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Today’s Storystream

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Good morning, it’s time to play Setris.

This new falling block game from an indie developer called M.slivo that asks you the question: what if the blocks were made of sand (via Hacker News)?

Instead of rigidly fitting together, the blocks fall apart when they land, their pixels tumbling down the slopes. You clear “lines” by creating contiguous colored stripes that span the playfield. It breaks your brain in the most delightful way.

It’s for Windows and Linux only, unfortunately.

Apollo developer Christian Selig interviewed about Reddit’s new API policy.

Selig made Apollo, one of the most popular third-party Reddit clients. He and Snazzy Labs owner Quinn Nelson dive into why Reddit’s abrupt shift to an API access pricing structure may give apps like his an untenable future, saying it could cost him $20 million per year.

It’s a good interview that covers alternative monetization schemes and draws comparisons to API policy changes for both Twitter and Imgur.

A big Pixel 8 chip leak just dropped.

Tipster Kamila Wojciechowska, who’s dropped several Google leaks this year, wrote in great detail about the Pixel 8’s Tensor G3 SoC (via 9to5Google).

She says it’s getting the ARM Immortalis GPU, a first for US phones, and that it’s tuned for AI, which makes sense, considering... the entirety of Google I/O.

Pixel leaks just keep coming lately, even from Google itself.

The Verge’s 2023 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Gifts for tinkerers, makers, and outdoorsy types that are far cooler than your basic mug or necktie.

“Hey Siri” is about to get chopped in half.

Late last year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said Apple would change Siri’s invocation phrase to just “Siri” but was unsure about how long that shift might take. Now he says the change will be announced along with everything else we’ll hear about at WWDC next week.

Signups are open for Duet AI features for Google Slides.

Google tweeted that Google Workspace admins can sign up for a closed beta of Duet AI image generation in Google Slides yesterday (via 9to5Google). The feature lets users add AI-generated backgrounds with a “Help me visualize” prompt in the sidebar.

The feature was announced in March with other Google Workspace AI updates, but this marks the first time AI features have hit its presentation app.

Apple transformed the iPhone 10 years ago — and we’re still feeling it today

iOS 7 brought a bold new design, but much of what was introduced in that release still serves as the foundation for what we see on our iPhones today.

Computex 2023: all the news from Taiwan’s big PC show

For one glorious week, PC enthusiasts gathered in Taipei.

External Link
Reddit’s never gonna give Rick Astley up.

If you sort Reddit’s r/all page by top posts of all time, the number one spot is held by an old picture of Rick Astley riding a bicycle... posted by Astley himself.

The post got around 439,000 upvotes. As it hit the 250,000 upvote mark, Astley commented, “Wtf 🤣🙏.” Don’t worry, none of these links is a Rick roll. Technically.

How much free time do you have this weekend?

Because it sure was a packed week in the world of entertainment. We’ve got the excellent sequel to Into the Spider-Verse; a brilliant revival of Street Fighter; remakes of the classics games System Shock and Etrian Odyssey; and the season finales for Yellowjackets and Ted Lasso. Oh, and if you pre-ordered Diablo IV, you can dig in a little early.

A still photo of Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso.
Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso.
Image: Apple
External Link
Disney isn’t done pulling content just yet.

After yanking dozens of shows and movies from Hulu and Disney Plus on May 26th, a new filing with the SEC indicates that Disney plans on taking down even more content “during the remainder of its third fiscal quarter.”

Disney has already racked up a $1.5 billion impairment charge following last week’s takedowns, but now it estimates an additional $400 million charge as a result of its upcoming content removals.

VW ID Buzz debuts three-row electric Microbus for the US with more power and space

We finally have details on the electric Microbus that’s coming to North America, and nearly all of it is positive news.

Apple’s VR/AR goggles might come with some important warning labels.

Apple’s recent focus on accessibility in its devices includes features like the upcoming Personal Voice and Assistive Access mode. Now, according to Mark Gurman, Apple’s considering including warnings that people with specific health conditions should not buy or use the headset that it’s expected to reveal next week.

That includes people with Meniere’s Disease, past traumatic brain injuries, post-concussion syndrome, migraines and vertigo. 

A similar notice (PDF) for Meta’s Quest notes the risk of seizures and possible interference with medical devices. In another tweet, Gurman said Apple could add additional warnings for ADHD, anxiety, pacemakers, pregnancy, and more.

You can spell “banana” by drawing a banana.

Also: cloud, plane, oval, and left. What else?

(It appears some of these swipe type pictograms were uncovered in 2019 by a “Jack Lance,” who, I’m reading, was quite the puzzler.)

External Link
Huge hole.

The USSR dug the deepest hole in human history—setting the record back in 1979. It capped the hole, known as the Kola Superdeep Borehole, decades ago. When it capped it it had reached 40,230 feet. Now China is attempting to dig its own huge hole in a bid to explore and potentially find new mineral resources. But at a planned 33,000 feet it will have a ways to go if it wants to claim the Kola Superdeep Borehole’s record.

Pixel Watch pops off.

Some owners of Google’s first go at a smartwatch are reporting the rear casing falling off — mostly after removing it from the magnetic charging puck.

Android Police gathered several Reddit posts from the last couple of months showing how the backing falls off. We don’t really know how widespread the issue is, but it’s not the first smartwatch to pop off.

The Verge
Across the Spider-Verse is the new definitive Spider-Man movie.

Sony’s Across the Spider-Verse isn’t just a breathtaking work of art — it’s a seminal piece of Spider-Man storytelling that rightfully establishes Miles Morales as this generation’s definitive webhead. Across the Spider-Verse’s trailers alone have been tremendous, but check out our review to read more about what makes the movie work so, so well.

What if your charging pad just did everything?

This is the ThinkBook Wireless Dock, which you’ll be able to buy later this summer. If you happen to own a Lenovo ThinkBook, you can stick it on this pad, and not only does it charge the laptop, but it connects it to up to two 4K displays as well. The panel on the left side is a universal charger for mobile devices. I tried this out at Computex 2023, and it works impressively well.

I have a very vested interest in this kind of gadget, as someone whose deskside cable management know what, let’s not talk about it.

Can an autonomous off-road Jeep provide “more fun, more adventure, more freedom?”

Jeep owner Stellantis is working on a system that adds autonomy to its iconic SUV — and we’re not talking about highway driving... this is for 4x4 adventures.

In a teaser video we see two Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe hybrids with camera-looking equipment. One moves sans a driver while the automaker’s head of AI holds an iPad like a real off-roader.