Turn Your Amazon Echo Dot Into Baby Yoda

· Jeff Butts · Cool Stuff Found

If you’ve ever wanted to turn your Amazon Echo Dot into Baby Yoda (haven’t we all?), Otterbox has your back. Tuesday, Otterbox launched a Baby Yoda stand for the 3rd-generation Echo Dot on Amazon. It features green pointy ears, the outline of Baby Yoda’s head, and a brown base that looks like The Mandalorian character’s robe. Amazon describes it as the “cutest bounty in the galaxy, an instant conversation starter.” If you pre-order now, you can score the stand for $24.95. You’ll get your Baby Yoda stand on August 20 if you’re a Prime member..

Turn Your Amazon Echo Dot Into Baby Yoda

T-Mobile Launches Standalone 5G Network

· Charlotte Henry · Link

T-Mobile 5G lights

In an announcement on Tuesday, T-Mobile said it had launched the world’s first standalone 5G network. It even celebrated the landmark with drone-powered light display.

To celebrate the milestone and the arrival of 5G for the first time in hundreds of small towns across America, T-Mobile used drones to light up the sky over Lisbon, ND, letting people in the small town know “5G is here”. The Un-carrier plans similar celebrations in the future… “Since Sprint became part of T-Mobile, we’ve been rapidly combining networks for a supercharged Un-carrier while expanding our nationwide 5G footprint, and today we take a massive step into the future with standalone 5G architecture,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “This is where it gets interesting, opening the door for massive innovation in this country — and while the other guys continue to play catch up, we’ll keep growing the world’s most advanced 5G network.”

StarFinder Now Available Via Alexa

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Amazon’s sci-fi game StarFinder is now available over Alexa devices, reported CNet. All you have to do is set up the skill and say “Alexa, play Starfinder.”

Starfinder is an exciting example of more experimental game and story formats made possible by voice assistants like Alexa. We’ve seen examples like The Wayne Investigation — a Batman-themed choose-your-own-adventure Alexa skill from 2016 — but Starfinder brings higher production values and a bigger budget to the structure, although Amazon won’t share the exact numbers. Actors like Laura Bailey (The Last of Us, Part II) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) voice characters in a cast of 13, selected and recorded by Audible Studios. The acting, sound and music are excellent across the board. Unlike a simple choose-your-own-adventure, Starfinder allows you to select from five characters to play, gives you an inventory of items and checks your stats for performing different actions (say, schmoozing an alien or disarming a bomb).

New iMac Updates – TMO Daily Observations 2020-08-04

· Kelly Guimont · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

John Martellaro joins host Kelly Guimont to discuss the updates to the iMac and iMac Pro, and whether John might be in the market for one.

NSA Publishes Guide to Limit Location Data Exposure

· Andrew Orr · Link

The NSA recently published a guide on how to limit location data exposure on your devices. Direct link to the PDF here.

The guidelines are geared more for government officials, but the advice itself can be useful for those hoping to stop sending so much location data to tech companies, ad firms, or apps that may then expose it later.

It’s a useful guide, albeit strict.

Is This The Last Intel-Based iMac?

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Today, Apple unveiled an updated 27-inch iMac. Over on Six Colors, Jason Snell asks the question many of us are undoubtedly pondering – is this the last Intel-based iMac. (I agree with Jason that the answer is probably yes.)

As for the future, is this the last Intel Mac we’ll see? There’s no way to tell, though reading between the lines, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were some more Intel-based Mac releases as Apple progresses through its two-year-long processor transition. But I’d wager good money that the next time we see an iMac update, there won’t be an Intel processor at its heart. And perhaps it will look appreciably different, too.

Twitter Could be Fined up to $250 Million Over Privacy Violations

· Andrew Orr · Link

Twitter logo

Since October 2019 the FTC has been investigating Twitter over its use of personal data for targeted ads. Twitter has set aside US$150 million for the minimum fine amount but it could possibly reach up to US$250 million.

If it’s preparing for an unfavorable outcome, that’s probably because it’s not the first tech company that’s had to face the same allegations from the FTC. Facebook previously had to pay $5 billion for several privacy missteps, including the use of people’s phone numbers, provided for security purposes, for its ad business.

H.S. Principal Dr. Amy Fast - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Amy Fast on Background Mode

Amy Fast is a high school principal in the McMinnville School District in Oregon. She holds a Ed.D. degree. Previously, she’s been an elementary teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal. She is also an education commentator and author of the book, It’s the Mission, Not the Mandates.

After a brief overview of Amy’s career and a discussion of her book, we dug into the issues facing educators amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We covered planning for remote vs. in-person classes, the technology of remote classes, teacher concerns about in-person class safety, funding for cleaning, effectiveness of remote teaching, mental health issues, and long-term changes to education in the post-pandemic era. Parents with schoolchildren and educators will find this interview enormously helpful.

Troubleshooting Space X iPad Difficulties

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Space X troubleshoot an iPad

We’ve all needed to do some iPad troubleshooting from time to time. However, we don’t normally need to do it whilst also helping a spacecraft land. However, that’s what happened on the latest SpaceX trip, reported Space Explored.

The communication started with Astronaut Behnken explaining that he had an issue with something before communication dropped out momentarily. A few seconds later, the astronaut read out an error message presumably from the custom SpaceX application created for the iPad. “A timeline application on my tablet, uh, gives me a error message that says Safari cannot open the page, and then it’s got a HTML address because your iPad is not connected to the internet,” Behnken reported. “Can you confirm that Wi-Fi is off and AirPlane Mode is on,” asked Menon. Then the NASA astronaut improvised with a go-to troubleshooting step. “Yes, uh, Wi-Fi is off and AirPlane Mode is on. If you have the display cameras up, I’ll try to show it to you,” Behnken suggested. “We will take that,” Menon replied. “We’re coming up on a ground station pass and we have the display camera up.”

Warren Buffett's AAPL Stake Worth Over $100 Billion

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Warren Buffett

Recent market moves have made Warren Buffett’s AAPL holding worth over $100 billion after tripling in value. Business Insider broke it down.

250 million Apple shares between 2016 and 2018, according to his 2019 shareholder letter. Buffett has cashed out some of that holding since then, and owned 245 million shares at last count. The position is currently worth more than $104 billion. Apple’s third-quarter earnings sent its stock price up 10% to an all-time high of $425 on Friday, lifting its market capitalization to north of $1.8 trillion, and making it the most valuable company on the planet. Apple stock has climbed about 42% this year, boosting the value of Buffett’s stake by $30 billion in the past seven months alone.