Category Archives: Tech

Netflix’s adaptation of ‘The Three-Body Problem’ will arrive in 2023

At its Tudum event today, Netflix shared an update on its highly-anticipated adaptation of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem. First announced in 2020, the upcoming live-action series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will arrive sometime next year. Netflix shared a behind-the-scenes teaser showing off a few character moments.

First look at David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo’s new series ‘3-BODY PROBLEM’.

The series releases in 2023 on Netflix.

— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) September 24, 2022

Some of the actors set to star in the project include Benedict Wong (The Martian, Doctor Strange), Eiza González (Baby Driver), as well as John Bradley and Liam Cunningham of Game of Thrones fame. Considered a modern sci-fi masterpiece, The Three-Body Problem was first published in China in 2008. It took another six years before the novel arrived in the west, and it subsequently became the first Asian novel to win a Hugo Award. Cixin and Ken Liu, who translated two of the novels in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy into English, are consulting on the live-action adaptation.

Netflix signed Benioff and Weiss to a lucrative $200 million deal in 2019. The 3-Body Problem is the first project the duo is writing for the company – though they also produced a series with Sandra Oh. Netflix is likely to share more information about the 3-Body Problem in the coming months. 

Latest Humble Bundle includes most of the Resident Evil back catalog

Now is a good moment to catch up on the Resident Evil series ahead of next year's RE4 remake. Humble is offering a "Decades of Horror" bundle that includes most Resident Evil games for PC. Spend enough to get the full 11-game collection and you'll play remastered and remade versions of the first three titles, the existing versions of RE4 through RE7, and side games like the Revelations series and RE0. You'll also receive a 50 percent off coupon for Resident Evil Village if you want to start on it before its first DLC arrives.

You can pay as little as $1 for a three-item pack that includes the original Resident Evil, Revelations and the first episode of Revelations 2. An in-between six-game bundle includes RE1, RE0, RE5, RE6, Revelations and Revelations 2 Deluxe Edition. As usual, you can pay extra to contribute more of your purchase to charity.

The bundle comes on the heels of Netflix's live-action TV series. There are clearly some gaps dictated largely by platform support — you won't find Code Veronica, alas. All the same, this could easily be worth the investment if you're new to Capcom's survival horror series or just want to fill out your collection.

Valve’s latest Steam Deck update promises less fan noise

On Thursday, Valve began rolling out SteamOS 3.2 for Steam Deck, addressing one of the more prominent issues people have had with the handheld since its release. According to the company, the update introduces an “all-new OS-controlled fan curve” Valve claims allows Steam Deck’s internal fan to quickly and smartly respond to heat. In turn, the company says that allows the component to more quietly go about its job, particularly “in low usage situations.”

“This has been tested extensively, and we're continuing to work on improvements – so please let us know what you think,” Valve said. Excessive fan noise is something many reviewers, including Engadget’s Jessica Conditt, mentioned in their Steam Deck reviews. In fact, when iFixit began selling replacement parts for the handheld early last week, it quickly sold out of Huaying fan units. Valve sourced fans for Steam Deck from two companies, with the ones from Huaying producing less noise, according to some owners.

SteamOS 3.2 also introduces an option to adjust the handheld’s display refresh rate while in-game. Valve recommends Steam Deck owners try setting their device to 40Hz for the sweet spot between responsiveness and battery life. It’s now also possible to push the volume of Steam Deck’s speakers even higher and the company has made formatting microSD cards faster. Check out the full changelog for SteamOS 3.2 on Valve’s website.

Google now lets you request the removal of personal information from Search

You can now ask Google to remove your personal contact information, such as your physical and email addresses, as well as your phone number, from Search. The tech giant already takes request for the removal of identifiable info in cases of doxxing or if the details posted in public could be used for financial fraud. It's now expanding that policy to cover the aforementioned details, along with confidential log-in credentials and images of ID documents that can be used for identity theft.

According to The Verge, Google still has a process to deal with malicious doxxing, wherein an employee will look at links to determine how they'd cause harm. Under this expanded policy, though, the company can grant requests if the content you want to be removed from search doesn't have any public interest value or isn't "relevant to a news report." 

