Apple Music’s Replay 2020 playlist tracks your favorites week-by-week

You don't have to sit tight until December to start your 2020 retrospective. As promised, Apple Music has made its automatic Replay 2020 playlist available to subscribers through its beta web player. You'll have to visit the site through a mobile bro…

Samsung’s “Ultra Thin Glass” doesn’t seem much stronger than plastic

The Galaxy Z Flip's "glass" isn't any more scratch-resistant than plastic.

Enlarge / The Galaxy Z Flip’s “glass” isn’t any more scratch-resistant than plastic. (credit: JerryRigEverything)

There comes a point in the life of every foldable smartphone when, after a wave of hype and highly controlled early looks, the phone actually hits the hands of the general public—and durability issues immediately pop up. We’ve seen it with the Galaxy Fold, which died in the hands of reviewers and was delayed for six months; the Huawei Mate X, which had its launch limited to China and broke after a single drop; and the Moto Razr, which has a creaky hinge that jams easily and a display that delaminates. This weekend it was the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip’s turn to disappoint us. The initial shipments are going out, and we’re already seeing that Samsung’s much-hyped flexible glass cover isn’t much more durable than plastic.

YouTuber JerryRigEverything regularly does destructive durability tests on phones, partly by attacking a device with a set of Mohs picks. These pointy metal tools that are calibrated to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness allow a user to determine the hardness of a surface by doing a scratch test. You start with the softest pick and work your way up the set until you find something that can scratch the surface you’re testing. A modern smartphone with Corning’s Gorilla Glass scratches at level 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.

The Galaxy Z Flip features a first-of-its-kind flexible glass cover that Samsung calls “Ultra-Thin Glass.” Until now, foldables have had to suffer through life with plastic display covers, which scratch easily, don’t provide much protection, and just like a resistive touchscreen, feel bad to swipe around on, thanks to the squishy pliability of the display. With this new invention of flexible glass, the Z Flip promised a return to a hard, smooth, scratch-resistant display surface.

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This $50 Jump Starter Works on Trucks, Tractors, and Yachts

Gooloo 1500A Car Jump Starter | $50 | Amazon | Promo code N9EX9Q5M

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Google is ending its Station free public WiFi program

After almost four years of providing free internet access to people in developing countries, Google plans to shut down its Station program. The initiative saw the search giant offer free public WiFi at 400 railway stations in India and more than 5,00…

Monday’s Best Deals: Presidents Day Sales, Cooks Signature Dutch Oven, Sonic the Hedgehog Monopoly, and More

A 2-port Anker USB-C charger that powers two MacBooks at once, a $37 Dutch Oven, a Sonic the Hedgehog Monopoly board game, and an extensive list of Presidents Day Sales kick off Monday’s top bargains.

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What we’re listening to: Caspian

In this installment of what we currently have in our earbuds, senior editor Billy Steele explains why some post-rock tunes are is current favorite work music.

Spice up Your Look in Discounted Shoes, Sunglasses, and Denim at Zappos

Presidents Day Sale | Zappos

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SpaceX making rocket landings mundane with 50th attempt Monday

SpaceX launched its first batch of operational Starlink satellites in November.

Enlarge / SpaceX launched its first batch of operational Starlink satellites in November. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

SpaceX is readying a Falcon 9 rocket for the launch of 60 more Starlink satellites on Monday morning. If successful, the mission will bring the total number of satellites in its low-earth orbit Internet constellation to nearly 300.

But what is perhaps most remarkable about Monday’s launch is that the company has made rocket launches and landings almost, dare we say, mundane? Only a little more than four years have passed since SpaceX first landed a rocket along the Florida coast, and less than that since its first drone ship landing.

As of Monday, SpaceX will launch one of its Falcon 9 rockets for the fourth time (it has already flown other first stages four times), and then attempt its 50th first stage landing. On its Starlink-5 mission next month, SpaceX is expected to launch a Falcon 9 rocket for the fifth time. It is working to continue to reduce the amount of hours and work to refurbish a first stage between uses.

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Charging into the mainstream: Volvo electrifies its first class-8 truck

The reality of a production-ready fully electric semi is now upon us, at least for the short-haul routes. Last week, Volvo Trucks revealed the VNR Electric, the centerpiece of an ambitious and highly collaborative $90-million pilot project. It’s known as Low-Impact Green Heavy Transport Solution, or LIGHTS for short. In addition to Volvo, which has invested $36.7 million, 14 other entities from both the public sector and private enterprise have signed on to this collaboration.

“Bringing electric trucks commercially to market takes more than the launch of the truck,” says Keith Brandis, vice president of partnerships and strategic solutions at Volvo Group. “With the LIGHTS program, Volvo and its partners are working on creating a true holistic strategy,” simultaneously studying not only the performance of the truck itself, but also variables such as maintenance needs, route logistics, infrastructure requirements, and environmental impact.

“Goods movement in the region is one of the biggest contributors to smog-causing emissions and 22 percent of emissions from California’s overall transport sector,” says Harmeet Singh, chief technology officer at Greenlots, the company developing and deploying the charging infrastructure for the LIGHTS program. “Our goal for the project is to demonstrate that electric trucks and the requisite charging infrastructure and systems are ready for real-world application,” Singh told Ars.

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Adam Savage turned Spot the robodog into a creepy rickshaw driver

Boston Dynamics has long touted robotic dog Spot's ability to help out in disaster situations and to take on jobs too hazardous for humans, but what practical applications does it have for the average Joe? Beyond scuttling around your house like a Lo…