The Disappointing New Windows 11 Emojis Are Yet Another Reason to Stick With Windows 10

Windows 11 Emoji Not Quite As Good As Promised

If you’re running the public version of Windows 11 right now, you won’t see the emojis until they’re officially pushed out. But folks running the Insider version are less than pleased, especially since Microsoft made a big to-do about its redesigned its emoji, including why it chose to make them pop out instead of sit flat against the background like other operating systems. They called the new emoji “innately fun, innately fluent,” and there was even a video to celebrate “the diversity of shapes and expressions” in the new characters. But none of those emoji appear in the lineup on Windows 11.

According to a tweet from Brandon LeBlanc, a senior program manager on the Windows Insider Program Team, those 3D emoji aren’t coming to Windows 11 anytime soon. One user replied feeling scammed by the sudden change, considering the official Windows UK account tweeted an image featuring the same emoji missing from the build only a few days ago. In a follow-up tweet, LeBlanc added that the account had swapped out graphics and that there was nothing more to share on where the new emoji would appear.

Understandably, this is all a little grating for users who were promised one experience and received another. There are some theories that Microsoft is holding back on the 3D emoji due to their relative inaccessibility, as they might be hard to parse for folks with vision impairments, in which case, it’s a good thing for the company to go back to the drawing board.

At the very least, Microsoft kept its promise to bring Clippy on as an emoji. The beloved mascot appears in the Insider Build with his signature crooked smile and bewildered expression—a beacon of calm in a wild world.

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Adding Wireless Charging to the Nintendo Switch Lite Is Surprisingly Easy

How to Add Wireless Charging to the Nintendo Switch Lite

USB-C is an open standard, which meant that it was relatively easy to find a Qi wireless receiver compatible with how the Switch Lite charges. Robotanv opted for a cheap MyMax receiver which can be found on Amazon for about $14. After stripping the receiver’s USB-C connector down to its bare wires, and removing its charging coil from a protective pouch to make it as thin as possible, Robotanv was able to quickly solder the receiver to a couple of easily accessible additional test pads Nintendo had included for the console’s power pins.

No modifications were needed for the Switch Lite’s back cover either, Robotanv simply taped the Qi receiver to it, reassembled the console, and when dropped onto a wireless charging pad, the power started to flow. YouTube commenters have raised concerns that the added Qi hardware may restrict airflow within the Switch Lite needed for cooling, but Robotanv hasn’t noticed any performance issues with the console since the upgrade. Fully charging the Switch Lite takes about three hours, and it comes off the pad a little warm afterward (as do most smartphones) but otherwise, the hack appears to have worked perfectly. But if you plan to try it yourself, follow the advice of another YouTube commenter and disconnect the Switch Lite’s rechargeable battery before doing any soldering with the power connectors.

Missouri Governor Wants to Prosecute Journalist for Warning That State Left Teachers’ Data Exposed

Missouri Governor Accuses Journalist of Hacking

Granted, state and local government employees are not known for their advanced technological prowess. But, unless there’s a whole lot we’re missing about this episode, Parson seems to have really stepped in it. Even if the governor isn’t super well-versed in computer science, state governments also have IT departments with staff that should be able to explain to leaders how websites work and why a person like Renaud would probably be considered a helpful good samaritan—not a “hacker.”

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We reached out to both the Missouri Information Technology Services Division and the Governor’s Office to inquire about the incident and will update this story if they respond.

Clever Halloween Hack Uses Sound Waves to Simulate a Spooky Doodling Ghost

Clever Halloween Hack Uses Sound Waves to Simulate a Ghost

Following a free tutorial that’s available over on Instructables Circuits, Beaven built a 256-transducer array that’s suspended over a dark surface lightly sprinkled with baking powder. The array is not only able to generate sound waves powerful enough to physically blast the powder away, but with enough focus and control it makes it appear as if an invisible finger is actually drawing in the dust.

It’s a wonderfully spooky effect, and one that’s hard to figure out how it works. There’s no visible writing tool making the baking powder move, and no other obvious indicators given the sound waves are invisible and inaudible. Beaven eventually—before Oct. 31 rolls around, we hope—plans to expand the setup to use two side-by-side transducer arrays to create a larger writing surface for a spirit to communicate through, which should allow for longer, creepier messages to magically appear.

Nobody Wants Ads in Twitter Replies—Not Even Advertisers

“We’re excited about trying this out for our advertisers and we’re eager to explore how it could open the door for additional opportunities to reward Tweet authors and creators,” Falck wrote. “We see a big opportunity to build an ad offering that creates value and aligns incentives for creators and advertisers.”

