Galaxy S10 Fingerprint Patch Coming; Arlo Full View Door Cam; FCC OK’s T-Mobile & Sprint Merger; Netflix 3rd Quarter Earnings

Samsung will have a patch out very soon for a major ‘oops!’ Apparently, with a 3rd party screen protector installed, the fingerprint detector will allow ANY fingerprint to unlock the phone! Reuters.com says the patterns of some protectors that come with silicone phone cases are the culprit. If you have an S10, peel off that screen protector, and wait for the patch for the ‘revolutionary’ in-screen biometric authentication…that was so easily hacked.

From Netgear’s Arlo comes a door cam that exemplifies ‘why didn’t someone think of that sooner?’ According to theverge.com, it uses a field of view that is both tall AND wide…so it not only takes in people walking up and faces at your door, but also packages dropped in front of the doorway! It also starts streaming video to you phone as soon as the doorbell is pressed. At that point you can either send a pre-recorded message or start a two way, live conversation. The gadget has a built in siren that triggers automatically if someone tries to yank or pry the doorbell off the wall. The Arlo Video Doorbell is for wired installation only, so a bit more of a challenge to install than a battery powered Ring. You can preorder the Arlo now for $149.99. There is a 30 day free trial of their recording history service, which runs $2.99 a month thereafter.

And then there were three. Yesterday, the FCC approved the T-Mobile/Sprint merger on a party line vote…Republicans voted yes, Democrats, no. The deal just needed FCC approval, as the Department of Justice had already green lighted the merger. Also noted by theverge.com: one fly in the ointment remains….a multi-state lawsuit by a coalition of state attorneys general is still live, so nothing will go through until that is resolved one way or the other.

Netflix shares got a 10% pop yesterday after they put out their third quarter earnings. CNBC.com says it was a mixed result…Netflix beat the earnings prediction, but whiffed on domestic subscriber adds. The streamer made $1.47 per share, vs an expected $1.04. While they did advise there would be ‘modest headwinds’ with the debut of Disney +, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock, Netflix indicated that the added streamers were a small set of competitors compared to the so-called linear TV providers…which still hold the lion’s share of potential viewers for Netflix to woo away.

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Twitter Restricts Retweets from World Leaders That Break Its Rules; LinkedIn Delves Into Real Life Networking; Tech Could End Drunk Driving; Green Economy Easily Outstrips Fossil Fuel Growth

Twitter will restrict interactions by users with world leaders who break its rules. Techcrunch.com reports that Twitter won’t allow users to share, Retweet, like, or reply the rogue Tweets, but will allow users to quote-tweet. The platform noted that ‘accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely.’ Twitter will still cut extra slack to leaving up Tweets of world leaders that are inflammatory, saying ‘we will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so.’ Twitter may mask such Tweets behind a notice that provides context about the violation, and makes users click through to see the content.

LinkedIn is dipping its toe into the real world, adding a new Events feature that lest people plan, announce, and invite people to real life meetups. According to geekwire.com, the new feature will launch on English speaking countries tomorrow, October 17th. It will be expanded to other areas later. This is one of the biggest new feature launches by LinkedIn since they were snapped up by Microsoft in 2016. The feature at launch will not have options for directly booking meeting spaces, ticketing, or promoting events beyond the reach of those initially invited.

Up to now, the only way to restrict repeat drunk driving has been to install an ignition interlock tied to a breathalyzer. Now, new tech may simplify the act, and apparently there will be bipartisan legislation to mandate every new car sold being fitted with the tech. Cnet.com says the sensors are implanted in either the steering wheel or push button ignition. An infrared light shines through the driver’s fingertip, and if the BAC sensor detects too big an alcohol level, the car won’t start. Another method uses sensors to monitor a drivers eye movement and breath. If legislation passes in 2020, every car after 2024 could have the tech built in.

The present administration has been much more supportive of the fossil fuel industry than green tech…there can’t be any doubt of that. Even so, according to new data, the green economy continues to grow at a pace well beyond that of the fossil fuel sector. Arstechnica.com reports that by 2016, green tech was generating more than $1.3 trillion in annual revenue and employing about 9.5 million people. That makes the US market the largest green market in the world with 16.5%. The sector grew by more than 20% between 2013 and 2016. The fossil fuel industry directly employed only about a million over that period…including miners, electrical grid workers, infrastructure manufacturers, and construction workers. The fossil industry received government subsidies on $649 billion in 2015 alone! Switching those subsidies over to green tech could accelerate the move to clean power and be a big help to slowing the rate of global warming.


