On December 31, 2020, Adobe announced that Flash had officially reached its end of life and will no longer be supported by the company. Apple hastened the demise of Flash several years ago when it announced it wouldn't support Flash, but it really was Youtube's abandoning the platform that put the last nail in the coffin, even though many websites continued to use it. But even Adobe saw that Flash's end was nigh and abandoned development, except for security updates. Now, it's at end of life, and Leo says it's the end of an era.
This Week in Tech News
Leo says that Apple's new $550 Airpod Max Headphones are too cheap for high-end headphones, and too expensive for just about everything else. But he says that while these fit into a gray area that's going to use computational audio driven by 10 core processors. So customers have a supercomputer in each ear. It will support things like surround sound and will take an imperfect stream of audio and make it better. But Leo will never buy them, even though while they are pricey status symbols now, they may end up being worth the price down the line as the technology improves.
Russia may have hacked several local, state, and federal government agencies this week, according to the NSA and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. With all the hallmarks of Russian hacking group "Fancy Bear," Leo says that the hack was discovered because the group went too deep and too far and triggered security software designed to detect such attempts.
During a four hour stream for its annual Investor Day, the Walt Disney Company executives previewed their slate of new content for Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, and National Geographic. Leo says the huge takeaway here is that Disney's upcoming slate is 80% streaming content. That's huge.
A few days later, it was reported that Disney+ streaming service will be raising its rates in 2021.
The much-anticipated video game Cyberpunk 2077 was released and even with a physical disc, expect an updated download of over 100GB. But there is an alternative. Leo bought the game through Google Stadia and was able to play the game by streaming it. The game-changer here is that it doesn't really matter what platform you play the game on, you'll be able to still play it.
The deadline for TikTok to cease operations or sell to a US investor has come and gone, leading Leo to conclude that the Trump administration has bigger fish to fry. TikTok sued, and Oracle won the bid to buy TikTok. But the deadline to complete the sale has passed as of Friday. The government has chosen to do nothing. So Leo thinks that TikTok may be in the clear. At least for now.
Meanwhile, TikTok downloads have surged during the pandemic, second only to Zoom with 23 million downloads.
Leo says that Apple has been working overtime to make sure their new M1 Macs are able to support apps that could've been left behind with the shift to the Intel platform. The result is a platform that is much faster, with fantastic battery life. So fast, that Leo says M1 is going to change the computer world as we know it. Sadly, Apple will likely keep M1's architecture for themselves, as their "secret formula for coca-cola."
Leo's advice for upgrading: if you're a PC user, get the cheapest M1 you can to buy into the ecosystem. The road will be dramatic as time goes on.
Wanting to offer a neighborhood-based wifi network, Amazon has announced Amazon Sidewalk, which uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE) radios to connect everyone from house to house. You can get motion alerts from your security cameras, track your pets if they should run away, and even notifications when the mailman leaves you mail. As long as one device sees the other, it can pass along connectivity with a promised small amount of bandwidth.
Zappos Founder Tony Hsieh has passed away at the age of 46. Having created Link Exchange and Zappos in his 20s, Hsieh transformed e-commerce and made millions with sales to Microsoft and Amazon respectively. Gone too soon.
Leo received the new MacBook Pro with the M1 chip, and he says it runs fast, long and quiet. However, there is a bit of disappointment since not every program can run on it through the Rosetta 2 emulator. But Leo also admits that was inevitable. Every time you move to something new, there's always going to be some of your programs that get left behind.