Issue 1277 - Wednesday 6th January, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Trump bans more Chinese tech companies, this time taking aim at fintechs

As the door hits his arse on the way out, Donald Trump's administration has slapped more bans on Chinese tech companies. In 45 days it'll be illegal for a US company to do any transactions with "persons that develop or control the apps of Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, WPS Office and its subsidiaries". The US government claims these apps are a national security risk - like every other Chinese app going around. I mean, they're not wrong, technically. Either way, it's yet another executive order that is apparently easy to repeal if Biden wants to.

Microsoft to create a single version of Outlook that runs on all platforms & overhaul the Windows UI

Microsoft wants to make a single unified version of Outlook that runs on all platforms - Mac, Windows and the Web and would also replace the built-in Mail and Calendar apps on Windows 10. Dubbed Project Monarch, it would be based on "web technologies", but still have native OS integrations "with support for things like offline storage, share targets, notifications, and more". Hmmm, sounds bad. There's also a rumour floating around based off a job ad Microsoft put up, then edited, wanting people "to orchestrate and deliver a sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows experiences to signal to our customers that Windows is BACK". Unless they're returning to the Windows 2000 UI, I don't wanna know about it.

Researchers used Facebook data to try and predict where COVID might spread in VIC & NSW

Researchers from a bunch of Australian universities, along with the Victorian government, used data from Facebook's Data for Good program to track how many people moved around during three COVID outbreaks (Cedar Meats, Crossroads Hotel and the general VIC 2nd wave) to see if the location data Facebook collects is useful to predict COVID-19 transmission risks. They compared actual outbreak data to their predictions and found "the accuracy of our estimates varies with outbreak context, with higher correlation for the outbreak centered on a workplace, and lower correlation for the outbreak centred on a social gathering". The study has been published, but isn't on the journal's website yet, which is a shame as I didn't really understand what was going on based on the news article.

Something I Saw On The Internet

New Dell Ultrasharp monitors coming soon, the 40" 5K looks alright

Dell announced a bunch of new Ultrasharp monitors you might want to buy. The U4021QW is a 40" 5K (5120x2160) curved ultrawide display with Thunderbolt 3, 90W chaging, ethernet & audio port, along with a USB hub. US$2,100 though, ouch. There's a US$600 cheaper 38" model with the same features and lower resolution (3840x1600). Finally there's updates to the 24" 1080p and 27" 1440p Ultrasharps, also with USB hubs and Ethernet ports. Not an Ultrasharp, but Dell has a nice looking range of "Video Conferencing Monitors" that are certified for Microsoft teams. They've got 5MP pop-up webcams with Windows Hello support, together with noise-cancelling mics and built-in speakers.

Bargains

The End

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