What’s in your bag, Dani Deahl?

What’s in Your Bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. This week, we’re featuring Verge tech reporter Dani Deahl.

I didn’t realize how much stuff I carry with me until I had to unpack my bag for this piece. I’ve been a traveling DJ for over a decade and so I’ve learned, over time, the varying bits and pieces I need to account for the “what ifs” that can happen while at gigs, nightclubs, or festivals. DJ rule number one — always carry a USB, even if you’re not planning to DJ!

Aside from that, my setup is both functional and sentimental. Looking at everything, I think the way I curate my objects is so they serve a purpose, but also remind me of a memory. Tiny breadcrumbs of my travels and my life can be found throughout. Why have a regular-ass pen when I can have a pen I won with my husband in a Hong Kong arcade? I don’t get to see many of my friends often and there are times I’m away from home for long stretches, so it helps to carry pieces of both.

Ozuko owl backpack

I got this bag at the Ladies’ Market in Hong Kong a few years ago. My husband’s family is from Hong Kong and we travel there yearly to see them. The markets are always a necessary visit, and it helps that he speaks Cantonese and haggles for me. Owl bags became popular in the markets around this time and there were several lookalikes, but this one by Ozuko was my favorite. It’s starting to fall apart — I’ve re-sewn a couple of the interior pockets that have torn — but I’m not ready to let go of it yet. I know I likely won’t be able to replace it since it’s made by a Guangzhou-based wholesaler, so I’m trying to take care of it for as long as I can.

The pins are all pretty special to me. There’s one from Fake Shore Drive’s 10th anniversary event (yay, Chicago!), a Roland 808, one for a local party called Porn & Chicken, and one I got at Japanese toy store Rotofugi. On it, a little creature is sitting with ice cream that’s fallen off the cone and it says “no cry” — I adore it because this has happened to me as an adult. One summer I was having a horrible, no good, very bad day and decided to treat myself when I heard the ice cream truck come down my street. Just as the cone was handed to me from the window, the ice cream fell off with a splat. After a moment I couldn’t help but start to laugh. No cry.

13-INCH APPLE MACBOOK AIR (EARLY 2015)

Like near everyone else who has done a “What’s in your bag,” this is the laptop that was given to me when I started at The Verge. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d like using the Air — I had always used varying sizes of MacBook Pros, but now, especially carrying it with me everywhere, I appreciate its slim, lightweight design. I’ve been converted.

Anker chargers and various cables

I carry both the Anker PowerCore II 20000 and a smaller, pocket-sized Anker PowerCore 5000. I travel a lot, so the PowerCore II 20000 stays in my backpack as a backup for long hauls, and then I generally slip the PowerCore 5000 in my jacket pocket if I know I’ll be out all night or at a festival. Earlier this year I went to Marrakech which took almost 24 hours over three flights and these chargers were a lifesaver. The cables are what they are. I like keeping them (and most collections of smaller things) in sunglass pouches — they’re the perfect size.

The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop

I forget who recommended this book to me, but it’s a monster that clocks in at 688 pages. It’s so physically large it takes up the bulk of my backpack space so when I got it, I kept finding excuses to not commit to reading it. I shelved it (I have all my books displayed at home on spine bookcases), but I kept eyeing the title every time I walked by. Recently I thought, “okay, you’re going to do this.” I’m glad I did.

The book follows the story of hip-hop from Harlem in the 1960s all the way through its current domination in mainstream and pop culture. The guy who wrote it, Dan Charnas, spent seven years working for Rick Rubin, and gives a true behind-the-scenes look at just how hard people had to work, not just at their craft as musicians, but at dismantling politics at play outside of the public view. In the chapter I’m on: “But even in 1984, the market for videos by black artists remained dismal, mainly because MTV, with few exceptions, refused to play their videos … The network was founded by men who came out of 1970s radio, when black artists had been jettisoned from FM stations with the rationale that the broadcasters’ white male target audience didn’t like soul and funk music.”

