NEWS DIGEST 14.08.2022: Tech and film news from The Verge

Happy Sunday and good morning readers. Our news bulletin for today comes from the The Verge section of Readspike, the news aggregator.

Elon Musk pitched sustainable energy, brain implants, and space exploration in an article published in a Chinese magazine run by the country’s internet watchdog and censorship agency, according to a translation from Yang Liu, a reporter for the Chinese state press agency, Xinhua. The CAC later created a magazine that, according to China Media Project senior researcher, Stella Chen, typically includes regulatory announcements and research on internet policy. The July issue of China Cyberspace features articles from Musk and Ant Group CEO Eric Jing Xiandong, the company that runs the Chinese payment service Alipay. Musk says he was invited by the magazine to share his “thoughts on the vision of technology and humanity,” and then proceeds to describe and promote the technology used by the companies he owns – Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink – that he believes can “help achieve a better future for humanity:”. Musk’s appearance in a publication run by the CAC conflicts with his outspoken advocacy for free speech, the very concept that inspired his decision to purchase Twitter – Elon Musk pitches lofty goals in a magazine run by China’s internet censorship agency (The Verge ~ POLICY – TECH – TRANSPORTATION)

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Uber is ending its free loyalty program, Uber Rewards, so it can turn its attention to its subscription-based Uber One membership. In an email sent to customers, Uber explains that users can still earn points until the end of August, and that the last day to redeem points is October 31st. “Thank you for being part of Uber Rewards,” the email reads. Launched in 2018, Uber Rewards is a free program that lets you rack up points for every dollar you spend when hitching a ride or ordering food through Uber and Uber Eats. Uber isn’t offering a replacement for the program, and there isn’t another way to consistently earn perks and discounts unless you pay for an Uber One subscription, which Uber launched as a replacement for Eats Pass last year. As a frequent Uber Eats user, it’s a bit upsetting to see Uber taking away a free and easily accessible loyalty program, something that’s becoming much harder to find these days – Uber is shutting down its free loyalty program later this year (The Verge ~ TECH – TRANSPORTATION – UBER)

The DCEU was plagued by a number of issues long before Warner Bros. In the wake of the movie’s box office underperformance, one could plainly see Warner Bros. After director Todd Phillips’ first Joker and Matt Reeves’ The Batman, two Elseworlds-style stories purposefully set outside the DCEU’s continuity, it seemed as if Warner Bros. Might just straight up not like making comic book movies, the possibility of director Andy Muschietti’s Flash feature using the multiverse to link Warner Bros’ multitude of disparate comics adaptations together is a tantalizing one. Warner Bros.’ reasons for not immediately wanting to hit the brakes on a tentpole movie years in the making – and just months before its intended release – are easy enough to understand up to a certain point – THE DCEU HAS BECOME A CRISIS OF WARNER BROS.’ OWN MAKING (The Verge ~ ENTERTAINMENT)

Earlier this week, Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. It’s Samsung’s most durable smartwatch ever and at Unpacked it was clear that the company intends the watch to appeal to outdoor athletes. Apple also revealed at WWDC that watchOS 9 will feature a ton of new running metrics, adding fuel to rumors that a rugged Apple Watch may be on the way. It’s not going to cut it for the outdoor enthusiast both companies are aiming at with these “Pro” watches. I’ve been testing the regular 40mm Galaxy Watch 5, and while it’s not the exact same, the Pro is essentially a bigger, hardier version of the Watch 5. On the few runs I’ve gone on with the Watch 5 thus far, it’s been challenging to swipe through screens mid-stride. I have to run more tests, and of course, there are several reasons why you might opt for a more advanced flagship smartwatch over a dedicated multisport GPS watch – Apple and Samsung smartwatches need more buttons if they want more athletes (The Verge ~ APPLE – EDITORIAL – TECH)

Luckily, robot vacuums like iRobot’s Roomba j7 and Roomba i3 Plus EVO can expedite the entire process and make it a lot less hands-on. You can buy the Roomba j7 – our favorite robot vacuum – for just $399 at Wellbots when you use promo code THEVERGE200 at checkout, which matches the robovac’s lowest price to date. Besides cleaning on a set schedule, the j7 can also jump to work via voice commands or the Roomba app. If the Roomba j7 and j7 Plus are too expensive for you, Wellbots is also taking $150 off of the Roomba i3 Plus EVO. We think this is the best robot vacuum that can auto-empty, and right now you can buy it for just $399.99 – one of its best prices to date – when you use the promo code THEVERGE150 at checkout. iRobot Roomba i3 Plus EVO. Like its pricier j7 Plus counterpart, the more spartan iRobot Roomba i3 Plus Evo uses two rubber brushes and a side brush to clean – iRobot’s poop-avoiding Roomba j7 vacuum is on sale for $200 off today (The Verge ~ VERGE DEALS – APPLE – GAMING)

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