Fitbit’s In-App Study Will Determine If Wearables Can Detect COVID-19

It could also help spot other infections before symptoms appear. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! May 22, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Fitbit is venturing beyond its research partnerships to launch an infectious disease study of its own that’s very easy to join. The device maker has introduced a study inside its app that will help determine if smartwatches and fitness trackers can spot early signs of COVID-19, the flu and similar diseases without waiting for symptoms. If you’re at least 21 years old and live in the US or Canada, you can volunteer by filling out a questionnaire regarding your health (such as whether you’ve had COVID-19). Fitbit will combine that with activity data to see if there are any telltale clues and, ideally, build an algorithm that alerts people before they infect others. Related: 4-Step Entrepreneur’s Guide to Surviving COVID-19 The study is available […]

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Elon Musk Says He’ll Move Tesla’s Headquarters to Nevada or Texas

He also says he’s suing Alameda County over pandemic lockdowns. May 11, 2020 3 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Elon Musk has been frustrated that Tesla’s Fremont factory has remained shut down due to Alameda County’s lockdown order, and that anger has apparently reached the boiling point. Musk has claimed that he’ll move Tesla’s headquarters to Nevada or Texas “immediately” as a result of Alameda County’s decision to keep the Fremont factory shut through May. He also threatened to pull all manufacturing from Fremont “depending on how Tesla is treated in the future.” On top of this, Musk said Tesla would sue the county for allegedly defying “the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense.” The entrepreneur has made his displeasure with the Fremont shutdown clear on more than one occasion, including on Twitter and in a profanity-laced outburst in an earning call where he called lockdown safety measures […]

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Blue Origin and SpaceX Win Contracts to Develop NASA’s Moon Spacecraft

Boeing, however, missed out. May 1, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget As it teased earlier in the week, NASA has awarded contracts in its quest for a Moon landing — and it’s a big win for the upstarts in the spaceflight industry. The administration has chosen Blue Origin, SpaceX and IT firm Dynetics to compete against each other in developing lunar landing systems for the Artemis program. Blue Origin received the largest award due to its significant early progress, receiving $579 million, while Dynetics’ team-up with Sierra Nevada earned it $253 million. SpaceX received $135 million to help with its Starship-based project. The contracts last through February 2021 and task the companies with performing initial demonstration missions. After that, NASA will pick at least two of the companies to develop more mature systems on its way to final landing hardware. Related: Inside SpaceX: What It’s Like Working for a Company on a Mission It’s equally […]

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Apple Mail for iPhone May Be Vulnerable to Malware Attacks

Attacks may have started two years ago, although evidence is scarce. April 22, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget The default email app on iPhones and iPads might be vulnerable to surreptitious malware attacks, at least if you ask a security research firm. ZecOps briefed the Wall Street Journal on a claimed vulnerability in Mail that lets attackers infect your device with malware without input — you wouldn’t have to tap a link or download a file. It’s “virtually undetectable” for users, the security firm said. While researchers didn’t explain exactly how the attack would work, it wold involve sending a specially designed message. The exploit may have been use for a while. ZecOps said it had evidence attackers had used the flaw for at least two years. There had been at least six targets, including staff at a Japanese telecom, a “large North American firm,” tech companies in Israel and Saudi Arabia, a […]

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Kickstarter’s Live Project Count Is Down 35 Percent From Last Year

Layoffs are planned as crowdfunding takes a serious blow. April 21, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Crowdfunding is taking a serious hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Kickstarter internal memo from CEO Aziz Hasan obtained by The Verge indicates that new projects have dropped by 35 percent year-over-year with “no clear sign of rebound.” The steep drop has led to the company discussing “potential layoffs” with the Kickstarter employee union and finding ways to cut expenses, including cutting pay for management, capping new hires and being selective when filling newly vacant positions. Hasan acknowledged that employees were “shouldering some part” of the uncertainty, and vowed to get through the situation “thoughtfully and transparently” to ease concerns as much as possible. The goal was to ensure Kickstarter was supporting creators and others for “the years ahead,” not just during pandemic lockdowns. We’ve asked Kickstarter for comment. The company has been making […]

