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Everything posted by NelsonG

  1. After rolling out in some of Canada’s most high-falutin burger bistros, Impossible Foods is hitting Canada’s fast casual market with new menu items at national chains like White Spot and Triple O’s, Cactus Club Cafe and Burger Priest. While none of those names mean anything to yours truly, they may mean something to our friendly readers to the North. However, I have heard of Qdoba, Wahlburgers and Red Robin. And Canadian customers can also pick up Impossible Foods -based menu items at those chains too. Since its debut at Momofuku Nishi in New York in 2016, the Impossible Burger is now served in 30,000 restaurants across the U.S. and is available in 11,000 grocery stores across America. The Silicon Valley manufacturer of meat substitutes expects that Canada, the company’s first market outside of Asia, may become its largest market — second only to the U.S. View the full article
  2. When you want the public to trust your use of controversial facial recognition technology linked to two prominent wrongful arrests of Black men, it's perhaps best not to claim you aren't using it in the first place. The Los Angeles Police Department was on the defensive Monday after a Los Angeles Times report found that, despite previous statements to the contrary, the LAPD does in fact use facial recognition tech — often, in fact. What's more, the software in question, a product of South Carolina company DataWorks Plus, is itself no stranger to controversy. According to the Times, over 300 LAPD officers have access to facial recognition software, and the department used it almost 30,000 times between November of 2009 and September of this year. Read more... More about Privacy, Facial Recognition, Tech, and OtherView the full article
  3. His latest single features artwork from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy artist George Condo View the full article
  4. Companies send out conflicting messages about the TikTok deal, Microsoft acquires a gaming giant and the WeChat ban is temporarily blocked. This is your Daily Crunch for September 21, 2020. The big story: This TikTok deal is pretty confusing This keeps getting more confusing. Apparently TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has reached a deal with Walmart and Oracle that will allow the Chinese social media app to continue operating in the United States, and the deal has been approved by Donald Trump. But it’s hard to tell exactly what this agreement entails. ByteDance said it would retain 80% control of TikTok, while selling 20% of the company to Walmart and Oracle as “commercial partner” and “trusted technology partner,” respectively. However, Oracle released a seemingly conflicting statement, claiming that Americans will have majority ownership and “ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.” So what’s going on here? We’re trying to figure it out. The tech giants Microsoft set to acquire Bethesda parent ZeniMax for $7.5B — ZeniMax owns some of the biggest publishers in gaming, including Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios. Trump administration’s WeChat ban is blocked by US district court — More news about the Trump administration’s efforts to ban some high-profile Chinese apps: A district court judge in San Francisco has temporarily stayed the nationwide ban on WeChat. Nikola’s chairman steps down, stock crashes following allegations of fraud — This comes in the wake of a report from a noted short-seller accusing the electric truck company of fraud. Startups, funding and venture capital With $100M in funding, Playco is already a mobile gaming unicorn — Playco is a new mobile gaming startup created by Game Closure co-founder Michael Carter and Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron. Indian mobile gaming platform Mobile Premier League raises $90 million — Mobile Premier League operates a pure-play gaming platform that hosts a range of tournaments. A meeting room of one’s own: Three VCs discuss breaking out of big firms to start their own gigs — We talked to Construct Capital’s Dayna Grayson, Renegade Partners’ Renata Quintini and Plexo Capital’s Lo Toney. Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch Edtech investors are panning for gold — At Disrupt, investors told us how they separate the gold from the dust. Despite slowdowns, pandemic accelerates shifts in hardware manufacturing — China continues to be the dominant global force, but the price of labor and political uncertainty has led many companies to begin looking elsewhere. The Peloton effect — Alex Wilhelm examines the latest VC activity in connected fitness. (Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.) Everything else Ireland’s data watchdog slammed for letting adtech carry on ‘biggest breach of all time’ — The Irish Council for Civil Liberties is putting more pressure on the country’s data watchdog to take enforcement action. Pandemic accelerated cord cutting, making 2020 the worst-ever year for pay TV — According to new research from eMarketer, the cable, satellite and telecom TV industry is on track to lose the most subscribers ever. Original Content podcast: ‘Wireless’ shows off Quibi’s Turnstyle technology — I interviewed the director of the new Quibi series. The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here. View the full article
