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Fake Elon Musk livestreams promoting crypto scams keep popping up on YouTube

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 22:43

Is there any end in sight to fake Elon Musk livestream scams on YouTube?

Over the weekend, Engadget reported on a YouTube broadcast featuring Elon Musk talking at what appears to be a Tesla conference-type event. The livestream had over 30,000 viewers at one point according to Engadget.

One problem: It wasn't real. The fake live event is part of an ongoing cryptocurrency scam on YouTube.

Fake Elon Musk livestreams on YouTube continue to flourish

The scammers that take part in this particular scheme appear to focus solely on YouTube to perpetrate their fraudulent activity.

The idea behind it is simple. Scammers broadcast a video of Elon Musk speaking at some event as a livestream. Oftentimes, these broadcasts feature real video of Musk on a loop. The audio can be either a fake AI generated voice that sounds like Musk or real audio from a Musk speech that's generic enough that it can be just about anything.

The on-screen graphics, however, portray the event as a live talk from Musk about cryptocurrency. These often include links or QR codes to the crypto scam, urging viewers to get in on this opportunity before the livestream ends.

There's another crucial element to this scam. These live videos are often being streamed on hijacked YouTube channels that people are already subscribed to. These hacked channels can have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, so there's a built-in audience that YouTube notifies because a channel that these users are subscribers to just went "live." The scammer usually changes the name of the YouTube channel in order to make it appear like an official Musk or Tesla-related account.

In this particular case over the weekend, the hacked channel had more than 10,000 subscribers and was also verified by YouTube. The channel was renamed "Tesla" with the YouTube handle "@elon.teslastream."

While Engadget viewed the livestream with as much as 30,000 concurrent live viewers at one point, it's unclear how many of those were actual real people. YouTube often promotes and recommends livestreams based on how many users are currently watching the stream. Its possible that a chunk of that viewership were bots in order to game the YouTube algorithm into pushing the video into users' feeds.

While Musk and Tesla are most commonly utilized to push these YouTube livestream crypto scams, scammers have altered the strategy a bit at times. For example, in April, Mashable reported on a SpaceX version of this scam that weaponized the solar eclipse in order to perpetuate their crypto scheme on YouTube.

Nearly four years ago, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak actually sued YouTube over Bitcoin scam livestreams that were using his likeness. So, this has clearly been going on for quite a while now. And, unfortunately, it looks like these fake YouTube livestream schemes are going to continue on, at least for the foreseeable future.

Categories: IT General, Technology

20+ Pre-Prime Day printer deals: Get a printer-scanner combo for $59.99

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 21:26
Early savings on printers and scanners: BEST HP DEAL HP Smart Tank Plus 651 inkjet printer $199.99 at Amazon (save $90) Get Deal BEST CANON DEAL Canon Pixma TR4720 inkjet printer $69 at Amazon (save $30.99) Get Deal BEST EPSON DEAL Epson Expression Home XP-4200 inkjet printer $59.99 at Amazon (save $40) Get Deal BEST KODAK DEAL Kodak Dock Plus 4PASS dye-sub photo printer bundle $129.99 at Amazon (save $70) Get Deal

While Amazon hasn't officially made its Prime Day date announcement, we know it's coming in July. And in typical Prime Day fashion, early deals are already popping up. And if you're in need of a printer or scanner in particular, you can already score a sweet discount.

These printer and scanner deals aren't official Prime Day deals, but they're available to shop as of this writing. To help you save, we've rounded up the best live deals on inkjet printers, laser printers, scanners, and portable photo printers from top brands like HP and Epson. If you'd rather avoid the chaos of shopping on Prime Day, or you just need a printer or scanner ASAP, rest assured you'll still be getting a good deal.

We'll be updating this list with the best Prime Day deals on printers and scanners as they pop up, so if you don't see what you're looking for yet, keep checking back. We expect more discounts to keep flooding in as we get closer to the July shopping event.

Best printer deal Opens in a new window Credit: HP HP Smart Tank Plus 651 inkjet printer $199.99 at Amazon
$289.99 Save $90.00 Get Deal Why we like it

The most annoying thing about printers? Running out of ink whenever you actually need to print something important. The HP Smart Tank Plus 651 comes with Original HP Ink bottles that will cover you for up to two years of printing. That's 8,000 color pages or 6,000 black-and-white pages right out of the box. It can print, copy, scan, and fax and features a 35-page automatic document feeder, borderless prints, and mobile and wireless printing. While it lacks some more advanced features, it makes up for them in printing volume, compact design, and price.

It's regularly $289.99, but you can pick it up at Amazon for just under $200 ahead of the official Prime Day printer deals we expect in July. That's not bad considering it covers your ink costs for two years. It's also down to its lowest price on record. You can also pick up the same deal at Best Buy, Walmart, and HP direct at the time of writing.

More early Prime Day printer deals

Inkjet printers

Laser printers

Photo printers (dye-sub)

Early Prime Day scanner deals
Categories: IT General, Technology

Amazon TV deals ahead of Prime Day are actually pretty good

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 21:18

Prime Day can surely be counted as one of the best times of year to buy a TV depending on the type of TV you're in the market for. If that's a budget-friendly QLED model or Fire TV, you're in luck — you even have a handful of options for decent deals before Prime Day actually starts.

While Amazon hasn't marked any of these deals as official early Prime Day deals yet, several are worth considering if you want that new TV now (rather than waiting until Prime Day officially starts). More than one match the lowest price we've ever seen on those models at Amazon, or are close (some deals are exclusive to Prime members, but most are open to everyone for now). The deals are already more impressive than the sorry showing of TV deals at last week's Walmart+ event, where there was barely a worthwhile QLED deal in sight.

SEE ALSO: The best 4th of July deals are already happening — here's what you need to know

Several TVs at Amazon also currently have a 90-day free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited attached to them — a nice $11ish per month break from Spotify or Apple Music if you're currently paying for that.

We'll be updating our list of TVs on sale at Amazon throughout the weeks leading up to Prime Day and will keep you posted when Amazon makes the big switch to official early Prime Day deals. For now, deals with a strikeout were either sold out or no longer available at their best sale price when we last checked. Anything marked with a 🔥 has dropped to an all-time low price.

Opens in a new window Credit: TCL TCL 65-inch Q6 QLED 4K TV $478.00 at Amazon
$699.99 Save $221.99 Get Deal Why we like it

TCL's Q6 TV is one of the most impressive cheap QLED TVs out there right now, so the opportunity to score the big 65-inch version for even less than $500 (just $30 away from the lowest price it has ever reached at Amazon) is pretty exciting for anyone looking to ditch their old muted LED TV. For the price, the Q6 gets bright enough to make HDR worthwhile, complemented by the noticeable boosted color accuracy from the layer of quantum dots.

More TVs on sale at Amazon
Categories: IT General, Technology

Plenty of Apple deals are live already if you don't want to wait for Prime Day

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 20:34
Early Prime Day Apple deals to watch: Best MacBook deal Apple MacBook Air, 15-inch (M3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) $1,129 at Amazon (Save $170) Get Deal Best iPad deal Apple iPad Air (M2, WiFi, 128GB) $569.99 at Amazon (Save $29.01) Get Deal Best Apple Watch deal Apple Watch Series 9 (45mm, GPS) $329.99 at Amazon (Save $99.01) Get Deal Best AirPods deal Apple AirPods Max $449 at Amazon (Save $100) Get Deal

There may not be a specific date announcement for Prime Day yet (beyond sometime in July), but what we do have is Apple deals that are already live.

