Public Libraries are seeing a dramatic rise in the use eBook checkouts, as more readers discover virtual libraries online. Check out of eBooks is up 52% over 2019.
This Week in Tech News
The camera in Google's new Pixel 5 now offers in-camera facial retouching in real-time. But Leo says users can turn the feature off, and that's important because people shouldn't be caught up in the Instagram quest for perfection.
There's a town in a remote area of Washington State that was destroyed due to fire, and Elon Musk's Starlink has volunteered to restore internet access to the beleaguered town at no charge. With about 600 Starlink Satellites in orbit, the town now has access to the private beta for use of emergency services and communications.
Leo says that Google's event this week was rather dull and disappointing, muddying the waters of what's coming. First came the Google Pixel 5, which seems a step backward from the Pixel 4. Then they announced a 5G version of the Pixel 4a, which Leo says it more like the 5A with 5g connectivity. Leo says widespread 5G is still more hype and at least a year away. So it's kinda confusing.
Then came the return of GoogleTV, an update to AndroidTV. Chromecast is back with GoogleTV built-in for $49 and remote control.
Leo got the new Apple Watch Series 6 this week and has seen up close the hand washing and pulse oximeter features. And it works well! Leo also got a new Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, which he says is incredibly expensive and looks very fragile. Don't drop this one because it's guaranteed to break. So if you tend to drop your phone, this isn't the phone for you.
Amazon has been working two years on an indoor drone that will act as a security sentry for your home. If your RING Alarm security system detects an intruder, the drone will fly around to locate the breach. It costs $250 and it has been designed to avoid any drapes or windows, or anything that it could break, and record its flight. Uploading it for your review.
This week, Leo returned the Microsoft Surface Duo folding phone because while he liked the hardware, he thought the software wasn't ready for prime time yet, as a daily driver. So, instead, he picked up the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2. Leo was pleasantly surprised. It actually has three screens. One in the folded position, and then when you unfold it, there are two screens on the inside. Leo says you can see the fold, and it's kinda worrisome, but after a while, the crease simply disappears and all you see is a huge tablet size screen.
September 20th was supposed to be the day that Chinese social media companies TikTok and WeChat were supposed to be turned off if both weren't sold to a US company. In the eleventh hour, ByteDance, which owns both companies, has managed to avoid the shutdown thanks to a tech partnership with Oracle and Walmart. The new company, dubbed TikTok Global, will also have a 40% minority stake in US investment, plus a 19% stake to Oracle and Walmart. That's a majority that pleases the commerce department and the White House. So the shut down has been delayed for a week.
Leo says that Apple is a mature company now, and new versions of existing hardware just aren't providing the room for growth that Tim Cook desires. So now services are the next growth opportunity and as such, Apple is shifting part of its focuses to monthly services that will bring in consistent revenue. Beginning with Apple Music, Apple has added a news service, TV service, gaming service, and now an all you can eat service with Apple One. Apple One will offer unlimited use of music, tv streaming, magazines, and now Fitness with Fitness Plus.
Caught in a battle for months, which culminated with NBC threatening to pull content from all eleven of its streaming channels, both streaming platforms have come to an agreement that will put Peacock on the Roku platform soon. Maybe within weeks. Leo says brinksmanship is becoming the norm, with a battle having to be waged before parties come together with a mutual agreement.