Korg is working on a new DIY digital synth, no soldering required

According to a report from Sonicstate, the device is part of a product line called Nu:Tekt, a group of DIY gear from Korg that you assemble yourself. On a website for Nu:Tekt, there are two devices listed: a headphone amp and an overdrive pedal, both of which use Korg’s Nutube vacuum tube technology. Nutube tech is also the star of Korg’s recently announced Volca Nubass analog synth. However, it doesn’t look like this potentially new entry into the Nu:Tekt line has a Nutube inside, based on the early demos we’ve seen.

The NTS1 Digital Kit can be assembled without any soldering, so all you have to do is put it together and turn a few screws. It’s also based on the custom digital oscillator found in the Prologue and Minilogue XD, a key feature that’s part of what makes those synths unique. The design is also reminiscent of the small Korg Monotron and Monotribe synths. This new kit appears to be much more capable than those instruments. For example, this Nu:Tekt synth has 16 custom oscillator slots that you can fill with whatever sonic creations you can come up with.

Korg is no stranger to DIY synths. In 2014, the company debuted an MS-20 kit that allowed you to assemble a version of its iconic synth at home. Again, the company is only saying this Nu:Tekt synth is a prototype at this stage, but according to reports from Superbooth, Korg may ship the NTS1 this fall. And it could do so for $100 or less, which is kind of nuts when you hear what this little box can do.


WhatsApp call exploit let attackers slip spyware on to phones

While the perpetrators haven’t been identified, there are suspicions that it may be a Middle Eastern country trying to clamp down on criticism of its human rights practices. There was a failed attempt on May 12th to compromise the phone of a UK-based human rights lawyer who helped a Saudi dissident in Canada and helped sue NSO for allegedly sharing in the liability of actions perpetrated by its customers. NSO pitches its software to Middle Eastern intelligence agencies, and rights activists in the region have previously received text messages attempting to install Pegasus on their devices.

WhatsApp has alerted human rights groups and the US Justice Department. It also said the effort had “all the hallmarks” of a private company that works with governments to push spyware. NSO, however, rejected the notion that it was involved. “Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology,” the company said. It further claimed it screened customers and investigated abuse, including the attack on the UK lawyer.

The flaw should be fixed as you read this. WhatsApp delivered a server-side fix on May 10th, and release patched versions of its apps on May 13th. However, that doesn’t address accusations that companies like NSO, Hacking Team and others have knowingly sold spyware to countries with histories of cracking down on dissidents. There are efforts to curtail these relationships, such as an imminent challenge to NSO Group’s export abilities on May 15th. Unless those efforts are successful, though, it may be difficult to prevent spyware campaigns like this.

Lyft also trying out PIN-based airport pickups in Portland

The feature could help traffic congestion at PDX, which has had trouble dealing with the surge of rideshare use at the airport. “Frequently, it is congested along the curb and can be quite challenging for riders to find their drivers,” said PDX’s Landside Operations Senior Manager Michael Huggins in a press release.

Hunting for your assigned car outside a crowded arrivals terminal while dozens of others do the same is a recipe for disaster. Many airports have either moved Uber and Lyft to designated pickup areas or banned them altogether. But standing in a line for an Uber or Lyft sounds pretty similar to standing in line for an airport taxi, as some on social media pointed out. Given the mess rideshare is causing in most airports, a more efficient method of organizing cars and passengers may be what’s needed. At least with a designated line, riders don’t have to deal with the anxiety of canceled rides or waiting for drivers to find them.

Trump administration proposes another $1.6 billion for Moon efforts

The amended budget will need to clear both sides of Congress before it can take effect. Whether or that happens isn’t certain. This assumes no objections to the budget that lead to it dying in the House or the Senate, whether or not they pertain to spaceflight — a wholly independent issue could sink the administration’s lunar ambitions.

There are also unanswered questions about the funding. It’s not certain if this is a one-time cost or will carry over to future years, and some in Congress might balk if this is a hint of increases to come. There’s no question that a crewed trip to the Moon will be expensive, though — so long as the 2024 goal is on the table in the first place, it may be difficult to keep costs down.

WarnerMedia may stream show debuts before they reach TV

WarnerMedia, which owns HBO, TNT, TBS, CNN, Adult Swim and other channels, plans to launch its streaming service in 2020, with a beta version scheduled for later this year. It’s unclear which shows will get a streaming debut. The vast number of shows that now fall under WarnerMedia’s umbrella include TBS’s The Detour and Search Party, as well as Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty.

With its new streaming service, Warner is facing some stiff competition from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime as well as Disney’s upcoming streaming service. With Game of Thrones and Veep wrapping up this year, Warner’s HBO will be losing two of its biggest hits. Adding perks — such as the chance to see shows before they air on cable — may get more viewers on board with the streaming service.

Lenovo is working on a ThinkPad with a foldable display

The pen was responsive, though I generally find Samsung’s S Pen smoother. I felt some slight drag when scrawling letters on the 4:3 screen, but given we were only using an early prototype, I hope this will get better by the time the ThinkPad launches.

The device isn’t just for you to use in your hands, of course. Like a conventional laptop, the foldable ThinkPad can sit on a desk with its screen propped up to face you. Lenovo integrated a kickstand into the PC’s back so you can prop it up to use it in All In One mode. In this configuration, connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you can use the computer as a 13-inch desktop.

