Galaxy Z Fold 5 Getting New Hinge; Tweetbot Mostly Working Now; YouTube Looking to Modify Profanity Rules After Uproar; Wyoming Looks at Banning New EVs

Samsung will show the latest Galaxy S23 phones the first of February, but in August they usually release the new folding phones. According to 9to5google.com, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is going to get a ‘droplet’ style hinge. This should lessen the crease in the display at the fold. Motorola and Oppo already use the ‘water drop’ hinge design, which allows foldable phones’ displays to flex slightly in the hinge space a bit. You lose a little radius, but also get less crease. Samsung is calling their version a ‘dumbbell’ hinge, but it is basically the same as the droplet. A drawback to the droplet besides reduced radius has been less water resistance, but Samsung has reportedly figured out a way to retain water resistance…even with the droplet hinge. The much less prominent crease in the screen may attract more buyers to the Z Fold 5, despite pricing that causes droplets to run out of your eyes!

Last week, Twitter locked users of major 3rd party clients out of the platform. Theverge.com reports that the client apps and users were not notified, nor was any reason given. Tweetbot, Twitterific, and the Android version of Fenix were all affected. Some internal communication at Twitter indicated that the lockout was intentional. There still isn’t any response as to why, but at this time Tweetbot is mostly back up and running. 

YouTube rolled out a new policy back in November concerning profanity…the aim was to make certain content more advertiser friendly. After a huge pushback, primarily from the gaming community, where some creators saw some of their old videos demonized, YouTube is taking a second look. Techcrunch.com says it’s unclear what the platform will do at this point, but that they are listing to creators’ concerns. YouTube didn’t hit any videos with ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ in them, but did penalize for the f-word, the s-word, and the like. It’s notable that if the swearing isn’t in the title, thumbnail, or the 1st 8 seconds of video, the video is still legible for revenue. One popular creator said YouTube whacked his Best of 2020 video. YouTube already has creators indicate if videos are for kids or not before you upload them, so they can’t really claim to be protecting younger viewers…but hey, have to keep those advertisers happy. Stay tuned, we’ll let you know what the final result is. 

In what seems like a stunt…but it’s a state legislature, there is a proposed resolution in Wyoming to ban the sales of new electric vehicles here by 2035! This is in response to California and New York phasing out gas vehicles by 2035. Engadget.com reports that a group of lawmakers in Wyoming say Wyoming’s “proud and valued” oil and gas industry has created “countless” jobs and contributed revenue to the state’s coffers. They add that a lack of charging infrastructure within Wyoming would make the widespread use of EVs “impracticable” and that the state would need to build “massive amounts of new power generation” to “sustain the misadventure of electric vehicles.” It should be noted…and the legislators there know this…that Wyoming’s Carbon Country is home to one of the largest wind farms in the US. Go figure.

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

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Apple Reverses-Working on Touchscreen Macs; Microsoft Adds Unlimited Vacation Perk; Tesla Now Top US Luxury Car Brand; Finland Ups Wind Power by 75%

After refusing to do so for years, Apple is apparently working on touchscreens for Macs. More than a dozen years ago, Steve Jobs famously said that “touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical” due to arm fatigue associated with holding up a finger to the screen. Now, Macrumors.com reports that the company has changed course, and may be bringing touchscreens to Macs…including MacBook Pros. A MacBook Pro with an OLED screen could be the first of the touchscreen models starting in 2025. The laptop would still retain its traditional design, including a keyboard and trackpad. Considering how many times I have switched from my iPad…which has a third party keyboard, to using my MacBook Pro and tried to touch the screen to do something, I think this might be a pretty great move. 

Microsoft joins the elite group of tech companies that offer unlimited vacation time to employees. According to bgr.com, the new deal goes into effect on January 16th. Note that the policy doesn’t cover all employees…only salaried workers in the US. Unlimited vacation plans are already enjoyed by Salesforce, LinkedIn, Oracle, and Netflix. Microsoft is not cutting other benefits, either. The number of corporate holidays, leaves of absence, sick time, and the like stay the same. 

