Twitter-Beyond 280 Characters; Amazon Fully Auto Warehouse Robot; Toyota & Redwood Partner-Battery Recycling; Alexa Reads in Grandma’s Voice

After expanding from 140 characters to 280, now Twitter is apparently looking at vastly more characters…but not on the main app. Android Police reports that Twitter has announced Notes, a brand new feature currently in testing with a select group of writers. The idea behind Notes is simple: with newsletters now more popular than ever, pivoting into full-on blogging — while keeping the 280-character limit for the bulk of the site — should bring a new audience to Twitter without shedding what makes it unique in the first place. Each Note is tied to your Twitter account, with your handle and username filling in for the usual byline. It supports photos, embedded tweets, paragraphs, text formatting (like bold and italics), and more, bringing it in line with the likes of WordPress and other blogging platforms. This should let bloggers use the reach of their Twitter account to lure people to their longer form blogs. 

Amazon has announced its ‘first fully autonomous mobile robot.’ According to, it is intended to move large carts around its warehouses. The robot is named Proteus. Amazon claims it can safely navigate around humans in the warehouses…something that has been beyond present robots. The current crop of bots has to be kept in a separate, caged area. Amazon also announced several other robotic systems. One, called Cardinal, is a robotic arm that can lift and move packages weighing up to 50 pounds, which Amazon hopes to deploy in warehouses next year. The company says that its computer vision systems let it pick out and lift individual packages, even if they’re in a pile. The company has said  “replacing people with machines is just a fallacy” that could lead to a company going out of business. This was pointed out by the head of Mercedes-Benz over 2 decades ago, when they brought automation to their car manufacturing plants. The CEO at the time said Mercedes would use robots ‘to save backs, not replace hands.’ They believed the human touch was a crucial factor in their success. 

The battery packs in electric vehicles are one of the most, if not the most expensive components in an EV. Then there is the issue of what to do when they have run their course. According to, Toyota is partnering with Redwood Materials, a company of Tesla co-founder JB Straubel to collect and recycle old batteries. They will take the worn out batteries, and refurbish them or break them down so the materials can be used in new batteries. 

Because we haven’t had a creepy story in a while, it’s time for one again. reports that soon, Alexa will be able to read stories in the voice of your dead Grandma! They have allegedly worked out new tech that can take just one minute of speech from Granny, and synthesize her voice to read a Grandchild a bedtime story. The feature was explained at Amazon’s annual re:Mars conference in Las Vegas. There is no timeline for it, and no more details, but it is an interesting (and creepy) use of technology. ‘Alexa, read Junior ‘Charlotte’s Web’ in Dead Grandma’s voice. 

Tesla Ex-employees Sue; Twitter Revives Chirp Dev Conference; EU Disinformation Rules; Latest Trusted Brands

Tesla is being sued by a couple of former employees from its Sparks (Reno), Nevada gigafactory or mass layoffs. reports that the former employees claim that more than 500 employees were terminated without the required 60 days of advance notice per the US Warn Act…a violation of that federal law. Tesla also only offered a week of severance pay to some employees (and demanded a release from them.) Musk told CNBC that the lawsuit wasn’t important. “That is a small lawsuit of minor consequence,” he said. “Anything that relates to Tesla gets big headlines, whether it is a bicycle accident or something much more serious.”

It’s been over 10 years since they held one, but Twitter is reviving its Chirp Developer Conference in November. According to, Twitter has acknowledged its past screwups with developers, and admitted that it needs to rebuild its relationship with the developer community. The conference will be live in San Francisco, and will also stream live. In addition to announcing the Chirp event, Twitter rolled out new pricing tiers that aimed to make it easier for different types of developers, small and large, to get started with the platform — including researchers and academics in need of larger datasets. Not all of these are yet available — Twitter’s Elevated+ access which offers more than 2 million tweets per month, for example, is still waitlisted. 

The European Union has toughened rules for deep fakes, bots, impersonation and fake accounts, with huge fines for tech companies that don’t help fight disinformation. says that now Google, Meta, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, and Clubhouse have signed on to the rules…along with over 32 other companies.The 2022 Code of  Practice toughens one the EU introduced in 2018. How big is the fine for non-cooperators? 6% of global revenue!