To be clear, these deals aren't officially affiliated with the sale — they simply happen to be live in the weeks leading up to Prime Day. While Prime Day deals often do bring products — even Apple products — down to record low prices, it can also be a particularly hectic time to shop as people fight for hot-ticket items before they're sold out.

Plus, shopping early doesn't mean you're getting subpar deals: the 15-inch MacBook Air that came out just this past March is $170 off and down to a record low price, the Apple Watch Series 9 is nearly $100 off, and even the new M4 iPad Pros are discounted.

As we wait for Prime Day Apple deals to land, we'll be keeping our eyes out for early deals and updating this post as they crop up. Until then, check out some of the best Apple deals ahead of Prime Day 2024:

iMac and MacBook deals Opens in a new window Credit: Apple Apple MacBook Air, 15-inch (M3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) $1,299.00 at Amazon
Get Deal Why we like it

Check out our full review of the M3 MacBook Air (15-inch).

It's no secret that Apple laptops fall into a more premium price range, and that's especially true when you're looking at anything beyond an entry-level model. That's why we appreciate the pricing of this 15-inch MacBook Air, which gets you a wider display at a price you'd expect from a 13-inch model. Along with the extra screen space, you'll be getting a six-speaker sound system, WiFi 6E support, a great keyboard, and the ability to connect two external displays (while the laptop is closed). At $1,129, this is the lowest price we've seen this laptop hit. And if you have a bigger budget, configurations with more built-in storage and memory are also on sale.

More iMac and MacBook deals

MacBook Air

MacBook Pro

Mac

SEE ALSO: iOS 18: 4 'Apple Intelligence' features you won't see until 2025 iPad deals Opens in a new window Credit: Apple Apple iPad Air, 11-inch (M2, WiFi, 128GB) $569.99 at Amazon
$599.00 Save $29.01 Get Deal Why we like it

There aren't too many stellar iPad deals yet, but what this deal lacks in a hefty discount, it makes up in what's actually being discounted: this brand new iPad Air was just released in May, so any sale at all is impressive. Sure, the discount is only about $30, but that's $30 off a tablet with an M2 chip and starting storage of 128GB, beating the 2022 Air's M1 and 64GB combo. If you're not quite in need of the M4 Pro experience and instead want a tablet that can run most programs without a hitch, whether you're gaming, taking notes, or making some art, the M2 iPad Air is a great choice.

More iPad deals

iPad (10th gen)

iPad Air

iPad Pro

SEE ALSO: New iPad Pro has a massive, hidden improvement, and it has to do with the battery Apple Watch deals Opens in a new window Credit: Apple Apple Watch Series 9 (45mm, GPS) $329.99 at Amazon
$429.00 Save $99.01 Get Deal Why we like it

Check out our full review of the Apple Watch Series 9.

What better way to enjoy the exceptional display brightness of the Series 9 than with the largest display you can possibly get? Mashable Senior Editor Stan Schroeder appreciated that this watch introduced Double Tap but wrote in his review that the 2000 nit max brightness and minimum of one nit make this watch incredibly functional to use in the middle of a sunny day, or in the darkness of your room in the early morning. Apple Watches haven't introduced a ton of exciting upgrades over the years, but we do like that with this sale price, you can grab the 45mm Series 9 for about $70 cheaper than you would the 41mm Series 9 at full price.

More Apple Watch deals

Series 9

SE

Ultra

AirPods and Apple accessories deals Opens in a new window Credit: Apple Apple AirPods Max $449.00 at Amazon
$549.00 Save $100.00 Get Deal Why we like it

Check out our full review of the Apple AirPods Max.

To be blunt, we don't consider the AirPods Max one of the best headphones out there anymore. They're missing key features, like a power button and a 3.5mm audio jack. Though they still sound great, they're way overpriced in 2024. However, we understand that some Apple fans treasure the only over-ear AirPods, so when they get a good discount, we make sure to note it. At $449, they're about $20 away from their lowest price ever, but it's been quite a while since they've hit that price. Even catching them at $100 off can be trickier these days, so if you're not trying to wait and see if Apple will announce new and improved AirPods Maxes later this year, this is a decent time to buy.

More deals on AirPods and Apple accessories
Categories: IT General, Technology

The best internet moments of 2024, from the rise of Chappell Roan to AI fails

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 20:23

The internet moves fast, and we keep up with it, so you don't have to. In this list, we sift through the metaphorical cream that rises to the top of the cultural cesspool we call the World Wide Web, recapping the tech flubs, film faves, and charming catchphrases that have defined 2024 so far.

SEE ALSO: The best memes of 2024 (so far) Challengers Credit: Amazon MGM Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures

The sizzling tensions of Luca Guadagnino's Challengers inspired memes, breathless text posts, and horny fan edits of the three lead characters. Many of these edits used clips from the movie shot surreptitiously on mobile phones in dark theaters nationwide. As Mashable’s Elena Cavender noted, pirated clips are looked down on in some fan circles. Still, the online frenzy around Challengers made them fair game for fan editors who knew the people needed their tennis fantasy fix ASAP.

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, The Tortured Poet's Department, and Travis Kelce Credit: Shirlaine Forrest/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

For the past year, we've seen so much Taylor Swift on our feeds that she has become the moment. Her Eras Tour and relationship with footballer Travis Kelce — both the talk of 2023 — remained top of mind in 2024 as Swift played stadiums worldwide and managed to make it to her beau's Super Bowl game on time. Then came the release of The Tortured Poet's Department, a project fans expected would tear into her breakup with long-time partner Joe Alwyn. Instead, it seemed to primarily focus on her subsequent relationships with Matt Healy and Kelce, which sent listeners straight to their keyboards to discuss it all.

Pro-Palestine campus protests Credit: Fatih Akta/Anadolu via Getty Images

Across the country, college students protesting the war in Gaza demanded that their universities divest from financial support of Israel. These protests, which included on-campus encampments and demonstrations, drew varied reactions from law enforcement. The Guardian reported that though "fewer than 20" of the 533 campus demonstrations nationwide between April 18 and May 3 resulted in any serious interpersonal violence or property damage, there were at least 70 instances of forceful police intervention. One of those, at Columbia University, led to calls for President Minouche Shafik to step down after she allowed the NYPD to enter the Columbia campus and remove protestors.

"Would you rather be alone in the woods with a man or a bear?"

This simple question, first shared on TikTok, opened a dialogue about gender-based sexual and physical violence: If left alone in the woods, would you feel safer being there with a man or a bear? Women answered, overwhelmingly: the bear, adding comments like, "The worst thing the bear can do is kill me."

Zendaya's Dune: Part Two red carpet style Credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Zendaya and her longtime stylist, Law Roach, delivered incredible looks for the Dune: Part Two press tour, including a matching jumpsuit moment with co-star Timothée Chalamet. But the 'fit that topped them all was a vintage Mugler chrome bodysuit with revealing cutouts.

Tween girls at Sephora

For about a month between January and February of this year, the internet had a lot to say about tween girls shopping at Sephora. TikTok videos purported to show display cases at the makeup store wrecked by overeager young women. However, the larger conversation revolved around whether young girls should be in the store at all — and if the products they love from brands like Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, and Charlotte Tilbury are suitable for young skin.

We chatted with actual teens and their parents about the hubbub.

TikTok "ban" Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After years of threats by the U.S. government, a TikTok "ban" is finally underway. "Ban" is a bit of a misnomer since the social media app could have up to 12 months to find a buyer before it is no longer distributed in the U.S. App Store. The move could have enormous implications for creators who create primarily for TikTok, and the bill may face a long uphill battle in the U.S. court system.

"Who TF Did I Marry?"

