Microsoft Asks Seattle & SF Bay Employees- Work From Home; GM Reveals New EV Platform; Twitter tests ‘Fleets’; Coronavirus Spread Via CashPosted: March 5, 2020
Microsoft has asked employees located around Seattle and in the San Francisco Bay Area to work from home most of March due to the coronavirus. Businessinsider.com says this policy will be in place until March 25th, and that Microsoft will review it then and decide if it should be extended or lifted. Ten of the 11 deaths from the COVID-19 virus have been in the Seattle area, and Santa Clara County, in the heart of Silicon Valley, now has at least 14 confirmed cases of the virus.
General Motors rolled out around a dozen products yesterday to investors, underscoring the auto maker’s seriousness about moving to an electric future. According to theverge.com, GM showed a new modular EV platform with an improved battery pack called Ultium. The platform is intended to be flexible enough to work with a number of different vehicle types and shapes. the new batteries are unique due to the “large-format, pouch-style cells,” as opposed to cylindrical cells, which GM says enables them to be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. These batteries will offer power ranging from 50 to 200 kWh, which could allow for a driving range up to “400 miles or more.” Motors designed in-house will support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and performance all-wheel drive applications. GM has added aluminum to their battery mix, which reduced the cobalt content by 70%. They are striving to get the costs under $100/kWh, which is kind of the magic bullet amount to make EVs completely compatible with gas cars. Tesla will reportedly show off a new battery system next month that hits this level.
Twitter is testing out a version of Stories it calls ‘Fleets.’ Techcrunch.com reports that the testing is beginning in Brazil. Unlike Tweets, Twitter’s new Fleets can’t receive Likes, Replies or Retweets. And they’ll disappear entirely after 24 hours. The ephemeral posts aren’t private, but they are less accessible…you have to visit a person’s public profile to set them (even if you don’t follow them.) the Fleets won’t circulate Twitter’s network, or show up in Search or Moments, and they can’t be embedded on an external website. Fleets are intended to be ‘text centric,’ but you will be able to add photos, GIFs, and videos…although there are no editing tools for them. Videos will be limited to 2:20, or 512MB.
The WHO says cash may be spreading the coronavirus, COVID-19. Businessinsider.com reports that people should use contactless payments whenever possible, and wash hands or use hand sanitizer after handling cash, especially before eating. China has already indicated it would destroy cash from highly impacted areas in that country. The World Health Organization says the virus could remain on money for days after being exposed to it. This gives new meaning to ‘filthy lucre!’