Random on-the-go bits

These sunglasses are the only pair I ever wear. They’re from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles — my family took me there for my birthday last year and they were an impulse buy in the gift shop. I’m really, really good at losing sunglasses so I bought two. The Go Cubes I totally stole from Natt Garun’s desk. They’re chewable coffee cubes and each one has 50 milligrams of caffeine. It’s not exactly fun to eat them — the cubes are bitter and don’t taste the best, but they do give me a slight boost. Now I keep a couple packs with me so I always have access to a pick-me-up no matter where I am.

The little robot was given to me by my husband. It’s the most adorable audio splitter there ever was! The head pops off to reveal an 1/8 jack and the eyes are inputs. We use it to watch movies together on flights, and it came in handy when I was visiting The Verge office, letting me noodle around with chained pieces of audio equipment without disturbing anyone. The V-Moda Zn in-ear headphones I keep as a backup pair. They don’t take up any space, they’re comfortable, and I like the way they sound. I really do prefer over-ear headphones, though.

As far as the remote phone camera trigger … a lot of my travel is done solo and it’s nice to be able to document where I go and not have it consist of a million selfies. This way I can actually set up shots. Great little tool.

Notebook and pens

I always like to carry a physical notebook, and recently bought this one. Buying a white notebook was a bold move for me — I have chunks of hot pink hair and the dye regularly gets transferred to my fingertips, which then gets transferred to whatever else I touch. I couldn’t help it though. I love this notebook’s clean, simple design, and the cover has a velveteen-like feel to it. The pens I got with ticket winnings in a Hong Kong arcade. I love the look on people’s faces when they ask to borrow a pen and I present them with these options. Whatever, they’re cute!

Health, wellness, and beauty supplies

This Domo bag was given to me by a friend who recently went to Thailand. It wound up being the perfect size to carry my makeup essentials. When you’re at all day / night festivals or going to an event straight from a flight, it’s good to have touch-up options. I’ve had to get ready for shows in venue restrooms without stopping at the hotel first. Adding to all my “just in case” scenarios is that little yellow egg. It’s a capsule from a toy vending machine and is the perfect size to carry my medicine essentials in case of headache, cold symptoms, upset stomach, anything! I’m such a rave mom. I’m also asthmatic, as you can see, and obsessively buy chapstick in bundles (chapstick is something else I somehow lose with great regularity).

Another gift from the husband are the kitty brass knuckles. Not only do they look badass, they’re a better and more effective alternative than keys between my fingers if I’m walking alone at night. I keep them in a slim pocket that rests against my back so I can reach back and grab them in a flash.

DJing and event necessities

All my music for DJing is on this Corsair Flash Voyager USB. It’s got a rubber housing and is built for “extreme performance” which is great because I need something that works even if I put it through hell. It’s gone through the wash, the dryer, been dropped, stepped on, had liquor spilled on it, and still works perfectly. I use the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless for DJing, a recent switch from the V-Moda M-100s I was using before. I beat those M-100s to the brink of dying over the course of hundreds of gigs. Though I have to be more careful with the Crossfade Wireless, I like that they have the same frequency response I was used to in the M-100s, and now I also have the freedom outside of DJing to use them for answering calls or listening via Bluetooth.

The rest of the items are more “just in case” odds and ends. Having a small industrial flashlight is great for looking for dropped items in clubs, or trying to find something in my bag. I buy foam earplugs in bulk, not just for myself at shows, but in case a friend needs them while we’re out.

Lastly, it may be a little weird I carry a handful of 1/8 to 14 headphone adapters, but, having spares has saved my butt many times. Also, I’ve seen many an artist realize at the last second they’re missing one and then I get to be a superhero. Once in the artist area at EDC Las Vegas, R3hab was running around asking for one of these adaptors in a panic. I pulled one out of my pocket and he looked at me like I was removing Excalibur. I think he still only knows me as “headphone adaptor girl” but it made me happy I could help him out! These things are cheap, but so valuable in the moment!