  5. Joy to the world, the need to take an annoying extra step while sending emails on your iPhone is no more. Google has updated its latest version of Gmail, adding the option for it to become the default email client on iPhones. That's thanks to a change made by Apple to the new iOS 14, which dropped last week. Finally! Image: screenshot: rachel kraus / mashable from gmail in the app store At WWDC in June, Apple announced that users would be able to change their default web option from Apple's Safari browser and switch the Mail email service to non-Apple services. Until now, if you opened a link (say, on Twitter), it would open in Safari. Or if you clicked on a person's email to send them a message, a new email would open in Mail. If you wanted to send a person an email in Gmail, you would have to specifically open Gmail, compose a new message, and either copy and paste or type in their email. Read more... More about Gmail, Email, Ios 14, Tech, and IphoneView the full article
  6. The 26-year-old Brooklyn rapper was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to seven years in prison View the full article
  7. Last week at TechCrunch Disrupt 2020, I got the chance to speak to Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist who is a Senior Fellow of the Federation of American Scientists. Dr. Feigl-Ding has been a frequent and vocal critic of some of the most profound missteps of regulators, public health organizations and the current White House administration, and we discussed specifically the topic of aerosol transmission and its notable absence from existing guidance in the U.S. At the time, neither of us knew that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would publish updated guidance on its website over this past weekend that provided descriptions of aerosol transmission, and a concession that it’s likely a primary vector for passing on the virus that leads to COVID-19 — or that the CDC would subsequently revert said guidance, removing this updated information about aerosol transmission that’s more in line with the current state of widely accepted COVID research. The CDC cited essentially an issue where someone at the organization pushed a draft version of guidelines to production — but the facts it had shared in the update lined up very closely with what Dr. Feigl-Ding had been calling for. “The fact that we haven’t highlighted aerosol transmission as much, up until recently, is woefully, woefully frustrating,” he said during our interview last Wednesday. “Other countries who’ve been much more technologically savvy about the engineering aspects of aerosols have been ahead of the curve — like Japan, they assume that this virus is aerosol and airborne. And aerosol means that the droplets are these micro droplets that can float in the air, they don’t get pulled down by gravity […] now we know that the aerosols may actually be the main drivers. And that means that if someone coughs, sings, even breathes, it can stay in the air, the micro droplets can stay in the air anywhere from, for stagnant air for up to16 hours, but normally with ventilation, between 20 minutes to four hours. And that air, if you enter into a room after someone was there, you can still get infected, and that is what makes indoor dining and bars and restaurants so frustrating.” Dr. Feigl-Ding points to a number of recent contact-tracing studies as providing strong evidence that these indoor activities, and the opportunity they provide for aerosol transmission, are leading to a large number of infections. Such studies were featured in a report the CDC prepared on reopening advice, which was buried by the Trump administration, according to an AP report from May. “The latest report shows that indoor dining, bars, restaurants are the leading leading factors for transmission, once you do contact tracing,” he said, noting that this leads naturally to the big issues around schools reopening, including that many have “very poor ventilation,” while simultaneously they’re not able to open their windows or doors due to gun safety protocols in place. Even before this recent CDC guideline take-back, Dr. Feigl-Ding was clearly frustrated with the way the organization appears to be succumbing to politicization of what is clearly an issue of a large and growing body of scientific evidence and fact. “The CDC has long been the most respected agency in the world for public health, but now it’s been politically muzzled,” he said. “Previously, for example, the guidelines around church attendance — the CDC advised against church gatherings, but then it was overruled. And it was clearly overruled, because we actually saw it changed in live time. […] In terms of schools, gatherings, it’s clear [that] keeping kids in a pod is not enough, given what we know about ventilation.” View the full article
