Technology

New AI ‘Deep Nostalgia’ brings old photos, including very old ones, to life

An AI-powered service called Deep Nostalgia that animates still photos has become the main character on Twitter this fine Sunday, as people try to create the creepiest fake “video” possible, apparently. The Deep Nostalgia service, offered by online genealogy company MyHeritage, uses AI licensed from D-ID to create the effect that a still photo is moving. It’s kinda like the iOS Live Photos feature, which adds a few seconds of video to help smartphone photographers find the best shot. But Deep Nostalgia can take photos from any camera and bring them to “life.” The program uses pre-recorded driver videos of facial movements and applies the one that works best for the still photo in question. Its intended purpose is to allow you to upload photos of deceased loved ones and see them in “action,...

Minneapolis hiring social media influencers for former police officers’ trials

Minneapolis is hiring social media influencers to share “city-generated and approved messages” during the trials of four former city police officers charged in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, according to the Minnesota Reformer. The Minneapolis city council approved the plan on Friday, which calls for six influencers to be paid about $2,000 each to spread the city’s messages with Black, Native American, Hmong, and Latino communities. The goal is to “address/dispel incorrect information” by using “trusted messengers,” part of a program the city refers to as its Joint Information System to share “timely and relevant information” with the public during the trials. “Through the Communications and Neighborhood and Community Relations departments the City will ensure that communities and e...

Disinformation experts aren’t happy about the trailer for HBO’s QAnon series

The teaser video for Q: Into the Storm, an upcoming documentary series from HBO about the QAnon conspiracy movement has a lot of deplatforming experts concerned; it looks more like a preview for a spy thriller than a careful examination of the umbrella group of conspiracy theories. [embedded content] The breathless tone might be effective at building hype, but it has many disinformation experts concerned. Ben Collins, one of the leading journalists covering online radicalization, tweeted that the trailer was “being marketed in a way that could recruit more people.” Promoted by HBO as a series that “charts a labyrinthine journey to unmask the mastermind behind QAnon,” critics pointed out that the trailer felt a lot like “a recruitment video for Q.” disinfo community: *soberly* how do we bal...

Samsung’s shiny red Galaxy Chromebook 2 is now available at Best Buy

Samsung’s latest Chrome OS laptop, the Galaxy Chromebook 2, is now available for purchase at Best Buy. The Chromebook 2 was first announced at CES in January and features a new QLED display, 360-degree hinge, and a striking red paint job. It starts at $549.99 for a Celeron model and goes up to $699.99 for a Core i3 version, putting it at the higher end of Chromebooks. That price is the most significant thing about the Chromebook 2 because it’s considerably less than the Galaxy Chromebook that debuted a year ago. The older Chromebook had an 4K OLED screen and came with a stylus — neither of which you’ll fine with the new model — but it also cost just under $1,000 when it came out. In our review, we found despite the gorgeous screen and striking paint job, the original Galaxy Chromebook didn...

Verizon support says you should turn off 5G to save your phone’s battery

Despite its relentless promotion of 5G phones and the fact that it spent more than $45 billion bidding on a new faster spectrum, Verizon support now is advising people on Twitter to turn off their phones’ 5G access to preserve battery life. In a Sunday morning tweet, Verizon support helpfully suggested that “one way to help conserve battery life is to turn on LTE” if users found their batteries were “draining faster than normal.” That step would, of course, turn off 5G in a phone that has it available. It’s also worth pointing out that you don’t actually “turn on LTE” when doing this step — LTE is always enabled as a fallback for the 5G network. But Verizon is obviously being cautious so as not to actually tell its customers to “turn off 5G”. Twitter users naturally pointed out that switch...

How to watch the 2021 Golden Globes online

Awards season in Hollywood begins Sunday, February 28th, with the 78th Golden Globe Awards, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The Golden Globes, usually considered a harbinger of who may take home awards at other shows like the Oscars, will look a bit different this year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The hosts and presenters will be in different locations in the US and around the world. Streaming services have finally come into their own at the Globes, with Netflix leading the pack of with 20 total nominations for its television shows; Hulu has six total nominations, Apple TV Plus has two, and Disney Plus has one. In the motion picture categories (the Globes honor films and TV shows), Netflix leads the way with 22 nominations. And it seems the Golden Globes’ judges h...

