Battlefield 2042 beta version codes get leaked

The beta version of Battlefield 2042 is slated to be released next month and players reported receiving code right after pre-ordering it.

According to a report, multiple Reddit users had claimed that they got the codes after they registered for the beta on Amazon. A series of posts regarding the code leaks were seen on the micro-blogging platform named Twitter as well.

The leaks made the players believe as if the video gaming giant have already rolled out the codes ahead of the beta version’s release on October 8.

An official gave a clarification on the issue.

He stated that the company has not offered incentives for increasing the sales of beta version.

Read More: Battlefield Mobile to make an entry in action-packed game series

Earlier, Electronic Arts had announced that the game’s release has been pushed back from October 22 to November 19 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the development team.

“With the ongoing conditions not allowing that to happen safely, and with all the hard work the teams are doing from home, we feel it is important to take the extra time to deliver on the vision of Battlefield 2042 for our players,” the company added.

The game will be releasing on platforms namely PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X along with Xbox Series S, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.

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from ScienceTechnology – ARY NEWS
Source: Tech Crunch

ProGrade Versus Sony CFexpress Type A Cards: Is There a Difference?

ProGrade Digital just released the first CFexpress Type A cards that aren’t made by Sony and while they aren’t “cheap” by any stretch of the imagination, they are more affordable than Sony’s offering. But does that discount come at a performance cost?

At the time of publication, CFexpress Type-A memory cards were only used by Sony in a few of its newer cameras like the Alpha 1. The format is much smaller than a CFexpress Type B card and while Type A cards will never be as fast, Sony chose them for its line of cameras because they have a secondary benefit: the small size lets them share a card slot that can also be used with legacy SD cards.

SD cards are actually bigger than CFexpress cards, which let Sony build a slot in both its cameras and its CFexpress card reader that lets the one slot pull double duty. For photographers, this means that Sony could support faster read and write speeds to get the most out of its new cameras while also not forcing photographers to pick up all-new media.

That choice is great because Sony’s CFexpress Type A cards are — at the time of publication — $400 for 160GB of capacity, a considerable investment.

As you can see above, ProGrade elected to keep its two memory card reader slots separate.

While the format isn’t widespread yet, ProGrade Digital believes it will become more popular in the future and as such has decided to join the party and just released its version of the media.

What’s the Difference?

Performance-wise, both Sony and ProGrade promise the same read and write speeds and physically both devices look almost identical — in fact, both cards note the country of origin as the same as well: Taiwan. The only real differences between them appear to be minor design choices on the back of the cards and a $70 price margin.

The only real way to repeatedly test and determine if there is a difference between these two cards is to run them each through speed tests. Theoretically, I could fire a burst of photos on camera with each card and time how long it takes to clear the buffer, but there is no reason to believe that the speed tests here would provide a different result especially since — as I’ll explain below — I used two different card readers. Additionally, this method is much more repeatable and controlled.

For this test, I have both the Sony and ProGrade CFexpress cards as well as the official card readers from both companies: the Sony MRW-G2 and the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type A and SD Reader. I ran both cards through both of the readers in order to both see if there was any benefit to using a card reader and card from the same manufacturer, but also to assure that there was no unfair advantage that would appear by using a Sony card on a Sony reader, for example. I did not think one would exist, but it’s safer to be sure.

I ran speed tests using the BlackMagic Speed Test application on an Apple MacBook Pro multiple times. Both card readers were connected via USB-C cables into the reader and into the laptop — I did not use the cable that converts the USB-C design to USB-A. Testing speeds on cards varies with each run that the card goes through and performance will vary slightly depending on individual cards and over time, but the screenshots below are good overall averages of what you can expect from the cards.

Sony Versus ProGrade via ProGrade Card Reader

First I want to show the results from running both cards through the ProGrade Digital combination CFexpress Type A and SD card reader:

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type A Card
Sony CFexpress Type A Card

As you can see, both cards fell short of the promised “up to” 800 MB/s read spends and 700 MB/s write speeds. The ProGrade Digital card averaged around 679 MB/s write speeds and around 785 MB/s read speeds with the ProGrade reader. The Sony card performed pretty similarly, averaging around 683 MB/s write speeds and around 780 MB/s read speeds through the ProGrade reader.