"Who TF Did I Marry?" is an 8-hour video series that made creator Reesa Teesa the talk of the internet throughout February and March. The 52-part saga, posted to TikTok, details Teesa's marriage to a "pathological liar" and "narcissist" whom she calls Legion. The New York Times dubbed the series a harbinger of "TikTok’s Midlife Crisis Era," and Mashable's Tim Marcin noted that people listened to it the same way they would a podcast.

Chappell Roan's star-making ascent Credit: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The slow and steady rise of singer Chappell Roan was supercharged this year by her performances at Coachella, where her whimsical outfits, undeniable stage presence, and progressive pop proved to be a powerful combination. Her festival stages boosted her streaming numbers enough to earn her her first entry on the Billboard 100 with "Good Luck, Babe!"

The rise (and fail) of AI Tweet may have been deleted

The meteoric rise of OpenAI in 2023 has upended content across the web in 2024. We’re seeing the application of artificial intelligence across almost every major platform to varying degrees of effectiveness. In April, a screenshot of Google’s AI tool recommending readers put "glue on pizza" raised eyebrows and set tongues wagging on X. It was one of the most powerful indications that AI may not be ready for prime time and may misinform users across the internet.

The Willy Wonka Experience Tweet may have been deleted

An event in Glasgow billed as an immersive, experiential walk through Willy Wonka’s factory for families turned out to be more weird than wonderful. Customers paying more than $40 a ticket were treated to one bouncy castle, no chocolate, a single oompa loompa, and the "The Unknown," a creepy new villain who "lives in the walls." Guests were reimbursed, but the event's fallout played out online as sleuths delighted in its sloppy AI-generated marketing and actors hired by the production shared their takes on the disaster. 

Stanley cups and the dangers of overconsumption Credit: Matt Fowler KC via Shutterstock

The Stanley tumbler, a 40-ounce reusable stainless steel cup, is portable and durable and should reduce reliance on single-use plastics. Instead, it became a symbol of overconsumption early this year when people began sharing their enormous Stanley Cup collections, and videos surfaced of Stanley-seekers outrunning each other to nab a limited-edition Valentine's Day colorway.

Mashable's Christianna Silva broke down the FOMO, opining that "the frenzy for the tumblers points to a sensation becoming all too popular on TikTok: The app makes us feel insecure and uncertain of ourselves, and those very insecurities and uncertainties are being exploited for spending power."

Jett and Pookie

Jett Puckett has a special nickname for his wife, Campbell. To him, she is "Pookie," and she always looks "absolutely fire." The couple's TikTok content, featuring their date night outfits and weekend outings, delighted viewers who especially loved listening to Jett wax poetic about Pookie's appearance. Mashable's Tim Marcin summed up the duo's simple appeal: "Pookie is dressed up, and Jett compliments Pookie."

Categories: IT General, Technology

How to turn on noise cancellation on your AirPods

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 19:58

The cool thing about Bluetooth headphones like AirPods is that you can listen to things without being directly next to your device, and you can choose how much background noise you let in through noise cancellation. 

With this handy feature, you can say "goodbye" to excess sounds and focus on the sounds you want to hear. But you have to turn on the noise cancellation feature first.

SEE ALSO: How to properly clean your AirPods

Here are three ways to turn on noise cancellation on your AirPod Pros: 

Turn on noise cancellation in Settings
  1. Take at least one of your AirPods out of the case so it is connected to your phone (you do not need to place it in your ear)

  2. Go to Settings

  3. Click on your Airpod name, which should appear right below your iCloud profile

  4. Scroll to the section marked "NOISE CONTROL"

  5. Choose your noise cancellation level:

    1. "Noise Cancellation"

    2. "Off"

    3. Transparency

Or you can:

  1. Take at least one of your AirPods out of the case so it is connected to your phone (you do not need to place it in your ear)

  2. Go to Settings

  3. Go to Bluetooth

  4. Select the "circled i" icon

  5. Scroll to the section marked "NOISE CONTROL"

  6. Choose your noise cancellation level:

    1. "Noise Cancellation"

    2. "Off"

    3. Transparency

Turn on noise cancellation in the Control Center 
  1. Place at least one AirPod in your ear

  2. Go to the Control Center by swiping down from the top right of your screen

  3. Click and hold the volume/sound control slider until it embiggens and is the only thing on your screen

  4. Click on the "Noise Control Transparency" icon on the bottom left of the screen

  5. Choose your noise cancellation level:

    1. "Noise Cancellation"

    2. "Off"

    3. Transparency

Turn on noise cancellation by holding the sensor on your AirPod Pro
  1. Place at least one AirPod in your ear

  2. Hold the sensor located on the outside of your AirPod until your hear a chime

Apple AirPods $89.00 at Amazon
$129.00 Save $40.00 Apple Airpods Shop Now
Categories: IT General, Technology

Prime Day laptop deals: Our favorite MacBooks are already on sale, and that's about it

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 19:49

On any given day, Amazon's best laptop deals include some markdowns on Apple MacBooks... and not much else. The retail giant lists a lot of older and/or discontinued PCs that aren't super worth it. Amazon also has a penchant for inflating sticker prices, making discounts look steeper than they really are.

Those factors, combined with the heavy presence of sketchy third-party sellers among Amazon's laptop listings, make it one of the worst places to buy a laptop on the internet (again, unless you're shopping for MacBooks). We usually recommend shopping at Best Buy or going directly to the manufacturer's online store instead.

SEE ALSO: Prime Day 2024: When it's happening and everything else we know so far

The fine print here is that Amazon usually gets its act together for major savings events, including its flagship Prime Day sale. When such sales are live, it's way easier to find heftier discounts on new laptops shipped and sold by Amazon itself. (That said, it still behooves savvy shoppers to cross-check prices elsewhere, just in case.)

As we head into Prime Day season — it's confirmed for July — I'll be keeping track of the best Prime Day laptop deals. So far, I'm not finding much outside of the typical discounts on M2 and M3 MacBooks, and I'm willing to bet that they'll get even cheaper as Prime Day approaches, especially as other retailers roll out competing sales. But if you need to replace an older MacBook ASAP, there are some decent buys up for grabs right now — including some all-time lows.

Note: I've cross-checked all of the following deals with manufacturers' sites to make sure the discounts are legit. (If Amazon had the wrong MSRP, I corrected it and adjusted the discount accordingly.) I've also weeded out laptops sold by third-party sellers — if they have "Ships from/Sold by Amazon.com" underneath their "Buy Now" button, we're cool.

Any laptop marked with a 🔥 is at a record-low price, according to the Amazon price tracking site CamelCamelCamel. Lastly, because Prime Day hasn't officially begun, these savings aren't official Prime Day deals; however, all of these discounts are live and ready to shop now.

Early Prime Day laptop deals to watch Opens in a new window Credit: Apple Apple MacBook Air, 15-inch (M3) 🔥 $1,129.00 at Amazon
$1,299.00 Save $170.00 Get Deal Why we like it

Read Mashable's full review of the 15-inch M3 Apple MacBook Air.

Earlier this year, Apple upgraded its thin and lightweight Air with a peppier M3 chip, WiFi 6E support, and the ability to drive two external monitors (with its lid closed). "[It] may seem like a simple refresh," wrote Mashable tech editor Kim Gedeon, "but as someone who owns the M2 MacBook Air, I’d definitely trade it in for the new-generation model." (She gave it a 4.3/5 rating in her review.) This 15-inch model has more screen real estate and two more speakers compared to the 13-inch version. At $1,129, or $170 off, this is the base configuration's current record-low price.

