Prime Day-Strikes & Protests; Zillow Buying in Portland; Office 365 & iWork Banned in German Schools; Bosch’s Cloud Battery

Amazon workers in 5 countries are protesting working conditions in warehouses during Prime Day…calling for better pay in addition to improved working conditions. Businessinsider.com says workers in Minnesota are walking off the job for 6 hours today, as previously announced. In Germany, workers are striking for at least 2 days in 7 different warehouses. There are 2,000 German workers on strike so far today. Workers in the UK, Spain, and Poland are also holding protests, but not striking. For its part, Amazon has claimed that unions and protesters are ‘conjuring misinformation.’

Zillow is buying in Portland…literally. According to geekwire.com, the company has added Portland to Phoenix now for Zillow Offers, which is their service that lets customers request cash offers directly from Zillow on its website. Vancouver, BC also has gone live with the service. Zillow plans to add Austin, LA, Miami, Nashville, Sacramento, San Antonio, Diego, and Tampa by the end of 1st quarter 2020.

Privacy regulators in Germany have cracked down on cloud based office suites. Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs, and Apple’s iWork are banned from some German schools now due to privacy concerns with the way the cloud services work. 9to5mac.com says the authorities in the state of Hesse instituted the ban because the platforms’ standard configurations expose personal information about students and teachers to ‘potential access by US authorities.’ The collection of the personal data is banned under the GDPR haws that went into effect in the European Union last May. The authorities note that the kids can’t even give consent to releasing their personal data by law, as they are under age. The school districts can continue to use local versions of Microsoft Office that have been installed, instead of the cloud platform.

As batteries age, they can lose ability to hold charge…as we all know. Now, Bosch has come up with a new service that will help the battery management systems in cars to reduce cell aging. According to venturebeat.com, it can cut down on wear and tear by up to 20%. What is this magic sauce, you ask? Actually, it works by connecting electric vehicle batteries with the cloud. This has actually been done as far back as 2012, but the Bosch system transmits in real time—battery data (like current ambient temperature and charging habits) and machine learning algorithms then calculate a power pack’s service life and performance. The cloud data is than sent back to the car’s system, instructing it not to change to 100% if it’s too hot or too cold, and calculates the charging curve for fast or slow charging…to ensure that the packs are charged to ‘the optimum level’ using whatever power source is available.

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