Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Smart will soon have fewer US dealers than Lamborghini

Back in February, Smart first announced its plans to offer nothing but electric vehicles in the US. Now, it appears dealerships aren’t exactly excited for this.

More than two-thirds of US Smart dealers have chosen to stop selling its vehicles following its decision to only offer EVs, Automotive News reports. Mercedes-Benz, which distributes Smart in the US, did not immediately return a request for comment.

smart-ed-promoEnlarge Image

The Smart Fortwo Cabrio is also the only battery-electric convertible you can buy in the US.


Previously, there were 85 dealers in the US. Following this crunch, there will be approximately 27, although the remaining 58 will still service Smart vehicles. For comparison, 27 dealerships is fewer than either Lotus or Lamborghini have in the US. The automaker expects a majority of dealers to remain in states with zero-emission mandates and an already established fan base.

You can still find a gas-powered Smart Fortwo in various corners of the country, but once they’re all sold out, there’s a chance that dealers may transition to a service-only role.

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is not an expensive proposition, starting at $23,800 for the coupe and $28,000 for the convertible. This is before any federal or state incentive, so there’s a good chance you’ll find the coupe’s post-incentive starting price south of $20,000.

Of course, for that price, you’re not getting a Tesla Model 3. Its 17.6-kWh battery allows for a maximum range between 70 and 80 miles, and its electric motor puts out just 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. With its on-board fast charger, it’ll take about 3 hours to bring the battery from empty to full.


Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/smart-will-soon-have-fewer-dealers-than-lamborghini/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer to lose domain name

The Daily Stormer has been called the “top hate site in America.” Soon it’s going to be without domain. 

The site, which was involved in organising the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, has been told by GoDaddy to move its domain or have it cancelled. 

GoDaddy is the website’s domain provider, directing internet users and search engines to its URL. GoDaddy doesn’t, however, host The Daily Stormer’s content. 

“We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service,” the company said in a tweet, adding in an emailed statement, “If no action is taken after 24 hours, we will cancel the service.”

The tweet followed a hate-filled post on The Daily Stormer, which focused on the woman killed during anti-fascist protests over the weekend. The victim, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car drove at speed into a crowd of people protesting the alt-right demonstrations.

“Given this latest article comes on the immediate heels of a violent act, we believe this type of article could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service,” said a company spokesperson in an emailed statement. 

GoDaddy’s decision was part of a tumultuous day for the Daily Stormer, which was the subject of a CNET profile last month. Hours after the statement, a post on The Stormer said it had been taken over by hacktivist group Anonymous.


Anonymous acknowledged the post through a Twitter account but didn’t confirm it was involved. Instead, the hacking collective suggested it might be an elaborate stunt by The Daily Stormer and its publisher, Andrew Anglin. 


Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET 

Anglin didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Daily Stormer takes its name from Der Stürmer, a Nazi tabloid. It’s unclear what sort of traffic the site receives but it attracts a fringe readership. Readers have included Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a 2015 mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the man who last year killed Jo Cox, a British member of Parliament. 

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/neo-nazi-website-daily-stormer-to-lose-domain-name/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Bitcoin passes $4,000 mark to reach all-time high

Utah Software Engineer Mints Physical Bitcoins

George Frey/Getty Images

Bitcoin has passed another major milestone, crossing over the $4,000 threshold on Sunday. The cryptocurrency, which has only been in existence for seven years, reached a high of $4,224 (equivalent to £3,244 or AU$5,343) shortly after 9 a.m. UTC on Sunday.

bitcoin-high-4000Enlarge Image

Bitcoin reached its highest ever closing price on Sunday. 

Coindesk screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

It’s been a swift rise for bitcoin, which only passed the $3,000 marker for the first time at the start of the month. The rise also comes fresh off the heels of the so-called “hard fork” in bitcoin which saw a new virtual currency called Bitcoin Cash split off from bitcoin proper on August 1.

The split was designed to deal with the growing popularity of bitcoin, which was struggling to support an increasing number of transactions using existing blockchain technology, though the move left many wondering whether market values would fall.

But bitcoin seems to have defied expectations, pushing through the $4,000 barrier with ease, though there’s no certainty on where values are headed — particularly as we push closer toward the day when every bitcoin is mined.

Still, this is for sure: Purchasing 1 bitcoin for 8 cents back in 2010 would have netted you a 52,800-fold return today.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/bitcoin-passes-4000-milestone-to-reach-all-time-high-cryptocurrency/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Amazon reportedly issues recall on some solar eclipse glasses


Amazon is warning buyers of some glasses used to view solar eclipses not to use the item out health concerns.

Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon has issued a recall to customers who purchased eclipse glasses that may not have come from a recommended manufacturer.

The internet retailer began notifying buyers of the unverified glasses of the move on Saturday, warning them not to use the product for viewing the much-anticipated total solar eclipse later this month. Customers who didn’t receive a recall email are safe to use the ones they purchased, Oregon Live reported Saturday.

