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Spotify Premium gets personalized artist radio stations and better sea

Spotify has released a major update for its Premium tier that overhauls its radio feature and redesigns its navigation and search on its mobile apps, the company announced in a blog post. The streaming service has streamlined its navigation, and has redesigned its search page with a bigger emphasis on introducing users to new music by placing recommended genres at the top of the page.

The biggest change Spotify made today was to its artist radio feature, which will give users a personalized station — using the same algorithms that make Discover Weekly and Spotify’s other personalized playlists so great — for any artist on song you choose. It’s essentially an endless playlist that’s tailored to you which can also be saved offline....

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The new ‘world’s thinnest phone’ slots into a business card case

Business cards are still an inescapable part of life for most Japanese workers, so it’s good to see the country’s largest carrier make the most of the situation with a phone that can fit right inside a card holder. The “card phone” KY-O1L is made by Kyocera and is coming to NTT Docomo next month.

It’s about the same footprint as a credit card, and not all that much heftier at 5.3mm thick and 47g — Docomo calls it the thinnest and lightest phone in the world. It has a 2.8-inch monochrome e-paper screen, LTE connectivity, and a 380mAh battery. There’s no camera or app store, but you do at least get a web browser that I’m sure will be a lot of fun to use on that screen.

You can see the UI in action in this video from Impress Watch:

Is this...

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A hyperloop in Missouri? A new study says it’s feasible, but not nec

Is a hyperloop in the US feasible? Skeptics doubt whether the futuristic transportation system can ever become a reality, but a new study supported by Virgin Hyperloop One finds many possible benefits of a high-speed route between St. Louis and Kansas City.

A coalition of Missouri business leaders and government agencies joined with the Los Angeles-based company a year ago to kick off a feasibility study of a hyperloop in their state. Released today, the study examined where the ultrafast transportation system should be built (along the I-70 corridor), how many riders it would attract (6,000 during peak hours), and how much money it could save commuters who rode the high-speed transit system ($410 million per year).

But there is one...

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MoviePass’ parent company being investigated over fraud concerns

The New York attorney general’s office is launching an investigation into MoviePass’ parent company, Helios and Matheson, over allegedly misleading investors.

A person familiar with the investigation confirmed to The Verge that an investigation is underway. The news was first reported by CNBC. The investigation is set to determine “whether the company misled the investment community regarding the company’s financials,” according to CNBC. The attorney general’s office is using New York’s Martin Act, which was designed to protect both investors and financial institutions from fraud, to pursue the investigation.

“We are aware of the New York Attorney General’s inquiry and are fully cooperating,” a Helios and Matheson representative said...

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Huawei’s Porsche phone is back and still unnecessarily expensive

The Huawei Porsche Design Mate 10 RS is just over six months old, but the company is already back with a successor, the Mate 20 RS. It’s equally as expensive and excessive.

Like the car company it’s named after, the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS is pricey; it costs a steep €1,695 (or $1,950, at the time of writing) for its base 256GB storage option. For that high price, the Mate 20 RS has three cameras: one with a 40-megapixel main camera, a 20-megapixel wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. It should be noted that the more affordably priced Mate 20 Pro has the same camera specs. The Mate 20 Pro costs €1,049 ($1,206).

Did I mention the Mate 20 RS is encased in leather? Still, it probably should have been made of cashmere and...

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No one knows what Civil’s failed token sale means

Yesterday, the world’s most ambitious media blockchain company had a very public embarrassment. It was the last day of a public token sale for the Civil Foundation, a media project using blockchain to launch a new generation of ad-free media startups. But when it came time to sell the token at the center of it all, the project came up short. Civil had initially planned to raise as much as $24 million, and pledged to return the money if it raised less than $8 million. In the final accounting, less than $1.5 million was spent on tokens, more than $1 million of it coming from Civil’s direct investors at ConsenSys.

The company put the blame on a needlessly complex process for buying tokens, and pledged to try again, returning donations in...

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Spotify’s new Wear OS app brings Connect features, better controls

Spotify announced today that it’s rolling out a new Wear OS app in the coming week. The standalone Wear OS app is a vast improvement over the previous Spotify app for Android Wear, which left so much to be desired that users were relying on third-party apps to play their music through the streaming service. The new Spotify for Wear OS brings better controls for music playback and browsing playlists. Most importantly, it adds Spotify Connect features that let you play music from your connected speakers.

The UI remains pretty minimal, with options to pause or skip tracks and rewind 15 seconds if you’re listening to a podcast. You can access recently played tracks, and there’s a little heart icon that lets you save tracks to playlists. The...

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Jason Blum is the latest producer who doesn’t believe women director

Just short of a year ago, Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy made headlines around the world when she said, in an interview with Variety, that the franchise hadn’t had a film directed by a woman yet because there wasn’t a woman with the appropriate resume.

“We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do “Star Wars,” they’re set up for success,” says Kennedy. “They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience.”

Industry-watchers immediately pointed out that women in film are routinely held to a much higher standard than men for “experience,” that there’s already a hefty roster of women who’ve directed big-budget movies and action movies, and that men with comparatively little...

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Want to understand the future of Android in Europe? Look at China

A busy street in Guangzhou.

By the end of the month, Google will charge a licensing fee in Europe for the Play Store and apps like YouTube and Gmail in order to comply with the European Commission’s antitrust ruling. Device makers will soon have to decide whether using Google services is worth the fees, while Android as an operating system will remain free to use. With these new conditions, the future of Android in Europe could dramatically transform, becoming a pared-down version that retains the OS but offers fragmented alternatives to what were once cornerstone Google services.

So what would that look like? The clearest example to point to is in China where Google is outright banned. Instead, each smartphone company (that isn’t Apple) runs some version of...

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A neuroscientist explains the limits and possibilities of using techno

In 2007, The New York Times published an op-ed titled “This is Your Brain on Politics.” The authors imaged the brains of swing voters and, using that information, interpreted what the voters were feeling about presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

“As I read this piece,” writes Russell Poldrack, “my blood began to boil.” Poldrack is a neuroscientist at Stanford University and the author of The New Mind Readers: What Neuroimaging Can and Cannot Reveal about Our Thoughts (out now from Princeton University Press). His research focuses on what we can learn from brain imagining techniques such as fMRI, which measures blood activity in the brain as a proxy for brain activity. And one of the clearest conclusions, he writes,...

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