Category: technology

14
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones are $298 at Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo

The second and final day of Prime Day 2020 is here, but there are still a ton of deals to take advantage of for the next several hours, including this fantastic deal on Sony’s new WH-1000XM4 wireless over-ear headphones. Normally, these headphones cost $350, but if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can buy a pair for just $298. Even better? Amazon will also give you a $25 gift card to its website when you purchase these headphones. Best Buy and B&H Photo are also price matching Amazon, but unfortunately, neither retailer is including the gift card sweetener like Amazon. The price is available for both color options (black and silver).

Sony originally released these headphones in August. When stacked up against its predecessor, the WH-1000XM3, the newer model shares a similar design but allows users the ability to pair two devices via Bluetooth simultaneously. My colleague, Chris Welch, noted in his review that the WH-1000XM4s have improved mic performance, which should make the audio output on calls clearer.

If you are looking for more headphone options, we picked out the best headphone deals you can grab during Prime Day 2020, plus a few from Amazon’s competitors, too.

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14
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Business leaders call for ‘patience and civility’ ahead of US election, tying economic health to democracy

Business leaders are calling on Americans to be patient and civil ahead of the 2020 presidential election, citing the importance of maintaining confidence in democracy during the coronavirus pandemic.



Michael E. Porter wearing a suit and tie: Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter.


© David De La Paz
Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter.

More than 50 executives across the fields of tech, finance, retail, and real estate signed onto a statement released Wednesday by the Leadership Now Project, a group founded by Harvard Business School alumni focused on protecting democracy.

“America has successfully held elections through previous challenges, like the Civil War, World Wars l and ll, and the 1918 flu pandemic… we can and must do so again,” the group said in the statement. “As business leaders, we know firsthand that the health of America’s economy and markets rests on the founding principle of our democracy: elections where everyone’s vote is counted.”

The statement was backed by big names in business, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, former Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, and General Assembly chief executive Lisa Lewin. Massachusetts executives on the list include Seth Klarman of Baupost Group, Tricia Glynn of Advent International, Trinidad Grange-Kyner from Tufts Health Plan, and Eric Spindt from Commonwealth Financial Group.

The group emphasized that it could take weeks or more until election results are confirmed because of the number of citizens voting by mail this year. They asked Americans to stay calm, “making it clear that they will refuse to accept any results called too early or based on insufficient data.”

The statement also called on journalists to “avoid calling the election before sufficient data are available,” and asked business leaders to “promote patience and civility among employees, communities, and the American people.”

LinkedIn’s Hoffman wrote that “election results inaccurately or prematurely reported by journalists, elected officials

14
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Fire TV Stick, Kindle And More Amazon Devices Have Huge Discounts For Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day 2020 has officially begun. Today, October14, you can find tons of deals from the online retailer on a wide variety of products, ranging from video games, movies, tabletop games, and much more. But if you’re big on Amazon’s varied ecosystem of electronics, you’ll be happy to know that many of their most popular devices have been marked down for the occasion.

With so many different deals available on Amazon’s plethora of devices, it can be a little overwhelming trying to find the best savings, so we’ve rounded up some of the best deals we’ve found so far. These deals cover a range of Amazon devices, including the retailer’s latest tablets, speakers, and Fire-enabled TVs. If you want to listen to music, there are cheap options available. If you’re looking to save on an Echo Show to help keep in touch with relatives, there are deals for you, as well.

If you’re curious about some of the biggest deals, check out our Prime Day 2020 hub. Plus, see our roundup guide to the very best game deals across all retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, and more.

14
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Azure Data Explorer gets new engine, numerous enhancements and Synapse integration

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An Azure Data Explorer dashboard


Credit: Microsoft

Today, at a dedicated online event for Azure Data Explorer (ADX), Microsoft is announcing numerous enhancements to the service, including a next-gen release of the underlying engine and an array of integration points that should make it more accessible, more enticing and more useful. ADX, which is most often used for telemetry data lake workloads and analytical solutions as a service, will now run even faster overall than it had, will have numerous optimizations and will connect with a variety of other data services, streaming data sources and data visualization solutions. This will help a service that’s been very successful but not especially well-known, even among Azure analytics experts, achieve more mainstream appeal.

Performance gains galore

What new features are coming to ADX? To start with, Microsoft’s introducing a new version of the core engine (in preview, with GA expected in February), which takes a wholly different strategy to querying data. The Kusto v3 engine will generate multiple versions of the desired query, use the fastest, and compile it to native code before executing, so that it runs at maximum speed. The indexing layer in the v3 engine has also been rewritten. As a result of these changes, Microsoft says queries will run between 2x and 30x faster.

And beyond this raw performance gain, ADX will now offer self-refreshing materialized views, query result set caching and configurable sharding/partitioning. Near real time scoring with machine learning models — including those hosted on Azure Machine Learning as well as those from other platforms, packaged in ONNX format — is being added as well. Fast Fourier Transforms, geospatial joins and polynomial regression are onboarding too. ADX is also getting row-level security capabilities that will make it more appealing to customers who want to support a wide

14
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Google Pixel 5 review: new phone, old tricks

The amount of effort Google seems to put into its Pixel phones while simultaneously ensuring that they look and feel mundane never ceases to astonish me. The new Pixel 5 is the epitome of this trend, though it’s been present since the beginning.

The Pixel 5 is unassuming. Instead of pushing the state of the art forward, Google has seemingly retreated to simpler, more reliable, and less expensive technology. The Pixel 4 had face unlock, squeezable sides, and a literal radar chip. The Pixel 5 has a simple rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that harkens back to Android phones from 2018, not 2020.

And yet, it’s still a very good phone for $699. It’s not impressive or flashy. By spending just a little (or a lot) more money, you can get better specs, larger camera arrays, prettier screens, and fancier designs. The Pixel 5 is trying to sell something else, sometimes to a fault:

Simplicity.

The Google Pixel 5 in “Sorta Sage” green

The Google Pixel 5 in “sorta sage” green.

Pixel 5 hardware design

Here are words I’ve used to describe Pixel hardware in past reviews, all of which apply to the Pixel 5: utilitarian, humdrum, unassuming, and premium. That last one seems like it doesn’t fit, but once you hold the Pixel 5, you’ll feel it. There’s so little hardware flash that it can be easy to miss some of the design substance.

The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch OLED screen, rounded on the corners and interrupted only by a (somewhat large) hole punch for the selfie camera. There’s no XL version with a bigger screen, which might annoy some