You can also fold the screen and set it up at a right angle so the bottom half of the device rests on the table while the top half of the display faces you. This is Laptop Mode, and it devotes the lower third of the panel to an onscreen keyboard you can use to fire off emails and tweets. Using the machine this way felt familiar, and very similar to Lenovo’s dual-screen Yoga Book laptops that replace keyboards with a touch-sensitive panel or e-ink display. It isn’t an ideal setup to get a lot of work done, but if you need a proper keyboard you can always connect one over Bluetooth.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 foldable concept PC

There will be other connectivity options available like USB C and A, but as Lenovo hasn’t finalized the system, we don’t know what the actual array of ports will be yet. The company did tell us that the foldable will pack an Intel chipset and that it’ll be an always connected PC, meaning you’ll have a cellular radio onboard. It’s also targeting a day’s worth of battery life, and will pack things like dual speakers and a Windows Hello-friendly pair of webcams.

There wasn’t much else we could check out on the prototype — we watched some videos and browsed a few websites and the display was as vivid as most laptops today are. Since the foldable is meant to be a ThinkPad X1 product, Lenovo said it will have to meet rigorous durability and quality standards, so it should be well-made by the time it launches. The company also hinted at some features that would make the device better for multitasking on the go, but did not want to share details that could tip off competitors.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 foldable concept PC

Though the prototype is basic, it offered a tantalizing taste of what a foldable PC could be. The design and bendable display were eye-catching and I love the idea of a laptop the size of a paper notebook. Without giving it a thorough try out in the real world, though, it’s hard to judge how well such a format might actually work. I’m not sold on the durability of the display and the utility of a laptop without an attached physical keyboard. Lenovo has until next year to make a foldable that’s as capable and useful as it is unique. In the meantime, the company’s competitors have plenty of time to catch up and offer their own takes on the foldable PC. Hopefully, that means we’ll be checking out an intriguing slate of new laptops with bendable screens soon.

Boost Mobile informs customers about a data breach — two months ago

Boost Mobile did not say how many people were affected by the breach. Engadget reached out to Sprint for additional information and will update this story if we hear back. As noted by TechCrunch, Boost Mobile notified California’s attorney general of the breach, an action that is required if more than 500 people in the state are affected by a security incident.

Details as to how a hacker apparently accessed the customer data was not provided by Boost. However, the company said the stolen information was used to login to user accounts through Boost’s website. Once in a customer’s account, the attacker could change settings. In response to the breach, Boost has provided affected customers with a temporary PIN sent via text that they can use to access their account. The breach comes less than a year after security researchers discovered a set of logins that made it possible to access limited sets of data belonging to Boost and Virgin Mobile customers.

Spotify tests a version of Stories for artists

Storyline is in testing for some Android and iOS users as we write this, although Spotify wouldn’t tell TechCrunch if or when the feature might be widely available. The company is “always testing” new experiences, a spokesperson said. You’re most likely to see attached to songs from pop artists like Billie Eilish, MAX and the Jonas Brothers.

The addition would give Spotify a form of original material beyond the occasional album exclusive. It could also make the app more relevant for a generation that has practically grown up with Stories in many of their apps. That, in turn, could keep Spotify ahead of Apple Music, where the context for a song is usually limited to editors’ notes and the occasional Beats 1 interview.

The App Store isn’t a monopoly ‘by any metric’

In the statement, shared by 9to5Mac, Apple added, “the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric.” According to the company, the App Store is the “safest, most secure and trusted platform for customers.” Apple also reiterated that developers set the price they want to charge, and noted that the majority of apps are free, in which case Apple gets nothing from them.

The court’s decision today is far from a final ruling, so we will have to wait to see how this plays out. Engadget has reached out to Apple for comment.

Apple’s full statement is below:

“Today’s decision means plaintiffs can proceed with their case in District court. We’re confident we will prevail when the facts are presented and that the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric.

We’re proud to have created the safest, most secure and trusted platform for customers and a great business opportunity for all developers around the world. Developers set the price they want to charge for their app and Apple has no role in that. The vast majority of apps on the App Store are free and Apple gets nothing from them. The only instance where Apple shares in revenue is if the developer chooses to sell digital services through the App Store.

Developers have a number of platforms to choose from to deliver their software – from other apps stores, to Smart TVs to gaming consoles – and we work hard every day to make sure our store is the best, safest, and most competitive in the world.”

Apple Pay will support NFC stickers on scooters and parking meters

Bonobos reportedly plans to place the tags — which will be applied like stickers — on its clothing racks. To make a purchase, users will simply tap their iPhones on a tag. The purchases won’t require a third-party app, and the items will be delivered to users’ homes. Similarly, users would be able to tap stickers on scooters or parking meters to pay. The feature could roll out later this year, and we’ll likely hear more about it at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference next month.

According to NFC World, other retailers — including Dairy Queen, Dave & Buster’s, Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread, Yogurtland and Jimmy John’s — are working on new ways to use Apple’s NFC capabilities, including signing members up for their loyalty programs. And this could pave the way for more universities and transit systems to adopt Apple’s NFC capabilities, too.