Posts with «author_name|lawrence bonk» label

Can your robot lawnmower run Doom? This one can

Did you think you’ve seen the last of Doom running on random stuff? Think again. Landscaping technology company Husqvarna just announced that the game will run on some of its robot lawn mowers. So you can mow down hellspawn just ahead of mowing down errant blades of grass.

Here’s the deal. It’ll only be available on the company’s Automower Nera robotic lawn mower models, beginning this April. Once downloaded, you play the game via the lawn mower’s onboard display. Rotating the control knob turns Doomguy left and right and pressing the knob makes you shoot. Holding down the start button initiates forward movement. It’s Doom. You know the drill.

There are some caveats here. First of all, you have to sign up to download the software by September 9. It won’t be available for US residents, despite Husqvarna making a concerted effort to sell more robot lawn mowers in the United States. Finally, this is just the game running on the onboard display. It’s not as if the mower turns your yard into an actual level, with unwanted greenery representing demonic enemies. Still, it’s always nice to see Doom continue to do its thing.

The idea to make the shooter available to lawn mower enthusiasts came after a successful test run at the gaming event DreamHack Winter 2023, which was held in Sweden last December. This is just the latest example of Doom popping up where it shouldn’t. We’ve seen the FPS running on pregnancy tests, rat brain neurons and even inside of other games, like the sequel Doom II and Minecraft. Most recently, Doom was spotted running on actual gut bacteria with a frame rate so atrocious it would take 600 years to reach the ending.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Lenovo debuts Core Ultra-powered laptops and hybrids with dedicated Copilot key

Lenovo announced several new business laptops and hybrids at this year’s MWC conference, including refreshes in the ThinkPad T-series and the ThinkBook line. The company’s calling them “AI PCs” because they all feature a dedicated Microsoft Copilot button that offers immediate access to the digital assistant.

The just-announced models include the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5, ThinkPad T16 Gen 3, ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2 and ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4. These computers are powered by the latest Intel Core Ultra processors, which has come to be expected with new Lenovo computers.


The ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2 boasts a durable 3:2 display with Corning Gorilla Glass and the whole thing’s powered by an Intel Core Ultra U processor. You can spec this tablet/laptop hybrid with up to 32GB of RAM, for multitasking. The detachable backlit folio keyboard boasts a three-button TrackPad and the tablet includes a front-facing 5MP camera and an 8MP rear-facing camera.

The redesigned ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 features an ultra-thin 16.85mm profile, which is slightly thinner than the previous generation. It’s also light, weighing just over 3.5 pounds. The 14-inch display boasts a 16:10 aspect ratio and the keyboard includes a larger touchpad that has been crafted with glass-like Mylar. It also ships with the new Magnetic Slim Pen for more nuanced touchscreen controls.


In addition to the Core Ultra processors and the near-instantaneous Copilot integration, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 and T16 Gen 3 have been built for DIY repairs. The iFixit team was on-hand to advise the overall design, so there are plenty of customer replaceable parts, making it easy to swap out the DIMM, SSD, WWAN card and battery, among other components. With this in mind, iFixit has proactively rated these laptops with a repairability score of 9.3 out of 10. That’s a whole lot better than products from many rival companies.

The ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 goes on sale this April and will be available in several SKUs, starting at $950. The ThinkPad T16 Gen 3 also goes on sale this April and will start at $1,220. The ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2 will be available the same month and will feature a starting price of $1,400. Finally, the ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 goes on sale this March with a starting price of $1,170.

Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Amazon to pay $1.9 million to settle claims of human rights abuses of contract workers

Amazon will pay out $1.9 million to more than 700 migrant workers to settle claims of human rights abuses following exploitative labor contracts, as reported by CNBC. The impacted laborers were working at two of the company’s warehouses in Saudi Arabia.

Amazon acknowledged the issue in a blog post, saying it hired a third-party labor rights expert to investigate warehouse conditions. The organization found numerous violations of Amazon’s supply chain standards, including “substandard living accommodations, contract and wage irregularities and delays in the resolution of worker complaints.”

This follows an Amnesty International report from last October that detailed various alleged human rights abuses experience by those contracted to work in Amazon facilities in the region, and noted that many of the impacted laborers were “highly likely to be victims of human trafficking.” The report also suggested that Amazon was aware of the high risk for labor abuse when operating in Saudi Arabia but still “failed to take sufficient action to prevent such abuses.”

Simultaneous reports by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism offered detailed accounts of the conditions that these laborers allegedly suffered under, according to NBC News. The investigations found that workers had to pay illegal recruitment fees of up to $2,040 to get hired. This forced the migrant workers, many of whom were from Nepal, to take out loans with high interest rates.

