After 10 years, I’ve finally accepted that ‘Half-Life’ is dead

With an ending like that, the game’s legion of fans were primed and anxious for the trilogy’s conclusion. We waited. And then waited some more. We got our hopes up, made jokes about how a full-fledged Half-Life 3 must be right around the corner, and got angry with Valve. Eventually, we knew in our hearts it was never going to happen. (Some fans are stuck on “angry,” though, and I don’t blame them.)

Valve hasn’t commented on the game in years, and the silence speaks volumes. Combine that with the departures of everyone who wrote the earlier Half-Life games, this summer’s “leak” of a detailed plot treatment for Half-Life 3 from one of those former writers, and Valve’s focus on Steam over developing games and it’s hard to imagine the series ever being revived.

One of only a few official pieces of concept art released for Half-Life 2: Episode Three

At the risk of sounding like a whiny, entitled fan, I still have a hard time letting this go. Of course, Valve owes me and other fans nothing. But there’s something especially cruel about teasing fans with an ending like the one in Episode Two and then never following through. It’s sad for the players who love the Half-Life universe and the characters that inhabit it to get no resolution. I’m talking about the in-game events, but that comment could easily apply to the way the series has been handled the past 10 years. Essentially, Valve got us to buy a game that ends two-thirds of the way through — that’s a pretty big slap in the face.

Naturally, myriad theories abound as to what happened to the franchise. Valve is notorious for its essentially flat corporate structure, something that allows for great creative freedom but also makes it easy for projects to fall by the wayside. Steam also became a huge priority at the end of the last decade, reaching a point where it basically prints money. It seems obvious that more and more resources have been devoted to it, putting more traditional game development on the back burner. Valve has significantly reduced the frequency of its new-game launches over the past five years in particular.

Much of the past five years or so has been devoted to the Steam box hardware, Steam OS and its SteamVR platform, which works in conjunction with the HTC Vive headset. Simultaneously, Valve has spent plenty of its resources pushing Dota 2, a massive multiplayer battle arena that has become one of the best-known eSports titles. The game has a massive following, and Valve has continued to put development resources into it since it launched in 2013 — it’s fair to say that Dota 2 and Steam are the company’s priorities, and it’s hard to imagine anything else getting through at this point.

Yes, it’s possible that Half-Life gets revisited at some point. There’s clearly still demand for another game in the franchise, and we’ve seen plenty of long-dead titles brought back to life. But after 10 years, I think I’ve finally reached the “acceptance” stage of grief. When I think about the formative gaming franchises in my life, the ones that really stuck with me, the ones I turn to as gaming “comfort food,” Half-Life is near the top of that list, and that’ll probably never change.

I still have a blast replaying Half-Life 2 (though the original is showing its age after almost 20 years). But the sequel still delivers a great mix of tension, action, mystery and wonder. (Also, has there ever been a better weapon in a first-person shooter than the gravity gun? I think not.) I’m just not going to expect this story to get a conclusion. But like Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2, I’m ready and waiting for the G-man to call me out of stasis again. Maybe someday I’ll wake up and smell the ashes once more.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/10/half-life-2-episode-two-10-years-later/

37,000 Chrome users downloaded a fake Adblock Plus extension

SwiftOnSecurity says the fake extension was created by a “fraudulent developer who clones popular name and spams keywords.” Indeed, it’s pretty hard to tell that it’s fake, since its developer’s name is “Adblock Plus,” and it has a considerable number of reviews.

According to one of the fake Adblock’s reviewers, he started getting invasive ads that open lots of tabs after he installed it. Unfortunately, it’s unclear what else it can do or if it has even more detrimental effects that we still don’t know of. We asked Google if it has unearthed anything about the fraudulent extension, but even if we never hear back, it may be best to re-install Adblock Plus if you notice getting random ads after downloading it.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/09/fake-adblock-plus-chrome-extension/

Deliveroo’s pop-up kitchens are ticking off local councils

As The Guardian reports, Southwark council has already told Deliveroo to suspend operations at a site in Camberwell, south London, on account of the company not having appropriate planning permission. Rooboxes are typically housed in shipping container-sized structures or pieced together inside industrial buildings. On top of the planning issue, nearby residents have complained of the nuisance and noise created by delivery vehicles buzzing around the site every night.