“We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse,” the email said.

Sales of eclipse glasses have been hot ahead of the Aug. 21 event, when the moon will pass in front of the sun, completely blotting it out for those along a 70-mile-wide corridor stretching across the contiguous United States.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but told KGW that it issued the recall out an abundance of caution.

“Safety is among our highest priorities. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards,” Amazon said in a statement. ” We want customers to buy with confidence anytime they make a purchase on Amazon.com and eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard.”

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-reportedly-issues-recall-on-some-solar-eclipse-glasses/#ftag=CAD590a51e

The iPhone 8 name game: What will Apple call its new phone?

As you’ve probably noticed in recent days, iPhone rumor season has hit fever pitch.

The conventional wisdom is that there will be three iPhones this year instead of the traditional two. The “iPhone 7S” and “iPhone 7S Plus” would be the traditional “S phone” upgrades we get in odd-numbered years, keeping the same basic design we’ve seen since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 2014, while adding some new under-the-hood hardware improvements — the requisite faster CPU and better cameras, along with (possibly) something like inductive wireless charging.

Apple may have leaked the iPhone 8 design

An image inside of firmware for Apple’s HomePod speaker seemingly confirms the rumored design of the next iPhone.

by Iyaz Akhtar

The third iPhone would be a top-of-the-line model. And thanks to that recent HomePod firmware leak, we appear to know a lot more about it than ever before: An all-new, almost no-bezel design would fit a Plus-size OLED screen into a standard iPhone-sized body. Supposedly, it even drops the Touch ID home button in place of facial recognition.

But what we don’t know is the name. It’s apparently referred to as “D22,” and may have been nicknamed “Ferrari” (further reflecting its status in the lineup as the lustworthy sports car you want, but may not be able to afford).

So, what will that high-end iPhone be called? There’s zero definitive information, so we can only guess. To that end, here are the top candidates that have been making the rounds on the Internet for the past few months.

This is the default name that most have been using for the high-end iPhone. And because it’s the No. 1 “new iPhone” term on Google Trends, it’s become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy: As more publishers seek to cash in on the search engine optimization (SEO) value of “iPhone 8,” more stories about “iPhone 8” flood your feeds. (Yes, this is one of those stories.)

Will Apple actually go with this name? Apple pundit John Gruber suggests that 3 new iPhones could get some form of the “iPhone 8” moniker if the lower-end S models offer a surprise design overhaul, too.

This nomenclature would bring the iPhone line into a degree of symmetry with Apple’s laptop and iPad lines. MacBook, MacBook Pro. iPad, iPad Pro. iPhone, iPhone Pro. OK, iPhone would be a bit messier. After all, if Apple follows its normal tradition, the existing iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will remain on sale with $100 knocked off the price. The iPhone SE, which was refreshed in March, would presumably remain as the entry-level iPhone. And the “iPhone 7S” and “7S Plus” would be in the line, too. (Or some of those models could stay, or none of them; Apple could totally shake things up.)

But “iPhone Pro” would be the first-ever use of that name — a nice nod to its “newness” — and the Pro designation as “king of the hill” would line up with everyone’s general understanding of Apple’s product lines. The only problem is that it somehow sounds “unfun” — like a phone that’s destined for you to toil away on work-related tasks.


A glyph that appears in the HomePod firmware could be the rumored iPhone 8


The iPhone numbering scheme got derailed almost immediately. The second iPhone was called the iPhone 3G, the fifth iPhone was the iPhone 4S, and so on. There have been at least 2 iPhones released every year since 2013, and Wikipedia counts at least 15 different models to date. But since 2017 is the tenth anniversary of the iPhone’s debut, it would be a great opportunity to reset the clock, as it were — similar to how Microsoft jumped from Windows 8 straight to Windows 10.

The problem with the Roman numeral, though, is that everyone will inevitably mispronounce it as “iPhone Ex,” as they did with the OS X operating system.  

When the Apple Watch first launched, the line included a gold model that started for a cool $10,000. The so-called Apple Watch Edition still exists, but now in a ceramic body that starts at a somewhat less stratospheric $1,249. With all signs pointing to the high-end iPhone starting at prices near $1,000 and going up from there, the analogy to the luxury watch lines up nicely. Still, “iPhone Edition” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

Alternately, teeing off the iPhone X/10 idea above, some think Apple might go with something like “iPhone Anniversary Edition.” The problem with that, as many have already suggested, is that Apple rarely invokes nostalgia (giant pricey coffee table books notwithstanding). The company wants to keep consumers focused on its view of an ever-better future, not have them pining for some sort of idealized past.

Apple could opt for stripping things back down to ultimate simplicity. It did this in 2015 with its newest, sexiest laptop losing the Air name and just going with “MacBook.” Likewise, the iPad Air 2 was replaced by “iPad.”

