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Monday’s top tech news: (Twitter) Blue Monday

Ok, let’s try this again. Elon Musk’s Twitter will attempt to relaunch its premium Blue subscription today, allowing users to pay $8 a month ($11 if you subscribe on iOS) for early access to new features and, of course, a blue checkmark. The social media network had attempted to roll out the new subscription offering last month, but pulled it after a wave of fake-yet-verified accounts flooded the platform.

Elsewhere, NASA’s Orion spacecraft successfully returned to Earth over the weekend, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday. Although this Artemis I mission was uncrewed, NASA hopes that will change with an upcoming 2024 flight that’ll send a group of astronauts around the Moon.

Finally, although 16GB has long served as the default amount of RAM recommended for most PC games, Returnal’s upcoming port looks set to buck the trend if its Steam listing is to be believed. The listing lists 32GB of RAM as the recommended amount for decent performance, though you should be able to scrape by with 16GB as a minimum.

And now, here’s a silly tweet:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Friday, December 12th, 2022.
  • Justine Calma

    Dec 13, 2022

    Justine Calma

    A ‘scientific breakthrough’ in nuclear fusion? How to watch the announcement

    Several speakers stand in front of a crowd at a press conference.
    Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Kim Budil speaks at a press conference to announce a major milestone in nuclear fusion research on December 13, 2022.
    Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

    On Tuesday, December 13th, scientists with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced that they’d achieved “fusion ignition.” The Verge has an updated post on the news here.

    A “scientific breakthrough” in the development of fusion energy is expected tomorrow from the Biden administration. For more than half a century, people have poured billions of dollars into nuclear fusion research, hoping to create a source of abundant, clean energy.

    Read Article >
  • Matter finally arrives on devices you can actually use

    A white motion sensor on a shelf in a kitchen.
    The Eve Motion sensor is one of the first smart home devices that will work with Matter.
    Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

    Christmas has come a little early for the smart home: the first Matter-compatible devices are finally here. Starting today, December 12th, Eve Systems is beginning the roll-out of a firmware update to its Thread-enabled Eve Energy smart plug, Eve Door & Window contact sensor, and Eve Motion motion sensor to upgrade them to Matter. 

    Matter is a new smart home standard that will allow devices such as smart plugs, light bulbs, and door locks to work with any platform you choose. Up until now, Eve’s devices have only been compatible with Apple Home. With this update, they’ll work with the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem, as well as Google Home and Amazon Alexa (once those platforms roll out their Matter updates).

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 13, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrested in the Bahamas

    Photo of Sam Bankman-Fried on stage.
    Reports also claim that the US has filed criminal charges against.
    Photo: Getty Images

    Just over one month after the crypto exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy, Ryan Pinder, the Attorney General of the Bahamas, announced the arrest of its founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF).

    According to a notice, the arrest came after the US government informed the Bahamas of criminal charges filed against Bankman-Fried and said it’s likely to request his extradition from the nation where he was residing, and which had served as a base of operations for FTX. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, confirmed the arrest, saying in a statement that “We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.”

    Read Article >
  • Mitchell Clark

    Dec 13, 2022

    Mitchell Clark

    Westworld is leaving HBO Max

    A black, red, and yellow rendition of the HBO Max logo.
    Is there going to be any HBO content left for the upcoming Max app?
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Just over a month after HBO canceled its once-hit original show Westworld, it’s planning on yanking the back catalog from its streaming service, according to Variety, Deadline, IndieWire, and The Wrap.

    It’s currently not clear when Westworld will be removed from Warner Bros. Discovery’s flagship streaming service, but it likely won’t be alone. The reports indicate that HBO’s Love Life and The Nevers will also have to find new homes.

    Read Article >
  • Dec 12, 2022

    Emma Roth and Mitchell Clark

    Twitter Blue is back, letting you buy a blue checkmark again

    The Twitter bird logo in black over a white and blue background
    Would you pay for Twitter?
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Elon Musk’s $8-per-month Twitter Blue subscription with verification is officially available, and you’ll need a verified phone number to sign up.

    In a thread on Twitter, the platform notes that Blue will cost $11 per month if you sign up on iOS and will grant you access to the ability to edit tweets, upload 1080p videos, reader mode, and, of course, the coveted blue checkmark. If you paid for the old $4.99 / $2.99 Blue package, then you’ll need to subscribe again to keep its benefits, while anyone who signed up on Apple at the old $7.99 per month price will be automatically renewed at $11 per month unless they cancel.

    Read Article >
  • Chris Welch

    Dec 12, 2022

    Chris Welch

    Your iPhone 14 can now make your Sonos speakers sound better.