“The council is concerned by Deliveroo’s use of the Valmar Road trading estate as their kitchen pods are close to people’s homes, are clearly disturbing the residents and they didn’t apply for the necessary planning permission,” Southwalk Councillor Mark Williams said. “We have served a planning enforcement notice that requires Deliveroo to stop preparing and delivering food from the site. We encourage them to work with us and listen to local residents so that we can find a long-term solution.”

Southwark council is also said to be looking into another Editions site operating out of an east Dulwich car park. In Hove, residents have apparently complained about noise from delivery vehicles going to and from a local site. Deliveroo has an Editions site within a commercial building there, for which it received approval. Brighton & Hove City council has said they it’s looking at the site after fielding a retrospective planning application for modifications including additional ventilation, however.

Elsewhere, Haringey council said it hasn’t received a planning application for a site in Hornsey, north London, despite Deliveroo leasing the space already. In the Borough of Tower Hamlets, Deliveroo applied for and has been granted temporary permission to put Rooboxes in the car park of Blackwall DLR station.

Deliveroo Editions are a huge part of the company’s future expansion plans, and many are already up and running across London and beyond. In classic leap-before-you-look fashion, though, it appears Deliveroo hasn’t fully considered the consequences of dropping these delivery kitchens in car parks close to residential areas.

“We have been talking with local residents to put in place measures to deal with any concerns. Where there are issues with planning permission, we will work closely with relevant local authorities to ensure they are resolved,” a Deliveroo spokesperson told The Guardian.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/09/deliveroo-editions-council-troubles/

Scientists create ‘tooth cracker’ device to harvest stem cells

The “Tooth Cracker 5000” has a clamp that holds a tooth in place while a blade carefully cracks it. This method doesn’t damage or contaminate the pulp and results in a perfectly halved tooth — the team proved that the technique is effective by testing it on 25 teeth samples and achieving a 100 percent success rate. The scientists were able to harvest 80 percent of those sample pulps’ stem cells, which is four times more than what you could typically extract from a pulp that was extracted by drilling or shattering teeth.

Dr. James Mah, team leader and director of UNLV’s advanced education program in orthodontics, said:

“Saying the test results were promising is a gross understatement. We realized we’d invented an extraction process that produced four times the recovery success rate for viable stem cells. The potential application is enormous.”

Stem cells, as you might know, can transform into other cells and have the potential to be used as treatments for various diseases. They could turn into neurons, for instance, and be used to treat people suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. They could also turn into cells that produce insulin for patients with diabetes. Most stem cell therapies are still experimental, though. That’s why the next step for Mah and his team has something to do with preserving them: they’re thinking of developing a cryogenic process to freeze stem cells harvested from teeth for future use.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/08/tooth-cracker-stem-cells-study/

Car makers ask US officials to loosen fuel economy requirements

The brands contend that the previous administration made mistakes forecasting the cost of hitting that fuel economy target. There’s a “misalignment” between the ever-tougher requirements and a car market that’s skewing toward less fuel-efficient vehicles, the Alliance claims in its comments to the EPA. Companies contend that previous officials overestimated the ability to hit goals using “conventional technologies.” In other words, they believe that they’d have to use exotic designs to achieve their objectives.

The Alliance also calls for increased flexibility in the rules’ credit system, which lets manufacturers offset low-efficiency cars by producing hyper-efficient cars (including EVs and hybrids). Just what that flexibility entails isn’t clear, but it’s implied that companies would like either more opportunities to earn credits or for their achievements to count more.

Whether or not they’ll get any changes in the rules is another story. The current EPA leadership is close to the fossil fuel industry and has a deregulatory bent, but that won’t matter much if California continues to resist attempts to soften regulations. Like it or not, automakers have to honor the state’s rules if they expect to succeed — if they don’t, they give up sales in California and the 12 other states that follow its lead. As it is, the gripes may not amount to much. Auto giants like GM have already promised an abundance of electric cars over the next several years. They may not need to worry about reaching the 2025 goals if large portions of their lineups are fuel-free before that time.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/07/car-makers-ask-us-officials-to-loosen-fuel-economy-requirements/

Facebook aims to balance its fact-checking with a right-wing magazine

The Standard isn’t a shoe-in. Experts at Poynter still have to verify that the publication meets guidelines for not just fact-checking, but its transparency about sources and willingness to accept corrections if it ever makes a mistake. This could take several weeks. We’ve asked Facebook for comment on what’s happening and will let you know if it has something to add.