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Elon Musk Explains Why Tesla’s Model 3 Has An In-Cabin Camera

You won’t have to worry about someone trashing your robotaxi. April 13, 2020 1 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Tesla’s Model 3 has shipped from the start with a camera pointing at the cabin, but it has gone unused ever since. What’s it for? You won’t have to wonder much longer. Elon Musk has confirmed that the camera is there to support Tesla’s eventual robo-taxi plans. Since you won’t be in the car yourself when it’s picking up rides, the camera will provide video evidence if passengers trash the interior. A pair of sleuths have also captured pictures of what the camera sees, and it unsurprisingly provides a clear, wide-angle view of the seating. Electrek adds that Tesla has been exploring other ideas. Musk hinted it might help you record your “caraoke” sessions, and the company recently applied for a patent on using the camera to recognize occupants and apply settings (such as seat position […]

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Plex Makes Live TV Free for 3 Months

You’ll just need an antenna to watch through the app. March 26, 2020 1 min read This story originally appeared on Endgadget Plex is joining the chorus of companies handing out freebies to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The media-app makers are offering their Live TV feature free to all users for three months through June 30. You’ll still need a tuner and an over-the-air antenna, but you won’t need a Plex Pass to watch channels through any of the company’s apps. Related: Shows to Binge During the Pandemic That Aren’t ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Fleabag’ There are some catches. The free access doesn’t include DVR functionality. You’ll also only receive guide data for 48 hours of programming versus the two weeks of a Plex Pass subscriber. This is as much about pitching subscriptions as it is supporting the community. Nonetheless, it might be appreciated if you’ve run out of on-demand shows to watch while […]

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Tesla Starts Delivering the Model Y

March 17, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Tesla’s Model Y is reaching buyers roughly a year after its debut. The company has followed up numerous buyer reports by confirming that deliveries of its electric crossover are officially underway in spring (really, late winter) as promised. It’s not clear just how many vehicles are enroute at this stage, but it’s notable that initial orders revolve around pricier Long Range and Performance configurations — standard range models won’t show until 2021. The Model Y shares a lot in common with the Model 3 sedan, but it’s arguably a more reasonably priced alternative to the Model X. You don’t get the X’s performance, more elaborate in-cabin tech or those signature falcon wing doors, but you do get considerably more room than the 3 with an option for seven seats. The deliveries are good news for Tesla, which hoped to keep its momentum going through 2020. With […]

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Coronavirus Home Testing Kits Are Coming to Seattle

The Gates Foundation is backing the safer medical testing tech. March 9, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget It might soon be much easier and safer to determine if someone has been infected by the novel coronavirus. The team behind a Gates Foundation-backed project told the Seattle Times that it’s preparing to deliver home testing kits for the virus to Seattle (where the infection rate has been relatively high) within the “coming weeks.” Potential patients swab their noses and send the samples back to a lab for study, with results ready in one to two days. If someone is infected, they can fill out an online questionnaire to determine their contact and travel habits in case officials need to notify anyone else that they might have the virus. The test will let people stay at home and reduce the chances of spreading the virus. At the same time, it could also […]

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WHO Joins TikTok to Fight Coronavirus Misinformation

It’s going where the gossip is. March 2, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget The World Health Organization clearly has an interest in putting a stop to coronavirus misinformation, and that’s leading it to online destinations it wouldn’t have considered before. The WHO has joined TikTok, and its first videos are, unsurprisingly, aimed at both reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and setting the record straight. They explain how you can safeguard yourself and others against the virus, how to use a mask and whether or not you need a mask in the first place — crucially, the WHO stresses that you don’t need a mask if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. The clips won’t compete with the latest dance tutorials or political commentary clips in terms of style, but they do appear to be getting an audience. The initial video had over 6.5 million views as of this writing, […]

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Virgin Galactic Will Let People Hop to the Front of the Line for Tickets

