More Twitter Features to Go Behind Blue Paywall; Google, Visa & Mastercard Fuel Deepfake Porn; Apple Music Classical is Live; Microsoft Teams Rebuild-Faster & Less HoggingPosted: March 28, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
More changes to Twitter, as Elon Musk tries to monetize the platform more to make up for all the advertising revenue he has chased away. According to androidcentral.com, starting on April 15, only verified users will be able to participate in polls or appear in the For You tab as recommendations. Musk claims this is to combat AI bots on the platform, but is smacks more of an additional cash grab as he pushes people to pay up $8 a month to use the service. Although Musk has said that bots were a big factor in his buying the platform, apparently with this move, he is fine with having AI bots, as long as someone is paying him $8 a month to have them on Twitter. Twitter is also phasing out the legacy Blue checkmarks as of April 1st, so going forward the only thing that will actually be verified will be that an account is paying Elon $8. Several celebrities have already posted screen grabs of their real verified account and several pretenders who have paid the money and have the checkmark just like the actual famous person.
We’ve covered deepfakes here a fair amount, and warned about how porn has been at the vanguard of them. Now, NBC reports that digitally edited porn videos with the faces of hundreds of unconsenting women bubble up to the top of Google search results. The people making these dastardly videos charge as little as $5 to download thousands of clips featuring the faces of celebrities…and you can pay with Visa, Mastercard, and crypto. Deepfakes have been pretty crude up to now, but with the advances in AI, creepy editors have seamlessly replaced a famous face on another person’s body, and the AI even allows for mirroring the original facial expressions of the previous un-famous face on the writhing body. Oh, and it gets even creepier. Not to minimize the impact on celebrities, but apparently a creator on Discord is offering to make a 5 minute deepfake of a ‘personal girl’, for $65. Stalkers will have a field day with this. Google has said people who are the subject of deepfakes can request removal, but honestly, Google, Visa, and Mastercard ought to clean up their acts and take a more proactive stance at preventing the spread of this. I’m no prude, and feel if someone wants to make porn and post it…whether pros or amateur, fine. But stealing someone’s likeness and pasting it on some other person’s body is a different story all together.
Ok, culture vultures…the day you’ve been waiting for is finally here. Apple Music Classical is available for download. Although the app is a free download for everyone, you need an Apple Music subscription. It’s also notable that the app isn’t available in China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, and Turkey. Apple says there are 5 million tracks available right now. Most of the music is classical music of the Western world. The service is based on Primephonic, a Dutch based company that Apple picked up in 2021. It focuses more on discovery by composer instead of tracks, but does let you browse using filters for periods, genres, conductors, orchestras, ensembles, as well as composers. A caveat— you can add tracks to the library or your own playlist, but can’t download them…BUT you can download them by using Apple Music…a rather clumsy setup. As you might expect, the audio is 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless. Also, a lot of tracks have spatial audio and Dolby Atmos support. Also notable…right now, the app is only available on iPhones, not Macs or iPads.
Microsoft has rebuilt Teams from the ground up, with noticeable improvements. TechCrunch.com reports that Redmond has previewed the new version, which is said to be twice as fast at joining meetings and will use half the memory. In January, Microsoft claimed 280 million active monthly users, up from 250 million in January of 2021. The updated Teams is rolling out now via their Public Preview, but should be available to everyone by later this year. Mac support is also coming later this year.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.
Twitter Valuation By Stock-$20 Billion; Silicon Valley Bank Picked Up by First Citizens Bank; Apple Watch Glucose Monitor-Still Years Off; Meta Revives Oculus NamePosted: March 27, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
Over the weekend, an internal memo leaked out indicating that Elon Musk will give stock grants to employees of Twitter based on a $20 billion valuation…less than half what he paid to acquire the platform last fall. Theverge.com reports Musk sees a ‘clear but difficult path’ to achieving a $250 billion valuation, which would eventually make Twitter’s current stock grants worth 10 times as much as they are now (if this actually ends up panning out, of course). Just like the Musk-owned SpaceX, Twitter will also reportedly let employees cash in their stock grants at specified periods. Meanwhile, Musk is looking for the culprit or culprits that leaked Twitter source code and made it public. Twitter moved on Friday to have the leaked code taken down by sending a copyright infringement notice to GitHub, an online collaboration platform for software developers where the code was posted, according to a legal filing.
