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Tuesday’s top tech news: a trio of breakages

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Happy Tuesday, everything is broken. Most significantly, late Monday night T-Mobile experienced what appears to be a fairly major outage across the US, with thousands of customers from California to New York reporting that they were unable to place calls or use other basic network services. T-Mobile says it’s now working at “near normal levels,” so hopefully your own connectivity will be restored by the time you’re reading this.

Next up on the breakages list is Twitter, whose “For You” feed was dominated by Elon. The man himself says Twitter is currently making adjustments to the algorithm, presumably to fix the issue. But look, the important context here is that Musk reportedly fired a senior employee recently in a discussion about his tanking engagement numbers. Maybe this “bug” is just Twitter’s remaining staff covering their asses?

Finally, Google Photos also seems to be having difficulties as of the latest iOS update, with users reporting that the app keeps crashing on launch. Again, Google is aware and working on a fix.

And now, here’s a silly tweet to start your day:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Tuesday, February 14th, 2023.
  • Sometimes AI chatbot responses are clear, detailed, and wrong.

    From last week’s Vergecast: there’s one small problem with this Bing AI response about The Verge’s history with Elon Musk and Elon Musk impersonators.

  • To be fair, $44 billion should buy you some reach.

    Elon Musk claimed he was buying Twitter to promote free speech, but as it turns out, his own speech is getting an exclusive premium.

    The whole “free speech” myth of Musk buying Twitter has already been definitively refuted, but this latest development is the final nail in that coffin: this guy just wants everyone to see how funny and popular he is, despite all evidence to the contrary. All of this could have been avoided if Musk just admitted he wanted to buy Twitter because he loves to post.

  • Sony’s PSVR2 teardowns reveal how the headset tracks the Sense controllers

    The PlayStation VR2 headset can track the accompanying Sense controllers thanks to a bunch of IR LEDs hidden in the orb-shaped controllers, according to new teardown videos Sony posted Tuesday evening.

    Under the Sense controller cover, the controller itself has a ring of 14 IR LEDs and three placed elsewhere for tracking, as shown in the Sense teardown video. “These infrared lights are used by the VR headset’s tracking camera to detect the controller’s position and orientation,” Sony’s Takeshi Igarashi, who also designed the DualSense controller, explains in the video. “The LEDs have been placed in optimal locations to ensure they are accurately detected no matter what direction the controller is facing.” And the cover on the controllers is even made with a material that “transmits the infrared light emitted internally to track the movement of the controller,” he says.

    Read Article >
  • Yes, Elon Musk created a special system for showing you all his tweets first

    Elon Musk standing on a sheet of ice in the shape of the Twitter icon that is beginning to crack.
    Photo illustration by William Joel / The Verge, photo by Christian Marquardt / Getty Images

    This story is based on interviews with people familiar with the events involved and supported by documents obtained by Platformer.

    At 2:36 on Monday morning, James Musk sent an urgent message to Twitter engineers. 

    Read Article >
  • Getting approved for a loan from Apple could depend on how much gear you’ve bought.

    The details are apparently coming out as Apple tests its “buy now, pay later” service with employees. The service was supposed to launch last year.

    From Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman:

    The Apple Pay Later service — announced last year but still in the testing phase — will evaluate borrowers based on their spending history and even which of the company’s devices they own. The program, which lets shoppers make purchases and then pay over installments, also will look at whether customers have applied for an Apple Card credit card and the other cards they have linked to their Apple Pay accounts.

  • Mia Sato

    Feb 14

    Mia Sato

    Goodbye, Instagram shopping tab.

    Instagram announced last month that the reshuffled homepage was coming, moving the new post button back to the bottom of the app where it was before.

    It’s part of a larger move away from shopping features at the company — it said today it was also getting rid of live shopping features.

