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Today’s Storystream

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Brave brings its AI browser assistant to Android.

The privacy-focused Brave browser launched its AI assistant, Leo, last year on the desktop, and now it’s available for Android, following other mobile AI-connected browsers like Edge and Arc (only on iOS).

Leo promises summaries, transcriptions, translations, coding, and more (while acknowledging that LLMs may “hallucinate” erroneous info). As for privacy, Brave claims, “Inputs are always submitted anonymously through a reverse-proxy and are not retained or used for training.”

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Here’s why it’s so expensive for Twitch to operate in South Korea.

The streaming service shut off access this week, citing “prohibitively expensive” costs. Those costs stem from a tax on high bandwidth services, according to Rest of World:

The [“sender pays”] rule requires companies to compensate the receiving networks for the traffic they send. It’s meant to tax heavy senders like Netflix and YouTube. Livestreaming sites like Twitch face particularly steep fees, as low latency is critical for live content.

The golden age of DVDs isn’t over yet for anime fans

Physical media might seem like it’s on its deathbed, but the anime DVD and Blu-ray industry couldn’t be more alive.

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The EPA is delaying final rules on power plant pollution.

Measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions from gas-fired power plants operating in the US probably won’t be finalized until November — after presidential elections. It’s a risky gamble for environmental groups pushing the Biden administration to take more time to tighten proposed regulations. If Donald Trump is elected, policies to tackle climate change could just go out the window like they did during his last stint in office.

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X’s lawsuit against the Center for Countering Digital Hate sounds like it’s on the rocks.

The parties held a conference call to argue about whether the nonprofit’s anti-hate speech researchers illegally scraped data from Elon Musk’s social network, and a judge seems dubious.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer was skeptical that when the nonprofit entered the standard user contract governing all Twitter and X users, it could have foreseen that Musk would buy Twitter for $44 billion in 2022 and welcome back users it had banned for posting hateful content. [...] “I am trying to figure out, in my mind, how that’s possibly true, because I don’t think it is.”

Judge Breyer didn’t indicate when we might get a ruling, Reuters says.

Today I learned about the ‘80s Casio calculator that doubles as a massive lighter.

I wanted it to be February’s Button of the Month — partly because its big honking button has an incredible click and shoots out a monster jet of flame, partly because it triples as an alarm clock (!), and partly ‘cuz it hearkens back to Casio’s original invention: a finger ring for cigarettes.

Sadly, the Casio QL-10 seems rare. Last time one hit eBay, it sold for $499. Behold history through other people’s cameras in our gallery instead:

<em>Makes for </em><a href=""><em>an iconic photo</em></a><em>.</em>


Makes for an iconic photo.
Photo by Vincente Zorilla Palau
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The FBI has been using push alerts to track down predators.

The Washington Post describes how law enforcers have gotten companies like Google to hand over data associated with push notifications. Investigators use the code to track down child predators, even through encrypted apps, per the Post, but law enforcement around the world could use the tactic to track down activists and others too.

It also sheds light on why Apple might have chosen to update its law enforcement guidelines late last year to require a court order to provide customers’ push notification data.

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Bob is taking his Toys and going indie.

Toys For Bob has announced it’s going independent and is considering a possible partnership with Microsoft for its next game.

Acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2005, Toys for Bob is known for creating the popular Skylanders series and developing Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, but for the last three years, it served as a support studio for *checks notes* the Call of Duty franchise.

In the announcement, the company wrote that this change, “allows us to return to our roots of being a small and nimble studio.”

We're Going Indie!


Nvidia’s GeForce Now just got its first games from Blizzard.

You can now stream Call of Duty HQ, Overwatch 2, Diablo IV and Hearthstone using your account. Hearthstone’s brand new to GFN, period — the others already worked with a Steam login because Blizzard’s playing nice with Steam.

The GeForce Now app doesn’t yet support linking your entire library, though, like it does with Steam, Epic, Xbox, and Ubisoft. Also: Nvidia says GFN day passes arrive next week.

They’re live — I checked. Now where did I put that authenticator app...
They’re live — I checked. Now where did I put that authenticator app...
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Physical media week

Exploring the importance of discs and cartridges in an increasingly digital age.

Now Razer’s got a glowing RGB microphone.

How has this not been a Razer thing? Is Google just not surfacing them for me? (I guess it had that one with an emoji screen.)

Either way, the gamer light king now offers the dazzling $130 Razer Seiren V3 Chroma, following HyperX, Logitech, Cherry and others into the arena. (Note that it’s a cheaper mic than Razer’s V2 Pro and lauded Seiren Elite.)

