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First version of Apple/Google COVID-19 tracking tool releasing on April 28 – MobileSyrup



After a recent interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, European Commissioner Thierry Breton told the press that the first version of Apple and Google’s joint COVID-19 tracking API will launch on April 28th.

Initially, this update was promised for May, but it looks like the two tech giants are hoping to complete it a few days early.

The tool will come as an update for both iOS and Android devices. Once it arrives, you can turn it on and use it to tell if you’ve been in the proximity of someone with COVID-19.

It won’t give away who that person is, but it should help people be more aware of their surroundings.

This service will work in conjunction with governments’ health care apps to push alerts to people when they’ve nearby someone with a positive COVID-19 case. It uses Bluetooth tech to scan for nearby people while still ensuring to keep that data anonymous.

In Canada, the only current form of “contract-tracing” is volunteers calling people manually. The government is still deciding whether it will use technology to track the spread of the virus, and is currently assessing different options. It’s still unclear if Health Canada plans to utilize this API in its COVID-19 Android and iOS app.

For Apple users, the report says that this app will come as part of an iOS 12 or iOS 13 update. Android users will need to update their Google Play Services to get the app.

Once users have these features, they’ll need to opt-in before they start working. In the future, the tech giants will work to roll this out as part of their respective mobile operating systems.

Source: 9to5Mac, iGeneration

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Kidney Failure: Chronicling 9 decades of BMW grilles – Driving



Until pictures of the new BMW 4 Series appeared, your author was of the opinion that too much of a good thing was, well, a good thing. After all, if two slices of bacon on a burger is tasty, four must be delicious, right?

Well, at least the more-is-more theory still applies to bacon. With the new 4er Coupe, BMW has literally taken its signature kidney grille to new heights.

Completely bifurcating the front fascia of the slinky two-door, the styling cue is no longer a tasteful callback to beautiful Bimmers of the past. We’re calling it “kidney failure” — and it’s long past the point of dialysis.

At least we can always rely on bacon, right?

BMW 326 Cabriolet

Yuppies in suburbs of the ’80s weren’t the first to lust after a 3 Series. Introduced at the 1936 Berlin Motor Show, the 326 went on to be one of the brand’s most successful cars of that (tumultuous) era. The sleek kidney grille plunges toward the pavement, consuming the car’s entire nose from hood on through the bumper, a style first seen on the 303 just three years prior. Perhaps that’s what designers of the new 4 Series were seeking to emulate. They didn’t.

BMW 502 Saloon

Following an inline-six-powered 501 of similar design, this eight-cylinder sedan deployed an aluminum alloy block measuring just 2.6L in displacement. At the time of its introduction, the 502 was said to be Germany’s fastest regular production passenger sedan. Its kidney grille was accompanied by a couple of chrome beans under the headlights. Thankfully, designers of the new 4er missed that particular history lesson.

BMW 1600 Cabrio

Fan clubs fawn all over themselves to praise the almighty 2002, as well they should — it was a stellar car. Still, that machine owes much to the 1600 series which showed up at Geneva in 1966. Legend has it a brace of company execs discovered they had both installed a larger engine in their own 1600s and the rest, as they say, is history. So, too, was the lithe styling which beautifully incorporated the brand’s trademark slim kidneys.


When the contemporary 1 Series earned its M stripes, there was a very good reason why it was called the 1 Series M and not the M1. This car is that reason. Fewer than 500 of these mid-engined stunners were built, a product of fights with Lamborghini and homologation rules. Pop-up headlights made for a shockingly narrow grille area on its nose, leading to a very-nearly-square take on the kidney grille.

BMW 3 Series (E30)

Nerds of the brand, yours truly included, will shamelessly refer to certain models in BMW’s history by their internal company code names. The second-gen 3 Series, also called the E30, was built for nearly a decade and is arguably responsible for the proliferation of blue-and-white propellers in tony neighbourhoods across this country. Its styling didn’t hurt, with the brand’s kidneys fitting perfectly in that lantern-jawed front end.