    If you’ve ever used Sonos’ Trueplay feature to tune your speakers for the best sound quality, you know what a difference it can make. But since the process relies on microphone measurements from supported iPhones, Sonos is often slow to include new models.

    Case in point: the company only just today added Trueplay support for Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup — nearly three months after the phones went on sale. Recent iPad buyers are still out of luck, and the tuning feature remains unavailable on Android altogether. Sometimes the best option is just borrowing a friend’s iPhone.


  • Emma Roth

    Dec 12, 2022

    Emma Roth

    A years-long copyright lawsuit over Taylor Swift’s 2014 hit “Shake It Off” has come to a close.

    In a dispute with two songwriters, Swift argued she’d never heard the song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW, cited in 2015 by a judge dismissing another claim against “Shake It Off” over the same lyrics.

    With a jury trial set to start on January 17th, Variety reports the parties settled and the credits of the song unchanged.

    Compare that to Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams paying Marvin Gaye’s family $7.3 million for “Blurred Lines.” That result, and this episode of Decoder, shows why artists like Olivia Rodrigo have opted to hand out credits instead of fighting in court.


  • Mitchell Clark

    Dec 12, 2022

    Mitchell Clark

    Dril is selling the archives of his legendary tweets

    Image of the four Dril books sitting on a toilet tank.
    I wonder how many hours of entertainment I’ve gotten from Content forged on this Throne.
    Image: dril

    Dril, the account behind a frankly unbelievable number of viral tweets, is packaging his magnificent archive into a book and selling it for those of us who want to show off just how Online we are. According to Amazon, the Dril Archives paperback is around 240 pages and contains “10,000 of His finest Posts.”

    Like Taylor Swift, Dril is selling several “Flavors” of the archive — the “refined” edition lays out his posts in alphabetical order, “beloved” ranks them by the number of favorites they got, “eternal” sorts them in chronological order, and “chaotic,” obviously, is completely random. While many of us here at The Verge are big fans of the reverse chronological timeline (and it would be very interesting to see the evolution of the Dril style in print), my heart is pushing me toward the “beloved” version because... I mean, the man tweets a LOT, and if I’m being honest, having the greatest hits all in one half of the book sounds much easier to read.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 12, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    Star Wars beats to chill/study to.

    If something is popular, then The Brands will follow, and so it goes for “lo-fi” streaming music, which exploded in popularity during the pandemic.

    The Star Wars YouTube channel is filling out a playlist of selections, and Starkiller Base Holiday is good enough to make the cut on any Bandcamp Friday. Disney isn’t the first media company to make the leap, though, Riot launched a lo-fi League of Legends album last year.


  • Elizabeth Lopatto

    Dec 12, 2022

    Elizabeth Lopatto

    Stanford University is having a bad time...

    ... and it’s not just because of the Bankman-Frieds or Elizabeth Holmes.

    Marc Tessier-Lavigne, the president of Stanford, is also under investigation for scientific misconduct. There are also lawsuits around student deaths and a person who posed as an undergrad on campus for a whole year.


  • Ariel Shapiro

    Dec 12, 2022

    Ariel Shapiro

    How Did This Get Made? renews deal with SiriusXM

    SiriusXM

    The hit comedy podcast How Did This Get Made? is sticking with Earwolf. Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas, who host the show about terrible movies, have signed a multiyear deal to remain with the SiriusXM-owned podcast studio. SiriusXM spokesperson Ron Gaskill said the deal will keep most of the show’s archive behind Stitcher Premium’s paywall.

    The critically beloved show, which dives into the world of terrible / amazing movies like Cats and Moonfall, has been under the Earwolf umbrella since it launched in 2010. “Twelve years ago, Earwolf believed in us before anyone even knew what a podcast was, and so we are thrilled to continue our relationship with them,” the hosts said in a joint statement. The deal also includes exclusive distribution and ad sales for film podcast Unspooled, which is co-hosted by Scheer and film critic Amy Nicholson.

    Read Article >
  • Monica Chin

    Dec 12, 2022

    Monica Chin

    Bring back the Surface Book

    The Surface Book 3’s screen disconnected from the keyboard.
    Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

    Yes, it was too expensive. Yes, it looked dated and clunky. Yes, there were weird things going on with the hinge. But the world needed it. Please, Microsoft, bring back the Surface Book.

