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Today’s Storystream

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Titmouse’s annual 5 Second Night of animated shorts is back.

You’ll need to be in either New York City or Vancouver to see it, but animation studio Titmouse’s annual showcase of creator-owned shorts will be screening in a very limited number of theaters in early April.


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The Verge
If you want to use the IRS’ new Direct File free tax filing service, now is your chance!

The IRS has begun opening up its new free online tax filing service to the public for limited windows of time, and apparently this is one. Direct File became available to new users today at 9 a.m. ET and was still available when last we checked. Keep in mind that there are a number of criteria you have to meet — you have to live in one of 12 states, and only report certain types of income — but if you do qualify, it’s worth a try.


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Here’s how much LG’s 2024 OLED TV lineup will cost you.

With some models set to start shipping as soon as next month, LG has begun sharing pricing details for its 2024 lineup of OLED TVs.

The G4, which offers the very best and brightest picture quality that LG is capable of, starts at $2,499 for the 55-inch size and goes up to $24,999 for a 97-inch model. As usual, I expect most people will stick with the C4 series, which includes more modest brightness improvements at prices that won’t break the bank — especially once sales kick in.

Stay tuned for deeper impressions of LG’s new TVs in the next couple weeks.


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Polestar gets a nearly $1 billion lifeline.

Hot on the heels of the EV company’s conscious uncoupling from Volvo, Polestar announced $950 million in external financing, which is will be enough for the “next stage of its development and covers a large majority of its estimated financing needs.”

The three-year loan comes from “12 leading international banks including BNP Paribas, Natixis, Standard Chartered, BBVA, HSBC and SPDB.” Geely, the Chinese automaker that owns both Volvo and Polestar, is also ready to step in with more cash when needed. Polestar has a make-or-break year ahead, with the imminent release of two new EVs, the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4.


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Youtube
A24’s I Saw The TV Glow finally hits theaters on May 3rd.

You had to physically be at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to catch A24’s mesmerizing new supernatural thriller I Saw The TV Glow from director Jane Schoenbrun. But following the film’s run on the festival circuit, it’s slated to make its theatrical debut this upcoming May.


Physical media week

Exploring the importance of discs and cartridges in an increasingly digital age.

Tumblr’s AI opt-out feature is live.

As mentioned yesterday, Tumblr now has info about opting out of AI data scraping on its help page — it’s available via the “prevent third-party sharing” toggle. For visual artists who are still worried about the prospect of AI tools training on their work, there are less official ways to stop that, too.


A screenshot of the “prevent third-party sharing” toggle as described in the link posted above.
The ultimate Xbox book.

Celebrating 20 years of Xbox is a full and detailed history of the original Xbox. The Kickstarter project already had a first limited run and now it’s back for second print run. There are more than 360 pages detailing the timeline of every game released on the original Xbox, and contributions from “Founding Father of Xbox” Ed Fries, Xbox community members, and even a section on Xbox Live from yours truly. You can back the Kickstarter project right here.


An Xbook.
An Xbook.
Image: Kickstarter

MWC 2024: all the phones, wearables, and gadgets announced in Barcelona

Europe’s big smartphone show is here, and big players like Xiaomi, OnePlus, HMD, Honor, and Lenovo have a new generation of devices to show off.

Google TV’s new look starts rolling out.

The “Your apps” row is getting a refresh with rounded app icons and more of them as well as a new shortcut to free channels and quick access to reorder apps and add more.

Google says the tweaks are rolling out starting today and coming to all devices over the “next few months.”


Look! A new Your apps design.
Look! A new Your apps design.
Image: Google
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Twitter
Tesla Roadster is coming. No really!

Elon Musk isn’t great with timelines so take his latest proclamations about a 2024 reveal for the second generation Roadster announced in 2017 with appropriate skepticism, especially since he already missed the 20202022, and 2023 dates.

Technically he says “aiming to ship next yea” which is either a typo for 2025 or a tactic to avoid accountability.


Google Maps is finally rolling out glanceable directions.

The feature enables Maps users to track their journey via the lock screen, or in the app via the route overview provided before hitting “start.” It’s now rolling out widely to both iOS and Android devices over a year since Google first announced it, according to Android Police.