Morning Consult surveyed 5,000 Americans to find out what are the most trusted brands.  The pandemic has brought an interesting mix. In previous years you might see the likes of Disney, Apple, or Coke. The latest top 10 are: Band-Aid at number 1, runner up is Lysol, in third place is Clorox, with venerable UPS clocking in at 4th. the 5th most trusted is CVS Pharmacy, followed by 6th place Visa. #7 is Cheerios, and the 8th place brand is The Weather Channel. Rounding out the top 10 are number 9 Colgate, and 10th place is Home Depot. 

Crypto Hammered; ‘Upskilling’

Roughly $2T of cryptocurrency value, or more than two-thirds of all the crypto that existed, has been erased since bitcoin hit an all-time high in November 2021. The Wall St Journal notes crypto has  shared characteristics with other bubbles throughout history, marked by speculation bordering on delusion, disregard and disrespect for risk, and greed. With inflation at the highest in decades and markets dropping, cryptocurrency has been one of the first assets to be dumped. Bitcoin was under $18,000 Saturday, but was back up over $20,000 Sunday. Ethereum dropped under $1000. 

Employers are continuing to struggle with getting and keeping people with good tech skills. ZDnet points out that in place of hiring in an environment where skilled people can easily resign and jump to another company. it is often better to be ‘upskilling’ and retraining existing staff to take on more technical roles. Pluralsight has just done a survey, and of 7,000 people surveyed, 87% want to improve their tech skills…BUT 61% of them feel too busy to dedicate the time to upskilling. To keep from bleeding skilled staff, firms may just have to loosen up, and provide time on the company nickel for employees to get trained up.

Ford Recalls EV Mustangs; Redfin Lays off 8% of Workforce; Twitch-More Money for Streamers; RIP Microsoft Internet ‘Exploder’

Ford has announced a recall for 48,924 Mustang Mach-E EVs and asked dealers to pause deliveries of the vehicle. reports that Ford says  there’s a possibility of the high-voltage battery connectors overheating, which could prevent the vehicle from starting or cause it to lose propulsion power while on the road. Ford claims it should be able to fix the issue with an over-the-air software update, which will be rolled out next month… or, owners can take their Mach-E to a Ford or Lincoln dealer and have the update installed there. Affected vehicles were built between May 27th, 2020, and May 24th, 2022 at Ford’s factory in Cuautitlán, Mexico.

Seattle real estate company Redfin announced Tuesday that it is cutting about 8% of its workforce, acknowledging that a housing downturn in the U.S. is hitting the company hard. According to geek, the company is blaming “market conditions” in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, and Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said in a note to employees, which was posted on the company’s blog, that “a layoff is always an awful shock, especially when I’ve said that we’d go through heck to avoid one.” But May demand was 17% below expectations, he added, and fewer sales left the company with “less money for headquarters projects.” The cuts will impact approximately 470 employees and are expected to be completed by the end of June. 

Twitch is expanding its ad incentive program to include more creators and pay them more money. notes that earlier this year, Twitch began offering select streamers a flat, guaranteed payment in exchange for running a fixed amount of ads during a fixed number of hours. Now, Twitch is opening up the program to include more partners and is changing the way it structures payouts to pay creators more. The payouts earned with the ad incentive program were calculated using a CPM (cost per thousand model.) The platform now says they will go to a more understandable model which increases the share for streamers. The new system will pay creators 55 percent of the revenue for each ad that runs on their stream. The program will roll out June 15th, but no one will see the bump until August. ‘Affiliates’ will qualify for the 55 percent of ad revenue starting in August so long as they run three minutes of ads per hour. Twitch will also disable the highly annoying pre-roll ads for users who run ads for that same amount of time.

A moment of silence….or if you are inclined, darken your screen for a few moments. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is dead. Redmond is killing off IE today after nearly 27 years. Most Windows systems already have the successor, Microsoft Edge. Not many users will miss ‘Internet Exploder.’ According to, IE has less than half a percent of overall browser market share. Microsoft has been trying to stop people from using Internet Explorer for years now, and the company previously labeled it a “compatibility solution” rather than a browser that businesses should actively be using. While Microsoft has moved to its Chromium-powered Edge as the default browser on Windows 11, the MSHTML engine that powers Internet Explorer is still part of Windows 11. It exists purely for IE mode in Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft says it will support IE mode in Edge through at least 2029.