Listen, as a Twitter user myself, I’ve always been on board with some of its recently added features—like Tip Jars and Super Followers—that are designed to “reward” the platform’s power users for their content. But unlike either of those tools, Twitter ads aren’t a button you can paste to your profile. They’re ads. They’re annoying, intrusive, and sometimes deeply bizarre, which isn’t the type of content you’d want to shove in the center of the sorts of toxic convos that crop up on a lot of Tweeter’s timelines. Popping ads between people’s conversations feels like the last gasp of a platform that already know’s it’s shoved as many ads as it possibly could into every other nook and cranny of your feed and is desperate for some new way to squeeze profit from its users.

And it’s not hard to see why. When it comes to ad revenue, Twitter’s always been playing catch-up to other major platforms in the social media space. Last quarter, for example, the platform reported an impressive $1.05 billion in ad revenue—and while $1 billion is nothing to sneeze at, Facebook earned $10.4 billion in ad revenue that same quarter, while Amazon earned close to $8 billion. In other words, Twitter’s facing some, uh, pretty steep competition in a space where whichever platform gets the most eyeballs on its ads, wins.

It also needs advertisers that want to reach those eyeballs in the first place. Because Twitter’s gained a reputation of being a haven for hate speech, harassment, and, well, lots and lots of porn, marketers have historically felt kinda icked-out at the prospect of having their product shown alongside people’s feeds. And while Twitter has made some moves this year to assuage their concerns—more partnerships! more metrics! more audits!—the fact is, any Twitter user will tell you the platform still has loads of hate speech, harassment, and porn.

And, again, as a Twitter user, I can confirm that some of the worst parts of the platform aren’t happening inside people’s bad posts, but inside the conversation beneath those tweets. Hell, Twitter’s even trying out a system to let users know when they might be walking into a particularly messy conversation! It’s unclear whether Twitter’s trying to squeeze ads into its more “heated” convos—but considering how quickly the platform lets people devolve into absolute dickwads from one reply to the next, it seems unavoidable. And when that happens, hoards of advertisers are going to join the hoards of users that are screaming about how awful this “test” is going to be. If the company won’t listen to us, then I hope it listens to them.

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HTC’s New VR Headset Leaked, and It’s the Weirdest-Looking One Yet

HTC Vive Flow Leaks, and It’s the Weirdest VR Headset Yet

That’s also not taking into consideration how ridiculous this thing looks. To be fair, no VR headset looks “cool,” but this headset is downright silly. Despite the leaked lifestyle shots, I’m almost positive I can guarantee that no one will wear the HTC Vive Flow to bed. And that when it comes to meditation, the Calm app is $70 a year, has a huge library of content, and is available directly on your phone. Most of what’s being presented here can be found elsewhere for less money, greater convenience, and significantly less teasing.

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It’s not that mixed reality is doomed. On the contrary—just about every tech company out there is convinced this is the future. Facebook just dropped its “smart” glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban, Apple is rumored to be working on a pair, as is Samsung, and Google and Microsoft have been out here for years carving their own niche in the mixed reality enterprise space. Somehow, Magic Leap found another $500 million in funding and is barreling ahead with another headset. Razer, Bose, and a bunch of smaller brands are also putting out their own audio sunglasses. Like it or not, virtual and augmented reality is happening. Someone someday is going to crack the winning combination of hardware, software, and use cases.

But every company in this space is facing the same problems: how to stand out from the crowd and how to convince the average person that this is better than the devices they already have. In both cases, the HTC Vive Flow’s probably the funniest-looking VR headset we’ve seen in some time. But the Vive Flow is going to need more than just a distinctive design to convince people it’s worth buying without impressive features.

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Bird Scooters Will Now Annoy Riders Into Getting Off the Damn Sidewalk

Bird Scooters Want To Annoy Its Worst Riders

Bird explained the nuts and bolts behind this new sidewalk-tracking tech—which is officially named “ZED-F9R”, and was developed alongside a Swiss company called “u-blox”—on its own blog. In a nutshell, these trackers come bundled in a GNSS receiver (essentially a souped-up GPS) that processes data from the scooter it’s attached to, including the scoot’s acceleration, spatial orientation, and wheel speed. These get compared against a pre-determined geofence outline of a particular city that gets constructed from satellite imagery, or cite-sourced geographic data.

The end result, Bird promises, is a sidewalk-detecting scooter system that’s sleek and precise—unlike some of the other solutions we’ve seen pitched by its e-scooter computers. Last month, the Swedish mobility startup Voi announced it would start strapping smart cameras equipped to “see and recognize situations that are hazardous” to the front of scooters in its fleet in an attempt to cut down on local e-scooter injuries. The Ford-owned e-scooter operator Spin, meanwhile, announced plans last year to add a slew of cameras and sensor arrays to its vehicles to cut down on bad driver behavior.