They may or may not be a white knight, but First Citizens Bank out of North Carolina has purchased all deposits and loans of Silicon Valley Bank. According to geekwire.com, the deal was reported late Sunday night by the FDIC. The 17 branches of the former SVB are now open as locations of First Citizens Bank. First bought around $72 billion in assets at a discount of $16.5 billion. Loans will not change under the new ownership. The FDIC said it will receive up to $500 million in First Citizens stock as part of the deal and expects to book around $20 billion in losses from its Deposit Insurance Fund once it fully terminates the receivership. It still holds $90 billion in securities and other assets from Silicon Valley Bank.
Non-invasive blood glucose monitoring is still a ways into the future, apparently. Appleinsider.com says that it now looks to be three to seven years away. Right now, Apple is working on its “needs to perfect the algorithms and on-board sensors,” such as a silicon photonics chip, to make it viable to use in the Apple Watch. This also includes shrinking it to the “size of a module that can fit in the small and thin package that is an Apple Watch.” That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. We reported earlier that Apple has created a monitor that works, but it takes up a table top. It will be quite a challenge to condense that down to fit into part of an Apple Watch!
Meta has revived the Oculus name, at least for their VR publishing arm. It will now be Oculus Publishing, according to androidcentral.com. More than a name change is going on, too. They have over 150 titles in active development, including Yellow Neighbor VR and what are termed ‘other highly anticipated upcoming Quest games.’ The Quest 3 will launch with 41 new apps and games. Meta has pumped cash into at least 300 virtual reality titles through Oculus Publishing now. There is an unconfirmed rumor that the company has quietly shut down the insanely expensive Metaverse project, the pet project of Mark Zuckerberg that reportedly cost some $14 billion last year and $10 billion the year before.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.
TikTok & Congress; Google Messages Will Get AI Replies Option; WhatsApp Introduces New Windows Client; New Lithium Plant for South CarolinaPosted: March 23, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
TikTok CEO Chew bobbed and weaved as Congress members threw out tough questions at a hearing today. From the initial reading, it doesn’t look like he did anything to help reduce the calls from politicians of both parties to ban or severely restrict the app…used by some 150 plus million Americans. When one member asked him if he could assure them that no data from US users was flowing to the Chinese government, he claimed he knew of none of that happening. It smacked of tobacco company CEOs claiming that cigarettes don’t help cause cancer. Whether they move the data centers to the US or not, as Chew promised, I’m not sure the government will be satisfied that US user data isn’t going to the Chinese government or that they aren’t manipulating public opinion here using the platform. Personally, I don’t think a ban will actually keep the app away from users that want it. Furthermore, any country or company can buy all our aggregated data at a very granular level that has been pulled in from all the social media platforms, search engines, and frankly all corners of the internet…for pennies! You give up data and privacy when you use the net or different platforms…that’s your ‘subscription price.’ Some Congress members know this, and are just harrumphing, others are clueless…but it’s our digital world, and they aren’t going to substantially change things.
As all the big platforms rush to incorporate more artificial intelligence features, Google Messages is preparing to add an interesting one. AI generated replies. You don’t know for sure how you ought to respond to someone? Consult the chatbot, and it will give you a proposed answer. 9to5google.com reports that Messages does NOT send the AI generated reply….you have a chance to look at it and approve or edit it. When implemented, the AI will replace Smart Replies, those little one or two word answers you can choose from. Google is also forging ahead on Imagen, their AI image generation software. One possible use would be sending unique pictures to friends. No word on when it may be released, but it will probably hit Gboard first, not Google Messages.
