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Today’s Storystream

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Alan Wake II’s New Game Plus mode comes out on December 11th.

Kyle Rowley, the director of Alan Wake II, snuck in the mention of the new mode at the end of Sam Lake’s acceptance speech for the Best Game Direction award. Rowley promised it will have “new story content.”

The Verge’s favorite holiday gifts under $25

Whether you need a stocking stuffer or a white elephant present, we’ve got an inexpensive gift idea for nearly every occasion.

The latest Echo Frames look cool but…

Alexa is still Alexa. I just reviewed the $389.99 Carrera Cruiser version of the Amazon Echo Frames. As far as smart glasses go, this is definitely an upgrade on the style front and it’s got better battery life than before. However the audio improvements and Alexa improvements are really minor when you consider the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses start at $299 and do a lot more.

John Romero and John Carmack will be on Twitch together this weekend.

The industry legends will be on a livestream to talk about the 30th anniversary of Doom, and I’m guessing it will be a fascinating conversation.

The livestream, which will be on Romero’s Twitch channel, kicks off on December 10th at 3PM ET. If you want to learn some of the history between the two, check out Romero’s autobiography — which we have an excerpt of that you can read right now.

There’s gold (and lithium and cobalt) in all those EV battery packs

Smarter tech and new recycling techniques might just mean our EVs get even greener. Here’s how Redwood Materials is putting recycling at the heart of the burgeoning battery belt.

Emoji can be tags on Threads.

If somebody has turned an emoji into a tag, you’ll be able to click on that emoji to see other people talking about it.

In other news, please join my waffle club.

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Google Maps in Android Auto now has a toggle that lets you record where you parked.

Google added a “Save Parking” toggle you’ll see at the end of your trip, and it pins the spot on Google Maps and adds it to reminders, reports 9to5Google. It seems easier than the conventional method.

iPhones have been able to automatically save your parking location in Apple Maps after you exit your car since 2016.

Building for tomorrow

This series is all about infrastructure: the invisible layer of wires and guts and light that makes everything run. It’s not in the best shape, but what would it take to make it better?

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Papa John’s used an AI platform to create Spanish subtitles and narration for a commercial with Shaq.

Moises, the audio tech app behind it, officially launched Music.AI today. It offers a mix of proprietary AI models and third-party tools for commercial use. The APIs also include one for vocal extraction, downbeat detection, and a tool that can transform a song into a video (complete with synchronized lyrics) — among others.

Papa Johns Shaq-A-Roni TV Spot, 'Mucho más Pepperoni' canción de Young MC

[ | Realtime TV Advertising Performance Measurement]

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Amazon and Venmo are breaking up.

Amazon is going to stop letting you pay for things on its marketplace using Venmo as of January 10th, CNBC reports. You also can’t add Venmo as an Amazon payment option anymore, according to a Venmo support page.

The Venmo integration on Amazon was barely a year old; it started rolling out in October 2022.

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The head of Tesla’s Dojo supercomputer project has left the company.

Ganesh Venkataramanan left Tesla in November, Bloomberg reports. The project is now being overseen by Peter Bannon, who has designed chips for Intel and Apple.

Tesla said earlier this year that it has started production of the supercomputer, which will be used to help train its self-driving technology.

With Dream Scenario, Nic Cage wants to let you in on a secret

Dream Scenario’s Nic Cage wants you to know that there’s a difference between maximalism and pushing the boundaries of filmmaking as an art.

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The woes of the salesforce at Salesforce.

Bloomberg takes a look at the enterprise software-maker that bought Slack:

Earlier this year, Salesforce’s top 100 sellers were sipping Champagne in a luxury hotel on the Adriatic coast booked by the company. It was the annual celebration for top performers, with Millham as the keynote speaker. But everyone was seeing text messages and LinkedIn posts from colleagues who’d been let go. “It was a little awkward,” one attendee recalls.

