USATODAY - Tech Top Stories


how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-robot-vacuum

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

However, early models proved that they weren't quite up to the task, yet were still somehow priced beyond what the average person could afford. Fortunately, it's a technology that is advancing rapidly. There are now far more affordable robot vacuums and the options are getting more effective and feature-rich with each passing cycle. The ever-expanding landscape leaves you with a plethora of options to choose from, and at this point you might not asking "should I get a robot vacuum" but rather "which robot vacuum should I get?" Here are some considerations to take into account as you decide.


Postal Service to test autonomous semi trucks for hauling mail across state lines

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The Postal Service is experimenting with self-driving long-haul semi trucks to transport mail between distribution centers. The U.S. Postal Service is testing its first long-haul self-driving delivery truck in a two-week pilot program that will use an autonomous tractor-trailer to deliver mail between distribution centers in Phoenix and Dallas. TuSimple, a self-driving truck company, is providing the vehicle and will have a safety engineer and driver in the cab to monitor its performance and take control if there are any issues, the company said in announcing the test Tuesday. The Postal Service has been exploring the idea for some time, recently soliciting bids to put semi-autonomous mail trucks on the road in a few years that allow a human to sort the mail while being autonomously driven along the route. "We are conducting research and testing as part of our efforts to operate a future class of vehicles which will incorporate new technology to accommodate a diverse mail mix, enhance safety, improve service, reduce emissions, and produce operational savings," said Postal Service spokeswoman Kim Frum.


Hey Siri, turn on 'The Voice' for my Vizio TV

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Sure, Siri can open Netflix for you and search for a George Clooney movie, but only if you spring $179 to $199 for the Apple TV accessory streamer. Now, Apple's personal assistant can turn on the TV, change the channel and find a specific TV show, on certain newer TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG. It's part of a radical rethink on Apple's part to bring Apple outside of the ecosystem, and onto mainstream television sets. Samsung pushed out Apple's AirPlay features on new smart TVs that began shipping May 13. AirPlay lets you mirror what's on your device.


If facial recognition is good enough for Taylor Swift, is it good enough for you?

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In this Oct. 31, 2018, file photo, a man, who declined to be identified, has his face painted to represent efforts to defeat facial recognition during a protest at Amazon headquarters over the company's facial recognition system, "Rekognition," in Seattle. San Francisco is on track to become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition by police and other city agencies. These days, with facial recognition technology, you've got a face that can launch a thousand applications, so to speak. Sure, you may love the ease of opening your phone just by facing it instead of tapping in a code. But how do you feel about having your mug scanned, identifying you as you drive across a bridge, when you board an airplane or to confirm you're not a stalker on your way into a Taylor Swift concert?


'Fortnite' pro Turner 'Tfue' Tenney sues esports team FaZe Clan over 'oppressive' contract

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Another sign that esports has become big business: One of its biggest star athletes, Turner "Tfue" Tenney is suing his pro team, FaZe Clan, over what he calls a contract that is "oppressive, onerous, and one-sided." In the complaint filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, Tenney, 21, charges that FaZe Clan, an esports organization with professional teams that compete in video games such as "Call of Duty, "Fortnite Battle Royale" and "Counter-Strike," has players sign gamer agreements so that the team will "essentially'own' Tenney and other content creator/streamers and professional gamers." A popular streamer on YouTube and Twitch, Tenney signed an agreement with FaZe Clan when he was 20. He says in the suit that FaZe Clan takes up to 80% of revenue paid by third parties for Tenney's services such as sponsored online videos. 'Minecraft' update: Video game gets new blocks, better villages, and pillagers with crossbows Cloud gaming: Microsoft and Sony team up for video games in the cloud, but what's it mean for gamers? Esports star Turner "Tfue" Tenney, shown here on his Twitch channel, is suing his team FaZe Clan, saying its contract is "oppressive" and takes up to 80% of his earnings. Tfue, who recently qualified for the $30-million Fortnite World Cup Finals in July in New York, has more than 10.7 million followers on YouTube, more than 6 million followers on Twitch, and 5.5 million Instagram followers. "Anti-competitive provisions" in the agreement prevent Tenney from pursuing other deals, the suit charges. FaZe Clan violates state law because it acts as a talent agency but does not have "the requisite talent agency license," the complaint charges. The esports organization also forced Tenney to drink alcohol at parties before he turned 21, the suit charges. Tenney wants the court to void the contract with FaZe Clan and award any suitable damages. "Until now, FaZe Clan has enjoyed the fruits of this illegal business model with impunity because no one could or was willing to stand up to Faze Clan," the suit says. Through this action, Tenney seeks to shift the balance of power to the gamers and content creators/streamers, those who are actually creating value and driving the industry. As a result of this action, others will hopefully take notice of what is going on and help to clean up esports."