While it appears the ProGrade Digital card read data a bit faster than the Sony and the Sony wrote data a bit faster than the ProGrade, the difference here is within a tolerable margin of error of around 5 MB/s, which means that there is effectively no difference in performance between these cards with the ProGrade reader.

Sony Versus ProGrade via Sony Card Reader

Next, I ran both cards through the Sony combination CFexpress and SD card reader:

ProGrade CFexpress Type A Card
Sony CFexpress Type A Card

The Prograde CFexpress card averaged around 654 MB/s write speeds and 730 MB/s read speeds when tested through the Sony reader. The Sony card averaged around 651 MB/s write speeds and 731 MB/s read speeds through the Sony reader. The results here are much closer than when the cards were compared through the ProGrade card reader and are absolutely within the expected margin of error.

As far as I am concerned, this confirms that the cards should effectively perform identically across mediums and cameras.

Curiously, both the ProGrade card and the Sony card performed worse through Sony’s reader than through ProGrade’s reader by a factor of nearly 20 MB/s in both read and write, which is more than I feel comfortable attributing to just a margin of error. I am not familiar with the inner workings of card readers and what might make one perform better than the other, but in my testing, ProGrade does take the win here as far as media readers.

Hunt the Best Price, Not the Brand

If you were afraid that the $70 discount in price between the Sony and the ProGrade cards would result in worse performance for ProGrade, I have good news: both cards should perform pretty much exactly the same.

One thing worth noting though is that as far as card readers go, ProGrade Digital’s CFexpress Type A and SD card combo reader appears to be a bit better than the Sony MRW-G2 Cfexpress Type A reader. Sony’s reader is also $120, while ProGrade’s is $80. So while I can comfortably recommend you can buy either the Sony or ProGrade card (whichever is on sale) and get the same performance, it appears the ProGrade card reader will give you better performance, albeit just a little.

That said, ProGrade’s reader is made of mostly plastic while Sony’s is an all-metal housing. I haven’t ever encountered a situation where I needed my card reader to be tough as nails, but if that’s important to you, Sony is likely the better choice even if it’s just a hair slower.

from Reviews – PetaPixel
Source: Tech Crunch

Bats with Covid-like viruses found in Laos: study

Scientists have discovered another clue to the origins of the virus that causes Covid-19, with bats living in caves in Laos found to be carrying a similar pathogen that experts suggest could potentially infect humans directly.

The virus has killed millions since it emerged in China in late 2019, and controversy continues to swirl around where it came from.

Some experts say it is animal-driven but others have pointed to the possibility the pathogen leaked from a lab.

Researchers from France’s Pasteur Institute and the National University of Laos said their findings showed that viruses genetically close to the SARS-CoV-2 virus “exist in nature” among bat species in the limestone caves of northern Laos, which neighbours China.

Of the viruses they identified among the hundreds of bats tested in Vientiane Province, three were found to closely resemble the virus that causes Covid-19, particularly in the mechanism for latching on to human cells.

“The idea was to try to identify the origin of this pandemic,” Marc Eloit, who leads the Pasteur Institute’s pathogen discovery laboratory, told AFP.

Eloit, whose team analysed the samples collected, said there were still key differences between the viruses found and SARS-CoV-2.

But he said the work was “a major step forward” in identifying the pandemic’s origin, confirming the theory that the coronavirus that has spread across the world could have started with living bats.

The authors of the study, which has been submitted to Nature for peer review, warned that their findings suggest the new viruses “seem to have the same potential for infecting humans as early strains of SARS-CoV-2”.

“People working in caves, such as guano collectors, or certain ascetic religious communities who spend time in or very close to caves, as well as tourists who visit the caves, are particularly at risk of being exposed,” the authors said.

‘Natural spillover’

International experts sent to China by the World Health Organization (WHO) in January concluded that it was most likely that the SARS-CoV-2 virus jumped from bats to humans via an intermediate animal.

A competing hypothesis that the virus leaked from a lab like the specialised virology laboratory in Wuhan was deemed “extremely unlikely”, although it has yet to be ruled out.