Tokens and memories

Okay, so some of these things I just forgot to take out. But, the obsidian and cicada pendant I deliberately keep with me. A friend gave me the pendant after traveling across Asia, and the cicada is meant to represent longevity and protection against backstabbers. The obsidian I found at the base of a volcano in Tequila, Mexico, and it supposedly helps to shield against negativity, resentment toward others, and anger. To be honest, I don’t know how much I believe in all that. But, I figure it can’t hurt, and they’re at the very least good reminders to work on myself in day-to-day life.

The Catcade flyer is from a new-ish cat cafe in Chicago that combines many things I love in life: cats, video games, and helping animals in need (all the cats are available for adoption). They also do cat yoga and blanket fort movie nights with cats, which means I have actually found heaven on Earth and it only requires a $15 donation. What a deal.

The ticket and the photo strip are from a recent night out when I went to the Aragon Theater to see a bunch of friends who were performing. I wound up staying much later than I had planned, and at the end, my friend Mija (one of the people on the bill) suggested going to Smart Bar. She lives in Los Angeles and had never been. Smart Bar is a legendary club that’s world renowned for its positive, inclusive culture and music curation, with no LED screens and no flashy lasers. It’s just a small, all-black box with low ceilings, tucked away in a basement. You go there to dance. So, I said fuck it, I’ll take you. We stayed up until 5AM getting sweaty to Hot Chip and now I have this photo strip that vaguely smells of sulfur to remember the night by.

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So long, AIM, we’ll miss you

AOL shut down AOL Instant Messenger, aka AIM, today after 20 years of existence. AOL announced the news in October, saying the service was no longer needed because people have new ways to communicate, and AIM isn’t part of our messaging diet.

“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” wrote Michael Albers, communications products VP at Oath (the Verizon behemoth that consumed AOL).

All good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we’ll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users! #AIMemorieshttps://t.co/b6cjR2tSuUpic.twitter.com/V09Fl7EPMx

— AIM (@aim) October 6, 2017

The shutdown was coming for awhile, especially after AOL revoked access to AIM from third-party chat clients in March.

Although I’m surprised AIM lasted this long and truly hadn’t thought much about the service since middle school, it still feels like the end of an era. I remember my dad making my first screen name in 5th grade, which I will absolutely not disclose because it’s horribly embarrassing. I also remember my first taste of “bot” conversations with SmarterChild. Those were unproductive, but bots are still around and a key part of Facebook Messenger. And Slack Statuses remind me of Away Messages, which truly were an art form — I wish I could dredge up some of my old ones. While the service is technically gone, we still have features from the past integrated into our current platforms. We won’t forget AIM.

Has your favorite film or TV show been ruined by sexual predators?

As Hollywood weeds out its many sexual predators, a number of films or TV shows have developed a slimy aftertaste. Do you think back fondly on media like Ocean’s 11 or Mad Men? Bad news. Both have men attached who’ve been accused of sexual misconduct. Wading through these which of these predators are attached to specific projects can be exhausting, but a new website called Rotten Apples aims to bear some of that burden.

It provides a database users can search to find out if cast members, screenwriters, executive producers, or directors on specific projects have been attached to sexual misconduct. If a movie or show has a known offender attached — like I Love You, Daddy (Louis C.K.), or Baby Driver (Kevin Spacey), the site will return the film marked “rotten apples” with a link to a news story. If it’s in the clear, it’s marked as “fresh apples.”

The database includes more than just current films. Searching for The Godfather (1972), for example, notes “rotten apple” Marlon Brando, while Shakespeare in Love (1998) returns Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, Harvey Weinstein, and Bob Weinstein. The database won’t allow you to search by specific people, however, and It also doesn’t seem to include actors who have been accused of physical assault. Pirates of the Caribbean will return Rush, for example, but there’s no mention of Johnny Depp, whose ex Amber Heard has accused him of physical and verbal abuse.

In an interview with The New York Times, co-creator Annie Johnston told the publication that “every day, there’s more and more allegations that are coming to light, it’s really important that we don’t tune out and normalize this.” Co-creator Tal Wagman said it was meant as an informational tool to make “ethical media consumption decisions” and not as a condemnation of entire projects.