Firefox Adds Default Anti-Tracking; Musk will Address Twitter All-Hands; Prime Members Sue Amazon-Whole Foods Delivery; Export WhatsApp History Android to iOS

Last year, Firefox launched their Total Cookie Protection feature, but it was only on by default when users activated privacy mode. Now, according to, the feature will be default for all users without having to switch to privacy mode. Microsoft’s Edge also has tools to block tracking cookies, but users have to manually switch to “Strict” mode to be able to prevent most cookies from tracking them across websites. DuckDuckGo’s browser has a focus on privacy, but its search agreement with Microsoft prevents it from blocking certain trackers. As for Google, the tech giant pushed back its plan to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative to mid-2023. Apple’s Safari cross-site tracking protection is on by default. 

Although his deal to buy Twitter is allegedly ‘paused,’ Elon Musk is going to address an all hands meeting Thursday. reports that Musk will not only address the staff, but will also take questions from employees. The meeting will be moderated by Twitter’s chief marketing officer Leslie Berland.

A group of Amazon Prime users who had been taking advantage of the free Whole Foods delivery perk have sued Amazon for dropping that free delivery from Whole Foods stores. says that in 2018, Amazon announced it would offer Prime members free two-hour delivery on Whole Foods groceries for orders totaling $35 or more. In October 2021, the company ended the perk, slapping a $9.95 fee on all Prime members’ Whole Foods orders. There are two different class actions now over this change. In addition to dropping this freebie, Amazon has raised the cost of a yearly Prime membership from $119 to $139.

WhatsApp is adding the ability for users to transfer their conversation chat history, photos, videos and voice messages from Android to iPhone via Apple’s Move to iOS app. notes that up to now, you could only move your data from an iPhone to and Android phone. CEO of WhatsApp parent Meta, Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement that this has been a top requested feature by users. You will have to be using Android 5 or greater, and the iOS phone will need to be on version 15.5. Your info doesn’t go to cloud storage due to or during the migration…but will when you create an iCloud backup. 

Meta Sued -Exploiting Young People; Amazon Launching Drone Delivery; Google Will Let Ad Rivals on YouTube; Galaxy Z Flip 4-Less Crease

Meta has been served with eight lawsuits in several states, making the claim that Facebook and Instagram are ‘detrimental to young people’s mental health.’ According to, the law firm behind the suits is Beasley Allen. In a statement, the firm continues that Meta ‘purposefully made its platforms psychologically addictive and failed to protect its users.’ They cite the Congressional testimony by Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen. The lawsuits state that prolonged platform use has led to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, as well as self-harm and attempted suicide. There was no immediate response from Meta. 

Amazon is prepping to launch a fleet of delivery drones in a test of Amazon Prime Air Delivery in Lockeford, California. Lockeford is south of Sacramento. reports that Amazon has worked with the FAA and local officials to get permissions to run the drone tests. the drones have a sense-and-avoid system they use to operate safely. The plan is for the drones to drop down into a customer’s back yard and drop the package from a safe height, before returning to their base. 

Google is offering to let rivals and intermediaries run ads on YouTube in response to an EU antitrust investigation. says the European Commission opened a probe last year to look into whether the worlds’s largest provider of search and video was giving itself an unfair advantage by restricting rivals’ and advertisers’ access to user data. Google is angling to settle with the EU, but while a good step, it looks like they will have to do more to get some kind of settlement. A similar British agency is also investigating Google’s ad practices. 

A good rumor about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4…while it looks pretty identical outside, the display crease on the inner screen is much smaller and less noticeable. reports that it is expected to have a newer Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, as well as a bigger 3700 mAh battery. The present 3300 mAh battery has been underwhelming. The handset should still come in at around $999 when it rolls out in August. 

Reports-Netflix May Buy Roku; Samsung Folding Phones May Double Storage; Toyota Teases Energy Storage System; Remote Workers Want New Benefits

Rumors flying pushed Roku stock higher, as the word was that there may be a takeover bid from Netflix. According to, Roku stock jumped by 10.9% on the rumor. Netflix was up 4%. Even with Netflix down 65% this year due to losing 200,000 subscribers, the thought is that by picking up Roku, Netflix, it would allow Netflix to target advertising on Roku’s platform to try to get consumers to restart the streaming service. They might even run a 1st season of one of their shows on it to try to hook viewers into signing up to watch the rest. 

