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Thursday’s top tech news: leaving, on an @ElonJet plane

After saying he wouldn’t ban an account that tracks the movement of his private jet, Elon Musk’s Twitter has done exactly that, suspending the @ElonJet account alongside its creator and several other accounts that he operates. Obviously Twitter is a private company that’s free to moderate its platform however it wants, but the case highlights how even a “free speech absolutist” like Musk can come around pretty quickly on content moderation when his personal safety is involved.

Over on the tech news side, Google Docs is getting some cool new features for anyone that wants to show code in their documents. It’s part of a pretty significant transformation Google Workspace has been going through, and overall I’m a big fan. Pageless formatting! Markdown support! Damn it’s a great time to be a Google Docs user.

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 15th, 2022.
  • Barbara Krasnoff

    Sep 26, 2023

    Barbara Krasnoff

    How to order free rapid covid tests from the US government — again

    Image: Samar Haddad / The Verge

    Autumn is here, and once again, warnings are going up about the spread of the covid-19 virus — along with the flu and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. To try to minimize the upsurge, the US government is once again restarting a program that was last canceled in May 2023 and is again offering free home rapid antigen tests to each US household. According to the government website, orders will start shipping the week of October 2nd.

    As before, it’s extremely simple to put in your order. You will not need to submit a credit card or any other financial information.

    Read Article >
  • Umar Shakir

    Dec 16, 2022

    Umar Shakir

    Google is beta testing digital state ID cards in its Android Wallet app

    an image of an Android phone with a Maryland ID card image with a blue crab and flag in the back and a waves icon above it indicating to tap the phone to a terminal.
    Maryland ID in Google Wallet can be tapped at participating airports.
    Image: Google

    Maryland was one of the first states to make state IDs available on Apple’s Wallet app for iPhones, and now Google is beta testing support for the “Digital Driver’s License” in the Wallet app on Android phones. The Apple Wallet integration can already be used to get through TSA at airports like the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport that allow the use of digital state IDs, which should be similar on Android.

    According to Google’s updated support page: users running Android 8.0 (or later) who are in the Google Play Services beta program (specifically, version 48.22) are eligible. After enabling Bluetooth and Nearby Devices, and also making sure your phone has a screen lock, you should now see a new option for “ID Card (beta)” when adding a new card to the Google Wallet app.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 15, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    Ripping off AIM away messages is the best feature Instagram has added in a long, long time.

    If you’re old enough to remember the words “via Hiptop,” then you’ll recognize that instead of being tweet-like, the new Instagram Notes feature takes inspiration from Twitter’s predecessor — AOL Instant Messenger away messages.

    The pop-up statuses are hidden away (for now) in the Instagram messages window, but for the Elder Millennial / Young Gen X generation, it’s a return to the days of flirting via vague but also specifically targeted song lyrics.

  • Justine Calma

    Dec 15, 2022

    Justine Calma

    A plasma physicist explains what’s next after the big nuclear fusion breakthrough

    Secretary Granholm Announces Nuclear Energy Scientific Breakthrough
    Scientists, engineers and administrators from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories following the announcement of a breakthrough in fusion research on December 13th, 2022, in Washington, DC. 
    Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

    Tammy Ma was about to board a plane at the San Francisco International Airport when she got the call of a lifetime. She’s a plasma physicist at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s largest and most energetic laser. An experiment at the facility had just accomplished a breakthrough in nuclear fusion that scientists have been trying to achieve for decades. 

    “I burst into tears, and I was jumping up and down in the waiting area,” Ma told reporters at a technical briefing on the achievement in Washington, DC, this week.

    Read Article >
  • Andrew Webster

    Dec 15, 2022

    Andrew Webster

    Death Stranding is getting a film adaptation

    A screenshot of the video game Death Stranding.
    Death Stranding
    Image: Kojima Productions

    The Death Stranding cinematic universe is getting a little bigger. Not long after a sequel to the 2019 video game was announced, now comes news that a film is also in the works.

