March 4, 2021

Space Technology

A first-grade teacher tries to teach classes from her living room in San Francisco in March. During the pandemic, access to quality broadband internet has been essential for keeping kids learning. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Americans are struggling to pay for internet during the pandemic. The stimulus bill delivers much-needed help.

Tucked inside the $900 billion Covid-19 stimulus bill are some pretty big broadband provisions aimed at getting more Americans the internet, at a time when connection is so pivotal in so many parts of everyday life.

The pandemic relief bill, passed by both houses of Congress at the start of the week, sets aside $7 billion in funding for broadband connectivity and infrastructure. That amount includes $3.2 billion for a $50-a-month emergency broadband benefit for low-income households and those that have suffered a significant loss of income in 2020, and a $75-a-month rebate for those living on tribal … Read the rest

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Santa is on his way… (Credits: Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

Santa Claus is on his way and bringing with him Christmas presents and gifts galore.

Children and adults around the world will soon be setting out Christmas stockings and sacks in the hope that they will be filled with presents come tomorrow morning.

While children wait excitedly at home for Santa to arrive, Father Christmas and his reindeer have an estimated 510,000,000 km to travel in order to visit every home on his list – a number which would mean he would have to drop in on 390,000 homes per minute.

With a sleigh travelling at that speed, it would be impossible to spot it moving across the sky, but luckily there are other ways to keep an eye on Santa’s progress this Christmas.

How to track Santa Claus this Christmas

Every year, as Santa sets off on … Read the rest

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If the need for speed is in your heart and you want to take it on the road in more ways than one, you need some of the best Switch racing games. From realistic titles that require skill to master to family favorites like Mario Kart, Nintendo Switch has a robust offering of great racing games that shouldn’t be missed. In a move that should surprise nobody, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers the best possible experience, but it isn’t the only awesome racing game you’ll want to get your hands on.

Best Overall: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Nintendo Switch

Mario Kart is easily one of the most popular games that Nintendo has ever put out. There’s no way you could talk about the best Switch racing games without bringing Mario Kart into the mix. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes everything that has always been fantastic about this franchise

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  • Comcast is adding a 1.2TB data cap for home users beginning on January 1. The company notes that 95% of subscribers will not be impacted by the change.
  • Users who go over the cap will be charged $10 for every 50GB of data consumed over the initial limit. Additional monthly charges will never exceed $100.
  • Comcast back in March temporarily suspended its data cap threshold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you rely on Comcast for your internet service, you might have to change your usage habits next year. Beginning on January 1, Comcast is implementing a data cap of 1.2TB for home users. Users who exceed that threshold will incur additional monthly fees.

While it’s possible, if not likely, that Comcast would have implemented the data cap outside of the coronavirus pandemic, we can only imagine that the pandemic helped make Comcast’s decision that much easier. With millions of … Read the rest

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The consensus is that 2020 has been “the worst.” But there is reason to look back at this year and find the unexpected silver linings of quarantine, particularly when it comes to how we connect with other people.

None of these benefits compare with the death and suffering and misery of a terrible year, but here’s a list of the small wins that we can hold onto and nurture as we finally shake the dust of 2020 from our feet. 

We could roll over and log into work. Zoom fatigue is real, but online work shouldn’t be treated as an entirely temporary substitute for the office. Many disability advocates have been asking employers for years to offer remote work as an option for jobs that can be done that way. The pandemic was proof that some people really do benefit from working from home, and can be just as productive … Read the rest

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Zac Freeland/Vox

Our pick for December 2020 and January 2021 are Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir.

The Vox Book Club is linking to Bookshop.org to support local and independent booksellers.

Here’s how the Vox Book Club works: Every month, we pick a book. Throughout the month, we publish discussion posts containing thoughts and questions from Vox book critic Constance Grady, but we also have comments turned on and moderated so you can share your thoughts, too. Talk among yourselves! Post your opinions and questions! Or use our discussion posts as a jumping-off point for (socially distanced) discussions with your friends and family. And at the end of the month, we gather on Zoom for a virtual live discussion.

Our picks for December 2020 and January 2021 are Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth, the first two volumes of the Locked Tomb trilogy. … Read the rest

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There are several different ways to put Zoom on your telly (Getty Images)

Zoom has announced it will be lifting the 40-minute call limit for free account holders on Christmas Day.

Considering millions of people will be missing their families, meeting up over Zoom is the next best thing.

However, not everyone will be thrilled with the idea of huddling round a crowded 13-inch laptop screen for Christmas.

Sadly, Zoom doesn’t have a smart TV app that you can just install. But there are a few different ways of getting Zoom onto your TV, which should make it easier to see and hear your friends and family over Christmas.

Of course, it depends on things like which phone system (iOS or Android) you use and whether or not your TV is a ‘smart TV’ or necessarily has the right ports.

Likewise, you can also opt for either a wired or … Read the rest

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How do I take a screenshot on my Nintendo Switch? Your left Joy-Con has the answer!

You’re roaming through the beautiful landscape of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which is one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy) and you come across a breathtaking scene. So what are you going to do? Take a screenshot on your Nintendo Switch, of course! Whether you take screen captures of your progress, cool game visuals, or would like to save an image for later—it’s a great way to share some of your favorite in-game memories. Here’s a guide on taking all the screenshots you want and managing them in your photo album on the Nintendo Switch menu. Let’s get started!

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  • The PS5 is still sold out in many countries, as Sony can’t manufacture enough game consoles to meet demand. But many people have already purchased a PlayStation 5 in time for Christmas. And some of them have identified an unexpected hardware problem that Sony needs to fix.
  • The issue affects one of the PS5’s signature features, the new DualSense controller that offers a new haptic feedback system and adaptive triggers.
  • Some players have found that the adaptive triggers can break during gameplay. The feature isn’t necessarily widespread, but Sony is apparently aware that the triggers can become loose and offers replacements.

The PlayStation 5 is one of the hottest items of the holiday season, which is hardly surprising. It’s what happens with a next-gen gaming console, especially in a year that ruined everything about normal life. At one point, we weren’t even sure that Sony would be able to manufacture … Read the rest

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This spring, while the US government was spinning its wheels on an official covid-19 response, countries around the world were rolling out national contact tracing apps. Beginning with Singapore in mid-March, more than 40 countries have launched digital exposure notification systems, to varying degrees of success.

Our Covid Tracing Tracker logs each country’s app and the technologies used, noting privacy considerations and giving each one a transparency rating. We regularly update the tracker to document changes—for example, after finding that several countries rolled back privacy measures. Among the other changes: countries whose apps have been suspended, relaunched, or replaced.

Iran’s AC19 app, which claimed to detect covid-19 infections but was actually spying on users, was banned from the Google Play store and no longer appears to be in use. Meanwhile, Japan’s app has been suspended at least twice because of glitches. The country plans to allow entry to overseas … Read the rest

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