Two problems here. Just “iPhone” sounds more like a baseline model, which doesn’t help distinguish it from a line that would likely retain one if not two “Plus” 5.5-inch models — even though they would be stepdowns to this king of the hill model. Meanwhile, “iPhone” has, as we say in the business, terrible SEO. The default search terms would immediately become something like “new iPhone,” “iPhone 2017” or “OLED iPhone.” That’s the opposite of good branding.

Steve Jobs was all about the iNames — iMac, iCloud, iTunes, iPhone and iPad. But starting with Jobs’ own introduction of the Apple TV and continuing into the Tim Cook era, it’s been more about “Apple [insert generic product name here].” With Apple Music, Apple Pay and Apple Watch being the buzzwords of the day, would the company ever hit the ultimate reset button and walk away from the iPhone name?

My guess? Not in a million years. Throwing away one of the most valuable brand names in history just doesn’t sound like a smart idea.

For my money, “iPhone Pro” sounds like the best bet, but somehow still not quite right. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple pulls something totally unexpected but familiar out of the ether, not unlike the “HomePod” name. (We generally called that product the “Siri Speaker” in the rumor phase.) 

And if you dislike the eventual name, just remember to take a beat. Believe it or not, the name “iPad” was originally mocked and derided, as was the moniker for the Nintendo Wii. Both of them went on to become smashing successes.

The good news — regardless of the eventual name — is that the wait should soon be over. Expect Tim Cook to be on stage in just a few weeks, proudly holding the new iPhone ______ high above his head.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-8-vs-iphone-pro-vs-iphone-x-vs-iphone-edition/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Has ‘Game of Thrones’ gotten too confusing?

Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the latest episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Game of Thrones.” I love it. You love it. We all love it.

I love it so much, in fact, that I was 64 episodes deep before I had a startling realisation. This show is freaking confusing.

I didn’t make this realisation on my lonesome — none of my ideas are original, after all. Last Sunday’s episode was the talk of the internet the next day, with people buzzing about it being one of the best Thrones episodes of all time. The centrepiece, of course, was a huge battle that saw Daenerys and her dragon burn hundreds of men alive. It was sweet. 


Click for more Boom With a View. 

People in the office were understandably keen about the whole thing, leading to a team-wide discussion about the show. The takeaway? Everyone loves it — but no one knows what the hell is going on.

Some mystery can be fun. There was healthy speculation as to whether Jaimie died (he totally didn’t) and if Tyrion will turn on Daenerys (he totally won’t). But there were also some more disorienting questions flying around.

Who do you think is the third dragon rider? Is Tyrion actually a Targaryen? Who is the valonqar? Oh, what’s that? You haven’t read each of the 600 prophecies referenced throughout the 4,451 “Ice Fire” pages George R.R. Martin has written, even though they may not actually impact the show?

Some of that can be pardoned. Questions like those often originate with pesky fan conspiracies that have infected our minds, as they do in the Star Wars universe. But even keeping up with major plot points, after six years, can be difficult.

“Game of Thrones” is renowned for the vigor with which it murders the characters we hold dear. This has several pros: It’s fodder for many emotional moments — oh Hodor, you sweet thing — and it gives us seasonal villains, like Joffrey Lannister and Ramsay Bolton, who we truly hate. But there are downsides, such as the intense memory training involved in recalling who’s alive or dead.


Believe me, Sam, I’m searching for answers too. 


Example: I was certain Bronn was dead. He got poisoned, I vaguely recall. My housemate, who I watched the first episode of the new season with, also thought he was a goner. We were both wrong, because Bronn rocked up in Sunday’s episode and shot a dragon out of the sky. Classic Bronn!

You might be mocking me right now for thinking he was dead, which is fair because I only have poor memory to thank for it. And yet, everyone I speak to about the show seems to have confused the living status of at least one semi-major character in the past few weeks.

Sure, the plot is broadly easy to follow. And if you put in the legwork, you can get your head around all of the characters, their families and relations to other characters. But that amount of legwork would leave you walking funny for at least two days.

Look, I wish not to besmirch the Throne. The most recent episode was so good, it almost gave me a heart attack from emotions. I have so many emotions: Intrigue, anxiety, suspicion, a raging man crush on Jamie Lannister, they were all there. 

But I keep going back to a question in my head: Where is the line between complex and convoluted, between “wow, this is so clever!” to “wow, whoever wrote this was on some gnarly drugs.”  

People have levelled similar accusations at other popular franchises. Metal Gear Solid is a notoriously dense game series, as is the entire Final Fantasy universe. “Donnie Darko” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” both often find themselves on people’s “most confusing movies” lists. But notice, these also are all revered in their specific genres.

We’re six and a half seasons into “Game of Thrones,” with one and a half to go. All the loose ends are starting to get tied up, with reunions and first meetings going on all over the place. The genius of a complicated plot, I suppose, is in making us care enough to endure the memory tests and the textbook-thick lore. But there’s a thin line between epic and epic fail, and we really need this ending to all come together. We’re too deep into winter to look back. 

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/game-of-thrones-hbo-confusing-plots/#ftag=CAD590a51e