Samsung may double storage options on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 to 1TB. reports that doing so would double the present top storage capacity. Samsung is also looking at goosing up the RAM to either 12 gigs or 15 gigs. If this holds true, it would be the 1st increase AND the 1st time Samsung has offered this much storage in a foldable. The Fold 4 still wouldn’t have an SD card slot, but with a terabyte, it wouldn’t really be needed. With the top amount of storage and RAM, it’s likely that the Fold would top $2000. The top option would also push the Flip to about $1500. You would still be able to buy the 128, 256, and 512 gig models for less, of course. 

Toyota has fired a shot over the bow of Tesla, with their own version of the Powerwall battery storage system. says the battery system would be 8.7kWh with a 5.5 kWh output. It would be available for power outages, or for overnight operation in homes with solar panels that want to operate mainly or entirely off grid. The system can charge from solar panels, from the electric company grid, OR…unlike Tesla’s, from a vehicle’s battery (like the new ford F-150 Lightening EV pickup.) The system can be controlled and checked on from a smartphone app. No pricing yet, but it will first be available in Japan starting in August. If it comes to the US, it will have to be under $7460 in order to compete with Tesla’s Powerwall. 

No matter how they try, businesses aren’t going to be able to get everyone to come back to the office. Now, work from home workers are asking for additional or different benefits. According to, Paychex did a survey of over 1,000 WFH professionals. Some of the benefits they are looking for: 31% want a home stipend to reimburse them for use of their space. 30% are asking for reimbursement for internet costs. Other benefits they are looking for are flexible hours, a 4 day work week, and bonuses for beating productivity goals. Employers (43%) and employees (58%) also noticed improvements in workplace diversity since adjusting to remote work: 24% of leaders said they had started hiring employees working in other states since going remote, meaning they are casting a wider net when it came to recruitment. That said, one-third of employers still reported limiting where their employees could live, Paychex found.

USB-C Mandatory for EU Phones; Google Asst Driving Mode; Polestar EV-SUV Coming; Waymo Partners with Uber-Autonomous Trucks

We’ve been covering this for a while, with ‘it’s probably coming’ stories. Now, it’s happened. The European Union will require USB-C to be mandatory on all phones sold in the EU by the fall of 2024. reports that this legislation has been in the works for 10 years, but now, even Apple will have to use USB-C on their phones. Apple had already switched over iPads and Macs to USB-C, so they obviously saw this coming. It will be a huge plus to be able to just grab a USB-C cable to charge your phone instead of having to look for (or buy and expensive) proprietary cable for your iPhone. The EU is now looking on trying to enforce standards for wireless charging and fast charging….all welcome rules that will help consumers. 

Google had announced back in 2919 that it would be killing off Android Auto in favor of Google Assistant Driving Mode. Well, that time is coming up imminently. According to, even older versions of  Android Auto for Phone Screens will lose access soon. A couple of irritating down sides to the newer app…first, Android Auto showed up as an app on your home screen. For Assistant Driving Mode, the easiest way to get to it is a verbal command: “Hay Google, launch Driving Mode.” After that, you can tap the icon and add it to your home screen. You can then set it to connect to your car’s Bluetooth and it should detect it and run when you are driving. Down side number two? It had been promised months ago that the app would switch to landscape mode when you run it, but right now, that doesn’t work yet…so you have an irritating portrait mode to work with in your car (or on your phone). Perhaps Google should have had this entirely baked before killing off Android Auto!

Polestar will roll out its electric SUV in October. says the Polestar 3 will be partially assembled in the US (although mostly in China.) They are claiming it will have a 372 mile range. The Model has dual motors, and will offer 4WD. The company hasn’t released pricing yet. Polestar is a Swedish brand started back in the mid 90’s by Volvo and Flash/Polestar Racing. The company was bought by Chinese maker Geely in 2010.