    The project will be a joint collaboration between developer Kojima Productions and Hammerstone Studios, led by Alex Lebovici, who served as a producer on the horror film Barbarian. According to a press release, the plot for the film is being kept quiet for now, but it will “introduce new elements and characters within the Death Stranding universe.”

    Read Article >
  • Jay Peters

    Dec 15, 2022

    Jay Peters

    Apple is expanding Mythic Quest with a new spinoff series

    An image of actors Ashly Burch and Imani Hakim in Mythic Quest.
    Ashly Burch, who stars in Mythic Quest, is part of the team heading up the new series.
    Image: Apple

    Apple is building on the success of its Apple TV Plus comedy about game development, Mythic Quest, with a new spinoff series titled Mere Mortals. The eight-episode series will be more like the excellent episodes in the main show that focus on a time and place outside of the primary settings and characters, Variety reports. “Mere Mortals will explore the lives of employees, players and fans who are impacted by the game,” according to Apple in a press release.

    Ashly Burch, who plays Rachel in Mythic Quest, is part of the team writing Mere Mortals alongside John Howell Harris and Katie McElhenney. Megan Ganz, Rob McElhenney (Ian on Mythic Quest), David Hornsby (David Brittlesbee on Mythic Quest), and Charlie Day will be executive producers.

    Read Article >
  • Dan Seifert

    Dec 15, 2022

    Dan Seifert

    This electric car has a massive fan that keeps it stuck to the ground.

    The McMurtry Spéirling is a 1,000hp, 2,200lb electric race car that can do 0-60mph in under 2 seconds and a full quarter mile run in under 8 seconds.

    But perhaps the coolest thing about it is the massive fan inside that keeps it suctioned to the ground and provides it with incredible grip and acceleration. Just watch the video to see what I mean.

  • The Echo Show 15 with Fire TV: a major upgrade with a major flaw

    A Show 15 smart display on a kitchen counter with an Alexa remote control.
    Fire TV comes to the Echo Show 15, but you need to use a remote.

    The Echo Show 15 now comes with the Fire TV interface, thanks to a software update that started rolling out last week. Amazon’s largest smart display already offered a few streaming apps, but the update brings more streaming services, more live TV options, and a native YouTube app on an Echo device for the first time since 2017. It makes the Echo Show 15 a better television but a slightly worse smart display.

    If your main beef with the Show 15 was the limited video options, this is a great update. But it does remove some touch functionality from the Show 15 and makes it more reliant on either voice control through Alexa, a new physical remote option, or a truly baffling on-screen remote. 

    Read Article >
  • Mitchell Clark

    Dec 15, 2022

    Mitchell Clark

    Some Peacock originals are coming to JetBlue’s in-flight entertainment system

    A graphic showing Peacock’s logo in a beige circle surrounded by other colorful circles
    Some new content for the in-seat screens.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    The Peacock original show Bel-Air doesn’t actually have anything to do with flying, but you may be able to watch it next time you’re in the air. JetBlue has announced that it’s partnered with NBC’s streaming service to bring some of its content to the seatback screens on its planes — including the Fresh Prince spinoff, Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin, and Rian Johnson’s comedy caper show Poker Face.

    You’ll also be able to stream anything from Peacock’s catalog using your own device and the in-flight Wi-Fi, according to the airline’s Thursday press release, though you’ll need an active Peacock subscription to do so, according to JetBlue spokesperson Emily Martin.

    Read Article >
  • Jay Peters

    Dec 15, 2022

    Jay Peters

    Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 launches on PS5 in fall 2023

    A screenshot from Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
    The Spideys are back in the fall of next year.
    Image: Sony

    Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 from PlayStation’s Insomniac Games will officially be launching on PS5 in fall 2023, Sony announced on Thursday. While we don’t have any more specific timing than that launch window, it means that there will be one more major game for next year that you might want to add to your list of things to look forward to.

    Sony also shared a brief and vague synopsis. “Following the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the Spider-duo of Peter Parker and Miles Morales are back in the next blockbuster action chapter of the Marvel’s Spider-Man series,” Sony’s De’Angelo Epps wrote. Sony debuted a brief teaser trailer for the game last year that revealed Venom will be featured as a villain.

