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Astro’s Playroom is the perfect showcase for the PS5’s wild DualSense controller – The Verge

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As far as pack-in games go, Astro’s Playroom may not seem all that exciting at first. It’s not an instant classic like a bundled Super Mario., nor something with the obvious appeal of Wii Sports. But Sony made a smart decision in giving Astro away to every PS5 owner: it might just be the ideal showcase for the console’s new DualSense controller.

The game itself is a fairly simple 3D platformer, but one that exudes charm. Everything is bright and colorful, and there are lots of fun little animations. If you leave Astro alone for too long, he’ll pull out a PSVR and start playing games on his own. (If the adorable robotic character looks familiar, it’s because it also starred in the PSVR title Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, another game designed to showcase new hardware.)

Everything takes place in a retrofuturistic world divided into several levels, though for this preview I’ll only be discussing the first, called “Cooling Springs.”

Cute as everything is, initially it seems generic. You start out at a beach collecting coins, jumping around, and smacking enemies with your little robot fists. It’s all very peaceful and charming; mechanical dolphins swim through the water, and you can knock around beach balls. Later, you’ll move on to other themed areas like a robot hotel and a frozen arctic region. It’s not particularly hard, but there’s a really playful tone. You’ll spend time sliding down icy ramps, jumping off of diving boards, and figure skating around enemies. Littered around the level are all kinds of classic PlayStation Easter eggs (which I won’t spoil for you right now).

But the most interesting thing about Astro’s Playroom isn’t how it plays — it’s how it feels. Sony’s new DualSense controller is its biggest gamepad redesign since it introduced twin sticks midway through the original PlayStation’s life. And two of the showcase features are all about feel: there are triggers on the back with haptic feedback and variable tension, and the controller has much more subtle vibrations. Both are on display in Astro’s first stage.

The vibrations are noticeable almost immediately, and the variety is pretty incredible. You can feel bits of sand crunching when Astro is walking on a beach, there’s a heavy plop when you jump into the water, and a satisfying tension when you pull on an elastic band. I especially loved the colder region where you can actually feel Astro shiver. What’s remarkable is how distinct they all feel. Each sensation is accompanied by a sound effect from the DualSense’s built-in speaker, and when you combine the physical and audio sensations, the experience becomes that much more immersive.

Astro’s Playroom

The same goes for the new haptic triggers. Normally, the R2 and L2 buttons perform like regular buttons, but during certain sequences, they offer feedback in the form of tension. Essentially, there are two states to the button press; you can easily press down halfway, but a full press requires a bit more force. As an example, in the opening level of Astro, there are side-scrolling sequences where the bot jumps around in a spring-powered mech suit. (Don’t ask.) In order to do a short jump, you pull the trigger halfway, but to launch across the screen, you need to pull it all the way down. It makes big leaps that much more satisfying since you have to add the extra force.

The level also makes use of other controller features. You can blow into the mic to spin a fan, use the touchpad to move a zipper, and there are the prerequisite motion controls. None of these are new like the vibration and haptic triggers, but it’s actually pretty impressive how many things Sony crammed into this gamepad.

Of course, it’s impossible to know how things will play out for the DualSense. Astro’s Playroom is an adorable little game made all the more charming thanks to these new features. But it was also designed explicitly to take advantage of them. Wii Sports was amazing, but only a few Wii games made motion controls anywhere near as compelling.

Right now, it’s not clear whether other games and developers will take advantage of the DualSense in the same way. Like HD Rumble on the Nintendo Switch, they could end up being a forgotten gimmick. But in the case of Astro’s Playroom, it’s at least an incredibly fun gimmick — and one that should make new PS5 owners plenty happy when the console launches on November 12th.

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The excellent LG CX OLED TV continues to be a Black Friday deal winner – TechRadar

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The LG CX range has been part of our Black Friday deals round-ups for the past couple of weeks as retailers started their sales early – and the good news is that these great offers are still available in the US and UK.

