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The Morning After: The EU’s grand USB-C plan – Engadget

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Like a band with too few hit singles, the European Union is resorting to playing the classics over and over again. The bloc has, like clockwork, tabled a proposal for legislators to think about maybe possibly having a debate about if it’s worth creating a common charging standard.

This has happened more than a few times before, as it pushed micro-USB as a voluntary standard in 2009 and tried to pass it into law in 2014. And in 2018. And it started this process again in January 2020, although some world-shattering event got in the way of that process.

The new proposal would require that “all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles” would use USB-C for charging. The law would also “unbundle” the sale of chargers from devices as a way of reducing e-waste.

EU officials are also proposing for technology manufacturers to harmonize their fast charging technology to ensure continuity between devices. Officials added that such harmonization would prevent “different producers unjustifiably [limiting] the charging speed” which isn’t really the issue here.

Naturally, the obvious target for this is Apple, which has already come out against the proposal. Perhaps it will be this, rather than anything else, that prompts the arrival of the long-rumored portless iPhone.

This proposal may, like its predecessors, wind up dashed against the rocks of politics never to be heard from again. But, even if it does succeed, the transition period is going to be sufficiently long that no company needs to worry about this being some sort of cruel surprise.

-Dan Cooper

It aims to eliminate the worst of Amazon’s warehouse policies.

California governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB-701 into law, a bill which aims to regulate productivity quotas for warehouse workers. Inspired by the horror stories of poor treatment coming out of Amazon’s logistics facilities, the law will make quotas more transparent. Workers will also be able to say no to doing work which isn’t in compliance with health and safety laws and can’t be fired for failing to meet an unsafe quota. The law, which comes into effect on January 1st, 2022, could improve the quality of life for thousands of employees. Or not.

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The chips are the size of a grain of sand.

Nature

Northwest University’s John Rogers is back in the headlines after his team created a microchip the size of a grain of sand. The team say that the chip, which could be made from biodegradable materials, would be carried on the wind like a cottonwood seed. It’s hoped that the chips will host sensors which could track air pollution or the spread of airborne diseases. If the team can work out the kinks in the idea, the chips could become vital tools for environmental monitoring in the future.

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‘Lower Decks’ plays around with the knottiest of philosophical problems.

Lower Decks

CBS

Humanity has yet to satisfactorily answer the question about how many rights, if any, an artificial intelligence deserves to have. It’s an issue that the latest episode of Lower Decks blows the odd raspberry toward during its latest episode. Mariner and Boimler wind up babysitting a sinister AI on its way to the Daystrom institute, with plenty of time to consider the issues. Or not, as it is, after all, an animated sitcom. Once you’ve watched the episode, however, come check out Kris Naudus’ deep dive into the episode, the highlight of which is the return of Star Trek legend Jeffrey Combs to the series that loves him the most. Kris also took a deep dive into this week’s episodes of Marvel’s What If and Star Wars: Visions if that’s more your sort of thing.

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If you want to save money, embrace the wire.

Razer

Razer

Razer has launched a cheaper version of its popular Kaira gaming headset that ditches the wireless connectivity to save money. The Kaira X costs $60, down from the $100 of its older sibling, and ships with a 3.5mm cable for connecting to your console of choice. Otherwise, however, you’ll still get the same 50mm “TriForce” drivers, cardioid boom mic and on-headset controls. If there’s one other compromise, it’s in the colorways: The PlayStation-compatible version is only shipping in a matching (and very fetching) monochrome.

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The biggest news stories you might have missed

Microsoft Edge update adds tab groups and new shopping features

Google’s Android Automotive OS is coming to Honda cars in 2022

Apple MacBook Air M1 models fall back to all-time lows

Audi tested its RS Q E-Tron hybrid in the deserts of Morocco

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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5 things to try out on Apple's new AirPods (3rd generation) | Venture – Daily Hive

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Earlier this month, Apple announced its latest AirPods (3rd generation) with a major redesign from its earlier models.

The new design is lightweight and has a stem that is 33% shorter than the 2nd generation model. Its new design aligns closer to the AirPods Pro but comes in at a lower cost.

For those looking at the new AirPods (3rd generation), here are five things to try out with these smaller headphones:

Courtesy of Apple

Go for a sweaty workout or head out in the rain

You can go for a vigorous walk, run, or workout, or head out in the rain, as the new AirPods are sweat and water-resistant. Not only are the headphones themselves resistant to sweat and water, but the case has an IPX4 rating for sweat and water resistance.

While you’re at it, let Siri read your messages

You don’t have to look at your phone when you can have your text messages announced, and read to you. Siri can read alerts and reply to messages for you using just your voice.

Make a FaceTime call or listen to tunes

While it isn’t noise cancelling like the AirPods Pro, the new AirPods include a custom high dynamic range amplifier, taking its sound quality to the next level with computational audio features, like Adaptive EQ and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. The head tracking also allows Group FaceTime calls to feel more immersive than ever before. A new acoustic mesh covers the microphone to reduce wind noise, so your voice is crisp and clear on calls.

Check out the new skin-detect sensor

The new AirPods has an innovative way to detect when they are in your ear. According to Apple, a “new skin detect optical sensor, when combined with the accelerometer, helps the new AirPods to better determine whether they are in your ears or in your pockets.” So there is better detection on when AirPods can turn on and turn off playback.

