Apple & Google Propose Spec Preventing Unwanted Tracking; Teams Now Lets Small Businesses Make Money on Platform; IBM Pauses Back End Hiring in Favor of AI; Post Office Loads Up on Ford EVs as Proprietary EVs are Delayed

Apple has had to take steps in the past to make it difficult for stalkers and such to track you using their AirTags system. Now, says Apple and Google have partnered to submit a proposed industry specification to help fight misuse of Bluetooth trackers…particularly when used to track individuals. The companies have agreed to expand AirTag-like unwanted tracking alerts to third-party item trackers in future versions of iOS and Android. Tile, Samsung, Eufy, and others have expressed support for the draft spec. It is hoped it will be approved and adapted by the end of the year, then iOS and Android can implement it in future versions. Meanwhile, as if at cross purposes, the New York City police is handing out AirTags to people to help reduce car theft. I am trying to hope that none of those will be used by stalkers, but skeptical me is having a tough time with that!

Microsoft has launched a payment system inside Teams to let small businesses make money from appointments, classes, one-on-one sessions, webinars, and more. According to, Teams business users in the US will be able to collect payments during a meeting…a useful feature for lawyers, financial advisors, instructors, tutors, and other small and mid-sized businesses. As a lot of folks in these lines of work had to go virtual during the pandemic, they and clients discovered they liked it. One commented he didn’t know if he  would ever visit his accountant in person again. The Teams payment app can track money received or money outstanding during the meeting, and there are options for clients to pay at any point during the meeting. Stripe and PayPal payment methods are available right now, and GoDaddy payments will be coming soon. You can find the payments app for Teams at Microsoft’s business AppSource store right now. 

In a rather ominous move, IBM is pausing or slowing hiring of back end positions such as HR as they move to incorporate artificial intelligence. Arvind Krishna, Big Blue’s CEO, dropped this in an interview with Bloomberg. Non-customer facing positions in the back end make up 26,000 jobs in IBM’s workforce, and Krishna said “I could easily see 30% of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period.” That’s in the ballpark of 7,800 human jobs that Krishna is interested in automating, and Bloomberg reports that IBM is still hiring customer-facing and software development roles. Krishna’s comments and decision to automate points to just how disposable the workforce is to executives and companies. The new wave of AI may be the most disruptive thing for the world of work in generations. AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton just quit Google to raise the alarm about the use and even more misuse of AI and its impact on work. Hinton noted that he had originally thought such changes due to AI were some 30 years away, but now has changed his mind, and is calling on world governments to take steps now to avoid major crises affecting substantial numbers of people. 

The US Postal Service won’t be getting any of those strange looking proprietary electric vehicles until the middle of next year, now. The odd looking EVs made by defense contractor Oshkosh were supposed to be rolled out over a 10 year period…to the tune of some $485 million, and getting the post office between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles. Meanwhile, reports the post office will be taking up the slack by buying 9250 Ford E-Transit vans, and ordering another 14,000…which should be in service by the end of next year. The post office is building out charging stations at 75 post offices in the meantime, to keep them charged up when they arrive.

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now. 


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