Vivaldi’s Accordion tab stacks expwhen you need them hide when you don’t

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At the start of June, Vivaldi released its 4.0 update, which added features like a translation tool to the privacy-focused browser. Its new 4.1 update is a smaller release but still adds a handful of handy features, including a new way to organize tabs.

Like Chrome, Vivaldi allows you to group multiple tabs to restore some semblance of order to your tab bar. In Vivaldi, those groups are called stacks. Before 4.1, you had two ways of using them. You could opt for either the compact view or the two-level one. In the latter case, the browser adds a bar that displays the tabs you have in that stack. The compact view, by contrast, only hints at the number of websites you have pinned to the same group.

Vivaldi

The new “Accordion” stacks Vivaldi is introducing today give you a third option that is something of a compromise between its two siblings. The icon that represents the group will automatically expwhen you click on it. Instead of on a second bar, you’ll see all the included tabs to the right of that icon. In that way, you can get context about your tabs without them taking up an entire extra element of the interface.

The other major feature the company is adding with 4.1 is called commchains. In Vivaldi, you can press “F2” (or “CommE” on Mac) to bring up a command-line interface, allowing you to quickly access most features without digging through the menu for the relevant option. Commchains allow you to group multiple actions assign a name to them. Typing the name of the chain in the comminterface will execute the included actions in a sequence. With more than 200 actions available, you have a lot of flexibility. For instance, you can create one that enables both fullscreen reading modes at the same time. You can also assign the sequences you make to a custom keyboard shortcut or mouse gesture.

Outside of those features, 4.1 adds a timer in reader view that estimates how long it should take you to work your way through an article. Lastly, the browser’s Windows client will now install new features in the background automatically. There’s an option to turn off “silent updates” in the settings menu. You can try Vivaldi 4.1 today.

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Rivian reportedly plans to invest $5 billion in its second US assembly plant

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Last week, news leaked out that Rivian was planning to build a second US manufacturing plant for its electric vehicles batteries, now more details have leaked out. The company plans to invest $5 billion initially in the second plant, dubbed Project Tera, with construction slated to start in the fall of 2021, according to Reuters. The aim is to begin production by the second quarter of 2023. 

The second plant will reportedly include a 50 gigawatt-hour (GWh) battery cell production operation a product technology center. There’s no word on where it’ll be built, but the company is reportedly looking at least of Mesa, Arizona, near Gold Canyon, according to Reuters‘ sources. Rivian Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe has reportedly spoken with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey about the project.

Rivian previously acknowledged that it’s looking to expand. “The company has recognized that future production product plans will not be fully met by the current capacity at Rivian’s Normal, Illinois facility,” it said in the document seen by Reuters

The plant would supposedly support around 10,000 jobs, though many of those could come indirectly. For a startup that has so far not produced a single vehicle, however, the investment job figures would be impressive. Rivian is backed by Ford, Amazon other companies could reportedly soar to a $50 billion value in a possible public listing later this year, according to Reuters’ previous story. 

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Nintendo is shutting down ‘Dr. Mario World’ on November 1st

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Nintendo transformed its Mario Kart Pokemon franchises into successful mobile spinoffs, but it looks like another title didn’t fare as well. The company has announced that it’s ending service of Dr. Mario World, a mobile version of its highly successful Dr. Mario NES game, on November 1st. It will also end sales of “diamonds” used to buy buy more time, pills power-ups starting tomorrow, July 29th. 

Much like the original, Dr. Mario World is a Tetris-style game that lets you use pills to zap viruses of the same color. Unlike the original, however, everything moves upward so it’s more natural to flick things around with one hon a mobile screen. The mobile game also has a multiplayer mode so you can get friends involved. 

The game was developed by Nintendo in conjunction with Line, Japan’s ultra-popular mobile messaging app. It launched on July 10th, 2019, just a hair over two years ago. Nintendo is keeping a vestige of the game on a web page called “Dr. Mario World Memories” that will allow players to look back on their history once the service ends. 

Nintendo launched another mobile, Mario Kart Tour, with multiplayer support in early 2020. That title has reportedly been downloaded 200 million times seen relatively high earnings for the company. Its most successful mobile game by far, however, is Fire Emblem Heroes, which had reportedly netted up to $656 million as of February, 2020. Nintendo didn’t say why it shut down Dr. Mario World, but it wasn’t doing great compared to other titles shortly after launch, according to a SensorTower report from early 2020. 