But the question of the degree to which a film or show is tainted by a known predator’s attachment is a complicated one at best. That line is easy to draw for projects that put sexual predators front and center, like House of Cards,anything featuring Casey Affleck or anything from Woody Allen’s troublingly long career as an award-winning filmmaker. But in the case of Harvey Weinstein and his sweeping presence over film during the last few decades, it gets a little more complicated. Should everything he touched be rejected outright, or can consumers vehemently disavow his involvement while still supporting the work of the women he abused in those projects?

Rotten Apples asks all of us to face an uncomfortable reality: where do we personally draw the line of separating art from the artists attached? Our power as consumers is tied directly to our wallets. Choosing where to exert that strength is a moral quandary without a clear answer.

The 15 best video games of 2017

A decade from now, there’s a good chance we’ll look back at 2017 as one of the best years ever for new game releases. Just think about it: some of the medium’s most iconic names — like Zelda, Mario, and Resident Evil — came roaring back to prominence, while new names like Horizon Zero Dawn and Cuphead forced their way into the spotlight.

From blockbuster to indie games, console and PC to mobile, the wealth of experiences on offer has been incredible. And narrowing down our favorites has been a lengthy task. But after a series of votes — and maybe a few arguments — we’ve settled on a list of the 15 best games of the year.

Cuphead

CupheadCuphead

Brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, who formed indie outfit Studio MDHR, captivated the industry when they first showed off Cuphead and its 1930’s cartoon-inspired art style in 2014. After an exhaustive development process lasting a total of seven years, the game came out to critical acclaim this fall, surpassing 1 million copies sold in its first two weeks. A run-and-gun platformer in the vein of classics like Gunstar Heroes, Cuphead earned a reputation not just for its Fleischer and Disney homages, but also its extreme, unforgiving difficulty. If you long for the punishing platforming mastery of Mega Man and Contra, this is the throwback for you. Just don’t expect it to be all fun and games. —Nick Statt

Destiny 2

No shooter has been as polarizing this year as Bungie’s Destiny 2. The sequel to the 2014 online-only title launched in September and has been embroiled in controversy since, with diehard fans constantly voicing their opinions on how to restore the magic of the original. Lost in all the heated debates is the game’s pure fun factor; Destiny remains one of the most aesthetically pleasing and gorgeously designed FPS games out there. In its attempts to make the game less of a slog, Bungie has created a more streamlined and accessible MMO-shooter hybrid. Destiny 2 still nails its specific niche with ease and offers fulfilling collaborative online play you rarely get outside the most demanding of PC games. —Nick Statt

Hidden Folks

Hidden FolksHidden Folks

It’s easy to dismiss Hidden Folks as a Where’s Waldo? for smartphones and tablets. But the puzzle game transcends its clear inspiration with almost impossibly detailed hand-drawn art and animations that make it a joy to keep playing. There’s a level of care that’s on display as you search the game’s sprawling levels, resulting in a relaxing and charming experience that, even hours later, is hard to put down. —Chaim Gartenberg

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero DawnHorizon Zero Dawn

Guerrilla Games threw aside the gritty grey and orange of its Killzone series and surprised everyone with Horizon Zero Dawn, whose miles of lush, vibrant open-world terrain offered up some of the most stunning visuals of any game in 2017. The map is packed with quests and collectibles to hunt down, but the best parts of Horizon are the stories you make yourself. Getting tangled up with the varied robot animals that roam across the land on your adventure is just plain fun, and the huge toolbox of toys at your disposal means that there’s a range of ways to approach each situation. Horizon Zero Dawn charms, though, in moment-to-moment experiences: the sunrise over a glittering field of snow, the subtle animation of a rippling river, or the joy of taking on a gigantic robot T-rex the size of a small house. —Chaim Gartenberg