More MacBook DealsWindows laptop dealsGaming laptop deals
Categories: IT General, Technology

Apple and Meta reportedly in talks for an AI partnership

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 19:06

Meta AI might be coming to iPhones and other Apple devices.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Meta and Apple are in talks for a potential partnership that would integrate Meta's generative AI model into Apple Intelligence.

It seems that Apple and Meta are putting aside a longstanding feud over privacy and revenue-sharing in favor of establishing footing in the competition for AI dominance. For Meta, the partnership could mean wider distribution of its AI features. For Apple, it would insulate the company from any over-reliance on its OpenAI partnership.

At WWDC earlier this month, Apple announced a deal with OpenAI that brings ChatGPT to iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia. But that's not the only AI model Apple is planning to add to its operating systems. In a post-keynote discussion with iJustine, senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi said Apple is also looking to integrate Google Gemini and other AI models.

"We think ultimately people are going to have a preference perhaps for certain models that they want to use, maybe one that’s great for creative writing or one that they prefer for coding. And so we want to enable users ultimately to bring a model of their choice," said Federighi.

Now it looks like Meta AI might be one of the models that Apple users can choose to interact with. The Journal also said Apple is also in with talks with Anthropic (which makes the ChatGPT competitor Claude), and Perplexity, which is an AI-powered search engine.

Apple Intelligence is the collection of AI features the company has developed for iPhones, iPads, and Macs. But Apple has chosen to supplement AI capabilities with ChatGPT for improved Siri functionality and features like drafting emails and generating images. Notably, Apple touted a privacy-first approach with the ChatGPT announcement and says users will be asked for permission before sharing information with ChatGPT.

The potential Meta partnership raises the question of how Apple will protect user privacy, since Meta doesn't have a great track record with that. Meta AI is trained on users' posts and other publicly shared data on its platforms and it's nearly impossible to opt out.

It's unclear what the terms of the deal would be. But we know that Apple "paid" OpenAI with distribution and access instead of cash. Partnering with Apple could similarly boost Meta's userbase and increase its stature in the cutthroat generative AI race.

Categories: IT General, Technology

More heat waves are coming: Get 30% off portable air conditioners at Amazon

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 18:56

UP TO 30% OFF: As of June 24, Amazon is offering up to 30% off portable air conditioners from popular brands such as Honeywell and BLACK+DECKER.

Our top picks: Best deal overall Honeywell 9,000 BTU portable air conditioner $271 at Amazon (save $158.99) Get Deal Best for large rooms BLACK+DECKER 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner $489.99 at Amazon (save $229) Get Deal Best budget deal SereneLife 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner $377.99 at Amazon (save $42) Get Deal

We can all agree that it’s been hot AF lately. As temperatures continue to rise to unbearable levels, many apartment dwellers are looking for ways to stay cool. You could try begging your landlord to install air conditioning in your building, but we wouldn't hold our breath.

Portable air conditioners offer a convenient solution. These units connect to a nearby window to quickly cool bedrooms, offices, or small apartments. You can even move them from room to room as needed. (For an even more convenient option that won't take up precious floor space, we were pretty impressed by the Windmill AC (medium, 8,300 BTU) window unit recently.)

SEE ALSO: 7 of the best portable air conditioners to keep you cool this summer

Luckily, Amazon is offering up to 30% off select portable air conditioners right now, so you can beat the heat without breaking the bank.

Best deal overall Opens in a new window Credit: Honeywell Our pick: Honeywell 9,000 BTU portable air conditioner $271.00 at Amazon
$429.99 Save $158.99 Get Deal Why we like it

The Honeywell 9,000 BTU portable air conditioner is ideal for smaller apartments or cooling your bedroom or home office. It can cover up to 400 square feet and has a built-in dehumidifier. The unit also has a washable dust filter for quick maintenance and a filter change alert function to let you know when it’s time to clean it.

Yes, there is a hose that connects this unit to the window, but it’s not as cumbersome as some of those old-school units. Plus, with the on-screen coupon, you’ll save an extra $48 at checkout, bringing the total to a whopping $271 (which is a pretty good deal for a Honeywell air conditioner).

Best air conditioner for larger rooms Opens in a new window Credit: BLACK+DECKER Our pick: BLACK+DECKER 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner $489.99 at Amazon
$718.99 Save $229.00 Get Deal Why we like it

The BLACK+DECKER 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner can cool larger spaces of up to 700 square feet. It has a remote and can switch to heater mode in cooler months. There’s also a dehumidifier and a fan, and the filter is washable for easy maintenance. It’s a little pricier than the unit above, but it covers 200 more square feet, and the customer reviews are solid (4.2 out of 5 stars from more than 46,000 reviewers). Finally, this is the top-selling portable air conditioner on Amazon, if you trust the wisdom of the crowd.

Best budget deal Opens in a new window Credit: SereneLife Our pick: SereneLife 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner $377.99 at Amazon
$419.99 Save $42.00 Get Deal Why we like it

The SereneLife 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner is a mid-range option that can cool up to 550 square feet. It doesn’t have a heater like the BLACK+DECKER, so it probably won’t be a year-round solution, but it does have a dehumidifier, fan, and remote. There’s also an auto “swing” mode with a moving wind vent for optimal air circulation. With a 4.3-star rating and more than 20,000 reviews, this portable AC is a budget-friendly option that’ll get the job done.

Categories: IT General, Technology

REI's 4th of July Sale is here: Save up to 40% off all clearance gear

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 18:24

The 4th of July is ten days away, and savings events are already here. If your summer calendar is packed with camping trips, day hikes, and afternoons spent at the beach or park, you'll want to shop REI's 4th of July Sale before you ring in Independence Day.

Best Deals from the REI 4th of July Sale: Best tent deal The North Face Wawona 4 Tent $239.99 at REI (save $160.01) Get Deal Best sleeping bag deal REI Co-op Zephyr 25 Sleeping Bag $139.89 at REI (save $60.06) Get Deal Best Yeti deal Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler $200 at REI with Mmembership (save $50) Get Deal Best daypack deal Gregory Nano 22 H2O Hydration Pack $67.39 at REI (save $22.56) Get Deal

REI's 4th of July Sale gives shoppers up to 40% off clearance items, including camping and hiking gear, clothes for men and women, and water sports equipment. Plus, REI Members can take 20% off any regular-priced Yeti cooler. (If you're not a member, you can join for $30 - and get a $30 REI gift card back when you sign up before July 11.) These deals are only here until July 4th, so we recommend acting on them sooner rather than later.

Best tent deal Opens in a new window Credit: The North Face Our pick: The North Face Wawona 4 Tent $239.99 at REI
$400.00 Save $160.01 Get Deal Why we like it

Need to upgrade your tent before you hit the trails this summer? No problem. The North Face Waona 4 tent is back with a re-imagined design, upgrading from single to double-wall construction for enhanced ventilation. Plus, its color-coded poles have been re-engineered for an even simpler setup. Measuring 10 x 27 inches and weighing 13lbs when packed up, this tent is ready for adventure.

Best sleeping bag deal Opens in a new window Credit: REI Our pick: REI Co-op Zephyr 25 Sleeping Bag $139.98 at REI
$199.95 Save $59.97 Get Deal Why we like it

In this year's sale, you can save 30% off REI Co-op brand's top synthetic sleeping bag, the Zephyr 25 Sleeping Bag. Made for backpacking through the spring and fall seasons, this hooded sleeping bag comes in an extensive range of sizes so you can find your most comfortable fit. We love the bag's mummy shape and the way the bag's designed to prevent insulation from shifting - avoiding unwanted cold spots during the night.

