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AT&T is rapidly expanding its rural wireless internet service

AT&T is rapidly expanding its rural wireless internet service

AT&T wasn't kidding when it said it would expand its rural wireless internet service in short order. The carrier has launched its fixed-in-place cellular access in eight more southeastern states, providing broadband to over 70,000 locations that would otherwise have poor or non-existent internet coverage. That still doesn't sound like much, but it's much larger than the Georgia-only service AT&T started with in April. It also gets the provider much closer to its goal of serving over 400,000 locations by the end of 2017.

As before, subscribers will shell out $60 per month for an LTE connection with 160GB of data ($10 for every 50GB beyond that, up to $200). They'll have download speeds of "at least" 10Mbps, which doesn't meet FCC broadband definitions but is miles better than dial-up or basic DSL.

The rollout helps meet AT&T's pledge to the FCC's Connect America Fund, which aims to bring high-speed internet to the countryside and other areas that ISPs frequently don't serve (often due to the high cost relative to the number of customers they'll get). However, it also dovetails with a Trump administration infrastructure proposal that promises more resources for rural broadband access. Don't be surprised if AT&T gets more of a helping hand going forward.

Source: AT&T

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DHS has a video game-like trainer for active shooter incidents

DHS has a video game-like trainer for active shooter incidents

Today, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate announced the release of a virtual training platform for active shooter incidents. The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, or EDGE, is a program that creates a virtual active shooter scenario through which first responders can train themselves. EDGE launches today and is free for all first responders.

The platform was built on Epic Games' Unreal engine, which has also been used to create training programs for NASA astronauts and the US Army. The scenario that's available now is set in a 26-story hotel in Sacramento, California and every part of the hotel is accessible to the trainee. First responders from different disciplines can train side by side and different setups can be created depending on what training lesson instructors want to focus on.

"In this day and age, it is essential that responders have every tool at their disposal to prepare for and respond to critical incidents," William N. Bryan, Acting DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology, said in a statement, "When decisions must be made in a matter of seconds, every bit of training helps to save civilian and responder lives. EDGE harnesses the power of cutting-edge gaming and defense technology to make training accessible, engaging, and affordable to all responders -- from rural volunteers to those serving our major metropolitan areas."

A second training scenario is scheduled to be released this fall and it's a school shooting scene -- fitting in the most horrifying of ways. A video on the DHS website is available for more information on EDGE.

Source: Department of Homeland Security

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This cloud-connected fidget spinner takes uselessness to a whole new level

This cloud-connected fidget spinner takes uselessness to a whole new level

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Fidget spinners — yeah, they're still a thing. So why not capitalize on the phase if you can?

Ben Parnas, an electrical engineer at Formlabs, and his buddy Greg Daneault, an associate software engineer at Carbon Black, did just that. The two created a fidget spinner that may be even more useless than the real thing for the Boston Stupid Hackathon. The tagline of the event (also known as Stupid Shit No One Needs And Terrible Ideas Hackathon) was "Come make something we'll all regret."

The two buddies wanted to take an object that is a useless part of everyone's lives and make it even easier to use. The connected a fidget spinner to a robot that spins it automatically. That robot is connected to the cloud, so you can activate it via smartphone. Not by tapping or swiping, mind you, but by actually spinning your phone. Read more...

More about Iphone, Robot, Innovations, Engineers, and Fidget Spinner

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Shadow of War, Mario + Rabbids, and Wolfenstein II lead Game Critics Awards nominees

Shadow of War, Mario + Rabbids, and Wolfenstein II lead Game Critics Awards nominees

Three big games tied for the lead in total nominations for the prestigious Game Critics Awards based on games shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the big game industry show in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. The top nominees, with four nominations each, were Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Middle-earth: Shadow of War; […]

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Here are all the tweets Donald Trump has deleted since becoming president

Here are all the tweets Donald Trump has deleted since becoming president

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Donald Trump has a Twitter problem. 

In addition to his penchant for delivering surreal, stream-of-consciousness rants at any time of day on the microblogging platform, Donald Trump can't seem to stop deleting tweets. 

Many times, his tweets are deleted because of typos, including the infamous "covfefe" tweet. But the reasons behind deleting other examples, like one about his alleged appearance on Fox & Friends, remain a mystery. 

Regardless of the reason, a president deleting tweets is serious business. As we've noted before, any documentation from the president, tweets or otherwise, should be archived under the Presidential Records Act. And the White House says they're doing just that. Read more...