WhatsApp is used in many countries as a primary phone carrier, and therefore is a much bigger deal elsewhere than in the US. Now, according to techcrunch.com, they have announced a new Windows client with performance improvements and better calling features. The update supports multi-device sync, so you can use WhatsApp even if your phone is switched off. It now will support on Windows video calls with up to 8 people and audio calls with up to 32. There has been a Mac client out in public beta since last summer, and they are testing an optimized for Android tablets, too.
A huge new lithium processing plant has been announced to be built in South Carolina. The $1.3 billion dollar Mega-Flex lithium processing facility is being built by Albermarle Corp, one of the biggest lithium producers worldwide. Once the plant is up and running, it should be able to support production that will go into batteries for around 2.4 million electric vehicles a year. electrek.co notes that with the US looking to achieve a 50% EV share by 2030, up from around 6% this past year, Albermarle said it was planning for a massive lithium processing center in the US that would be capable of processing 100,000 tons of annual capacity in the Southeast.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.
Amazon Launches New Fire TV Devices; Amazon Palm Reader to Panera Bread; AI Faked Images of Not-Real Trump Arrest; Gates-AI Breakthroughs Biggest Thing Since Graphical InterfacePosted: March 22, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
After announcing that they have sold over 200 million fire TV devices, Amazon has introduced new TVs at both the top and bottom of their lineup. Theverge.com reports that besides expanding the Fire TV Omni QLED line, they have introduced a new cheaper TV family called the 2-series. The sets are limited to HD resolution, but give the Fire TV experience in a built in set starting at just $199. Preorders are open now. As for the new models of the Omni series, those are open for preorder starting at $499, and available at Best Buy May 11th.
The long hand of Amazon tech is also reaching into Panera Bread. The tasty cafes have been road testing the Amazon One palm reader at a couple of stores in the company’s home town of St Louis, but according to techcrunch.com, they will now expand the payment system to other locations in the upcoming months. More stores in the St Louis area and also in Seattle will get the tech first. Panera expects to have the palm reading payment system in up to 20 locations by the end of 2023.
We’ve talked about deep fakes here a few times, but with the new AI generated images, things are hitting a whole new level. In fact, arstechnica.com says there are now a number of fake pictures of ex president Donald Trump being taken down by a group of police officers after resisting arrest. The images started showing up a couple days ago on Twitter, and the are very realistic-looking. An AI engine called Midjourney v5 is one that is known to have created some of the images. By yesterday, there were over two million views on Twitter. More and more, it’s getting hard to believe everything you see or hear!
OpenAI’s Chat GPT has been getting lots of buzz, and now with Google opening up their AI called BARD to a bigger group of users, none other than Bill Gates has weighed in on what he calls a revolution in artificial intelligence. According to geekwire.com, Gates wrote in a post yesterday that he believes the new AI chatbots and picture generators are as big a step forward as the graphical user interface was to the personal computer. Gates had challenged OpenAI to build the chatbot so that it could pass an Advanced Placement biology exam, thinking it might take them a couple years. Instead, the system was done in a few months…and scored 59 out of 60 on the multiple choice part of the AP biology exam and aced the open-ended questions. Welcome to the future!
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now!
Pixel 8 Pro May Combine Cams for Better Night Sight Pics; iPhone 15-Faster Charging on USB-C; Netflix Basic Passes a Million Users; Microsoft Brings DALL-E Image Generation to Bing & EdgePosted: March 21, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
Google is working on a new feature for the Pixel 8 Pro that combines multiple cameras to take even better Night Sight pictures. 9to5google.com reports that this is still in the works, and it is possible that we won’t see it on the 8 or maybe at all. If it makes it to release, the Multi-camera Super Res Zoom’ would be put to work in a feature code-named ‘Hawk’ and ‘Fusion Zoom’ to make the better night shots. In practice, the underlying technique should be nearly unchanged, with both camera sensors taking the same shot over an extended period of time. Once the two photos are taken, Google Camera should seamlessly merge them into a single Night Sight shot with even greater detail than you would have had before. We’ll keep an eye on this potential feature…which sounds pretty cool.