Best Yeti deal Opens in a new window Credit: Yeti Our pick: Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler $200.00 at REI
$250.00 Save $50.00 Get Deal Why we like it

REI Members are reaping plenty of benefits during this year's 4th of July Sale - most notably, 20% off one full-price Yeti cooler. This saves members $50 off of the Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler — a great pick to bring along camping or boating. With a shoulder strap and a top handle, this soft cooler is easy to pack up and carry, and its wide zipper also makes it easy to load and unload the cooler. With an 11.7 liter capacity and interior dimension of 11 x 9 x 8 inches, it's a great size for packing lunch, snacks, and drinks.

Best daypack deal Opens in a new window Credit: Gregory Our pick: Gregory Nano 22 H2O Hydration Pack $67.39 at REI
$89.95 Save $22.56 Get Deal Why we like it

Shoppers looking for a causal daypack to bring along on quick hikes or to festivals will want to check out the Gregory Nano 22 H2O Hydration Pack. With a 3L water reservoir, you can easily stay refreshed and hydrated. Plus, it has three spacious pockets and a front bungee attachment to stash your other essentials. It's designed for comfort too, with features that help keep your back cool and your load balanced as you move.

More REI 4th of July deals:
Categories: IT General, Technology

How to create a local Microsoft account for Windows 11

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 18:00

Microsoft's relentless push for users to sign into Windows with a Microsoft account is hard to ignore, especially with Windows 11 making it tougher to bypass this requirement. But if you’re tired of feeding your data to Microsoft and want to switch to a local account, you’re in luck — it's still possible.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft says 'Recall' will now be opt-in

Here's your quick guide to swapping out your Microsoft Account for a local one on Windows 11:

How to create a local Microsoft account for Windows 11
  • Fire Up Settings: Click on the Start menu and open the Settings app

  • Head to Accounts: Navigate to the "Accounts" section in Settings

  • Find Your Info: Under Accounts, select "Your info"

  • Switch to a Local Account: Look for the option that says "Sign in with a local account instead" and click on it

  • Follow the Prompts: Simply follow the on-screen instructions to set up your local account

While switching to a local account remains straightforward, you should create a password reset disk — without it, recovering a forgotten password can be a hassle.

While Microsoft, like Google and Apple, prefers users to stay connected within their ecosystems, opting for a local account is still a viable choice for those prioritizing data privacy and autonomy. Even though Windows 11 has made it less obvious, the ability to use a local account is very much alive. So go ahead and take control of your Windows experience.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Amazon deal of the day: The Sennheiser Momentum 4 earbuds just hit a record-low price

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 17:54
Amazon deals of the day at a glance: OUR TOP PICK Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds $243.66 at Amazon (save $56.29) Get Deal BEST KITCHEN DEAL Instant Omni 7-in-1 air fryer oven (19-quart) $120 at Amazon (save $79.99) Get Deal BEST FITNESS DEAL Sunny Health and Fitness Smart Treadpad Pacer $444.99 at Amazon (save $175 with on-page coupon) Get Deal BUDGET EARBUD DEAL Soundcore Life A3i noise-cancelling earbuds $34.99 at Amazon (save $15) Get Deal

Looking to do some deal shopping, but don't feel like waiting around for Prime Day? We've found some early deals worth grabbing at Amazon on June 24 from top brands like Sennheiser and Instant appliances.

Here are our top picks for the best Amazon deals of the day. If none of these quench your thirst for savings, check back tomorrow for brand new picks.

Our top pick Opens in a new window Credit: Sennheiser Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds $243.66 at Amazon
$299.95 Save $56.29 Get Deal

As our friends at PCMag (which is owned by Mashable's publisher, Ziff Davis) wrote in their review, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds "produce powerful, bass-forward audio and are very customizable." However, they also noted that the noise-cancellation isn't what it should be for the $299.95 price tag. Fortunately, the current deal at Amazon knocks them down to a more justifiable $243.66 — the lowest price on record for these buds.

Opens in a new window Credit: Instant Instant Omni 7-in-1 air fryer oven (19-quart) $120.00 at Amazon
$199.99 Save $79.99 Get Deal

If you have the space for another countertop appliance, the Instant Omni air fryer toaster oven is a well-rounded option that allows you to air fry, broil, bake, roast, toast, warm, and cook with convection all in one. Its 19-quart capacity can fit a 12-inch pizza, six slices of bread, a whole chicken, and more without taking up too much real estate on your counter. It's usually $199.99, but Amazon has it on sale for just $120 as of June 24 — that's its second lowest price on record.

Opens in a new window Credit: Sunny Health and Fitness Sunny Health and Fitness Smart Treadpad Pacer $444.99 at Amazon
$619.99 Save $175.00 with on-page coupon Get Deal

We highly recommend trying out a walking pad if you're a remote worker who sits at a desk all day. Thanks to TikTok, it's one of our home office must-haves in 2024. The Smart Treadpad Pacer from Sunny Health and Fitness is a solid option that serves as a walking pad or a regular treadmill. It features speed levels ranging from 0.5 to 6 mph and six levels of automatic incline for when you want to ramp up your walking to a full-on workout. It's not the newest model the brand makes, but it's still compatible with the SunnyFit app via Bluetooth, where you'll find training videos, workouts, and routes around the world. Regularly $619.99, you can get it for just $444.99 at Amazon using the on-page coupon. That's a savings of 28%.

Opens in a new window Credit: Soundcore Soundcore Life A3i noise-cancelling earbuds $34.99 at Amazon
$49.99 Save $15.00 Get Deal

The Soundcore Life A3i make great travel companions if you're on a budget. Amazon currently has them listed for just $34.99 — that's 30% in savings — which matches their all-time low price. These buds offer 10 hours of listening on a single charge and 40 when you use the compact charging case. Even better, a quick 10-minute charging session will give you two full hours of listening. So, if you only have a 10-minute layover, you can juice up enough to enjoy some tunes on your flight. Just don't expect the noise-cancellation to be out of this world.

None of these deals catching your eye? Check out Amazon's daily deals for even more savings.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Photographers say Meta is labeling their photos as being 'made with AI' even when they're not

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 17:52

Meta is erroneously tagging photographs as being "made with AI," and it could be triggered by basic tools in Adobe's editing software.

In an effort to help users distinguish photos from AI-generated art, Meta announced in February that it would begin to label posts as AI-generated if it detected the image had been manipulated in third-party software like Adobe. Now, it appears that even basic functions, like preparing an image for export from an Adobe program, could lead to it being labeled on Meta products as being "made with AI."

SEE ALSO: What to know about Adobe Lightroom's new AI feature

One of the most well-known photographers encountering the issue is Pete Souza, who served as the official White House photographer during the Obama and Reagan administrations. Last week, Souza posted digital scans of film images he had snapped at a 1984 NBA Finals game to his Instagram account. The post was labeled as "Made with AI," which Souza told TechCrunch was "annoying" because Instagram "forced me to include the 'Made with AI' [tag] even though I unchecked it." He noted that Adobe required him to “flatten the image” before saving it as a JPEG file, which he believes could have triggered the incorrect "Made with AI" tag.

In another example, a cosplayer posted to X about an Instagram photo of her work that had been incorrectly tagged as being "Made with AI." They wrote, "My cosplay made with the physical labour of my own hands is being labeled as AI content on Instagram, with no way to correct this tag."

Tweet may have been deleted

The accurate labeling of AI-generated or edited images is crucial to maintaining a safe and authentic online experience, especially as the 2024 election looms. AI-generated images have already duped older users of Facebook, a Meta product. Adobe's AI capabilities, specifically, can be highly convincing.

A Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch about the company's AI-tagging capabilities: "Our intent has always been to help people know when they see content made with AI. We are taking into account recent feedback and continue to evaluate our approach so that our labels reflect the amount of AI used in an image."

Categories: IT General, Technology

ChatGPT is ableist toward applicants with disabilities, new study finds

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 17:38

No surprise here: ChatGPT is still not a reliable replacement for human hiring officers and recruiters.

In a newly published study from the University of Washington, the intelligent AI chatbot repeatedly ranked applications that included disability-related honors and credentials lower than those with similar merits but did not mention disabilities. The study tested several different key words, including deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, autism, and the general term "disability."

Researchers used one of the author's publicly available CV as a baseline, then created enhanced versions of the CV with awards and honors that implied different disabilities, such as "Tom Wilson Disability Leadership Award" or a seat on a DEI panel. Researchers then asked ChatGPT to rank the applicants.

In 60 trials, the original CV was ranked first 75 percent of the time.

SEE ALSO: Why AI assistants are having such a moment

"Ranking resumes with AI is starting to proliferate, yet there’s not much research behind whether it’s safe and effective," said Kate Glazko, a computer science and engineering graduate student and the study’s lead author. "For a disabled job seeker, there’s always this question when you submit a resume of whether you should include disability credentials. I think disabled people consider that even when humans are the reviewers."

ChatGPT would also "hallucinate" ableist reasonings for why certain mental and physical illnesses would impede a candidates ability to do the job, researchers said.

"Some of GPT’s descriptions would color a person’s entire resume based on their disability and claimed that involvement with DEI or disability is potentially taking away from other parts of the resume," wrote Glazko.

But researchers also found that some of the worryingly ableist features could be curbed by instructing ChatGPT to not be ableist, using the GPTs Editor feature to feed it disability justice and DEI principles. Enhanced CVs then beat out the original more than half of the time, but results still varied based on what disability was implied in the CV.

OpenAI's chatbot has displayed similar biases in the past. In March, a Bloomberg investigation showed that the company's GPT 3.5 model displayed clear racial preferences for job candidates, and would not only replicate known discriminatory hiring practices but also repeat back stereotypes across both race and gender. In response, OpenAI has said that these tests don't reflect the practical uses for their AI models in the workplace.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Robert Eggers' macabre 'Nosferatu' trailer will sink its teeth into you

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 17:36
"The Witch" and "The Northman" writer/director Robert Eggers takes a bite out of the Dracula legend, 102 years after F. W. Murnau. Trailer.
Categories: IT General, Technology

The best 4th of July deals are already happening — here's what you need to know

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 16:32

UPDATE: Jun. 24, 2024, 9:10 a.m. EDT This story has been updated with more early 4th of July deals from REI, Home Depot, and more.

The best 4th of July deals at a glance: Best patio deal Solo Stove Ranger Essential Bundle 2.0 $284.99 at Solo Stove (save $35) Get Deal Best camping deal Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent $317.89 at REI (save $212.06) Get Deal Best grill deal Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill $389.95 at Home Depot (save $109.05) Get Deal Best mattress deal TEMPUR-Breeze Collection Queen Mattress $4,099 at Tempur-pedic (save $500) Get Deal

If you missed out on all the good Memorial Day sales this year, your chance at summertime savings hasn't passed you by. It's only June 24, and some of the best 4th of July sales are already going live. We're keeping track of them all, so you don't have to. Here's everything you need to know so far.

Are 4th of July Sales starting early?

July 4th is a few weeks away, but sales are already starting. So far, we're seeing early bird sales from Home Depot, REI, and Solo Stove. However, there's something for tech shoppers, too: HP has also launched its 4th of July sale. And, per holiday shopping traditions, we're already seeing hot deals on mattresses from brands like Sealy, Purple, and Stearns & Foster.

What to buy during 4th of July sales

These sales offer plenty of deals on home appliances, outdoor equipment, patio furniture, grills, and camping gear that you can use this summer.

However, you'll also see big-ticket items like mattresses and laptops. If you missed out on these purchases over the Memorial Day sales, you'll want to prioritize your big purchases as you shop through 4th of July sales.

What are the best 4th of July sales?

Some of the best 4th of July sales are already happening, and we've highlighted our favorite deals in our list below. We expect the sales to keep rolling in, and we'll add more of our favorites as they launch.

Best patio deal Opens in a new window Credit: Solo Stove Our pick: Solo Stove Ranger Essential Bundle 2.0 $284.99 at Solo Stove
$319.99 Save $35.00 Get Deal Why we like it

If you want to make your backyard or patio the go-to hangout spot this summer, a Solo Stove 2.0 can help you do just that. When you shop the Solo Stove Ranger Essential Bundle 2.0, you get the smokeless Ranger firepit, plus accessories, including a base plate, stand, lid, and carrying case to complete your setup. While you can save $35 on this particular bundle, the 4th of July is a site-wide event, bringing you discounts from $25 - $150 off.

Best camping deal Opens in a new window Credit: REI Our pick: Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent $317.89 at REI
$529.95 Save $212.06 Get Deal Why we like it

To celebrate the 4th of July, REI is bringing you deals on camping gear, kayaks, clothes, and more. One of our favorite standout deals is the Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent. This three-season, two-person tent has an awning-style design, which can protect you from too much sun as well as rain. It's a great option if you prefer to hike into your favorite camping spots, weighing only a little over 2 lbs. Plus, it folds up into a compact 6 x 19.5 inches.

More 4th of July camping dealsBest grill deal Opens in a new window Credit: Traeger Our pick: Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill $389.95 at Home Depot
$499.00 Save $109.05 Get Deal Why we like it

If you love that real, wood-fired grill taste, you'll want to scoop up the Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill while it's on sale at Home Depot. This deal saves you over $100, making the sophisticated grill more affordable. We also love the Traeger Pro for its versatility. You can smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food as well, making the Traeger your ultimate outdoor cooking hub. If you open a Home Depot Consumer Card, you can take an additional $50 off the grill. 

More 4th of July grill dealsBest mattress deal Opens in a new window Credit: Tempur-Pedic Our pick: TEMPUR-Breeze Collection Queen Mattress $4,099.00 at Tempur-Pedic
$4,599.00 Save $500.00 Get Deal

In the Tempur-Pedic 4th of July sale, shoppers can save $500 off mattresses plus gain $300 in free accessories. As we head into the hot summer months, we know how important it is to stay cool and comfortable while you sleep. That's why we love this deal on the TEMPUR-Breeze Collection Queen Mattress. The mattress is designed to be cool to the touch and keep you five degrees cooler as you sleep through the night. With medium firmness, this mattress is suitable for a variety of body types and sleeping styles.

More 4th of July mattress deals
  • Avocado — Save $500 on select mattresses

  • Tempur-Pedic — Save $500 on tempur-breeze mattresses, plus get $300 in free accessories with Adapt and Breeze mattresses using code 300FREE

  • Stearns & Foster — Save $400 on select mattresses

  • Sealy — Save up to $200 Posturepedic Plus collection, plus get a free Sealy sleep bundle worth up to $199

  • Purple — Save up to $800 on a mattress + base

  • DreamCloud — New customers can get up to 50% off mattresses

More 4th of July sales
  • Get 15% off everything at Brooklinen with code 15-274932

  • Get an additional 20% off select certified refurbished products at Bose with code SUMMER20

  • Take an extra 40% off clearance at West Elm with code TREAT40

  • Get up to 40% off select appliances, 30% off ceiling fans, 30% off outdoor, and 30% off flooring and more at Lowe's

  • Get up to 50% off select major appliances at Best Buy

  • Get up to 50% off outdoor furniture and more at Wayfair

  • Get up to 60% off furniture, outdoor, and more at Pottery Barn

  • Get up to 65% off at Newegg

  • Get up to 70% off at Overstock

  • Get up to 85% off at Kohls

Categories: IT General, Technology

Apple is in breach of EU's DMA, faces a humongous fine

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 16:02

Apple is in breach of the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), the European Commission has decided in a preliminary finding.