Latest 'Minecraft' update means new blocks, better villages, and pillagers with crossbows

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Video highlights from Village & Pillage, the latest update to popular video game'Minecraft.' Mojang/Microsoft "Minecraft" may be one of the best-selling games of all time – with more than 154 million copies purchased to date – but the developers haven't stopped building more into the game. Acquired by Microsoft in 2014, developer Mojang has just launched Village & Pillage, a free update that adds a plethora of new goodies to "Minecraft," for both the Java and Bedrock versions of game, which includes Windows PC ($26.95 and $26.99 for PC and Macintosh), mobile (iOS and Android, $6.99), Xbox One ($19.99) and Nintendo Switch ($29.99), and virtual reality platforms. Before we get into what's new and newsworthy in this new update, take in these additional facts about the world-renowned building simulation, released ten years ago this month: more people are playing "Minecraft" than ever before at about 91 million unique players every month (across all platforms); more than 160 million people have watched more than 5 billion hours of Minecraft video content on YouTube; and not only is "Minecraft" one of the best-selling games in history, but also one of the highest-rated, with the PC version netting a 93% average "metascore" at Metacritic.com. 'Minecraft Earth': New mobile game to offer AR experience like'Pokemon Go' As the name suggests, villages have changed quite a bit and are among the highlights in this latest'Minecraft' update. Visually, villages will look different based on biome, or region – plains, desert, savannah, taiga, and so forth – therefore you can expect to see changes based on climate and local resources.


17 incredible deals from Home Depot's Memorial Day weekend sale

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Shop and save during The Home Depot's Memorial Day sale happening now. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA Today's newsroom and any business incentives. Cookouts, backyard bashes, and getting to relish a hard-earned long weekend--these are just a few of the things that might leap to mind when you think about Memorial Day. But if you're someone who absolutely loves DIY projects and just generally doing stuff around the house, chances are you also think of Home Depot, since their annual Memorial Day sale is one of the best events they run all year.


Spotify is testing a voice-controlled device called "Car Thing"

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Spotify announced Friday that the music streaming service is test driving some hardware. The company is trying to learn more about what you do and listen to in your car by publicly testing out a voice-controlled music and podcast device dubbed "Car Thing." The device reportedly plugs into your vehicle's 12-volt outlet, which is also known as a cigarette lighter, for power and the automotive gadget connects to your car and phone via Bluetooth. Don't make plans to go out and buy the device anytime soon, though. Spotify says it's only testing the devices, making them available to a few premium users.


Tesla stock drops after a report that Autopilot was engaged during a deadly crash in Florida

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Elizabeth Keatinge tells us about Tesla's Autonomy Investor Day where robotaxis were discussed. A Tesla Model 3 had Autopilot engaged in the seconds before it crashed into a semi truck in March, killing the driver, federal investigators confirmed in a report on Thursday. The car drove beneath the trailer in a crash that is similar to one that occurred in another part of Florida in 2016, also involving Autopilot. In both instances, drivers died and the top of the car was sheared off. In the most recent crash in Delray Beach, Florida, the 50-year-old driver turned on Autopilot about 10 seconds before the sedan collided with a semi-truck, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.


New 'Minecraft Earth' to offer AR experience like 'Pokemon Go'

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Microsoft and Mojang have announced a new Minecraft game, 'Minecraft Earth,' for mobile devices, which uses augmented reality to place objects from the game in your real world. Minecraft is expanding its reach – into your real world. A new game, "Minecraft Earth," coming this summer for mobile devices (Android and iOS), uses augmented reality – à la "Pokémon Go" – to let you find objects in real-world locations and place objects from the game there, too. "The game's mechanics are simple: explore your neighborhood to find blocks and unique mobs for your builds. Once you have them, any flat surface is an opportunity to build," said Minecraft creative director Saxs Persson in a post on Xbox.com.