November 28, 2020


The iPhone 12 mini is small and adorable (

The iPhone 12 mini delivers at long last what many have wanted for years: a truly powerful, truly compact phone.

It manages to have a bigger screen yet smaller body than the recently refreshed iPhone SE.

That was, to date, the smallest iPhone you could get – but it was still using the iPhone 8 design with bezels at the top and bottom along with a home button.

The 12 mini, by comparison, is the same edge-to-edge, notched, FaceID-using design as Apple’s other iPhone 12 models.

It’s got the same squared-off redesign as the other iPhone 12 options and it reminds me quite a bit of the iPhone 5.

Is it the best iPhone for most people? Nope, that would be the standard iPhone 12 which, I think, nails the balance between screen size, performance, camera and value for money. … Read the rest


Shantaram is back on schedule after being delayed since February.

What you need to know

  • Steven Lightfoot has signed on to serve as showrunner for Shantaram.
  • The executive producer has also inked a multi-year deal with Apple.

Reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Steven Lightfoot, known for his role as an executive producer for the Hannibal and The Punisher television series, has signed on to serve as showrunner for the upcoming Apple TV+ drama series Shantaram. In addition to signing on to the series, Lightfoot has also inked a multi-year deal with Apple.

Charlie Hunnam will star in the series, which follows the story of a man who runs from an Australian prison and find a new life in Bombay.

Shantaram is a big swing for Apple and marks the tech giant’s first international play. The 10-episode series is based on the best-selling novel by Gregory David

Read the rest ...

  • Microsoft has announced its Black Friday deals for Xbox games, accessories, and subscriptions.
  • Hundreds of digital Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games will be on sale for up to 55% off from Friday, November 20th to Thursday, December 3rd.
  • Microsoft is also slashing the price of its new Xbox wireless controller by $20 and is offering a 40% discount on up to three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

If you are one of the lucky individuals that already managed to secure an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, the next step is finding games to play on your new console. Luckily, Xbox just kicked off its Black Friday sales event, and for the next two weeks, hundreds of games are on sale on the Microsoft Store, including some of the biggest games of 2020. Plus, if your Xbox Game Pass subscription is about to expire, or you … Read the rest


An AI that completes quests in a text-based adventure game by talking to the characters has learned not only how to do things, but how to get others to do things. The system is a step toward machines that can use language as a way to achieve their goals.

Pointless prose: Language models like GPT-3 are brilliant at mimicking human-written sentences, churning out stories, fake blogs, and Reddit posts. But there is little point to this prolific output beyond the production of the text itself. When people use language, it is wielded like a tool: our words convince, command, and manipulate; they make people laugh and make people cry.

Mixing things up: To build an AI that used words for a reason, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and Facebook AI Research combined techniques from natural-language processing and reinforcement learning, where machine-learning models learn how to … Read the rest


An attendee at a rally for Latina voters in Las Vegas in October. | Melina Mara/Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrats are paying attention after a surprising number of Latino voters in swing states supported Trump.

One of the big surprises of the 2020 election was how even though most Latino voters across the US voted for Joe Biden, in some counties of competitive states like Florida and Texas, a higher-than-expected percentage of Latinos supported Donald Trump. One factor that many believe played a role: online misinformation about the Democratic candidate.

It’s still too early to know exactly why these voters favored Trump, a candidate who made demonizing Latino immigrants a cornerstone of his campaign and administration. For one, Latinos in the US are a diverse group of almost 60 million people who represent more than 15 origin countries and encompass a range of generational, socioeconomic, and religious identities. … Read the rest


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This is the moment a meteor blazed through the night sky and lit up the darkness as it burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.

A research ship travelling in the waters off Tasmania managed to capture the moment the ball of fire broke up over the ocean.

Shining a bright shade of green, the space rock was spotted at 9.30pm local time.

Although reports of the sighting flooded local media, the only footage of it happening came from the CSIRO RV Investigator.

CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Voyage Manager John Hooper, who was on the ship, … Read the rest


What you need to know

  • Apple has confirmed it plans to proceed with measures that will make it harder to track users on iOS.
  • In a response to support from a group of privacy campaigners, Apple said it will roll out the new feature early next year.
  • Facebook has blasted the move as a “distraction” and said the move was about profit, not privacy.

Apple has confirmed plans to roll out new measures in iOS 14 that will make it much harder for advertising companies to track users, despite staunch opposition from companies like Facebook.

According to The Independent:

Apple says that it will press ahead with a controversial privacy feature that has set it against companies including Facebook.

Responding to a letter from a host of privacy campaigners, the company said that it is fully committed to the new update and would be rolling it out early next

Read the rest ...

  • A new coronavirus study says that people suffering from type 2 diabetes and hypertension are most at risk of developing severe brain complications.
  • Neurological manifestations, including strokes, brain bleeding, and blocked blood vessels, have been observed in CT and MRI scans of COVID-19 patients.
  • Researchers think that the inflammatory state following the infection can cause neurological symptoms.

Most of the people infected with the novel coronavirus will survive the illness, including people who experience more severe complications. New treatment protocols and more experience with COVID-19 patients have trained doctors to save more lives. But not all those who survive the infection will see a complete recovery within two weeks after the onset of symptoms. Some people will continue to experience manifestations of the virus for a few additional weeks or months, in what’s informally known as “Long COVID.” Also, there’s no guarantee what one’s experience will be with COVID-19, … Read the rest


In the early days of the covid-19 pandemic, several competing projects launched around a deceptively simple concept: your phone could alert you if you’d crossed paths with someone who later tested positive. One system for these exposure notifications quickly caught on. It was designed, in an improbable act of cooperation, by Apple and Google, which released the first version in May

How do the Apple-Google contact tracing apps work?

When you enable exposure notifications, your phone starts using Bluetooth to constantly scan for nearby phones doing the same thing. (This happens in the background, and it’s designed not to use much extra battery.)

When two phones connect, they swap anonymous ID codes. Your phone records how long you spend around the other device and guesses how far away you are, based on a mixture of factors such as how the phone is oriented and how strong the signal from … Read the rest


BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. | Asa Mathat

The Times’s subscription business is booming. But the BuzzFeed CEO has a critique.

Jonah Peretti co-founded the Huffington Post, then left to start BuzzFeed. Now he’s running both companies: BuzzFeed is picking up HuffPost from Verizon, the phone company that thought it wanted to be in the media business and then changed its mind.

I talked to Peretti about the rationale for the deal (scale, scale, scale), whether he can guarantee that all HuffPost employees will keep their jobs (no), how much Verizon paid him to take HuffPost off its hands (he won’t say), and whether he wants to buy more stuff (yes, probably). You can hear all of that in our Recode Media podcast.

But I was struck by something we talked about at the end of our chat when I asked him about the success of the New York Read the rest