Items tagged with covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating affects across the globe, upending the everyday lives of nearly everyone, while at the same time resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands. Because of how COVID-19 is spread, people that can work from home along with students participating in virtual learning have resulted in a massive spike in PC sales. According to Canalys, overall PC shipments for the year 2020 hit 297 million units, which was a 11 percent increase compared to 2019. In fact, 2020 represented the biggest leap in full-year PC sales growth since 2010, and marked the highest number of unit shipments since 2014. More specifically, looking at data just for Q4 2020, we see that PC shipments... Read more...
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, touching public surfaces has become almost taboo. To combat this, Intel has announced for CES 2021 the RealSense Touchless Control Software, which simplifies converting kiosks and signage to a touchless interface. If you go to McDonald's, Kohl's, Amazon Lockers, or other stores, you will find touch-based kiosks for food ordering, shopping, or picking stuff up. These kiosks can be quite dirty, as in 2018, a U.K newspaper found that the McDonald's kiosks in six different restaurant locations had gut and fecal bacteria on them. Besides that, what else could be carried around and smudged onto kiosks by random people? McDonald's Kiosks Can Be Gross, Right? Now,... Read more...
You can probably drive around whatever town you live in and see several places that have closed shop, either permanently or temporarily, as a result of the pandemic that is still claiming lives. Looking back, 2020 was a trying year for sure. Not surprisingly, however, the video game and interactive media industry is one of the sectors that thrived, growing to a nearly $140 billion business last year. It makes sense, when you consider that much of the country and the world at larger were in lock down. Even when businesses started to open back up, the threat of COVID-19 prompted a massive surge in working from home and remote education. Throw in layoffs, and it is easy to see why the gaming sector... Read more...
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, IBM created a global security task force, called X-Force, dedicated to threat intelligence and analysis for organizations that are part of the vaccine supply chain. The work the task force has put forth has apparently yielded success as the group just announced that it discovered a global phishing campaign targeting COVID-19 "cold chain" organizations. These cold chain orgs are reportedly a vital part of the COVID-19 supply chain as they ensure that vaccines are preserved in cold temperatures so they remain effective. According to IBM’s X-Force, the phishing campaign began in September of this year, spanning across six countries and several... Read more...
COVID-19 has taken a toll on many businesses around the world. The companies that rely on in-person sales and interaction have been hit even harder as people have gone out significantly less to limit the spread of the virus. We are now starting to see more financial ramifications, as SEGA is selling off most of its arcade business to arcade machine company Genda. In August, it was found that COVID-19 would severely affect SEGA Sammy Holdings Inc. and its businesses. Following that forecast, a “Structural Reform Committee” was created so the business could “adapt to the external environment” while reducing costs, reorganizing for better market adaptability, and reviewing... Read more...
Finding a cure and developing a vaccine to neutralize COVID-19 is key to saving potentially millions of lives, and getting back to life as we once knew it. That is easier said than done, of course. There is some encouraging news on that front, however, as efforts by the Folding@home project has identified a possible target that could lead to a cure. Folding@home is a distributed computing project that focuses on simulated protein folding, in hopes of better understanding diseases like Alzheimer's in hopes of ultimately developing effective treatments. Like other distributed computing projects, the power is the donated CPU and GPU resources offered up people who choose to download the client software.... Read more...
The concept of Time travel often comes up in a multitude of pop culture references, and it gets rather confusing with all the interpretations. If you begin to think about it, paradoxes and loopholes plague our understanding of how it all should work too. After all, it's science fiction is it not?  Based on the math of a University of Queensland Australia undergrad, though, “Paradox-free time travel is theoretically possible,” so suck it pop culture. Could sci-fi again someday become reality? A fourth-year Bachelor of Advanced Science student, Gemain Tobar, decided to investigate the possibilities of time travel under the guidance of University of Queensland physicist... Read more...