    Read Article >
  • Chris Welch

    Dec 15, 2022

    Chris Welch

    Apple’s planned classical music app is still MIA as 2022 winds down

    Apple Music logo, on red and white background
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    When Apple acquired classical music streaming service Primephonic back in 2021, the company revealed plans to launch a standalone app with many of Primephonic’s best features by the end of this year. But we’re now in mid-December. iOS 16.2 was just released without any sign of the app — believed to be called Apple Classical — and it’s not present in the latest iOS 16.3 betas, either.

    With many Apple employees nearing holiday vacation, it seems increasingly unlikely that Apple Classical will be a year-end surprise.

    Read Article >
  • Cameron Faulkner

    Dec 15, 2022

    Cameron Faulkner

    Corsair’s Xeneon OLED flexes on them other gaming monitors

    The Corsair Xeneon Flex OLED gaming monitor showing Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered running in photo mode.
    When it’s flat, it’s impossible to tell that the Xeneon Flex is hiding a clever bending mechanism behind it.
    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    You’re either on team flat or team curved when it comes to how you prefer your gaming monitors to look. Corsair’s new $1,999 Xeneon Flex, a new 45-inch OLED option that’s shipping early next year, doesn’t make you pick sides. It can morph between the two modes — sadly, not by pressing a button — but by primitively squeezing the screen together with its two handles. It requires a surprising amount of force to pull it into a curve and to push it back into a flat panel, letting out faint clicks when each side has reached its destination. 

    After testing a non-final version of the Xeneon Flex for several days, my fear of breaking it has nearly subsided, but my fun with switching its modes hasn’t. Using HDR with its 240Hz refresh rate and 21:9 aspect ratio looks great when connected to the M1 MacBook Pro that I use for work. And I experienced pure joy while gaming on it with a 2022 Razer Blade 15 laptop. 

    Read Article >
  • Andrew Webster

    Dec 15, 2022

    Andrew Webster

    Amazon is publishing the next Tomb Raider game

    A screenshot of the video game Rise of the Tomb Raider.
    Rise of the Tomb Raider
    Image: Square Enix

    Amazon’s latest foray into video game publishing will star Lara Croft. The company announced a new deal with developer Crystal Dynamics, which will see it publish the next entry in the long-running Tomb Raider series. Crystal Dynamics will handle development, with Amazon “providing full support and publishing the game globally.”

    The studio revealed it was working on a new Tomb Raider earlier this year as part of a showcase for Epic’s Unreal Engine game-making tools. Very few details are available at the moment, but it’s described as “a single-player, narrative-driven adventure that continues  Lara Croft’s story in the Tomb Raider series.” Amazon says the game, which will utilize Unreal Engine 5, will be multiplatform and is currently in “early development.” No word yet on when it might be released.

    Read Article >
  • Mia Sato

    Dec 15, 2022

    Mia Sato

    Instagram launches new tool to help hacked users regain account access screens showing the steps to regain access to a hacked account.
    Image: Instagram

    Instagram users who are victims of hacking now have a new way to try to claw back their account. The company announced today, a new feature for reporting and trying to resolve account access problems.

    The new platform is an all-in-one account support page. Users can ask for help recovering hacked accounts, report impersonation accounts, or get help if they’ve forgotten their passwords. The most pressing issue for many is likely getting help when an account has been hacked — something that users have struggled to get in the past.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Dec 15, 2022

    Jon Porter

    Nothing starts opening up its Android 13 beta for the Phone 1

    Nothing’s Android 13 update for the Nothing Phone 1 has started rolling out in open beta, the company announced today. The update is version 1.5 of the company’s Nothing OS Android skin and contains unique additions like an all-new Nothing-themed weather app alongside Android 13 features like the ability to set language options on a per-app basis and a new QR code scanner in quick settings. Its official release is scheduled for early next year.

    In an interview with Android Authority, Nothing CEO Carl Pei shed some light on why its Android 13 update has taken so long to release. Apparently, the Phone 1 originally launched with software developed by an outsourced team from another Android phone manufacturer of around 400 engineers. But in the months since, Nothing has staffed up its internal team to around 100 engineers, who’ve updated Nothing OS to use the company’s in-house code for its version 1.5 release. 

