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Scientists made a wooden knife that’s three times sharper than steel blades – CNET

You’ve never used a wooden knife like this. Bo Chen I’ve been to enough fairs and foodie festivals to know the wooden knife and fork you get with your semi-hot duck fries are dismal excuses for cutlery. They’re good at moving food around a plate, but that’s really it. The plastic sometimes works a little…

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Scientists made a wooden knife that’s three times sharper than steel blades     – CNET

You’ve never used a wooden knife like this.
Bo Chen
I’ve been to enough fairs and foodie festivals to know the wooden knife and fork you get with your semi-hot duck fries are dismal excuses for cutlery. They’re good at moving food around a plate, but that’s really it. The plastic sometimes works a little better, but that’s not great for the planet. And then there’s the knives made from frozen human feces? Don’t get me started on how poorly those cut through meat.The gold standard for knives is usually steel or ceramics, but in a new study, appearing in the journal Matter on Oct. 20, material scientists describe their latest creation: A “hardened wood knife” around three times sharper than a stainless steel dinner knife. It can “easily” cut through a medium-well done steak, according to Teng Li, a materials scientist at the University of Maryland and first author on the paper, and can be used and reused many times. 

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“In our kitchen, we have many wood pieces that we use for a very long time, like a cutting board, chopsticks, or a rolling pin,” Li said in a statement. “These knives, too, can be used many times if you resurface them, sharpen them, and perform the same regular upkeep.”  Using wood for cutlery isn’t a new idea — the foodie festivals will tell you that much — but Li’s team developed a two-step method for hardening the wood in their knives that increased the blade’s hardness 23-fold. This was achieved by ensuring the wood retained a higher level of cellulose. Typically, wood contains only about 50% cellulose, which provides some structural integrity, and weaker molecules make up the rest. Li’s two-step process was able to remove these weaker components but retain the cellulose. Coating the wood in mineral oil helps protect its sharpness during use and washing.Using a high-resolution microscope, Li’s team examined the wooden knife to determine why it was retaining so much strength. They discovered the two-step process the used prevented defects from creeping in. “The strength of a piece of material is very sensitive to the size and density of defects, like voids, channels, or pits,” he said in a statement. The team didn’t stop at hardened wooden knives, either. They also developed wooden nails, showing they were as sharp as conventional steel nails.The knife’s function is impressive, but its manufacturing process could also be important. The team writes that it could be a “renewable and low-cost alternative” with “the potential to replace plastic table utensils.”

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Phones

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Will Debut With One UI 4.0 Based on Android 12: Report

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has leaked multiple times in the past. Ahead of an official announcement from the South Korean smartphone brand, a new report now claims that the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will debut with One UI 4.0 based on Google’s latest operating system Android 12. The phone was earlier speculated to launch this…

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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Will Debut With One UI 4.0 Based on Android 12: Report

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has leaked multiple times in the past. Ahead of an official announcement from the South Korean smartphone brand, a new report now claims that the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will debut with One UI 4.0 based on Google’s latest operating system Android 12. The phone was earlier speculated to launch this year as the successor to Galaxy S20 FE. But recent leaks suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will now launch during the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2022.According to a report by SamMobile, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will run on One UI 4.0 update based on the latest Android 12. With this, the upcoming Galaxy S21 FE will also reportedly join other Samsung phones that will get OS upgrades until the rollout of Android 15.Samsung released the Android 12-based public beta of the One UI 4 update in September this year with new themes, colour pallets, and privacy settings. Samsung started the official rollout of the new Android skin on the Galaxy S21 series including Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra. The update is reaching a large number of Samsung phones in India in December. The stable update brings more customisation options and offers new widgets as well as a wider variety of emoji features, GIFs, and stickers on the keyboard. Privacy features of the new Android skin include alerts when an app attempts to access the camera or microphone.Previous leaks suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will come with both the Snapdragon 888 and the Exynos 2100 SoC in different markets. The phone may get the Exynos 2100 chipset in India.The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is tipped to sport a 6.4-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,340 pixels) AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It is said to pack 12GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. The handset is expected to feature a 64-megapixel triple camera setup, along with a 32-megapixel selfie camera in the front.