Microsoft originally designed the Surface Hub lineup to make meetings and collaboration better for all. Now, they are making the 85-inch Surface Hub 2S finally available for preorder. Businesses that preorder now will see their devices ship in January 2021. Due to COVID-19, working, and learning remotely has become a large part of many people's daily lives. With the Surface Hub, Microsoft is looking to support the remote need by listening to customers and making changes to suit customers. According to Microsoft, “In these last six months of remote work, we’ve seen our customers transform how they use Surface Hub across a range of industries,” such as in education, healthcare,... Read more...
A consumer advocacy group published a study claiming many essential items on Amazon shot up in price during the height of pandemic shopping, and not always by third-party sellers. In no uncertain terms, the study says Amazon "engaged in price gouging on products it sells directly," sometimes by as much as 1,000 percent over the expected cost. The biggest markup, according to the 31-page study by Public Citizen, came on corn starch. Instead of selling for $0.89, as would be expected by on price tracking data from sites like Keepa and Camelcamelcamel, Amazon sold the item for $8.99. A 50-pack of disposable face masks saw a similar massive spike, going from around $4 to $39.99, according the study.... Read more...
With all the madness in 2020 surrounding COVID-19, we are starting to go full Cyberpunk now it appears. LG has unveiled an interesting looking new wearable air purifier that doubles as a mask. To be introduced during IFA 2020, this device will help you fight off viruses while looking futuristic as all get-out. Among all the masks, there have been numerous issues with varying quality and safety. LG aims to take care of this problem with their LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier. This device will sit on your face, not taking up much more space than a regular filtered canister mask. The LG press release says this mask uses “two H13 HEPA filters, similar to the filters used in the company’s... Read more...
For businesses and educational institutions that have been incredibly slow with their Windows 10 upgrade cycles, we have some good news for you today. Microsoft announced that it is giving customers still running the Windows 10 1803 (April 2018 Update) a six-month extension for support. If you recall, Microsoft initially ended support for the Windows 10 April 2018 Update back in November 2019 for both Home and Pro editions of the operating system. However, Enterprise and Education editions were set to continue receiving updates through November 2020.  Rather than going through with those plans, Microsoft has instead decided to extend support for Enterprise and Education editions... Read more...
Many students will be engaged in remote learning this coming school year. Remote learning naturally requires access to a device and a reliable Internet connection. Unfortunately, many American schools are currently facing a major shortage of laptops. Educators throughout the United States are deeply concerned about how this shortage will impact learning, especially the learning of vulnerable students. Lenovo, HP and Dell have all stated that they have a shortage of nearly 5 million laptops. There are several factors that are contributing to this shortage. First, there is simply a higher demand for devices now than there was prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. Second, many laptop producers... Read more...
Today is the day that many students are heading back to school across the United States. Whether those students are partaking in virtual learning from home, or doing in-person learning while practicing social distancing, chances are that they will probably need some new tech gear to start the school year off on the right foot. Amazon is currently running some deals on tech gear that can be used for students either while doing their school work, or in their downtime. The first deal is on the Wi-Fi version of the Apple iPad Mini 5. The 7.9-inch tablet is typically priced at $399 for the 64GB version, but Amazon currently has it on sale for $349.99. Likewise, the 256GB SKU is discounted from... Read more...
Many iconic game consoles were around in the '80s that gamers of a certain age think about with nostalgia. Several of those game consoles have made comebacks as smaller, modernized versions with retro games preinstalled. The Intellivision Amico is one of the consoles that fans have been anticipating for a few years, and bad news has surfaced concerning the the planned reboot. Intellivision CEO Tommy Tallarico announced this week that the console's reboot would be delayed until April 2021. Tallarico's Amica reboot was backed by crowdfunding, and backers never like to hear about delays. Intellivision is blaming the global COVID-19 pandemic and related production challenges for the delay. The executive... Read more...