Martin Hibbert, Professor of Emerging Infectious Disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine — who was not involved in the Laos research — said the most closely related virus was found to be able to infect human cells “as easily” as SARS-CoV-2 and therefore might be capable of infecting humans.

But he stressed that the virus is “not an ancestor of the pandemic strain”.

“This work confirms the expected diverse nature of bat infecting coronaviruses and increases the evidence that natural spill-over events from bats to humans can occur,” said Hibbert.

The authors of the Laos study, which has been posted on the site Research Square, said their results suggest the pandemic coronavirus potentially evolved through mixing between different viruses and species of bats.

James Wood, Head of Department of Veterinary Medicine at University of Cambridge — who was also not involved in the research — said it suggests “recombination between different viruses was likely involved, rather than there being a simple evolution of a single lineage over a long period”.

In a comment to the Science Media Centre he said this not only underscores the likely role played by bats and perhaps other animals living closely together, but also shows the “risks inherent in living wildlife trade”, where markets can help drive cross-species zoonotic transmission.

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from ScienceTechnology – ARY NEWS
Source: Tech Crunch

Bill Gates’ green tech fund bets on farming robots

As California struggles with another crippling drought, a Silicon Valley startup that believes robots can grow produce more sustainably said Wednesday it raised $50 million in a funding round led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Iron Ox uses robots that are integrated with a hydroponic system consuming 90% less water than traditional farms, said CEO Brandon Alexander.

The company is putting that system to work at a 10,000-square foot (930 square meter) greenhouse in Gilroy, California, where a self-driving robot named Grover moves pallets of Genovese Basil and a robotic arm system lifts the pallets for inspection. Sensors check the water for nitrogen and acidity levels for healthy growth.

“Then they say, ‘What is missing? What does that plant need that we’re not giving it’,” Alexander said. Any water not used can be pumped back into the system to be reused later.

Agriculture plays an important role in California’s economy, but water usage is increasingly in the spotlight. The last major drought in 2012-2017 cut irrigation for farmers, forced strict household conservation measures and stoked deadly wildfires.

Iron Ox grows Thai basil and strawberries and is working on cilantro, parsley, and tomatoes. The company is also building a new 535,000-square-foot greenhouse in Lockhart, Texas, 30 miles (48 km) south of Austin.

Alexander said hydroponics – saving water by growing plants without soil – is just one piece of the puzzle for future farming.

“To really eliminate waste, to really get to that next level of sustainability and impact, we have to rethink the entire grow process,” he said.

The funding round included investors from Crosslink Capital, R7 Partners, and Pathbreaker Ventures, among others. Iron Ox declined to comment on its valuation.

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from ScienceTechnology – ARY NEWS
Source: Tech Crunch

Microsoft Office 2021 will be available without subscription, launch date unveiled

Microsoft has announced that Office 2021 will be launching alongside Windows 11 with the company already set the new operating system’s launch date for October 5.

Office 2021 will be available in the following versions:

  • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2021
  • Microsoft Office Home and Business 2021
  • Microsoft Visio Standard 2021
  • Microsoft Visio Professional 2021
  • Microsoft Project Standard 2021
  • Microsoft Project Professional 2021

Office 2021 is practically identical to Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), a software suite that the company already distributes to business customers, according to a report.

Microsoft will continue to offer 32-bit versions as well and you do not need to purchase a Microsoft 365 subscription for the next version of Office as Microsoft’s MSRP remains as it was for the 2019 edition.


The company has not yet released much information about features the new version of Office will have. But, it has confirmed that Office 2021 will have a new standard font, XLOOKUP, Dynamic arrays and Instant Search, among other changes.

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from ScienceTechnology – ARY NEWS
Source: Tech Crunch

The best new features of Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7, the latest addition to Apple’s wearable tech family. The Series 7‘s new features have the potential to add more convenience to a lot of everyday tasks, from checking the time to responding to texts and tracking your sleep. 

Apple unveiled the $399 Apple Watch Series 7 during its product launch event on Sept. 14 alongside the iPhone 13 family, a refreshed iPad Mini, and a new entry-level iPad. The company hasn’t specifically said when the Series 7 will launch, beyond later this fall.