All reports point to the iPhone 15 line finally losing the Lightening connector and going USB-C…joining most other phones, and even Apple’s own Macs and iPads. According to 9to5mac.com, the good news is the iPhone 15 will get faster charging…the bad news? Faster charging will only come with certified cables. The iPhone 14 lower line models support up to 20 watts of maximum charging speed, while the Pro models will support up to 27 watts. The upcoming models will exceed 30 watts, but only with the cables certified by Apple or sold by them, and a supported power adapter. The 30 watt adapter from Apple runs a princely $39…not counting a cable!
Netflix has crossed a milestone faster than they or anyone expected, topping a million subscribers for its Basic service with ads. Bloomberg reports that the Netflix tier with commercials grew by 500% after one month and another 50% after the second month. It is worth noting that that user number includes multiple people on the same account. Even with that caution, the growth rate is much faster than expected, and pretty well trashes the expectation by some that Basic with ads would totally flop. The plan debuted in January for $6.99 a month.
Microsoft has already integrated AI chat into Bing, but now they have gone further, and introduced a Bing Image Creator which adds OpenAI’s DALL-E AI image generation to Bing, and also a sidebar in the Edge browser. Engadget.com reports that you can just ask the chatbot to create an image with a direct description…or a follow-up to a previous inquiry. Microsoft claims they are applying ‘ additional protections’ beyond those of OpenAI…it will block you from creating potentially ‘harmful’ images. The AI race continues to heat up…as Google has just widened access to its BARD AI chat after a limited test.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.
iPhone 15 Pro Max ‘Immersive Screen’; Glaze Protects Art from AI Theft; TikTok- More US Users; Amazon-9,000 More Getting LayoffsPosted: March 20, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
Bigger isn’t always better…bigger phone screens are great to look at, but make phones more unwieldy in your hand…or hands. Apparently Apple is doing to give us more screen without adding size or weight…as have a number of other phone makers. 9to5mac.com reports that the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s immersive screen will have noticeably smaller bezels…the little black area that surrounds the screen and merges into the stainless steel sides. A report has the bezels on the upcoming top iPhone as being the smallest of any phone made. Right now, that crown is held by the Xiaomi 13. The top Apple handset is reportedly getting a 28% reduction in bezel thickness. I won’t rattle off a list of numbers in millimeters, but suffice to say that more screen without adding weight, length, or width is a good thing!
With Chat GPT and advanced artificial intelligence now writing competent college-level themes, and even passing a bar exam, some academics have taken steps to keep the AI models from copying original art made by humans. According to techcrunch.com, a research project at the University of Chicago has released a free non-commercial app called Glaze, to combat theft of ‘artistic IP’ or intellectual property that might be scraped into big data to teach AI to create visual style. The app uses a high tech ‘cloaking technique.’ The app adds almost imperceptible “perturbations” to each artwork it’s applied to — changes that are designed to interfere with AI models’ ability to read data on artistic style — and make it harder for generative AI technology to mimic the style of the artwork and its artist. Instead systems are tricked into outputting other public styles far removed from the original artwork. It is probably a matter of time before the AI is programmed to get around this, but it’s a start at protecting the genius and work of human artists.
TikTok’s CEO is slated to testify before Congress this Thursday. During that appearance, CEO Chew is expected to reveal new internal data showing that the platform now has 150 million US users…far more than the 100 million both the app and most observers have believed to be their user base. Politicians from both parties are concerned that data is flowing from US users through TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to the Chinese government. NBC says Congress members and the Biden administration (and before it the Trump administration) worry that the Chinese government can use TikTok to influence US public opinion, and will use…or are using…the data from US users for spying. Britain just joined the US in demanding that the app be wiped from government phones.