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Technology

Pac-Man Community brings teamwork, creativity to Facebook Gaming – CNET

Classic Pac-Man gameplay, seen here is getting a remix in the new Pac-Man Community. Screenshot by Alina Bradford/CNET Pac-Man is ready to start gobbling fruit and chasing ghosts in Pac-Man Community on Facebook Gaming. The new game, released on Dec. 6, takes the maze-running arcade gameplay and gives it a multiplayer twist. Players will be able…

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Pac-Man Community brings teamwork, creativity to Facebook Gaming     – CNET

Classic Pac-Man gameplay, seen here is getting a remix in the new Pac-Man Community.
Screenshot by Alina Bradford/CNET
Pac-Man is ready to start gobbling fruit and chasing ghosts in Pac-Man Community on Facebook Gaming. The new game, released on Dec. 6, takes the maze-running arcade gameplay and gives it a multiplayer twist. Players will be able to team up in groups of four to take on the series’ iconic ghosts while competing for the highest score. There’s also a Watch tab that allows you to watch creators playing the game, and it offers a chance to interact with the video player by taking control of Pac-Man and ghosts from the AI. Pac-Man Community follows a broader trend of more social gaming, from Twitch streams to Fortnite concerts to the rise of Among Us last year. The Watch tab brings modern social features to a game that’s more than 40 years old. Facebook Gaming is part of the company’s push for the burgeoning metaverse, a virtual social hub. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post, “Gaming is a big part of the metaverse, and I’m looking forward to seeing games like this get more interactive and immersive.”You can play Pac-Man Community here.

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Phones

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro default settings you should change now – CNET

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro offer significant upgrades over the Pixel 5 line. The new smartphones get Google’s own Tensor chip, top-notch cameras and an eye-catching design. But to make the most of your new Pixel phone, you’ll want to dig into the settings and…

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Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro default settings you should change now     – CNET

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro offer significant upgrades over the Pixel 5 line. The new smartphones get Google’s own Tensor chip, top-notch cameras and an eye-catching design. But to make the most of your new Pixel phone, you’ll want to dig into the settings and make a few tweaks.Some of these changes will give the user interface a fresh look, while others will help you get more out of your Pixel phone’s camera or battery. Google has also baked some interesting new features into the phone app that can make it easier to call customer service numbers without waiting on hold. We’ll show you how to turn those settings on and off, too.

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Read more: Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Google’s flagship phones comparedHere’s a look at the settings you should change on your Pixel 6 right away. Turn on themed icons to make your icons match your wallpaperOne of the biggest features in Android 12 is Material You, which customizes the software’s color palette to match your wallpaper. You’ll notice that some elements within certain apps — like the keyboard in Messages and Gmail’s Compose button — will have colored accents that match your wallpaper as part of the broader Material You refresh. If you go into Settings, you can choose from a few options.

But you don’t have to stop there. To give your app icons a colorful refresh that resembles your wallpaper, long-press any empty space on your Pixel 6’s home screen. Then tap Wallpaper & style and make sure the switch next to Themed icons is toggled on. Now app icons on the home screen should match your wallpaper, as shown below. You can make app icons on the Pixel 6 match its wallpaper.
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Use Quick Phrases to dismiss an alarm or phone call without saying, ‘Hey, Google’We’ve all been there. It’s 6 a.m., your alarm starts blaring and you barely have the energy to reach for your phone. Google makes this a little easier on the Pixel 6 by enabling you to pause or dismiss an alarm by simply saying, “Snooze” or “Stop” without requiring the “Hey, Google” trigger phrase. You can do the same for phone calls by saying, “Answer” or “Decline” without having to grab your device.To turn this on, open the Settings menu and choose Apps. Then, select Assistant and tap Quick phrases. You should see options for alarms and timers and incoming calls. Tap the switch next to each one to enable this feature.This feature lets you dismiss alarms and answer calls without using the “Hey, Google” wake phrase.
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Have Google Assistant wait on hold for you and transcribe automated phone menusTired of waiting on hold? Try using Google’s Hold For Me feature, which has Google Assistant wait on hold and then notify you when a customer representative becomes available. If you don’t want to remember which number to punch the next time you’re sitting through automated voice prompts, you can also turn on Direct My Call. This transcribes automated menus so that you don’t have to remember which number to press to get directed to the correct extension. Both of these features are accessible from the Pixel 6’s phone app. Open the Phone app and tap the three dots in the top right corner to get started. Choose Settings and you should see Hold for Me and Direct My Call under the Assistive section.The Direct My Call feature seems promising, but it only works for toll-free numbers in English right now. That can make its transcriptions a bit confusing since many automated phone menus typically read options in Spanish, too.Google Assistant can transcribe automated menus for you when calling toll-free numbers, but only in English. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Choose whether you want to extend battery life or boost performance Google’s Pixel phones can optimize battery life depending on how you use your phone. While that’s a useful perk, there may be times when you’d prefer to turn this feature off so that you can get better performance out of your device. You can turn this setting on or off anytime by opening the Settings menu, choosing Battery and tapping Adaptive preferences.The Pixel 6 can optimize its battery based on your phone usage. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Turn on Smart Storage to avoid running out of spaceIf you take a lot of photos and videos, you know how precious your device’s storage space can be. As one way to deal with that problem, you can choose to have your Pixel phone automatically delete old photos to free up space. If you enable this feature, your Pixel device will erase photos backed up to your Google Photos account that have been on your device for 60 days if your phone’s storage is less than 25 percent. 

