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Today’s Storystream

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Beeper says “fix coming soon” for its Android iMessage hack.

That said, things with Beeper Mini might be a little messed up while you wait. The company posted that the fix is “very close, and just a matter of a bit more time and effort.”

The company says it’s resetting the counter on trial memberships as soon as the fix is int... but because of how iMessage works, it won’t fall back to SMS for up to a day.

Today on the Vergecast: we talked about the power of Dex.

That’s right, Dan Seifert joined the pod this week (click here to listen in your favorite podcast app) with his unhinged and totally useable Dex setup and we spent quite a bit of time talking about the dream of a phone that actually doubles as a laptop.

We also talked about Google’s big new AI, the chaos at Spotify, and even found time to talk about a few gadgets and the perils of owning digital media.

What to do this weekend.

There are some very good options if you’ve got the time. Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron is in theaters, while Leave the World Behind is streaming on Netflix. When it comes to games, things are pretty busy: Baldur’s Gate 3 finally hit Xbox, Final Fantasy XVI has some surprise DLC, Lego Fortnite launched, and Apple Arcade added a few new titles like Sonic Dream Team.

A still image from the Studio Ghibli film The Boy and the Heron.


The Boy and the Heron.
Image: Studio Ghibli

Building for tomorrow

This series is all about infrastructure: the invisible layer of wires and guts and light that makes everything run. It’s not in the best shape, but what would it take to make it better?

The Verge
Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney have decided not to settle.

They met for an hour on Thursday, lead attorneys for both sides told Judge James Donato in a filing (pdf) this evening, following an earlier settlement discussion between Sweeney and Google’s heads of partnerships and product management for Android that was ordered by the court.

“These meetings did not result in a settlement.”

Also new: This is the final verdict form (pdf) the jury will use to decide Epic v. Google.

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A class-action pay disparity lawsuit against Disney brought by 9,000 female employees can move forward.

The lawsuit, which was certified on Friday, is “the largest ever certified under California’s Equal Pay Act,” Variety reports.

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There’s a new union contract in the video game industry.

VR studio Tender Claws and the Tender Claws Human Union have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement, and it’s “one of the first union contracts for video game developers in the US,” according to a press release. Proposals in the agreement include pay scales, codifying LGBTQIA+ inclusive benefits, benefits like dental insurance, and codifying virtual reality breaks.

Tender Claws is currently developing Stranger Things VR.

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YouTube Premium is getting more expensive for people who have legacy plans.

Google is telling users who pay less for Premium because they once had Google Play Music or YouTube Red that they’ll owe the recently-instated $13.99 per month fee in January, 9to5Google reports.

Google had already said that it was going to give legacy subscribers a grace period before bumping them up to the higher fee, but that period is now coming to an end.

Geoff Keighley let video game developers down

During The Game Awards, Geoff Keighley failed to acknowledge the prolific and devastating layoffs that have rocked the industry.

Meta updates Threads link referrer so publishers can see where their traffic comes from.

Instagram boss Adam Mosseri’s small announcement is important to anyone who publishes content on the internet. Until now, traffic from Threads was indistinguishable from Instagram in the metrics used by sites like this one, But now that it has a separate link referrer, site owners can see for themselves how much traffic it’s sending in comparison to competitors.

On the other hand, Twitter / X allegedly just signed up 10 million new people in a week, if you can believe that.

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Shhhh. Listen to Wikipedia.

Ten years old, but new to me: a website that plays a tone every time a Wikipedia page is updated. It’s a soothing antidote to ... basically every other browser tab, at this point.

The bell-like sounds of a celesta correspond to edits with a net addition of content to Wikipedia, and the strums of a clavichord correspond to net subtractions of content.

That, of course, is from Wikipedia.

Hatnote Listen to Wikipedia


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New Windows build on the street has WhatsApp in the (share) sheet.

Today’s Windows 11 Insider Preview (Build 22635.2850) adds WhatsApp to the “Share using” sheet in the OS, according to a blog post about the update. Microsoft plans to add more apps to the share window over time.

There’s also now a one-click install experience in the Windows Store app that lets you continue browsing as the app downloads and installs.

The FDA issued its first approval of a CRISPR gene-editing therapy.

The US Food and Drug Administration announced the approval of two gene-based therapies for sickle cell disease, one of which uses the genome editing technology CRISPR. It’s a big milestone, but access to the therapies for now will still be very limited and expensive, the New York Times explains.

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Come on, man, securities fraud around blood tests is played out.

Keith Berman, who claimed he wasn’t taking compensation in his role as CEO, actually splashed out a bunch of company money on himself. Also, he claimed that he could test for covid in 15 seconds. Also also, my guy used a “fake persona to repeat false and misleading statements to investors on internet message boards.”

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Not a flattering portrayal of Sam Altman.

