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Elon Musk defends tweets in SEC’s contempt proceedings – TechCrunch

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk argued Friday that his Twitter use did not violate a settlement agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and that the agency’s request to have him held in contempt is based on a “radical interpretation” of the order, according to court papers filed in Manhattan federal court.

The SEC has asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement agreement reached last year over Musk’s now infamous “funding secured” tweet. Under that agreement, Musk is supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors.

Musk contends he didn’t violate the agreement and that the problem lies in the SEC’s interpretation, which he describes as “virtually wrong at every level.” The filing also reveals new details about the settlement negotiations, notably that the SEC sent Musk a draft agreement that would have required him to obtain pre-approval for all public statements related to Tesla, in any format.

Musk and Tesla never agreed to those terms. Instead, Musk says the agreement requires him to comply with Tesla own policy, which would require pre-approval for “written communications that contain, or reasonably could contain, information material to the company or its shareholders.”

The barbs traded via court filings are the latest in an escalating fight between the billionaire entrepreneur and SEC that began last August when Musk tweeted that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share.  The SEC filed a complaint in federal district court in September alleging that Musk lied.

Musk and Tesla settled with the SEC last year without admitting wrongdoing. Tesla agreed to pay a $20 million fine; Musk had to agree to step down as Tesla chairman for a period of at least three years; the company had to appoint two independent directors to the board; and Tesla was also told to put in place a way to monitor Musk’s statements to the public about the company, including via Twitter.

But the fight was re-ignited last month after Musk sent a tweet on February 19 that Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year, correcting himself hours later to clarify that he meant the company would be producing at an annualized rate of 500,000 vehicles by year end.

The SEC argued that the tweet sent by Musk violated their agreement. Musk has said the tweet was “immaterial” and complied with the settlement.

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Pixel 6 Magic Eraser removes uninvited people from photos

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A few years ago, Google teased the almost magical ability that would allow people to remove “distracting objects” from photos, whether they be a fence or innocent bystanders. While that functionality has been available on some photo editing software like Photoshop, it was far from automatic nor convenient for mere mortals. It took more than four years for that moment to finally come, and Pixel 6 owners can now confidently take photos even when they know there are people or things lurking in the background.

Almost everyone who has tried to take a photo with a smartphone or a digital camera will have experienced the photobombing phenomenon at one point or another. It doesn’t even have to be people, even, as power lines and animals can sometimes get in the way of a perfect shot. A lot of the time, we’re unable to move these objects or wait for them to step out of the frame, but a Pixel 6 can now let you magically remove those after the fact.

It couldn’t be easier than simply loading up the photo in Google Photos and letting the app suggest what objects to remove from the background. You could also manually select the Magic Eraser tool and circle or brush over specific objects you want to be exorcised from the photo. All it takes is a few taps and doesn’t require any photo editing skills at all.

Of course, the secret sauce is Google’s favorite machine learning, which predicts what pixels would have looked like without those obstacles. It then tries to fill those in and erase distracting objects and people to produce what should have been the perfect moment. This seemingly magical ability does require some heavy ML and AI processing, which is why Google had to wait for its Tensor chip to become a reality in order to bring it to its Pixel phones.

That is also why Google Photos’ Magic Eraser is available only the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting October 28. The good news is that it will work on any photo you give it, including old ones taken using non-Pixel phones.

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Brave privacy browser ditches Google in favor of its own search engine

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Brave, the company behind the privacy-centric web browser by the same name, is betting big on its own search engine. Brave browser now defaults to the company’s search engine, offering it in the place of Google for users in select markets like the US, Canada, and the UK. Users in other countries will also see the change soon.

Brave announced the big change today, one that comes only a few months after the company rolled out its privacy search engine for anyone to use. Unlike the major search engine, Brave’s search engine doesn’t include user tracking, making it a more appealing option for the company’s users. Users in the US, UK, and Canada will now default to Brave Search instead of Google.