  8. Citymapper has long been one of the best mobile navigation apps. Some, including myself, would say it's even better than Google Maps. Now it's available to more people in the United States. The Google Maps alternative for iOS and Android announced Monday it launched navigation support for 17 more cities in the U.S. These include Pittsburgh, Dallas, Miami, the Twin Cities, and several more. You can find the full list of supported cities here. SEE ALSO: How to blur your house on Google Street View (and why you should) This is noteworthy because prior to Monday's update, only eight cities or regions in the entire country had access to the app, which I think offers a better navigation experience than Google Maps. (Of course, Google Maps is available in far more locations, as in pretty much everywhere.) Specifically, Citymapper was locked to so-called coastal elites, with Philadelphia and Chicago the only non-coastal cities where it was available. Read more... More about Transportation, Gps, Google Maps, Citymapper, and Navigation Apps View the full article
  9. In an explosive complaint filed on September 14, an ICE whistleblower alleged that unwanted hysterectomies, a surgical operation that removes the uterus, were performed on immigrant women in ICE custody at a Georgia facility without their consent. The complaint is currently awaiting a full investigation by the Department of Homeland Security. The whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, a nurse formerly employed at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia, maintained that while some women experienced medical conditions requiring hysterectomies, "everybody's uterus cannot be that bad." The reported high rates of performed hysterectomies (including allegations from Wooten that "just about everybody" who sees a particular gynecologist gets a hysterectomy) were coupled with allegations that many detained women were not given "proper and informed consent" about the procedures they received. The New York Times was unable to verify that women at the facility had their uteruses removed without their consent. Read more... More about Immigration, Whistleblower, Immigration And Customs Enforcement, Hysterectomies, and Social GoodView the full article
  10. Well, that was fast. This morning, I analyzed Palantir’s newly published fifth amendment of its S-1 filing with the SEC as it pursues a public direct listing on the NYSE. I called the company “not a democracy” after it added new provisions to create a special mechanism called “Stockholder Party Excluded Shares” that would, in the language of Palantir, allow the company’s trio of founders to “unilaterally adjust their total voting power” at will, now and into the future. Well, Palantir has now filed a sixth amendment with the SEC just a few hours after it filed its previous amendment, and the company has removed all references to this special mechanism from its SEC filing. The 19 mentions of “Stockholder Party Excluded Shares” and multiple sections where the mechanism were discussed and explained have now been entirely excised. In addition, the company’s line about its founders having the capability to “unilaterally adjust their total voting power” has also been similarly removed. Outside of those changes, the two different versions of the company’s S-1 filing are essentially identical. And for those keeping score from this morning, in this tenth rendition of the company’s public offering documents including its previous draft registration statements, the latest filing includes 168 mentions of “voting power” — identical to the number this morning. Here’s an updated chart: It’s a quick about-face for the enterprise software company, which has spent weeks prepping for its direct listing, originally scheduled for September 23 and which has since been moved back to September 29. While corporate governance has certainly gotten weaker over the past few years, Palantir’s newly introduced language this morning stretched the definition of shareholder governance quite frankly to its breaking point. Walking back those changes was the right call. There’s no telling whether the SEC, NYSE, potential investors in the direct listing, executives or insiders pushed for these changes. However, companies rarely make such rapid changes with their SEC filings (then again, I’ve never seen an IPO with so many amendments in the first place, so we are in uncharted territory). Palantir remains in an SEC-mandated quiet period. We’ll continue to monitor developments as Palantir heads to the public markets, presumably next week. View the full article
  11. She joined her sisters’ R&B group right before their biggest hit, “Best of My Love” View the full article
  12. The spotlight on edtech grows brighter and harsher: On one end, remote-learning startups are attracting millions in venture capital. On the other, many educators and parents are unimpressed with the technology that enables virtual learning and gaps remain in and out of the classroom. It’s clear that edtech’s nebulous pain points — screen time, childcare and classroom management — require innovation. But as founders flurry to a sector recently rejuvenated with capital, the influx of interest has not fostered any breakout solutions. As a result, edtech investors must hone their skills at sorting the innovators from the opportunists amid the rush. Lucky for us, investors shared notes during TechCrunch Disrupt and offline regarding how they are separating the gold from the dust, giving us a peek into their due diligence process (and inboxes). Putting profitability over growth The pandemic has broadly forced founders to get more conservative and prioritize profitability over the usual “growth at all costs” startup mentality. Growth still matters, but within edtech, the boom