Google’s Pixel Event Recap

This morning, Google unveiled what were some of the most leaked phones in history, the Pixel 4 handsets. That said, here are some of the main features of the new top line Google phones. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL both sport 90 Hz displays, and have a new rear 16 MP telephoto lens. Google showed off its facial recognition tech, their answer to Apple’s Face ID. The two phones have 5.7 and 6.3 inch OLED screens, respectively.

The 90 Hz display gives them a smoothness edge to the iPhone 11 models, which still have a 60 Hz display (as do most other major smart phones.) Google announced that you can fine tune toe brightness and amount of detail in shadows, making for better shots. The Night Sight has been upgraded…it will produce nicer pics of the night sky, the stars, and even the Milky Way.

Both Pixel phones are notch free, but do have a bigger top bezel for the front cam, ear speaker, and sensors for their version of Face ID….which Google claims works more quickly than Apple’s actual Face ID. The Google system is helped by their new Motion Sense feature which uses a miniature radar sensor that detects movement around the phone. It also facilitates utilizing hand gesture for snoozing alarms, dismissing timers, and silencing incoming calls…without having to pick up the phone.

The Pixel 4 sports a 2800 man battery, with the 4 XL getting a 3700 man battery. Both run on a Snapdragon 855 system. How much? $799 and $899. Preorders start today, with an October 24th release date. They will be available at all major US carriers. You can pick from the previously leaked colors: Clearly White, Just Black, and Oh So Orange.

Also premiering today were the Pixel Buds 2. The wireless earbuds fit flush in the ear, and Google says they scanned thousands of ears to make for a design that is comfortable for as many people as possible. They come with interchangeable ear tips. Google Assistant is built in, of course. The Buds won’t be out until next spring, and will be $179. They will have Clearly White, Oh So Orange, Almost Black, and Quite Mint color choices.

The latest Chromebook got its moment in the spotlight today. It’s the Pixelbook Go, a slim notebook (13mm) that weighs barely over 2 lbs! Specs and features include a 13-inch touchscreen, 8th-generation Intel Core processors, up to 16GB RAM, up to 256GB flash storage, up to 12 hours of battery life, a backlight keyboard with soft typing, two USB-C ports, and a headphone jack. Like other Chromebooks, the Pixelbook Go runs Chrome OS. It starts at $879, with preorders today in the US and Canada.


More On iPhone SE 2; Google Pay on Public Transit, Google’s Pixel 4 Bows Tomorrow, Facebook’s Libra Takes Huge Hit; Free Prime 1 Day Shipping on Dollar Items? Yep.

A few more details from Ming-Chi Kuo regarding the iPhone SE 2. According to 9to5mac.com, Kuo still thinks it will drop early next year. As already noted, it will resemble the iPhone 8, but will come in 64 and 128 gig capacities, and will have the latest A13 chip and 3 gigs of ram (one less than the present iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.) The SE 2 will lose 3D Touch, as have the latest iPhones. Kuo says it will coming in silver, space gray, and red, and start at $399.

Google Pay will soon work with Cubic Transportation Systems. Engadget.com reports that this will allow people to use their phones and the Google system on mass transit in New York City, LA, San Francisco, San Diego, London, Vancouver, Sydney, and other major mass transit systems. Some cities have a consolidated transit card….San Francisco has the Clipper Card…so you will be able to use Google Pay on almost all mass transit in the Bay Area.

A coverage note: tomorrow is Google’s Pixel 4 hardware event, so look for details on the latest handsets from Google and other announcements right here (as well as nearly everywhere else!) We expect a motion detection feature for gestures and Google’s version of Apple Face ID, among other announcements. The Google event takes place in New York City.

In the event you were a bit dialed out Friday, Facebook’s Libra virtual currency took a huge hit, as Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, and eBay all bailed on them in one day. Arstechnica.com notes that PayPal had quit the Facebook virtual currency project last week. The first official meeting was supposed to be today. The only remaining payment company that had originally signed up is PayU out of the Netherlands. For those who thought it was an insane idea to trust Facebook with your money usage, this is great news.

Amazon continues its relentless march to make a walk or ride to the stores a thing of the past. Now, businessinsider.com reports that the online giant is offering Prime members free one-day shipping on items costing as little as a dollar! Previously, such cheap items had to be ordered with a minimum $25 order…that’s until some 5 buck items began showing up with free one-day delivery. Need something tomorrow that is only a buck or two, but can’t or don’t want to run to the store. Click away, my friends!


Taking Some Time Off- Back in a Couple Weeks

Taking some time off….back in a couple weeks.


Amazon New Product Event Recap; 2020 iPhone Rumors

Amazon has rolled out a new model of Echo Dot with a clock, priced at $59.99 with pre-orders starting today. The previous Echo Dot will still be available. There’s also an all-new Echo priced at $99 with preorders starting today. It features improved sound and new fabric designs, including twilight blue. According to geekwire.com, a new feature called Alexa Guest Connect lets you play music on your friends Echo devices. Another new Echo device: the Echo Studio, a higher-end speaker at $199. A new Echo Show 8 has an 8-inch HD display and a privacy shutter, priced at $129.99 with preorders starting today. The somewhat explanatory New Echo Glow, targeted to kids rooms. $29.99, shipping for holidays.