Salesforce is, in some ways, the microcosm of the tech economy, the story suggests — and its growth mirrored that of the tech ecosystem, too.

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“One area that is thriving? Companies in the business of failure.”

We talked earlier this year about what the change in the interest rate environment meant for VC-funded tech companies. Now The New York Times is taking stock of the carnage:

Carta, a company that provides financial services for many Silicon Valley start-ups, said 87 of the start-ups on its platform that raised at least $10 million had shut down this year as of October, twice the number for all of 2022.

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OpenAI is low on Toner.

Helen Toner, one of the board members who fired Sam Altman and then ousted herself when Altman returned, has given an interview to The Wall Street Journal. She is unable to give a specific reason for Altman’s firing beyond “Our goal in firing Sam was to strengthen OpenAI and make it more able to achieve its mission.”

Listen, babe, I am fully happy to hear you out, but if being full of shit is a firing offense for CEOs, everyone in the Fortune 500 would be looking for a new job.

The road ahead for EV adoption is made of gravel

Cities and major travel corridors will get electrified in the coming years thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, but what does the EV transition look like for the places in between?

Sea of Thieves without pirates.

Sea of Thieves players have long been asking for the ability to set sail in private without disruptions from other pirates. Rare is delivering that today with a new mode called Safer Seas. You can now play truly alone or with up to three other friends, and no other players will be there in the world to sink your ship and steal your loot. The existing shared world is now known as High Seas, and will include the best reputation rates and all the elements of the game that are focused on player vs. player.

The best instant cameras you can buy right now

We found the best cameras for your budget and needs.

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You can listen to podcasts through Google Podcasts until March 2024.

Google mentioned the date in a support document about transferring your subscriptions away from Google Podcasts. You’ll have until July 2024 to migrate your subscriptions to another service.

Amazon’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith are going to get through this rough patch together.

20th Century Fox’s original Mr. & Mrs. Smith only showed a bit of its titular operatives’ secretive backstories before the film’s plot sent them off running for their lives.

But the latest teaser for Amazon’s upcoming adaptation starring Donald Glover and Maya Erskine makes it seems like the series is going to dig way deeper into the couple’s interiority as they mow down fleets of fellow trained killers.

Spotify’s CFO and general counsel sold millions of dollars worth of stock the day after the layoff.

First spotted by Podnews, new SEC filings indicate that Spotify chief financial officer Paul Vogel and general counsel Eve Konstan exercised options and sold stock worth $9.38 million and $1.15 million, respectively.

On Tuesday, the day after the company announced a layoff of 17 percent of its staff, the stock price hit a high of $199.97, up 10.7 percent compared to its Friday closing price of $180.69. It is possible the sales were automatically triggered by the stock price hitting a certain level. Spotify did not immediately return request for comment.

Epic v. Google: everything we’re learning live in Fortnite court

In a redux of a case against Apple and iOS, Epic aims to dismantle barriers that could spell higher fees for app makers — and, Google argues, keep Android safe and competitive.

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Spotify denies it’s bringing in-app payments back to iOS.

Code was spotted in Spotify’s iOS app suggesting the service might re-enable in-app payments, but the company says they’re not coming back.

“We have no plans to switch IAP [in-app payments] on at the moment,” Spotify’s global head of corporate and policy communications, Farshad Shadloo, tells The Verge.

Spotify removed the feature in 2016 to avoid Apple’s up to 30 percent commission on digital in-app purchases, and earlier this year migrated old subscribers off the payment method.

“Welcome to hell, Elon” has now been cited in a Supreme Court brief.

Amicus briefs in the big First Amendment case against the bad Texas and Florida social media laws are getting filed, and Public Knowledge’s submission contains a citation to Welcome to hell, Elon as support for the idea that the real product of any social platform is content moderation. I truly hope Clarence Thomas reads this thing.

A screenshot of a citation in a Supreme Court brief to “Welcome to hell, Elon” by Nilay Patel at The Verge.
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