comes with a big focus on profitability, efficacy, outcomes and societal impact. “The goal of all of education is personalized learning, when every student receives exactly the instruction in the way that they need it at the time that they need it. And that’s really, really difficult to do if you’re trying to have one person teach 180 students,” said Mercedes Bent of Lightspeed Venture Partners. “And so I’ve been excited to see more solutions that are focused on creating smaller class sizes that are also focused on allowing students to connect with people outside of their homes as well.” During Disrupt, Reach Capital’s Jennifer Carolan brought up a recent Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” which illustrates the impact screen time can have on society. When vetting companies, Carolan said she wanted to see founders who have considered how their products may impact young users. View the full article
  13. Over the past several years it has become increasingly apparent that Nintendo isn’t prepared to tolerate instances where its copyright or trademark rights may have been breached by third parties. Many of Nintendo’s responses are fairly straightforward, targeting platforms that offer Nintendo games without permission or those that provide tools, software and workarounds that undermine protection mechanisms designed to prevent copying. Some, however, don’t fall neatly into any of these categories. Peach’s Untold Tale Early 2012, South America-based developer Ivan Aedler posted to the Legend of Krystal forums revealing a new project titled Peach’s Untold Tales (PUT). It’s billed as a freeware adult parody game that documents the ‘adventures’ of the Shigeru Miyamoto character Princess Peach, who was first seen in Super Mario Bros. way back in 1985. The title can be best explained as being ‘hentai’ in style which, according to a dictionary definition, is a subgenre of the Japanese genres of manga and anime characterized by overtly sexualized characters and sexually explicit images and plots. Without stepping into XXX territory, it’s perhaps best to quote from an interview Aedler gave in 2019 in which he revealed the premise. “It’s a game where players take on the role of Princess Peach. Bowser is invading, the citizens of Mushroom Kingdom are under Kamek’s spell to be super aroused, and Mario is missing. What’s a princess to do? Stomp some enemies, or start putting out, to save her kingdom,” he told Doujins. After Eight Years, Nintendo Has Seen Enough Finding a relevant screenshot to display without needing some element of censorship to accommodate younger readers proved pretty fruitless, so those interested in viewing some of PUT’s gameplay can do so on Xvideos.com, where just one video of the game in action has more than two million views (NSFW). Needless to say, the acts witnessed are not something one would normally associate with Nintendo products or characters. It will come as no surprise then after either waiting eight years or perhaps just discovering the game for the first time, Nintendo has ordered its legal team into action. PUT made Microsoft-owned Github its development home but in a DMCA notice served on the platform late last week, the gaming giant explained that PUT infringes the copyrights of its Super Mario video game franchise. Listing a range of copyright registrations covering Peach, Toad, Mario is Missing, Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Bors., Super Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, to name just a few, the company demanded the takedown of the entire project including its Github.io webpage and Github.com download pages. Aren’t Parodies Covered By Fair Use? Anyone familiar with the adult industry will be only too aware that porn parodies are widespread and are carefully crafted so as to take full advantage of the relevant exception in copyright law. In this case, however, Nintendo doesn’t feel that exception is available. In its takedown notice filed with Github, Nintendo said it had considered all fair use exceptions but after a review, ultimately found that it “does not believe [PUT] qualifies as a fair use of Nintendo’s copyright-protected work.” According to intellectual property attorney Maxine Lynn, who in 2018 published a piece on XBIZ covering the legality of porn parodies, the evaluation of whether use is fair is made on a case-by-case basis, balancing the rights of authors and the free speech rights of the public. A close example to the case in hand appears to lie in the 1978 case of Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates. After the latter produced a comic book featuring 17 Disney characters including Mickey Mouse involved in sex and drugs, Disney sued and the court found that the use was not fair. “The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court found that the amount of the portion copied exceeded permissible levels, noting that, ‘[w]hen persons are parodying a copyrighted work, the constraints of the existing precedent do not permit them to take as much of a component part as they need to make the ‘best parody.’ Instead, their desire to make the ‘best parody’ is balanced against the rights of the copyright owner in his original expressions,” Lynn wrote, citing the decision. The important position that remains unchanged today is that such fair use cases can be both complex and expensive to defend. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that developer Ivan Aedler will contest the DMCA takedown filed by Nintendo, since that puts the company in the position of having to file a lawsuit against him to prevent Peach’s Untold Tale from being reinstated on Github. At the time of writing, Aedler had not responded to TorrentFreak’s request for comment. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  14. There's a new "Hottest Chip in the World." Mashable's Tim Marcin tried out the #OneChipChallenge. Turns out, they're pretty painfully hot. Read more... More about Mashable Video, Spicy Food, Onechipchallenge, Food Challenge, and Entertainment View the full article