After cutting some 18,000 staffers between November and January, Amazon is planning to lay off another 9,000. This according to CNBC, citing a memo by CEO Andy Jassy. This round of layoffs will primarily affect AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing, human resources, advertising, and the Twitch live-streaming business. Slashing headcount is an easy way to help the bottom line, but Jassy put it in corporate speak in the memo: “The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner while doing so in a way that enables us to still invest robustly in the key long-term customer experiences that we believe can meaningfully improve customers’ lives and Amazon as a whole.” Easy for a guy to say who isn’t getting fired himself.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.
US Steps Up TikTok Ban Threat; iPhones-1st Price Hike since iPhone X?; Microsoft Patches Year-Old Zero Day Hack; FCC Officials Had Forbidden Telecom StockPosted: March 16, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
We just reported yesterday that ByteDance was thinking of divesting of TikTok due to US threats to ban the app nationwide. Now, Reuters reports that President Biden has demanded that the Chinese firm divests of their stake in the app or face a possible US ban. Donald Trump tried to ban the app in 2020, but was blocked by US courts. ByteDance claims that 60% of TikTok shares are owned by global investors, 20% by employees, and 20% by the app’s founders. As we have noted before, this ban talk is due to fears that TikTok could be forced to share massive amounts of data with the Chinese government. I get to repeat myself…that data has more than likely already been shared and continues to be. No matter how secure an app or platform claims to be, anything you post or enter could be compromised. Banning an app that 100 million people use will cause a gigantic backlash, should the courts even allow it.
An analyst at Hong-Kong based investment firm Haitong International says a price hike is likely on the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. According to macrumors.com, the analyst, Jeff Pu, notes that Apple hasn’t raised prices since the iPhone 10 (which was designated with an X.) There was an earlier unverified claim on Chinese social media back in January claiming a price hike is coming. Apple has previously raised prices in countries other than the US due to currency shifts. The analyst said it wasn’t clear that Apple would boost prices on the two lower priced phones, but with inflation still a concern of the financial people, it wouldn’t be a shock. There’s no word on how much Apple would go for, but considering past pricing, I’d guess $100.
Microsoft has just patched an Outlook zero-day vulnerability that has been exploited by Russian hackers tied to their military that has been out there since at least April 2022. Bleeping Computer says the hackers have hit some 15 government, military, energy, and transportation networks in the past year. The hacking group tied to the Russian military intelligence GRU has often been dubbed Fancy Bear.
In violation of federal law, FCC employees have been holding stock in Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon. According to arstchnica.com, nonprofit watchdog Campaign Legal Center uncovered the violations, and they have demanded the government investigate and prosecute the offenders. “Federal law specifically bans FCC employees from owning ‘any stocks, bonds, or other securities of [any company] significantly regulated by the Commission.” The staffers holding the forbidden stock included Rosemary Harold, who has been chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, and is now deputy chief of the FCC Media Bureau. She held between $3000 and $45,000 in Comcast stock. The report also said former FCC official Lisa Hone, then a deputy bureau chief, owned Charter Communications stock worth between $4,004 and $60,000. Several other staffers, including Chief Information Security Office Andrea Simpson and Chief Technology Officer Eric Burger also held as much as $31,000 and $105,000 in telcom stocks respectively.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.
TikTok Considers Splitting from ByteDance; Spotify Still May Do Extra Cost HiFi; The Feds Release Billions for EV Charging Stations; How SVB’s Crash Could Affect Housing Markets; Tesla Powerwalls for Home BackupPosted: March 15, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
As Congress dithers, with both parties worried about the influence of the Chinese government on TikTok, and various restrictions are discussed…including up to a total ban of the platform in the US, TikTok is now considering a divestiture, by way of a sale or initial public offering. According to Reuters, that would be a last resort, as the platform continues to negotiate with US national security officials. TikTok has over 100 million US users, and many in government, both Republican and Democrat, continue to be concerned that user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. Note to elderly lawmakers…if it could, it is already there! For its part, TikTok claims it has spent over $1.5 billion on rigorous data security efforts and rejects spying allegations.
