Xbox Tests Xbox Game Pass In Ireland and Columbia



Xbox Insider announced today that in Columbia and Ireland, Xbox Insiders can begin to preview a plan that allows multiple people to share Game Pass Ultimate benefits. The post was written by Sr. Technical Program Manager, Tyler Mittleider.

According to Xbox Insider, this makes it even easier to play the best Game Pass games with friends and family across console, PC, and cloud by enabling you to add up to four people to your subscription, all with their own unique access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate games, content, and benefits.

Those who want to participate in the preview need to purchase the “Xbox Game Pass – Insider Preview Game Pass plan in the Microsoft Store. Check out release notes here.

Things to know about this preview:

The people you share your membership do not have to be Insiders but must reside in the same country as you. Enrollment is limited and will remain open while the offer is available.

Joining the Game Pass – Insider Preview will convert the time remaining on your membership to time in the new plan, based upon the monetary value of the old membership. For example, a full month of Ultimate will be converted to18 days of membership for this plan. This way you won’t lose any of the remaining value on your existing subscription upon conversion. Conversion is final, and users must wait for their new membership to expire before returning to a remaining membership.

Conversion is not available for invited group members. Before joining a group, a group member can cancel their existing subscription or wait for it to expire. If they do not have a Microsoft account, invited friends and family will have to create a new Microsoft account and sign in with it to participate.

Members with Xbox All Access won’t be able to participate in this preview.

In Columbia, parts of the copy for the preview have not been localized and might be displayed in English.

GameSport reported that rumors of an Xbox Game Pass family plan surfaced earlier this year, and this test will determine how the service can be applied to a wider range of users.

The announcement by Xbox of its test of the Xbox Game Pass in Ireland and Columbia appears to be conformation of the rumor. Personally, I think it is a good idea for Xbox to test out a Game Pass that allows people to add others to their group (who live in the same country as the Games Pass holder does).

I also think this could be good for accessibility. As a person who has several disabilities, I tend to find that using a controller hurts less than gaming on a keyboard. Xbox requires a controller. If the test works out well, it might be incentive for gaming companies to put their games on Xbox.


OnePlus Launches an Uninspiring 10T



OnePlus LogoAs expected, OnePlus launched the brand new OnePlus 10T from Gotham Hall (cue scary music) in New York. During the pandemic, the launch events have usually been relatively short, but for the first post-pandemic in-person event, they took their time: it was nearly two hours long. If you want to watch, it’s on YouTube. Frankly, I got a bit bored: there’s only so much we-took-our-inspiration-from-nature I can take. And as I watch the presentation, part of me is beginning to think that the 10T really isn’t much of an upgrade and that if you’ve got a OnePlus 9, you might as well stick with it. Let’s take a look at what OnePlus are promoting in the specs and how that stacks up.

At the heart of the 10T is Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 that gives a 10% improvement in performance and a 30% improvement in power efficiency for both the CPU and the GPU. This is matched with up 16 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage (there’s an 8 + 128 GB version as well). The large memory means that more apps can be held in memory before they’re swapped out and with OnePlus controlling both the hardware and the software, they’ve evolved together for that fast and smooth experience. Software tools, such as the AI System Booster, analyse performance to reduce loading times.

To handle all that performance, OnePlus has developed an ultra thin vapour cooling system that keeps the temperature down. In comparison with other phones, the 10T runs 3°C cooler. For even more cooling, OnePlus have developed a gaming case called the Glacier Mat Case that uses evaporation to dissipate even more heat. In tests, the 10T was 2.3°C cooler gaming with the Glacier Mat Case.

The large 4800 mAh battery is charged by 150W SuperVOOC (in Europe) which charges the 10T by 28% in just 3 minutes. Rather than one single battery, there’s two 2400 mAh batteries. There’s very much an emphasis on safety, with 13 temperature sensors, a special charging chip and the Battery Health Engine to make sure the charging is safe and keeps the batteries healthy over time. It’s rated at 1600 charging cycles which would last over four years, assuming a full charge every day.

