$1,400 stimulus checks just got a huge push from an unexpected place

Wed, 24 Feb 2021 21:33:42 +0000

  • Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package has received the support of some of America's biggest companies, including Google, Intel, AT&T, and Qualcomm.
  • Business leaders across major industries say that "Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package."
  • The House is expected to vote on the relief package by the end of the week.

If all goes accordingly, President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package should receive a vote in the House by the end of this week. After that, it'll head to the Senate, and by using the budget reconciliation process, Democrats can send the bill to Biden's desk with 50 votes and VP Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker. There may still be some hurdles to overcome in the Senate, especially if the minimum wage hike is still in the bill, but Democrats are determined to have it signed into law by March 14th, which is when the federal unemployment benefits of the previous relief package expire. Republicans are against it, but Biden's plan has received broad support from the general public, and now America's top business leaders are pledging their support as well. On Wednesday, more than 150 executives from some of the biggest companies in America sent a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to back the American Rescue Plan. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf, AT&T CEO John Stankey, and BlackRock CEO Laurence D. Fink all signed the letter. "Previous federal relief measures have been essential, but more must be done to put the country on a trajectory for a strong, durable recovery," the business leaders said in their letter addressed to Congressional leaders, which you can read here. "Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan." Biden announced the plan on his first day in office, and the president has been pushing for Congress to pass it ever since. It took longer than expected, especially after Biden promised voters in Georgia that they would receive a new round of stimulus checks "immediately" if they voted Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock into the Senate (which they did), but more than a month later, the $1,400 checks still haven't been approved. "More than 10 million fewer Americans are working today than when the pandemic began, small businesses across the country are facing bankruptcy, and schools are struggling to reopen," the business leaders add later in their letter. "The most vulnerable Americans — including women, people of color and low wage workers — are experiencing the worst of the pandemic, with unprecedented job loss, childcare burdens and food insecurity. States and cities have been crushed by pandemic-related expenses and revenue losses."

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The 2021 iMac might have a huge surprise that no one expected

Wed, 24 Feb 2021 21:06:14 +0000

  • A leaker says Apple is working on a huge iMac surprise for fans of the all-in-one desktop.
  • Jon Prosser shared renders showing the new iMac design complete with various color options aside from just silver.
  • The 2021 iMac could ship in the same colors available on the latest iPad Air models.

Apple is widely expected to release several new Mac models this year featuring other versions of the custom M1 processor unveiled late last year. According to previous remarks, Apple plans to transition all its laptop and desktop lines to M-series chips by 2022. The MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini were the first to get the M1. Next in line are the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, with the 14-inch model expected to debut this year. Apple is also expected to release an M-powered iMac and a smaller version of the Mac Pro that will both feature Apple silicon. A prominent leaker claims to have seen the designs of the new iMac and Mac Pro “mini,” and he created renders based on that inside information. It turns out that iMac fans will be in for a massive surprise if these leaks turn out to be true. About a year ago, YouTuber Jon Prosser started posting an increasing number of Apple rumors, and many of them turned to be based on accurate information. Prosser has reported on various unreleased Apple products on Twitter and YouTube, including the iPhone SE, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13. He also leaked details about Apple’s smart glasses, foldable iPhones, MacBooks, AirTags, and AirPods Max. In a new video on Wednesday, Prosser produced his first Mac leaks. He partnered with Concept Creator for the following renders that depict the purported designs of the new Mac Pro mini and 2021 iMac. The Mac Pro mini is supposed to look like a stack of three to four Mac minis. The “compute unit” will sit on the bottom, while the top part of the desktop will be made of a large heat sink. The 2021 iMac renders are more exciting. On the front, the new iMac features a display design like the iPad Pro. The all-in-one will apparently feature a uniform bezel around the display and rounded corners. But real actual surprise concerns the color scheme. Apple will supposedly offer the 2021 iMac in a range of color options that will mimic the palette available for the 2020 iPad Air. This is an homage to the iconic original iMac that shipped in various colors that many people loved. The 2021 iMac color options aren’t as flashy, however. And the user won’t exactly be able to enjoy them, as they’ll hardly be visible from the front. At least the base of the iMac's stand will be finished in the same color as the rest of the housing. These are only renders, so there's no way to confirm if this info is accurate for the time being. Prosser has a good track record reporting Apple rumors, but, like any leaker, he’s not always right. It’s unclear when Apple will bring these devices to market, but previous reports did say Apple will introduce a new iMac and Mac Pro mini in the coming years, maybe as soon as 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xofljau9xk

