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Amazon Sidewalk is coming to your neighborhood. Here's what you should know – CNET

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James Martin/CNET

Amazon has had its sights set on the smart home ever since Alexa came along — but now the online mega-retailer is thinking bigger, and envisioning entire smart neighborhoods. First announced in 2019, the effort is called Amazon Sidewalk, and it uses a small fraction of your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth to pass wireless low-energy Bluetooth and 900MHz radio signals between compatible devices across far greater distances than Wi-Fi is capable of on its own — in some cases, as far as half a mile, Amazon says.

You’ll share that bandwidth with your neighbors, creating a sort of network of networks that any Sidewalk-compatible device can take advantage of. Along with making sure things like outdoor smart lights and smart garage door openers stay connected when your Wi-Fi can’t quite reach them, that’ll help things like Tile trackers stay in touch if you drop your wallet while you’re out on a walk, or if your dog hops the fence.

Amazon Sidewalk is coming this year as a free feature for Alexa and Ring users.


Amazon

Maybe most noteworthy of all is that, for a lot of us, Amazon Sidewalk won’t require any new hardware. Instead, it’ll arrive as a free software update to the Echo speakers and Ring cameras people already have in their homes. That means that the infrastructure is already in place for Sidewalk to be a robust, large-scale network right at launch — and it also means that you’ll soon see it pop up as a new feature in your Alexa app (and yes, you’ll be able to turn it off).

Amazon didn’t have a whole lot to say about Sidewalk at its September products showcase, but it’s likely that we’ll hear a lot more about it in the weeks ahead, as Amazon draws closer to a launch. For now, here’s everything we know about it.

How exactly does Sidewalk work?

Amazon is designating many of its existing Echo and Ring gadgets (and presumably the majority of its new devices from here on out) as Sidewalk bridges. That means that they’re equipped to siphon off a tiny amount of your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth and then use it to relay signals to Sidewalk-compatible devices using BLE and 900MHz LoRa signals. Those kinds of low-energy signals can’t carry much data at all, but they can travel great distances.

Amazon claims that the 900MHz band, which is the same band used for amateur UHF radio broadcasts, allows for range of up to half a mile. So, if you have an Echo speaker or a Ring camera in your home that works as a Sidewalk bridge, you’ll be able to send wireless signals to Sidewalk-compatible devices across a huge area. And, if you had a Sidewalk-enabled device like a Tile tracker paired with your Sidewalk bridge, you’d be able to connect with it so long as it was within half a mile of anyone else’s Sidewalk bridge.

With Amazon Sidewalk, data travels from the device to the application server and back by way of the Sidewalk bridge (or gateway) and Amazon’s Sidewalk Network Server.


Amazon

Are there any security or privacy concerns?

There’s definitely a lot to think about. By design, smart home tech requires the user to share device and user data with a private company’s servers. By extending the reach of a user’s smart home, Sidewalk expands its scope and introduces new possible uses. That means new features and functionality, yes — but it also means that you’ll be sharing even more with Amazon.

Jeff Pollard, an analyst at Forrester, took the example of a dog with a Tile-type tracking device clipped to its collar when he described his concerns to CNET last year.

“It’s great to get an alert your dog left the yard, but those devices could also send data to Amazon like the frequency, duration, destination and path of your dog walks,” Pollard said. “That seems innocuous enough, but what could that data mean for you when combined with other data? It’s the unintended — and unexpected — consequences of technology and the data it collects that often come back to bite us (pardon the pun).”

In this example, a Ring motion alert passes through three levels of encryption on its way to the Ring server. During the trip, Amazon can’t see the inside of that packet — just the data needed to authenticate the device and route the transmission to the right place.


Amazon

Now, as Sidewalk prepares to roll out across Amazon’s entire user base, the company is looking to get out ahead of concerns like those. This week, Amazon released a detailed white paper outlining the steps it’s taking to ensure that Sidewalk transmissions stay private and secure.

“As a crowdsourced, community benefit, Amazon Sidewalk is only as powerful as the trust our customers place in us to safeguard customer data,” Amazon writes.

To that end, Amazon compares Sidewalk’s security practices to the postal service. In this analogy, Amazon’s Sidewalk Network Server is the post office, responsible for processing all of the data your devices send back and forth to their application server and making sure everything gets to the right place. But the post office doesn’t get to read your mail — it only gets to read the outside of the envelope. And when it comes to your device data, Amazon says, it uses metadata limitations and three layers of encryption to create the digital version of the envelope.