The toggle to enable glanceable directions is located under Navigation settings, within the main Google Maps Settings menu.


A GIF demonstrating the new glanceable directions feature in Google Maps.
Track your journey right from your route overview screen without clicking start.
GIF: Google

Limited Run gives digital games a physical legacy

CEO Josh Fairhurst believes that people will still care about physical media, even if the future looks bleak.

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External Link
Intel 10A is coming 2027, Intel 14A in 2026.

I showed you Intel’s new public roadmap last Wednesday — when it confirmed Intel 14A was coming by 2027. But it turns out the company quietly announced Intel 10A as well. It’ll start production in 2027, after 14A begins production in 2026. That’s different than consumer availability, of course.

Intel told Tom’s Hardware that each new node it makes should normally offer a 14 to 15 percent power/performance improvement.


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The Verge
Elizabeth Warren is still pushing crypto mines to divulge their electricity use.

Warren has been urging federal agencies to scrutinize energy-hungry Bitcoin mines. But crypto groups secured a temporary pause on the Department of Energy’s survey of their electricity consumption.

“The Department is asking cryptominers to report basic information about their energy usage—like other industries have done for decades—so the public and lawmakers better understand how cryptomining’s electricity use and carbon emissions affect the power grid and environment,” Warren said in a statement to The Verge after the news came out.


Offline downloads are appearing for YouTube Music’s web player.

Travelers and those with finicky Wi-Fi can rejoice as offline downloading is starting to show up in YouTube Music’s web app, according to Android Police and 9to5Google. One user on Reddit posted screenshots of a “Save to Library” button, as well as a new “Downloads” tab.

Offline downloads of songs have been limited to YouTube Music’s mobile apps and only for Premium members. It seems likely the desktop feature will also remain a Premium perk.


I’ve seen the future of wireless charging, and I want it in my kitchen counters

The newest product from FreePower can turn everyday surfaces into wireless chargers. I demoed the new tech, and I’m excited for a world of clutter-free countertops that can charge all the gadgets.

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Twitter
These leaked Beats Solo 4 renders look awfully similar to the Solo 3s.

They look nearly identical, which isn’t fun considering we’ve been waiting nearly eight years for them. Similar to last year’s Beats Studio Pro refresh, Apple is reportedly sneaking in spatial audio, lossless USB-C audio, and other tweaks, according to MacRumors.


The Phone 2A makes a guest appearance at Nothing’s MWC event.

It’s not due to launch until March 5th, but Nothing couldn’t help teasing its first budget handset, yet again, in Barcelona.

As you can see, the light-up glyphs are back, but we’ll need a few more days before we get a better look at this device.


<em>Nothing Phone (2a) at MWC 2024</em>

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Nothing Phone (2a) at MWC 2024
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge
What do you get from ads made with AI? Someone calls the cops and you make children cry.

The advertising for “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” looks like peak AI-generated spectacle, promising “cartchy tuns,” “encherining entertainment,” and “a heart-pounding experience you’ve never experienced before” for £35 a ticket. The reality is... well, take a look. At least the kids are getting refunds.


Prepare to be catgacated.
Prepare to be catgacated.

Crunchyroll president Rahul Purini on how anime took over the world

The head of the fast-growing streaming service discusses the Funimation merger and shutdown and where he sees growth in anime.

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Intel plans to be inside 100 million AI PCs by next year.

Intel vice president David Feng said during Mobile World Congress that as part of the push to put AI into everything it builds, it will produce 40 million CPUs for AI PCs this year and 60 million in 2025, reports Nikkei Asia.

The “AI PC” concept includes Microsoft’s new CoPilot button plus Intel Core Ultra processors with built-in GPUs and neural processing units for AI models, which are now available as part of its vPro platform for business laptops.


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Something tells me these two things might be related.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Call of Duty League teams are negotiating a deal with Activision Blizzard that will increase the amount of money teams receive from skin sales while loosening restrictions on the kinds of sponsorships deals teams can make.

Meanwhile...

Last week, OpTic Texas owner, Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez, sued Activision Blizzard for $680 million, calling out the company’s alleged 50 percent event and merchandise revenue split requirement and its exclusive rights to the most lucrative sponsorship partners.