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Leading the charge! Can I make it from Land’s End to John o’Groats in an electric car? | Electric, hybrid low-emission cars

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Range anxiety hits hard on the A9 in the Highlands of Scotland. For the uninitiated, this is the fear that an electric vehicle (EV) won’t reach its destination before running out of power. I’m driving through some of Britain’s loveliest landscape – mountains, rivers, lochs firths – but I hardly notice. I’m focused hard – on the road in front, but mainly on two numbers on the dashboard. One is how far it is in miles to where I’m going; the other is the range in miles remaining in the battery. Sometimes, especially on downhill stretches when what is known as “regenerative braking” means the battery is getting charged, I tell myself it’s going to be OK, I’ll make it. But going uphill the range plummets. Squeaky bum time.

Plus, I’ve read Michel Faber’s Under the Skin. I know what happens to men stranded on the A9. To range anxiety add the fear of being processed eaten by aliens.

It’s the hottest day of the year so far, but I can’t risk the air conditioning, because that immediately wipes about 10% off the range. I’ve heard that opening windows makes a car less aerodynamic, so they remain closed. Sweaty bum time, too. Driving as gently as possible, nursing the car along, barely touching the accelerator or the brake, phone unplugged, radio off, I head north in sweltering, silent panic. Guilt-free, though, on account of being emissions-free at the tailpipe.

I find myself behind a lorry. I tuck in behind, into its slipstream. Potential salvation by Alsop Transport Services of Oban, Argyll. I’m going to surf this baby all the way home. Well, hopefully, all the way to John o’Groats, because that is where I’m heading.

I should say that the predicament I find myself in has less to do with the car I’m driving (a Škoda Enyaq; brilliant) or Britain’s infrastructure for charging EVs (extensive, not brilliant; we’ll come to that) more about my organisation skills (even less brilliant). Most of the EV charging points in Scotlare run by ChargePlace Scotland. To use them, you sign up they send you a card to operate the machines. I signed up, but not in time to get the card, so I’m relying on the few charging points not run by ChargePlace Scotland. Well, it will make it more of a challenge, I thought.

A range-anxiety inducing readout on Sam’s electric car. Photograph: Sam Wollaston/The Guardian

I’m driving my Enyaq, a family SUV, from Land’s End to John o’Groats. Why? Several reasons. Of the 30m cars on UK roads, only about 250,000 are purely electric, but that number is going up fast. The Society of Motor Manufacturers Traders released figures in July showing that sales of new electric cars had jumped 50% in the previous month. EVs will outsell petrol diesel models by about 2025. The government ban on new petrol diesel cars has been brought forward, from 2040 to 2030. “However attached you are to your old car, 2030 is coming fast you’ll be left with a car with no value,” warns Prof Liana Cipcigan of the Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Cardiff University. If you get a new car, it’s increasingly likely to be an electric one. Perhaps you’ve got one already, you’re about to head off on a UK holiday in it you’re worried. I’m here for you: driving the longest possible route in the country to see if it’s feasible.

It’s not my Enyaq: it has been loaned to me by Škoda. This one costs £34,495 to buy, including a £2,500 government grant. Still a fair old whack, but EVs are expensive: even a little Renault Zoe costs £27,500. The cheapest Tesla is more than 40 grand.

EVs are much cheaper to run than other cars, though. Research by the price comparison website Uswitch found that, if you charge at home, you can squeeze 2,380 miles (3,830km) out of a Nissan Leaf E+ for £50. Compare that with only 443 miles for a similar-sized VW Golf. Edmund King, the president of the AA, says that service costs should be lower, too, because EVs are simpler. “The main things are tyres brakes – there’s very little else in the vehicle. Initially, insurance was expensive, but that seems to be coming down. You don’t pay Vehicle Excise Duty, London congestion charge is free [until December 2025], some authorities give you incentives to park.” He also says that lots of people get EVs on leases, because of uncertainty about battery life rapidly changing technology.

Sam charging his car at Land’s End.
Sam charging his car at Land’s End. Photograph: Jenna Foxton/The Guardian

Enough background facts. You want to hear more about my epic journey, right?

Land’s End is a miserable place: expensive parking before you queue up to pay more to have your photo taken by a signpost. But, more importantly, there is a rapid charger there (Gridserve, 30p/kWh). I can get from low up to 80% in about half an hour, as opposed to hours on a slow charger or at home. So I get a top-up charge. Plus a discharge, from a gull, right on the bonnet – splat. Not an EV fan, apparently. Before the charge, however, I have to wait 45 minutes for a glamorous couple charging their glamorous Tesla. They came down from London, charging it once on the way, although they say they could have done it in one. Yeah, all right, move along now. One of the really annoying things about Teslas is that they have their own special superchargers, sometimes at the same site; other stations are for Teslas only. We, by which I mean non-Tesla EV plebs, can’t use them, whereas they can use ours.