We’ve seen the 55-inch model go in and out of stock at a number of retailers – unsurprisingly considering the $600/£500 saving that’s out there – and it’s currently in stock both sides of the Atlantic.

This is an excellent price for a year-topping OLED TV. Those of you after an even bigger discount may be out of luck as we tick over to Black Friday, but we’ll be sure to bring you any further price drops as they happen.

Not in the US or UK? Scroll down for the best deals in your region.

Today’s best LG CX OLED TV Black Friday deals (US)

US Deal

LG CX 55-inch OLED 4K TV: $1,999.99 $1,399.99 at Best Buy (save $600)
Limited Stock –
This 55-inch LG CX OLED TV deal brings the price of a gorgeous premium display all the way down to £1,299. That’s a further £100 off an earlier £400 discount, making this 55-inch display a hugely attractive option.
View Deal

LG CX OLED 65-inch TV: $2,499 $1,899 at Best Buy
Go up a screen size with this 65-inch OLED TV deal, now discounted for an amazing $600 discount. It’s basically down to the original RRP of the 55-inch size, so it’s a very worthwhile saving.
View Deal

Today’s best LG CX OLED TV Black Friday deals (UK)

UK Deal

LG CX 55-inch OLED 4K TV: £1,399 £1,299 at John Lewis (save £500)
This 55-inch LG CX OLED TV deal brings the price of a gorgeous premium display all the way down to £1,299. That’s a further £100 off an earlier £400 discount (a total saving of £500), making this 55-inch display a hugely attractive option.
View Deal

LG CX 55-inch OLED TV: £1,799 £1,299 at Currys
This 55-inch LG CX OLED TV deal brings the price of a gorgeous premium display all the way down to £1,399. That’s a £400 discount that makes this 55-inch display far cheaper than the 48-inch model.
View Deal

LG CX 65-inch OLED TV: £2,799 £1,799 at John Lewis
Want something bigger? This 65-inch model can be had at John Lewis for £1,799, which is a whopping £1,000 discount over the original RRP – and the same amount we originally had to pay for the 55-inch size.View Deal

For context, the LG CX OLED is one of the best OLED TVs we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this year.

The LG CX packs in a beautiful OLED panel, with deep black, excellent brightness control, and a contrast ratio to die for. There’s a little bit more punch to the color on some other OLEDs too, due to LG’s distinct processing – and the webOS smart TV platform means it’ll be more a pleasure than a chore to navigate the TV’s many apps and services.

It supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, which are quickly becoming the industry standards for HDR picture content and high-resolution audio – ideal for viewing compatible content from Netflix, Apple TV, and Disney Plus.

It also has the latest in HDMI tech, with four HDMI 2.1 inputs. This basically means it can display content at up to 4K 120hz, with a variable refresh rate, which is exactly what the PS5 and Xbox Series X can do, as well as the latest graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD.

If you’re after something cheaper, though, there’s a step-down model called the LG BX that might be worth checking out.

More LG TV deals

Looking for more LG TV deals? You’ll find all the lowest prices from around the web right here, with offers available in your region.

TechRadar is rounding up all the top deals in the run up to the Black Friday sales period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday 2020 deals in an easy-to-navigate article to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.

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New MacBook Pro Facing Another Awkward Problem – Forbes

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The new Apple Silicon Macs are taking a lead in benchmarks and performance thanks to the new ARM-based M1 processor, but Apple’s next-generation of hardware is not bullet-proof, as some owners are finding out. Following on from reports of the new Macs ‘bricking’ themselves when attempting to restart back to a clean install, issues around bluetooth are being reported.