It’s easy to see some complaining that Facebook is including a different point of view for its own sake, aiming for perceived neutrality above all else. After all, existing partners tend to be sites dedicated to fact-checking (like PolitiFact or Snopes) while the Standard is a magazine that uses fact-checking to serve an agenda it wears on its sleeve.

With that said, the Standard may be one of Facebook’s better choices. It hired a new fact-checker in September, and Quartz‘s industry contacts understand the recruit was brought on with the Facebook partnership in mind. The magazine also tends to defy the party line when it doesn’t believe the facts line up, such as when it refuses to deny climate science (although it downplays doom-and-gloom predictions). In other words, this doesn’t appear to be an arbitrary pick — Facebook wants to be sure its media outlet choices can survive scrutiny, wherever they fall on the political spectrum.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/07/facebook-picks-right-wing-magazine-for-fact-checking/

How does one start playing ‘Overwatch’ as an adult?


Jessica Conditt
Senior Reporter

Hello, fellow adult. Why don’t we discuss this matter in my sitting room, over a nice glass of chardonnay? We can also talk about politics, our gluten sensitivities and how much we hate Mondays. Just like real grown-ups.

OK, that was a bit harsh — but I hope you see my point. Luckily for you, me and a ton of my friends, there’s no rule barring adults from playing Overwatch, so I hope age alone doesn’t prevent you from diving into what is truly a great game. However, there’s also no rule stopping 12-year-olds (or 56-year-olds) from calling you names when you switch from Mercy to Hanzo mid-round.

Your best bet is to just start playing! Seriously. Set aside whatever anxiety is holding you back and play. You’ll only be able to join casual matches at first, until you’ve leveled up enough to unlock the competitive mode. Plus, you can always practice against bots. By the time competitive mode unlocks, you should feel fairly comfortable with a handful of characters and eager to show off your mad skills. But, if you’re not ready for prime time, it’s perfectly fine to stick to Quick Play matches, where the stakes aren’t as high. As for the trolls, there’s an option to mute in-game chat. Done and done.

You’ll have good games and you’ll have bad games, just like everyone else. Even the obnoxious, 12-year-old Junkrat main on your team. Don’t let the fear of ridicule keep you from having a great time.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/07/ask-engadget-overwatch/

Audi’s flagship A8 has an overwhelming amount of tech

Select models pack an all-new “Audi AI active suspension,” an electronic chassis powered by a 48-volt system. That gives you dynamic all-wheel steering and a fully active electromechanical suspension that can do some interesting tricks.

For instance, the front camera can scan the road ahead and, when it detects a bump, pre-lift the body to better soak it up. Furthermore, if the 360-degree cameras detect an impending side impact, the suspension lifts the body by up to 80mm (3.1 inches) within a half second to better absorb the blow. That can reduce injuries by up to 50 percent, Audi says.

Audi demonstrated both of those tricks on its “parkour” course. First it showed how the AI electromechanical suspension lifts the car to help absorb particularly rough bumps. From within the car, a drastic speed bump that was fairly rough with the system turned off was much milder with it engaged. But the lift before impact was particularly impressive. Engineers essentially rammed a heavy box into a plexiglass shield placed in front of the A8, fooling the sensors into believing it was an oncoming car. Sure enough, the A8 rapidly lifted, as shown in the video above.

Finally, Audi demoed a system meant to prevent accidents when you exit the car. If it detects, say, a bicycle passing from the rear of the car (a hapless Audi employee drove a bike for the demo), it will temporarily block the electronic door release. During the demo, while I filmed from the front passenger seat, the journalist at the rear was unable to open his door just before the bicycle passed. From the front, however, the Audi engineer in the driver seat was able to open his door, as the bike had just cleared it. So, it’s a very finely tuned system.

The Audi A8 will come with a wide choice of engine options, including a 3.0-liter V6 with 340 horsepower, a 4.0-liter, 460-horsepower V8 and finally, the rather crazy 586-horsepower W12 (yes, that’s a “W,” because there are four banks of three cylinders). The latter engine, on top of producing crazy power, lets you switch off cylinders in mid-drive to increase gas mileage.

Eventually, you’ll see a plug-in hybrid with a 3.0-liter engine and 31-mile all-electric range. I tested the 340-horsepower V6, which had all the power I needed for passing and for climbing a twisty mountain road.

To navigate, you can put the system into “intelligent search” mode and then just start writing the name of a destination with your finger (voice and other navigation options are also available). The system was very good at picking up my scrawls, and after I entered the first few characters, it brought up a list that I could scroll through. When you first touch either of the two center screens, you get a haptic pulse as confirmation, along with an audible click.

