Author: Greg Kumparak

Pokémon GO is finally going to let players trade Pokémon

TECHCRUNCH Just shy of two years after launch, Pokémon GO is finally about to roll out one of its most notably absent features: Pokémon trading. A staple of the series, trading lets players swap their Pokémon with another player’s in the never-ending quest to, well, catch’em all. The trading mechanics will be tied into a new Friend system; the Friend system will roll out later this week, with the trading mechanics going live “soon after” (though Niantic doesn’t want to get more specific than that, presumably in case something breaks.) Here’s how it all works: To trade with someone, you must be their in-game friend *and* within 100 meters (~320 ft.) of them To become friends, you exchange your unique Trainer Codes Once friends, you’ll get in-game perks for playing together. Your Pokémon will get attack bonuses when battling gyms together, for example – and when you raid together, you’ll get extra Pokéballs. The more you play together (raiding, battling gyms, etc), the higher your relationship level will be. Certain Pokémon (Legendaries, Shinies, and any Pokémon you don’t already have) are considered “special trades”. You can only make special trades with the players whom you’ve reached the higher tiers of friendship with. In other words, they mostly want you trading with the people you play with somewhat regularly – not rando spoofers selling Pokémon on eBay. You can only...

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Ring’s $199 security system will finally ship next month

TECHCRUNCH Way back in October of last year, Ring announced “Ring Protect” — a modular, no contract, DIY home security system. After a few delays, a bit of legal drama, and Ring being acquired for a billion dollars by Amazon, the alarm is finally about to ship — albeit with a slightly different (better!) name. Ring Protect has been redubbed as the more intuitive Ring Alarm — a better name if only because competitor Nest has both a security product and a totally different product (a smoke detector) called Nest Protect. Ring’s base level alarm kit starts at $199,...

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Here are the best gags of April Fools’ Day 2018

TECHCRUNCH It’s April Fools’ Day! The official holiday of uncertainty, doubt, and jokes that make you… laugh? Chuckle? Push a bit of air out of your nose and say “heh”? As we do each year, we’ve gathered up all the tech gags worth seein’. The usual champs — Google, ThinkGeek — continue to own the day, but there’s a few surprise entries from new contenders this time around. Tap that “start gallery” button over there to dive...

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TechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2017

TECHCRUNCH Good news, everyone! We survived 2017! Each December, the TechCrunch staff members (our writers, editors, video, and social teams) get together and make a big ol’ list of our favorite things from that year. The apps, or gadgets, or movies, or music (or really anything) we loved. We tend to be a pretty picky bunch, and these are the things that made, and continue to make, the cut. These are the things that made our year better, and made it through to the end of 2017 right alongside us. Tap that right arrow to proceed — or if...

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This functional pinball machine is built entirely of LEGO

TECHCRUNCH I’ve spent a good chunk of my life piecing together various LEGO projects.. but even the craziest stuff I’ve built pales in comparison to this one. It’s a fully-functioning pinball machine built entirely out of official LEGO parts, from the obstacles on the playfield, to the electronic brains behind the curtain, to the steel ball itself. [embedded content] Creator Bre Burns calls her masterpiece “Benny’s Space Adventure”, theming the machine around LEGO’s classic ‘lil blue space man. It’s made up of over 15,000 LEGO bricks, multiple Mindstorms NXT brains working in unison, steel castor balls borrowed from a Mindstorms kit, plus lights and motors repurposed from a bunch of other sets. Bre initially set out to build the project for exhibition at the Lego fan conference BrickCon in October of last year, and it’s just grown and grown ever since. Bre told the LEGO enthusiast site Brothers Brick that she’s spent somewhere between 200 and 300 hours so far on this project. Want to know more? They’ve got a great breakdown of the entire project right over...

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Looks like Google is changing Android’s gun emoji into a water gun

TECHCRUNCH Back in 2016, Apple swapped out the graphic used for its gun emoji, replacing the realistically drawn handgun with a bright green water gun. Just a few days ago, Twitter followed suit. And now, it seems, so will Google. The gun emoji on Android will likely soon appear as a bright orange and yellow super soaker lookalike. As first noted by Emojipedia, Google has just swapped the graphics in its open Noto Emoji library on GitHub. These are the Emoji that Android uses by default, so the same change will presumably start to roll out there before too...

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Hidden Amazon page drops hints about a “Fire TV Cube”

TECHCRUNCH Rumors have been floating around for a few months now of a new device from Amazon that would mash up the media streaming capabilities of its Fire TV line with the voice assistant abilities of the Echo. After leaked images turned up showing a cube-shaped device that seemed to fit the bill, people started referring to this still as-of-yet unannounced device as the “Fire TV Cube”. Sure enough: a seemingly official page has been found tucked away on Amazon.com that mentions a Fire TV Cube, and promises “details coming soon.” As found by AFTVNews, the placeholder splash page offers up little beyond the promise of eventual details. It’s got a big ol’ header that says “What is Fire TV Cube?”, a button to let you sign up for more details, and… well, that’s about it. There’s also a mention of a “Fire TV Cube” on this page, tucked away in Amazon’s account management backend to let folks toggle their subscriptions to any one of the dozens of newsletters/email campaigns that Amazon sends out. According to the original leaks, the Fire TV Cube would have the speaker, far-field microphones, and LED light bar of an Echo and the 4K video-capable guts of a Fire TV, allowing you to hook it up to your TV and have one device doing double the duties. In other words: while there’s still no...

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California OSHA is looking into injury reports at Tesla

TECHCRUNCH After a report by Reveal suggested that Tesla was underreporting workplace injuries at its Fremont plant, Tesla responded with a blog post calling the report “completely false” and pinning it all up as a “calculated disinformation campaign.” Now California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (otherwise known as Cal/OSHA) is looking into things at the factory. As first noted by Bloomberg, the agency won’t give specifics on why it’s looking into Tesla — but in a comment sent our way, they start off by mentioning the aforementioned report. Here’s the statement sent to us by Cal/OSHA spokesperson Erika...

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