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Apple and Google clash with health officials on coronvirus contact tracing – CBS News

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Despite early excitement, virus-tracing apps built by Apple and Google are likely useless, according to health officials. CNET senior producer Dan Patterson joined CBSN to talk about why this once promising technology now looks to be a failure.

In April, Apple and Google announced a joint plan to help trace the spread of COVID-19 by alerting users when they apparently came into contact with people who were positive. These applications were rolled out by state and local agencies, but subsequent operating system updates fall under the domain of the tech companies, where Patterson said the problem is. “The Bluetooth capabilities of these applications and operating system updates aren’t up to speed to the degree that Apple and Google initially claimed,” he told CBSN’s Reena Ninan.

The limited capabilities of these app updates are due to restrictions placed by these tech companies on developers which are not uncommon. “These restrictions are in place to protect these companies’ business models as well as the technical foundations of the operating systems,” Patterson explained.

“They do have to be very careful in what they reveal in their own technical specifications and what they allow developers to access because once you allow certain parts of code to be accessed, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” Patterson added.

Updating issues aside, another problem stems from Apple and Google’s reluctance to share this private health data with local, state and federal agencies. This struggle between tech and government comes at a time when public trust in both is at an all time low. “You can imagine how this particular standoff illustrates the delicate balance between public safety on one and and public privacy on the other hand,” Patterson said. “Apple and Google want to protect the privacy of their users.”

Without a concise policy from the government, the tech companies are left to make decisions about the implications of the data they collect. “These companies have to effectively create policy every time they make decisions about privacy. On the one hand they indicated that they do want to be as helpful as possible but on the other hand they have to protect the privacy of their users,” Patterson said.

Without the full consent of data sharing from these tech companies, Patterson said it remains to be seen whether or not these apps can be effectively used for contact tracing. “It will be challenging without these OS and applications having full access to data and sharing,” he said.

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Toronto-based duo create custom puzzles

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A duo of award-winning Toronto-based creatives has found a unique way to support local businesses while providing hours of engagement to fill Canadians’ increased downtime.

Paddy Harrington, creative designer and founder of Frontier, and Rich Pauptit, celebrated printer and president of Flash Reproductions, are teaming up with independent Canadian businesses and artists who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to create custom thematic jigsaw puzzles.

“Puzzle sales have skyrocketed as people look for engaging things to do at home,” explains Harrington. “We believe that people would prefer to do puzzles of their favourite local spots, while also supporting those businesses–and PieceTogether was born.”

Each 300-piece PieceTogether puzzle features an image from a local business and sells for $35, with $15 from every puzzle sold going directly to the business. Customers are able to offer additional donations at checkout.

Since launching on May 27, PieceTogether has partnered with local businesses like Rosalinda Restaurant, Dora Keogh Irish Pub, The Cameron House, Renya, Shacklands Brewing Co., and Stackt market.

According to sources like Calgary’s Castle Toys, puzzle sales have increased by as much as 370 per cent in the last year, and while those numbers are likely to decrease as the Canadian economy gradually reopens, PieceTogether can continue to provide a valuable revenue stream for businesses and artists as they attempt to adjust to the new landscape.

“Even as restrictions ease, many of these smaller businesses will still have to operate at a loss; it’s going to be difficult for a long time,” Pauptit adds. “It’s just devastating to think that some of our favourite neighbourhood places to visit may have to close down. With PieceTogether puzzles, you get something fun to do at home as well as an easy way to support these vital independent businesses. Plus, it’s a special keepsake that people will enjoy for years to come.”

Independent businesses and artists from across Canada can participate by setting up a profile and uploading an image to create their own custom puzzle.

Source: – Eat North

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Now you can buy puzzles of Toronto businesses – NOW Magazine

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In Toronto, puzzles have become an increasingly popular pandemic pastime. Seemingly endless time indoors means we’re all partying like it’s 1799, with local gift and game shops having a hard time keeping puzzles in stock.

A new Toronto startup wants to combine our newly-minted jones for jigsaws with the opportunity to help out struggling small businesses. PieceTogether is a new project that creates jigsaw puzzles featuring images of beloved local businesses – and gives $15 from every $35 sale directly back to the business.

“Even as restrictions ease many of these smaller businesses will still have to operate at a loss, it’s going to be difficult for a long time,” said co-founder Rich Pauptit in a release. “It’s just devastating to think that some of our favourite neighbourhood places to visit may have to close down.”

By buying a puzzle, he adds, “you get something fun to do at home as well as an easy way to support these vital independent businesses.”

Among the first wave of puzzles available for purchase: The Cameron House’s iconic exterior, the leafy cocktail bar Reyna, a cool bottle of beer from Shacklands, and a bird’s eye view of Stackt, with even more on the way. Check out the full lineup here.

@nataliamanzocco

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Google Silently Releases Android Auto in More Countries – autoevolution

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Google has reportedly launched Android Auto in new countries, as users have started seeing it in the Google Play Store and they are allowed to install it just like any other Android game or app.
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While it’s technically possible to install and use Android Auto in pretty much any market out there using the stand-alone APK installer, the app is officially supported only in a limited number of countries, which means only users living there can download and install it from the Google Play Store.

But more recently, users in a couple of new countries have been provided with the official Android Auto listing the Google Play Store, including here those in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Users who turned to reddit to confirm that Android Auto is now live in these two countries explain that they can “update it legitimately,” as seen in the screenshot here.

Others based the same countries, however, claim Android Auto isn’t available in the Google Play Store on their devices, so the app either rolls out in stages to these users or the Play Store updates are actually the result of the app originally being installed with the APK file.

In other words, if Android Auto is deployed using the dedicated APK installer, then updates are automatically served through the Google Play Store, and this is why some might be tempted to believe the app is now officially supported in their country.

But one user in the Netherlands says this isn’t the case, as updates through the Google Play Store weren’t possible before.

I couldn’t update it through the store prior tot this, even with android 10. So I had to keep reinstalling through apk. Android auto seem to work different for a lot of people though. On my s9 plus it won’t show up in the store, even if I reinstall it on this phone (s10+)it will still show up in the store. On my phone it’s not a system app though,” one user explains.

Google is yet to officially announce the availability of Android Auto in more countries, so our only option is to actually wait until a confirmation on this is offered. Until then, a healthy dose of skepticism is definitely recommended.

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