Spotify had planned to roll out its premium priced HiFi tier in 2021, but delayed it after Apple Music and Amazon offered lossless music at no extra charge. Now, theverge.com reports that the streamer will still release a higher price tier, but will include spatial audio/Dolby Atmos in addition to lossless to sweeten the pot enough to hopefully get subscribers. No date has been set for the HiFi tier release yet.
The Biden administration has released $2.5 billion in funds to cities, counties, states, and tribes to build electric vehicle charging stations. According to Engadget.com, half of the funds will go to chargers and stations ‘publicly accessible’ like parking facilities, parks, and schools. The rest are to be built in ‘alternative fuel corridors’ along highways to help with long-distance travel. States and municipalities have until May 30th to apply for the cash.
An economist at Zillow says the crash of Silicon Valley Bank could take upward pressure off interest rates for a bit. Chief Economist Skylar Olsen is not alone in thinking the Federal Reserve will skip an interest rate increase next month. Rates have eased from a peak of 7.05% to 6.75% as of this report. Home buyers are very sensitive to interest rates…well, actually to mortgage payment amounts that the rates command, That’s the good news. On the other hand, Olsen sees the SVB bank collapse as softening home prices in some markets like San Francisco and Seattle. That said, the suburban markets around tech hubs still seem as strong as ever, as workers who can elect to work from home and move out further from those tech centers for less pricy homes. Olsen also sees the easing of rates as pushing some owners to list their properties, freeing up more homes for sale for a younger generation of buyers.
With 300,000 people losing power (and some still out) in the San Francisco Bay Area yesterday, a lot of people are looking at backups. There are those generators that run on propane from Generac advertised on TV all the time…those run about $2 grand. What about a Tesla Powerwall? The company has started offering them without a roof full of solar panels, as supply has loosened up. Well, hit up your bank for a loan…and are you sitting down? The things that used to run $6500 to $8500 are now $12,850 according to thisoldhouse.com, the home remodelers seen on public TV’s ‘This Old House.’ That’s for a single Powerwall battery, too. You can get multiples…with the biggest running up to $73,000! BTW, they are still only available in ‘select markets.’
More Facebookies Get the Chop; Bad Botnet Gets More Dangerous; Starling & T-Mobile Satellite to Cell Service; Rivian EV Vans- Soon Selling to Other Than AmazonPosted: March 14, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
It was announced last week, and now Meta has done the deed…another round of layoffs at Facebook and Instagram has begun. This week, they are cutting another 10,000 staffers on top of the 11,000 let go last fall. Theverge.com notes that they are also not going to fill another 5,000 open roles. That’s not all, either. Look for a second wave for tech roles in April, and yet another for business roles in late May. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a memo that it no longer makes sense for managers to have only “a few” direct reports and confirmed that many of them will be asked to become individual contributors throughout the company. Not to tell a billionaire how to run his company, but after losing $10 billion on the Metaverse in 2021 and $14 billion last year, maybe Zuck ought to cut back on that vaporware idea, and keep a few more people that make the present company run.
A nasty Botnet called Emotet that had been stealing info through phishing and other email tricks is back…with some even craftier tricks up its digital sleeve. According to arstechnica.com, the malicious spammer is now sending out email that seem to come from a known contact, know your name, and appear to be replying to an existing email thread. Here’s the ‘must know’ part…there will be an attachment like a Word document. The document has a huge section of invisible text…so much that most security products can’t scan the content. A popup will advise you that the document is protected, and to click on ‘enable content’ to read it. DON’T do it! Clicking runs a macro, which downloads a .zip file from a legitimate website that has been hacked. When it’s unzipped, the Emotet DLL will infect your computer, then the malware pilfers passwords and other sensitive data and uses the device to send malicious spam to other users. The malware can also download additional malware such as the Ryuk ransomware or the TrickBot malware. Just DON’T click enable content!