As the publication notes, it's also different from the system Google implemented in the EU to comply with the region's right to be forgotten law. The rules under the law allow you to ask for content removal if it's irrelevant, inaccurate or unflattering — this policy expansion only covers sensitive information. A spokesperson told The Verge that Google will de-index content whether it's behind a paywall or not, so long as the request meets its requirements.

In the company's announcement post, Google Global Policy Lead for Search Michelle Chang reminds people that the removal of content from Search doesn't mean it's gone from the internet. Chang encourages contacting website hosts if you want your information scrubbed completely.

What we bought: How a portable monitor made working from home a lot easier

Even for someone like me who likes working from home, the pandemic has made things a challenge – especially in my small 1,000 square-foot two-bedroom apartment. You see, when my wife and I welcomed our first child last year, dedicated working spaces became scarce. So I addressed the situation the best way I know how: with tech. In this case an ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHP portable monitor.

Before my son arrived, we actually had a pretty good setup going. I used our second bedroom as an office and very occasional guest room. And when all the office buildings closed in early 2019 due to Covid-19, we managed to find room for another desk in our bedroom. It wasn’t ideal because, even though I’m a gadget nerd, we try to keep the bedroom free of unnecessary screens and distractions. But we each had our own dedicated working space with dual monitors, and enough room between our desks that we could jump on video calls without disturbing one another. It was awkward but acceptable.

The included monitor stand lets you position the Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP above your laptop's display, instead of off to the side.
The Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP included stand means you can position it above your laptop's display, which does a ton to help prevent neck strain.

Note: For the photos, I swapped my 13-inch MacBook Pro work laptop in for my wife's machine for privacy.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

But then our little bundle of joy threw a drool-covered wrench into those plans. Now just to be clear, I don’t begrudge him one bit. Parents often have to make sacrifices for kids, and more often than not, we’re happy to do so. But I think it’s fair to say that an office/nursery just isn’t a good combo. So after my son outgrew his bassinet and stopped sleeping in our room, I had to move my gear out (well most of it anyway) so he could have a real bedroom of his own.

What made this a bit more challenging is that my main computer at home is a desktop. I’ve always been a big PC person, and I love the speed and flexibility you get with a custom-built rig. (Side note: With work from home becoming a more permanent thing, I feel like there are a lot of people that would benefit from switching to a desktop. Assuming you have the space for it, of course). The downside of this is that I’m pretty limited in where I could put my PC. Big shock I know, but a desktop sort of necessitates having a desk. Thankfully, my wife graciously offered to let me use the one in our bedroom (which I honestly can’t appreciate enough), while she moved her workspace out to our dining table in the living room.

Here's the Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP on its own.
While the Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP does look seem of puny compared to regular monitors, its much easier to pack up and move when you need that space for other stuff.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

At this point, you’re probably envisioning a host of issues. Since we eat dinner there, setting up dual monitors isn’t really an option. This meant my wife was completely reliant on her 13-inch MacBook Pro, which doesn’t offer a lot of screen space and messes with her posture. Looking down at a laptop screen for eight (or more) hours a day is a surefire recipe for chronic neck and back pain.

That’s where the ASUS’ ROG Strix XG17AHP portable monitor comes in. At first glance, it seems like overkill for general productivity, and it is. It has a 240Hz refresh rate and support for AMD FreeSync, which are great for gaming but don’t do much when you’re looking at spreadsheets. There’s even a built-in 7,800 mAh battery so you can use it completely untethered for four to five hours. And with a price of $600, the ROG Strix XG17AHP is two to three times more expensive than a lot of competitors, particularly the traditional business-oriented ones.

The Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP has a wealth of ports including two USB-C, micro HDMI and a headphone jack.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

But honestly, I feel like that money has been well spent. My personal philosophy is that for something you’re going to use a lot, it’s better to spend a little extra than pinch pennies and end up with an unsatisfactory device. Unlike most of its rivals, the ROG Strix XG17AHP comes with a stand, and I’m not talking about a simple kickstand. It’s a full-on detachable tripod, which means you can position the screen so it sits above your laptop’s display, instead of off to the side. No need to crane your neck. Important apps live up top on the portable monitor, while less critical stuff like Slack live down below.

