Firefox can block pesky site notification requests

It’s a relatively minor update beyond that, although that’s not surprising given that the big Quantum overhaul is just a few months old. The biggest improvements are faster page loading times and a Private Browsing upgrade that strips out potentially identifying referral links. Really, this update is for those who hate nagging websites — everything else is just gravy.

Source:engadget.com

Amazon will give away free games every month with Twitch Prime

The full list of games available in March is Superhot, Shadow Tactics, Tales from Candlekeep, Oxenfree and Mr. Shifty. Starting April 1st, subscribers will find Tales from the Borderland, SteamWorld Dig 2, Kingsway, Tokyo 42 and Dubwars. Additionally, all eight games from the Twitch Prime Indie Amplifier program will be made available over the next few months.

Twitch has been giving away video games to Prime subscribers for awhile now, but this is the first program to regularly hand out games. PlayStation and Xbox both have similar monthly programs for their paying members.

Twitch Prime is free for current Amazon Prime subscribers. A subscription costs $12.99 per month, or $99 per year, and will give you access to all Amazon Prime benefits. Amazon has been very good at continuing to add value to its Prime subscription; these free games are certainly enticing.

Source:engadget.com

Google built a hardware interface for its AI music maker

The team recorded 16 sounds sources across a 15-pitch range for input to the NSynth algorithm, which resulted in more than 100,000 newly created sounds, not just blends. These new sounds were then loaded into the NSynth Super, which has a touch screen musicians can drag their fingers across to play the new sounds. It’s still early days with this music tech, but the project is open source; code and design files can be found on GitHub if you want to make your own.

Source:engadget.com

After exposing secret military bases, Strava restricts data visibility

Strava rushed to clearly outline what info users are sharing and how they can change their settings. At the beginning of March, the company simplified its opting-out process for the heat map. But the new changes shift the map itself: Roads and trails with very little activity won’t show up until enough users submit workouts in the area, and the map will be refreshed monthly to wipe off data that people make private.

Prior to the outcry, soldiers in US bases across the world were casually sharing their workout paths, which combined with others to reveal well-trafficked routes on military installations. Strava CEO James Quarles told Reuters that the company didn’t expect that worldwide users would find sensitive info through the app since users voluntarily share their fitness data. He also assured that the company doesn’t track people without their knowledge.

Source:engadget.com

Hulu snags new series from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington

Witherspoon chose Little Fires Everywhere for her book club back in September, and her company Hello Sunshine secured the rights shortly thereafter. It, along with Kerry’s Simpson Street, will produce the eight-episode series, and both actresses will also star. Liz Tigelaar (LIfe Unexpected, Hulu’s Casual) will adapt it and serve as showrunner. A bidding war reportedly broke out over who would get the show, and studio execs were allegedly eager enough to visit Hello Sunshine’s offices rather than let producers come to them.

It’s a bit of a surprise that the show ended up at Hulu instead of Apple, which has secured three scripted series from Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine in the last six months. Given the enthusiasm for the project, perhaps Hulu simply outbid the others: Execs reportedly asked to take the package off the table, but Witherspoon’s team insisted that they show the pitch to all potential buyers, assumedly to ensure the best fit.

Source:engadget.com

Samsung’s SmartThings hub is down for North American users

When your smart hub goes down, so do all the associated devices, including garage door openers and home locks. As noted by The Verge, many users are upset, with smart things like Hue light bulbs and Leviton dimmer switches no longer working automatically, though many devices can still be operated manually.

Source:engadget.com

QuietOn’s new noice-cancelling earbuds banish the sound of snoring

QuietOn made its name with a set of noise-cancelling earplugs, designed to drown out the sound you endure whilst on a plane. The gear does more than just block up your ear canal, too, since they pack active noise cancellation to really make things quiet. Consequently, they’ve also found a home in workplaces, noisy construction sites and anywhere else someone wants to concentrate.

The Sleep edition of the earplugs uses the same principle, albeit engineered to keep things quiet while you’re dozing. The hardware is significantly smaller in order to make it easier to wear for prolonged periods in bed. In addition, the set comes with pass-through mode, disabling the noise cancellation with a tap of the bud — letting you listen to your other half when they want a midnight chat.