Looking round the front, it’s a 6.7″ 120 Hz Fluid AMOLED flat screen with a resolution of 2412 x 1080 pixels. As expected, it’s Corning Gorilla Glass. No real surprises here.

Turning to the cameras, it’s a 50 MP Sony IMX766 with OIS for the main shooter and then two unnamed sensors for the 8 MP ultrawide and the 2 MP macro lens. Round the front it’s a 16 MP unit. As had already been announced, there’s no special sauce from Hasselblad, though the IMX766 is a pretty decent sensor. There are some new features – the Nightscape mode has been improved, there’s Ultra HDR and the new Image Clarity Engine will take multiple shots when the shutter is pressed and then chose the best one. Great.

OnePlus promoted work on the internal aerials and how the 10T reconnected faster after drop outs but by this time I was snoozing. Out of the box, the 10T will come with OxygenOS 12.1 with a water inspired OxygenOS 13 coming later in the year.

And at last we need to turn to what’s missing. First, there’s no alert slider and second, there’s no wireless charging. OnePlus must be confusing the 10T with the Nord phones.

In terms of price, there are two variants and colourways for Europe and the US:

  • 8GB + 128GB – Moonstone Black – US$649 / 699€ / GB£629
  • 16GB + 256GB – Jade Green – US$749 / 799€ / GB£729

Pre-orders start 3rd August / September 1 and will be available from 25th August in Europe and September 29 in the US (that’s a bit of a wait!). Purchase from OnePlus and other local partners.

While it’s become a little trendy to bash OnePlus after their hook-up with Oppo, I’m beginning to see problems too. Let’s see how the 10T stacks up against the phone it replaces, last year’s 9. Yes, it’s faster with the Snapdragon 8+ processor when compared with the 888 but that’s kind of given as it’s a year on. You can get a bit more RAM (16 GB v 12 GB) at the higher end, but the screen’s pretty much the same. Battery is slightly bigger (4500 v 4800 mAh), there’s superfast charging but I don’t perceive that an additional 6% is going to make much difference and where is the wireless charging? It continues to go wrong with the cameras. On the OnePlus 9, both the main camera and the ultrawide are hefty 48 MP and 50 MP units blessed by Hasselblad but the10T has a feeble 8 MP ultrawide and no fairy dust from the experts. To cap it all, there’s no alert slider. Overall, it’s simply uninspiring. Maybe if you were a gamer you’d appreciate the speed and the cooling, but for me, I want the old OnePlus flagship back.


OnePlus 10T Launches Tomorrow



Never Settle LogoSticking with its biannual launch programme, tomorrow OnePlus is launching the latest iteration of the flagship range, the OnePlus 10T. It’s the first in-person event after the pandemic with the show coming from Gotham Hall in New York City at 10 am Eastern.

The new 10T will take the spot currently occupied by the OnePlus 9 (as there’s only a 10 Pro and not a 10). As per OnePlus’ MO, there’s been a steading drip of leaks and there’s not a massive amount to reveal tomorrow. Here’s what’s already been laid on the table.

  • Two colourways, Moonstone Black and Jade Green. It’s not perfectly clear but I think the Moonstone edition has a textured back like the original Sandstone Black.
  • The CPU is going to be the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory and 256 GB of UFS3.1 storage. I imagine there probably will be some options but it’s not clear right now what those will be.
  • The camera isn’t part of the partnership with Hasselblad but the sensor is still the very respectable 50 MP Sony IMX766 sensor. That’s the sensor used in the ultrawide camera on the 9 and 9 Pro. The camera arrays looks very similar to the one in the 10 Pro with what appears to be a triple array plus flash. The camera has some cool tricks to take multiple pictures and then choose the best shot.
  • There’s a larger-than-normal 4800 mAh battery that can be recharged with 150 W SuperVOOC which will charge the phone from flat in just 19 minutes with a cable. That’s pretty impressive and there’s some clever technology to keep the phone cool during charging. Sadly the rate will be reduced somewhat in US to only 125 W because of the lower mains voltage. That will increase the recharge time to 20 minutes. Strangely, wireless charging isn’t explicitly mentioned.
  • There’s no alert slider which I think is very disappointing. The alert slider is one of the things that makes OnePlus, well, OnePlus. Apparently it took up too much space that was needed for the battery and fast charging technology. Frankly, I’d rather have the slider.
  • Unofficially, its a 6.7″ AMOLED screen with a Full HD+ resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate. Not exactly a surprise to be honest.