The navigation system was impressively easy to follow, showing up on the instrument display in a large or small size, the central display and the HUD when needed, making it nearly impossible for me to get lost. (I tried, believe me.) Once during the demo, however, it went dead and refused to reboot until we called Audi and figured it out. Again, such bugs aren’t surprising for a pre-production car and will be fixed, engineers promised.

So what’s it like to drive the Audi A8 while using all this tech? In a word, overwhelming. Prior to each trip, I had an Audi engineer leaning into the car, carefully explaining all the features. As I mentioned, I was often unsure which cruise control or active drive mode was engaged, as there is a lot of info on those screens. With more time on the car, I’m sure I’d get used to it, but I found it slightly distracting.

I love technology, so it pains me to say that the Audi A8 almost has too much of it. The active driving assist, AI electromechanical suspension and self-parking features rely on brand-new and complex systems that are, by their nature, prone to bugs and breakdowns. At times, it also felt overly gadgety, with a few too many potential driving distractions.

The driving experience was lovely — it’s a beautifully quiet, stable and luxurious car with nearly flat handling and tons of power, even on the “low-end” 340-horsepower version. And Audi did stellar work with the redesign, giving it more personality and nicely remaking the last model’s boxy front end.

Audi didn’t show off the Level 3 “traffic jam pilot” in Valencia, and that feature is perhaps the best example of how Audi is really pushing it far on the tech. It’s essentially a more advanced version of the adaptive cruise assist that works at speeds from zero to 37 mph, letting you do other things like watch a movie, though you need to be ready to grab back control. Given all the infotainment options on hand, that feature could become popular in traffic jam-prone areas.

However, you must stay in one lane, and it requires clear markings and a center barrier separating you from oncoming traffic. Even if all of those conditions are met, Audi notes that it requires “both clarity regarding the legal parameters for each country and specific adaptation and testing of the system.” In other words, Audi has no control over when it will be legally allowed to activate the system, but it could be quite a while after you buy the A8.

Despite my caution, you have to give Audi credit for trying all this stuff. The 2019 A8’s tech is bound to trickle down to other Audi models and inspire rivals to do the same to compete. Introducing so many new things is pretty risky, though, so I hope both Audi — and its well-heeled drivers — can handle the challenge. It comes to Europe by the end of the year starting at €90,600, or around $103,000. As mentioned, it arrives to the US by summer of 2018, but exact US pricing isn’t yet available.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/06/audi-a8-test-drive-impressions/

The best USB-C adapters, cables, and hubs

How we picked and tested

Each type of adapter or connector we evaluated required different kinds of testing, but we were able to use some common tests across the board. Our main testing machine was a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports), with ancillary testing done using a 2016 Dell XPS 13, our pick for the best Windows ultrabook. We tested the data-transfer speed of the USB ports on hubs and adapters using our favorite flash drive from SanDisk with the AJA System Test app, repeating the test three times per device. To test USB-C–to–USB-A cables, we connected Samsung’s Portable SSD T3 (one of the fastest drives with a USB-C connection) to the Dell XPS 13 and ran CrystalDiskMark.

We tested video adapters using a Dell P2715Q (our pick for the best 4K display), Intel’s Skull Canyon NUC computer, an older VGA monitor, and a 1080p TV. We measured the refresh rate using the Blur Busters Motion Tests.

For connecting older USB gear: USB-C–to–USB-A adapter

You can use two Aukey adapters simultaneously on the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models, but it’s a tight fit. Photo: Kimber Streams

If there’s a single accessory most people with a USB-C–only computer will need, it’s a USB-C–to–USB-A adapter. Available as either a small nub or a short cable, this kind of adapter lets you connect legacy USB accessories, including flash drives and cables, that have a traditional USB-A plug. We tested nine adapters and found that they all work equally well. Our favorite nub-style adapter is Aukey’s CB-A1-2, available in a two-pack for less than $10. The plastic-bodied dongle is a little over an inch from end to end, about half an inch wide, and barely thicker than the USB plug that you’ll connect to it.

If you prefer a short cable over a nub adapter, go with Anker’s USB-C to USB 3.1 Adapter. The black cable feels sturdy and has solid housings at the ends. The advantage of a cable over a nub is that it moves the connector away from the computer a bit—about 5 inches in this case—which can make connecting bulkier devices without blocking other ports easier.