“Information customers would deem sensitive, like the contents of a packet sent over the Sidewalk network, is not seen by Sidewalk,” Amazon writes. “Only the intended destinations [the endpoint and application server] possess the keys required to access this information. Sidewalk’s design also ensures that owners of Sidewalk gateways do not have access to the contents of the packet from endpoints [they do not own] that use their bandwidth. Similarly, endpoint owners do not have access to gateway information.”

In other words, Amazon’s server will authenticate your data and route it to the right place, but the company says it won’t read or collect it. Amazon also says that it deletes the information used to route each packet of data every 24 hours, and adds that it uses automatically rolling device IDs to ensure that data travelling over the Sidewalk network can’t be tied to specific customers.

Those are good standards that should help Sidewalk steer clear of creating new privacy headaches for consumers — but as Pollard points out, it’ll be important to keep an eye out for any unexpected data consequences of such an expansive and ambitious smart home play.

How much of my home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth does Sidewalk use?

Not much at all. The maximum bandwidth of each Sidewalk bridge transmission to Amazon’s Sidewalk server is just 80Kbps. Each month, Amazon caps the total data allowance at 500MB, which the company notes is roughly equivalent to the amount of data you’d move to stream 10 minutes of HD video.

And keep in mind that you aren’t going to use Sidewalk to stream video or anything else that needs a lot of bandwidth. The signals Sidewalk devices pass back and forth are things like authentication requests and quick commands to turn the lights on, things that don’t require very much data at all.

cnet-black-friday-best-buy-amazon-echo-dot-3rd-gencnet-black-friday-best-buy-amazon-echo-dot-3rd-gen

Ring cameras and a wide range of existing Echo devices — including every version of the ultrapopular Echo Dot — will now double as Sidewalk bridges.


Ry Crist/CNET

Which devices will work as Sidewalk bridges?

A lot of them, as a matter of fact. Here’s the list of the ones that will work once Sidewalk launches later this year:

It’s noteworthy that the list includes so many Echo devices, including some that date back nearly five years, including the very first Echo Dot. That suggests that Sidewalk is something that Amazon’s been planning for quite some time, and it also means that there are already millions and millions of Sidewalk bridges installed and ready to go in people’s homes. That might even be understating it. At the start of last year, Amazon claimed it had sold more than 100 million Alexa devices.

Also noteworthy: There aren’t any Eero devices on the list. Amazon bought the mesh router maker in early 2019 and released a new version of its mesh system later that year. This year, Amazon introduced two new versions of the Eero system, each of which support the new, faster Wi-Fi 6 standard — but none of them will double as Sidewalk bridges. 

Does Amazon Sidewalk cost extra?

Nope. It’s a free feature for Amazon device users, with no installation or subscription fees.

ring-pathlight-solar-nightring-pathlight-solar-night

Expect to see things that typically push your Wi-Fi range to the limit, like outdoor smart lights, to join Sidewalk’s network in the coming year.


Ry Crist/CNET

What else will work with Sidewalk?

We’ll likely know a lot more about that in the weeks ahead, but judging from Amazon’s imagery, it’s safe to assume that the list will include Ring smart lights and accessories. Tile is also working on a new, Sidewalk-enabled tracker for the platform, and it’s likely that other manufacturers will follow suit with new devices of their own. Things like outdoor lights, connected car tech and smart garage openers that might typically sit on the fringes of your home’s Wi-Fi range seem like especially strong bets, but we’ll update this space as we learn more.


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Asmongold calls out Blizzard after brief WoW ban: “You obviously f**ked up” – Dexerto

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Asmongold was recently banned from World of Warcraft for a brief period but was quickly allowed back in the game after Blizzard overturned the initial suspension.

In a recent YouTube video, Asmongold described his banning from World of Warcraft as a “glorious day.” During this video, the popular content creator began by recounting the events leading up to the moment he found out he had been banned from playing Blizzard’s hit MMO.

“I go to log on to World of Warcraft and it tells me this: Blizzard account has been suspended.” Jokingly, Asmon then added, “they shut me down, rightfully so.” He then went on to address Blizzard directly and offer up his thanks for what he clearly believed was an error on their behalf.