They fought bitterly in the past, but now Waymo is partnering with Uber Freight, the ride hail’s truck brokerage on tech to power autonomous big rigs. reports that the “long-term strategic partnership” will enable fleet owners to more quickly deploy trucks equipped with Waymo’s autonomous “driver” for on-demand delivery routes offered by Uber Freight. The goods delivery division of Waymo— Waymo Via, which is focused on goods delivery in both trucking and local delivery formats will collaborate with Uber Freight, which launched in 2017. That service connects truck drivers with shippers, much in the same way the company’s ride-hailing app pairs drivers with those looking for a ride. The two say it will be a ‘deep integration.’ In a statement, the companies predict their integration will lead to “unlocking much-needed capacity for shippers, increasing fuel efficiency, providing carriers with the opportunity to scale their businesses, and ultimately streamlining global supply chains to the benefit of everyone.”

WWDC ’22 Recap

For iOS on iPhone—New lock screen features. Font and background selectable, and widgets can be added. Also, notices come up from the bottom, and you can select for live following notices…like ball game scores. 

Messages….Recall, and edit after send now available…about time!  You can tag Messages as unread to go back and check later. Lots of sharing features you may or may not use.

Dictation— Now will allow you to ‘fluidly move’ from keyboard to voice and vice versa. Dictation will automatically ad punctuation and emoji if desired. If it will just automatically be truly accurate…oh, that’s probably too much to ask!

Touch and hold on item in a pic, and you can copy and paste that item elsewhere. They copied a doggie and pasted him into a document. This is really cool, and I bet lots of people use this. 

Wallet— A couple states, Maryland and AZ already accept DL from the app, and another of others are working on it. 

A number of companies let you park your keys (like room key to hotel). You can share keys with others now, and they are working on that for Android, too, so you can share with a family member or other who doesn’t have an iPhone. 

Apple is enhancing Apple Pay with Apple Pay Later. 4 payments over 6 weeks with no fee and no interest. Kind of an extension of what they have now for buying Apple devices, only available for lots of products and services (non-Apple.) You can track upcoming payments in the Wallet app. 

Order tracking can now be sent directly to Wallet, via Shopify and other platforms, so you don’t have to hunt for an email and click through to a website. 

Maps— Cycling, Look Around, and increased detail  in 3D. Adding Multistop mapping…can add up to 15 stops to your route. You can use Siri to do it verbally while driving too. You will see your transit cards and balances right in Map, and can reload a low transit card without leaving the app. Look Around will let apps like Zillow put in hi-res pics so you can look at homes.

Sports-As noted, added live streaming of scores on you Lock Screen. Apple News is adding My Sports to let you follow your favorite teams in your news feed. 

Family Sharing….share favorite subscriptions in Apple to up to 5 people in household. You can build in parental controls for kids. If you limit time on apps or devices, and the kid asks for more, you can ok it or not via Messages. 

iCloud Shared Photo Library….a separate library can be shared with up to 5 people. You can share everything or select just specific ones. There will even be a shared library setting in the camera app. 

Privacy—Adding new tool that can quickly change settings. Safety Check. If you have shared passwords and locations with a partner, and someone gets violent, you can reset access with an emergency reset so a person feeling threatened can lock that threatening person out. 

Watch OS— 4 new faces. Also, more faces will get more rich complications. Improvements in Workout tracking, and in Health, a medication tracker with reminders. 


Yes, they are introducing new hardware:

New MacBook Air will be 1st to get the new M2 Apple chip….faster CPU and Graphics and uses less power than the M1 series. It is still thin, but the wedge shape is gone. It’s under a half inch and 2.7 lbs. Silver, Space Grey, Champagne Gold, and Black. It gets MagSafe, like the Pros. Also has the notch, but a 13.6 inch display. As the Pros, it gets the 1080p camera. 3 mics, and 4 speakers. Like the latest Pros, it has function buttons instead of the Touch Bar.  It’s fanless! 18 hours video playback. Will support fast charge…up to 50% in a half hour. $1199 and avail next month. $100 less for education.

The 13” MacBook Pro will also get toe M2 chip. It will be 40% faster than the M1 MacBook Pro. Up to 24Gb unified memory. 20 hours video playback on a battery charge. $1299. Avail. next month, and again $100 less for education.

MacOS — Will be called Ventura. The have added Stage Manager, to track your open windows, etc and keep you organized. It puts the open windows you have open over to the side, but the window you are working in will move to the middle and take up most of the screen. Just click on the window on the side, and that one will take the center stage. For desktop files, you can click the desktop, and it will minimize all the open windows. You can drag a file to the one you want, and it will pop it right in.  iPadOS also gets Stage Manager!

Spotlight is enriched and improved. You can take actions right from Spotlight. They are adding the features to iOS, too. 

Mail—Undo send lets you do that if you act quickly after hitting send. Schedule to send an email at a set time (great-marketers will dig this). Reminders let you remind yourself to come back to an email later. Search will show recently shared documents and files. 

Safari- They have added shared tab groups, so friends or family can share back and forth. 

Privacy…New Passkeys will let FaceID or TouchID to create. They stay on the device, aren’t in the cloud…but will sync across your Apple devices. Google and Microsoft will also use Fido along with Apple to protect your privacy (as has been reported here recently.) This is intended as an eventual replacement for passwords, as it really minimizes phishing issues. 

You can now use your iPhone as a web cam for your Mac. It has added features like studio lighting to make a really cool web cam video. It even uses the ultra wide cam to show you and a view of your desk side by side if you want to share some work you have on your physical desk. Of course, they are selling an attachable stand, LOL! They will have a stand from Belkin later this year, too…which will cost less, of course.

PadOS 16— You can make a Messages group, and then collaborate. If you want to send a document, you can, and anyone can edit the document dynamically. You can also collaborate in FaceTime. It will drop the doc into Safari or another app. They have also added a free form screen, where anyone can write on like a white board, or draw on it. Photos, audio, and etc can be dropped into it, too. 

Stage Manager is available now on PadOS, and overlapping windows is a new feature. You can resize windows, too. You can have up to 8 apps and windows at the same time. 

All the new OS updates available in public beta next month, and will be released this fall. 

Instagram to Push Amber Alerts; Tweetdeck Shutdown-Something New; Salesforce Revenue Up; Two Leading Browsers-2nd May Surprise You

Instagram is going to start pushing out Amber Alerts to user feeds, to alert them to missing children reports in their area. reports that the feature begins rollout tomorrow, and should be live in 25 countries in the next couple weeks. Parent company Meta warns that you won’t see them often, and that they will not only be rare, but specific to the search area. They will use IP addresses and location data if you have enabled that to ascertain who will get particular alerts. Unlike text notifications, these will show up in user feeds, and will include a photo and description of the child, as well as where they were last seen…and a number to call with tips for law enforcement. 

Twitter is shutting down its Mac app for TweetDeck in July. The web based version will live on. According to, Twitter Tweeted that it is “saying goodbye to TweetDeck for the Mac app to focus on making TweetDeck even better and testing our new Preview.” That refers to a redesigned version of TweetDeck which is being tested on an invite-only basis. Twitter picked up TweetDeck back in 2011. A lot of people like the multi-column view of Tweets. 

Salesforce revenue was up 24% to $7.4 billion in the last quarter, a great number considering rumblings about inflation. “So far, we’re just not seeing any material impact from the broader economic world that all of you are in,” said Marc Benioff, the Salesforce founder and co-CEO, on a conference call discussing the company’s fiscal first quarter, ended April 30. “Our demand environment remains very strong.” says that data visualization company Tableau Software, which has been part of Salesforce since 2019, was up 18% in the past quarter. Salesforce did reduce its revenue guidance for the full year slightly…from $32 to $32.1 billion down to between $31.7-$31.8.

The top browser probably won’t surprise anyone, but the #2 one might. notes that according to Atlas VPN, the big dog of all browsers is Google Chrome. Chrome has an estimated 3.4 billion users! What’s #2? Nope, not Firefox or Microsoft….it’s Apple’s Safari, with over a billion users. If that makes you scratch your head, this might clear things up…the totals include mobile users, not just desktop ones. With Apple’s massive installed base of iPhones and iPads, that’s where their numbers really add up. It’s still a pretty amazing number, considering that Safari is the only browser not available on Android, OR on Windows! Edge has now passed up Firefox, but only has about 213,000 users. Firefox has a bit over 179,000.