On Monday, the Commission also opened a new case against Apple over concerns that its new contractual requirements for third-party app developers and app stores are also in breach of the DMA.

SEE ALSO: Apple delays AI features in Europe because of DMA regulations

The DMA, which entered into force in Nov. 2022, requires companies with app platforms operating in the EU to enable third-party app developers to inform their customers of alternative, cheaper purchasing options, as well as steer them to those offers and allow them to make purchases.

Tweet may have been deleted

During its investigation, the Commission looked at Apple's App Store practices and found that it doesn't allow developers to "freely steer their customers" away from the App Store. The company instead permits third-party apps to direct users through links within their apps, which the Commission finds to be too restrictive. It also said the fees that Apple charges developers for acquiring new customers "go beyond what is strictly necessary."

"For too long, Apple has been squeezing out innovative companies — denying consumers new opportunities & choices," European Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted on Monday. "Today we are taking further steps to ensure AppStore & iOS comply with #DMA."

Apple now has 12 months (counting from March 25, 2024, when the proceedings commenced) to comply, or otherwise face a fine that can be as high as 10 percent of Apple's global revenue (roughly $38 billion per Apple's recent earnings), or up to 20 percent in case of repeated infringements. The EU fined Apple $1.84 billion for similar anti-steering practices in March 2024, following a Spotify lawsuit.

Last week, Apple announced it would not launch its upcoming Apple Intelligence features in Europe due to the requirements set forth in DMA.

Apple isn't the only company the European Commission is investigating for DMA violations. The EU's regulator is also looking into the business practices of Google and Meta.

Categories: IT General, Technology

'House of the Dragon' just played one of the oldest soap opera tricks in the book

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 15:32

It's one of the oldest tricks in storytelling, and House of the Dragon just peaked an episode with it.

In Season 2, episode 2 of the Game of Thrones prequel, the HBO series seized on classic tropes that simultaneously turn any scene into slapstick and generally irk this twin writer: the Evil Twin and the Fake Twin Gambit. No one loves the Evil Twin trope more than entertainment writers, who've been throwing that doppelgänger spanner into the works for decades through silent cinema, soap operas, horror movies, and comic books. Now it's appeared in HBO primetime fantasy, through the cruel fate of the Cargyll twins, Arryk and Erryk (Luke and Elliott Tittensor), a sequence of fake twinnery with a tragic end.

SEE ALSO: 'House of the Dragon' Season 2 perfectly illustrates how men's egos start wars

But did this gambit actually pay off for House of the Dragon? Or was it yet another TV show clinging to low hanging plot devices that declare twins two polarised sides of the same coin and little else?

What happens in House of the Dragon Season 2, episode 2?

In a knee-jerk order, disgruntled commander Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) throws some of that volatile Westerosi male ego around and orders Kingsguard white cloak Arryk on a secret mission to Dragonstone to assassinate Team Green's enemy, Rhaenyra. Arryk is a twin, whose brother Erryk stands opposed within Rhaenyra's Queensguard, so it's an order of impersonation, and essentially, a tragic fool's errand.

Ser Criston Cole gives Arryk Cargyll the worst order. Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Despite the fact that everyone at councils large and small in Westeros know the identical pair sit within each camp, Arryk stalks into Dragonstone pretty much undetected in a sequence Vulture's Amanda Whiting called, "a scheme that seems more like a Punk’d episode than an act of cunning." It's a slapstick game of one-twin-out, one-twin-in, a Fake Twin Gambit scene with Erryk wandering through the halls unaware his brother is replacing him as he goes. It's House of the Dragon cloak-and-dagger but make it The Prestige as a daytime soap starring Chaplin.

"What [the filmmakers] were trying to do narratively was confuse the audience," Luke Tittensor told the New York Times. "When Arryk stands at the door, there’s a moment of you thinking, 'Is that actually Arryk, or is it Erryk?' You’ve seen us do a bit of a Scooby-Doo moment. That’s a little bit of a trick with twins."

Featured Video For You House of the Dragon Season 1: Everything you need to remember about Season 1 in 60 seconds

Gaining access to Rhaenyra's chambers, Arryk moves to attack the queen. Luckily, Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) saves the day, having spotted Arryk arriving at the Dragonstone docks and raising the alarm. Arryk and Erryk battle in a whirl of identical confusion, despite Erryk's pleas for his brother to yield, and Arryk is slain. Beset with immediate grief and despair, Erryk falls on his own sword. The show plays the duel out slightly differently to how it's written in George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood. And while the result is undeniably devastating, in some senses it also feels like another series leaning on an Evil Twin trope for dramatic effect.

TV bloody loves an Evil Twin trope. This twin does not. Why'd they edit Arryk like that? Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

I'm an identical twin who has been asked "which one's the evil one?" so many times it's made me want to embody such a dumb question and rain that hellfire down on the spot. But I know where it comes from.

Historically, divine twins are a goldmine throughout mythology for examining dualism; Egyptian deities Nut and Geb, Zoroastrianism's Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu, Olympian twins Apollo and Artemis, Hinduism's horsemen The Ashvins, West African complex twin goddess Mawu-Lisa. Dark/light, sun/moon, earth/sky — twins are the perfect framework for this kind of either/or storytelling.

Modern pop culture really, truly insists that one twin must be just...bad.

But modern pop culture really, truly insists that one twin must be just...bad. It's a low hanging plot device for writers to unpack these opposing forces of good and evil, but it often reduces the characters to simplistic sides of the same coin. If my twin sister and I were on a TV show, one of us would be have to be an absolute piece of work.

Yes, the show does give Erryk and Arryk the right to choose their allegiances, but House of the Dragon can't help itself, making it clear there's a Good/Evil split through dark cinematography, sinister blocking, and a Big Bad Score as Arryk stalks through Dragonstone. Arryk is basically forced through his sense of duty to accept Cole's order, but the series frames him as a villain, a slithery assassin, with Erryk instead the heroic shining light in Rhaenyra's camp. Then, the final sequence becomes a Pointing Rick Dalton game of "spot the imposter", a stressful watch that plays both as House of the Dragon and soap climax.

Why Erryk and Arryk's duel is actually important

One of the main reasons Erryk and Arryk's duel is important is not only because of their twindom, but their conflicting familial polarity. Essentially, this kinslaying tragedy embodies the broader implications of the Dance of the Dragons, the civil war between the Targaryen family, and the senseless violence that will accompany the bloody path to the Iron Throne. There's no good, no evil, only blood and death.

As oath-sworn members of the Kingsguard and Queensguard, Arryk and Erryk are quite literally torn apart by their sense of honor — and the fact that House of the Dragon allows the characters to make their own decisions negates the somewhat frustrating tropes of the Dragonstone sequence.

"We always love that moment of these two brothers who love each other more than anything also being set to kill each other, and there’s a very American Civil War brother-on-brother aspect to it," House of the Dragon writer and executive producer Sarah Hess said in a behind-the-scenes video. "Why are they doing this? It’s because these nobles have decided they they’re mad at each other, and now these guys have to battle it to the death."