One other change is that the final hardware will ship with a special cushioned sleeve that can wrap around the hardware component. That way, if you sleep on your side, you won’t have to worry about a hard lump of plastic making its presence felt inside your tragus.

Much like the original version of the set, the QuietOn Sleep will ship with an AirPod-esque charging case that you can slide them into when not in use. That won’t be every night, however, since the units will run for close to 20 hours on a single charge.

The company is raising funds through a pre-order campaign on Indiegogo, with early birds able to snag the gear for $109. If you’d prefer to get the technology in your nearest store, however, you can expect to pay $239 or so. But no matter how much cash you pony up, you won’t be able to look forward to silent, snore-free nights until October at the very earliest.

Source:engadget.com

Put March Madness on your face with $3 VR livestreams

Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA will once again be offering VR livestreams of the March Madness tournament, Variety reports. The NCAA March Madness Live VR app will host 21 games starting with the first and second rounds and continuing through the National Championship. Users will be able to choose whether they want to view the game from a particular camera or watch produced coverage with multiple camera angles and audio. First and second round games will include commentary from TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV telecasts while the app will host play-by-play commentary from Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Rich Waltz and Steve Lavin during Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games. Dedes and Smith will also provide commentary during the Semifinal and Championship matchups.

Source:engadget.com

IKEA puts TaskRabbit to work assembling your FLOTTEBO and FÄRLÖV

According to IKEA’s site, There’s no same-day construction yet — the earliest you’re able to book is for the next day — but you only pay after the furniture is built. Assembly is a minimum of $36 and is a flat rate per item category (all beds cost the same to build, no matter the complexity), though some bigger items like bathrooms and kitchens are excluded.

Currently, customers can book help through IKEA’s website wherever TaskRabbit is available. They can also schedule it from six stores in the New York area (Brooklyn, Long Island, Elizabeth and Paramus) and around San Francisco (Emeryville and Palo Alto). The service will roll out to more IKEA locations in 2018 including ones in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Boston, Washington, DC and more.

Before buying TaskRabbit last September, IKEA was testing using its contract workers to help customers build its products in the UK, as Recode reported. The furniture titan likely acquired TaskRabbit to compete with Amazon’s own localized assembly service, TechCrunch pointed out, but it probably won’t have much use for the service’s other offerings, like sending someone to buy your groceries.

Source:engadget.com

Ear-worn thermometer makes it easier to care for sick kids

It’s why so many companies have been looking for noninvasive ways to monitor a rugrat’s vital signs. The latest to try is Cosinuss, the fitness monitoring company, that has built an ear-worn thermometer. The device, called Degree, looks more like a hearing aid than a thermometer, but uses the same inner-ear IR sensor as a medical tool.

Rather than a bulky handle and a display, however, the system ‘s Bluetooth radio and battery simply sits behind the ear. From the data, your kid’s vital signs are continuously transmitted to a nearby smartphone. So whenever your little one starts to get sick, you pop this in their ear as a way to making their lives a little easier.

Should the wee one’s condition get worse, the phone will alert you, enabling you to consult with a doctor. But the system will also do its best to avoid panicking you, letting you know when their fever symptoms are within acceptable limits. The app will also offer up useful tips on how best to care for a toddler with a fever and make their time a little easier.

CEO and founder Greta Kreuzer conceived of the device when her daughter suffered from a febrile seizure. These seizures take place when a child’s body temperature is raised to high levels without any underlying condition. She wanted to create something that could somehow help prevent such an issue in the future.

While the idea of continuous temperature monitoring is certainly useful, we’re not — as yet — sold on the idea of this as a solution. After all, sick kids rarely want you to play around with their ears and would likely rip this out in seconds. But if they did tolerate the device, it would certainly help many parents avoid a sleepless night or two.

Should you want to try Degree out for yourself, you can pre-order it from Indiegogo right now, for €99 plus shipping. It’s hoped that the device will begin journeying to your doorstep by May, giving you plenty of practice time before the dreaded flu season.

Source:engadget.com