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Dec 15, 2022

    Tom Warren

    HoloLens 2 now has full Microsoft Teams integration

    The view of holograms for Microsoft Teams features in the HoloLens 2 headset
    The new Microsoft Teams view in HoloLens 2.
    Image: Microsoft

    Microsoft has long supported real-time video calls using Microsoft Teams on HoloLens 2 headsets, but now the company is bringing full Teams integration to its mixed reality headset. HoloLens 2 users will now be able to freely call people directly, browse and add Teams contacts to calls, and even view calendars and join group meetings.

    Microsoft is also allowing HoloLens 2 users to see what people are sharing in meetings, too. A new live video stream of shared screens will appear as a hologram that can be moved and resized.

    Read Article >
  • Apple is seriously screwing up its big play for an Oscar

    A black and white image of Black Union soldiers in their uniforms as they march to battle during the Civil War.
    Will Smith as Peter in Apple’s Emancipation.
    Image: Apple

    The reality that Apple wants to win more Oscars with director Antoine Fuqua’s historical action drama Emancipation is as obvious as the fact that the Academy probably isn’t going to award the film because of how largely Will Smith — the lead — features in its story. Post-slap, the cards were immediately stacked against Emancipation to make all that much of a splash during this year’s awards season. But over the past few weeks, in the buildup to the movie’s debut last Friday, it’s repeatedly felt like Emancipation’s creative team has been actively working against whatever chances the project had of following in Coda’s footsteps to snag Apple even more Oscar statues.

    Though much of Emancipation’s story is fictional, its plot is loosely based on the life of a Black man named Gordon who escaped enslavement in 1863, joined the Union Army, and became a symbol for the inhumane, tortuous treatment Black people endured under slavery. As is too often the case when it comes to the narratives belonging to Black people who survived through the late 19th century, many details about who Gordon was have been lost to history. But Gordon became well-known in many Civil War-era abolitionist circles after photos of his heavily scarred back were published in Harper’s Weekly as a rebuttal to the common defense of slavery arguing that enslaved people were treated well by the people who owned them.

    Read Article >
  • Sean Hollister

    Dec 15, 2022

    Sean Hollister

    Valve answers our burning Steam Deck questions — including a possible Steam Controller 2

    The Steam Deck gaming handheld, lit solely by orange light, giving a bit of a sunset or fire feel
    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

    Nine months ago, I wrote that the Steam Deck wasn’t ready. Many of you clearly disagreed: the handheld gaming PC has been the top-selling item on Steam for 30 of the past 41 weeks.

    Being the “early access game console” didn’t keep this affordable, portable gaming computer down. Frankly, it’s my gadget of the year, thanks in no small part to the 90-plus updates Valve has shipped since its debut. But the pace of updates and reliance on Linux can make it a volatile platform, too: Valve itself has occasionally introduced nasty new bugs, and game publishers have occasionally broken compatibility with their own updates.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 15, 2022

    Richard Lawler

    Green light.

    Today’s news has everything from smart home standards to nuclear fusion (and we’ll have more to say about the latter in a moment.

    Otherwise, here are a few stories you may have missed:

    Fubo TV says its ill-timed outage was due to a cyberattack.

    Researchers recorded the sound of a Mars dust devil.

    Amazon Prime greenlit production for a God of War TV show.

    And Universal Studios Hollywood will open its Super Nintendo World area in February.

    Last but not least, don’t miss the massive upgrade for GTA V that added ray-traced reflections on new-gen consoles.

  • Andrew J. Hawkins

    Dec 15, 2022

    Andrew J. Hawkins

    Uber Eats will use sidewalk robots to make food deliveries in Miami

    Uber Eats sidewalk robots
    Uber will use robots from Cartken to make deliveries in Dadeland.
    Image: Uber

    Uber is expanding its use of autonomous delivery vehicles with the announcement that it will soon deploy sidewalk robots developed in Miami, Florida.

