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September 22, 2021
Amazon's 2021 Kindles
new amazon kindle paperwhite
Amazon

Amazon has updated its Kindle Paperwhite line for the first time since 2018 and there’s a lot of good things here.

  • The Paperwhite is one of Amazon’s more popular products and something I use most evenings, though I don’t always remember to find a micro-USB cable for it.
  • Handily, the new models are now USB-C which is one of the bigger improvements.
  • (By the way, I strongly recommend you look at and use Amazon’s “Send to Kindle by E-mail” feature for adding documents and books you already own… Oh, and turn off Wi-Fi when you’re not using it to extend battery life) 

A short version of the updates:

  • The 2021 editions have a bigger screen, faster processor, USB-C, “warm light” option, battery life, waterproofing and more storage.
  • And are a touch more expensive, $10 more for the basic model, $30 for the higher-end Paperwhite, now with a new name.

More detail:

  • The Paperwhite line now has two different hardware models, plus a separate Paperwhite Kids edition.
  • The vanilla Paperwhite is $140 (up $10) and now offers a 6.8-inch screen (up from 6-inch, same 300ppi e-ink display) with thinner bezels, faster processor, more LEDs for better lighting, and a “warm light” like the Kindle Oasis ($250).
  • USB-C charging replaces the micro-USB, which is major.
  • The new 2021 edition is a tiny bit lighter than the previous edition too.
  • The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, at $190, adds an auto-brightness sensor and Qi wireless charging and makes it close to the Kindle Oasis on a few points.
  • Then there’s the $160 Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition which has a durable case built-in, ads disabled by default, two-year “worry free guarantee” and a 1 year Amazon Kids+ subscription. I mean, removing the ads from a Kindle normally costs $20 so it’s sort of a deal.
  • Finally, there’s a Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition that includes an auto-brightness sensor and Qi wireless charging for a few extra bucks.
  • Also, I’m unclear on this, but the size of the Paperwhite was always pretty good for portability. While the new 2021 model is bigger, it seems it’s mostly the bezels that have shrunk, so it may only be a half-inch taller and wider.
  • They’ll ship from October 27, and Amazon notes it’s used recycled materials in plastics and magnesium, though there’s plenty of other materials in use here.
Roundup

🍎 Apple iPhone 13 reviews are out and those big focuses on battery, display and camera are really something, especially in the Pro model. The Verge’s 13 Pro review: “A better display, the best camera, and incredible battery life.” Wired notes the non-Pro editions are pretty great too: “Just know that, more than ever before, you’re getting quite a bit with the non-Pro iPhones,” while Input focused on cameras and found one annoying automatic switch between 0.5-1x mode which Apple is fixing, apparently. The iPhone 13 mini has improved the bad battery life of the 12 mini, but it’s still shorter than the average smartphone, notes Engadget. Finally, a brief thought only as I have much to read, Android makers need to heed this: ” the iPhone 13 Pro has the best camera system on any smartphone available as of this writing,” writes The Verge.

🤔 Xiaomi could remotely activate censorship on your phone a new report out of Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity org. claims. “Free Tibet,”, “Long live Taiwan independence,” or “democracy movement,” were found to be blocked words. Expect plenty more out of this (Android Authority).

👉 Hands-on video of a Pixel 6 Pro prototype though the final production version may be a little different (Android Authority).

📁 Also, a Pixel Fold this year still seems unlikely but this concept art is fun (Android Authority).

🆙 The Windows 11 PC Health Check app is back for everyone, download it here (Android Authority).

🤦‍♂️ Facebook’s latest “apology” reveals security and safety disarray (Ars Technica), and this latest leak obtained by the NYTsuggests Facebook will use its own News Feed (reportedly not an algorithm change but a promotion element) to show users pro-Facebook stories with CEO Mark Zuckerberg signing off on “Project Amplify”. (NY Times, $).

📦 Amazon is lobbying the US to legalize weed (…so that it can employ more people) (Gizmodo).

🏙 Google buys NYC campus for $2.1B, one of the biggest office deals in history (CNN).

🥽 Netflix has released a free VR game on App Lab for Oculus Quest: Eden Unearthed (UploadVR).

🌌 It was a cosmic airburst, not God, in the Bronze Age (Phys.org)

🌃 Why does Asthma get worse at night? A new study says circadian rhythms do affect asthma, which has a lot of meaning for treatments (Wired).

💡 Pretty cool: DIY hacking the lighting to match the flickering lights in Quake (Gizmodo).

🤔 “What’s the most dangerous place in your country?” A mix of answers here about dangerous nature (cliffs, oceans, ice) and dangerous cities or areas (too many to name) (r/askreddit).

Wednesday Weirdness
titanfall2

Titanfall 2 Was Abandoned By EA, And Then Things Got Weird is the headline on this long IGN feature that leaves me incredibly baffled. There are no good answers from the piece but the detail is impressive.

In short:

  • When developers abandon their games, and leave them online without sufficient support, strange things happen.
  • Hackers ruthlessly figure out that they can a) cheat, hack or even obtain admin privileges and then, b) mess with people with those various cheats, bots, or bans, making the online game unplayable and frustrating.

That’s what happened with Titanfall 2, which was a game from Respawn (the developer) and EA (publisher) that was highly acclaimed yet mostly unsuccessful, released a week after Battlefield 1, and a week before the next Call of Duty:

  • Then, once Fortnite emerged and EA’s Apex Legends became the next great hope, Titanfall 2 was left alone by Respawn, with only a skeleton crew keeping the lights on.
  • In protest, the hardcore Titanfall fans hacked Apex Legends, to try and get attention to the Titanfall 2 situation, which is still being sold today (though, at least, there’s a single-player mode which is offline).
  • The developer, Respawn, seems unwilling to do much but resources are finite, too.
  • In any case, it’s complicated. Releasing a multiplayer game requires a lot of effort to patch and update and fix holes from bots and hackers.
  • Once a game is decided to be unprofitable, balancing community goodwill for the gamers who keep logging on, versus moving on, becomes difficult.

Perplexed,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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