The online giant also showed off a new Stick-Up Cam—the company’s first indoor-only camera. It’s also the cheapest Ring security camera to date, selling at $59.99 and available for preorder today.
Ring doorbells will get Alexa built in to interact with visitors at the door on your behalf, when you’re not home.

Shades of a Steve Jobs ‘One More Thing,’ Amazon waited until the end of the event to reveal what earlier reports hinted at: Echo Buds, priced at $129.99, compatible with Siri and Google Assistant, in addition to Alexa. The price point undercuts Apple’s AirPods, which debuted more than two years ago and range from $159 to $199.

Also a ‘One More, Even More Thing’ was dropped: New “Echo Frames”. They come with built-in mics and a small speaker so you can access Alexa on-the-go, similar to the Buds. Alexa eyeglasses. Sound directed to your ears for privacy. Work with phone. No display. Alexa reads notifications, takes reminder notes. Controls Smarthome. Priced at $179.99. Sound is directed to your ears for privacy. It will with smart phones. There is no display… Alexa reads notifications, and takes reminder notes. The Alexa specs also control Smarthome.

Amazon is using neural text-to-speech to improve make Alexa more fluid and natural. Alexa will use a “newscaster” voice when reading news and can now respond in celebrity voices.

Samuel L. Jackson will be first celebrity whose voice will be available as alternative in Alexa voice interface, for 99 cent upgrade.

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Apple’s next iPhones will have a redesign with a metal band around them similar to the one on the old iPhone 4…8 models ago! The band will be injected into a groove in the glass case, and have sapphire glass over the grooves that allow the antennas to function. Of course, all this will increase the prices! Macrumors.com reports that there will be new sizes…5.4 and 6.7 inches for the top line ‘Pro’ models, and the 6.1 inch phone will apparently finally get an OLED display. There will be a rear-facing time of flight 3D camera for augmented reality, something rumored previously. Ming-Chi Kuo says all 3 iPhones next year will support 5G…which may be a major reason for the band redesign. It will help accommodate the 5G antenna system. Kuo believes the new form factor will goose sales, from the 75 million expected this year to 85 million in 2020.


Facebook Buys Neural Monitoring Startup; Apple Will Still Build Mac Pro in Texas; Amazon-Alexa Earbuds With Fitness Tracking; Honda Offsetting 60% of US Electricity Use With Renewables

Facebook is acquiring a New York startup that makes an armband which translates movement and the wearer’s neural impulses into digital input signals, according to techcrunch.com. CTRL-labs will be folded into Facebook Reality Labs division when the acquisition is complete. “We know there are more natural, intuitive ways to interact with devices and technology. And we want to build them,” Facebook AR/VR VP Andrew Bosworth wrote in a post announcing the deal. “It’s why we’ve agreed to acquire CTRL-labs. They will be joining our Facebook Reality Labs team where we hope to build this kind of technology, at scale, and get it into consumer products faster.” Facebook has indicated that for many things, body sensing may be better than anything a camera can pick up. No problems with field of view, and it doesn’t matter if your hands are naked, or in a glove, or even a spacesuit.

After extracting some tariff exemptions, Apple will build the next generation of the Mac Pro in Texas. Macrumors.com reports that production is being readied in the Austin facility where Mac Pros have been built since 2013. Suppliers span 8 states in addition to the parts coming in under exemption from overseas. Apple didn’t say if machines destined for overseas distribution would also be made in Teas. Apple noted that it was on track to invest $350 billion in the US economy by 2023, as previously promised.

Amazon is apparently working on wireless Alexa-powered earbuds that can do fitness tracking. CNBC.com says they would follow distance, run, calories burned, and pace of running. No word on when they will hit the market, but the earbuds are expected to be previewed tomorrow at the Amazon event in Seattle, and are thought to be priced at less than $100…far less than Apple’s or B&O’s earbuds. Most Amazon watchers also expect new Echo gear, and new Ring products to be bowed. Last year, Amazon showed off a number of new products.

Honda has announced that they will cover 60% of the electricity use of their North American manufacturing plants with renewables. Engadget.com reports that, starting next fall, Honda will buy 530,000 MWh a year from a wind farm in Oklahoma. Then, in the fall of 2021, they will pick up 482,000 MWh from a Texas solar facility. Honda claims this is the single largest purchase of wind and solar by any automaker. The car maker plans to electrify 2/3 of its vehicles by 2030.