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Microsoft tests Windows 11 desktop widgets with web search bar

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Microsoft is adding an optional web search to the Windows 11 desktop in the operating system’s latest Insider Preview Build. The company describes the feature as “lightweight interactive content” — the first, it says, of many such tools it’s considering adding to Windows 11 — but let’s call the thing what it really is: a widget.

Not everyone signed up to the latest Windows 11 preview build will see the new search box, but anyone who does and doesn’t like it can disable the feature by right-clicking on the desktop, selecting “Show more options,” and then toggling “Show search.”

If you are running the latest preview build, you’ll also have to restart your computer to give the search box a chance to show up.

Is it a useful feature? Probably for some, and probably not for others. It’s a web search rather than a system search (which you can add to the taskbar in Windows 10 and 11 for easy access), and could be useful if you need to quickly pull up content after starting your machine from scratch. But most people, I suspect, constantly have at least one browser window open, and will probably find it easier to search from there than go to the desktop. (A cynic might note that it’s also another way for Microsoft to steer users to Edge and Bing.)

At any rate, it’s interesting to see the company play with desktop widgets, as opposed to corralling these tools into a separate panel (for more on that, see our review of Windows 11).



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Samsung’s monstrous 55-inch Odyssey Ark monitor could go on sale in August

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Samsung is getting ready to release its massive 55-inch curved Odyssey Ark monitor in August, according to a report from Korean outlet ETNews (via SamMobile). The monitor, which was announced in January at CES, has reportedly gone through a few certification programs that have to be done before it can go on sale.

Details about this monitor are still scant. The company has said that it’ll have a 16:9 4K panel and that the stand will support pivot, tilt, and rotation. It also announced that it would come out in the second half of 2022 (which the reported August window falls squarely in). But let’s be honest, when you show up with a monitor that promises to physically tower over you while you’re using it, people will pay attention even if you don’t announce the price or refresh rate.

Samsung says the dial is for managing “lighting and the interface.” Because buttons on the back would be very hard to reach.
Image: Samsung

Many of us here at The Verge are very excited for this monitor — when it came time to hand out awards for CES 2022, we gave it Best in Show. But as with many CES announcements, as the months wear on, it can be hard to remember anything from the flood of gadgets and tech; did Samsung really announce an extremely curved, extremely large monitor that can stretch over and around you, or was that just a fever dream? Rumors that it could actually be coming out relatively soon prove that it was, in fact, actually announced and reminds us that we are looking forward to it.

One thing that adds a bit of credence to the report is that Samsung has successfully released other monitors that it announced around CES this year. The decidedly less ambitious (but very cute) M8 monitor has already started hitting store shelves, as has a smaller (read: reasonably sized) curved gaming monitor, the Odyssey Neo G8. While that’s obviously not proof that the Ark is up next, it is good to see that Samsung has a track record of shipping its CES monitors this year.





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‘Axie Infinity’ hack victims will only get back around a third of what they lost

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Sky Mavis, the developer of blockchain game Axie Infinity, says it will start reimbursing the victims of a $617 million hack that took place earlier this year. The attackers took $25.5 million in USDC (a stablecoin that’s pegged to the value of the US dollar) and 173,600 ether, which was worth around $591.2 million at the time. The FBI claimed North Korean state-backed hacker groups were behind the attack.

Impacted Axie Infinity players will be able to withdraw one ether token for each one they lost in the hack, Sky Mavis told Bloomberg (the company didn’t mention a USDC reimbursement). However, as with other cryptocurrencies, the value of Ethereum has plummeted since the attack in March. 

Because of that, Sky Mavis will return around $216.5 million to users. It’s possible that the price of Ethereum will rise again, but as things stand, affected users will get back around a third of what they lost.

In April, Sky Mavis raised $150 million in funding to help it pay back the victims. The developer plans to reimburse affected users on June 28th, when it restarts the Ronin software bridge that the hackers targeted. 

Axie Infinity is widely considered the most popular play-to-earn game. Players collect and mint NFTs representing creatures that battle each other, Pokémon-style. These NFTs can be sold to other players, with Sky Mavis charging a transaction fee. By February, Axie Infinity had facilitated $4 billion in NFT sales.

However, the NFT market has all but bottomed out, which has had a significant impact on Axie Infinity. For one thing, according to Bloomberg, the daily active user count dropped from 2.7 million in November to a quarter of that by the end of May.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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Snoop Dogg and Eminem’s Bored Ape music video is here to try and sell us on tokens

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The last couple of weeks have had a lot of bad news for some in the “web3” space, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at announcements in and around the recently-ended NFT.NYC and ApeFest 2022 events. The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s (BAYC) annual event in particular brought in musicians like The Roots, LCD Soundsystem, Haim, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, and others to perform for its members. On the final day of the event, guests saw the premiere of this video from two of the celebrities who’ve purchased tokens, Eminem and Snoop Dogg.

The video is for a new song, From The D 2 The LBC, that isn’t the most memorable of collaborations and is mostly about smoking weed, but it constantly splices in images of the cartoon apes. Many BAYC members were disappointed in February when both men performed in the Super Bowl halftime show, and despite appearing during an event that featured crypto ads seemingly every few minutes, failed to highlight their web3 endeavors.

The price of ApeCoin has dropped 39 percent in the last month to $4.51 after peaking in late April at more than $23, while Bitcoin and Ethereum’s values are also about 38 percent lower than they were 12 months ago. The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 3rd that “NFT Sales Are Flatlining,” and the numbers haven’t improved overall since then. That report cited an NFT from Snoop’s own collection, Doggy #4292, that sold for more than $33k several months ago. Its owner currently lists the item for sale at a price of nearly $11 million, and while the highest bid at the time of the article was $210, right now someone is offering $1,218. You can see the animation or download high-res still of it from its source website right here, for free.

Despite that, now BAYC owners can point to music that uses characters from the club they spent so much money to join. Plus, they did get to see the real Snoop Dogg perform, not the fake one that some web3 company fooled people with this week during NFT.NYC.

The rappers’ NFTs were both acquired via third parties in December, near the time prices for Bitcoin and Ethereum’s most recent peaks. In a deal executed by the digital agency Six, it cost 123.45 ETH to obtain Eminem’s Bored Ape #9055. At the time, that was worth about $460,000 but it’s now equivalent to around $150,000.

The ape icon associated with Snoop Dogg, #6723, was moved in a transfer from the previous owner’s wallet, not a sale with a price recorded on the blockchain, which was enabled by MoonPay. The company has focused on making it easy for celebrities to buy high-priced NFTs, although it also makes it difficult to track exactly how these celebrity-affiliated tokens were obtained, and who actually paid the much-publicized prices.

Opening up the ability for token owners to use the images of the apes for their creative or business endeavors is a part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s strategy, even if it’s unclear why or how that will increase the appeal to people who haven’t spent six figures on an NFT. The way they see it, this is the beginning of a new media industry, with intellectual property rights linked to digital tokens with monetization that trickles down to everyone associated.

The truth about NFTs and copyright is a lot more complicated than that — you can follow our explanation of the state of things right here. But for now, the parties go on, with plenty of things for BAYC owners Yuga Labs to sell to members who are sticking around, like merchandise and promises of land in a metaverse that hasn’t launched yet.





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