In addition, users in Germany will now default to Brave Search instead of DuckDuckGo and users in France will default to the privacy search engine instead of Qwant. Brave says it plans to rollout this default search engine change in other countries over “the next several months.” If you don’t want to wait, you can also manually change the Brave Browser’s default search engine to Brave Search.

The change applies to the latest versions of Brave browser on desktop, Android, and iOS, assuming you live in one of the aforementioned countries. As expected, users can still manually change the default search engine, so if you’d prefer to stick with Google, DuckDuckGo, or one of the alternatives, that remains an option.

In addition to the default browser change, Brave says it is also launching the Web Discovery Project for users who want to contribute to Brave Search. Under this, users can anonymously share data with the company for improving the search engine’s quality and coverage, Brave says, without the risk of the data being linked back to specific devices or users.

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SWFT Fleet Review – SlashGear

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The SWFT Fleet is an electric bicycle with a classic beach cruiser style and a 37.2-mile range. The bike has a 19.8 MPH top speed courtesy of a 500W motor inside, and it works with a single rechargeable, removable battery that takes approximately 6 hours to go from totally empty to totally full. This is a big, high-quality electric bike the likes of which have scarcely been out-done in the world today.

The SWFT Fleet is one of several electric bicycles made by the company. You’ll find a more rugged machine with the SWFT Zip, and a bike roughly equivalent (in looks, anyway) to a fixed-gear bike with the SWFT Volt. The SWFT Fleet is the “chill” bike of the bunch – the one made for “cruising around town”, as SWFT suggests.

If we had to find an electric bike that was most unlike that of the tiny, foldable Swagtron EB-5 we reviewed back in September of 2018, this SWFT Fleet would be it. The Fleet is big – it has a thick steel frame, thick beach cruiser tires, and a thick seat. Where the Swagtron EB-5 was made for people of a variety of heights, the SWFT Fleet is most certainly made for people 5’7″ and taller.

The Fleet has comfy, laid-back handlebars and a design that lends itself to a variety of styles of biking. It’s not meant for mountain adventures, but it handles a bit of off-road grass and gravel with the greatest of ease.

The quality of this bike is above and beyond any other electric bike or scooter I’ve reviewed before. When you drop hundreds of dollars on this machine, you’ll know where your money went. That includes the frame, the handlebars and seat, the tires, and the battery. It even includes the kickstand, which is (thankfully) more than beefy enough to keep this bike standing upright under most conditions.

We’ve got a surprisingly bright built-in headlight up front. Like the rest of the bike, the styling of this lamp lends itself to any sort of rider – and lights the way, as it should. The light as well as the top speed and throttle are controlled by an LCD control display. This control display is simple and usable – learning how to use this bit was no hassle whatsoever.

This bike comes unassembled, but is not difficult to put together. You might have the option to have the bike professionally assembled – and you certainly COULD choose to do so – but it’s not necessary so long as you can hold the frame up while you’re screwing the tires into place.

I am by no means a professional when it comes to bicycle repair or construction, and I was able to put the bike together in around a half hour by myself.

I like the way the battery is mounted on this bike. Having tried a number of electric transportation machines over the last several years, I’ve come to appreciate having the option to remove and replace a battery with ease. This battery clicks in place and comes with a lock with a set of keys – very convenient and nice to use.

SWFT’s claims on battery life and charge time are right on the money. You’ll be able to ride for over 35 miles, no sweat, so long as you’ve charged the battery to full before you head out. This bike comes with its own charging block that can plug in to any standard outlet.

The SWFT Fleet electric bike can be purchased from the Ride SWFT website (and online store) for approximately $999 USD. That includes shipping. This bike can also be purchased with a monthly payment plan with Klarna for “as low as $56/mo.” This bike is worth that amount of cash all day long – and assuming it’s ready to last season after season as I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t, it’ll be worth that amount of cash for many years into the future, too.

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