  • Amazon’s weird toaster-shaped robotaxi hits the road in a ‘first’ for the company

    Zoox robotaxi on public roads
    Image: Zoox

    Zoox, the autonomous vehicle company owned by Amazon, said that its toaster-shaped driverless vehicle without a steering wheel or pedals was approved to drive on public roads with passengers in California. The company celebrated the milestone as the “first time in history a purpose-built robotaxi — without any manual controls — drove autonomously with passengers.”

    Zoox is one of dozens of companies currently testing AVs on public roads in the Golden State. And while it trails behind competitors like Waymo and Cruise in the race to commercialize the technology, it is making advancements by introducing a new kind of vehicle to the road — one that lacks traditional controls and could hardly be described as a “car” in the modern sense of the word.

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  • Charging cables have firmware updates now.

    Everything’s a computer!

    (And yes, you can waste your time with a PDF breaking down the official specs for updating USB-C cables.)

  • Spotify’s new activist investor is keeping a close eye on podcast spending

    The Spotify logo
    Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge

    This is Hot Pod, The Verge’s newsletter about podcasting and the audio industry. Sign up here for more.

    I hope you all had a great weekend. Today, we have the final lineup for Hot Pod Summit next week, including a new headliner. Plus, Spotify’s new activist investor and Rihanna’s post-Super Bowl streaming spike. Let’s get into it!

    Read Article >
  • Cloudflare says it stopped the largest-ever DDOS attack last weekend.

    I mean, it’s a press release designed to scare you into buying Cloudflare’s services, but check out these numbers:

    Over the weekend, Cloudflare detected and mitigated dozens of hyper-volumetric DDoS attacks. The majority of attacks peaked in the ballpark of 50-70 million requests per second (rps) with the largest exceeding 71 million rps. This is the largest reported HTTP DDoS attack on record, more than 35% higher than the previous reported record of 46M rps in June 2022.

    Some of the attacked websites included a popular gaming provider, cryptocurrency companies, hosting providers, and cloud computing platforms. The attacks originated from numerous cloud providers, and we have been working with them to crack down on the botnet.

  • Ford F-150 Lightning production on pause over battery issue.

    We don’t know what’s wrong with the battery, but we do know that Ford has put a temporary halt on production and shipment of its popular electric pickup. There’s no recall, no reported incidents, and no stop-sale order to dealers, so it’s a bit of a mystery at the moment. Ford CEO Jim Farley is reportedly cracking down on quality issues at the automaker, so this could be an example of Ford trying to get ahead of the problem before it gets worse.

  • Meanwhile in Canada...

    Feeling insecure about the Canadian presence on digital streamers and social media, the Canadian government is days away from passing a law requiring more Canadian content on TikTok, YouTube, Spotify, Netflix and so on...

    The idea, said Peter Menzies, a former official at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, is to promote Canadian artists, tell Canadian stories and “defend Canada from being completely swamped by American programming.”

    Sad, isn’t it?

  • Facebook is going to explain more about how machine learning decides the ads you see

    A screenshot showing Facebook’s “Why am I seeing this ad?” message.
    Image: Meta

    Meta is updating Facebook’s ad transparency tools to better explain how it uses machine learning to decide which ads you see you.

    Starting Tuesday, when you tap the “Why am I seeing this ad?” message on an ad, you’ll see the following information, according to a blog post from Meta’s Pedro Pavón:

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  • Emma Roth

    Feb 14

    Emma Roth

    Super Bowl LVII was the most-streamed Super Bowl yet

    A photo of the Eagles and Chiefs football teams on the field during Super Bowl LVII
    The quality of the livestreams still needs some work, though.
    Photo by Adam Bow / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    This year’s Super Bowl LVII was the most-streamed Super Bowl yet, hitting an average of 7 million streams across the services showing the game. According to data Fox Sports obtained from Adobe Analytics, Super Bowl streams increased 18 percent from last year’s 6 million streams — and 103 percent over 2020, which saw just 3.4 million streams.

