Tech News

SwitchBot’s cheap universal remote can control your smart home, too

SwitchBot’s Universal Remote shown controlling several smart home devices.
The SwitchBot Universal Remote can control infrared, Bluetooth, and even Matter-compatible smart home devices. | Image: SwitchBot

SwitchBot’s new screen-equipped universal remote can take control of more than just your home entertainment center. With support for Bluetooth and Matter, the remote should also operate smart home devices without users having to reach for their smartphones.

For those who struggle to keep tabs on the myriad remotes now included with everything from ceiling fans to light bulbs, the SwitchBot Universal Remote currently supports “up to 83,934 remote control models” over infrared, with a code library that gets updated every six months.

The remote is also compatible with SwitchBot’s other smart home devices, including its robovacs and curtain controllers and Bluetooth-controlled devices, which is what many standalone smart light bulbs opt for....

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Shopify’s AI ‘Sidekick’ chatbot for merchants is now in early access

A promotional image for Shopify’s Sidekick chatbot.
A promotional image for Shopify’s Sidekick chatbot. | Image: Shopify

Shopify’s new AI “Sidekick” chatbot is officially launching in early access, the company said as part of its “2024 Summer Edition” updates announced on Monday.

Sidekick, which the company first revealed last year, functions as a support chatbot for merchants, helping them do things like make discount codes, generate reports about your store, or suggest blog post ideas. Sure, it sounds like pretty typical AI chatbot stuff, but it seems like it could be a useful way to get help or assistance, especially if Shopify continues to tailor the chatbot to fit merchant needs.

Sidekick is live across thousands of Shopify stores, but it’s currently limited to merchants who have English stores in North America, Vanessa Lee, Shopify’s vice president...

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How to make an EV tire that won’t pollute the environment

Enso tire tread
Enso’s eco-friendly tire. | Image: Enso

Congratulations, world. We’ve done it. Since passing the Clean Air Act in the 1970s, we’ve reduced cancer-causing particulate emissions from our cars and other sources dramatically, a change that has added years to our lives.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that we can now spend more time focusing on the remaining sources, including some unexpected ones. In an EV era, tires are becoming the greatest emitters of particulate matter, and as we’ve seen, whether it’s the microplastics in our shrimp or the preservatives in our salmon, they’re having a disturbing impact on our environment.

Gunnlaugur Erlendsson wants to do something about that. The affable...

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Apple is first company charged with violating EU’s DMA rules

Vector illustration of the Apple logo in the EU stars.
Apple is once again the focus of the EU’s competition policy. | Cath Virginia / The Verge

Apple’s App Store “steering” policies violate the EU’s Digital Markets Act meant to encourage competition, said regulators in their preliminary ruling Monday. The European Commission has also opened a new investigation into Apple’s support for alternative iOS marketplaces in Europe, including the core technology fee it charges developers.

“Our preliminary position is that Apple does not fully allow steering,” said Margrethe Vestager who heads up competition policy in Europe. “Steering is key to ensure that app developers are less dependent on gatekeepers’ app stores and for consumers to be aware of better offers.”

Under the DMA, Apple and other so-called gatekeepers must allow app developers to steer consumers to offers outside their app...

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Twitch banned Dr Disrespect after viewing messages sent to a minor, say former employees

Farmers Insurance Open - Final Round
Dr Disrespect at a golf tournament in January 2024. | Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Twitch abruptly banned one of its biggest stars — Herschel “Guy” Beahm, better known by his persona Dr Disrespect — in 2020 without a word of explanation. Now, four years after Beahm’s permanent ban, two former Twitch employees have come forward to describe events they say contributed to his removal from the platform.

One former Twitch employee, who asked to remain anonymous citing the potential risk to their career, told The Verge that Beahm had used Whispers, Twitch’s now-defunct messaging system, to exchange messages with a minor and initiate a conversation about meeting up at TwitchCon. The employee worked on Twitch’s trust and safety team at the time of the ban in 2020.

Their comments corroborate a post from Cody Conners, a former...

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Today is your last chance to sign up for a seven-day Max trial

If you weren’t able to catch the season two premiere of House of Dragon last weekend, now is your chance. | Image: Ollie Upton / HBO

There’s no denying that streaming services just keep getting more expensive, with Peacock and Max being the latest streamers to raise prices across their ad-free plans. We’re also seeing a number of services — including Max — dropping support for free trials, ensuring no one other than paying subscribers can access their trove of content. Fortunately, if you haven’t previously subscribed to Max, you can sign up for a rare weeklong trial through the end of today, June 23rd.

Admittedly, a week isn’t enough time to burn through Max’s extensive back catalog of original programming, which includes newer shows like Hacks, the animated sci-fi epic Scavenger’s Reign, True Detective: Night Country, and last year’s excellent adaptation of The...

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The new Final Cut Pro hooked me on iPad video editing

For the past two weeks, I’ve been editing in the newest version of Final Cut Pro for the iPad. For many professionals, the original release of this app last year missed the mark. Its tools have just been too limited to use on a daily basis. The new version doesn’t necessarily change that — but despite my many frustrations, I’m finally discovering the joy of using it.

The new version of the app, confusingly named “Final Cut Pro for iPad 2” (it is for all current iPads, not the iPad 2), came out this week. And perhaps the biggest new feature in this year’s release isn’t entirely a Final Cut Pro feature: it’s a brand-new app that integrates with it.

The new Final Cut Camera is a standalone app for your iPhone that offers advanced camera...

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I regret buying the PlayStation VR2

A photo of the PlayStation VR2 headset.
Image: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

For months, I’ve been thinking about selling my PlayStation VR2. After a damning scoop, I’m finally ready to let it go.

Months ago, I stashed the PSVR 2 away in a closet. I hadn’t played it for a very long time, but I hoped Sony might release new games that would make me want to bring it back out. Based on Android Central’s reporting, I should let those hopes go: apparently, Sony has cut funding for VR games and has just two more PSVR 2 titles in the works. Two!

The future of the headset has been grim for a while. Earlier this year, Sony laid off developers at Firesprite, the studio that made Horizon Call of the Mountain. It closed its London Studio, which made PlayStation VR Worlds, a game that came bundled with the original PSVR. Since...

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The new and improved Windows PCs are finally here

Photo collage of Hank Green, promo art for Elden Ring, Keys-To-Go 2 and ASUS Vivobook S 15.
Image: The Verge

Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 43, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome, so psyched you found us, and also you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.)

This week, I’ve been reading about memexes and telepathy and John Lennon’s wristwatch, watching Presumed Innocent and Ren Faire, testing Genspark for AI search stuff, redoing my homescreen with Dumbify, and experimenting with overnight oats in an attempt to make mornings less chaotic. (Turns out, peanut butter makes pretty much everything 20 percent better.)

I also have for you a new tech podcast, a couple of handy new gadgets, a new calendar app, the game that will take over your weekend, and much more. Let’s get...

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