You can also press to play, pause, and skip through songs, or answer and end calls through the force sensor located on the stem.

Let the music play for hours

There is now up to 6 hours of battery life on a single charge, which is an hour more compared to the 2nd generation AirPods. And speaking of battery, the new AirPods are also now part of the MagSafe ecosystem, so they can magnetically align your AirPods on the charger.

The new AirPods (3rd generation) will be available for $239 beginning Tuesday, October 26.

For those looking for AirPods but less expensive, the 2nd generation is also available at $179. And the AirPods Pro now comes with MagSafe Charging Case and goes for $329.

Apple also says that all new AirPods come with six months of free Apple Music.

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First MacBook Pro Orders Arriving to Customers in New Zealand, Australia and Asia – MacRumors

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It’s already Tuesday, October 26 in New Zealand, Australia, and multiple countries in Asia which means it’s MacBook Pro launch day. Customers in New Zealand and Australia are always the first to get their hands on new devices due to time zone differences, and the new MacBook Pro models are no exception.

14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are beginning to arrive to customers who pre-ordered last Monday, and new MacBook Pro owners have been sharing photos on the MacRumors forums.

There are no Apple Stores in New Zealand, so customers in Australia and countries across Asia are the first to be able to pick up a MacBook Pro at an Apple retail location. Stock in Australia and other countries will give us an idea of what we can expect from other stores worldwide.

macbook pro lcm mr forums

macbook pro lcm mr forums
Apple is selling stock configurations of the new machines in its retail stores, and there are also some higher-end BTO configurations that may be available depending on the store. Most people who want a custom configured machine will need to order online and wait, however.

Supplies of stock MacBook Pro models are constrained and new orders won’t arrive until mid-to-late November or early December in some cases, so getting a stock configuration in a store is now the only way to get one of the new machines on launch day.

Following New Zealand, Australia, and Asia, sales of the MacBook Pro will begin in the Middle East, Europe, and then North America. Apple Stores‌ globally are opening up right around 8:00 a.m. local time to allow customers to pick up reserved devices and make walk-in purchases.

Stay tuned to MacRumors tomorrow because we’ll have a hands-on look at the MacBook Pro along with first impressions and plenty more coverage coming throughout the week.

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Nigeria launches eNaira amid hope, scepticism – and plenty of uncertainty

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Nigeria on Monday became the first African nation to launch a digital currency – the eNaira – a move its leaders said will expand access to banking, enable more remittances and even grow the economy by billions of dollars.

Africa’s most populous nation joins the Bahamas, the first to launch a general purpose central bank digital currency, known as the Sand Dollar, in October. China has ongoing trials and Switzerland and the Bank of France have announced Europe’s first cross-border experiment.

But experts and cryptocurrency users in the continent’s biggest economy say the fact that there are more questions than answers regarding the eNaira – and a large amount of worry over the consistency of Central Bank (CBN) rules – means the government faces a tough path to make the eNaira a success.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said during Monday’s launch that there had been “overwhelming interest and encouraging response”, adding that 33 banks, 2,000 customers and 120 merchants had already registered successfully with the platform, which is available via an app on Apple and Android.

Some 200 million nairas’ worth of eNaira, which will maintain parity with the traditional currency, has been issued to financial institutions, he said. President Muhammadu Buhari said use of the currency could grow the economy by $29 billion over ten years, enable direct government welfare payments and even increase the tax base.

Nigeria’s young, tech-savvy population has eagerly adopted digital currencies. Cryptocurrency use has grown quickly despite a Central Bank ban in February on banks and financial institutions dealing in or facilitating transactions in them.

Nigeria ranked seventh in the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index compiled by research firm Chainalysis. Official digital currencies, unlike crytocurrencies such as bitcoin, are backed and controlled by the central bank.

But some of what drove Nigeria’s enthusiastic adoption of cryptocurrencies was the Central Bank’s own shifting rules regarding accessing foreign currency – and the naira’s plunging value on parallel markets that saw savings shrink.

“It’s not clear looking at the CBN’s body of work that Nigerians would be comfortable using this,” said Ikemesit Effiong, head of research with Lagos-based consultancy SBM Intelligence.

He added that the CBN had not yet made clear whether users could transfer eNaira back into traditional naira, whether they could use cryptocurrency to buy or sell the eNaira or even whether there would be physical locations to use and transfer eNaira, or whether it would be entirely digital.

“There are more questions than answers, even though we are looking at the launch of this digital currency. The fact that this is the case so late in the game is concerning,” he told Reuters.

The CBN issued a nine-page FAQ, which said eNaira users would access it via the phone app, internet banking or a code dialled from mobile phones, but it did not address transferability or other questions raised by Effiong.

Only three local television channels were allowed to attend the launch, and officials took no questions.

For 28-year-old Ebuka Joseph, an art dealer and enthusiastic cryptocurrency user in the commercial capital, Lagos, the uncertainty means he will stay on the sidelines, for now.

His concerns centre on whether he would easily be able to change eNaira back into normal currency.

“I have had issues trusting the central bank … because they have already banned crypto,” he told Reuters. “I want to hear from people, see people use it, before I venture into it.”

 

(Reporting by Libby George; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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