Here are the best exciting new features of the Apple Watch Series 7.

Apple Watch Series 7 will have a QWERTY keyboard for real typing 

The Apple Watch is getting a new, QWERTY keyboard that takes advantage of its larger screen, which is about 20% bigger than the Series 6’s, allowing you to type similarly to the way you would on your phone.

What’s new: A full-size keyboard means that you won’t be limited to sending a canned response to a text, scribbling a quick note or dictating a message, as is the case with the Apple Watch Series 6.

How you’ll use it: The Apple Watch Series 7’s QWERTY keyboard will let you tap each key to type, or use Apple’s QuickPath feature to swipe between letters without lifting your finger.

The bottom line: The Series 7’s QWERTY keyboard should make it easier to send longer and more complex messages that are uncomfortable to scribble or too private to dictate. It’s another example of how the Apple Watch has evolved to become better at working independently of your phone in the years since its launch.

Larger screen 

The Apple Watch Series 7 is getting its first major redesign since the Series 4 launched in 2018. The new watch will come in 41-millimeter and 45mm sizes for the first time, representing a shift away from the 40mm and 44mm sizes that were available on the Series 4 through Series 6.

The Apple Watch Series 7’s screen is about 20% larger than the Series 6’s and more than 50% bigger than the Series 3’s. The borders that frame the screen are also 40% smaller than those of the Series 6, allowing Apple to expand the screen size without making the device much larger. Apple says older watch bands will still be compatible with the Series 7.

A brighter screen in always-on mode

Apple is also updating the Apple Watch’s display in a different way by making the screen more visible in always-on mode. It’s another addition that should make it even faster to get quick bits of information from your watch.

What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7’s screen is up to 70% brighter in always-on mode when your wrist is down, according to Apple. However, Apple specifically says this applies to indoor usage, so it’s unclear whether you’ll see meaningful gains outdoors in direct sunlight.

How you’ll use it: The Series 7’s improved brightness means it should be even easier to see information like the time, your activity rings and your next meeting without having to wake the watch’s screen.

Fast charging as compared to Series 6 

The battery of the Apple Watch Series 7 is expected to last as long as the Series 6, but Apple says it’s slashing the amount of time it takes to charge your watch. The Apple Watch Series 7 can charge up to 33% faster than the Apple Watch Series 6. It should take 45 minutes to charge from zero to 80%, and 8 minutes of charging should enable 8 hours of sleep tracking.

We’ve been asking for more battery life out of the Apple Watch for years, but that’s especially relevant now that Apple has added native sleep tracking to its smartwatches. Rather than extending the watch’s battery life, Apple is making it easier to quickly charge the watch during short windows throughout the day, presumably so that you don’t have to charge it overnight.

The Apple Watch Series 7 has a brawnier build

Apple is largely focusing on exercise tracking for the Apple Watch. The Series 7 should be more suitable for outdoor activity since Apple claims it has a more durable build.

What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7 is rated for IP6X dust resistance (a first) and is coated in a crystal cover that Apple says is 50% thicker than that of the Apple Watch Series 6. That means you should feel at ease wearing it to the beach or during a hike.

How you’ll use it: The Series 7’s increased durability could pair nicely with the new cycling features in WatchOS 8. The new software brings an updated version of fall detection that Apple says can tell the difference between falling off a bicycle and a different type of accident. Apple also says WatchOS 8 should be able to automatically detect outdoor cycling workouts.

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from ScienceTechnology – ARY NEWS
Source: Tech Crunch

Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review: A Solid Introduction to Macro

The Nikon 50mm f/2.8 Macro Prime lens is part of a pair announced in June. While the lens is designated as a macro, the 50mm focal length makes it more of a walkabout lens with macro capabilities.

While Nikon’s legacy macro lenses would still work using the FTZ adapter on the Z-System, the new lenses note another step of Nikon’s promise to deliver a wider range of native functionality lenses on its mirrorless systems. Nikon designed this new lens to be a small, lightweight, and compact everyday lens that can be used with both full-frame or APS-C Nikon Z mirrorless systems.