    I’ve been using a Surface Book 2 as my primary personal laptop since 2018. When I was shopping for a computer back then, I had a particular constellation of needs that I was finding it very difficult to fill. I wanted a convertible device to watch TV and read piano music. (You laugh, but balancing a full-sized laptop atop an electric piano is a task I would not advise anyone here to attempt. Ask me how I know.) I wanted something that wasn’t too heavy because I am whatever the opposite of buff is. I also wanted to play games — not daily, but every so often — and I didn’t want them to suck. And I would not consider anything with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

    Read Article >
  • Andrew Webster

    Dec 12, 2022

    Andrew Webster

    The Witcher 3’s next-gen update makes a beautiful game much smoother

    A screenshot of The Witcher 3 running on the PS5.
    The Witcher 3 running on the PS5.
    Image: CD Projekt Red

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has always been a beautiful game. One of my favorite things to do when I played for the first time in 2015 was just wander around on horseback soaking in the incredible atmosphere, from the crumbling ancient ruins to the bustling towns. Seven years later and I found myself awed once again while playing it on the PlayStation 5.

    A free next-gen patch for The Witcher 3 launches on December 14th, giving the aging open-world a boost if you’re playing on a PS5, Xbox Series X/S, or high-end PC. I’ve managed to play through the first few hours of the new version — for those who’ve already played, I’m right in the thick of the haunting “Bloody Baron” quest — and while it’s still fundamentally the same game, some of the improvements make a noticeable difference.

    Read Article >
  • T.C. Sottek

    Dec 12, 2022

    T.C. Sottek

    New York’s saddest club is T-Mobile.

    T-Mobile’s latest stunt is this “ATM” that gives people free money and looks like it’s the VIP section of the world’s lamest club. It’s almost 10 years since T-Mobile became the “Uncarrier”, which came with some genuinely good ideas about disrupting the mobile industry.

    But its classic silly stunts are only getting sadder as the company slowly becomes the thing it once hated.


    A bright magenta t-mobile ATM
  • Jay Peters

    Dec 12, 2022

    Jay Peters

    MrBeast is joining Fortnite with his own skins and a $1 million challenge

    An illustration of MrBeast in Fortnite.
    MrBeast in Fortnite.
    Image: Epic Games

    MrBeast, who recently became the most-subscribed-to creator on YouTube, is the next person to join Fortnite’s Icon Series. The creator made a brief appearance in a trailer for Fortnite’s newest season, and Epic Games is now confirming that not only will MrBeast be getting his own Fortnite skins, but also a MrBeast-themed in-game competition with a $1 million prize.

    If you’ve watched any of MrBeast’s outrageous challenges on his YouTube channel (recent examples: “Last To Take Hand Off Jet, Keeps It!” or “Survive 100 Days In Circle, Win $500,000”), then you might not be surprised that the in-game event is called an “extreme survival challenge.” Players will have to try and get the highest score they can on a custom-built island and the player with the best five high scores will earn $1 million. The top 100,000 players will get a special in-game umbrella.

    Read Article >
  • Adi Robertson

    Dec 12, 2022

    Adi Robertson

    Seeing other people’s AI art is like hearing other people’s dreams

    A sleeping man with a thought bubble that reads DREAAM
    A DALL-E depiction of “a dream that is fun to experience but boring to tell other people about.”
    Image: DALL-E

    If you’ve been on Twitter (or Discord or plenty of other places) this month and your feed is anything like mine, it’s currently full of weird machine-generated text and art. The launch of ChatGPT, Lensa, and other tools has made a once difficult-to-access tool ubiquitous, and the result is an explosion of people posting their interactions with artificial intelligence.

    I love these tools, and I’ve been playing with them for a while now — at least since the release of AI Dungeon 2 in 2019. But over the years, I’ve realized there’s a huge gap between the way I experience work I generate and work created by someone else. The closest way I can describe it is this: seeing somebody else’s AI art is like hearing the plot of someone else’s dream. Occasionally it’s fascinating. Often it’s dull. And for me, it’s almost never as much fun as experiencing the process.

    Read Article >
  • Nilay Patel

    Dec 12, 2022

    Nilay Patel

    Just thinking about the time Facebook lied to us about its internet drone crashing.

    Meta is shutting down its connectivity division, which tried to give away “free” internet access around the world that zero-rated Facebook and put data caps on competitors. Makes sense, times are tight.

    Anyway, one time Meta invited us to write an entire feature about the Aquila connectivity drone but did not disclose the drone had actually crashed. Memories!


  • Emma Roth

    Dec 12, 2022

    Emma Roth

    Meta shuts down its Connectivity division after nearly a decade

    An image showing the Facebook logo surrounded by blue circles
    Nick Barclay / The Verge

    Meta’s shuttering its Connectivity arm almost 10 years after launching the initiative, according to a report from Light Reading. The company confirmed to both Light Reading and Fierce Wireless that it will instead split the division across its Infrastructure and Central Products teams.