For video, USB-A, and charging from a single USB-C port

The Sanho (left) and Satechi (right) models are identical, inside and out. Photo: Kimber Streams

Our favorite adapters for adding USB-A ports, connecting to HDMI displays, and powering your computer at the same time are Sanho’s HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub and Satechi’s Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter. They’re identical in every way, including design, performance, and MSRP. Each consists of a solid-feeling aluminum block that connects to your computer via a permanently attached, 6-inch USB-C cable. On one edge are two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port—the latter only for passthrough charging—and a single HDMI port is found on the end opposite the cable. Unfortunately, each USB port provides a maximum of only 0.45 amps to connected devices, so neither adapter is well-suited for charging devices or powering bus-powered hard drives.

For video only: USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable

The Cable Matters USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable has a clip to keep the DisplayPort plug securely connected to your monitor. Photo: Kimber Streams

If you’re connecting to a DisplayPort-based monitor, you’ll need a dedicated cable—none of the adapters we tested include a DisplayPort port. (If you’ve got a MacBook with only a single USB-C port, you’ll instead need to use an HDMI-to-DisplayPort cable with one of the adapters with an HDMI port.) Every USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable we tested worked perfectly, offering a pixel-perfect image and full 60 Hz performance, even at 4K. That said, we recommend Cable Matters’s USB-C to DisplayPort 4K 60 Hz Cable if it’s available. It’s the only one of the three cables we tested that has a clip on the DisplayPort plug housing to hold the plug in place—you have to squeeze the clip to release the cable from the port.

For multiple older USB devices: USB-A hub

Photo: Kimber Streams

For those who don’t need video output but still want passthrough power and multiple ports for older peripherals, we like HooToo’s HT-UC004 Shuttle USB 3.1 Type-C Hub. It’s wider and thicker than the HDMI-equipped adapters from Satechi and Sanho, but a lot less expensive. In addition to a USB-C port that supports Power Delivery for passthrough charging, it includes three USB 3.0 ports, as well as an SD card slot—the latter something we didn’t consider necessary for this category, but a nice extra. However, as with other adapters, the HooToo’s USB ports provide only a disappointing 0.45 amps for charging—you won’t be able to charge phones or tablets at anything near full speed, and some bus-powered devices, such as hard drives, may not work properly.

For power and data between USB-C devices: USB-C–to–USB-C cable

Photo: Kimber Streams

Chance are you’ll eventually need a USB-C–to–USB-C cable for charging and connecting USB-C devices. You’ll find a ton of inexpensive options, and though we’d normally lean toward saving a few bucks on cables, that’s not worth the risk with USB-C: Some cables that don’t adhere to the USB-C specification can actually fry your computer. You should spend a little bit more to get something that’s verified to work safely with your machine.

Based on the testing he and Google engineer Benson Leung have done, Nathan K., a member of Google’s Top Contributors Program and an independent USB-C accessory tester, recommends J5Create’s JUCX01 in his accessory guide, where it’s ranked “definitely get.” We tested the cable ourselves, and though our tests weren’t as exhaustive, the cable worked well for us. It supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds of up to 10 Gbps, as well as 5-amp and 100-watt charging, and it’s USB-IF certified. Put simply, it will charge your computer as fast as possible (as long as you’re using the right charger) and will move data as fast as USB can. Every JUCX01 also has a unique serial number, so if the company ever has a recall or support issue, you’ll know if your cable is affected.

If you’re not concerned about moving data at the fastest speeds, Apple’s USB-C Charge Cable is a great charge cable that’s a bit less expensive than our top pick. (Just be sure to get model MLL82AM/A in a rectangular, not square, box.) It offers 5-amp, 100-watt charging (the most power USB-C is designed to provide), but supports only USB 2.0 data speeds, so it will be considerably slower than the J5Create if you’re transferring data.

For charging USB-C devices: USB-C charger

Photo: Kimber Streams

In 2015, PCWorld ran a test comparing USB-C chargers across different laptops and found that no single charger could even charge every computer, let alone charge them all rapidly. For this reason, we recommend using whichever charger came with your computer, or an adapter specifically recommended by your computer’s vendor. If it’s too difficult or expensive to replace your computer’s stock charger, we like Apple’s 61W USB-C Power Adapter because it’s widely available and works with many non-Apple devices. You can read about this adapter and our other recommendations in our guide to USB-C chargers.