Note: If you buy something from these links, we might get affiliate revenue.

The Razer Seiren V3 Chroma.
The Razer Seiren V3 Chroma.
Image: Razer
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The turmoil continues at Embracer.

After a massive $2 billion deal fell through last year, Embracer has been cancelling projects, closing studios, and laying off staff — most recently that included cuts at Deus Ex developer Eidos Montreal.

Now Bloomberg reports that the company is looking to sell Saber Interactive, a studio working on the troubled Knights of the Old Republic remake, for $500 million. Meanwhile, Kotaku is reporting that the previously rumored sale of Gearbox is getting close as well.

What a bunch of A-list celebs taught me about how to use my phone

Nobody has to think more carefully about their technological lives than celebrities. And a few of them have figured out the answer.

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Tesla says that Rivian, GM, Polestar, and Volvo are next in line for Supercharger access.

Ford EV owners are the first to get access, with the company opening up orders for complimentary NACS-to-CCS adapters starting today. And (as noticed by Electrek) next in line will be GM, Rivian, Polestar, and Volvo. The companies will also need to roll out software updates to allow Tesla’s chargers to automatically recognize their vehicles for billing purposes.

Leap day broke EA Sports WRC.

The game started crashing for players on Xbox and PlayStation shortly after launch — and it’s all because today’s February 29th. EA is now telling players to change the date on their consoles to tomorrow, March 1st, 2024 to get the game working again.

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Google Cloud links up with Stack Overflow for more coding suggestions on Gemini.

The partnership also lets developers on Gemini for Google Cloud (not to be mistaken for Gemini the chatbot) access Stack Overflow directly. The new features will be available in the first half of 2024.

Stack Overflow, which laid off 28 percent of its staff last year amid the boom in AI coding, will be able to use Google’s AI services to help “accelerate content approval process and further optimize forum engagement experiences.”

Spotify’s built-in “psychic” will help you answer life’s toughest questions —

like whether your outfit matches. You can try out the new Song Psychic feature by heading to on your phone and picking from a range of premade questions. The app will then attempt to answer your question with a song.

When I asked what I should have for lunch, I got “Slime” by Shygirl. Thanks, Spotify.

Image: Spotify
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Serial season 4 will tackle Guantanamo Bay’s dark history.

When The New York TimesSerial podcast returns for its fourth season on March 28th, host Sarah Koenig will take listeners on a deep dive into the history of Guantanamo Bay “through the personal stories of those on the ground.”

AI is making data centers more power hungry.

AI eats up a lot of electricity, and that’s driving up data centers’ energy use. It’s also changing the physical footprint of data centers and making it harder for companies to hit their sustainability goals, the New York Times reports. With the AI-fueled boom in new data centers, sites under construction in North America could eventually use as much power each year as the San Francisco metro area, according to a real estate report published yesterday.

Netflix’s Ultraman: Rising debuts June 14th.

For a while now, we’ve known Netflix’s Ultraman: Rising from directors Shannon Tindle and John Aoshima was slated to debut some time this year for, but the animated film’s finally a proper June 14th release date.

RIP to the Apple Car, we hardly knew ye

Apple’s decision to kill its secretive car project is a reflection of the harsh reality confronting electric and autonomous vehicles across the globe.

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“Imagine getting mad at your computer because it drew you a picture you didn’t like!”

Max Read on the Google Gemini silliness:

I think we need to acknowledge that it is, objectively, extremely funny that Google created an A.I. so woke and so stupid that it drew pictures of diverse Nazis, and even funnier that the woke A.I.’s black pope drove a bunch of MBAs who call themselves “accelerationists” so insane they expressed concern about releasing A.I. models too quickly.

The Verge
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Behind the Apple Car boondoggle.

This NYT dive into Apple’s doomed project shows leadership changes switched focus between autonomy and EVs (and back again) and explains Cook greenlit the project partly to prevent an “exodus” of engineers to Tesla.

It also describes a Humane-like 2015 concept demo with Jony Ive and Tim Cook pretending to ride in a car while a voice actor read off things Siri might say about restaurants they imagined passing. And that tech could live on — as part of research into “A.I.-powered AirPods with cameras, robot assistants and augmented reality”

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Phase 2 of AMC’s Nicole Kidman ad campaign is upon us.

AMC caught lightning in a bottle with its unintentionally hilarious pre-movie ad campaign starring Nicole Kidman. But after years of “heartbreak feels good in a place like this,” the company’s releasing three new 30 second ad-spots featuring Kidman that will screen before films on a rotating basis beginning March 1st.