Starling and T-Mobile are getting ready to start testing their satellite to cellular service this year. This is according to a SpaceX executive, as reported by CNBC. A partnership was announced in August of last year, with the idea to provide “near complete coverage in most places in the U.S. — even in many of the most remote locations previously unreachable by traditional cell signals.” The idea is to create a new network, one that leverages Starlink satellites’ and T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G spectrum. There are several other companies working on this type of coverage. Apple already has emergency texting coverage via satellite, Samsung is getting ready to provide additional texting on top of emergency coverage, and a couple others are in the mix as well. In a few years, we may have full connections for our smartphones virtually every place on earth!
Rivian has been unhappy that Amazon has only taken 10,000 of their electric delivery vans this year…on the low end of the promised purchase. Now, engadget.com reports that the EV maker is in talks with Amazon to wriggle out of their exclusive deal, and start to sell to other customers. Rivian site expects to sell 100,000 vans to Amazon by 2030. Amazon seems warm to the idea…a representative of the online giant saying Amazon wants ‘others to benefit’ from Rivian technology. Even if sales open up to other firms, Amazon still accounts for about a third of Rivian sales so far.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.
Silicon Valley Bank Possible Suitors; Meta Works on Twitter Competitor; Samsung Moon Shot Moon Photos; HomePod With 7 Inch Display ComingPosted: March 13, 2023 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
It was alarm bells as the big story in both tech and banking over the weekend has been the takeover of Silicon Valley Bank. Now that the FDIC and other regulators have said that all depositors will have access to all their money, things are looking a bit better. According to axios.com, the agencies scrambled all weekend to get a buyer, but nothing worked out. At this moment, it appears that JPMorgan and PNC are potential suitors for SVB Financial group…that deal would exclude the commercial bank presently under government control. Apollo Management and Morgan Stanley are also in discussions about the holding company. The holding company without the commercial bank controls SVB Private, SVB Capital, and SVB securities…all of those together are much smaller than the SVB Bank itself. A British firm has already stepped forward to try to snap up SVB’s UK subsidiary, for a paltry one pound!
As Twitter continues to slowly melt down into a mess, Meta is at work on a decentralized Twitter competitor. Engadget.com reports that the platform is code-named P92, and it will let users post text-based updates, and will support the Activity Pub…the decentralized system used by Twitter competitor Mastodon. P92 will apparently carry Instagram’s branding and will let users log in with their Instagram credentials. At this point, we don’t know if the app is still just in the planning stage, or if Meta is already building a version of the app.
Samsung has been touting its ’Space Zoom’ capable phones for a while now. The handsets take incredibly detailed pictures of the moon. Now, theverge.com says a Reddit post points out the massive computational processing Samsung is doing to get these shots, and in fact, actually adds detail that isn’t in the original shot. This was determined by shooting an intentionally blurry photo of the moon with an S23 Ultra…the phone added details…it didn’t just upscale blurry pixels or retrieve lost data. In response, Samsung says they use AI to detect the moon’s presence, and “then offers a detail enhancing function by reducing blurs and noises.” Whether adding detail that isn’t actually in the shot means its a fake picture of the moon or not is up to you…but it’s at least shady.
According to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will be fielding a new HomePod in 2024, with a built in 7 inch display. Think Amazon Echo Show. This is reportedly to enable “tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products, marking a significant shift in the company’s smart home strategy.” At this point, it is unclear if Apple is just experimenting with adding a display to the present just freshened HomePod, or will make a totally new all-in-one device. There have already been concepts showing the present HomePod Displaying more information on its top display panel.
I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.