Summer is here, and I want a smart air conditioner

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US, which also marks the unofficial start of summer (at least in my book). And summer means sweltering heat from which there is but one relief: it’s the cool, refreshing breeze from an air conditioner. And while there’s nothing exactly wrong with my current, window-mounted AC unit (which I got in college in exchange for a six-pack of beer in what might be the best trade I’ve ever made), after making the switch over to smart lights in my room, I can’t help…

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Snow, the Korean Snapchat clone, now has its own version of Animoji

If you’re over Snapchat because of the countless redesigns and re-redesigns but Instagram’s filters don’t tickle your fancy, there’s a Korean app called Snow that takes all of the beloved features and combines them into a super cute camera app. Snow has been around for a while, but the latest update gives it even more features, including its own take on Apple’s adorable Animoji, real-time beauty effects, and a new mirror mode. The new AR emoji feature lets you overlay your face with animated characters, including a puppy dog and…

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ESPN+ subscription service will broadcast League of Legends competitions starting this summer

ESPN’s recently launched ESPN+ streaming service is adding e-sports to its repertoire. The company has announced that it will broadcast live coverage of several League of Legends competitions this summer, beginning on June 16th with the 2018 North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split (NA LCS). After that comes the NA LCS Summer Finals in September September and then the League of Legends World Championship in the fall. The deal between ESPN and Riot Games is non-exclusive, so you’ll still be able to stream those same competitions for…

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Apple will start reporting government requests to remove apps from the App Store

Apple issued one of its bi-annual transparency reports today, and apart from the usual numbers on account takedown requests, the company issued a statement saying that it’ll soon start reporting government requests to take down apps from the App Store. These requests will relate to alleged legal and / or policy provision violations, Apple says. These numbers will tell us just how often governments are trying to block access to certain apps, and how many of those orders are actually obeyed. Google doesn’t yet report these numbers specifically for the…

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Google Home speakers outsold Amazon’s Echo line for the first time last quarter

Over 3.1 million Google Home speakers were sold during the first quarter of 2018, beating Amazon’s 2.5 million Echo devices for first time since the two companies began competing in the smart speaker market. It’s worth remembering Amazon has outsold Google in the smart speaker market every quarter, since at least the beginning 2017, according to Canalys. Amazon remains the overall market leader, though Google is quickly catching up. Looking at the bigger picture of Google, Amazon, and Apple — now the big three in the smart speaker market —…

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Facebook’s new political ad rules could upend June 5th primaries

Facebook introduced new disclosure rules for political advertisements this week designed to block bad actors from meddling in elections. But in the meantime, the rules are blocking legitimate candidates from buying Facebook ads — and at least one congressional candidate in Mississippi says it could tip the election toward his opponent. The rules that Facebook implemented in the United States this week require anyone wishing to buy a political ad to verify their identity. To do so, Facebook mails a card to their physical location containing an authorization code. Only…

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Apple is offering a free month of iCloud storage instead of just giving everybody a useable amount

It’s a common enough problem for iOS users: you’re backing up your phone’s pictures, when suddenly, that dreaded pop-up message appears: “You do not have enough space in iCloud to back up your iPhone.” But don’t worry, Apple is here to help. It’s offering a free month of iCloud storage to customers who have run out of room on their paltry free 5GB plan, as noted by AppleInsider. And by “help,” I mean “shamelessly trying to trick you into paying more money for storage, thus boosting Apple’s services revenue and…

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Facebook has an official Pepe the Frog policy

Facebook’s internal policies on Pepe the Frog — now considered an anti-Semitic hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League — offer a little leeway for what is allowed on its platform. Documents obtained by Motherboard show that the platform doesn’t outright ban Pepe images, but rather, it only deletes them if shown “in the context of hate, endorsed by hate groups to convey hateful messages.” While Pepe began his life as a cute, relatable meme, bad actors have since co-opted the character for their own hateful ideals. Pepe’s creator, Matt Furie,…

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Major US news websites are going down in Europe as GDPR goes into effect

The European Union’s new GDPR privacy rules came into effect today, but it seems that some organizations didn’t meet the deadline to comply with the changes. A handful of websites, including those of major news providers, went down in the EU, and they posted notes to readers about the new regulations. Most notably, Tronc, the publishing company that owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, and other newspapers, has shut down its entire roster of websites for European users. When a visitor navigates to one of…

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Pioneer debuts three new wireless CarPlay systems

Pioneer is partnering with JVC Kenwood to offer three in-dash receiver models for your car that support CarPlay and Android Auto. Pioneer says that the units — the AVIC-W8400NEX, -W6400NEX, and -W4400NEX — are the first in-dash receivers to support FLAC files without the need to convert, and they’re the first that can connect wirelessly or over USB to both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as reported by Engadget. The AVIC-W8400NEX flagship has a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, while the AVIC-W6400NEX has a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, and the AVH-W4400NEX has a…

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