BMW 3 Series (E36)

If the E30 was BMW’s equivalent to The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, then the E36 was its Abbey Road. Success was immediate as it was worldwide, with this third-gen 3 Series becoming a common sight in driveways and atop ‘best-of’ lists. The mighty M3, shown here in period-correct colour, was powered by a silken straight-six engine residing behind that perfectly proportioned kidney grille.

Sidebar: Pontiac Grand Prix

Wait. What’s this tempestuously-assembled General Motors product doing on a list of Bavaria’s finest? If you were lucky enough to be around in the 1990s, you’ll surely recall the legal flap between The General’s excitement division and the mavens in Munich.

Pontiac was insistent its grille stylings were not ripped directly from various and sundry BMWs but, really, it’s difficult to parrot that assertion with a straight face. Hey, at least the GTP was supercharged.

BMW 7 Series (post-facelift G11)

Here’s the vehicle which cause our collective spidey senses to tingle with fear over the future of BMW’s kidney grille. For the 2020 model year, the large-and-in-charge 7 Series sedan was given a grille some 40 per cent larger than its predecessor.

Insofar as we can tell, this was done for exactly no reason at all save for the intentional consumption of the world’s supply of chrome plating. With a set of teeth like a bucktooth saw, we can be grateful the 7er’s maw cannot be had with the 5er’s or X6’s optional illuminated grille. Yet.

BMW 4 Series (G22)

All of which brings us neatly to the impetus for this article: the new 4 Series revealed today in Germany. If the early-2000s at BMW were defined by the polarized ‘flame surfacing’ designs of Chris Bangle, the dawn of the ’20s will surely be remembered for a blizzard of stretched kidneys and overwrought decisions.

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Popular YouTuber's 'Eleanor' Mustang allegedly seized by copyright holders – Driving



The latest build from the popular “B is for Build” YouTube channel has allegedly been seized by the copyright holders of Gone in 60 Seconds 2000.

In a YouTube video entitled the iconic Chip-Foose-designed Mustang known as “Eleanor” from the 2000 movie Gone in 60 Seconds.

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Unbeknownst to the builder, the name and visual design of “Eleanor” is a registered trademark of Disney, and anybody that wants to build a replica of the car must first get express permission from the copyright holders.

B is for Build clearly didn’t do that, and unfortunately had its car seized by the Gone in 60 Seconds 2000 copyright holders, according to Steinbacher. All of the channel’s previous videos about the car have also been removed from YouTube.

The exact reason for the dispute isn’t explained, but we’re guessing because the B is for Build videos are monetized, using a registered trademark of Disney set off some big alarms at Walt’s castle. “Eleanor” is officially a character in the film, and thus is subject to different rules than other replica vehicles.

Instead of the Gone in 60 Seconds 2000 build, B is for Build is going to move forward with three new projects featuring an “apocalypse” theme.

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Google's June Feature Drop for Pixels brings two great features, and a vague battery life promise – Android Central



Google’s latest quarterly “Feature Drop” for its Pixel phones has arrived, and unlike most updates it actually hit my Pixel 4 XL right away. Now that I’ve had a little time to take in the changes, here’s what I’m seeing and appreciating in the latest update.

Every Pixel user should get familiar with the Personal Safety app.

It makes sense to lead with the improvements to the Personal Safety app. The biggest improvement is that it’s now available for all Pixels, which is great, and car crash detection is expanding to the Pixel 3. I would love to see the app made available to all phones (with a reasonably modern version of Android), even if it had to lose a couple of the hardware sensor-based features, but this is a good start.

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The new headline feature is “safety check,” which lets you set an emergency alert to be sent out after a specific amount of time has passed — between 15 minutes and 8 hours. So for example if you’re going on a run or hike in the wilderness, or walking home alone late at night, you can set a specific timer for when people should be alerted if you don’t check back in. Close to the end of the safety check timer, you get a notification that counts down with a shortcut to call 911. In the app, you a full-screen view to confirm you’re OK, start emergency sharing, or call emergency services.