One of the saddest fates of Season 2, Erryk and Arryk are buried together, "one soul in two bodies," on either side of the war for Westeros. While House of the Dragon loves to play into the drama, the impact of this scene should rest on the tragedy of them choosing honor over each other, not with one being Evil and the other Good.

And as for me? I'd tell Cole to shove his honor and defect. That's your twin right there.

House of the Dragon Season 2 airs Sundays on HBO and Max at 9 p.m. ET.

Categories: IT General, Technology

NYT's The Mini crossword answers for June 24

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 13:19

The Mini is a bite-sized version of The New York Times' revered daily crossword. While the crossword is a lengthier experience that requires both knowledge and patience to complete, The Mini is an entirely different vibe.

With only a handful of clues to answer, the daily puzzle doubles as a speed-running test for many who play it.

So, when a tricky clue disrupts a player's flow, it can be frustrating! If you find yourself stumped playing The Mini — much like with Wordle and Connections — we have you covered.

SEE ALSO: NYT Connections today: See hints and answers for June 24 SEE ALSO: 'Wordle' today: Here's the answer hints for June 24

Here are the clues and answers to NYT's The Mini for Monday, June 24, 2024:

AcrossWhat a fold-out couch can become
  • The answer is bed.

Cars ordered from one's phone
  • The answer is Ubers.

Comedian Sherman of "Saturday Night Live"
  • The answer is Sarah.

Similar
  • The answer is alike.

Harper ___, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • The answer is Lee.

DownKnick's knack?
  • The answer is Bball.

Spooky
  • The answer is eerie.

Rapper in a high-profile feud with Kendrick Lamar
  • The answer is Drake.

Country with the most Olympic medals: Abbr.
  • The answer is USA.

"___ sells seashells ..."
  • The answer is she.

Featured Video For You The Wordle Strategy used by the New York Times' Head of Games
Categories: IT General, Technology

How to watch 'Love Island UK' season 11 online for free in the U.S. (or anywhere)

Mashable - Mon, 06/24/2024 - 12:54

UPDATE: Jun. 12, 2024, 5:00 a.m. EDT This article has been updated with more ways to watch 'Love Island UK' from the U.S., including streaming and VPN deals.

The best ways to watch 'Love Island UK': at a glance BEST WAY TO WATCH FOR FREE ITVX Free in the UK (or in the U.S. with a VPN) Get Deal BEST VPN FOR STREAMING ON ITVX ExpressVPN (1-year subscription + 3 months free) $6.67/month (save 49%) Get Deal RUNNER-UP VPN FOR STREAMING ON ITVX NordVPN (2-year subscription + 3 months free) Starting at $3.09 per month (save up to 74%) Get Deal BEST WAY TO WATCH LATER Hulu with ads Free 30-day trial, then $7.99 per month Get Deal

Don't worry if you don't have any exciting plans this summer. You don't need to be sunning yourself on a picture-perfect beach on an exotic vacation (or, holiday, as they'd say across the pond), surrounded by beautiful people all vying for your attention. You don't need to leave the house to live that particular dream this summer, because Love Island UK is back on our screens.

If you want to watch Love Island UK for free from anywhere in the world, we've got all the information you need to catch the newest season.

When did Season 11 of Love Island UK premiere?

The eleventh season of Love Island UK started on June 3. Host Maya Jama is back to present the series, with Iain Stirling returning as narrator.

How to watch Love Island UK for free in the U.S.

The 11th series of Love Island UK is available to live stream for free on ITVX.

ITVX is geo-restricted to the UK, but you should be able to access this free streaming platform with a VPN. These tools can hide your real IP address (digital location) and connect to a secure server in the UK. This quick and easy process tricks streaming services like ITVX into providing you with access from anywhere in the world.

This might sound complicated, but the process is actually really straightforward:

  1. Sign up to a VPN (like ExpressVPN or NordVPN)

  2. Download the app to your device of choice (the best VPNs have apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more)

  3. Open up the app and connect to a server in the UK

  4. Visit ITVX

  5. Watch Love Island UK for free from anywhere in the world

The best VPNs for streaming are not free, but they do tend to offer money-back guarantees. By using these guarantees, you can unblock ITVX without fully committing with your cash. That means you can sign up to a streaming-friendly VPN and unblock ITVX to watch Love Island UK from anywhere in the world. If this process doesn't work for some reason, you can recover your money.

What is the best VPN for ITVX?

Of the VPNs we've tested and recommend, only two consistently unblocked ITVX and other geo-restricted apps when connected to a UK-based server: NordVPN and ExpressVPN. So, make note: not all VPNs are created equal. Here are the details on our top picks.

Best streaming VPN: ExpressVPN Opens in a new window Credit: ExpressVPN ExpressVPN (1-year subscription + 3 months free) $6.67 per month Get Deal

ExpressVPN is the one of our top choices for unblocking free streaming sites, for a number of reasons:

  • Servers in 105 countries including the UK

  • Easy-to-use app available on all major devices including iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac, and more

  • Strict no-logging policy

  • Fast streaming speeds free from throttling

  • Up to eight simultaneous connections

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for $99.95 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time. This plan also includes a year of free unlimited cloud backup and a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN.

Best premium VPN: NordVPN Opens in a new window Credit: NordVPN NordVPN (2-year subscription + 3 months free) starting at $3.09 per month Get Deal

Probably one of the most well-known VPNs on the market, NordVPN is our top premium pick for a few reasons: its unrivaled suite of security features, more than 5,000 obfuscated servers, and a sweet deal on a 27-month plan. You'll be able to unlock ITVX (and plenty of other geo-blocked websites and apps) and watch Season 11 Love Island UK episodes live when they air. While NordVPN still has some lingering transparency concerns, it's made great strides to repair its reputation with boosted security standards, a bug bounty program, and network upgrades.

The Basic plan will only cost you $3.09 per month, the Plus plan goes for $3.99 per month, and the Ultimate plan will run you $5.99 per month.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

Other ways to watch Love Island UK in the U.S.

If the VPN workaround seems too complicated or you don't feel like signing up for a VPN subscription, you can also stream Love Island UK on Hulu in the U.S. starting June 8. Of course, the episodes won't air live as they do on ITVX, but you'll still be able to watch the drama unfold on your own time. Episodes will appear on Hulu a week after they air on ITVX, so you'll just have to avoid spoilers in the mean time.

Opens in a new window Credit: Hulu Hulu Free 30-day trial, then starting at $7.99 per month Get Deal

Hulu newbies and some returning subscribers who haven't had an active Hulu account in some time can get a free 30-day trial to the streamer — a rare and hard-to-beat streaming deal these days. That may not be enough time to watch the entire season, but you'll be able to watch a significant portion of it before having to pay a cent. Once your trial is up, you can keep your subscription going for $7.99 per month for the plan with ads or $17.99 per month for the plan without ads.

There are a few ways to score Hulu for free or at a discount as well:

  • T-Mobile customers on the Go5G Next plan can enjoy Hulu with ads for no extra cost (on top of the already stacked lineup of Netflix, Apple TV, and MLB.tv). Just head over to the T-Mobile website and choose "redeem now" to claim your offer if you haven't already.

  • Students can get a Hulu Student account for only $1.99 per month — that's 75% off the full cost of Hulu with ads. There's no free trial, but you'll be able to watch as much Love Island UK you want for only $2 every month. You'll have to be able to prove you're a student with SheerID, so don't try using an ancient college email address.

  • If you're committed to watching Hulu long-term, you can sign up for an annual plan instead of a monthly plan and save 17%. It'll run you $79.99 per year, which breaks down to only $6.67 per month (rather than $7.99 per month).

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