While it is a macro lens, the $650 Nikon 50mm f/2.8 offers a focal length that makes it a lens that can work double duty, both as a standard lens as well as one for close-up shots.

50mm is a lot wider than the standard 100mm or longer typically seen in macro lenses and thus frees this lens from the niche of only macro work. The 50mm f/2.8 is therefore quite diverse in its functionality and is suitable for both portrait and street photography, for example. But on the other side of the coin, users will notice it does lack a few key features when compared to the 105mm sibling, most notably the lack of Vibration Reduction (VR) and no special ARNEO coating.

The question is, does that matter?

Build Quality and Design

The Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens is the smaller and more affordable lens of the duo of macro optics released this summer. While the 50mm “wide” focal length does give users more flexibility as a walk-about lens, it also means that users will have to get much closer to their subjects to get the true macro shots. The upside of the focal range is it will be much easier to get handheld shots without having to worry about camera shake and blurriness, at least in well-lit situations.

The 50mm lens is about half the size and weighs less than half than its 105mm sibling, which makes it truly compact and travel-friendly. Something keen eyes may notice out of the box is that the 50mm lacks the S-line designation the higher-end lenses from Nikon’s mirrorless lenses have. This lighter plastic body does make the lens feel “lesser” as well.

Despite the lens being rated as dust and weather resistant, because it is so small and has a mostly plastic exterior, it feels almost like a toy lens rather than something intended for capturing incredibly sharp and detailed professional images. This may perhaps mean that it makes for a better “everyday” lens since it will be less likely to stand out while traveling.

Like most new Z-Mount lenses, the focus ring can be programmed to control additional settings like ISO and exposure compensation when using AF mode.

The last feature worth noting here is unlike most modern macro lenses with internal focus mechanisms, the Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro uses a more traditional extending inner barrel system. The plus side to this design element is it allows the lens to be smaller when not using the feature, making it more compact for storage and travel. The downside is, of course, that it has a physically extending piece that can change its weight distribution.

Focus and Aperture

I found myself dealing with a shorter “working” distance than other macro lenses in order to get the true 1:1 macro shots, and when shooting at the 1:1 focus distance, the maximum aperture was f/5.6 instead of the f/2.8. While the aperture was a bit of a headscratcher, the big frustration point for me with this lens was the fact you had to get incredibly close to the subjects for the 1:1 shots. So much so that it was very hard to frame a photo without blocking the light and casting a shadow or getting too close to the small insects I was trying to capture that I would unintentionally scare it away.

The autofocus works pretty accurately, especially when shooting video. However, when shooting up close for the 1:1 shots, it is important to flip the switch on the focus limiter on the side of the lens otherwise there will be a very noticeable lag and focus breathing present as it makes autofocus adjustments.

After a lot of testing, I found the peak sharpness to be between the f/4 to f/5.6 range with my images. I was surprised to find that the lens was getting slightly softer starting as early as f/8.

Image Quality

The Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 may not have the extra nanocrystal or ARNEO coatings like its 105mm sibling, but that does not mean the images produced by it are bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Shooting at 1:1, the depth of field is very thin, which was something I personally had to get used to, but I have found it visually interesting and a lot of fun to play with. That thin plane of focus aside, once focus is dialed in, pretty much edge to edge is sharp.

What was nice about this lens is how it is also a very nice walkabout lens. I found that while shooting it as a “normal” lens that it was quite easy to get incredibly sharp images at f/2.8 with only minor vignetting in the far corners. In that sense, I can see a lot to like about using this lens as you would with any 50mm lens and being happy with the results.

Below are some sample images captured with the Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro:

An Introduction to Macro Photography

For photographers that are interested in macro images but aren’t quite ready to invest heavily into the niche lenses, this is a great first step into the field. The Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens is capable of being an everyday generalist lens for landscape, street, and portrait work, on top of capturing fantastic macro images which means it can adapt to a variety of situations should you find that macro isn’t your favorite subject matter.

For the macro purist, however, there are likely better options out there for you and while the 50mm f/2.8 is nice, it has limitations.

Are There Alternatives?