Tesla has already had cars that topped categories in US car sales, but has now hit a really big milestone. The EV maker is now the top luxury car brand in the US, eclipsing BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Audi, and Cadillac. Electrek.co says it’s the first time in 25 years that the top luxury brand in the US has actually been an American car maker. It wasn’t close, either. Tesla outsold #2 BMW by over 100,000 vehicles. 

Finland ratcheted up their wind power capacity by 75% in 2022! Thenextweb.com reports that wind is now taking care of 14.1% of the country’s electrical needs, up from 9.3% in 2021. At the rate the country is adding wind generators, the Finns expect to be using wind power to cover 28% of the country’s electricity consumption by 2025! 

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


Twitter Timeline Change; Samsung Reserve Promotion; Next Surface Duo-Real Folding Screen; Amazon’s “Hey Disney”

Elon Musk has been pressing for even easier access to Twitter’s algorithmic timeline. Now, he’s done it. Previously, you had to click the little sparkle at the top of the app to pick chronological or the algorithmic timeline. TechCrunch.com reports that you will now see ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ at the top of the feed. You can swipe between them to change the timeline. Twitter tried this jamming the algorithm down peoples’ throats before, and there was a huge uproar. I have this already on the app, and had it briefly on the web version of Twitter, but the latter has switched back to the little sparkle at the top this morning. If you want the latest and not what Musk wants to show you, select ‘For You.’

Samsung has unveiled a promotion ahead of their Unpacked event. Between now and February 1st, you can go to Samsung’s website or use the Shop Samsung app and register your interest in a new Galaxy smartphone a Galaxy Book, or both…and get up to $100 in Samsung credit. According to zdnet.com, if you reserve something, you can apply $50 towards one device or $100 towards two devices. You will have to give up your name and email…phone number is optional. No purchase is necessary after the registration, either. The catch? the credits only apply to existing products, and won’t be good for the new Galaxy S23 phones. There’s always a catch, right?

Microsoft has killed the planned Surface Duo 3, and instead is forging ahead on a true foldable. Theverge.com says that Redmond had originally nixed a folder, wanting to have tow glass screens with a 360 degree hinge. The plan now is for a truly foldable Surface Duo with a 180 degree hinge like most other folders on the market. The down side? Virtually no chance of the device making it to market this year, as had been the plan for the Surface Duo 3. There are reports, though, that Microsoft may roll out a different Android phone this year, with the folder possibly bowing in 2024. 

Amazon announced at CES that Disney’s first home voice assistant, Hey Disney, will be coming to Echo devices through the Alexa Skills Store, OR as part of an Amazon Kids+  subscription. Mashable.com reports that you won’t be able to choose the Disney character that answers…they are preprogrammed with various replies depending on what you ask. Over 20 Disney characters are in the mix, from the Genie of Aladdin fame to Olaf from Frozen, and even Mater from Cars. Of course, some of the best loved old school characters are involved…set a 30 second timer and you get Donald Duck. Here’s the Disney Magic (read magic at getting into your wallet): the voice assistant works with Disney’s MagicBand Plus! The bands have been basically useless outside the parks up to now. 

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


Third Party Merchants Get Buy With Prime; Microsoft Pours Cash into ChatGPT Maker; Apple Making Own Cell-WiFi-Bluetooth Chip; Facebook Changes Address Ad Discrimination

Amazon is expanding its Buy with Prime service to US based merchants by the end of January. According to TechCrunch.com, the service allows third party merchants to offer Prime benefits like free shipping and returns on their own apps. Up to now, those benefits were only available to merchants using Fulfillment by Amazon for their shipping and logistics. This latest program has been trialed since last spring with a handful of select merchants. In addition to the expansion, the retail giant also introduced another new feature, Reviews from Amazon, which will allow Buy with Prime merchants to showcase reviews on their own online stores to help further increase conversions and consumer trust. 

