost Plugin

Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/Spotify-Merlin-records-limited-free-streaming/