Investigators also learned that these workers were living in squalid conditions, with one laborer saying he was living “in a crowded room with seven other men, jammed with bunk beds infested with bed bugs.” The water was said to be salty and undrinkable. Amnesty International echoed these findings, saying that the accommodations were “lacking even the most basic facilities.”

The combination of the exorbitant hiring fees, along with the associated loans, amounted to “human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation as defined by international law and standards,” Amnesty alleged in its report. 

Amazon has stated that it has “remediated the most serious concerns” involving the two Saudi warehouses, including an upgrade to housing accommodations. “Our goal is for all of our vendors to have management systems in place that ensure safe and healthy working conditions; this includes responsible recruitment practices,” the company wrote.

It’s worth noting that though that $1.9 million number seems high, it breaks down to around $2,700 per employee. Amazon made $576 billion in 2023, which comes out to more than $1.5 billion each day.

Amazon doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to labor. It’s regularly accused of breaking labor laws, particularly at its many product warehouses. The company is also rabidly anti-union, as many of these complaints involve attempts to stop workers from unionizing. Amazon faces multiple ongoing federal probes into its safety practices, and it has been fined by federal safety regulators for exposing warehouse workers to unnecessary risks.

However, the company remains defiant in its efforts to chip away at worker’s rights. Amazon recently filed a legal document that claims the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is unconstitutional, joining Elon Musk’s SpaceX and grocery giant Trader Joe’s. The NLRB is an independent arm of the federal government that enforces US labor law and has been operating since 1935.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

There’s a Playdate games showcase on February 28

The little console that could, Playdate, is getting a developer’s showcase on February 28 at 12PM ET. Manufacturer Panic promises a 14-minute presentation chock full of new games that may or may not make use of the console’s weird little crank.

We only know one game that’ll be featured at the event, but it’s a doozy. Lucas Pope, the creator behind Papers, Please and Return of the Obra Dinn, has been busy prepping a Playdate title called Mars After Midnight. We’ll likely get a new trailer for the game, which was first revealed back in 2021. Panic also says the event will include a “release update” on the title. So, the long wait is nearly over.

Mars After Midnight has been called a “spiritual sequel” to Papers, Please, though one set on an alien world and not in a fictional cold-war era country. You play as a door guard of an alien colony tasked with letting people in. That certainly sounds a whole lot like Papers, Please to me. As you can see, the graphics look absolutely gorgeous and the game certainly makes use of that crank.

Panic hasn’t teased any other games that will take center stage during the showcase, so its anyone’s guess. This is a quirky console that practically requires unique gameplay elements, so we could be in for some nifty surprises. The company has said the event will not feature any updates on hardware, for those looking for a Playdate 2.

To that end, the console is nearly two years old but only recently became readily available for purchase. Before last week, customers would have to wait months upon ordering the console before shipment. Now, you’ll get one within two to three days.

For the uninitiated, Panic has whipped up a really distinctive and magical portable gaming console. The bright yellow Playdate boasts a traditional D-pad, two buttons and, most importantly, a crank-based control mechanism. The console costs $200 and each purchase gets you 24 free games, with two unlocking each week for 12 weeks. This is the first developer’s showcase for Playdate since November of last year.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

US cellphone outage hits thousands of AT&T users nationwide

A widespread AT&T outage has impacted over 70,000 customers as of 8AM ET, according to tracking site Downdetector. Most of these issues were centered in Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta. This impacted cellular service and data connections, with many customers noting that they couldn’t even contact 911.

It’s still unclear as to what caused the service interruption, as it’s ongoing. AT&T has issued a statement to CNBC, writing that it is “working urgently to restore service.” The company encourages customers to make use of Wi-Fi calling until the problem is handled.

Thousands of Verizon and T-Mobile customers have also reported outages, but both companies said that those impacted had been trying to contact AT&T numbers. The market has declared this a serious problem, as AT&T shares are down nearly three percent since trading opened this morning.

Cellular interruptions are a regular part of life, but the fact that many impacted customers cannot contact 911 and other emergency services is particularly worrisome. The San Francisco Fire Department has urged city residents to try calling 911 from a landline or to “get ahold of a friend or family member” who has signed up for a different carrier.

We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including to 911).

We are actively engaged and monitoring this.

The San Francisco 911 center is still operational.

If you are an AT&T customer and cannot get through to 911,…


Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens noted that the city employees could make and receive 911 calls, but that many AT&T customers could not. Dickens has suggested that city residents contact AT&T for service inquiries, and not Atlanta’s emergency services system. The Massachusetts State Police echoed this sentiment, noting that customers had been flooding its 911 center with inquiries about cellular service. “Please do not do this,” the law enforcement agency wrote on X.