    The 7 million streams included viewers watching the big game on NFL’s TV and mobile apps, NFL’s website, the NFL Plus streaming service, as well as on Fox’s apps and website. This data doesn’t account for co-viewing, or when multiple people watch a stream on the same device, and still represents a small fraction of the 113 million average viewers the game raked in on traditional TV.

    Read Article >
  • EU Parliament votes to effectively ban new combustion engine cars by 2035

    Rise In Use Of Electric Vehicles In The UK
    An electric car being charged at a motorway service station.
    Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

    The European Parliament has given its formal approval to new vehicle emissions standards that would effectively ban the widespread sale of combustion engine cars and vans in the 27-country bloc by 2035, the organization announced today. Three hundred forty members voted in favor of the rules, versus 279 against, and 21 abstained. An initial agreement on the new rules was reached last October, which calls for all cars and vans sold in the EU to emit zero CO2 emissions by the middle of next decade.

    The rules still have a couple more stages to go through before becoming law. They need to be formally endorsed by the Council of the EU and be published in the EU Official Journal. But Reuters notes that final approval is expected to be given by March, meaning the world’s largest trading bloc and home to key automakers including Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz will soon officially be on track to almost completely phase out vehicles powered by combustion engines. 

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  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is your brain on Kangs

    A tight shot of a man wearing a formfitting helmet that casts a translucent blue sheen over his face, which is visible from his hairline down to his chin.
    Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
    Image: Marvel Studios

    Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, from director Peyton Reed, wants to make you laugh. But it also wants you to think it’s cool — kind of like a dad who doesn’t know how to relate to you now that you’re both adults who can recognize that he’s always sorta only had maybe one or two good bits. Quantumania knows those bits have worked in the past, and it gamely whips them out as part of the Ant-Man series’ most visually imaginative stories yet. But rather than coasting on its sense of dad-focused humor, Quantumania tries to switch things up a bit by mainlining a few doses of whatever psychedelics Doctor Strange has been brewing and inviting you to partake in a little madness that doesn’t always make sense.

    Quantumania knows that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has come such a long way since he first popped up in the MCU back in 2015 that more than a few people are going to need refreshers about who he is and where he’s been. But as it’s doing its best to fill you in on what Scott and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) have been up to since becoming Avengers, you can immediately tell that Quantumania’s story is best experienced with its predecessors fresh in your mind.

    Read Article >
  • Google launches first Android beta for ad-tracking overhaul

    Two mobile devices displaying the Privacy Sandbox on Android beta. The mobile on the left shows the settings page, while the right-hand device shows the listed interests you’ll find.
    Eligible device owners can opt themselves in or out of the Privacy Sandbox on Android beta at any time in the settings menu.
    Image: Google

    Around this time last year, Google revealed it was working on a multiyear initiative to improve privacy and remodel ad tracking on Android phones, bringing the mobile platform in line with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature for iOS. Following the release of an early developer preview last April, Google says the first beta for Privacy Sandbox on Android will start rolling out tomorrow to a limited number of Android 13 devices, allowing users and developers to test the new technology in the real world. Access to the beta will expand “over time,” and devices selected to participate will receive an Android notification informing users of their eligibility.

    The Privacy Sandbox on Android is a set of tools that aim to create a new standard for how advertisers and websites access information about consumers without compromising user privacy. Android devices are currently assigned a unique user-resettable “Android Advertising ID,” which is used to track user behavior and build a personal advertising profile that can be used by app developers. The Privacy Sandbox aims to replace this advertising ID with privacy-preserving APIs, which Google claims will limit user data being shared with third parties and remove cross-app identifiers, while still supporting personalized ads.

    Read Article >
  • Discord Stage Channels adds Twitch-like video and screen sharing

    An illustrated mock-up of the new video and screen sharing features for Discord Stages on both a mobile and desktop device.
    Discord’s new video livestreaming features allows smaller content creators to broadcast and screen share directly to their community Discord servers.
    Image: Discord

    Discord is already a beloved communications platform for YouTube and Twitch’s livestreaming communities, but now the company is taking its own first significant step into the livestreaming industry. Announced today, Discord has updated its Stage Channels feature to support video, screen sharing, and a text chat for viewers to interact with hosts and each other. The update is available now and is supported across all Discord desktop and mobile applications.

