January 28, 2021

Gadget

China’s space program might have been slowed by the pandemic in 2020, but it certainly didn’t stop. The year’s highlights included sending a rover to Mars, bringing moon rocks back to Earth, and testing out the next-generation crewed vehicle that should take taikonauts into orbit—and possibly to the moon—one day. 

But there were a few achievements the rest of the world might not have noticed. One was the November 7 launch of Ceres-1, a new type of rocket that, at just 62 feet in height, is capable of taking 770 pounds of payload into low Earth orbit. The launch sent the Tianqi 11 communications satellite into space.

At first glance, the Ceres-1 launch might seem unremarkable. Ceres-1, however, wasn’t built and launched by China’s national program. It was a commercial rocket—only the second from a Chinese company ever to go into space. And the launch happened less than three years … Read the rest

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Proceedings get underway at 12:00 PM ET.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated as the next President and Vice President of the United States on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 12:00 PM ET.

As you might expect, the ceremony will be broadcast across a wide range of networks all over the world. This year, the inauguration will feature speeches from both Biden and Harris, as well as performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, and Justin Timberlake.

Time

As mentioned, the inauguration of Biden and Harris will take place on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 12:00PM ET. A special prime-time show hosted by Tom Hanks will air later that evening at 8:30 PM ET.

How to watch

The inauguration will be shown across a wide range of US networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and PBS. The inauguration can also be watched at

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  • Netflix plans to make it even easier for users to find new content to watch, announcing that a version of its Shuffle Play feature will be available worldwide in the first half of the year.
  • Shuffle Play is a button that will appear under the profile icon. Shuffle Play will automatically choose the next movie or TV show based on the user’s saved list or streaming history when selected.
  • The feature is still being tested on TVs<, and it’s not available on desktop or mobile.

The most annoying thing about Netflix is choosing something new to watch. That’s not necessarily a Netflix fault, but human nature. Users are given so many choices that they can’t make up their minds quickly. What if there’s something better in a different category? You’ll scroll vertically and horizontally for something new, you might add things to your list here and there, and then you’ll … Read the rest

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As rioters stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, Theo—like many Americans—watched, dumbfounded and in horror.

Then he had an idea. “What if we went on social and started pulling these screenshots together and tried to go around and crowdsource [the rioters’] identities?” he remembers thinking.

So Theo bought a burner phone, set up a fake email address, and created an Instagram account over a VPN: @homegrownterrorists. Within hours, and before the FBI had issued its plea for help to identify rioters, Theo (a pseudonym for the account holder, who asked to remain anonymous because of death threats he has received) had gained hundreds of thousands of followers as he furiously posted images and video. Thousands of people were commenting on and sharing the images, with the goal of identifying the perpetrators. 

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One user reported losing 95% of their battery overnight using the case…

What you need to know

  • A new report says AirPods Max users are seeing wild battery drain overnight.
  • Reports suggest the problem is rampant despite the use of Apple’s included Smart Case.

New reports suggest that AirPods Max users are experiencing significant battery drain even when using the device’s Smart Case.

From AppleTips:

Unfortunately, the AirPods Max does not have a power button. More and more AirPods Max owners are complaining about battery problems. Users discuss the problem on Reddit , social media, Apple Support forum , and various forums . For example, the battery drains during the day without using the AirPods Max.

A Smart Case is supplied with the headphones , when you place the Max in the case, the energy saving mode is switched on and active connections are disconnected. In practice this does

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  • Google is working on a new storage feature that might be included in the Android 12 update set to launch later this year.
  • Called app hibernation, the feature will allow users to free up storage by having the system automatically hibernate unused apps.
  • The feature sounds a lot like the Offload Unused Apps iPhone storage feature that Apple announced a few years ago.

The newly launched Galaxy S21 comes without expandable storage support, a controversial move that Samsung pulled in the past. Back then, Samsung was quick to reinstate microSD to appease customers. But now, it might be different. Google’s Pixel also lacks microSD storage, as do the OnePlus phones. The Galaxy S21 wouldn’t be the first Android to lack a card slot. The difference between iPhone and Android handsets is that Android handset makers pack more storage for the cheapest model, regardless of whether the phone comes with microSD … Read the rest

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As the world watched rioters take over the US Capitol on January 6, the lack of security was chilling. Some active police officers stood their ground but were outnumbered and defenseless. Other video showed an officer appearing to wave members of a pro-Trump mob beyond a police barrier; some were even filmed taking selfies with the invaders. 

Ahead of the inauguration, however, the government is responding with a show of force that includes ramping up surveillance measures that likely were not in place ahead of the riot.

Multiple surveillance aircraft have been tracked over DC in the last few days, according to data from flight-tracking websites ADS-B Exchange and Flight Aware and monitored by MIT Technology Review. A surveillance plane registered to Lasai Aviation, a contractor of the US Army, likely equipped with highly sensitive radar was logged circling Capitol airspace in a racetrack motion for several hours … Read the rest

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CES 2021 has come and gone. Let’s talk about some of the highlights from the show.

Another week is behind us, as well as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021. It was an interesting one too, since it was the first time that CES was entirely digital. Regardless, there were some cool stuff that we saw from the show, and I want to highlight a few standouts that I’m particularly interested in.

First off, one of my favorite announcements was from OtterBox with its new Mobile Gaming Collection of accessories. OtterBox is a brand that is known for making highly durable cases for the best iPhone and other devices, and I have several OtterBox cases consistently in my iPhone 12 Pro case rotation. The new Mobile Gaming Collection includes the Easy Grip Controller Shell for your Xbox One or Xbox Series X controller. This shell covers everything except

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  • The “instant on” Xbox Series X and S feature saves about 10 to 15 seconds of waiting when starting up the console.
  • A report looking at the environmental impact of the instant on feature says US Xbox owners would consume up to an extra 4 billion kWh of energy through 2025 to take advantage of the feature.
  • Microsoft says the feature is not enabled by default, as Xbox owners can choose between instant on and energy saving modes when configuring the Xbox Series X and S.

The new Xbox and PlayStation consoles are all about speed. The Xbox Series X/S and PS5 generally feature similar hardware that will make possible new gaming experiences. It’s not just the processing power that has increased dramatically, but also the storage speed. Both consoles ship with high-speed SSD drives that will make loading screens a thing of the past. You’ll get into the action … Read the rest

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At the height of California’s worst wildfire season on record, Geoff Marshall looked down at his computer and realized that an enormous blaze was about to take firefighters by surprise.

Marshall runs the fire prediction team at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (known as Cal Fire), headquartered in Sacramento, which gives him an increasingly difficult job: anticipating the behavior of wildfires that become less predictable every year.

The problem was obvious from where Marshall sat: California’s forests were caught between a management regime devoted to growing thick stands of trees—and eradicating the low-intensity fire that had once cleared them—and a rapidly warming, increasingly unstable climate.

As a result, more and more fires were crossing a poorly understood threshold from typical wildfires—part of a normal burn cycle for a landscape like California’s—to monstrous, highly destructive blazes. Sometimes called “megafires” (a scientifically meaningless term that loosely refers to … Read the rest

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