  15. Somnox is a robot designed to reduce stress and improve sleep. It does so via features such as customized sounds and breathing regulators. Read more... More about Tech, Robots, Mashable Video, Sleep, and Future BlinkView the full article
  16. NGHTMRE & Galantis. NGHTMRE & Galantis? Apparently, yes. One of the top bass/trap artists and a duo that specialize in their own quirky brand of EDM pop are collaborating for the first time, and we have no idea what this will sound like. Plenty of artists of separate genres have worked together in the past, so that in and of itself isn’t particularly newsworthy. But these two, in particular, present a very unique opportunity for some interesting possibilities. Will it be bass with a poppy topline? Poppy most of the way with a trappy second drop? Or a combination of the two or something else entirely? We’ll find out soon enough. Pre-save “Tu Tu Tu” featuring Liam O’Donnell here. Photos via Rukes.com This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: NGHTMRE Reveals New Collaboration With Galantis Out This Friday View the full article
  17. Sketchy merchants have been bribing Amazon employees and contractors to reinstate unsafe and counterfeit products on the e-commerce site and manipulate reviews, according to the U.S. Justice Department. On Friday, federal officials announced indictments against six suspects who allegedly paid more than $100,000 to Amazon employees and contractors in commercial bribes. “In exchange for bribes, and the promises of such bribes, the Amazon insiders baselessly and fraudulently conferred tens of millions of dollars of competitive benefits upon hundreds of 3P (third-party) seller accounts,” the indictment claims. Read more... More about Amazon, Tech, and Big Tech Companies View the full article
  18. Both Zoom and Twitter found themselves under fire this weekend for their respective issues with algorithmic bias. On Zoom, it’s an issue with the video conferencing service’s virtual backgrounds and on Twitter, it’s an issue with the site’s photo cropping tool. It started when Ph.D. student Colin Madland tweeted about a Black faculty member’s issues with Zoom. According to Madland, whenever said faculty member would use a virtual background, Zoom would remove his head. “We have reached out directly to the user to investigate this issue,” a Zoom spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re committed to providing a platform that is inclusive for all.” It also speaks to the bigger issue of the prevalence of bad algorithms. These same types of algorithms are what leads to biased arrests and imprisonment of Black people. They’re also the same kind of algorithms that Google used to label photos of Black people as gorillas and that Microsoft’s Tay bot used to become a white supremacist. View the full article
  19. The T. rex will make its auction debut on October 6th at Christie’s in New York, with an estimated price of $6-8 million. Read more... More about Mashable Video, Culture, Dinosaurs, Auction, and Future BlinkView the full article
  20. Imagine yourself unable to see well enough to drive, and how that would change your life. I witness that scenario every day at home with my wife, who is legally blind, and a very busy person. She reveres Uber and Lyft because they provided her with the still remarkable option to get up and go whenever she wants, wherever she wants. So imagine her excitement a year ago when she was treated to a brief ride in a self-driving Waymo taxi. The safety driver asked my wife to buckle up and hit the “start” button. Yes, exactly! Where is that start button? We all had a chuckle because the point of the excursion was to talk about Waymo’s commitment to accessibility in the development of self-driving taxis, which are already in service in Phoenix. Waymo is working closely with the Foundation for Blind Children (FBC) in Phoenix to get feedback on the experience, and also consulting with The Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco. We are delighted to announce that Waymo’s work on accessibility will be featured at Sight Tech Global, which is a virtual event (December 2-3) focused on how AI-related technologies will influence assistive technology and accessibility in the years ahead. Attendance is free and registration is open. Joining the Waymo accessibility session are three key figures helping to guide Waymo’s work. Clement Wright is the Waymo product manager responsible for Waymo’s user experience and accessibility efforts. His focus is on ensuring all Waymo riders, including those with disabilities, can enjoy safe, comfortable and convenient