The ROG Strix XG17AHP also measures 17.3-inches across, which makes it one of the largest portable monitors you can buy. Most enterprise-focused alternatives top out at 14 or 15 inches, and while we probably would have gone even larger if we could, there aren’t really any 19-inch or larger portable monitors that offer the same level of specs and features. Sure, the monitor’s brightness of 300 nits could be better, but its matte coating makes it easy to look at all day – even in sunny rooms with lots of reflections.

The ROG logo on the back of the Strix XG17AHP even lights up.
The ROG logo even lights up, if you're into that sort of thing.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Meanwhile, thanks to support for video and power delivery over USB-C, setting up the monitor only requires a single cable. This makes it super easy to break down and pack away when friends or family come over. And during the week when we’re too lazy to do that, the whole kit is slim enough we can just push it to the side and still have plenty of room for food.

I also want to give ASUS props for including a bunch of useful accessories. The monitor comes with a carrying bag and a foldable screen protector that doubles as a kickstand, along with a USB-C cable, a USB-C to USB-A adapter, a power brick, and even an HDMI to micro HDMI cable – in case your PC doesn’t support video over USB. My only gripe is that the locking mechanism for its height adjustment isn’t super secure. So if I press hard, even when it’s locked, the monitor still moves up and down.

The Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP's kit includes a carrying back, extra USB-C and HDMI to micro HDMI cables, a removable stand, power brick and a USB-C to USB-A adapter.
One of the best things about the Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP are all the included accessories.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

But this one demerit doesn’t really detract from all its positives. That’s because while the ROG Strix XG17AHP isn’t as good as a regular monitor, it’s way more than simply adequate. It’s flexible and it fits in my life (and on my table) in a way that a regular desktop display can’t. It even has a lot of potential as a handy companion for my Switch while traveling. Though due to the pandemic, I haven’t had a chance to test that out yet. And while my wife and I are thinking about getting a bigger place, with the housing market the way it is, moving isn’t in our immediate future. So until we upgrade to a larger home, ASUS’ portable gaming monitor is filling an important role when it comes to making a cramped work from home situation a lot more tolerable.

Sonos is reportedly releasing a $250 soundbar in June

Sonos isn't exactly known for affordability, but the company has released a few more inexpensive products in recent years like the portable Roam speaker. Now, according to The Verge, Sonos is going to release its first budget soundbar in the first week of June. Apparently codenamed "Fury," this product is expected to cost around $250, which makes it significantly cheaper than the $449 second-generation Beam (pictured above) and the $899 Arc.

As for what Sonos will leave out to hit this lower price point, the Fury won't be able to output Dolby Atmos content like the Beam and Arc, and it may not even have an HDMI port; you'd hook it up to your TV with an optical audio cable. As such, it has fewer speaker drivers in it than other Sonos soundbars. It will be able to be part of a 5.1 surround sound setup using other compatible Sonos speakers — we presume that you can use speakers like the Sonos One as rear surrounds like you can with other Sonos soundbars. 

It sounds like Sonos will also skip including microphones for a voice assistant on this model to cut costs, like they did with the $159 Sonos Roam SL that was recently released.

One potentially intriguing feature is that Sonos will let the Fury work as rear surround speakers for a bigger soundbar like the Arc. As such, Sonos is apparently making vertical mounting stands for the Fury so that it can be used for Dolby Atmos content. 

There are plenty of budget soundbar options on the market from the likes of Vizio and Roku, while Sonos recently raised the prices on nearly all of its products. The original Beam sold for $399, but the new one costs $50 more, making for an even bigger gap between Sonos home theater options and those from more affordable competitors. As such, this is a pretty logical part of the market for Sonos to get into, and it's not hard to imagine a $250 soundbar being a good product to get people into the company's ecosystem. 

We've reached out to Sonos and will update this story if the company has any comment on the leak.