It could use the money to fund its space tourism plans. February 26, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Are you determined to hop aboard one of Virgin Galactic’s tourist spaceflights before any of your friends? The company is happy to accommodate you — if you’re willing to pay. Alongside its latest earnings (more on those in a moment), Virgin has announced a One Small Step program that will bump qualified customers to the front of the line for “firm” reservations. Beginning on February 26th at 3AM Eastern, serious travellers can register online with a $1,000 refundable deposit to get into orbit sooner when tickets are once again available. The company didn’t say exactly when those next tickets would be available or how much they would cost, although CEO George Whitesides had warned that prices might climb substantially from the $250,000 for early customers. Virgin is still a long way from courting everyday people, […]

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Researchers Can ‘Steal Data’ By Tracking a PC Monitor’s Brightness

No network connection required. February 6, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget There are already ways to siphon data from computers without a network connection or old-fashioned physical theft, but this might be one of the cleverer examples. Researchers have found a way to steal data from “air-gapped” computers (that is, no way to connect to other devices) using an LCD’s brightness. The approach has a compromised computer relay imperceptible changes in the LCD’s RGB color values that a camera-equipped device can detect. You could theoretically trick someone into loading malware on the target system through a USB drive and use nearby hijacked security cameras to transmit that information. Don’t worry about someone reading your login details through the window any time soon, though. As the methods imply, a data thief would still have to breach the victim computer and have cameras they control within line of sight. This could […]

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Coronavirus Outbreak Is Affecting Nintendo Switch Supply in Japan

This also affects ‘Ring Fit Adventure’ and Joy-Cons. February 6, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget The coronavirus outbreak is continuing to have a tangible impact on tech. Nintendo has warned that the virus will result in “inevitable” production and shipment delays for the Switch in Japan, including Joy-Con controllers and Ring Fit Adventure. Accordingly, it postponed Japanese reservations for the Animal Crossing Switch (above) from February 8th to an unspecified date. Pre-orders for the game itself weren’t affected. “We can confirm that the manufacturing of some Nintendo products for the Japanese market has been delayed due to the impact of 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak,” the company said in a statement to Engadget. “Nintendo does not anticipate a significant impact on our broader global supply chain for systems and accessories at this time, and product sales in North America and Europe, including pre-orders, are not affected. We would like to express our concern and support […]

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Instagram Brought in More Money Than YouTube in 2019

It represented a quarter of Facebook’s revenue. February 5, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget There’s little doubt that Instagram is important to Facebook’s bottom line, but how big is it, really? It might be larger than you think. Bloomberg sources say Instagram racked up $20 billion in ad revenue in 2019, handily eclipsing YouTube’s $15.1 billion — yes, the most popular video site on the planet wasn’t as lucrative as a photo-focused social network. Instagram unsurprisingly played an important role in Facebook’s finances, accounting for more than a quarter of the tech firm’s ad money from last year. The site might be more profitable, too. YouTube shares most of its ad revenue with creators, and its video-only focus could mean steeper costs for streaming clips. Related: Here’s How You Can Actually Make Money With YouTube Facebook has declined to comment on the data. The company hasn’t broken out Instagram’s revenue so far, […]

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Twitter’s Anti-Spam Rules Foiled Planter’s Super Bowl Stunt

An attempt to go viral with Baby Nut backfired in spectacular fashion. February 4, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Planters is learning that there is such a thing as being too thirsty for social media stardom. Twitter has suspended three accounts tied to Baby Nut, the resurrected Mr. Peanut mascot that made his debut during the Super Bowl, for violating policies against spam and platform manipulation. The Kraft Heinz-owned brand was trying very, very hard to go viral, with its main @MrPeanut account retweeting the three as they shared memes shortly after Baby Nut made his appearance. The problem, as you might guess, was that this echoed the sort of coordinated behavior Twitter has banned in the past — it just involved snacks. The accounts were clearly part of a long-in-the-making campaign, with one of them created as early as September. For its part, Kraft Heinz told Insider that it had created […]