rides in Waymo’s fully driverless service. Marc Ashton is CEO, Foundation for Blind Children, which is a Phoenix-based and nationally recognized leader in the education of blind children. Ashton’s son is blind, which led to his interest in the field and in 2007 to the role of CEO. Bryan Bashin is the CEO of Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco, which offers education, training, advocacy and community for blind individuals in California and around the world. Blind since college, Bashin has dedicated much of his career to advocating for equality, access, training and mentorship for individuals who are blind or low vision. Waymo’s quest for a highly accessible, self-driving ride is no easy challenge. “Today, ride-hailing and taxi drivers fulfill certain duties outside of strictly driving the car,” says Wright. “They may roll down the window at pickup to speak to a rider and help them find the car. One of our largest challenges as we work to build the Waymo Driver is ensuring that we understand all of the rider’s additional needs without a human driver in the car.” The Waymo team has worked with adult members of the FBC to get feedback on the mobile app used to summon a Waymo taxi, for example, by using the way-finding mechanism of honking the taxi’s horn through the app. “Time and again,” says Wright, “we’ve seen that a feature built to help a specific group of people, the visually impaired for example, is actually very helpful for the rest of our rider base as well. This has led us to a broader focus on inclusive design — looking at specific rider’s needs to understand key challenges, and then building solutions that help everyone.” Autonomous vehicles have the potential to help people with disabilities, including the 1.3 million Americans who are legally blind, get where they need to go safely and efficiently. We will dive into how Waymo accounts for accessibility throughout its product development cycle and explore the critical role that feedback, from both blind and low-vision users, as well as partner organizations who represent those groups, plays in that process. Join us at Sight Tech Global on December 2-3 to join the session. Get your free pass now. Sight Tech Global welcomes sponsors. Current sponsors include Verizon Media, Google, Waymo, Mojo Vision and Wells Fargo. The event is organized by volunteers and all proceeds from the event benefit The Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Silicon Valley. View the full article
  21. Read more... More about Arctic, Global Warming, Climate Change, Science, and Climate Environment View the full article
  22. You’ve probably seen the screenshots going around that show iOS home screens that differ considerably from the stock options that Apple provides. Yes, if you’re an Android user you’re probably laughing at iPhone owners for finally (nearly) catching up to the customization features they’ve had for years, but if you’re an iOS fan, you probably just want to know how to join in. It’s actually relatively easy — provided you’ve got some time to spare, and you don’t mind a few slightly hacky workarounds (don’t worry, no jailbreaking required). Widgets The big new addition that’s prompting all the shared screens across social media are home screen widgets, which are supported under iOS 14 for the first time. These can be either first or third-party, and are included with apps you download from the App Store. There are a number of developers who pushed to ensure they were ready at or near the launch of iOS, and Sarah has created a growing list of some of the best for you to check out if you’re not sure where to start. One of my personal favorite widget apps is Widgetsmith, an app that, as its name suggests, was created pretty much entirely for the purpose of making them. It allows you a range of customization options, has a number of handy, useful functions, including calendar, weather and clock, and comes with different font choices to best suit your style. I’ve always aimed to create a clean, single-tone look with iOS as much as possible, and Widgetsmith is the best I’ve found so far for creating home screen displays that look like they’re borderless (provided your iOS wallpaper is a solid color that matches one of those the app supports). Widgets are great at providing right on your home screen (where you need it) at-a-glance information that you don’t typically want to dive into an app to retrieve. Some can shortcut to useful features, like the search widget built into Google’s iOS app, but most are made primarily to reduce the amount of time you spend actually inside the apps themselves. Custom app icons While Widgets are new, another big component of this customization push is not — the ability to create custom home screen icons for iOS apps. That’s been around ever since Apple introduced its Shortcuts app on iOS a couple of years ago, but many people are discovering the feature for the first time as a result of the increased attention around home screen customization with the introduction of Widgets in iOS 14. [gallery ids="2049681,2049682"] Creating custom icons on iOS isn’t actually doing that, strictly speaking — what you’re in fact doing is creating new Shortcuts that trigger the launch of an app, and using a custom image for that bookmark that then lives on your home screen instead. This