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Nintendo starts selling cheaper Switch bundle without dock in Japan

Nintendo is now selling a cheaper Switch package in Japan that doesn't include the TV dock. The “Switch 2nd Unit Set” is ostensibly aimed at households that already have a Switch hooked up to the family TV and therefore don't need a second dock, but it could also be an option for players who only plan to use the system as a handheld device.

The 24,980-yen ($226) bundle comes with the Switch tablet, two Joy-Con controllers, and two Joy-Con strap attachments, meaning you're saving 5,000 yen (~$45) on the regular Switch package. It's not just the dock that's excluded, though — the Joy-Con Grip and HDMI cable are obvious exclusions, but the lack of an AC adapter will be a bigger problem for anyone who doesn't already have one. The dock and...

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Disney’s Star Wars expansion land will open at Disneyland next summe

Anticipation has been high for the Star Wars-themed expansion lands being built at Disneyland and Disney World, but it hasn’t been clear when fans will actually be able to venture into the new parks. Today that got a little clearer, with Disney officially announcing the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be opening at Disneyland in summer of 2019, with the Disney World version of the park following suit in late fall.

Disney parks have incorporated Star Wars rides and other elements for years, but Galaxy’s Edge promises to be a more more ambitious project than anything the company has attempted before. Rather than being a one-off ride or themed area, Galaxy’s Edge is intended to be an entire immersive world, giving guests the experience of...

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Happy World Goth Day: an ode to the cybergoth dance meme

On September 7, 2011, the internet was blessed with a diamond in the rough: a home movie of a crew of German cybergoths gathered beneath a concrete overpass, enthusiastically demonstrating their best electro-industrial dancing skills. On this day, the 10th annual celebration of World Goth Day, we humbly thank them for their service.

This scrappy bunch of cybergoths — so-called for their intersecting passions for goth style, industrial aesthetic and EDM-raver esprit de coeur (not to be confused with Invisigoth, the hacker hero of a 1998 X-Files episode, though she probably would identify as both) — could not have known at the time, but their contribution to the creative spirit of the internet would go on to inspire one of the greatest...

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The first three missions of NASA’s next big rocket will have to sett

A rendering of the Space Launch System Block 1

The first three missions of NASA’s next-generation rocket, the Space Launch System, will all fly on the least powerful version of the vehicle that the space agency plans to build. NASA is moving forward with its plan to use a downgraded version of the SLS for its second and third flights, according to a memo from NASA headquarters obtained by The Verge. The original plan was to fly those two flights on a much more powerful upgrade of the rocket, but now, it seems that version won’t debut until 2024 at the earliest.

The SLS, meant to take humans into deep space, has been under development for the last decade, with its first three missions mostly set in stone. For its debut flight, called EM-1 and scheduled for 2020, the rocket will send...

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Best Buy now sells a $200 per year tech support subscription

Best Buy has launched a $200 per year subscription version of its Geek Squad service called Total Tech Support, which — despite the name — is anything but total, and is probably also a questionable value for tech support.

The service offers subscribers 24/7 tech support over the phone or online, for most tech products in the home (even if they weren’t purchased from Best Buy). Subscribers will also be able to go into Best Buy stores to receive help with basic tech support asks, like transferring data between computers, removing a virus, and something called “Level 1 Data Recovery,” which is where this also starts to sound like a Scientology scam. What is Level 2 Data Recovery? I’m not entirely sure. But I know you have to pay for it.

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Turn a wall outlet into a wireless charger with the Legrand Radiant

Wireless chargers are cheaper than ever, making it easy to put charging pads throughout your house. But what if instead of just putting charging pads everywhere, you built them straight into the wall?

That’s what Legrand envisions with the Radiant charger, which is designed to replace your regular wall outlet with a wall-mounted Qi charger (via 9to5Mac.) It’s an interesting idea with a slick look to it, but it also seems like it’d limited in actual practice.

First off, it assumes that you actually have a wall outlet that’s conveniently located at a height near eye level. (In my apartment, I’d basically be charging my phone by sticking it behind a bookshelf.) Next, if you do happen to have an outlet that’s in a good place, you’ll need to...

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Disney’s human-scale ‘Stickman’ robot can do backflips

Humans can be great acrobats, but what about Disney robots? Disney Research has one such human-scale robot — called Stickman, because it’s literally a robotic stick — that is capable of aerial acrobatics, like backflips.

Just as certain human inventions take after nature (like body armor), it seems as if robots can take after humans. During a full backflip maneuver, Stickman swings from a ceiling-mounted wire 19.6 feet (six meters) above ground, tucks into a ball at peak height, and executes the stunt.

Stretched out, Stickman measures seven feet tall or as the Disney Research paper puts it, “to approximate the height of a human stunt performer with arms raised over his or her head” — although, it’s worth noting most gymnasts are...

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Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before European Parliament yields an em

Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before European Parliament today was designed to give members a chance to ask Facebook’s CEO about pressing matters involving data privacy, terrorist content, disinformation, and monopoly power, among other issues. Over the course of an hour, Zuckerberg did face sharp inquiries about each of those subjects. But the format of the hearing allowed him only a few minutes to answer dozens of intricate questions. By the time the hearing was over, he had only offered some high-level answers that were largely recycled from his previous appearances before Congress.

The result, for anyone who has been paying attention to the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, was a strong sense of déjà vu. In response to...

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No one’s ready for GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation will go into effect on May 25th, and no one is ready — not the companies and not even the regulators.

After four years of deliberation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was officially adopted by the European Union in 2016. The regulation gave companies a two-year runway to get compliant, which is theoretically plenty of time to get shipshape. The reality is messier. Like term papers and tax returns, there are people who get it done early, and then there’s the rest of us.

In today’s meeting with the European Parliament, Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would be GDPR compliant by the deadline, but if so, the company would be in the minority. “Very few companies are going to be 100 percent...

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Ryan Reynolds, Michael Bay, and the writers of Deadpool are making a N

Last year Netflix made its first attempt at producing a blockbuster action movie with the fantasy-action hybrid Bright, but it appears the service has upped its ambitions considerably. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will be producing a new Ryan Reynolds action film called Six Underground, which will be directed by Transformers’ Michael Bay.

Bay has become synonymous with bombastic, expensive action flicks, with a filmography made up of movies like Bad Boys, The Rock, and The Transformers franchise. Six Underground will reportedly revolve around “six billionaires who fake their own death and form an elite team to take down bad guys,” but it will likely have some raucous humor thrown into the mix, as well. It was written by Paul...

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