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildLegend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It’s hard to talk about the newest Zelda adventure without being effusive. It’s a game that pushes at the boundaries of what an open-world game can be, offering an unparalleled level of freedom for exploration while completely reinventing genre conventions like the typically cluttered maps or linear quest structure. And it does all of this while retaining the charm and fantasy that has made the series so beloved over the last three decades. Breath of the Wild isn’t just one of the grandest Zelda games ever, or one of 2017’s best releases — it’s also a game that will likely shape the open-world genre for years to come. —Andrew Webster

Monument Valley 2

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

How do you follow up one of the most beloved mobile games of all time? You double the characters, expand gameplay in new and interesting ways, and focus on a subtly told but moving story of a mother and her daughter. Monument Valley 2 does all that while maintaining the series’ distinctive, MC Escher-esque puzzles and impossible architecture. It’s a game that literally forces you to look at the world from a different perspective. —Chaim Gartenberg

Nier: Automata

Nier: AutomataNier: Automata

The sequel to cult classic Nier is a rarity amongst big-budget games: it doesn’t really care what you think of it. Sure, it offers pitch-perfect action and a beautifully realized post-apocalyptic world, but it does so while constantly messing with your expectations. It’s a game where the true story doesn’t begin until after your first playthrough, and where important bits of the narrative are buried in weapon descriptions. It’s strange and at times difficult to grasp. But that’s also what makes it so memorable. —Andrew Webster

Persona 5

Persona 5Persona 5

Persona 5 isn’t the kind of sequel that reinvents the wheel. It maintains the same basic structure as past entries in the series — you’re a high school student in Tokyo, balancing day-to-day life with saving the world — but it polishes the concept into perhaps its ideal form. The story is engrossing, with a cast of characters that you’ll grow exceedingly close to over the game’s daunting 100-hour run time. At the same time, it offers deep role-playing elements, turning battles into high-stakes strategic bouts. Plus, Persona 5 might be the only game that can make doing homework feel cool. —Andrew Webster

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PUBGPUBG

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds arrived in March and it didn’t take long for it to blow up. Better known as PUBG, the game is an evolution of the survival shooter mod scene on PC, combining the strongest elements of games like ARMA, DayZ, and H1Z1 into what might be the most exhilarating competitive multiplayer experience gaming has to offer. It’s just 100 players parachuting into an ever-shrinking battlefield, and the last person (or team) standing wins. The formula has spawned an entire industry of copycats, including the massively successful Fortnite, and it’s turned Twitch streamers into overnight celebrities. In the process, the game has catapulted Korean developer Bluehole and creator Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene to the forefront of the e-sports scene. —Nick Statt

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7Resident Evil 7

The latest Resident Evil abandoned the series’ recent trigger happy, action-movie tone for a more back-to-basics spin on survival horror. Set in a decrepit mansion in backwoods Louisiana, you maneuver a walking nightmare in the confined, anxiety-inducing rooms and hallways of the house while stalked by a murderous family infected by an alien-like bacteria. Over time, the game expands beyond the house as players unravel a corporate conspiracy interwoven with traditional RE elements. It never lets up. A new first-person perspective combined with maddeningly tense pacing result in an experience scary enough to make you want to put the controller down — or turn the game off entirely. —Nick Statt

Sonic Mania

Sonic ManiaSonic Mania

Sega handed over the keys to the kingdom for Sonic over to a bunch of modders and fans, and the end result was Sonic Mania. It was a breath of fresh air for a series that desperately needed it. Featuring a mix of remixed levels from the original Sonic games alongside brilliant new stages, Sonic Mania looks and plays like your rose-tinted memories of the Genesis games, complete with silky smooth platforming, branching paths, and breakneck speed. It’ll help you remember why we all liked playing Sonic games in the first place. —Chaim Gartenberg