I also meet Amanda Mike, who have come from York in their electric Kia, having traded in their petrol car for environmental reasons. They get 270 miles on a charge, less in winter. They could have done the journey with one stop, but they put in another. That seems to be a thing among EV drivers: slipping in a cheeky little extra charge, to fend off the anxiety. King doesn’t think range anxiety should be an issue. With new EVs capable, on average, of 200 miles, “that’s going to cover the vast majority of people’s journeys. At the AA, in terms of breakdowns for EVs, only 4% are running out of charge.” Careful, Edmund, I can always bump up that figure a bit.

The Enyaq is nice to drive – quiet, quick when you want it to be – but EVs do make you drive slowly. It’s all about the range. Because I’m new to this, I didn’t do any planning, like where to spend the night. So I spent my first in the car, in a car park on the outskirts of Gloucester, a little Nomadlre-enactment. Here, I cannot recommend the Enyaq. Although the back seats fold down to make quite a big space, there is an annoying step, so I end up reclining the front passenger seat, like on an overnight flight (remember them?).

Back on the M5, then the M6, more encounters. In Carlisle, I meet Anne-Marie from Newcastle, who is having a weekend away from the kids to go swimming in Ullswater. She loves her five-year-old Nissan Leaf, but gets a range of only 80 miles, so she is stopping off to charge. She drives to work used to spend £175 a month on diesel in her old Audi; now it’s more like £25 on charging. But she is starting a new job next week, 85 miles away from home, so Anne-Marie needs to get a new car. What is she going to get? A new-generation Leaf.

‘EV drivers have screens full of apps’ ...
‘EV drivers have screens full of apps’ … Photograph: Jenna Foxton/The Guardian

At Gretna, I meet Sarah Phil from Sheffield, on the way to Hamilton races, although they are going to miss the first race because they are having problems charging their Jaguar I-Pace. The charger at home was tripping all the circuits in the house, so they had to have that fixed. “Then trying to find a superfast charger when you’re out about is not always possible, because they don’t always work,” says Sarah. Phil says too many companies offer charging: “It should have been three or four franchises from the government it should have all gone on one app.” It’s a common complaint: that the charging infrastructure is confusing frustrating – some are fast, others slow, some require an app (EV drivers have screens full of apps), some don’t work at all.

My own experience reflects this. In Perth, for example, I identify a BP Pulse point. “Ultra fast charging here,” says the big sign, which, after crossing the Cairngorms, is like reaching an oasis in the desert (I’m limited in my Scottish charging, remember – entirely my own fault). Guess what, though? It doesn’t bloody work. Is it a contactless issue? I download the app, open an account, put £20 on it, try again. The man on the helpline reboots the machine, twice. Still no joy. BP No Pulse, I’m calling it. BP Clinically Dead. If you’re reading, BP Pulse, you owe me £20.

I have more joy from Ionity round the corner (I soon learn that you always need a backup). That said, on the way back, at the same place, I have problems with the payment the woman on the helpline gives me a charge on the house. This happens twice on my trip. It’s my No 1 EV tip: always call the hotline. In short, while the physical infrastructure might be there, it’s not quite functioning in an anxiety-free way.

I have quickly become part of the EV community – well intentioned mostly friendly, but a tiny bit dull. We chat as we charge: about our range, about our favourite least favourite charging companies. We mostly use the Zap-Maps app, which shows where all the charging points are lets us plan. There isn’t a lot of room for spontaneity with an EV. A sign to Alton Towers? The Lakes? Or Stirling Castle … No waytime for a visit, because it would mean leaving the route, messing with the plan. Thelma Louise II: The EV Sequel is going to be a very different and, I think, inferior movie.

But hey, I’m feeling good about saving the planet. I have no emissions coming from my tailpipe – I don’t even have one. Of course, my electricity has to be generated somehow. Currently, that is about 43% renewable in the UK going up all the time. Plus, the car has to be made maintained – there are issues about the mining of lithium cobalt for batteries. It’s not perfect, but EVs are better than petrol or diesel cars. The sale of hybrids will also end in 2030 – or 2035 if they can travel a significant, yet-to-be-decided distance with zero tailpipe emissions.

Sam charging his Skoda
Photograph: Jenna Foxton/The Guardian

When we got a new car (not new-new) a year or so ago, we thought about getting an electric one. But, like 35% of the country’s drivers, we have no off-street parking; we wouldn’t be able to plug in at home. This, says King, is the area that most needs to be addressed. He mentions lamp-post charge points, already available in some places, ducts that go under pavements, empty office blocks where local people could come charge up cheaply at night. It is getting better – will continue to do so.

But then I speak to Prof Mike Berners-Lee at Lancaster University, a carbon footprint expert the author of How Bad Are Bananas?. You know those stingers – the spike strips that the police use to stop cars by puncturing their tyres? Well, Berners-Lee throws one of them across my path – metaphorically speaking, not across the actual A9.