After announcing that they would be using OpenAI’s Chat GPT text tool in Word, Microsoft is now getting set to dump some $10 billion into OpenAI, to help them accelerate bring artificial intelligence into their productivity software. Appleinsider.com reports that along with other investors, a total of about $29 billion is being funneled into OpenAI. If it goes ahead, the acquisition will value OpenAI at approximately $29 billion. Under the deal, Microsoft would receive 75% of OpenAI’s profits until it recoups the investment, before reverting to a structure where Microsoft owns 49% of OpenAI. Microsoft had previously injected $1 billion into OpenAI back in 2019.

It’s a couple years away, but Apple is designing their own all-in-one cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth chip. Theverge.com says Cupertino has been wanting for some time to take things in-house like they have with their system on a chip designs in the latest iOS devices and Macs. Apple is shooting for 2025. They have been using Broadcom WiFi and Bluetooth chips, and cellular modems from Qualcomm. Apple has put out several generations of A series chips in their mobile devices, and is on the 2nd generation of the M chips in Macs…all but the Mac Pro, which will get them later this year. 

Facebook settled a suit by the Department of Justice over ad discrimination last year, and now come the changes. According to cnet.com, parent company Meta is altering the ad tools to prevent landlords and home sellers from running ads that exclude some groups of people. The changes are also aimed at blunting discrimination in employment and financial services. Meta claims the changes will limit what characteristics certain advertisers can use to reach potential customers. Facebook allows advertisers to target ads at people based on the interests, demographics and behavior of the social network’s users. The new so-called ‘Variance Reduction System’ will compare the audience of a particular ad, and limit what characteristics certain advertisers can use to reach potential customers.

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


Apple Mixed Reality Headset Timeline; Heat Pumps for EVs; Virtual Guide Dogs for Visually Impaired; Qualcomm Satellite Plans for Androids 

After years of rumors and delays, it looks like Apple is locked in on releasing their mixed reality headset. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that they will unveil it this spring, ahead of the World Wide Developer’s Conference in June. The actual device should be in the hands of the well-heeled early adaptors by fall. Apple has apparently already shared the device with some high-profile software developers. Most Apple Watchers think it will run about $3,000, and be initially aimed at developers. It remains to be seen whether it will connect to a battery pack on the belt, but given the power demands for AR/VR, it doesn’t seem feasible to have a useful headset with tiny batteries just in the head strap.

It is starting to be more widely known that EVs get a pretty hard hit in range in cold weather. On the plus side, if people are stranded, they can generally keep the cabin warm for a couple days or more. According to the Washington Post, that cabin heat is the issue during cold spells. You draw power to keep warm, and that can steal about 41% of the car’s range. Interestingly, EVs are actually much more efficient than gas cars. Gas cars deliver about 20% of the energy the motor produces to the wheels….EVs push over 75% of their energy to the wheels. Still, you don’t want to lose range. A number of makers are putting in heat pumps to heat the cabin, which cuts the range loss to about 15%! The Jaguar I-PACE and Tesla Model Y come with heat pumps standard. They are an option now on other cars, but could become standard as EVs become more mainstream. 

Guide dogs have been a staple of helping visually impaired folks for decades. Now, tech is stepping in that could be a virtual guide dog for people. TechCrunch.com says a Korean startup called AI Guided showed a belt at CES that incorporates optical and Lidar sensors to help identify obstacles and help with navigation. It gives gentle haptic feedback to assist the sight impaired person. Since it’s on a belt, both hands are free…unlike with a cane or the harness for a guide dog. The company calls the device Guidi, and they are launching an Indiegogo campaign later this month.

Apple surely knew this fall when they launched the emergency satellite connection on iPhone 15s that others would be right on their heels. We reported here that Samsung is working on one that not only works for emergency, but allows simple non-emergency texts, too. Now, theverge.com reports that Qualcomm has announced new processors and modems that will connect with the Iridium satellite network doing exactly that! It’s called Snapdragon Satellite, and will start appearing in phones equipped with Qualcomm’s tech by the second half of this year. You can expect it to just show up in the flagship Android phones, not just Samsung’s. Also….the initial system will be emergency only…like Apple’s, but they will be adding ‘premium messaging’ later. Expect that to be extra cost. The emergency service will reportedly be free of pretty cheap. 