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2Splatoon 2

2015’s Splatoon was one of Nintendo’s most daring releases, a family-friendly take on multiplayer shooters that eschewed blood and gore for colorful globs of ink. Think of it like Call of Duty crossed with a paintball match, starring teenage squid-human hybrids. Unfortunately, since it was on the ill-fated Wii U, few actually got to experience the game — something that finally changed with the a sequel on the Switch. The follow-up builds on what made the original so great, with new modes and weapons, and the flexibility offered by the tablet-like Switch. —Andrew Webster

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario OdysseySuper Mario OdysseyImage: Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo’s latest 3D Mario adventure delivers all the tight, time-tested platforming the company does best, combined with a downright maniacal level of creativity and quirkiness. But what makes Odyssey truly special is how massive it is. The game contains 999 collectible “power moons” spread out across more than a dozen worlds, with nearly half of the collection unobtainable until after you beat the main story. Odyssey is as deep and rewarding as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and any Switch owner is doing themselves a disservice by not playing it. —Nick Statt

Universal Paperclips

Universal Paperclips starts out simple. You click a button, you make a paperclip. On the surface, it’s just another clicker game like Cookie Clicker or Spaceplan. But Universal Paperclips — designed to illustrate the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom’s “decision problem” for developing artificial intelligences — escalates quickly. And it keeps on doing that, adding new ideas, gameplay functions, and eventually, opening up to a breathtaking scale that dwarfs even the biggest games of 2017. And it somehow manages all of this in a web browser. —Chaim Gartenberg

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 achieves something pretty remarkable — it’s simultaneously the best game in its long-running series, and also the perfect starting point for new players. It transports the series to glitzy 1980s Tokyo, and splits the story into two halves, letting you play as the grim series icon Kiryu, as well as the wild former yakuza Majima. Where the game really shines, though, is with its tone, seamlessly jumping back and forth between tense, dramatic moments, and silly side stories. Yakuza 0 is a game where a quest to prove your innocence can be derailed by a night out for karaoke. —Andrew Webster

Watch SpaceX fly its first used rocket for NASA

Today, SpaceX will once again send cargo to the International Space Station for NASA, but this time, the company is employing mostly used hardware for the job. A Falcon 9 rocket that the company previously launched to the ISS in June will loft a used Dragon cargo capsule, filled with supplies and science experiments for the station crew. It’s the first time SpaceX will fly a used rocket for one of its NASA resupply missions.

SpaceX finally started re-flying its used rockets earlier this year, after years of landing the vehicles post-launch. But so far, only a few of the company’s commercial customers have taken the plunge and put their satellites on previously flown Falcon 9 rockets. Now, NASA has signaled that it’s willing to fly on SpaceX’s used vehicles, too — a big endorsement for the company’s reusable rocket technology. Moving forward, NASA says it will make the decision to fly used rockets for resupply missions on a case-by-case basis.

This launch is also a big milestone for SpaceX because of where the mission is taking off from: the company’s launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SLC-40. The site has been out of commission since last September, after one of SpaceX’s rockets exploded on the pad during a fueling procedure. Since then, the company has worked to rebuild the damaged site and even give it a few upgrades. SpaceX started the bulk of the repairs in February and has spent around $50 million to fix the site up, according to John Muratore, SpaceX’s director at SLC-40. Today’s mission will mark the first time SpaceX has flown from the site since the accident.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the SLC-40 launch pad, prior to the accident
Image: SpaceX

And now that the pad is back in action, it paves the way for SpaceX to launch the company’s next big rocket, the Falcon Heavy — a larger version of its Falcon 9 that includes three rocket cores. When SLC-40 went offline last year, SpaceX had to rely on its other pad at the Cape, a site called LC-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, to launch all of its Florida missions. SpaceX ultimately wants to launch the Falcon Heavy from 39A, too, but the pad needed some modifications first in order to accommodate the larger rocket. SpaceX couldn’t fully focus on the upgrades to 39A while repairs were still being done at SLC-40.

Moving forward, the company plans to launch its Falcon 9 missions from SLC-40 and its Falcon Heavy flights from 39A. Earlier this year, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the first flight of the Falcon Heavy would happen in November, but the demonstration flight has been pushed back to sometime in January now. Meanwhile, SpaceX has just a couple more flights to round out the year, including today’s cargo resupply flight.

