After oh so many delays, training up its founder, Sir Richard Branson, and some delightful, sometimes petty, banter with Blue Origin (love those “largest windows in space” claims), Virgin Galactic has made it into space.
Or at least, it did, depending on who you ask. Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight is and it’s pointed out that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo didn't’ really fly in space. The craft reached an altitude of 'just' 53.4 miles. However, the Kármán line (the formal demarcation for space) is 62 miles.
It’s a fair point, even if it comes across a little like sour grapes. While not quite crossing over that line, the mission was to evaluate the SpaceShipTwo’s cabin environment, seat comfort and the overall experience it will offer customers. Presumably, this was where Sir Branson’s expertise in astrophysics with his myriad companies came to the fore. Two additional test flights are set to launch before Virgin Galactic begins offering paid flights next year.
— Mat Smith
The sting operation wasn't just limited to a chat app.
The phones the for a sting operation weren't just running a custom messaging app — it appears the operating system itself was customized for the sting. Motherboard one of the "Anom" phones — a modified underneath it all — and its mysterious ArcaneOS has a number of customizations you wouldn't necessarily expect, even for a privacy-oriented phone.
There’s no app store, and you can't toggle location tracking. You can’t flash the device with third-party firmware to make it behave more like normal phones, either — the bootloader is locked, even though the startup screen tells you the device has been “modified.”
For nefarious types you’d expect to see in Mission Impossible movies, less real-life, there’s a hidden chat app (accessed through the "calculator" when it worked) and PIN scrambling. There’s also a wipe code feature that lets you erase a phone from the lock screen — although it won’t explode. Continue reading.
You’ll only see shared media a single time before it vanishes.
After releasing the feature on Android last month, WhatsApp is debuting self-erasing media and texts on iOS, via a new beta release. If you sign up for the beta version 184.108.40.206 on Testflight, you'll be able to send photos and videos that self-destruct as soon as they're viewed and dismissed. Users with access to the "view once" feature will see a dedicated button resembling a timer in the caption input field.
Unlike WhatsApp's disappearing messages, which delete after seven days, photos and videos sent using view-once mode vanish immediately after you close them. That said, there's nothing stopping users from taking screenshots of media, and you won't be notified if a recipient has done so. Some apps, like Snapchat, make this harder to do or inform the user when screenshots are snapped. Continue reading.
It's also coming to previous-gen systems, PC and Stadia.
While English fans might not want to think about football for a bit, FIFA 22 is, predictably, on its way, and its centerpiece is a new HyperMotion system. This will apparently offer more realistic animation and gameplay when you game on a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S or Google Stadia. The technology uses machine learning to produce animations in real-time, leading to more "organic" movement.
The game is also coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC (via Origin and Steam), while FIFA 22 Legacy Edition is coming to the Nintendo Switch, although EA didn't outline differences. Presumably, it’ll be a less graphically intense version of the game. EA has hinted at a "complete" revamp of the goalkeeper system, a new club creation experience in Career Mode and "reimagined" Volta Football. Continue reading.
The semi-autonomous upgrade has been in the works for years.
Tesla is FSD beta version 9 to Early Access Program users, and while it's still not full autonomy, it does enable numerous Autopilot driver assists, including lane changes and turns. You'll also get revamped visualizations that offer "additional surrounding information."
The update also references a recently activated feature that uses the cabin camera to make sure you're paying attention while Autopilot is engaged. Musk also urged beta testers to be "paranoid" and stay prepared to take the wheel at a moment's notice. Continue reading.