Author: Greg Kumparak

Google Assistant will now be nicer if you say “Please” and “Thank you”

TECHCRUNCH Is barking orders at our AI-powered voice assistants turning us into jerks? Are our kids growing accustomed to commanding the Google Homes and Siris of the world to turn on the lights without the politeness of a “please”? Perhaps. With that in mind, from here on out, Google Assistant will be a bit more cheery if you take the time to say “please” or “thank you”. If, for example, you say “Hey Google, please set a timer for 10 minutes”, Google Assistant will respond “Thanks for asking so nicely! 10 minutes, starting now.” To be clear: it’s totally...

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Cards Against Humanity is selling diamonds and TVs for 99% off and totally winning (?) Black Friday

TECHCRUNCH Half of my family (and half of the Internet, it seems) all has eyes and phones locked on the same Black Friday sales page right now — and, likely to the disappointment of the big retailers, it’s not any of theirs. In the latest in a streak of wild Black Friday stunts, Cards Against Humanity (the wonderfully offensive fill-in-the-blank “party game for horrible people”) is selling a different ridiculous item for 99% off every ten minutes. It could be a life-size cut out of Orlando Bloom for 75 cents… or it could be a 1.5 carat diamond for...

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Gift Guide: Black Friday tech deals that are actually pretty good

TECHCRUNCH Black Friday is, for the most part, bad. People are awful, retailers pull all sorts of shenanigans to make it seem like you’re getting a better deal than you are, and a lot of people end up buying junk they don’t need to make the day feel like a “success”. But you know that. If you’re gonna do this, you might as well go in with some sort of gameplan. Our advice? Stay inside and shop online where you can, be aware that most of the best deals are stocked in hilariously low quantities, and don’t be stubborn...

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Apple’s Final Cut Pro X just got a big update. Here’s what’s new

TECHCRUNCH Apple’s pro-grade video editing tool Final Cut Pro X is getting a big update today. While much of FCPX is getting polished up in this release, the biggest change is what it allows for moving forward: workflow extensions. These extensions allow third-party apps and services to hook right into FCPX and build on top of the native interface and functionality. Apple partnered with three companies to build out extensions for launch day: Frame.io: Frame.io lets video producers share in-progress edits, allowing collaborators to view the project as it comes together and drop comments, frame-by-frame annotations, and ideas directly...

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Here’s the teaser trailer for Niantic’s Pokémon GO-style Harry Potter game

TECHCRUNCH The good news: Niantic/WB Games/Portkey has released a trailer for Wizards Unite, the Harry Potter game built in the same spirit as Pokémon GO. The bad news: It… doesn’t show much. [embedded content] If you were hoping for gameplay footage or really anything detailing how the game will work, you’re out of luck. Alas! It’s just a teaser trailer, and tease it does. The game’s newly expanded website, meanwhile, adds just: Please resist the urge to panic. Traces of magic are appearing across the Muggle world without warning and in a rather chaotic manner. We worry it is...

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Wreck-It Ralph is getting a warehouse-sized VR Game at Disney parks

TECHCRUNCH For the last year or so, Disney has been dabbling with massive virtual reality experiences that let players strap on a portable VR rig and run around in a warehouse-sized environment. In partnership with TheVOID (part of Disney’s 2017 accelerator class) and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab, it launched a Star Wars-themed experience, Secrets of the Empire, at both Downtown Disney (California) and Disney Springs (Florida) back in November of 2017. The next Disney property getting the VR treatment? Wreck-It Ralph.Here’s the trailer, released this morning: [embedded content] Based on the upcoming movie sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, this one will be called, aptly, Ralph Breaks VR. Like Secrets before it, the Ralph game will support 4-players running around a shared VR environment — but rather than dodging blaster fire and outsmarting stormtroopers, you’ll be having food fights with kittens and outrunning security drones. While I’m mostly neutral on Ralph, I’m… pretty excited for this. Secrets of the Empire is one of the most ridiculous experiences I’ve ever had in virtual reality. It’s hard to say much without spoiling some of the moments, but my jaw was on the damned floor for half of the time. Alas, there wasn’t much time to speak of; the entire thing only lasts about 25 minutes — which, at $30 per person, felt way too short. Tickets for Ralph cost roughly the same; depending on...

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Google Assistant picks up a few new tricks

TECHCRUNCH Google Assistant, the voice-driven AI that sits inside Google Home (plus Android phones, newer Nest cameras, and a bunch of other devices) and awaits your “Hey, Google” commands, is already pretty clever. That doesn’t mean it can’t learn a few new tricks. In a quick press briefing this week, Google told us a couple new abilities Assistant will pick up in the coming weeks. First, and perhaps most interestingly: routines can now be set to trigger the moment you dismiss an alarm on your phone. Routines are basically Google Assistant combo moves; you build them to trigger multiple...

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Xbox One will work with keyboard and mouse as of November 14th, starting with Fortnite

TECHCRUNCH We knew the Xbox One was set to get keyboard and mouse support eventually, but now we know exactly when: November 14th. Don’t expect all Xbox One games to play friendly with the new keyboard/mouse functionality right out of the gate. It’s up to individual developers to figure out if/how it works with their games and patch things up accordingly, so only a handful will support it at first. But one of the first titles picking up support is a big one: Fortnite, the free-to-play third person shooter that has taken over the world, will roll out support...

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