is not an ideal solution, because it means that A) you won’t have any notification badges on your “apps,” and B) the system first directs you to Apple’s Shortcuts app, which opens for a split-second before bumping you into the actual app you selected for the shortcut. Apple clearly didn’t design this Shortcuts feature for this use (opening a target app is meant to be the start of a string of automated actions), but Apple also hasn’t really ever seemed interested in letting users choose their own custom icons, so it’s the best we can do for now. Luckily, the process is relatively simple. Unluckily, there are a lot of steps involved, so it’s pretty time-consuming to customize your entire home screen. Here’s a video of how to do this as simply as possible: Image Credits: Darrell Etherington There are some fantastic examples out there of what creative individuals have been able to do with this, given a little time and some elbow grease. With more widget options coming online all the time, we’ve probably only begun to see the limits of testing the boundaries of what’s possible under Apple’s rules, too. View the full article
  23. Launcher is bringing its customizable widgets to iOS 14 with new functionality, including the ability to rotate a widget’s icons by date, time or even location. It also supports customizable widget backgrounds, icons of different sizes or those with no labels for a cleaner look. The app, which first debuted in 2014, had been well-known for being one of the few to push the envelope when it came to the functionality offered by Apple’s classic Today View widgets. In the years since, the app served as the launchpad for common tasks — like messaging a favorite contact, calling home, getting directions, playing your favorite music and much more right from the Today View. Now you can do the same from your home screen, but with a more customizable experience that matches your current iOS 14 theme. Image Credits: Cromulent Labs Apple wasn’t quite sure what to think of Launcher back in 2014. The app had once been banned from the App Store for several months because its sole reason for existence was to be a Today View widget provider, without offering other functionality beyond widget configuration. Apple eventually decided that Launcher had value, despite this limitation, and allowed it back in. What’s more, Apple later realized there was a market for workflow automation and eventually acquired a Launcher competitor of sorts, Workflow, which was turned into Apple’s Shortcuts app and expanded to include additional functionality — like Siri integration, for instance. Now, with the release of iOS 14, Apple has fully embraced the idea of customizable widgets for the home screen. Meanwhile, users are leveraging Shortcuts to create custom icons, then building creative home screen themes using a custom combination of widgets, icons and wallpapers. Launcher, however, offers a simpler alternative for those who don’t want to spend hours creating a customized experience. Instead, you can create a widget with favorite apps and tasks, change the widget’s background color and adjust the icons’ size in one go. For example, you can now create Launcher widgets that let you tap an icon to immediately call, message, FaceTime or email a favorite contact; get directions to a location; start playing an artist, album or playlist in Apple Music; access a favorite website; launch actions within apps (like Compose Tweet or Run Shortcut); turn common phone settings on or off (like WiFi, Bluetooth, Low Power Mode, DND, Airplane mode, etc.); or launch any other app on your device. Image Credits: Cromulent Labs Launcher aims to tap into the growing iOS 14 home screen customization trend as its app lets you customize the icons and widget background, even allowing for tiny icons within the widget or removing icon labels. (See above). The widget’s background can be styled to match the existing wallpaper or can be configured using images. Widgets can also be stacked for better space utilization and the icons they contain can change based on the day of the week, time of day or your location. That way, you could have a widget that shows up only when you hit the gym, for example, or one that appears when you’re in the office. Your home screen widget could also be different during the work week than on the weekend. Image Credits: Cromulent Labs Many of the app’s features were previously offered in the classic Today View widgets, but the home screen widgets work differently. Where before, you were limited to a fixed number of widgets that could be shown or hidden based on time or location, the new widgets support different icon sets that appear at different times. However, you can’t configure a home screen widget to automatically disappear as that would cause the home screen itself to rearrange. Launcher’s creator, Greg Gardner, says he’s seen a surge of interest in his app due to the iOS 14 release, even before its update, out today, which delivers the iOS 14 widget support. Image Credits: Cromulent Labs “People on iOS 14 seem to be pretty excited about home screen widgets, so they are searching the App Store for widgets and are finding my app. Unfortunately some of them have been disappointed that the app didn’t have home screen widgets,” he says. “I hope that now that it has home screen widgets