There are plenty of DSLR macro lenses available to choose from including the $419 Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 Lens which is arguably a better macro lens. That being said, there are only a handful of macro lenses specifically designed for the Nikon Z series currently available including the 105mm f/2.8 VR S Lens some manual Venus Optic (Laowa) Macro lenses, and the IRIX cine 150mm T3.0 Macro lens for $1,195 that jumps significantly in price.

Should You Buy It?

Yes, if macro photography is new and a path of interest for your work, then the Nikkor Z MC 50mm F/2.8 Macro is definitely worth the investment to get you started shooting macro images on the Nikon mirrorless system and you will be very happy with the results you can capture.

However, if you have been shooting macro images for a while and already have a variety of macro lenses available in your kit, I would recommend skipping the 50mm f/2.8 macro and jumping right to the 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro instead.

from Reviews – PetaPixel
Source: Tech Crunch

The next healthcare revolution will have AI at its center

The global pandemic has heightened our understanding and sense of importance of our own health and the fragility of healthcare systems around the world. We’ve all come to realize how archaic many of our health processes are, and that, if we really want to, we can move at lightning speed. This is already leading to a massive acceleration in both the investment and application of artificial intelligence in the health and medical ecosystems.

Modern medicine in the 20th century benefited from unprec­edented scientific breakthroughs, resulting in improvements in every as­pect of healthcare. As a result, human life expectancy increased from 31 years in 1900 to 72 years in 2017. Today, I believe we are on the cusp of another healthcare revolution — one driven by artificial intelligence (AI). Advances in AI will usher in the era of modern medicine in truth.

Over the coming decades, we can expect medical diagnosis to evolve from an AI tool that provides analysis of options to an AI assistant that recommends treatments.

Digitization enables powerful AI

The healthcare sector is seeing massive digitization of everything from patient records and radiology data to wearable computing and multiomics. This will redefine healthcare as a data-driven industry, and when that happens, it will leverage the power of AI — its ability to continuously improve with more data.

When there is enough data, AI can do a much more accurate job of diagnosis and treatment than human doctors by absorbing and checking billions of cases and outcomes. AI can take into account everyone’s data to personalize treatment accordingly, or keep up with a massive number of new drugs, treatments and studies. Doing all of this well is beyond human capabilities.

AI-powered diagnosis

I anticipate diagnostic AI will surpass all but the best doctors in the next 20 years. Studies have shown that AI trained on sizable data can outperform physicians in several areas of medical diagnosis regarding brain tumors, eye disease, breast cancer, skin cancer and lung cancer. Further trials are needed, but as these technologies are deployed and more data is gathered, the AI stands to outclass doctors.

We will eventually see diagnostic AI for general practitioners, one disease at a time, to gradually cover all diagnoses. Over time, AI may become capable of acting as your general practitioner or family doctor.

Source: Tech Crunch

GM to replace battery modules in recalled Chevy Bolt EVs starting next month

General Motors said Monday it will replace battery modules in recalled Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV vehicles as soon as next month now that supplier LG Chem has restarted production of cells at two Michigan factories.

Replacement modules, which are made up of lithium-ion battery cells, will begin shipping to dealers as soon as mid-October, the company said. Chevy Bolt EV owners will be able to bring their vehicles to the dealership, where the old modules will be swapped out for new ones.

GM halted production of Chevy Bolt EV and EUVs in August due to a battery pack shortage related to the widespread safety recall of the two electric vehicles. The production downtime has been extended twice since then. Battery packs in EVs are comprised of modules.

The recall, which includes all Chevy Bolt EV and EUV models made since 2017, was issued after the automaker discovered two manufacturing defects in the battery cell — a torn anode tab and folded separator — that could increase the risk of fire. The fire risk prompted GM to recommend Bolt owners set the vehicle to a 90% state of charge limitation, avoid depleting the battery below 70 miles of range and charge the vehicle more frequently. GM still recommends owners park their Bolt EV and EUVs outside immediately after charging and to not leave vehicles charging indoors overnight.

LG has new manufacturing processes in place and has worked with GM to improve its quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries moving forward. GM said the battery supplier will institute these new processes in other facilities that supply cells to the automaker.

Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, noted in a statement that resuming battery module production is a first step. However, GM’s Chevy Bolt EV problem is not entirely solved. The company must complete the replacement process for all recalled Bolts and assuage owners that the vehicles are safe to charge and park.

GM is counting on new advanced diagnostic software package to help. The company said it will launch the software package, which will need to be installed by dealers, in the next 60 days. The diagnostic software is designed to detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EVs and EUVs by monitoring the battery performance.

The software will alert customers of any anomalies, according to GM, which said customers will be able to return to a 100 percent state of charge once all diagnostic processes are complete.

GM, which aims to add 30 new EVs to its global lineup by 2030, also must secure the battery cells it needs to power these vehicles. LG is its primary and longtime partner in this endeavor. Parks said GM will “continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply.

Source: Tech Crunch

iOS 15 adds all the little features that were missing

The release of iOS 15 should be a major event for mobile operating systems. And yet, this year, there’s no breakthrough feature or overarching theme that makes this release stand out. Apple has focused on quality-of-life updates as well as new features for its own apps.

The result is a solid update that is not going to be controversial. Some people are going to take advantage of the new Focus feature. They’ll spend a lot of time customizing their phone to make it as personal as possible. Other people are just going to miss or dismiss the new features.

This year’s update is also a bit different because you don’t have to update to iOS 15. If you’re fine with iOS 14, Apple won’t force you to make the jump to iOS 15. You’ll still receive security patches. Some people will simply dismiss iOS 15 altogether.

It seems like a small change but it actually says a lot about the current state of iOS. Apple considers iOS as a mature platform. Just like you don’t have to update your Mac to the latest version of macOS if you don’t want to, you can now update at your own pace.

iOS should also be considered as a mature platform for app developers. iOS 15 adoption will be slower than usual as people won’t necessarily update to iOS 15 right away. Apps should potentially work on older iOS versions for longer.

Of course, users will ‘update’ to a new version of iOS when they buy a new iPhone and replace their old iPhone. But Apple has And people who pre-ordered the iPhone 13 will get iOS 15.

Image Credits: Apple

Focusing on you instead of your phone

One of the biggest change in iOS 15 is the ability to change your Focus from Control Center. It’s a surprisingly powerful feature with a lot of options and tweaks. I would say it doesn’t feel like an Apple feature.

But it’s definitely one of the most interesting features of iOS 15. Chances are you spend a lot of time with your phone and your device requires a lot of attention from you. With this new feature, it reverses the balance and puts you back in charge.

‘Do Not Disturb’ users are already quite familiar with the idea that you can silence notifications when you don’t want them. If you want to keep using ‘moon mode’ with iOS 15, you don’t have to change anything.

But you can now create additional Focuses. By default, Apple suggests a few Focuses — Work, Sleep, Driving, Fitness, Gaming, Mindfulness, Personal and Reading. Each Focus is customizable to your needs and you can create new Focuses from scratch.

When you turn on a specific Focus, it basically blocks notifications by default. You can then add people and apps so that notifications from those people and apps still go through. App developers can also mark a notification as time sensitive so that it always goes through. I hope they won’t abuse that feature.

There are three more settings that you can activate. First, you can optionally share that your notifications are currently silenced in Messages and compatible third-party apps. Second, you can hide home screen pages altogether. Third, you can hide notifications from the lock screen and hide badges from the home screen.

Focus gets particularly interesting when you realize that you can couple specific Focuses with automation features. For instance, you can automatically turn on ‘Sleep’ at night or you can automatically turn on ‘Work’ when you arrive at work.

Power users will also have a lot of fun setting up a Focus and pairing it with a Shortcut. For instance, you could use Shortcuts to open the Clock app when you turn on Sleep mode. You get it, this new feature has a lot of depth and beta users have just started scratching the surface.

Image Credits: Apple

Update all apps

With iOS 15, Apple has improved nearly all the default apps. Some additions are definitely nice improvements. Others have been a bit more controversial.

Let’s start with the controversial one, Safari’s design has been updated. But what you saw at WWDC in June doesn’t look at all like what’s shipping today. Essentially, Apple has listened to feedback and changed the user interface of its web browser during the summer.