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


Lenovo’s Dual Screen Laptop; Amazon Cutting 18,000 Jobs; FTC Proposes Ban on Non-Competes; DoorDash Will Return Your Packages

Lenovo is showing off a really cool and interesting dual screen laptop this week. It’s called the YogaBook 9i. Engadget.com reports that it unfolds like a normal laptop, but with two screens instead of a keyboard. You can use the bottom one as a keyboard and trackpad if you like, but the rig comes with a stand and Bluetooth keyboard, as well as a stylus. you can prop the screens up either horizontally or vertically on the folding stand, and use the screens in several modes. You can use them independently…like taking notes on one side while looking at source material on the other. You can also scroll using both screens. Of course, you can use as a single, big screen to give plenty of real estate for your work or viewing. Both displays measure 13.3 inches, and they are 2.8K OLED screens. There are several other modes the software allows you to use…too many to cover here. The YogaBook 9i will be out in April for around $2,000.

Back in the Fall, we reported that Amazon was looking at cutting around 10,000 jobs. According to zdnet.com, that number is now up to 18,000. The earlier cuts were in the devices and books businesses, and also included a cut in new corporate hiring. Now, Amazon will add cuts to its Amazon Stores, and to its People, Experience, and Technology organization. This all follows the rapid, massive hiring that the online giant initiated during the pandemic. The cuts amount to 1.2% of Amazon’s million and a half strong workforce, but 5% of its corporate staff. 

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a rule completely banning non-compete clauses…those contracts that prevent workers from joining competitive companies when they leave their job. Vice.com says the agency believes that non-compete clauses harm healthy competition in the labor and product markets and block entrepreneurship, and estimated that the rule could increase workers’ earnings by almost $300 billion per year. The new rule will make it fully illegal for employers to enter into or maintain non-compete agreements with their workers, AND require them to actively notify workers that any existing non-compete agreements would no longer be in effect.

If it’s just too big a hassle for you to take a prepaid package to UPS, FedEX, or the Post Office, DoorDash has a deal for you. Techcrunch.com reports that they are rolling out a pickup service. For the nominal fee of $5 for standard users or $3 for DashPass members, you can have them pick up your returns and take them to the appropriate shipping office. You can have up to 5 packages picked up and returned in the same order. If you really have to send 5 back at a time, you may need to rethink your online ordering, though!

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


Samsung Folding Sliding Phone & Galaxy S23 Launch Date Rumor; Microsoft Getting ChatGPT for Bing; Salesforce Cutting Staff 10%; Roku Building its Own TVs. 

Samsung has showed off a crazy prototype as the Consumer Electronics Show is set to get underway. It’s a phone that not only folds, but slides to increase the screen size! Engadget.com reports that Samsung calls it tie Flex Hybrid OLED. It can fold from one side and slide out from the other, changing both the size and aspect ratio of the screen! It is initially just 4.2 inches wide, but opens up on the left to a 10.5 inch 4 to 3 display…THEN, on the right, it can fold out to create a 12.4 inch display with a 16 to 10 ratio…which should be great for entertainment or content creation. The thought of carrying something that opens up to 12.4 inches in a jacket pocket is pretty revolutionary. Back to the real world for a minute…most prognosticators think the new Galaxy S23 phones will roll out around February 9th. That’s about when last year’s S22 models were revealed. Most Samsung watchers expect 3 tiers of pricing again…a base phone at about $800, a Plus model for around $1000, and a top line Ultra for $1200.  