“I wanna say thank you, Blizzard, this is gonna be great clickbait on YouTube. You obviously f***ed up and didn’t mean to suspend me but that doesn’t mean my editors aren’t gonna farm this out for viewers on YouTube. Thank you, Blizzard.”

He then went on to read out an email from the devs, explaining why he was banned from World of Warcraft for allegedly engaging with real money transactions (RMT). However, Asmon was quick to shut down the idea that he had done any RMT trading in the video, which appeared to be the reasoning for his banning.

Asmon then called out Blizzard for their recent string of banning players for supposedly unsubstantiated reasons or banning players and then quickly overturning the decision. He did this by reading out tweets from other content creators as well as community members who have found themselves in similar situations when playing World of Warcraft.

Following his video, the World of Warcraft community on Reddit have shown their support for the content creator as well as also voicing their disappointment at Blizzard for banning Asmongold and others and then quickly backflipping after realising it was a mistake.

For all the latest on Asmongold, check out Dexerto’s full coverage here.

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Samsung unveils prices for Galaxy Z Flip4 and Z Fold4 in India, details discounts and promos – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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We have waited nearly a week for Samsung to unveil the prices for the new Galaxy Z foldables for the Indian market and here they are. Fans can now pre-book a Z Flip4 or Z Fold4 and score some gifts and discounts. This is a special Samsung Live promo event that starts today and ends tomorrow a midnight.


Pre-booking options for Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

Pre-booking options for Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 and Z Flip4

First, the prices. The table below has the breakdown by storage capacity. A couple of things to note about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 – the customizable Bespoke Edition is available from Samsung Live and Samsung Exclusive Stores (and only in 256GB trim), the 512GB version is not available in the country. As for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, the top 1TB model is available, but only through Samsung Live and Samsung Exclusive Stores.

Galaxy Z Fold4 256GB 512GB 1TB*
₹155,000 ₹165,000 ₹185,000
₹8,000 cashback or Upgrade Bonus
* 1TB variant exclusive to Samsung Live and Samsung Exclusive Stores
Galaxy Z Flip4 128GB 256GB 256GB Bespoke*
₹90,000 ₹95,000 ₹98,000
₹7,000 cashback or Upgrade Bonus
* Bespoke Edition exclusive to Samsung Live and Samsung Exclusive Stores

Note that these are the base prices, the two-day promo event offers some discounts. You can get ₹8,000 cashback with the pre-booking of a Z Fold4 or ₹7,000 with a Z Flip4. You will need an HDFC credit or debit card for that. Alternatively, if you are planning to trade in an old phone for credit, you will get an additional ₹8,000 or ₹7,000 towards purchasing the new foldable.

There’s more – you get a free Wireless Charger Duo (normally valued at ₹5,200). The Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition also comes with a free Slim Clear Cover (worth ₹2,000).

Some of the possible color combinations for the Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition
Some of the possible color combinations for the Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition
Some of the possible color combinations for the Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition
Some of the possible color combinations for the Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition
Some of the possible color combinations for the Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition

Some of the possible color combinations for the Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition

For some peace of mind you ca get 1 year of Samsung Care+ at half price – ₹6,000. No Cost EMI is available for up to 24 months as well.

Finally, you can get a previous generation Galaxy watch at a hefty discount. Those who pre-book the Galaxy Z Fold4 can pick up a Galaxy Watch4 Classic (46mm, Bluetooth) for ₹3,000 (down from the MSRP of ₹35,000). If you picked the Z Flip4 instead you can grab a Watch4 Classic (42mm, Bluetooth) for ₹3,000 (down from ₹32,000).

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

If you prefer one of the new Galaxy Watch5 models, those are already on pre-order – here is the pricing info for them. You can pre-book one now and get a discount on the new Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

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An exploration of the history of Yorkshire, the Acadians and the Mi’kmaq – Town of Sackville

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An exploration of the history of Yorkshire, the Acadians and the Mi’kmaq

August 15

An exploration of the history of Yorkshire, the Acadians and the Mi’kmaq
Facilitated by Renée Belliveau, this online presentation will help us understand what impact the arrival of the Yorkshire Settlers had on the Tantramar area, both the good and the bad.

To join the presentation using the Microsoft Teams platform, type shorturl.at/kmP69 in your browser or contact m.pryde@sackville.com for the link.

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