For connecting to VGA projectors and displays: USB-C–to–VGA adapter

Photo: Kimber Streams

If you need to connect to a projector or an older monitor with a VGA connection, the best option is Kanex’s USB-C to VGA Adapter. All the adapters we tested worked equally well, pushing out 1920×1080 resolution at 60 Hz. The Kanex model is one of the least expensive we found, it comes from a very reputable brand, and it has the longest cable of any VGA adapter we tested—a longer adapter cable gives you more flexibility for connecting video cables, and reduces the stress those heavy cables put on your computer’s ports.

For connecting to HDMI monitors and TVs: USB-C–to–HDMI adapter

Photo: Kimber Streams

The best way to connect a USB-C computer to a high-definition TV or monitor, even at 4K resolution, is to use Anker’s USB-C to HDMI Adapter. All five of the adapters we found that promise a 60 Hz refresh rate worked as advertised. The Anker is our pick because it’s fairly inexpensive, it has a nice metal body, and it works with the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro. Some other models either explicitly warn that they don’t work with the newest Macs or have customer reviews claiming as much.

For connecting to legacy chargers and older computers and peripherals: USB-C–to–USB-A cable

If you’d like to connect a USB-C device to an older computer or charger that has only USB-A ports, you’ll need a USB-C–to–USB-A cable. If you’re concerned more about charging speeds than data-transfer speeds, we recommend Anker’s PowerLine USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable. Much like Anker’s Micro-USB and Lightning versions of the cable, this one features a simple design and good construction at an affordable price. We saw power draw approaching 3 amps when we plugged it into a high-amperage USB-A port, and its data speeds were on a par with every other USB 3.0 cable we tested.

At this point, very few devices support the 10 Gbps data rate that USB 3.1 Gen 2 cables can offer, so we don’t think most people need to spend the extra money on a Gen 2 cable. If you can take advantage of those speeds or would like to future-proof, we recommend Google’s USB-C to USB-A Cable. It matches the charging rates we’d expect, and though we measured read speeds of 3.49 Gbps and write speeds of 3.32 Gbps on the USB 3.1 Gen 1 Samsung T3, it’ll theoretically support faster speeds with faster devices. The build quality is also really nice: The cable is thinner than that of many other models, and the well-designed strain-relief collars should help prevent breakage over time. It even has a built-in plastic clip for keeping the cable coiled.

For connecting to DVI displays and projectors: DVI adapter

We found only a handful of DVI adapters that claim to handle 1920×1080 resolution at 60 Hz, and the best among them is StarTech’s USB-C to DVI Cable. Unlike the other adapters we tested, this one doesn’t require a separate DVI cable: It has a USB-C plug on one end and a male DVI connector on the other. In our tests, the resolution and refresh rate were exactly as promised.

If you need an adapter with a female DVI connection, Cable Matters’s USB 3.1 Type C to DVI Adapter also did well in our tests, but reviews on Amazon suggest issues with some MacBook Pro models.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/06/the-best-usb-c-adapters-cables-and-hubs-for-old-accessories/

Trump’s chief of staff reportedly used ‘compromised’ phone for months

Of the many questions this situation raises, two stand out: Was any data on Kelly’s personal phone obtained, and if so, was it in any way sensitive? Since the affected device was Kelly’s personal phone, it’s possible that there was no valuable information on it to obtain. The chief of staff mostly used his government-issued phone for official communications since joining the Trump administration, though it’s clearly not impossible for senior White House officials to use their personal phones for official business. Still, a White House spokesperson told Politico that Kelly hadn’t used his personal phone “often” after taking over as chief of staff, implying that it did happen from time to time.

The report raises the possibility that Kelly kept information pertaining to his previous gig as the Secretary of Homeland Security on the phone, but neither he nor anyone else related to the incident has commented on what’s actually on the device.

Still other specifics remain similarly vague. Despite “several days” of testing, there is currently no word on how the attack was carried out. It’s also unclear what kind of phone Kelly was using as a personal device, though he has been seen using an iPhone in the past. This matters more than you might think: older devices are eventually dropped from manufacturer support schedules so they typically don’t get new software and security updates, making them more vulnerable to attacks that new phones would better resist. The exact timing of the hack also remains unclear, and while a memo detailing the incident was distributed to administration staff, no one within the White House seems ready to assign blame just yet.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/05/white-house-chief-of-staff-john-kelly-compromised-phone/