A new report from The Washington Post says that senior OpenAI staffers had indicated to the board Altman had been “psychologically abusive.” The board had also worried that it couldn’t keep Altman accountable.

All of that contributed to Altman’s firing, the report says — though, as we now know, Altman ultimately came out on top.

Beeper Mini is having an outage, but it’s apparently not Apple’s fault.

Users reported issues like delayed notifications on Friday, and a Reddit user who says they’re on the Beeper team says that the company is “dealing with an outage on the Beeper Mini side.”

Seems like it’s just a blip and that Beeper Mini will live another day.

Update, December 8th, 5:01PM ET: Welp.

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Apple is losing another executive.

Tang Tan, the company’s vice president of product design for the iPhone and Apple Watch, is stepping down in February, according to a report from Bloomberg. He also oversaw the team that works on the AirPods.

Sources tell Bloomberg that Tan’s departure “is a blow,” adding that “he made critical decisions about Apple’s most important products.” Earlier this week, Bloomberg also reported that Steve Hotelling, the exec in charge of Apple’s touchscreen tech, health sensors, and Face ID, is retiring.

For recap season, Twitch, naturally, has a game.

In the Twitch Recap Game, you play as an autoscrolling dinosaur and try to collect goat emotes while a bunch of clips from the year play in the background. It’s a simplistic game, and the clips are the same no matter how many times you play, but it’s a fun diversion.

The game only available on desktop at the moment, though I imagine it you’ll be able to play it on mobile soon: the game told me to rotate my device when my browser window was too small and had an image of a phone rotating in that message.

Twitch’s “Recap Day” is on Monday, where I’m guessing Twitch will offer personalized recaps of your year.

A screenshot of Twitch’s Twitch Recap Game.
Yes, my score sucks. I was trying to capture screenshots, ok??
Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge
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Google is reportedly working on a project that lets AI models tell someone's “life story.”

Project Ellmann, named after biographer and literary critic Richard David Ellmann, will take users’ search results and photos to make a chatbot able to answer “previously impossible questions.”

CNBC saw documents presenting Ellmann and said the goal is to present a “bird’s-eye” approach to a person’s life. Ellmann allegedly categorizes moments into chapters: for example, the “college” chapter or the “becomes a parent” chapter. People could use Ellmann to ask questions like “did I have a pet,” or “when did my sibling last visit.”
Google tells The Verge that Ellmann was an early internal experiment. “Google Photos has always used AI to help people search their photos and videos,” the company said. It added if they decide to roll out features like Ellmann they would “take the time needed to ensure they were helpful and designed to protect users’ privacy.”

Personally, this type of hyperpersonalization is lost on me because I have a good enough memory of my life that I wish I could forget certain moments.

It’s time for the annual MKBHD Blind Smartphone Camera Test.

Marques Brownlee is once again crowdsourcing opinions on photos. You can head to the voting site where, in three categories (standard, low-light, and portrait mode), you’ll see the same photo taken by 20 different smartphones and judge which one you prefer in side-by-side comparisons.

Last year’s results revealed some notable differences in how different phones process the same situation — we’ll find out soon how far apart they are now.

The Verge
Sony stays silent as another PS5 bug locks players out of their purchased games.

For several hours on Friday, PS5 owners have been reporting a “CE-107928-7” corruption error when they try to download or update games. It was bad enough that at least one developer acknowledged the issue, and we saw it on our systems, too.

As of about noon ET, some say it’s resolved, and downloads are working again after a console restart. However, just like the issues earlier this week where players were “permanently banned” for a little while, Sony’s status page indicates all is well, its social media accounts are silent, and PR hasn’t responded to questions.

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Binance founder Changpeng Zhao can’t leave the US while awaiting sentencing.

A judge ruled on Thursday that Zhao — who resides in the United Arab Emirates — must stay in the US ahead of his February 2024 trial, citing his “enormous wealth and property abroad” as well as a lack of ties to the US.

Zhao stepped down as CEO of Binance in November and pleaded guilty to breaking anti-money-laundering laws after a months-long investigation from the US government.

Epic v. Google: everything we’re learning live in Fortnite court

In a redux of a case against Apple and iOS, Epic aims to dismantle barriers that could spell higher fees for app makers — and, Google argues, keep Android safe and competitive.

Raspberry Pi’s gift for the holidays? Dark mode.

The latest version of Raspberry Pi OS — called Bookwormnow lets you change the interface to a soothing dark theme from the Appearance Settings menu. Just note that some apps, like Calculator and Geany, will need a restart before the new theme shows up.

Image: Raspberry Pi
Instagram’s other potential names for Threads were, uh, much worse.

As Threads continues to rally more users and add new features, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri today shared some other names for the platform that his team previously toyed with.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine that Epigram would’ve had quite the same impact. And Textagram sounds a little too similar to Telegram.

Let’s all be glad that the marketing team eventually moved away from the very forced “-gram” suffix.