Here’s what’s on the Ars radar for February (which, holy cra

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It felt like just yesterday—the Internet lamenting a pretty disappointing 2017, everyone and their auntie sharing best-of lists, CES 2018 e-mails only beginning to trickle into our inboxes. Yet here we are, dear readers. It’s already February 2018. #TimeHowDoesItWork

Just because it feels like things continue to fly by, of course, doesn’t mean the last 31 days came and went without impact. Amazon decided to ditch cashiers in favor of cameras for its Seattle grocery store, net neutrality officially went on the clock at the FCC, and Google quietly made it possible (though not exactly pleasant) to boot up its super-secret future OS. Spend too much time trying to wrap your head around “raw” water, and evidently you risk missing a whole lot at the beginning of the calendar.

So, allow this week’s newsletter to prime you for the month ahead. While surprises seem inevitable in this day and age, we already know of a few things worth getting excited about

Orbital Transmission 02.02.2017 2018

AMD’s Desktop APUs finally arrive (2/12)

The company laid out its 2018 agenda at CES, and AMD will fill a significant gap in the current Ryzen range mid-month. AMD released its first APUs (CPUs with integrated GPU) last year, but they were mobile-focused. By mid-2018, expect AMD to have an integrated GPU part to compete with almost every one of Intel's processors. Good for competition; hopefully good for users, too.


Black Panther is 2018’s first must-see film (2/16)

Chadwick Boseman returns to the big screen after stealing the show as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, and he’s about to give audiences a better look at the world’s most tech-savvy nation: Wakanda. It’s great to see a major superhero franchise with a mostly black cast arrive to such hype and fanfare (during Black History Month, no less), and the trailer only solidifies Black Panther as the most-anticipated release of 2018 thus far.


Circuit City rises from the dead (2/15)

LOL. But seriously, so many tech brands of old continue to “reinvent” themselves: Kodak adopted the Blockchain; the company calling itself Atari will release a retroconsole in 2018. New Circuit City—and its "real-time tech support via video chat"—arrives mid-month. (Maybe they’ll have better luck with graphics cards than Best Buy; they can stock the new Apple home assistant at least.)


SpaceX unleashes its Falcon Heavy rocket (2/6)

If you thought Elon and co. have shook up the space industry, you ain't seen nothing yet. Promised in 2011, the Falcon Heavy gives SpaceX a rocket rivaling anything made by NASA or the United Launch Alliance. (Our Eric Berger called it, "the world’s most powerful rocket, twice over.") The first payload includes a Tesla Roadster, but future possibilities are endless—if Tuesday's launch succeeds.


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As always, feel free to reach out with your February recommendations, subscription questions or perk suggestions, and general feedback on the newly launched Newsletter 2.0.