Niantic, the creators of the successful mobile game Pokemon Go, has finally put out a game based in the universe of Harry Potter, called Wizards Unite. You play a wizard, using your wand to battle other wizards and catch fantastic beasts. All in Augmented Reality. Leo says that it was originally launched in Australia, and people went wild about it. Now it's been launched in the US and around the world, so MORE people are going wild.
This Week in Tech News
Facebook has launched Libra Coin, and already many countries have banned its use. The US will investigate Facebook over it, and banks will refuse to accept it. But companies like MasterCard, Paypal (of course) and others will be accepting it. Leo says that if governments hate it, it's a maybe a good thing. But only time will tell. The real problem is, Facebook wants to tie your account to your banking information, and even though Facebook says all transactions will be private, with Facebook's fantastic record of security and privacy, what could possibly go wrong?
Target's computerized cash registers went down yesterday, leaving customers left holding the literal bag with no real way to pay for them. Some employees got around the problem by using their personal phones to check out using the online interface. Target assures it wasn't a data breach, but Leo isn't so sure about that. It has happened before.
Based on deals with Mastercard, Visa, Uber and others, Facebook is poised to launch their own cryptocurrency. But the Global Coin Consortium has bowed out. Leo says it should be nicknamed "Zuck Bucks," and the major problem is, that Facebook users will have to tie their bank accounts and other financial information to their Facebook account, and considering their security challenges, that's not going to end well.
Known as Project Libra, Facebook will launch its own cryptocurrency through partnerships with Visa and other companies. Leo says that while interesting, the problem is it requires users to connect all their financial information with their Facebook profile. Hmmmm. That's not going to fly
Google has released details for their Stadia Streaming gaming service, and Leo says it's like renting a game console in the cloud for $10 a month. That's only the service though, as you still need to pay for each game separately. But it also provides high quality 60fps HDR and Dolby Stereo. But Leo says he really doesn't get the advantage here. Serious gamers have a gaming PC or game console. So who is this aimed at? But for those who are just getting into gaming and don't want to invest just yet in hardware, Stadia may be ideal.
FedEx delivers for Walmart. Amazon delivers to UPS. Are major companies taking sides? Amazon says that customers don't really want choice because there are too many choices out there. So they offer "Amazon's choice" to make it easier for shoppers to buy what they want. The technique is called Dark Patterns and it causes changes in the algorithm. Once you order Amazon's choice, you start getting more results like that.
This week at WWDC, Apple announced the return of the Cheesegrater Mac. That's right, the Cheesegrater is back, and Leo says it's as functional as it is a work of art. Starting at $5,000, the new Cheesegrater comes with an Intel Xeon Processor, 32GB of RAM, and dual video cards. The starting price is $6,000. Apple also announced the XDR Pro 32" 6K monitor, at a price of $5,000. But that doesn't come with a stand, which is another $1,000. That's like buying a car without wheels. But a nicely equipped MacPro for professional performance is likely to cost you at least $25,000.
68% of Facebook investors want CEO Mark Zuckerberg removed. But the problem is, that Zuckerberg controls 61% of Facebook stock. Zuckerberg is a class A investor, and as such, he controls ten times more votes than Class B investors. Really, what's the point of giving them a vote?
After Google was slapped with a $5 Billion fine from the EU, the US Department of Justice has said it will open an anti-trust investigation on Google. Meanwhile, the FTC may be signalling the same for Amazon. But Leo says that it could do more harm economically than good, and maybe the best thing would be to break up both companies into smaller concerns that can compete.