FDA authorizes one-dose COVID-19 vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which only needs one dose and can be stored in regular refrigerators. It’s the third COVID-19 vaccine to get sign-off from the agency. The vaccine can be administered to people 18 years and older. It protects against serious disease, and clinical trials did not flag any dangerous safety problems. In the United States, it was 72 percent effective against severe and milder COVID-19. It was slightly less effective in South Africa, where a variant form of the coronavirus is widespread. Early data also suggested that the shot might prevent asymptomatic infections, but researchers need more data before they can say that for sure. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is logistically easier to distribute than ...

Here are this week’s best gadget deals all in one place

This week’s batch of deals runs the gamut of gadgets and games. Whether you’re a music fan who’s looking to outfit their tech repertoire with new headphones or a big, powerful Bluetooth speaker, or a gamer, this roundup is for you. There still aren’t any deals on hard-to-find graphics cards, but the good news is at least AMD’s powerful Zen 3 processors are in stock right now (but perhaps not for long). If you aren’t finding what you’re looking for in today’s roundup, keep a lock on our Verge Deals coverage throughout the week and follow us on Twitter for the moment-to-moment deal alerts. Get the best-ever price on Beats Solo Pro on-ear headphones Beats Solo Pro noise-canceling headphones are still available for $150 through Woot. You can get either the dark blue or light blue colors. Since...

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Streaming app for Windows includes touch controls, gyro, and more

Microsoft is finalizing its Xbox Game Streaming app for Windows PCs, which includes access to streaming games from the company’s xCloud service. We’ve managed to get access to the latest version of the Xbox Game Streaming app for Windows, an unannounced and unreleased app. Once released, the app will let Windows users stream games from their Xbox Series S / X consoles, and from xCloud. Currently, you can’t stream games from the new Xbox consoles to Windows PCs, as this is unsupported in the existing Xbox Console Companion app. This new app will solve that, and also bring xCloud streaming to Windows PCs for the first time. We first got a look at this xCloud app for Windows last year, and it has improved a lot since then. The Xbox remote play feature, for connecting to Xbox consoles, works s...

Sony’s PlayStation Network experiencing outage Saturday

An outage of Sony’s PlayStation Network that began Friday afternoon appeared to be persisting on Saturday morning. According to an update on the status page timestamped 6:33PM (not clear what time zone that is) on February 26th, the affected platforms are PS Vita, PS3, PS4, and PS5. “You might have difficulty launching games, apps, or network features. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience,” the update reads. Engadget reported that the outage may be affecting some games but not others; Fortnite appeared to be accessible but Minecraft and Call of Duty: Warzone were not. The PlayStation Network outage began a day after Microsoft’s Xbox Live service suffered a global outage for five hours. On February 10th, the PlayStation Network was down worldwi...

Vaccine centers embrace stickers and selfie stations 

The best picture I’ve seen this week was a selfie from my father-in-law who just got his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Along with the shot, they gave him a sticker that says “I got vaccinated!” As the vaccine rollout continues, clinics and distribution centers across the country are embracing things like stickers and even selfie stations decked out with colorful backgrounds to help people celebrate getting the shot. The selfie stations are set up as colorful backgrounds, often with pro-vaccine messaging tiled with the name of the healthcare provider. It’s good branding. And hey, if social media-friendly backgrounds helped make some trendy restaurants popular, there’s no reason they couldn’t work for vaccine sites too. Added bonus — if the vaccines are being given in a healthcare settin...

So you want to start reading comics?

WandaVision’s first season is just about to end, but Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Loki, Justice League, Suicide Squad, The Batman, GCPD, and Peacemaker are just around the corner — and that doesn’t account for other series outside of the main Marvel and DC Universes like MODOK, Titans, or Harley Quinn. There are more superhero TV series and films debuting in 2021 than seemingly ever before, and it might have some people wanting to dive into comics. WandaVision has led a few people on staff to dig into past Vision and Wanda Maximoff-centered storylines, for example. I’ve started reading Kieron Gillen’s Eternals run leading up to Marvel Studios’ film. Whatever reason people may have for wanting to begin reading comics, there are a few different ways to do so. Comics can be a c...