Friday morning. Almost as good as Saturday. Today, we're talking discounted PlayStation VR headsets (down to $200), our thoughts on Marvel's Black Panther and a very convoluted way to upgrade your old B&O speakers for the modern age.
Black Panther is groundbreaking on every level. It's a superhero film that's smarter and more meaningful than anything from Marvel yet. It's a blockbuster action movie written, directed by and starring black artists. And, Black Panther also happens to be the purest expression of Afrofuturism -- science fiction and fantasy that reflects the African diaspora -- to ever hit cinemas around the world. It's about time.
Researchers have developed a process that can purify water, no matter how dirty it is, in a single step. Scientists from Australian research organization CSIRO have created a filtration technique using a graphene film with microscopic nano-channels that lets water pass through, but stops pollutants. The process, called Graphair, is so effective that water samples from Sydney Harbor were safe to drink after being treated. Here, you can take a sip first.
One single Indian-language character is capable of crashing a number of messaging apps on iOS. The problem also extends to the Apple Watch and even Macs, all of which struggle to process the character specific to the Telugu language spoken in India.
The character, when received or even pasted into iMessage, will at least crash the app if not the entire iOS SpringBoard (the core software that runs the iOS home screen). Other communication apps react the same way, including WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Gmail and Outlook. Fortunately, this frustrating bug shouldn't survive much longer. It affects devices running iOS 11.2.5, but has already been addressed in the latest beta software for both iPhones and Macs.
Samsung's Notebook 9 Pen is a tiny workhorse which is so light, it's barely there, and it's one of just a few Samsung PCs to feature the company's S Pen. That it's a quirky machine is without question, but its performance and build quality left us with a few concerns.
In 2018, most new speakers come with WiFi and/or Bluetooth as standard. Let's face it: Almost everyone is using their phone to access music these days, so wireless connectivity is a must. However, if you invested in a set of non-connected speakers before the wireless craze hit, you may not want to shell out more money to replace them just yet. For older passive speaker setups, Bang & Olufsen has an option for getting that connectivity thanks to a collaboration with HiFiBerry. You'll have to get your hands dirty, though.
There's good news for NASA in the Trump administration's proposed FY2019 budget and some bad. On the one hand, the space agency would receive a minor funding boost -- NASA itself would get $19.9 billion, a 1.3 percent increase over 2017, while its science directorate would receive $5.9 billion, a 2.3 percent increase. On the other hand, not only does the current administration want to cut funding for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which would hunt for exoplanets and dark matter, it also wants to defund the International Space Station after 2024, when the US's current commitment to the multinational project expires. Instead, Trump's team hopes that a consortium of private businesses will take over running the station come 2025.
Last April, the Federal Communications Commission, led by its Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai, eliminated a restriction that had capped how many stations media companies could own. Weeks later, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced a long-suspected deal to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. Anyone finding that timing suspicious wouldn't be alone: For two months, the FCC's internal watchdog has been investigating whether Pai and his aides improperly pushed to change the rules and timed it to help Sinclair. The FCC's spokesperson responded, saying: "Given that the FCC under Chairman Pai's leadership recently proposed a $13 million fine against Sinclair, the largest fine in history for a violation of the Commission's sponsorship identification rules, the accusation that he has shown favoritism toward the company is absurd."
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