    Stage Channels were first introduced as a live audio feature in March 2021, enabling users to broadcast conversations between designated speakers and moderators to a room of virtual listeners, much like Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse. Where Stage Channels were initially limited to audio-only broadcasts, this update brings the feature more in line with the interactive livestreaming experiences provided by platforms like YouTube or Twitch.

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  • Here’s how Meteos, a classic Nintendo DS puzzler, launched into orbit.

    I’m sorry for the pun. But you really should watch Masahiro Sakurai’s latest YouTube video about his work on Meteos, a great entry in the “falling block” puzzle game genre. I really wish there was a new version of this game.

  • Hyundai and Kia forced to update software on millions of vehicles because of viral TikTok challenge

    Kia logo

    Hyundai and Kia are offering free software updates for millions of their cars in response to a rash of car thefts inspired by a viral social media challenge on TikTok.

    The so-called “Kia Challenge” on the social media platform has led to hundreds of car thefts nationwide, including at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Thieves known as “the Kia Boyz” would post instructional videos about how to bypass the vehicles’ security system using tools as simple as a USB cable.

    Read Article >
  • Erase browser history: can AI reset the browser battle?

    Mitchell Baker smiles at the camera.
    Photo illustration by Will Joel / The Verge

    Mitchell Baker is the chair and CEO of Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox browser, the Thunderbird email client, the Pocket newsreader, and a bunch of other interesting internet tools.

    Now, as you all know, Decoder is secretly a podcast about org charts — maybe not so secretly — and Mozilla’s structure is really interesting. Mozilla itself is a nonprofit foundation, but it contains within it something called the Mozilla Corporation, which actually makes Firefox and the rest.

    Read Article >
  • Quick fixes: how to make your Chromebook’s screen rotate

    Chromebook against a background of small illustrations.
    Image: Samar Haddad / The Verge

    The Chromebook screen doesn’t rotate in tablet mode.

    Hit Ctrl > Shift > Refresh, or fix it in Settings.

    Read Article >
  • OnePlus 11 5G review: a great phone that’s a tough sell

    Who among us didn’t pick up a new pandemic hobby only to lose interest a couple of years later? Only OnePlus didn’t pick up furniture upcycling — instead, it’s spent the last few years trying to reinvent itself as a flagship phone maker rather than a flagship killer.

    That didn’t really work, so the company is coming back around to a familiar formula: a phone with a big screen, a top-tier chipset, and a price low enough to undercut most of the flagship competition. 

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  • Geekbench 6 tests things you actually do with your phone and computer

    Screenshot of Geekbench 6 running on a Mac.
    Image: Primate Labs

    Geekbench, the popular cross-platform benchmarking software, is getting a big update. According to its developer, Primate Labs, Geekbench 6 has new and updated tests that are meant to fully test modern hardware and apps using datasets that are more representative of the workloads you’ll see in the real world.

    A lot of the changes from Geekbench 5, which was released in 2019, involve testing your computer with more data. Test photos have more megapixels, and there will be more of them for import tests. The maps and PDFs are bigger, and the device being tested will have to compile more code with Clang. The data has gotten some updates too, with the HTML and PDF workloads feature more modern designs.

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  • The first teaser for Ted Lasso season 3 is an arts and crafts project

    The third — and possibly final — season of Ted Lasso will premiere on Apple TV Plus on March 15th. The news was revealed via a brief teaser trailer, which doesn’t reveal much about the upcoming story but does show the main cast crafting their very own “believe” signs. Brett Goldstein still definitely looks like a real human.

    Season 3 was previously pegged for a spring debut. It will be 12 episodes long and marks a change of sorts for Apple; while the streamer typically releases new shows on Fridays, Ted Lasso will debut weekly episodes on Wednesdays instead. As for the story, here’s the official premise:

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