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People are freaking out over Dr. Fauci’s latest coronavirus claim

Wed, 24 Feb 2021 20:39:00 +0000

  • As of this week, the US has now recorded more than 500,000 coronavirus deaths since the COVID pandemic began.
  • The White House hosted a candlelit remembrance ceremony on Monday to honor those who've died from COVID-19.
  • White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said the number of deaths suggests that the US response to the pandemic has been worse than almost anywhere else in the world.

Earlier this week, the US passed a grim milestone amid a pandemic that's given us so many already. The US has now recorded more than 500,000 deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus, those being victims of an outbreak that's also now generated more than 28 million reported infections in the US over the past year. The Biden administration, for its part, decided to call attention to that new record of coronavirus deaths on Monday, with a candlelit remembrance ceremony at the White House -- including President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and her husband Doug Emhoff -- meant to honor the lives of the tens of thousands of Americans who've died from the virus. "We often hear people described as ordinary Americans," Biden said during the memorial. "There's no such thing. There's nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary." Speaking of extraordinary, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci sees something else, too, when he looks at that grim record of coronavirus deaths -- proof that the US response to the pandemic has been extraordinarily bad. Perhaps even worse than anywhere else in the world. In spite of being a "highly developed, rich country," Dr. Fauci told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos that the US has "done worse than most any other country" in responding to the coronavirus pandemic: "It's so tough to just go back and try and, you know, do a metaphorical autopsy on how things went. It was just bad. It is bad now." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nendcPGY_v4 The next closest country to the US in terms of coronavirus deaths is Brazil, which has only recorded about half the number of deaths that the US has. Even so, some people have greeted Dr. Fauci's remarks not with an understanding of all the individual behaviors that contributed to making them so -- people refusing to wear masks, socially distance, refrain from gatherings, traveling, and eating indoors, for example. Some people, instead, think Dr. Fauci should be... fired? Here are some reactions to Dr. Fauci's comments from Twitter: https://twitter.com/AirAcademy/status/1363991347007524866 https://twitter.com/djbrunowa/status/1363993494453325828 https://twitter.com/ThelenCynthia/status/1364034058091642881 https://twitter.com/rczeranko/status/1364040185852301314 https://twitter.com/MetsBob/status/1364203391799463936

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Amazon’s surprise Fire TV Stick sale slashes Lite to $22, 4K model to $38

Wed, 24 Feb 2021 20:12:35 +0000

  • Plenty of Amazon devices have gone on sale with discounts in 2021, but Fire TV Stick deals have been few and far between.
  • The good news is that Amazon remedied that with a few surprise bargains this week.
  • Our readers have been flocking to buy the Fire TV Stick Lite, which is down to just $21.99 right now, and the wildly popular Fire TV Stick 4K is down to $37.99 instead of $50.

Amazon wrapped up the year in 2020 with some fantastic deals on so many different Amazon devices. Then, the fun continued in 2021 because so many of those incredible sales carried over into the new year. Unfortunately, however, just about all of the hottest deals we've seen on Amazon's various device lineups over the past few weeks have now vanished since Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day are both behind us. All those great bundle deals are gone too, and only a few Amazon devices are on sale left this week.

The good news is that the list of remaining Amazon device deals happens to include two of the most popular Amazon gadgets you can buy. It's also a bit of a surprise since these particular Amazon gadgets haven't been discounted very often over the past few months.