By default, the address bar is now at the bottom of the screen, right above the row of buttons that let you open bookmarks, share the current page or go to the previous page. I think it works better. But if you really don’t want the address bar at the bottom, you can move it back to the top of the screen.

Other than that, Safari changes are all good improvements. For instance, the browser now supports traditional web extensions. It’s going to be interesting to see if popular Google Chrome extensions eventually come to Safari. Another nice new feature is the ability to create tab groups and find your tab groups from your other devices.

FaceTime has become a versatile video-conferencing service. You can now create links, share them with friends and add them to calendar invites. For the first time, people who don’t own an Apple device will be able to join FaceTime calls from a web browser. There’s also a new Zoom view… I mean, grid view.

Unfortunately, the big new FaceTime feature is not ready for prime time just yet. SharePlay, the feature that lets you sync audio and video playback with your friends, is going to be released later this Fall.

The Weather app has also been redesigned. It is now packed with a lot more information, such as precipitation maps, next-hour precipitation notifications and a new UV index. It has become a solid alternative to third-party weather apps. I still use Snowflake but differences are smaller and smaller.

Messages is now better integrated with other Apple apps. Whenever someone sends you an article, a photo album, a podcast or a song, you’ll see those recommendations in Apple’s other apps — Apple News, Photos, Apple Podcasts, Apple Music, etc. Once again, this is a nice addition in my testings but it’s not going to change the way you use your phone.

Apple Maps is getting better and better, especially if you live in San Francisco. If you haven’t used it in a few years, I encourage you to try it again. It’s now a solid alternative to Google Maps.

Some cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London, are receiving new detailed maps with 3D buildings, bus lanes, sidewalks and more. It feels like navigating a video game given how detailed it is. The app has also been redesigned with new place cards, a new driving user interface and settings in the app.

Photos is also receiving a bunch of improvements. Every year, the company is refining Memories. I’m not sure a ton of people are using this feature, but it’s better than before. There are now more information if you swipe on a photo as well, such as the shutter speed and lens that were used.

But the biggest change to your photo library is that you can now search for text in your photo. iOS is scanning your photos to find text and save it for Spotlight searches.

Similarly, you can now point your camera at text and select text from there. It is incredibly convenient if you’re looking for the restaurant address on the menu and want to share it with a friend or if you’re traveling and you want to translate some text.

Image Credits: Apple

Tips and tricks

There are a ton of small changes that make iOS 15 better than iOS 14. Let me list some of them:

  • If you have a compatible home key, hotel key, office key or ID card, you can now add all of those to the Wallet app.
  • You can share some health data with someone else. It can be useful if you’re living far away from your loved ones or if you want to update your healthcare team.
  • If you pay for iCloud, you’re now an iCloud+ users. In addition to storage, you get additional features. iCloud Private Relay, which is available as a beta feature, lets you browse the web with increased privacy. Hide My Email lets you create randomly generated email addresses to create new accounts around the web.
  • Similarly, if your family is using iCloud for their email addresses, you can now set up a personal domain name and set it up in iCloud.
  • iOS uses on-device speech recognition, which means that you can dictate text much faster.
  • But that’s not all, iOS processes some Siri requests on your device directly, which means that you can start a timer, set an alarm or change the music instantly. It has changed the way I use Siri.
  • You can add an account recovery contact in case you get locked out of your iCloud account. This is important to convince more people to use two-factor authentication.
  • Talking about two-factor authentication, Apple’s built-in password manager called ‘Passwords’ can now save 2FA details and auto-fill 2FA fields. It works pretty much like 2FA in 1Password.
  • You can set up a legacy person for your Apple ID. I encourage you to look at that feature carefully. I’ve talked with several persons who couldn’t get their loved one’s photos after they passed away because Apple couldn’t just hand out the photos.
  • Apple has added tags to Reminders and Notes. You can also @-mention people in Notes.

As you can see, the list of changes in iOS 15 is quite long. But it’s up to you to decide whether you want to update to iOS 15. When Apple added cut, copy and paste with iPhone OS 3, it was an obvious decision. I personally like the new features and it was worth updating. And I hope this review can help you decide whether to update or not.

Source: Tech Crunch