    Meta Connectivity (formerly Facebook Connectivity) launched in 2013 with the goal of getting more people online so they could use the company’s social networks. Through the initiative, the company developed and then shut down a project that involved autonomous, high-flying drones beaming the internet to underserved parts of the world. It also worked on creating a Starlink-like internet system using low Earth orbit satellites, but the staff developing it were picked up by Amazon last year.

    Read Article >
  • Alex Cranz

    Dec 12, 2022

    Alex Cranz

    Elon Musk booed at Dave Chappelle show, claims it was only like ‘10 percent boos’

    Image of Elon Musk with red flourishes in the background.
    Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

    Elon Musk took a brief break from running multiple companies mired in drama to create a little more drama by appearing onstage with Dave Chappelle during his show Sunday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

    During Chappelle’s set, the controversial comedian introduced the controversial billionaire, who came onstage to confused applause and booing. Musk proceeded to bomb harder than the time he appeared on SNL.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 12, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    Green light.

    We’ve got AMD’s new GPU on the test bench, and the pre-CES 2023 news is starting to flow. There’s also a rumor about a major breakthrough in fusion energy, and we’re looking into that, but for now, here are a few stories you might have missed.

    Google enabled support for passwordless passkeys in Chrome 108.

    The big crypto group exchange leader chat that may or may not exist.

    The deadlines you’ll need to know to get holiday gifts shipped on time.

    The new Twitter Blue subscription is coming back online today.


  • Tom Warren

    Dec 12, 2022

    Tom Warren

    AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX review: 4K performance for less

    I was impressed with AMD’s answer to Nvidia’s RTX 3080 two years ago, but can team red manage to beat Nvidia’s RTX 4080 two years later? Well, the answer is yes, absolutely yes, and for $200 less.

    The Radeon RX 7900 XT ($899) and XTX ($999) cards are designed to deliver next-gen gaming performance at under $1,000, and at the top end (XTX), AMD manages to comfortably beat Nvidia’s latest RTX 4080 ($1,199) card in a variety of games at 4K.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 12, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    The boos that cost $44 billion.

    If you weren’t at the Dave Chappelle / Chris Rock comedy show in San Francisco on Sunday night, then you missed this event. Chappelle brought Elon Musk on stage, only for Twitter’s billionaire owner to receive so many boos he couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

    Presumably, this isn’t the reception Musk usually gets on the 10th floor of the Twitter HQ from any of the software engineers who still work there.

    Welcome to hell, Elon.


  • Emma Roth

    Dec 11, 2022

    Emma Roth

    Returnal for PC originally recommended 32GB of RAM

    A screenshot of Sony’s Returnal game on PC
    Returnal demands more RAM than even Microsoft Flight Simulator.
    Image: Sony

    Correction, January 18th: While Sony originally recommended an unprecedented 32GB of RAM to play Returnal, it walked that back today. Now, you should be fine with 16GB of RAM, unless you play at 4K or with ray tracing.

    Original story follows:

    Read Article >
  • Emma Roth

    Dec 11, 2022

    Emma Roth

    NASA successfully completes its Artemis I mission

    NASA’s Orion Capsule Splashes Down In The Pacific After Successful Uncrewed Artemis I Moon Mission
    NASA’s Orion capsule splashed down into the Pacific Ocean at around 12:40PM ET.
    Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

    NASA’s Orion spacecraft has returned to Earth. The uncrewed capsule safely splashed down into the Pacific Ocean off of Mexico’s Baja California around 12:40PM ET on Sunday, marking the end of the landmark Artemis I mission.

    The capsule reached speeds of about 24,500mph as it returned to Earth, while its heat shield sustained scorching temperatures of around 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Orion traveled a total of 1.4 million miles through space over the span of 25.5 days.

    Read Article >
  • Emma Roth

    Dec 10, 2022

    Emma Roth

    Elon Musk’s $8 Twitter Blue subscription is coming back with phone number verification and a higher price on iOS

    Twitter’s logo
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Twitter’s relaunching its Blue subscription on Monday, one month after abandoning a chaotic first attempt that spurred hoax accounts and general mayhem.

    As reported previously, the subscription will cost $8 per month to purchase on the web or $11 per month via the iOS App Store to make up for the up to 30 percent commission Apple takes off of in-app purchases. This time, anyone paying for Blue who wants to display a “verified” checkmark on their profile will need to register a phone number first, and changing your “handle, display name or profile photo” will remove the label until your account is reviewed again.

    Read Article >