The Fire TV lineup is neck and neck with Roku in terms of popularity among our readers. Now, the most affordable product in that lineup is even more affordable thanks to a 27% discount.

Head to Amazon and you'll find the Fire TV Stick Lite on sale for just $22.99. For those unaware of this latest addition to Amazon's Fire TV product catalog, the device itself is exactly the same as the regular Fire TV Stick. The only difference is the remote, which is still an Alexa Voice Remote but lacks the extra power and volume buttons to control your TV. If that's not a deal-breaker for you, definitely take advantage of this bargain!

You can also save even more by upgrading to the king of Amazon's streaming dongles, the Fire TV Stick 4K. There is perhaps no streaming media player at the $50 price point that comes anywhere close to matching the Fire TV Stick 4K, and it's on sale right now for just $37.99. And finally, if you want it all you can pick up a $120 Fire TV Cube on sale for $99.99. It's basically a Fire TV Stick 4K combined with an Echo Dot, and people love it!

Fire TV Stick Lite

  • Our most affordable Fire TV Stick - Enjoy fast streaming in Full HD. Comes with Alexa Voice Remote Lite.
  • Press and ask Alexa - Use your voice to easily search and launch shows across multiple apps.
  • Tens of thousands of channels, Alexa skills, and apps - Including Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, and HBO Max. Subscription fees may apply.

Fire TV Stick 4K

  • Our most powerful streaming media stick.
  • Watch favorites from Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and more. Stream for free with Pluto TV, IMDb TV, and more.
  • Launch and control content with the Alexa Voice Remote.

Fire TV Cube

  • The fastest, most powerful Fire TV streaming device.
  • From across the room, just ask Alexa to turn on the TV, dim the lights, and play your show.
  • Control compatible soundbar and A/V receiver, and change live cable or satellite channels with your voice.
  • With the built-in speaker, ask Alexa to check the weather, turn off the lights, and more – even when the TV is off.
  • Instant access to 4K Ultra HD content, plus support for Dolby Vision and HDR, HDR10+.

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‘Spider-Man 3’ finally has a title: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

Wed, 24 Feb 2021 19:45:01 +0000

  • Spider-Man 3 is one of the most anticipated Spider-Man films ever made, building upon everything that happened in every Spider-Man movie that came before it.
  • Marvel and Sony have already started promoting the film, revealing the official Spider-Man 3 title on Wednesday: Spider-Man: No Way Home.
  • The title drop comes a day after three of the main Spider-Man 3 stars each revealed a title of their own, trolling fans with different names playing on the "Home" theme.