To turn this on, open Settings, choose Storage and tap Free up space. Then tap the menu icon in the top left corner and select Settings. Toggle the switch next to Smart Storage.Google’s Smart Storage feature automatically deletes old photos to save space. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Use Storage Saver to optimize your Pixel’s photo and video storageIf you want to save space, there’s another option: Enable Storage Saver on your Pixel device. This changes settings that use large amounts of storage, such as saving RAW images as JPEG and recording videos in 1080p instead of 4K. If you care more about saving space than having the best resolution possible, you might want to try this.Launch the Camera app and tap the settings cog in the top left corner. Then, tap More settings and select Device storage. Toggle the switch next to Storage Saver.The Pixel can also change certain media settings to optimize storage. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Customize what happens when you press the volume key while taking photosYou can use the volume button to snap a photo, adjust the zoom or control the audio volume on your Pixel device. Open the Camera app, press the settings icon and choose More settings. Then, choose Gestures and select Volume key action to choose your preferred option.You can customize the volume key on the Pixel 6.
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Make sure your Pixel’s screen automatically switches orientation when neededFew things can be more annoying than having your phone stuck in portrait mode when you’re holding it in landscape mode to watch a video. Avoid this on your Pixel 6 by opening the Settings menu, choosing Display and tapping Auto-rotate screen. You can also choose to turn on face detection to make autorotate more accurate. Google says images used in face detection are never stored or sent to the company. Make sure your Pixel switches its screen orientation when you want it to.
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Identify songs playing nearby on the lock screenEver heard a song playing at a restaurant and wondered what it’s called? Google Pixel devices can recognize songs and display the name of the song and artist on your phone’s lock screen. Open the Settings menu, choose Display and tap Lock screen. Press Now Playing and toggle on the switch next to Identify songs playing nearby.The Pixel 6 can display the track title and artist for songs playing nearby. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Choose whether you want smoother scrolling or longer battery lifeThe Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are capable of boosting their refresh rates to enable faster scrolling and smoother animations, which makes the software generally feel more responsive. The Pixel 6 can bump its refresh rate up to 90Hz, while the Pixel 6 Pro can go up to120Hz. But since this feature increases battery usage, there are times when you might want to turn it off.To access this option, open the Settings menu and choose Display. Scroll down to Smooth Display and toggle the switch to turn it on or off. 

You can choose to increase the screen’s refresh rate or maximize battery life on the Pixel 6. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Add captions to videos, podcasts and phone callsGoogle’s Live Caption feature generates captions for media playing on your device, and it works on older Pixels dating back to the second-generation model too. It’s an accessibility feature, and it can also be useful for times when you’re stuck without headphones and need to hear the content of a video or podcast in a public setting. To turn this on, press the volume button and tap the Live Caption icon, which looks like a speech bubble. Just remember that using Live Caption can use additional battery resources. Google’s Live Caption technology captions audio playing on your device. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Edit your quick settings to easily access shortcutsPulling down from the top of the screen will launch the quick-settings menu. Tap the pencil icon to edit this menu and add the settings you use most often. Google offers a wide variety of options ranging from battery saver to enabling and disabling the microphone and accessing alarms. You’ll find staples like airplane mode, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi here.These are just a few of the many settings shortcuts available on the Pixel 6. 
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
Looking for more advice for your other Google devices? Check out our tips for boosting your productivity on Chromebooks and getting the most out of your Google Nest.Update, Nov. 11: Clarified the section on Material You and themed icons.

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