This is an ongoing issue and we’ll update this story when the service is restored or when AT&T issues an update on the cause.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Arturia adds an 88-key option to its KeyLab Essential mk3 line of MIDI controllers

Arturia just announced the KeyLab Essential 88 mk3, a larger sibling to the previously-released Essential 49 and 61 MIDI keyboards. As the name implies, this is a full-size 88-key controller that allows you to play the entire note range of a piano at the same time. There’s no need for changing octaves here.

Just like the other entries in the KeyLab Essential line, the 88 mk3 is intended to be a budget-friendly alternative to the flagship KeyLab controllers. The build is solid, with semi-weighted keys, though slightly less premium than the standard KeyLab 88. There’s also a reduced number of hands-on controls when compared to the flagship, though there’s still plenty to tinker around with.

To that point, the KeyLab Essential 88 mk3 includes the same screen as the smaller keyboards, for navigating presets. There are also nine knobs and nine faders for controlling parameters across Arturia’s line of softsynths.

Additionally, you get built-in control scripts that work with a number of popular DAWs, like Ableton Live. This allows you to do things like mix tracks using the built-in faders or stop and start recordings from the controller itself. 

There's also a contextual button below the screen that offers even more control over your plugins and virtual instruments. You may notice there’s only eight drum pads, but the KeyLab Essential line lets you switch to a second bank for the full 16. The keyboard features a hold function, new scale and chord modes and an arpeggiator.

Finally, this keyboard comes with plenty of software to get started with. The included bundle features Native Instruments’ iconic The Gentleman piano, the UVI Model D recreation, a two-month subscription to Loopcloud and a subscription to the Melodics tutoring software. Like always, you also get Ableton Live Lite and Arturia’s Analog Lab V.

We don’t know how much this will cost yet, but we reached out to Arturia for pricing information. As a comparison, the 61-key KeyLab Essential mk3 costs $249 and the 49-key version comes out to $199. Also, last generation's KeyLab Essential 88 costs $379, so expect it to fall somewhere in that range. The KeyLab Essential 88 mk3 will be available in both black and white. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Our favorite instant-read meat thermometer is on sale for $79

The Thermapen One instant-read meat thermometer is on sale for $79, which is $30 off the MSRP of $109. This is an Engadget exclusive and the sale runs from February 22 through February 28, or whenever the stock runs dry. In other words, move quickly if you want to snag one of these.

There are plenty of meat thermometers out there, but this is our favorite. The Thermapen One made our list of the best grilling gear for several reasons. It’s incredibly fast, offering precise temperature calculations in under a second. The display is bright and easy to read, with an auto-rotating screen that makes the numbers easy to see no matter how you hold it.

At the end of the day, speed and precision are what you want with a meat thermometer. The Thermapen One kicks it up a notch, however, by including a sleep/auto-wake feature that preserves battery life and an IP67 rating to protect it from accidental spills. Gravy and sauce will always find a way to get on just about everything.

The Thermapen One also made our list of the best small kitchen gadgets, as you can’t get much smaller than a thermometer. We called it “the best your money can buy.” As a matter of fact, the only bad thing you can say about this thing is that it costs more than rival products. This sale helps offset that. Again, the deal disappears into a puff of smoke on February 28 or when supplies run out.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

NVIDIA is testing an app that unifies GeForce Experience and Control Panel

NVIDIA is testing out a new unified app that lets users adjust GPU settings, install software and fine-tune gameplay, all from the same place. Currently, you have to access the dated Control Panel app and do some heavy menu diving to do stuff like configuring G-Sync. There’s also an entirely separate "user-friendly" app called GeForce Experience for basic GPU adjustments, driver updates and quick settings. So this collapses two different things into one.

The appropriately-named NVIDIA app is just a beta for now, but seems to do a whole lot. You can use it to update drivers, discover and install standalone applications like GeForce Now and make all kinds of GPU adjustments. To further simplify things for PC gamers, you can also use it to fine-tune both game settings and driver settings. It’s pretty much a one-stop shop.

There’s a redesigned in-game overlay for easier access to recording tools and performance monitoring. The overlay also lets you apply various gameplay filters, including AI-powered filters available to GeForce RTX users. The app looks to be squarely aimed at those who balk at the perceived complexity of PC gaming. You can even use it to redeem bundles and rewards and opt into experimental features and new RTX capabilities. 

Speaking of new RTX capabilities, the app lets users easily experiment with that new remix tool that adds AI-optimized upscaled textures to older games. The celebrated Half Life 2 is getting an unofficial RTX remaster thanks to this technology. The app will also have access to a new feature called RTX Dynamic Vibrance that beefs up visual clarity and improves upon the current Digital Vibrance feature found in the current Control Panel app.