Microsoft is bringing ChatGPT capabilities to its Bing search engine. 9to5google.com notes that Google is said to be at ‘code red’ over the AI tech, which some feel may have the capability of killing traditional search engines. Apparently, Microsoft’s 2019 investment into OpenAI “included an agreement to incorporate some aspects of GPT into Bing.” An older version has already been in use. Microsoft claims that “Bing will still rely on its own technology to produce most search results” as GPT isn’t meant to “continuously scrape the web or provide real-time information like a search engine does.” The ChatGPT addition could be integrated into Bing by March. 

Salesforce is cutting staff by 10%, after hiring what they say was ‘too many people’ during the pandemic. The cutback will affect some 7,000 employees, and will close offices in ‘certain markets,’ according to techcrunch.com. In a letter to employees, CEO Marc Benioff referenced the “challenging” environment in which it’s operating, pointing to the “more measured approach” its customers are making with their purchasing decisions. As of last February, Salesforce has about 79,000 employees, and that was a 30% increase over 2020. Those laid off will get almost 5 months of pay, as well as health insurance and other benefits. 

In a ‘why didn’t they do that sooner’ move, Roku is announcing at CES that they will be launching a TV line. This spring, look for Roku Select and Roku Plus TV’s. Zdnet.com reports that the 4K TVs are the first design built in-house by Roku. Up to now, they have partnered with Amazon and Hisense. The sets will range in size from 24 to 75 inch screen sizes. They will have Roku Voice Remotes, and the Plus Series TVs will expand on the voice controls and offer Roku Voice Remote Pros, presumably with expanded offerings. They haven’t released more specs or pricing as yet.

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


New Apple Mixed Reality Headset Details; Samsung Grabs Mercedes Designer for Design Chief; Meta Picks Up Lens Maker Luxexcel; Tesla Miss on Q4, Despite Increase

More has leaked out about Apple’s Mixed-reality headset. According to theverge.com, it will sport a digital crown on the right side like the Apple Watch for switching to real-world view. Also, Apple has gone back to a waist mounted battery pack, throwing in the towel for now on trying to power it from the head strap. The units will have multiple, interchangeable head strap designs like the Apple Watch. The headset incorporates small motors to automatically adjust its lenses, and each eye will have at least one cam to track its movement. The Apple headset is built from aluminum, glass, and carbon fiber to reduce size and weight. We say built, because apparently Pegatron has already assembled thousands of prototype units. The headset has a 120 degree field of view…more than Meta Quest Pro and the Valve Index at 106 degrees. It will apparently even be able to run existing iOS apps…albeit in 2D. The down side? It’s still projected to cost about $3000! Yeah, I know…’shut up and take my money!’

Samsung has picked up a former Mercedes-Benz designer to fill their design chief position. Engadget.com reports that Hubert Lee will head up the Mobile eXperience (MX) Design Team. The team is responsible for the flagship Galaxy S line of smartphones. Lee had been chief design officer of Mercedes-Benz China, and also lead Mercedes’ design team in the US. Will he be the ‘Jony Ive of Samsung’ and give the Galaxy line the ‘wow factor’ of Apple products? Stay tuned!

Meta has picked up smart lens maker Luxexcel. The firm specializes in 3D printing prescription lenses for smart glasses. Theverge.com says the tech is pretty exciting, but it will probably be several years before we see the prescription lenses incorporated into mixed reality headsets or glasses…or mixed reality integrated into the smart lenses, depending on how you look at it. Whichever it is, Meta continues to push forward in augmented and mixed reality. 

Tesla delivered 405,278 vehicles the last quarter of 2022, a record number. That’s the good news. The down side…it missed Wall Street expectations of 420,000- 425,000, according to TechCrunch.com. The EV maker actually produced 439,701 vehicles, giving them a total production of 1.37 million in 2022. As we have reported previously, Tesla offered rebates in the US. In addition, they had to offer discounts in Mexico and China. We’ll have to wait a bit to see how that affected the company’s margins.