Picked up by the respective Reddit communities, some users who have purchased the new hardware (the updated MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Mini machines) are experiencing ongoing bluetooth connectivity issues:

“However any time I reboot the machine, I can’t log in because the keyboard and mouse are not connected. Using the wired keyboard lets me log in, and then the bluetooth keyboard and mouse start working again.” (Link)

“Losing connection to Apple Magic Trackpad 2 more than 10 times per hour. Also problems with the Magic Keyboard… that is not funny. I changed to an old Apple keyboard an mouse via USB.” (Link)

“My M1 Mini and MacBook Air won’t connect my Logitech M720 Triathalon mouse via bluetooth. It shows up, and I click connect, and it keeps flashing between connected and not connected until it finally just goes back to giving me the “connect” button. It never actually connects.” (Link).

“Can confirm that I’m also getting quite a bit of weirdness in the bluetooth connection, mostly with my Magic Mouse. The keyboard seems relatively okay (magic keyboard?). (Link).

This would not be the first update to a Mac that has caused issues with bluetooth. Previous updates to macOS have triggered issues (1, 2, 3, 4). No doubt Apple will, as always, be keeping a close eye on crash reports and user feedback. With the first update to Big Sur currently in public beta, the expectation is that the bluetooth issue will be addressed in the bump up to macOS 11.1.

Now read more about the issues around resetting Apple’s new M1 powered Macs…

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Edmonton COVID-19 victim, 40, documents final days on Instagram – CTV News Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
A 40-year-old Edmonton man who recently died from COVID-19 documented his deteriorating health on social media.

Ricky Lam, nicknamed ‘The Fan Guy’ in the city’s nightclub scene, wrote about trouble breathing, harsh coughing and extreme fatigue in a series of Instagram posts over the past week.

“At the emergency because my breathing has suddenly gotten worse. Had a lot of symptoms till now but don’t have my test results yet,” Lam posted on Nov. 20.

A day later, he wrote about suddenly having increased lung capacity. In the following post on the same day, he wrote that he’d “spoken too soon” and that he was being sent home.

The same day, Nov. 21, he posted he had indeed tested positive for COVID-19.

According to his three final posts, his condition only worsened from there.

“That was a huge shocker to see that,” said Lam’s cousin, Lisa Friesenhan.

“I started reaching out to find out what happened and more importantly want to know… ‘Is he OK?’”

But he wasn’t. Lam died in his home on Nov. 24, the day after his final post.

“I think that’s what people need to know and need to hear: that a healthy 40-year-old guy full of energy, full of life, can be floored within a few days,” said Lillian Lopez, one of several of Lam’s family members who spoke to CTV News.

“(This) shows shows it can hit hard and it can hit anybody,” said Lopez.

‘LIFE OF THE PARTY’

Ricky Lam’s outgoing nature and love of singing didn’t really jive with a pandemic lifestyle, but loved ones said he tried to make the best of it.

“During the start of the pandemic, each day he would sing a song,” said Petterson Lam, who chose Ricky as his best man for his wedding.

“He did sing at my wedding, as well,” the cousin said, calling Lam “natural performer.”

Family members say he earned the nickname ‘The Fan Guy’ for bringing a literal fan onto dance floors at bars and nightclubs, a prop they said endeared him to fellow club-goers.

“Going through condolences on Facebook and seeing how much Ricky had touched so many lives, it means a lot,” said Lam.

Friesenhan said Lam was also someone who liked to make people feel included.

“He was just open. Open about who he was and how he was feeling. I think that’s partly why he was so open about what was going on on his social media platform,” she said.

“I wonder if he wanted to make sure if other people would also feel comfortable sharing.”

FUNERAL COMPLICATIONS

Adding to their grief, Ricky Lam’s family is uncertain what to do about funeral arrangements.

Restrictions, introduced the same day Lam died, cap funeral attendances at 10 people.

“We know so many people would like to celebrate Ricky’s life, we’re just not sure how that’s going to happen right now,” said Friesenhan.

Cousins said Lam’s older brother lives in British Columbia and that the family has already suffered devastating loss in 2020.

“Right now, it’s so difficult for (Ricky’s dad) what to do or how to best handle it,” said Friesenhan, “(He) had to bury his wife earlier this year and now he’s lost his youngest son, so it’s hard.”

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