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Thursday’s top tech news: December is here, and there are security lapses under the tree

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There have been a couple of cybersecurity news stories recently that you might want to be aware of.

The first concerns the password manager LastPass, which has admitted that an “unauthorized party” was recently able to access “certain elements” of “customers’ information.” Crucially, user passwords shouldn’t have been affected, but it’s still a developing story that LastPass users will want to keep an eye on. Second is smart home brand Eufy, whose encryption promises may not be what they seem.

I guess we should also acknowledge the fact that Elon Musk has another target for when his brain-interface startup Neuralink will start implanting its devices in real human brains: the next six months. Just remember that Musk previously hoped to start human trials in 2020 and 2022.

In lighter news, the season of app usage roundups is well and truly upon us. Seriously, even Google Photos is getting involved if a notification I just received is anything to go by. Of course, it’s the music services that have the funnest data to share, so be sure to check out your Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube Music account to discover the delights (or secret shames) of your 2022 listening.

And now, here’s a silly tweet:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Thursday, December 1st, 2022.
  • Sheena Vasani

    Dec 20, 2022

    Sheena Vasani

    The Verge’s 2022 fitness and wellness gift guide

    Image: Kristen Radtke / The Verge

    Few things are more important in life than health and happiness. Fortunately, while neither can be bought, we can give our loved ones gifts that can help them improve both — which is why we’ve curated a guide to our favorite gadgets, services, books, and other items that focus on both mental and physical well-being. 

    Below, you’ll find items we’ve either tested or have personal experience with, so you can rest assured they live up to their promise. We’ve included highly capable watches like the Google Pixel Watch ($300) and fitness-forward Apple Watch Ultra ($749), but you’ll also find workout equipment like the Peloton Tread ($3,495). And if you don’t have a couple thousand lying around — or even $50 — we have a handful of budget-friendly suggestions, whether your giftee is into dancing, free weights, or just getting a better night’s sleep.

    Read Article >
  • Netflix is expanding its early feedback program to more subscribers

    An illustration of the Netflix logo.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Netflix currently has a relatively small group of about 2,000 subscribers who it invites to preview upcoming projects and provide feedback about them ahead of release, but that number’s about to grow significantly as the streamer looks to maximize its profits in an increasingly competitive streaming market.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix plans to open up its Preview Club program to “tens of thousands” more subscribers across the globe in order to glean reactions from people that might end up being used to make last-minute tweaks to the streamer’s films and movies ahead of their broader release.

    Read Article >
  • Amazon’s poached Mike Flanagan from Netflix with an exclusive TV production deal

    Two men in black button down shirts and dark blazers — one black and the other gray — standing in front of a Saturn Awards backdrop.
    Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy at the 46th Annual Saturn Awards.
    Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images for ABA

    While Mike Flanagan’s forthcoming The Fall of the House of Usher series based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe is still headed to Netflix, the Haunting of Hill House creator is getting ready to take his talents to another streaming platform that’s likely looking to beef up its horror catalog.

    Deadline reports that Mike Flanagan and Intrepid Pictures CEO Trevor Macy (who has also executive produced the whole of Netflix’s “Flanaverse”) have signed a new exclusive, multi-year overall TV production deal with Amazon Studios. Under the new deal, Intrepid Pictures will create new series and films for Amazon Prime similar to how the indie production house crafted series like ​​The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, and The Midnight Club for Netflix.

    Read Article >
  • Mitchell Clark

    Dec 1, 2022

    Mitchell Clark

    Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is coming to theaters on June 30th

    Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is coming to theaters on June 30th, 2023, according to the film’s first trailer released on Thursday. The movie will feature Harrison Ford returning for his fifth main film as the titular explorer, as well as Phoebe Waller-Bridge as his goddaughter. It’ll be scored by John Williams, which is pretty obvious from the trailer.

    It also seems like we’ll get to see Jones rocking his iconic hat and whip, though the latter feels decidedly outclassed. In what feels like a throwback to one of the franchise’s best scenes, we see Indy face off against a room full of goons with his whip, only to discover that they’re all armed with guns.

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  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 1, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    Apple’s mixed reality project reportedly has a new name.

    According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, a mixed reality headset from Apple could debut in 2023, complete with its own OS and app store.

    While that all lines up with what we’ve heard, he also revealed that internally, the platform has changed names, going from “realityOS” to “xrOS,” for “extended reality.”

    Whatever they call it, hopefully, it’s more fun to use than Meta’s Quest Pro — see our video review of that device below.

  • Jay Peters

    Dec 1, 2022

    Jay Peters

    The Mandalorian’s third season premieres on March 1st

    Image of The Mandalorian holding Grogu.
    It’s a slight delay — Disney previously announced the show would be coming February 2023.
    Image: Disney

    The Mandalorian’s long-awaited third season debuts on Disney Plus on March 1st, Disney announced on Thursday. Disney had previously said it would be out in February, but it turns out that we’re getting it just a little bit later than expected.