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Apple Envisions a Mac Made From a Sheet of Curved Glass

January 27, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Apple is known to explore unusual Mac designs, but its latest may be more eye-catching than most. The company has applied for a patent on a desktop Mac design whose main body consists of a single, curved sheet of glass — a wedge at the back could both house processing components and prop up the design. A slot at the bottom center would let you slot a keyboard through, and Apple even envisions the possibility of altering the curve to adjust the display angle or fold the system shut. One section of the patent imagines sliding a MacBook’s keyboard section through the slot, suggesting this design could also be used for a laptop dock instead of a full-fledged computer. This isn’t a product roadmap for Apple — we wouldn’t count on a curved-glass Mac like this arriving soon, if at all. […]

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23andMe Lays Off 100 Workers Amid Shrinking Demand for DNA Tests

It’s not the hot market the company predicted. January 24, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget If you’re skittish about DNA testing services, you’re not the only one — and it’s directly affecting one of the heavyweights in the field. The 23andMe team is laying off about 100 workers, or 14 percent of its total workforce, in light of declining sales. The job cuts will focus on units responsible for growing and scaling the company. In the months ahead, 23andMe expects to cut back its work on clinical studies and focus more on its home testing and therapeutic offerings. Related: The DNA Testing Company 23andMe Reveals a New Genetic Analysis Company chief Anne Wojcicki didn’t have definitive explanations for the shrinking sales in a chat with CNBC, but did speculate that privacy was “top of mind” for customers and might have been a factor. Cold cases like the Golden State Killer appear to […]

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Elon Musk Expect’s SpaceX’s First Crewed Mission Between April and June

Crew Dragon could live up to its name this spring. January 20, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Now that SpaceX has completed Crew Dragon’s in-flight launch escape test, when can you expect a mission with humans aboard? At last, the company has a more specific answer than early 2020. Company chief Elon Musk told attendees at a post-test conference that the crewed mission to the International Space Station will likely take place in the second quarter of the year, or sometime between April and June. SpaceX was “highly confident” the hardware would be ready in the first quarter, “most likely” in February. Related: 3 Executive-Branding Lessons We Can Learn From Elon Musk It’s a good idea to take estimates like this with a grain of salt. Schedules for spaceflight can slip with little warning (even this latest test was delayed by a day). And there’s no denying that Musk’s […]

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Fitbit Quietly Enables Blood Oxygen Tracking on Its Wearables

It could help track breathing issues – if you have the right device. January 16, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Fitbit’s devices from recent years have blood oxygen monitoring (SpO2) hardware, but they haven’t used it — until now. Users on Reddit and elsewhere have noticed that their Versa, Ionic and Charge 3 devices are suddenly (if sometimes temporarily) providing blood oxygen data to help track health issues like asthma, heart disease and sleep apnea. It’s not clear who’s getting first dibs, but it’s not dictated by device type or Premium memberships. Related: Why Fitbit Prioritizes People Over Products Fitbit confirmed the rollout to Engadget. The devices are using a combination of red and infrared sensors to determine oxygen variation, although the company cautioned that it wasn’t a relative figure. You shouldn’t see large variations in your sleep if you’re healthy, the company said. Related: 5 Fitness Trackers That Guarantee a Smart Workout This is coming […]

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Instagram Offers Access to DM’s on the Web

The social network is rolling out desktop direct messaging to a ‘small percentage’ of users worldwide January 15, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engaget Instagram on the web has long played second fiddle to the mobile apps (look at how long it took to get notifications), but that gap is about to narrow considerably. The social network is rolling out direct messages on the web to a “small percentage” of users worldwide as part of a public test following internal experiments in 2019. Much like on your phone, you can participate in regular and group chats, share photos, ‘like’ messages and receive notifications. More news on a possible wider release is coming in the future, Instagram told The Verge. The strategy is in line with Facebook’s broader goal of a more private experience with a greater focus on messaging than in the past. It ultimately hopes to offer unified messaging across its core plaforms (Facebook, […]

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