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


iPhone Pro Max Not Exclusively Foxconn Built; Amazon Started Drone Deliveries; Google Chrome Option Blocking Insecure Downloads; Twitter Meltdown After Musk Server Changes

After losing about a trillion dollars this year due to plant shut downs in China, Apple won’t be having Foxconn as the exclusive maker of the iPhone 15 Pro Max due out in the fall of 2023. According to macrumors.com, Luxshare will also be building the next top of the line iPhone. Luxshare will also join Pegatron in building iPhone 15 Pro models, in addition to Foxconn…which will still built the majority of the phones for Apple. Right now, Foxconn is assembling about 80% of iPhone 14 Pro models. Due to pandemic closures in China, TrendForce says Apple has seen a 22% decline in iPhone shipments for 2022. 

Amazon has started delivering orders by drone in both California and Texas. The plan is to eventually fly orders to a person’s home within an hour. Theverge.com reports that Amazon’s drone delivery service, Amazon Prime Air, dropped a number of packages in the back yards of customers in Lockford, California and College Station, Texas. The rural town of Lockford, California, is located 50 miles southeast of Sacramento and has only about 3,500 residents, while College Station, Texas, is a medium-sized city 100 miles northwest of Houston that’s home to Texas A&M.

Google is readying a security option for Chrome that will let the browser block ‘insecure’ downloads via HTTP. The vast majority of reputable sites use the safer HTTPS protocol. 9to5google.com says Chrome will display ‘Not Secure’ in the address bar, and will block insecure web forms and downloads by default. The feature is still being developed, so don’t expect it until at least March of 2023. 

Twitter had a widespread outage Wednesday after Elon Musk made and crowed about ‘significant’ backend server architecture changes. According to TechCrunch.com, Some users got logged out, others got a blank page, and a number couldn’t post or see replies to posts. The outage mainly hit Canada, Germany, Italy, and India. It also mainly affected desktop use, not mobile apps. 

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


Meta & Alphabet- Less Dominance in Web Ads; YouTube Tests Song Lyrics on TV Screen; Retail Sales up 7.6% for Holidays; LG Unveils True Zoom Lens for Phones

Dating back to at least 2014, Meta and Alphabet have been the 800 pound gorillas of online advertising, but that grip has been gradually slipping. Now, arstechnica.com reports that the two together have droped 2.5% and amount to 48.4% of the ad market…under half for the first time. Who’s getting into their drawers the most? Amazon, TikTok, Microsoft, and Apple. As recently as 4 years ago, TikTok and Amazon weren’t even on anyone’s radar as far as online ads. Amazon has zoomed from under a billion in 2015 to $38 billion this year. TikTok’s ad revenue is up 36%. The total digital ad market is estimated at about $300 billion dollars!

YouTube Music is trying out a new feature….casting lyrics to your TV screen. According to androidpolice.com, the users in the test see album art and track details, as well as the lyrics on screen. It only works with Android 13’s new output switcher and compatible TVs so far. This feature is probably never going to be a Spotify killer, but if you are into karaoke at home, could be a cool feature. No word yet on when it might get wide distribution. 

Despite gloomy predictions of recession and the ongoing worries about inflation, US retail sales were up 7.6% over the holidays. Thehill.com says the year over year increase was tracked by Mastercard’s Spending Pulse Tracker for the period from November 1st to December 24th. Black Friday sales were up 12%, and online up 10.6%. As for online buying taking the lion’s share of spending, the story is still ‘not yet.’ E-commerce grew to 21.6% of total sales. Restaurant dining was up 15% year over year, too. 

Tim Cook recently visited Japan and appeared at Sony’s camera facility. Apple uses Sony cams in iPhones. We have reported for months that Apple may get a periscope type telephoto zoom in the next phones. Now, another Apple supplier is showing off a new periscope telephoto zoom. Engadget.com reports that LG Innotek has revealed a new true optical periscope zoom that has a 4-9 times telephoto range. LG’s zoom lens has actual moveable components, and can zoom in down to the micrometer. They also claim it uses less battery power than lenses that are a hybrid of optical and digital zooms. Whether from LG or Sony, it looks like iPhones could be getting a really cool zoom camera…and area where they have lagged behind Samsung.

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