    The six-wheeled delivery robots will come from Cartken, an Oakland-based AI company founded by a team of ex-Google engineers known mostly for deploying its vehicles on college campuses.

    Read Article >
  • Google Nest and Android devices are now Matter compatible — yes, right now

    A Google Home logo on a blue and white illustration with the Matter logo.
    Google Home now supports Matter.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Google announced today that it has completed the initial rollout of Matter to its Google Nest products and Android OS. This means the Matter smart home standard, first developed by Google, Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and others, now has the foundation in place to start delivering on its ambitious promises: interoperability, simplicity, security, and a smart home that just works.

    Over the past few weeks, Google has updated millions of Google Nest smart speakers, displays, and Wi-Fi routers as well as billions of Android phones and tablets to Matter. The company says the transition will be completed today, December 15th. Android devices need to run Android 8.1 and up and Google Play Services 22.48.14, while Google Nest devices need the latest firmware updates. The update means that Android and Google Home users can now connect Google devices with Matter devices from other manufacturers.

    Read Article >
  • Monica Chin

    Dec 15, 2022

    Monica Chin

    Dell’s repairable Concept Luna laptop has a long road ahead of it

    A robot disassembles the keyboard of the Dell Concept Luna.
    Here is a robot removing the Dell Concept Luna’s keyboard.
    Photo by Owen Grove / The Verge

    Almost a year ago today, Dell announced the “Concept Luna”, a fully repairable and upgradable laptop incorporating sustainable materials. With everything removable and replaceable, from the memory and SSD to the keyboard and the screen, it looked to be a similar concept to the groundbreaking Framework Laptop — and potentially a huge win for both sustainability and right-to-repair advocates. The problem: it was not anywhere close to a real thing you could buy.

    Well, it’s been a year. Concept Luna is still not on shelves. Dell still has no concrete plans to put it on shelves.

    Read Article >
  • Victoria Song

    Dec 15, 2022

    Victoria Song

    HearUSA will add Sony’s OTC hearing aids to its stores in 2023

    An illustration featuring the Sony logo.
    Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge

    Soon, you’ll be able to pick up a pair of Sony’s OTC (over-the-counter) hearing aids at one of HearUSA’s 350 hearing centers or through its online store. Founded in 1987, HearUSA operates a network of retail stores that help consumers directly buy prescription — and now OTC — hearing aids.

    Both Sony’s CRE-C10 and CRE-E10 models will be available starting in early 2023, though no firm date was provided. Sony, which has long been a leading headphone maker, first announced it was entering the OTC hearing aid market back in September.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Dec 15, 2022

    Jon Porter

    Oppo’s next foldable is actually getting a release outside of China

    Three Oppo Find N2 Flip phones.
    Oppo’s Find N2 Flip foldable clamshell.
    Image: Oppo

    Oppo has announced a pair of new foldables in China today, and the smaller of the two is actually getting a release outside of its domestic market. The Find N2 Flip has a clamshell design similar to the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and starts at ¥6,000 (around $861) while the Find N2, its larger sibling, has a larger tablet-style form factor that’s closer to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and starts at ¥8,000 (around $1,148). 

    XDA Developers reports that the Flip will see an international launch but that the regular Find N2 is sticking to China for now, just like its predecessor, the Find N, did. Expect to see the Find N2 Flip appear in European markets in the first quarter of next year, but it’s unlikely to get an official US release given Oppo historically hasn’t sold phones in North America.

    Read Article >
  • Monica Chin

    Dec 15, 2022

    Monica Chin

    Where are all the new Macs?

    Two Mac Studio models and two monitors side by side on a wooden table in a living room space.
    Two Mac Studios don’t quite make an Arm Mac Pro.
    Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

    Does anyone else vividly remember the day of June 22nd, 2020? I sure do. That was the day when Apple announced that its Macs were going to transfer away from Intel processors to the company’s own silicon. That transition, Tim Cook himself claimed, would take two years.

    Reader, it has been well over two years since that fateful day. Even if you start the clock at the November 2020 launch of the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, we are past due. Apple’s ambitious timeline has not come to fruition.

    Read Article >