2020’s best epic was the X-Men’s struggle to build a better world

Image: Marvel For the first time in what feels like ages, the entertainment I looked forward to most was a handful of monthly comic books about the X-Men. Week after week this fall — a time absolutely lousy with great books, movies, TV, and video games — what I really wanted most was to pour over words and pictures about Marvel Comics’ deep roster of mutants, and a story about them unlike any I’ve seen before.
It can’t be understated how bold and interesting X-Men comics are right now. Following a soft reboot in the twin 2019 miniseries written by Jonathan Hickman with art by R.B. Silva and Pepe Larraz, House of X and Powers of X (the best place to start reading), the mutants of the Marvel Universe have banded together to form the mutant nation of…
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SolarWinds hack may be much worse than originally feared

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge The Russia-linked SolarWinds hack which targeted US government agencies and private corporations may be even worse than officials first realized, with some 250 federal agencies and business now believed affected, the New York Times reported.
Microsoft has said the hackers compromised SolarWinds’ Orion monitoring and management software, allowing them to “impersonate any of the organization’s existing users and accounts, including highly privileged accounts.” The Times reports that Russia exploited layers of the supply chain to access the agencies’ systems.
The Times reports that early warning sensors that Cyber Command and the NSA placed inside foreign networks to detect potential attacks appear to have failed in this instance. In…
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Cyberpunk 2077 website promised free DLC in early 2021 — but don’t bet on ‘soon’

Image: CD Projekt Red In my opinion, Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t quite the disaster some have suggested. The game is fun. The bugs are fun! The bugs that really, really weren’t fun have been patched. Refunds were made widely available, and despite that refund option, the game sold 13 million copies in just two weeks.
But publisher CD Projekt still has a broken reputation to fix and an investor lawsuit to fight, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in the headline you might have read today: that we’re all getting free DLC for the game in early 2021.
It’s possible! And it’s totally what this official website promises. But that promise may be out of date.
As Engadget points out, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine shows that this promise may have been…
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Microsoft says hackers were able to see some of its source code

As Microsoft continues to investigate the massive SolarWinds attack, the company says it has discovered that its systems were infiltrated “beyond just the presence of malicious SolarWinds code.” In an update from its Security Response Center, Microsoft says that hackers were able to “view source code in a number of source code repositories,” but that the hacked account granting such access didn’t have permission to modify any code or systems.
While Microsoft points to “a very sophisticated nation-state actor” as the culprit, the US government and cybersecurity officials have implicated Russia as the architects of the overall SolarWinds attack. The attack exposed an extensive list of sensitive organizations, and today’s disclosure from…
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We deserve The Muppet Great Gatsby

Image: Disney When the clock strikes midnight this New Year’s, The Great Gatsby and other works copyrighted in 1925 will enter the public domain, becoming freely available for re-publication and — most importantly — puppet-themed adaptation. More than anything in 2021, I need the Muppet version of The Great Gatsby.
Picture this: Kermit in period-specific 1920s dress, playing the mysterious host to a huge party in West Egg. Or Miss Piggy, decked out in flapper regalia, in an abusive relationship with Fozzie Bear as her cruel, philandering husband, Tom Buchanan. There’s obvious aesthetic charms to The Muppets version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel, but beyond that, The Muppets’ takes on classic stories are often better. Writers for Bright…
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New Samsung TVs with HDR10+ will adapt to ambient lighting

It’s unclear if Samsung’s existing TVs will be updated to support the feature. | Image: Samsung HDR10+ Adaptive is a new feature coming to the high dynamic range standard that’ll optimize TV picture quality based on a room’s ambient brightness, Samsung announced today. HDR content is typically designed to look its best in dark rooms with as little ambient light as possible, but the new feature promises to use your TV’s light sensor to react to bright environments and adjust its picture quality accordingly. Samsung says the feature will launch globally with its “upcoming QLED TV products.”
HDR10+ isn’t the first HDR standard to have introduced such a feature. At last year’s CES, Dolby announced Dolby Vision IQ, a new feature for its own HDR standard that similarly promises to optimize HDR content for the room it’s being watched in….
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Apple Watch leak offers rare glimpse inside ‘Ultra security program’

Image: Apple Demo New images and video purporting to show an Apple Watch prototype, concealed by a security case that resembles a tiny iPod, offer a rare look behind the product-development curtain of the notoriously secretive company built by Steve Jobs. First teased a few months ago by Twitter user Apple Demo, this is our first look at the device turned on and running Apple’s own internal development apps on a pre-watchOS 1.0 software build.
The video starts by showing what appears to be the original cardboard packaging used to deliver the prototype hardware to testers. “This product is classified as Apple Confidential and is designated an ‘Ultra’ security program,” reads the label. “This prototype MUST be returned when recalled or when your,” says the…
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The ashes of Scotty from Star Trek are aboard the International Space Station

James Doohan played Montgomery Scott in the original Star Trek TV show | Getty The ashes of the late James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery Scott on the original Star Trek television series, have been aboard the International Space Station for 12 years— and the Times of London has the fascinating backstory of how it happened. Doohan died in 2005 at the age of 85, and his family wanted to fulfill his wish of getting on the ISS.
Official requests to bring Doohan’s ashes on the ISS were denied, but Richard Garriott— one of the first private citizens to travel on the space station— managed to smuggle some of Doohan’s ashes into the space station’s Columbus module. Garriott says he took a laminated a picture of Doohan and some of his ashes and put it in under the floor of the Columbus. He didn’t tell…
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Apple iCloud sign-in and activation issue appears resolved after nearly 36 hours

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge To all of you who got a new Apple device for Christmas, congrats! But you might have had some difficulty setting up and signing in to iCloud along with other Apple users. First reported by Apple Insider, as of Saturday morning, Apple’s system status page was showing “some users affected” by an issue that began at around 4:45AM ET on December 25th.
Nearly 36 hours later, the issue appears to be over. A status update at 4:35PM ET Saturday shows the issue as “resolved.”
The issue appeared to be affecting multiple devices. The system status page didn’t show issues with any other parts of iCloud or other Apple services.
Apple Support tweeted Friday afternoon that it was aware of the issue, and said it was “experiencing a high capacity at…
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Tesla’s new Boombox feature will let car owners fart at unsuspecting neighbors

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Tesla’s new holiday update will finally give people the ability to use a new Boombox mode, which can broadcast custom audio on the outside of the car (hence the name). As is common with new Tesla features, Boombox combines real utility with lowbrow humor: owners can use fart and goat sounds in lieu of normal, boring honking sounds car horns usually make.
The mode rolled out with a number of other updates as part of Tesla’s firmware 2020.48.26 update, and is something Tesla fans have eagerly anticipated. In the new mode, which can be seen at the timestamped section in the video below, several sounds are available for Tesla owners through the Toybox section they can use in place of a regular horn: goat baaing, applause, a little “tada”…
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