This morning’s launch will carry nearly 4,800 pounds of cargo to the ISS. Included on board is a sensor designed to monitor how much space debris is surrounding the station, as well as another sensor that’s supposed to measure how much sunlight reaches the Earth. And as per usual, SpaceX plans to land this Falcon 9 after take off at the company’s ground-based landing site, Landing Zone 1. If successful, it’ll mark the second time this rocket has landed after a flight and the 14th landing for SpaceX this year.

Today’s mission has suffered from a few delays, though. SpaceX was aiming to launch on December 12th, but wound up pushing back until today. The company said it needed more time to investigate particles it had found in part of the rocket’s fuel system. If SpaceX doesn’t end up launching today, then it’ll have to wait until later in December. But so far, weather is looking good for launch, with a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions.

Take off is scheduled for 10:36AM ET, and SpaceX has an instantaneous launch window for this flight, meaning the rocket has to go up at that time or else the mission will be delayed. NASA’s coverage of the flight begins at 10AM ET, while SpaceX’s coverage begins about 20 minutes before launch. Check back later to watch the mission live.

This might be Microsoft’s secret Surface notepad

Microsoft has been rumored to be working on a foldable notepad-like device, much like the company’s Courier concept. A patent from earlier this year provided an outline for such a device, but a new patent has emerged this week with a lot more detail. The patent references a “hinged device,” and has been filed by Microsoft Surface engineers that are responsible for creating various Surface hinges and devices.

The device appears to have two separate screens and sections that fold together or flat, much like Lenovo’s Yoga Book. The images also show how the mysterious device could flip over and be used as a nightstand. While there’s not much detail about software for such a device, Microsoft’s patent filing includes a lot of intricate details around how the hinge works. Microsoft appears to be using gear-like cogs to create this adjustable hinge, allowing the device to hold in different positions.

Several examples of use are provided in the filing, including a user interface that stretches across both displays with a very small gap. A virtual keyboard and trackpad is also show on one section, while the other has a weather broadcast running. Previous reports have suggested Microsoft’s Courier-like device would include two displays that fold over like a book, and a stylus for taking notes. Windows Central previously reported that Microsoft is also reportedly working on a dedicated notebook app for the device, that is said to mimic writing like a real notebook.

None of the patent filing images show a stylus with the device, but the filing does appear to be largely focused on what looks like a unique hinge for such a product. Microsoft’s engineers obsess over hinge details for its range of Surface devices, and the company has created a unique kickstand for the Surface Pro and Surface Studio devices, and a detachable display for the Surface Book.

It’s not clear if such a device will ever make it to market. Microsoft previously toyed with the idea of a Surface Mini, but CEO Satya Nadella canceled the project just weeks before it was due to be unveiled. Surface chief Panos Panay described the canceled device as “awesome” and “like a Moleskine,” and leaked Surface Mini images gave us a closer look at what Microsoft was experimenting with.

In the lead up to Microsoft’s Surface Studio launch, the software maker filed patents for an all-in-one PC that were identical to the hardware it eventually unveiled. If Microsoft is truly preparing to launch a new mobile device, these patent images could be giving us an early look at what it has planned.

Patent images have been edited to remove labels for clarity.

Xbox party chat is coming to Android and iOS

Microsoft has started testing Xbox party chat in the company’s Xbox mobile apps for iOS and Android. The beta Xbox app for Android is available immediately with the party chat support, and you can sign-up to test party chat on iOS using Microsoft’s form.

Party chat inside the Xbox mobile apps lets you voice chat with friends on Xbox Live, similar to the Discord mobile app. It’s a useful feature if you’re not near your console or PC, or even if your headset isn’t working correctly on those devices. Microsoft typically brings beta features to its main Xbox apps within a few months, so it should be available to both the regular iOS and Android apps shortly.