    Season 2 premiered in October 2020, so it’s been some time since we’ve had new episodes of the show starring the galaxy’s favorite bounty hunter / baby alien duo. They made an appearance in a few episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, but soon, we’ll be able to see the both of them together once again.

    Read Article >
  • Umar Shakir

    Dec 1, 2022

    Umar Shakir

    Electric robot tractors powered by Nvidia AI chips are here

    The new MK-V smart tractor is parked in the middle of a warehouse factory with a concrete floor.
    Monarch’s MK-V smart tractor.
    Image: Monarch Tractor

    Monarch Tractor, an electric smart tractor company, says its first AI-powered farming vehicles, dubbed the MK-V, are rolling off the production line. It’s the Livermore, California-based startup’s first product, and it uses Nvidia’s Jetson edge AI platform to perform agricultural tasks with or without a driver behind the wheel.

    “The NVIDIA Jetson enables the MK-V to run low-latency, real-time AI applications while at the same time conserving energy for longer battery life and extended run time,” said Monarch Tractor CEO Praveen Penmetsa.

    Read Article >
  • Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ first trailer is full of Maximal action

    After years of Paramount’s live-action Transformers movies feeling like they were coasting on their good looks, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ first teaser trailer is here to remind everyone that Beast Wars has always been the superior chunk of the larger Transformers franchise.

    Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, from director Steven Caple Jr., revolves around ex-military gearhead Noah (Anthony Ramos) and museum researcher Elena (Dominique Fishback), two humans who accidentally become embroiled in yet another conflict between the Autobots and the Decepticons. 

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  • Monica Chin

    Dec 1, 2022

    Monica Chin

    RDNA 2 quietly arrives in budget laptops

    The IdeaPad 1 open, seen from above on a white background.
    A very boring render of the IdeaPad 1 from Lenovo’s website.
    Image: Lenovo

    Back in September, AMD launched some of the first mobile chips from its upcoming Ryzen 7000 line, the budget-oriented “Mendocino” series. At launch, they were described as tailored to “the everyday laptop,” combining last-gen Zen 2 CPU cores with high-end RDNA 2 graphics.

    That RDNA 2, generally seen powering much more expensive machines as well as the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S consoles, could become widely available at a budget price point was an exciting prospect. But Mendocino only announced one partner at launch: Acer and its Aspire 3 series. Since then, we’ve basically heard... crickets about the Mendocino series.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 1, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    “This is telepathic typing.”

    Just in case you missed Elon Musk’s “show and tell” about brain-computer interfaces last night, we have the key details for you, viewable in less than 15 minutes.

    If the video isn’t for you, Verge science editor Mary Beth Griggs can break it all down here.

    During the presentation, Musk said that the company had submitted most of the paperwork needed for a human clinical trial to the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates medical devices in the United States. Previously, Musk had said that he’d hoped for human trials to begin in 2020, and then 2022. Now, that’s slipped to at least 2023.

  • Dec 1, 2022

    Georgina Torbet

    A black hole ripped apart a star and brought together astronomers from around the world

    An illustration of an orange star being swirled apart against a stretched-out starscape. At the center of the image is a jet of pink light emanating from a dark area, a black hole.
    An artist’s impression of a tidal disruption event.
    Image: Carl Knox – OzGrav, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, Swinburne University of Technology

    It was an event not seen in more than a decade: a sudden flash of energy launched out from the center of a distant galaxy, bright enough to be visible from 8.5 billion light-years away. With a burst of light equivalent to more than 1,000 trillion suns, the flash was first detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility, a survey of the entire night sky conducted from the Palomar Observatory in California. 

    “On Valentine’s Day this year, we found a source that was puzzling. It was just weird!” Igor Andreoni of the University of Maryland, lead author of one of two papers about the event, told The Verge. “And weird is good in science. It means it’s something you can learn from.”

    Read Article >
  • Annapurna is launching its own animation division

    A girl wearing chain mail armor and a knight standing in the distance behind her while looking over his shoulder.
    Teaser art of Ballister Blackheart and Nimona from Annapurna’s upcoming Nimona feature.
    Image: Netflix

    After co-producing a number of animated projects like Sausage Party and Missing Link with the help of other studios, Annapurna Pictures is gearing up to launch its own in-house animation arm with two Disney alums leading the division.