To celebrate this beta release, NVIDIA has unveiled a new Game Ready Driver for the survival crafting game Nightingale. This driver optimizes the game with DLSS 3 and adds the company’s Reflex latency-reducing tech. As for the beta, it’s available for download right now. So go ahead and give it a shot.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Borderlands movie trailer has all the nuance of a Borderlands game

There’s a Borderlands movie coming out, and now we have our very first teaser trailer. This footage gives us a glimpse of all of the major characters, most of which are sourced from the game, and the tone that director Eli Roth is going for.

There’s a definite Guardians of the Galaxy vibe running throughout. Maybe it’s the heavy use of an iconic Electric Light Orchestra song, or maybe it’s the ragtag group of adventurers or the mix of action and humor. In any event, director Eli Roth seems to be channeling his best James Gunn. All things considered, that seems to be the right tone for a Borderlands movie. Color us cautiously optimistic.

Now onto the cast and the characters that franchise fans know and love. Cate Blanchett plays the famously short-tempered Lilith and the actress certainly looks the part. Just look at that hair and outfit. The film follows Blanchett as she looks for a mysterious vault rumored to be stuffed to the brim with sweet, sweet loot. It’s just like the game!

Jamie Lee Curtis plays the scientist Dr. Tannis, an NPC in all three of the mainline Borderlands games. Comedian Kevin Hart portrays the mercenary Roland, a playable soldier in many of the games. Jack Black, following his turn as Bowser in the Super Mario Bros. Movie, plays the robot Claptrap. The well-meaning robot is considered a mascot for the franchise and often acts as comic relief. Black seems well-suited to the role. The cast is rounded out by Ariana Greenblatt as the demolitionist Tiny Tina, star of the spinoff game Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, and Florian Munteanu as her enforcer Krieg.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Roth can pull off this kind of big-budget adventure spectacle. The director’s mostly known for horror films. One thing’s for certain, however, the trailer actually looks and feels like Borderlands. The big and bright color palette recalls the cel-shaded aesthetic from the games. The movie hits theaters on August 9.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

There’s a Pokémon Presents livestream scheduled for February 27

The Pokémon Company is hosting a morning livestream on February 27 at 9AM ET to share “exciting Pokémon news” on its official YouTube channel. The yearly stream, appropriately named Pokémon Presents, will provide a bunch of info about what’s coming down the pike throughout 2024.

The company does this stream every year, but this one could be special. After all, it happens to fall exactly on the totally not made-up holiday Pokémon Day, which celebrates the original Japanese release of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green back in 1996.

We don’t know exactly what will be shown, but we have some informed guesses. Given previous Pokémon Presents streams, we’ll likely get updates on live-service hits like Pokémon Go, the MOBA Pokémon Unite and the recently-released tracking app Pokémon Sleep.

Dollars to doughnuts, we’ll also get something more substantial to chew on. Most of these streams feature the announcement of an actual Pokémon RPG. Chronologically speaking, it’s too soon to expect a reveal for the true next-gen Pokémon game, as Scarlet and Violet just launched in 2022. The mainline entries typically follow a three-year release cycle.

That leaves remakes and spinoffs. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl released in 2021 so it’s high-time for remakes of the beloved Pokémon Black and White fifth-gen titles. This is just a guess, but it’s not like the Pokémon Company is gonna skip a generation in its remake-a-palooza. It’s Black and White’s turn to shine.

There’s also a chance we’ll get a new Let’s Go title set in another region of the Poké-verse. We could even get a new action RPG like Pokémon Legends: Arceus. There’s always going to be some oddball announcements, like a new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon or even a new Pokémon Art Academy that integrates the Switch’s touchscreen.

Exciting news, Trainers!

New episodes of Pokémon Concierge are in production! Stay tuned for updates! 🏖

— Pokémon (@Pokemon) February 19, 2024

You should expect some announcements regarding content set in the Pokémon cinematic universe. The delightfully quirky stop-motion show Pokémon Concierge was just renewed for a second season, so we could see a teaser. There could also be a trailer for a new season of Pokémon Horizons: The Series.

Also, to throw a bit of cold water on expectations, this is a stream conducted by The Pokémon Company, and not Nintendo. You won’t catch a whiff of software planned for the Switch 2, or whatever the new console ends up being called. Rumors swirl that the release of that console has been delayed until 2025. Nintendo’s holding its own Direct livestream tomorrow, but it’ll focus on third-party titles and will likely not include any news on the forthcoming console.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at