Technology

The Overwatch League’s Grand Finals championship will take place online

For the first time in its three-year history, there won’t be an arena full of screaming fans to go along with the Overwatch League’s Grand Finals. As the league has shifted online for 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, it has had to reimagine what its championship tournament will look like. And today Blizzard provided some details on the upcoming playoff format. Essentially, at the conclusion of the regular season, all of the 20 teams will face off in a playoff-style tournament kicking off on September 3rd, with seeding based on how they performed during the year. The format will be similar to the tournament structure the league adopted midway through 2020, with two competitions: one for teams based in Asia and another for North America. The top two teams from each of those tournaments will...

Amazon extends work-from-home policy for corporate employees to 2021

Amazon is extending its corporate work-from-home policy through January of next year. The company is also planning to continue restricting nonessential business travel through the end of the year. Amazon’s decision aligns with those of Facebook and Google, both of which have announced work-from-home policies that extend through 2020. Microsoft has plans to reopen its offices in phases starting this October, while Apple is currently deliberating keeping its offices closed through the end of the year, Bloomberg reported earlier this week. “We continue to prioritize the health of our employees and follow local government guidance. Employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until January 8th,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “We have in...

Twitter shut off the ability for many people to tweet after massive hack

Twitter completely disabled the ability for many accounts to send new tweets following a massive hack on the social media website on Wednesday afternoon, which has seen numerous popular accounts — including Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, and others — tweet out a bitcoin scam. As of 8:32PM ET, the ban appeared to have been lifted, and Twitter announced at 8:41PM ET that “most accounts should be able to tweet again.” Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. — Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020 While Twitter didn’t confirm how the block worked, it appeared to only apply to accounts that have been verified by Twitter. Un...

The massive Twitter hack could be a global security crisis

You can’t say you didn’t see it coming. Whatever Twitter eventually comes to say about the events of July 15th, 2020, when it suffered the most catastrophic security breach in company history, it must be said that the events were set in motion years ago. Beginning in the spring of 2018, scammers began to impersonate noted cryptocurrency enthusiast Elon Musk. They would use his profile photo, select a user name similar to his, and tweet out an offer that was effective despite being too good to be true: send him a little cryptocurrency, and he’ll send you a lot back. Sometimes the scammer would reply to a connected, verified account — Musk-owned Space X, for example — giving it additional legitimacy. Scammers would also amplify the fake tweet via bot networks, for the same purpose. The event...

Nigerian government approves e-SIM trial for MTN

MTN Nigeria Plc (MTN) has announced the trial of e-SIM services on its network based on approvals received from the Federal Government. The trial which kicked-off on Wednesday will run for one year and is open on a first come first served basis to a limited number of subscribers who own compatible devices, a statement from MTN said. Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mazen Mroue, said the company was eager to get through the trial process so that the technology can be deployed for the benefit of every Nigerian. “We are in a fast-paced digital age with new technological advancements driving the constantly changing landscape. Against this backdrop, customers depend on us to provide high quality, reliable and easy-to-use connectivity solutions. “With the introduction of the e-SIM, we will ...

Gmail is integrating Google Chat, Rooms, and Meet to take on Microsoft and Slack

True to Google’s penchant for just announcing things right after they’ve leaked, the company has unveiled a grand redesign of Gmail for G Suite business users ahead of next week’s Google Cloud conference. The app isn’t so much “Gmail” anymore as it is a unified app for all of Google’s communication platforms: Gmail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet. It will be available as an “early access preview” to G Suite customers this week and roll out to all G Suite customers later this year. As for the consumer version of Gmail, it seems as though little will change in the short term. Google says that it is “actively thinking through how and when to bring this experience to the consumers who might want it.” Javier Soltero, who rolled in to Google last November with the mission of cleaning all of this up, char...

Why Peacock and HBO Max aren’t on the biggest streaming platforms

If a streaming service launches, but it’s not available on Roku or Fire TV, does it really launch at all? Technically, yes — but not for a large percentage of the United States streaming market that uses Roku and Amazon Fire TV products to stream their entertainment. Backroom negotiations between media conglomerates and tech giants have kept some of the biggest streaming services from landing on these platforms. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max is still missing both Roku and Fire TV apps, and this week, NBCUniversal’s Peacock launched without them as well. This means tens of millions of people are likely left confused about why they can’t stream these services on their core devices in their living room. It’s also a massive number of people that companies like NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia can’t reach....

Elon Musk and Bill Gates hacked to tweet bitcoin scam

Elon Musk’s Twitter account has seemingly been compromised by a hacker intent on using it to run a bitcoin scam. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates also had his account seemingly accessed by the same scammer, who posted a similar message with an identical bitcoin wallet address. Both accounts are continuing to post new tweets promoting the scam almost as fast as they are deleted. The Tesla CEO’s account issued a mysterious tweet at 4:17PM ET this afternoon reading, “I‘m feeling generous because of Covid-19. I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!” The tweet also contained a bitcoin address, presumably one associated with the hacker’s crypto wallet. The tweet was then deleted and replaced by another one more plainly laying out t...

President Trump just made it harder to stop new pipelines

President Trump today gutted the National Environmental Policy Act, a move that many environmental advocates worry will make it harder for people to have a say in how major infrastructure projects would affect them. The new rules speed up permitting for large infrastructure projects like pipelines and highways by truncating the environmental review process. Environmental reviews are designed to figure out if a project will significantly change the environment around the project in some way. The process can take years and involves scientific studies, intense analysis, and time for the public to comment on the proposals. The new rules, first proposed in January, limit the timeline for environmental reviews to two years — even though the process frequently takes twice as long. The changes wou...

Zoom announces a $599 touchscreen device for remote workers

Zoom, whose user base exploded with the onset of COVID-19, is expanding into hardware. The company has announced a new touchscreen device designed to help with remote work. The appliance, called Zoom For Home — DTEN ME, will cost $599 and will ship in August. The DTEN ME is a 27-inch touchscreen device with three smart webcams and eight noise-reducing microphones built in, and it comes preloaded with the Zoom software. Zoom isn’t actually building the hardware; the product comes from DTEN, a San Jose-based company that makes videoconferencing appliances. Image: Zoom The DTEN appears to have a pretty simple interface that provides quick access to Zoom’s various features, including meetings, whiteboards, and contacts. It also syncs with your calendar and displays your upcoming meetings in a ...

How to back up your Gmail

You may be switching jobs, or maybe you’ve decided to stop using a specific email account, or maybe you just want a copy of all your email just in case. Whatever your reasons, it’s not a bad idea to back up and export your Gmail and other Google accounts using Google’s Takeout feature. In fact, you can set your accounts to back up regularly, which is a good practice in general. One note: if you’re backing up a company account, you may find that your company has disabled Takeout. There are third-party apps that say they can back up your Gmail, but you should check your company’s policies before you try them out. How to back up your Gmail: Go to myaccount.google.com Under Privacy & personalization, click on “Manage your data & personalization.” Scroll down to “Download, delete, or ma...

Facebook’s latest diversity report shows it’s inching toward its goals

Facebook has released its latest annual diversity report, which suggests the company is slowly increasing representation across its workforce. According to Facebook, the representation of women and Black and Hispanic people among its employees increased across all of its tracked categories. But the social network has yet to hit its long-term goals, such as 50 percent of its workforce being from an underrepresented background by 2024. That figure now stands at 45.3 percent, up from 43 percent last year. Facebook’s diversity report, which is now in its seventh year, is especially important in 2020. Last month, the company’s employees staged a virtual walkout over its decision not to take action against posts from President Donald Trump. One post appeared to threaten violence against people e...