    Today, Annapurna announced that it has tapped former Walt Disney Animation Studios president Andrew Millstein and screenwriter Robert Baird (Monsters University, Big Hero 6) to head up its animation production arm, which will release the studio’s forthcoming Nimona adaptation in 2023 with Netflix. In a press release about the new studio, Annapurna founder and CEO Megan Ellison said that Millstein and Baird’s contributions to Nimona’s production were key to bringing the project home and described bringing them on board as part of the studio’s efforts to bolster its animated offerings.

    Read Article >
  • Victoria Song

    Dec 1, 2022

    Victoria Song

    Google’s trying to prove it’s serious about Wear OS 3 with holiday updates

    Woman with hand in pocket wearing Pixel Watch
    While the Pixel Watch had a decent debut, not everyone is convinced Google is serious about wearables.
    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    Earlier this fall, Google finally launched the Pixel Watch. It wasn’t a perfect smartwatch, but it was a respectable first attempt in a category that Google notoriously neglected for years.

    Even so, it’s hard to shake off the idea that Google might prematurely abandon its revived wearable ambitions if it doesn’t do “well enough.” This is why the company has been quietly chugging away at Wear OS improvements in the background. The latest is a round of “holiday” Android updates that bring new Tiles, an improved Google Keep app, and Google Assistant integration for Adidas Running.

    Read Article >
  • Jess Weatherbed

    Dec 1, 2022

    Jess Weatherbed

    Android is introducing an accessible reading mode and digital car key sharing

    Three mobile devices and a smart watch displaying new Android features against an abstract backdrop.
    Android’s latest updates aim to boost accessibility and add fresh quality-of-life features for drivers and watchOS users.
    Image: Google

    Android has announced a batch of new features for mobile and smartwatch devices, introducing new accessibility tools and quality-of-life updates for digital car keys, Google TV, and watchOS. One of the major announcements is the introduction of a reading mode for Android — a new feature that creates a more accessible screen reading experience without being tied to specific apps.

    To use Reading mode, you have to install an app from the Google Play store, which provides new adjustable display and audio options — such as contrast, font type, and size — allowing users to customize how content is viewed on their phone to best serve their individual needs. Additionally, a new text-to-speech function with speed control is available with a selection of “natural-sounding voices” to choose from, with support for English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Reading mode is also compatible with the Google Talkback screen reader and works across websites and native Android apps.

    Read Article >
  • The $70 Echo Show 8 comes with a free Echo Show 5 at Amazon

    The second-gen Echo Show 8 with its main screen on display and resting on a table.
    The Echo Show 8 is the larger and more capable version of the Show 5.
    Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

    Cyber Monday is in the past, but some new and great tech deals have arrived for us to tell you all about. The flashiest one is a bundle from Amazon that pairs the latest Echo Show 8 with a free Kids Edition of the Echo Show 5 for $69.99, knocking $155 off the usual cost of buying both of these Alexa-powered smart displays.

    The Echo Show 8 is still our favorite smart display in Amazon’s lineup, partially because it can make Zoom calls with its built-in camera, unlike the second-gen Echo Show 5. Its display, performance, and sound quality have the advantage over the smaller option, and it offers snappy performance for the price. Read our review.

    Read Article >
  • Alex Cranz

    Dec 1, 2022

    Alex Cranz

    Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show has a few additional cast members for season 2.

    As with the previous major cast announcements for this show, there are almost zero details on whom each actor is playing. But I had fun scrolling through the list and trying to decide who was an elf, a human, or a harfoot.

  • Andrew Webster

    Dec 1, 2022

    Andrew Webster

    The Eternal Daughter is a quiet ghost story with a double dose of Tilda Swinton

    A photo of Tilda Swinton as Julie in The Eternal Daughter.
    Tilda Swinton as Julie in The Eternal Daughter.
    Image: A24

    The first thing that you should know about The Eternal Daughter, the latest film from director Joanna Hogg, is that it’s not as spooky as the trailer makes it seem. It is indeed a ghost story, one with some unsettling moments and themes, but the scariest thing about the movie is its frighteningly realistic depiction of familial relationships and how they can be damaged by grief. The second thing you should know is that Tilda Swinton plays her own mother, and she’s incredible.

    The film appears to be set in the same semi-autobiographical universe as Hogg’s The Souvenir films and centers on a daughter and her elderly mother as they visit a quaint Welsh hotel. (Both characters are played by Swinton.) It’s the kind of old building that has spotty cell reception, Wi-Fi that only works on the top floor, and all kinds of creaks and bangs to keep you awake at night. It’s not just a simple getaway, though; the hotel was once the family home of the mother, Rosalind, and every room seems to remind her of something from her younger days. Often, they’re not happy memories. The daughter, Julie, is hoping to use the time to both get closer to her mother and get started working on a film about their relationship in the aftermath of her father’s death a few years prior.