He mentions the burden that the huge increase in EVs will have on the power grid. “If you look at the marginal demfor electricity, it’s not met through extra renewables – that capacity is met through gas.” Boo. The surge in electric cars might make it harder for the grid to decarbonise. “It’s not going to put up solar panels wind turbines faster – we’re already doing that foot to the floor, this country has a limited capacity for all that, anyway.”

Cipcigan at Cardiff University agrees that the EV revolution will be challenging to the grid, but argues that it will also offer opportunities. She mentions charging that doesn’t affect the grid in the evening, how EVs could help with one of the issues with solar – when there is too much power on sunny days. “Electric vehicles could charge in those periods, use up the extra generated. This service could be offered to fleets vans.”

Berners-Lee isn’t against electric cars – he has just got himself a seven-year-old Renault Zoe. The need for road transport to stop using fossil fuels has never been greater. But he is not convinced that electric was the right way to go. I think I know what is coming: the H word. One of the problems with electricity is that it can’t be produced very far from where it’s needed. Hydrogen, by contrast, could be manufactured using solar power, in the Australian desert, say, then compressed transported to where it needs to go. “There’s less environmental burden than from batteries, quicker charging time, a smaller re-engineering job on the cars themselves [a hydrogen combustion engine isn’t so different from a petrol one], it allows us to get some of our primary energy from thousands of miles away.”

In the race between E H on the road to transport decarbonisation, maybe the wrong car got ahead. “Elon Musk has won the argument. But he is promoting space tourism, which is the most ridiculous unnecessary thing you could think of,” says Berners-Lee. Another reason to hate Teslas.

Certainly, he says, hydrogen makes sense with bigger vehicles – vans lorries, where a battery would have to be way too big. But none of this is helping me right now. One day, the Alsop Transport Services lorry in front of me will hopefully run on hydrogen. But that infrastructure certainly isn’t there. And I’m in an electric car, possibly feeling a bit less smug about it, but mainly still anxious about whether I’m going to make it to my destination.

Made it ... Sam at his final destination.
Made it … Sam at his final destination. Photograph: Sam Wollaston/The Guardian

I spend another night in the car, in a fishing village 50 miles short of John o’Groats. To the people of Helmsdale, I apologise for my alarm, which kept going off throughout the night; the car thought I was stealing it, from the inside. In the early morning, I set off on the final leg, gently milking the Enyaq’s battery of its remaining charge. No lorry today, but the terrain gets flatter, the anxiety eases it becomes clear that I’m probably going to make it.

Which I do, with six miles to spare. I’ve done 231 miles since the last charge in Perth, 843 miles from Land’s End, about 290kWh in total, if that means anything to you, which has cost me about £88. Charging at home, at low tariff rates, would have been much less. There is another signpost for picture opportunities at John o’Groats: nothing to pay, no queue, oystercatchers instead of gulls. And, best of all, a working EV charger.

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WoW will remove ‘inappropriate references’ following California lawsuit

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The official World of Warcraft Twitter account has announced that it will take immediate action to “remove references that are not appropriate for [its] world.” While it didn’t elaborate on what those references are, they may pertain to in-game elements connected to its senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi, as Kotaku has noted. Afrasiabi was singled out in the lawsuit filed by California authorities accusing Activision Blizzard of fostering a “frat boy” culture that’s become a “breeding ground for harassment discrimination against women.”

According to the lawsuit, Afrasiabi is known for hitting on touching female employees inappropriately in plain view of other male employees who would try to intervene stop him. He apparently has such a notorious reputation within the company that his suite was nicknamed the “Crosby Suite after alleged rapist Bill Crosby.”(The lawsuit has misspelled Bill Cosby’s name.) In addition, executives allegedly knew about his behavior but “took no effective remedial measures.” Blizzard President J. Allen Brack talked to him a few times, the lawsuit reads, but gave Afiasiabi a slap on the wrist for the incidents.

Activision Blizzard denied the accusations in the lawsuit said it “includes distorted, in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past” in its initial response. Executive Vice President Fran Townsend told employees in a memo that the lawsuit “presented a distorted untrue picture of [the] company, including factually incorrect, old out of context stories.”

A group of over 800 Activision Blizzard employees decried the company’s response to the accusations as “abhorrent insulting.” They wrote in an open letter: “Categorizing the claims that have been made as ‘distorted, in many cases false’ creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims.” At least 50 employees working in the company’s main office in California are now planning a walkout on Wednesday to protest the company’s actions to dembetter working conditions for women.

In WoW’s announcement, it said the decision to remove inappropriate elements was made in order to rebuild trust. It admitted that it must earn people’s trust with its “actions in the weeks months to come,” though it didn’t say what other steps the company intends to take in response to the lawsuit’s allegations. 

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