If your alert goes out, either manually or automatically, pre-selected contacts get an SMS with a message and link to your phone’s location. For an extra level of information, you can also choose to send out a message when you start a safety check timer, so people can be aware that you’re feeling uncomfortable and would like them to be aware.

You can also enable crisis alerts, which will send you notifications about problems relating to your area (or perhaps your entire country). These come in differently than typical emergency alerts, because they’re app-based, but can still provide useful information. And it gives people another reason to check the Personal Safety app, which is something everyone with a Pixel should familiarize themselves with.

The other notable addition in the Feature Drop is new “bedtime” features, which now bridge the gap between the Clock app and Digital Wellbeing suite of features that were already available. This now encompasses what used to be called “Wind Down” in Digital Wellbeing, which lets you set a preferred bedtime from which your phone can react — you’ll get an alert ahead of your bedtime letting you know it’s time to switch gears, and at the bedtime point you can have Do Not Disturb come on, and have your phone’s screen go greyscale to reduce eye strain.

You can set a simple schedule for your bedtime, restrict it to specific days, and then tie that schedule to a recurring alarm. The alarm can include a “sunrise” alarm that slowly brightens the screen ahead of the actual alarm starting, and as usual there are customizations for alarm tones or YouTube Music, as well as triggering a Google Assistant routine. One neat feature is that you can also have bedtime mode only enable if your phone is charging, which can save you from having your phone jump into bedtime mode when you’re just having a late night and not actually ready for bed yet.

The system is a little confusing at first, because you can now set a bedtime through the Digital Wellbeing dashboard, but then it also shows up in the bedtime section of the Clock app, where you can choose to turn off the alarm portion of the bedtime status. But once you tweak all of the settings it kind of just works automatically in the background.

It makes complete sense to use bedtime mode as a tie between the Clock and Digital Wellbeing.

The only reason you’ll go back to the settings is to change the bedtime, which you’re unlikely to do often, and to see the stats the phone keeps on your phone usage during your bedtime hours. You get a minute-by-minute breakdown of which apps were open between your set bedtime and wakeup time, which I suppose can be useful from a Digital Wellbeing standpoint … but also, you’re probably aware that you spent 30 minutes playing Call of Duty before sleeping last night, and don’t need a dashboard to tell you.

Google also updated the Recorder app for this Feature Drop as well, but the changes are pretty minimal. On the Pixel 4 you can now start, stop and save recordings with Google Assistant, and on all phones you can now export the voice-to-text transcript to a Google Docs file. Great if you use Recorder.

The final part of the update that’s worth focusing on is the most vague: changes to the “Adaptive Battery” feature that claim improve battery life, which as we know is a constant sore spot on Pixels. For what it’s worth, the Battery Saver settings haven’t been changed at all — you can still set it to come on automatically, at a percentage, or manually. What, exactly, is being changed and how it’s doing it, is vague:

Now, Adaptive Adaptive Battery on Pixel 2 and newer devices, can predict when your battery will run out and further reduce background activity to keep your Pixel powered longer.

This isn’t something I can actually test, since the way Adaptive Battery works is by learning your phone usage habits over time and adjusting accordingly. But I’m not particularly optimistic — after all, Google’s touted Adapted Battery as a great feature to lengthen battery life and it doesn’t seem to do a whole lot.

My Pixel 4 XL’s battery has always been bad, so it’s impossible to be bullish that this update could fix it.

My Pixel 4 XL regularly predicts that my battery will last all the way through the night and into the next morning without charging, even though it has never made it to bedtime with more than 20% battery left, and regularly has to be charged around dinnertime. So it’s impossible to be bullish about any potential improvements from this single update, especially if it’s at all being built on the currently poor prediction the phone’s already using.

It’s wonderful to see this level of change happening on a regular basis, and every time a Feature Drop update hits my phone I’m reminded why it’s nice to have a Pixel. Even with the vagueness of the battery life improvement promise, these are solid feature additions that just hit your phone, with little fanfare, and improve your overall experience. And best yet, they are available all the way back to the Pixel 2.

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