Coming to theaters this holiday season, the next Spider-Man movie will be the most important and exciting yet. The movie will conclude the first joint Sony-Marvel trilogy, resolving the massive cliffhanger at the end of Far From Home. More importantly, Spider-Man 3 will be directly tied to the events of WandaVision and help set up Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, according to several rumors. This would help both Marvel and Sony advance their plans for their respective comic book cinematic universes. And now finally we know what the third movie will be called: Spider-Man: No Way Home. Even though the No Way Home is set to debut this December, we didn't get an official title until this week. Some leaks said the title was such a big spoiler for the film that Marvel delayed its reveal. Before Sony and Marvel revealed the title, the franchise’s biggest stars had a little fun with fans. Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon, who play Peter Parker, MJ, and Ned, respectively, each revealed a different Spider-Man 3 title in a coordinated marketing attack on Tuesday. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home are the names Marvel and Sony used for the first two movies in the series. This prompted speculation that the third installment would also use the “home” theme. As a reminder, Spider-Man’s identity has been revealed to the world as of the end of Far From Home. In No Way Home, Peter Parker will be on the run, and going home would mean putting his family in danger. Additionally, No Way Home will reportedly explore the multiverse in the aftermath of WandaVision. That’s why Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is in the film as well. That’s why villains from previous Sony Spider-Man movies and the Spider-Man actors that preceded Holland are also said to be joining the cast. One leak even offered the upcoming sequel's purported title, claiming that the film would be called Spider-Man: Homeworlds. Homeworlds is actually scrawled out on the whiteboard above, in a nod to recent leaks. Marvel and Sony announced the Spider-Man 3 title on Wednesday, after Tuesday's trolling campaign. Considering how the No Way Home title reveal dropped, the Holland-Zendaya-Batalon fake title teasers make perfect sense. The title reveal is a video mocking Holland's inability to keep Marvel's MCU secrets. https://twitter.com/SpiderManMovie/status/1364631273226919937 It was clear on Tuesday that the marketing campaign for the movie had started. Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon each revealed the “title” of the film on Thursday, just as Holland began to give interviews about Spider-Man 3. But each actor offered their own title. Spider-Man: No Way Home wasn't among them: https://twitter.com/Giuls2828/status/1364376036415332352 According to a post on Holland’s social accounts, the film would be titled Spider-Man: Phone Home. Batalon chimed in with Spider-Man: Home-Wrecker. Then there was Zendaya with Spider-Man: Home Slice. That’s solid trolling from the trio of actors that starred in the previous MCU Spider-Man films. They’ve effectively unleashed a new meme, with Jimmy Kimmel joining in on the fun — Spider-Man: That’s so Kraven is the title he proposed: https://twitter.com/jimmykimmel/status/1364421947291967493 Marvel and Sony also shared the first official stills from Spider-Man: No Way Home on Tuesday: https://twitter.com/ODEONCinemas/status/1364560489456553986

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1. Android Auto Adds Games, Wallpaper, Split-Screen View

Google is rolling out a major update to Android Auto. The new version includes car-optimized games such as trivia and "Jeopardy!". The feature can be activated by saying "Hey Google, play a game". Users can now "select from a variety of car-inspired backgrounds to personalize your car display". Finally, on "cars with wider screens", a new split-screen view "features a real-time view of Google Maps and media controls". The update will be available in the coming days for phones with Android 6 and above.

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2. Google Now Lets You Schedule a Text in Messages

Google has started rolling out an update to it Messages app that lets users schedule a text message to send at a later time. The feature is designed for people with "loved ones in another time zone or on a different schedule". To use the feature, simply press and hold the send button to reveal a new pop-up menu for scheduling. The menu provides several suggested times as shortcuts, plus an option to pick any specific date and time. The feature will be available in the next Messages update for phones running Android 7 and newer.

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3. Samsung's New 50-Megapixel Camera Sensor Supports Staggered HDR

Samsung today announced a new camera sensor featuring a number of new technologies that will offer improved HDR, low-light performance, and auto-focusing. The ISOCELL GN2 is a 50 megapixel sensor with 1.4-micrometer (μm)-sized pixels. The GN2 supports staggered HDR, which lets a device capture short and long exposures simultaneously, for HDR images with fewer motion artifacts. Staggered HDR can also enable computational HDR for video. Support for staggered HDR sensors is a key feature of Qualcomm's latest flagship chip for phones, the Snapdragon 888. Samsung also claims that staggered HDR is 24% more power-efficient compared to the traditional HDR technique. The GN2 also sports Dual Pixel Pro, an improved auto-focus (AF) system that uses all sensor pixels for focusing. While previous dual-pixel AF systems can only detect pattern changes horizontally, Dual Pixel Pro splits pixel elements diagonally, so it can also use vertical information to lock focus quickly. The GN2 also has Smart ISO Pro, which does for ISO what staggered HDR does for exposure length. The technology "takes readouts from both high and low ISO to instantly create high dynamic range images with less motion-artifacts." It can also take and process multiple high-ISO frames quickly, for an effective maximum ISO of "close to one-million". For video, the GN2 supports full-HD videos at 480 frames-per-second (fps) or 4K at 120fps. The ISOCELL GN2 is already in mass production, meaning it should make its way into phones soon.

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