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It’s launch day for Blue Origin’s New Shepard and Jeff Bezos and crew, just under two hours after this newsletter hits your inbox.
- The latest status was Blue Origin confirming its astronauts were go. (Hmm, “astronauts.”)
- That crew includes Bezos and brother Mark, 82-year-old Mercury 13 aviator Mary “Wally” Funk, and 18-year old Oliver Daemen, who replaced his father — who bought the ticket for $28 million and had some kind of “unknown scheduling conflict” — and is a physics student.
- If you just want to tune in, you can go watch on YouTube, coverage starting at 7:30am ET.
I’ve always had trouble with Google’s Pixel phones getting cool features that the rest of the Android ecosystem doesn’t get.
- It’s smart when Google uses its Pixel devices as a testbed before wider Android feature roll-outs, of course including latest versions of Android.
- It also makes sense when Google’s building specific hardware in the hopes for people to pick up a Pixel, like the Soli radar system, and its adaptive battery mode probably relies on Google’s own device knowledge.
- Where I think Google needs to just get on with helping everyone with an Android phone is things like Call Screening, something very helpful for stopping spam, which is not just a Pixel-owner problem.
- No one wants Google to be like Apple, especially when features have societal benefits. Not even Pixel owners.
But this isn’t a swipe at Google today, because hey, one of those features just started rolling out more widely: Heads Up.
- If you didn’t know, Heads Up is a Google feature previously only on Pixels that politely reminds you to stop using your phone while walking.
- It reminds you to focus on the task at hand while you’re on foot, which is helpful for anything from slow walking to real danger.
- I don’t know, it’s weird that we all probably need this, but obviously we could all pay more attention at times, and the feature has worked ok for me in the past.
- Now, Google has started deploying its Heads Up feature to all Android phones through an updated Digital Wellbeing app.
- XDA, which broke the news, found it installed on Android phones seemingly regardless of make or manufacturer, from Asus to Realme.
- This is good. Keep rolling out the Pixel-only features to be Android-wide, please Google.
🔓 Latest on the NSO hacking fallout: Political fallout across India, Mexico, Hungary and more (The Guardian). Also, Edward Snowden called for a spyware trade ban, saying the industry should not exist: “They don’t make vaccines — the only thing they sell is the virus” (The Guardian).
🔋 Google announces one-year warranty extension for Pixel 4 XL battery issues in US, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan (Android Authority).
📴 Android 12 ‘ruined’ the power menu, and some Googlers agree (Android Authority).
👉 7 problems modern smartphones have solved without you knowing it: HDR, fingerprint scanners (Android Authority).
💬 HalloApp is a new private social network from two former WhatsApp employees (Android Authority).
⚽ PS4 ‘cryptofarm’ reportedly wasn’t mining crypto, but using bots to grind in-game FIFA currency. What a world. (Engadget).
🚴♀️ Peloton keeps adding content and is now getting into gaming, which sounds pretty fun actually (Gizmodo).
📺 CNN plans to launch a CNN Plus streaming service, which sounds less fun (The Verge).
🔐 The Pentagon is bolstering its AI systems — by hacking itself (Wired).
🔭 From the telescope that brought you the First Black Hole Photo comes the best look yet at extreme cosmic jet(CNET).
🚢 Walmart, Ikea, and Amazon have a dirty shipping problem according to interesting new data breaking down maritime emissions (The Verge).
🧬 Genealogists say Leonardo da Vinci has 14 living relatives! His “many-times-great nieces and nephews include several office workers (one of whom served as a naval gunner in the 1960s), a retired upholsterer, a surveyor, and a state employee who is “passionate about motorcycling and music.” Cool and all, and at least they’re not painting Da Vinci relative NFT Mona Lisas or something. (Ars Technica).
🧼 “Between foam, liquid, or bar, what is the best type of soap for handwashing?” (r/askreddit).
I thought this was pretty interesting via r/dataisbeautiful:
Then someone re-did it by chronological order:
- There’s a definite gradual trend towards more words per year. And then the whole unfolding-pandemic-thing really did the trick to add almost six times the length of boring old years like 2002 or 2004. (Yawn, who remembers those anyway?)
- By comparison, the rather eventful year 1945 would rank third on this list.
- Though, and people noted this important fact in the comments, Wikipedia wasn’t invented then!
Have a good one,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor