Intel Spectre/Meltdown Patch Coming for Newer Chips; Amazon Narrows Field for 2nd HQ; Apple Repatriates Cash & Gives Bonuses; SurveyMonkey Going Public

Intel has admitted that even it’s newer CPUs are affected but the reboot problems from the Spectre/Meltdown patches. This includes Skylake and Kaby Lake chips, according to engadget.com. Patches should be out in about a week, but slowdowns will be between 2 and 25%, depending on the task, and if just one core is running.

Amazon has cut the field of cities where it may build its second headquarters. Geekwire.com says the online giant is down to 20 cities in the US and also Toronto, Canada. They include Washington, D.C. and two suburbs, which may or may not be a hint. The only West Coast city is L.A. All the rest are in the Midwest or Northeast.

Apple announced yesterday the it is bringing back $350 billion in overseas cash the next 5 years, and will build a new facility in the US, employing some 20,000 people. The company will cough up about $38 billion in taxes in the process. The new campus will initially be devoted to AppleCare. No location has been revealed, but it won’t be in California. Now, according to bloomberg.com, Cupertino has also said they are giving a $2500 bonus in restricted stock units as well. Apple has over 120,000 employees, and both full time and part time employees in all departments are eligible.

After 19 years, online polling company SurveyMonkey is getting ready to go public later this year. Recode.net reports that the company has been valued at $2 billion of late. Two other major IPOs set for this year include Spotify and Dropbox. SurveyMonkey has 650 employees and says nearly all the Fortune 500 companies have used it’s online surveys.

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New Google Smart Display; Microsoft Meltdown Updates Brick Some AMD PCs, Samsung’s Foldable Galaxy X Phone; LimeBike eBikes to Select Cities; Robot Strippers Hit Vegas

Google has made a big splash at CES in Las Vegas. From wrapping the trams, to their giant ‘Hey Google’ booth, they are hard to miss. They are going for smart assistant market share in a big way, too. Theverge.com says the list of smart speakers that use Google Assistant has expanded rather dramatically. Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Lenovo, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio, SōLIS, and Sony will all feature speakers with Google Assistant. Of those, JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony will make smart speakers with screens. They should be out by summer. The smart-screen speakers will apparently run Android Things, a version of Android tailored for Internet of Things devices. One obvious leg up on Amazon’s Alexa devices….the Google smart speakers with screens will play YouTube videos! They will also let you access you Nest cam security cams.

Public service message: Apparently Microsoft’s updates to stop ‘Meltdown’ have been pulled, because they bricked some AMD computers. Engadget.com reports that Redmond blames AMD’s documentation, but at any rate, it primarily affects Athlon and Sempron equipped computers. Apple released patches for Meltdown and Spectre on both the Mac OS and iOS yesterday, and they work fine. If you have a Windows machine you know doesn’t have AMD processors, go ahead and install the patch.

Another tease about the folding Galaxy X phone. Samsung is now saying it might enter production by November, and be out by this coming December. Bgr.com notes that CEO of mobile DJ Koh has been teasing this handset for a while now, but we’ve never even gotten a tentative date up to now. The premium handset would be a smartphone while folded, then open up for use as a tablet. No price range, but Samsung calling it ‘premium’ gives you the idea that it will be over a grand like the iPhone X.

There are already bike rental set ups in a number of major cities…even Ford has entered the fray with those. Now, LimeBike is rolling out electric bicycles, or e-bikes in several cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, Scottsdale, and Miami. Geekwire.com says the e-bikes debuted at CES, and 3ill cost $1 to unlock and and additional buck for each 10 minutes of riding time. LimeBike already has a fleet of garish green bikes with no electric assistance that rent for a dollar per 30 minutes of riding time. The new e-bikes should be available in a couple weeks. They are restricted to 14.5 mph, due to many cities having 15mph bike speed limits. The thought is that with certain cities that have a fair amount of hills, the e-bikes will give riders a break in trying to negotiate those. OK, no Idea about Miami, though…

The most off the wall thing at CES…or maybe ‘off the pole’, isn’t at the show, but at a strip club. According to businessinsider.com, the Sapphire has flown in robot strippers with large security cameras for heads from London! If that isn’t crazy enough, the club claims…claims that the idea is to attract women to the club! So far, no ‘thumbs up’ from either Robocop or Lt Cmdr. Data.