Overall, the 10T looks to be fair evolution of the OnePlus 9. It will be interesting to see what the price point is. I’m thinking some where around GB£750.

If you are interested in tuning in to the launch event, here are the timings for round the world.

  • 10 am Eastern Time (ET)
  • 1500 British Summer Time (BST)
  • 1600 Central European Summer Time (CEST)
  • 1730 India Standard Time (IST)
  • 2200 Hong Kong Time (HKT)

SpaceX has upgraded their Satellites but needs Starship #1615



SpaceX has upgraded their Satellites but needs Starship to get them to orbit as the new Starlink antennas are bigger and heavier. So the pressure will mount for Elon Musk to get Starship headed to orbit and make it re-useable. Astronomers will be very happy with this, but many very bright Starlink satellites are still in orbit.

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Discovery of new UEFI Rootkit is bad news! #1614



The UEFI Rootkit that has been discovered has been in the wild since 2016, with it only now being discovered is an absolute disaster primarily at this point for Windows users! How something so sinister can go undetected for this long is a tragedy. We had some boosts to the show from the fountain podcast app thank you to those early adopters.

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Download the Fountain Podcast App #1613



The Fountain Podcast app is a new app that I have been using that allows me to earn money while listening to shows I love while at the same time being able to boost shows that I love with a small or large donation in the form of Boosts that allow me to give satoshis aka derivative of a bitcoin to shows. There is much tech news today, but check out the Fountain Podcast App that supports Podcast 2.0 initiatives.

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Facebook Shifts Resources Away From News To Focus On Creator Economy



Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook is reallocating resources from its Facebook News tab and newsletter platform Bulletin, as the company focuses more on the creator economy, senior executive Campbell Brown told employees in a memo, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Brown, a former journalist who leads Facebook’s global media partnerships, said the company would shift engineering and product support away from the two products as “those teams heighten their focus on building a more robust Creator economy.” The decision was made at the product level, not by the partnerships team that Ms. Brown is a part of, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Facebook News is a curated selection of news stories that users can find as a tab on the mobile app or website, similar to the Facebook Watch tab for video. Bulletin, which Facebook unveiled in June 2021, is a subscription platform meant to compete with Substack. It is aimed at supporting independent writers.

The Hill reported that, in a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Meta, the company that owns Facebook, said it evaluates products to ensure that they are bringing the most “meaningful experiences” to users on the platform.

“We regularly evaluate the products we offer to ensure we’re focused on the most meaningful experiences for people on Facebook and the future of our business,” a Meta spokesperson said. “We remain committed to the success of creators, and are doing even more to ensure they can find audiences on Facebook and grow engaged communities there.

In October of 2019, Facebook announced that it was starting to test Facebook News, which was described as “a dedicated place for news on Facebook”, to a subset of people in the United States. The initial test showcased local original reporting from the largest major metro areas of the country, beginning with New York, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington D.C., Miami, Atlanta, and Boston.

In June of 2020, Facebook rejected a proposal by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to share advertising revenue with Australian news organizations, The Guardian reported. Facebook says there would “not be significant” impacts on its business if it stopped sharing news altogether.

In 2021, ABC News reported that Facebook had to walk back its block on Australian users sharing news on the site after the government agreed to make amendments to the proposed media bargaining laws that would force major tech giants to pay news outlets for their content.

No one should be surprised that Facebook is now pushing toward creator content, and away from news content, considering the platform’s history on the topic.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook has paid publishers who participate in the News program. The company signed deals worth tens of millions of dollars with news organizations such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. But, as these deals approach their expiration dates this year, Facebook began to signal to publishers and others in the industry that renewing the deals wasn’t a priority.