We still can’t say for sure whether Bird’s cameraless approach is the better bet; the company has only just started piloting their “micromobility module” on scooters in Milwaukee and San Diego. Bird also noted that it has plans for “a broader rollout” in 2022, which includes a debut for riders in Madrid.

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Cyberpunk Video Game System Shock May Get a Live-Action TV Series

System Shock Live Action TV Show Announced

As you can see, it’s a very evocative setting, but like most classic first-person shooters there’s not a ton of narrative to it. The player gets fed information and mission objectives from Rebecca Golding, a “TriOptimum counter-terrorism consultant” (TriOptimum owns the space station), which are mainly about thwarting the myriad ways SHODAN plans to attack humanity. There are also various log discs and emails the player can find, that flesh out the work and the lives of the people on the space station before they were murdered/mutated, which certainly adds some depth, but there’s going to need to be a lot added to turn this into a TV show.

The reason I’m hedging my bets and saying System Shock may get a TV series is because I’m somewhat skeptical of Binge’s ability to… uh… exist. The service was announced this past June, and despite supposedly coming in 2022, it’s only revealed one other series based on Driver, another old video game series. Two shows do not a streaming service make, and Binge has released no other details about what’s coming other than “exclusive shows, premium channels, and original live-action series where your favorite games come to life” which is extremely vague, especially when 2022 is just around the corner.

Hopefully I’m wrong and we’ll all be enjoying System Shock: The TV Series on Binge sometime next year. But I don’t believe I’ll be holding my breath.


Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.

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Very Large Telescope Images 42 of the Biggest Asteroids in Our Solar System

Very Large Telescope Images 42 of the Biggest Asteroids in Our Solar System

The asteroids range from the very dense ones, like Kalliope and Psyche, to some of the least dense, like Sylvia and Lamberta. The smallest two asteroids in this group are Ausonia and Urania, which each measure about 55 miles wide. The largest asteroid, Ceres, is 584 miles across, large enough that it is considered a dwarf planet.

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All of these objects offer insights about the primordial soup that forged them; for example, the research team found that the least dense asteroids of the 42 most likely formed farther out than their denser brethren, somewhere beyond the orbit of Neptune, and eventually migrated inward to their current locations.

Two of the 42 asteroids imaged by the Very Large Telescope.

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“Our observations provide strong support for substantial migration of these bodies since their formation. In short, such tremendous variety in their composition can only be understood if the bodies originated across distinct regions in the Solar System,” said Josef Hanuš of the Charles University in Prague and one of the authors of the study, in the ESO release.

And if you’re impressed by the Very Large Telescope, just wait until the Extremely Large Telescope becomes operational later in the 2020s. That telescope will gather 20 times more light than a unit of the Very Large Telescope, allowing astronomers to see fainter objects better than they currently can. (Alas, the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope never made it past the concept phase.)

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Ausonia and Urania.

More: A Fight Over a Sacred Mountaintop Will Shape the Future of Astronomy

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Apple’s Big MacBook Event Is Oct. 18

Apple’s Big MacBook Event Is Oct. 18

New MacBook Pros are expected to be the star of the show. Apple will reportedly take the wraps off 14- and 16-inch Pro models that will bring back the MagSafe charging connector, a built-in SD card reader, a dedicated HDMI port, and the removal of Apple’s much-maligned Touch Bar. According to Bloomberg, this would represent the first big overhaul to the MacBook Pro line in five years, and is especially important for the MacBook Pro 16 as it’s one of Apple’s few remaining systems still reliant on an Intel CPU instead of one of Apple’s in-house chips.

Those chips will also take center stage. Apple is expected to announce a new M1X chip featuring a 10-core CPU that will offer improved performance compared to the standard M1 processor available in the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air released last year. This is critical, because Apple typically targets its larger MacBook Pros at creative professionals, and the added performance would be essential to delivering the kind of horsepower people in those fields often demand.

There’s also a chance we could see a redesigned and more powerful version of the Mac Mini featuring the M1X chip and some additional USB ports, which would provide a better middle ground between the base Mac Mini and the super expensive Mac Pro desktop.

Rumors also suggest Apple will also reveal third-gen AirPods featuring a slightly shorter stem and a new wireless charging case. It’s unclear if Apple will join Samsung, Google, and others when it comes to bringing active noise cancellation to its cheapest ‘buds—early signs point to no.

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However, with the “Unleashed” announcements less than a week away, we won’t have to wait long to find out for sure. Join us Oct. 18 for all the news from the event.