    Read Article >
  • Sheena Vasani

    Dec 1, 2022

    Sheena Vasani

    Now 1Password remembers sites that use third-party accounts like Google or Facebook to log in

    Password management provider 1Password just launched its new “sign-in with” feature that automatically saves and fills logins using third-party credentials. 1Password thus is now able to give customers an option to sign in to sites or apps that require, say, their Google, Apple, GitHub, or Facebook credentials with just one click.

    Now, users don’t need to remember which provider they used for this specific service since 1Password can do it for them.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Dec 1, 2022

    Jon Porter

    An unexpected casualty of the crypto crash: Miami’s nightclubs.

    In the height of the boom, newly-enriched crypto bros let loose in Miami, reports The Financial Times, with high-spenders “ordering 12 or 24 bottles of the most expensive champagne and just showering themselves without even drinking.”

    Now, though, the boom is over, with crypto spending at one club having fallen from millions last year to just a few thousand.

  • Mary Beth Griggs

    Dec 1, 2022

    Mary Beth Griggs

    Elon Musk claims Neuralink is about ‘six months’ away from first human trial

    At a ‘show and tell’ event on Wednesday, Elon Musk said that his brain-computer interface company, Neuralink, could implant one of its devices in someone’s head within the next six months — meaning it’s not happening this year. He also claimed that he would get the device implanted in his own head at some point in the future.

    During the presentation, Musk said that the company had submitted most of the paperwork needed for a human clinical trial to the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates medical devices in the United States. Previously, Musk had said that he’d hoped for human trials to begin in 2020, and then 2022. Now, that’s slipped to at least 2023.

    Read Article >
  • Sean Hollister

    Dec 1, 2022

    Sean Hollister

    Anker’s Eufy lied to us about the security of its security cameras

    A Eufy security camera, from Anker.
    A Eufy security camera, from Anker.
    Image: Anker/Eufy

    Anker has built a remarkable reputation for quality over the past decade, building its phone charger business into an empire spanning all sorts of portable electronics — including the Eufy home security cameras we’ve recommended over the years. Eufy’s commitment to privacy is remarkable: it promises your data will be stored locally, that it “never leaves the safety of your home,” that its footage only gets transmitted with “end-to-end” military-grade encryption, and that it will only send that footage “straight to your phone.”

    So you can imagine our surprise to learn you can stream video from a Eufy camera, from the other side of the country, with no encryption at all.

    Read Article >
  • Emma Roth

    Nov 30, 2022

    Emma Roth

    LastPass' latest data breach exposed some customer information

    Illustration of a computer screen with a blue exclamation point on it, and an error box.
    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    LastPass has experienced another data breach, but this time, it exposed user data. According to a post from LastPass CEO Karim Toubba, hackers accessed a third-party cloud storage service used by the password manager and were able to “gain access to certain elements” of “customers’ information.”

    It’s still not clear what information hackers got access to or how many customers were affected, but Toubba says that users’ passwords weren’t compromised.

    Read Article >
  • Ariel Shapiro

    Nov 30, 2022

    Ariel Shapiro

    Spotify Wrapped 2022 is here, and it’s giving everyone a ‘music personality’

    In this year’s Wrapped, Spotify is assigning listeners a Myers–Briggs-esque “music personality.”
    In this year’s Wrapped, Spotify is assigning listeners a Myers–Briggs-esque “music personality.”
    Image: Spotify

    Spotify Wrapped is here, and with it, a slew of year-end charts, data, and graphics ripe for sharing. In addition to the standard personal data (top artists, songs, etc.), Spotify is providing listeners with social-friendly stats the company hopes will generate the kind of buzz it has in the past, spurring competitors like Apple Music and YouTube Music to produce their own year-end roundups.

    The splashiest new Wrapped goody is the “music personality” feature — a Myers–Briggs-esque system that analyzes how you listen and assigns you one of 16 flattering categories, such as “Adventurer,” “Fanclubber,” and “Specialist.” It’s a savvy move; whether zodiac sign or Hogwarts house, the kids simply love to be categorized.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Nov 29, 2022

    Jon Porter

    YouTube Music gets in on year-in-review season with 2022 Recap

    Three phones showing screenshots of 2022 Recap.
    YouTube Music’s 2022 recap will highlight your top tracks and artists.
    Image; Google

    The end of the year is fast approaching, which means it’s time for the world’s biggest music streaming services to summarize your listening habits in the most shareable ways possible. First out of the gate this year is YouTube Music’s 2022 Recap feature, launching today. 

    Like last year, the main attraction is the personalized music stats it pulls together, highlighting the artists, songs, music videos, and playlists you’ve most listened to and watched throughout the course of the year. But there are also some new inclusions, including highlights of artists you might have discovered before they blew up and a new “music personality” feature that attempts to analyze your listening habits to deliver a verdict on your “music vibe.” 

    Read Article >