the downloads will continue to increase and the new users won’t be disappointed any longer,” Gardner adds. The surprise release of iOS 14 probably didn’t help things on this front. Apple gave its developers less than 24 hours notice of iOS 14’s arrival this year, even making its announcement before the necessary developer tools (e.g., Xcode) were available for download. That means some developers’ iOS 14-compatible apps weren’t ready and available on the iOS launch day, as in years past. In addition to the expanded functionality, there’s another reason to appreciate Launcher’s new app: Its business model. The app doesn’t monetize by way of subscriptions but instead only charges its users a one-time fee for an expanded feature set. While the earlier version of the app had offered two different pricing tiers, Launcher 5 has simplified pricing to just the one. https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Launcher5-AppPreview1.mp4 Its new “Premium” in-app purchase will unlock all the new home screen widgets and customization options. However, existing users only have to pay $2.99 for the upgrade while new users will pay the full price of $7.99. “The amount of work required to implement the new widgets was enough that I thought it justified a new in-app purchase,” says Gardner. Plus, he notes, the App Store also doesn’t offer any official means of charging upgrade pricing for scenarios like this. Launcher 5 is rolling out now on the App Store. (If you don’t see the app with an updated date of Sept. 21, 2020, just try again later as the update may not have reached your region yet.) View the full article
  24. Wynn Las Vegas has reported 548 positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 3 deaths among employees since it reopened in June. With help from the University Medical Center, Wynn has attempted to catch employees with the virus early on, even with those who are asymptomatic. Of the 15,051 routine tests so far, there have been a reported 548 positives — for an overall positivity rate of 3.6% Since these “Pre-employment and Surveillance Testing Programs” started up, Wynn has seen a downward trend in positives. “In fact, in the recent round of surveillance testing conducted on Sept. 11, only one out of 285 employees tested positive,” the resort shared via press release. The company has offered financial aid support to the families of the three employees that died. Wynn asserts that 98% of employees that tested positive were exposed outside of work. However, there may be a link between positive cases and the Las Vegas Strip. Another local report claims more than 25 percent of those recently infected with COVID-19 in Clark Country may have contracted or helped spread the coronavirus while visiting a hotel, motel or resort. More on that here. Source: RGJ This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Wynn Las Vegas Reports 548 COVID-19 Cases, 3 Deaths Among Employees Since Reopening View the full article
  25. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t hit every factory in China at once. The initial impact to China’s electronics industry arrived around the time the nation was celebrating its new year. Two weeks after announcing 59 known cases of a new form of coronavirus, the national government put Wuhan — a city of 11 million — under strict lockdown. As with most of the rest of the word, the manufacturing sector was caught somewhat flat-footed. according to Anker founder and CEO Steven Yang . “Nobody had a great reaction,” said Yang, whose electronics company is based in Shenzhen. “I think this all caught us by surprise. In our China office, everybody was prepared to go on vacation for the Chinese New Year. I think the first reaction was that vacation was prolonged the first week and then another several days. People were just off work. There wasn’t a determined date for when they could come back to work. That period was the most concerning because we didn’t have an outlook. They had to find certainties. People had to work from home and contact supplies and so forth. That first three to four weeks was the most chaotic.” Numbers from early 2020 certainly reflect the accompanying slowdown in the manufacturing sector. In February, the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) — a metric used to gauge the health of manufacturing and service sectors — hit a record low. These bottlenecks resulted in product shortages — a fact that was rendered relatively moot in some sectors as demand for nonessentials dropped, many small businesses shuttered and COVID-19-related layoffs began. The U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April alone, hitting a record high 14.7% unemployment. (When you suddenly find yourself indefinitely unemployed, a smartphone upgrade seems much less pressing.) Such events only served to compound existing mobile trends and has delayed the adoption of 5G and other technologies. It seems likely, too, that COVID-19 will accelerate other trends within manufacturing — notably, the shift toward diversifying manufacturing sites. China continues to be the dominant global force in electronics manufacturing, but the price of labor and political uncertainty has led many companies to begin looking beyond the world’s largest workforce. View the full article
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