More about Twitter, Donald Trump, Deleted Tweets, Tech, and Politics

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Blackbaud acquires U.K.-based fundraising platform JustGiving for $120 million

Blackbaud acquires U.K

Peer-to-peer (P2P) online fundraising platform JustGiving has been acquired by Blackbaud, a U.S.-based software and services provider for not-for-profit organizations. Blackbaud is paying £95 million ($120 million) to procure “all outstanding equity interests of JustGiving,” according to a statement issued to VentureBeat, with the deal expected to close later this year following the usual regulatory […]

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Tumblr apologizes for filtering out LGBTQ+ content

Tumblr apologizes for filtering out LGBTQ+ content

Tumblr* says it has fixed the main issues that were plaguing "Safe Mode," a feature it recently launched to hide all NSFW posts from your Dashboard. It's a welcome addition for libraries, schools or parents who don't want to block the social network despite the abundance of porn in it. As users quickly found out, though, Tumblr's Safe Mode has unfortunately replicated the problems caused by YouTube's Restricted Mode: it was also filtering out perfectly innocent LGBTQ+ posts. In the post announcing the problem's resolution, the Tumblr staff said the website's Explicit tag was the main culprit responsible for the issue and that it's "deeply sorry".

See, when you create a blog on the website, you can mark it as "Explicit," and that's apparently what some of the affected uses who post LGBTQ+ content did. While not all their posts are NSFW, Tumblr classifies anything from an Explicit blog as sensitive and hides the whole thing when in Safe Mode. To solve that issue, Tumblr now classifies posts individually "as they should be."

In addition, anything an Explicit Tumblr reblogs used to get marked as sensitive, even if they originally came from non-Explicit accounts. As a result, a lot more squeaky clean posts got caught in the filter. Going forward, the website will no longer mark a post as sensitive just because of a reblog if it was from a safe account in the first place.

Safe Mode also tends to hide photosets, which are always marked as sensitive until the poster submits a request to have a human staff member review all the pictures in it. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a while for a fix to that one: Tumblr is working on a way for its algorithm to be able to review multiple pictures as a set.

While Tumblr's solution isn't complete, it has at least acted much faster than YouTube, which took a month to roll out a fix. YouTube went so far as to tweak its policies to make sure the mishap doesn't happen again, though -- we hope Tumblr is as committed as the video platform seems to be.

*Full disclosure: Tumblr is Engadget's sister brand through Verizon's Yahoo purchase.

Source: Tumblr

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The best clothing iron

The best clothing iron

By Jackie Reeve

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After we spent more than 60 hours researching and testing irons (including talking with a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, an expert at German iron manufacturer Rowenta, and several avid quilters), we think most people will like the Maytag M400 Speed Heat Iron and Vertical Steamer. It's the best affordable, lightweight, easy-to-use iron for anyone who needs to tackle the occasional wrinkled outfit or linen around the house.

How we picked and tested

We looked for affordable irons that heat up quickly, have a reasonably large water tank, produce plenty of steam for flattening wrinkles, and don't leak. Photo: Michael Hession

Based on nearly 400 responses to our reader survey, we took cost seriously. The majority of respondents—69 percent—wanted to spend between $30 and $75 on an iron. We also looked at smoothness of glide, size of water tank, rate of steam produced, and heat-up speed, among other useful features. Finally, we eliminated cordless models altogether, based on Consumer Reports's testing.

We also wanted an iron that works fast. If the goal of most people is to press something quickly and move on with life, you want an iron that heats up in seconds. The irons we liked used 1,500 to 1,800 watts, which typically take about 65 to 75 seconds to reach 400 ºF.

Aside from soleplate material, wattage, steam rate, and auto shutoff, we recommend several other features common in mid-priced irons:

  • a "burst of steam" to flatten Himalayan wrinkles
  • vertical steaming to relax drapes or clothes on a hanger
  • anti-drip and anti-calcification mechanisms that allow the use of tap water
  • lights to signal the iron has reached its temperature
  • an 8-foot-long cord
  • inspection stamps such as "UL" or "ETL" that signify the manufacturer opted to pay for (and passed) rigorous third-party iron-safety tests
  • a one-year warranty, but longer is better

I set up boards and irons in my dining room and ran each iron through some basic tests: heat-up time, water tank size, and wrinkle-busting ability on a variety of fabrics. I used cotton quilt fabrics, acrylic sweaters (known to melt onto the plate of a hot iron), t-shirts, some synthetic fabrics, and a piece of silk for testing. Referring back to the feedback from our last testing with staffers in the Sweethome office, I noted how each iron felt to hold, how easy it was to use, and how much steam each seemed to release. And because durability is hard to gauge in one testing period, we'll continue to use all of our picks to see if they maintain their great performance over time.