Xbox party chat beta is now available in the Xbox beta app for Android (available in app store) and iOS (sign up for the iOS beta here https://t.co/4jXxF2CQs2)

— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) December 14, 2017

The first phone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor will come from Vivo

Earlier this week, Synaptics announced that it’s cracked the problem of embedding fingerprint sensors into displays and is mass-producing the tech for a “top-five” smartphone vendor. Now we know the identity of that vendor: it’s Vivo.

In a post for Forbes, analyst Patrick Moorhead detailed his experience with a pre-production Vivo phone equipped with the technology. Moorhead describes the sensor as “fast and simple,” while Synaptics claims it’s twice as fast as 3D facial recognition like Apple’s Face ID — though that’d be a hard thing to realistically measure considering the different mechanisms that each system uses in practice.

Here are some pics @anshelsag and I took of the Vivo smartphone with the Synaptics in-display fingerprint reader. The CMOS image sensor is .7mm thick and reads the fingerprint right through the OLED display. The experience was faster than I expected. pic.twitter.com/u1NFpXtFQM

— Patrick Moorhead (@PatrickMoorhead) December 14, 2017

Integrating fingerprint sensors into displays is seen as a way to include convenient biometric authentication on phones with “all-screen” designs. (Apple, of course, abandoned fingerprint sensors altogether with the face-scanning iPhone X.) And however well it works, Vivo’s decision to go with Synaptics seems like a blow to Qualcomm, which has also been working on the tech. Vivo showed off a Qualcomm-powered fingerprint-sensing display prototype earlier this year, but it was said to be noticeably slow.

Vivo might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of major smartphone vendors, but it is one of the world’s biggest phone brands. It was ranked fifth in IDC’s Q1 2017 report, and while it went down to sixth in Q2, you could make the case for bundling it with fourth-placed Oppo since it shares the same parent company, BBK Electronics. Oppo also owns OnePlus, which is a much smaller brand but likely more familiar to Western readers. And Vivo’s recent success in India now sees it ranked third in the country, which Moorhead suggests will return the brand to IDC’s top five.

Watch Blue Origin’s mannequin ride to space and back

Private spaceflight company Blue Origin sent its suborbital New Shepard rocket into space earlier this week, its first test flight in more than a year and another stepping stone in Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ space tourism ambitions. Blue Origin, funded by Bezos’ enormous e-commerce fortune, plans to use its New Shepard vehicle to send willing customers to space in early 2019. But that means graduating from unmanned test flights, of which it has done zero this year until the launch from its West Texas facility on Tuesday, to manned flights with test pilots and onward to commercial ones. Blue Origin still hasn’t talked about pricing for its tickets to space.

To test the viability of manned spaceflight aboard New Shepard, Blue Origin sent a mannequin it cleverly calls Mannequin Skywalker aboard the rocket. In a new video released today, viewers can watch the dummy go to space and back over the course of the 11-minute clip. We don’t get a good sense of what the weightlessness looks like, because the mannequin is strapped into its chair. But hopefully we get a better idea of what the ride will be like during future test launches.

Bezos also shared a video on Twitter of the company’s new landing pad robot, which of course it’s calling Blue2D2:

First use of our landing pad bot #Blue2D2. @blueoriginpic.twitter.com/Ht2P7yVwEs

— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 15, 2017

This AMOLED button can apparently play GIFs from your jacket

A company called Beam Authentic is asking an important question: why wear a brooch that can only show one look, when you can wear a small AMOLED screen and display GIFs? That might not be a question many have considered or even a thing anyone needs, but Beam is promising a button that can play still and moving images, as well as custom messages, on its 400 x 400 AMOLED screen, as spotted by Android Police.

This smart wearable button has an ambient light, accelerator sensors, and a Micro USB port. It attaches via magnet, so there’s no need to break a hole through your jacket. Beam Authentic also claims the button gets 24 hours of battery life on a single charge.

The device is on sale on the company’s website for $99. If it sounds not only silly, but also too pricey, know that three dollars of the purchase will go toward a charity of choice, between Amnesty International, We.org, or charity: water.