Apple has reported its fiscal Q3 2020 earnings, and the company was able to successfully weather the coronavirus/COVID-19 storm to the tune of $59.7 billion in revenue for the quarter (thanks in part to robust sales of the new iPhone SE). Remarkably, this was an 11 percent increase in revenue for the company compared to Q3 2019, with 60 percent of that money coming from international sales. Quarterly profit rang in at $11.25 billion for the quarter, or $2.58 per diluted share. Gross margins also increased compared to the same period last year, coming in at 38 percent versus 37.6 percent. Other items of note for the quarter include an upcoming quarterly dividend of $0.82 per share, which will... Read more...
Scientists and researchers are hard at work trying to fully understand the deadly COVID-19 virus and slow its spread, as well as develop a vaccine. You don't have to be a scientist to help in the effort, though. Distributed computing projects like Folding@home and Rosetta@home have both joined in the fight against the virus, and both have gained support for 64-bit ARM through Neocortix's mobile app. I had never heard of Neocortix before today, but the outfit offers a distributed computing app for smartphones, called PhonePaycheck. What it does is tap into idle processing cycles to work on projects, and in exchange, users can earn a little bit of money. According to Neocortix, top earners can... Read more...
According to security officials in the UK, Russian cyber actors have been targeting organizations that are involved in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine development. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ, published an advisory that detailed the activity of the Russian threat group known as APT29. The same group also goes by the name "The Dukes" or "Cozy Bear." According to the security officials, the group is "almost certainly" operating as part of Russian intelligence services. The UK isn't alone in coming to these conclusions. It points out that partners at the Canadian Communication Security Establishment and the U.S. Department for Homeland Security, Cyber Security... Read more...
Sony is expecting its upcoming PlayStation 5 to be a big hit with gamers. After all, it's been nearly 7 years since the PlayStation 4 first launched, and there's been a lot of excitement around this new generation of consoles (which also includes Microsoft’s Xbox Series X).  Sony is reportedly so confident in demand for the console that it will double the number of units that it was planning to initially produce. According to a report from the Bloomberg, Sony had originally planned to produce 6 million PlayStation 5 consoles through March 2021. However, the company is now projected to ship around 10 million units. That's a huge increase in production compare to what was originally... Read more...
Remember when the sky was falling on PC sales, with analysts predicting tablets would take over? Yeah, that never happened. We're still collectively using traditional PCs, and with COVID-19 ushering in an era of working at home on a large scale, PC shipments are trending upwards. By how much depends on which tracking firm you ask. According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments are up 2.8 percent year-over-year, to 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020. The upward swing is a reversal of a "significant decline" from the prior quarter, which also was attributable to COVID-19 (because it disrupted supply chain operations). "The second quarter of 2020 represented a short-term recovery for... Read more...
Every since 2015 when Amazon celebrated its 20th anniversary, the online retailer has been hosting an annual Prime Day sales event in July. It looks like that tradition is about to be slightly altered, however, because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of having a Prime Day event this month, Amazon is said to be delaying its annual deals bonanza until October. That would be an interesting time frame, if it comes to pass. It would essentially extend the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals season by about a month. Technically, Black Friday sales commence the day after Thanksgiving, which this year would fall on November 27. But in recent years, retailers have gotten off to increasingly earlier... Read more...
Dealing with the Coronavirus is challenging enough, from the rising death toll and negative economic impact, to the stay-at-home orders and everything involved with social distancing. One thing we do not have to worry about, however, is the supposed silent installation of a COVID-19 "track and trace" app on Android and iPhone devices. Claims to the contrary have surfaced on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, with seemingly convincing screenshots. A similar message has also been spreading through forwarded messages on WhatsApp, leading to concern that Apple and Google are taking matters into their own hands and sneakily installing software. However, the claims are simply not true.... Read more...
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit the business sector particularly hard over the past few months, and some big-name companies have either been forced to drastically change their operations, or have closed their doors altogether. Even a tech giant like Microsoft is not immune to the aftereffects of COVID-19, as the company has announced a “strategic change” in its retail operations going forward.   The change means that most of the company’s Microsoft Store physical locations will be closing down shortly. Microsoft’s endeavor towards physical stores was modeled in part on the very successful Apple Stores. Customers were able to walk into a Microsoft Store... Read more...
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