Our pick

The Maytag M400 hits the best balance of a reasonable price and great performance that we've found. Photo: Michael Hession

The Maytag M400 Speed Heat Iron and Vertical Steamer packed the best combination of features in our testing: quick heat-up time, good steam, agility, reliability, and a great price. We also like that this iron comes with a longer-than-average two-year warranty.

Though it didn't give off as much steam as our other picks, the M400 felt more powerful than many irons we tried with more wattage. It also heated up very quickly, producing steam on the highest setting in just 24 seconds. We also liked that the Maytag M400's steam burst button was easier to push repeatedly than those on the other irons we tested, which helped produce a lot of steam quickly.

The Maytag was actually the lightest iron we tested overall, and it still managed to push out wrinkles with barely any pressure. It glided quickly and smoothly over every fabric we tested. But if you're ironing something big and heavy, or something with stubborn creases (like linen), the Maytag may be too light.

We do wish the Maytag had a cord longer than 8 feet. Sometimes extra length helps you maneuver the iron around an ironing board. But this limitation is minor, and overall we stand by the Maytag as our pick.

A good, cheap iron that might break

The Black+Decker D3030 Allure has a smooth glide, tons of steam, and a user-friendly design. But it also seems to have a track record of reliability issues. Photo: Michael Hession

If the Maytag M400 is sold out or unavailable, we would recommend getting the Black+Decker D3030 Allure instead. The Allure is one of the lightest irons we tested, weighing 3.1 pounds, and was one of the fastest irons to produce hot steam in our testing. It also has one of the most comfortable handles we've tried. Its stainless steel soleplate glides more smoothly across fabrics than most of the competitors in the same price range.

But there's a big reason we had to demote this iron from the top spot: We are worried it may have longevity problems. The heating element on the Allure we were long-term testing failed after about a year (we were using the iron twice a week), and at least 23 Amazon reviews for this model note the same problem. But with its two-year warranty, it was pretty easy to get a replacement.

Having an iron fail in less than a year was really disappointing, but we can't deny what a strong competitor the Allure is—especially because it's only about $38. Even with this big reliability issue, we would still recommend the Allure as an affordable backup option.

A high-quality iron for frequent use

The Rowenta DW 9280 SteamForce, our upgrade pick, shoots out more steam than any other. Photo: Michael Hession

If an iron can be dreamy, the Rowenta SteamForce is dreamy. This German-made iron performed best in our tests. At 3.9 pounds, it's too heavy to be the most comfortable to hold, and not all of our testers loved the layout of the buttons and dials. But none of us could argue with the way it beat every wrinkle we threw at it. The stainless steel soleplate has more holes than any of our other test picks, and the tip has Rowenta's Precision Shot, a group of holes that emits a concentrated blast of steam for tougher creases. The SteamForce also has an extra-large tank, so you need fewer refills for big jobs.

However, the SteamForce has drawbacks. The cord is only 7 feet long, which felt a little puny. It has a one-year warranty in the United States, which is less generous than the two-year warranties offered by Black+Decker and Maytag.

The biggest problem is that this one often costs more than twice as much as the Maytag M400. We think the SteamForce's price is worth it if you're a sewer or quilter or regularly tackle mountains of ironing. But go to a store first and make sure the weight isn't a problem.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

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Sony: Resident Evil 7’s PSVR success ‘was a big surprise to us’

Sony: Resident Evil 7’s PSVR success ‘was a big surprise to us’

Five months on from launch and Capcom’s Resident Evil 7 is still the biggest game to come to Sony’s PlayStation VR so far. Using an optional stat-tracking service, we know that quite a few people have tried the game with this VR support. In fact the sheer number of people playing in VR has been […]

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Playful’s Paul Bettner is betting on both ‘flat screen games’ and VR

Playful’s Paul Bettner is betting on both ‘flat screen games’ and VR

Paul Bettner had a good time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the big game trade show in Los Angeles last week. His McKinney, Texas-based Playful studio debuted two games at E3, Super Lucky’s Tale for the Xbox One and Star Child for Sony’s PlayStation VR. Those games show that Bettner is striding the line […]

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