Tech & Gaming

AppleMagazine #425

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United States
Ivan Castilho de Almeida
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26 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
why some cities and states balk at face recognition tech

Police departments around the U.S. are asking citizens to trust them to use facial recognition software as another handy tool in their crime-fighting toolbox. But some lawmakers — and even some technology giants — are hitting the brakes. Are fears of an all-seeing, artificially intelligent security apparatus overblown? Not if you look at China, where advancements in computer vision applied to vast networks of street cameras have enabled authorities to track members of ethnic minority groups for signs of subversive behavior. American police officials and their video surveillance industry partners contend that won’t happen here. They are pushing back against a movement by cities, states and federal legislators to ban or curtail the technology’s use. And the efforts aren’t confined to typical bastions of liberal activism that enacted bans this year: San…

1 min.
amazon bans sellers from using fedex for some deliveries

Amazon is banning its third-party merchants from using FedEx’s ground service to deliver to Prime members, suggesting that it thinks the service is too slow to get packages to their destinations in time for Christmas. The temporary ban will block those companies from using FedEx Ground service, although they can still use pricier FedEx Express shipping for Prime shipments. More than half of the items sold on Amazon.com come from third-party sellers, who post their goods for sale on Amazon’s online marketplace. News of the ban was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. FedEx Corp. said in a statement that the decision affects “a very small number of shippers” and said it “limits the options for those small businesses on some of the highest demand shipping days in history, and may compromise their…

3 min.
wisconsin governor: no tax credits for new foxconn plant

Gov. Tony Evers’ top aide warned Foxconn Technology Group last month that a scaled-down factory in Wisconsin won’t qualify for tax credits unless the Taiwanese electronics giant renegotiates with the state, letters Evers’ administration released. The letters, which were first reported about by The Verge, underscore a deepening schism between Evers and the world’s largest electronics provider. Foxconn counts Apple, Google and Amazon among its customers. Foxconn originally proposed building a massive flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant that would eventually employ 13,000 people. Enamored with the thought of a monumental economic boost going into the 2018 elections, then-Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators approved an unprecedented $3 billion state incentives package in 2017 for the factory. Democrats complained at the time that Walker and the GOP were giving away too much for…

1 min.
plans move forward to electrify new york city’s bus fleet

The nation’s largest public bus system rolled out its first all-electric articulated bus under a plan to convert New York City’s transit agency to a zero-emissions fleet by 2040. The new vehicle was deployed on one of Manhattan’s busiest crosstown routes, the 14th Street busway. By March, the route will have 15 electric-articulated buses, which are 60-foot-long vehicles connected in the middle with a joint. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to spend $1.1 billion to modify depots for electric operations and purchase about 500 electric buses for all five boroughs under its 2020-2024 Capital Plan. The transit agency currently operates 10 electric standard buses that are leased under a three-year pilot program launched in 2018 to test the technology. The vehicles are quieter than conventional buses in addition to having no tailpipe…

1 min.
california earthquake warning app sends 1st public alert

California’s new earthquake early warning cellphone app issued its first public alert when a modest tremor occurred this week in a rural area of the state, a newspaper reported. MyShake app project manager Jennifer Strauss said more than 40 people received the warning when a 4.3 magnitude quake struck Tuesday morning in mountains between the central coast and the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Times said. The MyShake app was developed by the University of California, Berkeley, and released in October. It is designed to quickly take data from seismic sensors and send warnings to potentially affected areas if a quake of magnitude 4.5 or greater occurs and if the projected shaking at a particular location is at a certain level of intensity. It sent the warning Tuesday because the initial reading was…

5 min.
smart holiday shopping: avoiding fake reviews and tricky ads

There are lots of bargains online during the holidays, but also plenty of ways to get scammed, even at established outlets like Amazon. How can you be sure you’re reading a legitimate review, not one coming from a company employee? How can you flag sponsored placements and other ads — and protect your credit card once you buy? Although there’s no magical solution, try some of these practices to be a savvier online shopper. REVIEWING THE REVIEWS Online reviews at major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart and listing services such as Yelp look like a good place to get first-hand information from people who’ve tried a product or merchant. But investigations by The Washington Post and BuzzFeed have described networks of fake reviewers paid to inflate ratings for lesser-known sellers on Amazon.…