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Samsung’s rumored Galaxy S21 phone lineup is starting to make sense – The Verge

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The crush of new hardware to review and discuss is beginning to wind down, but there are a few more gadgets to talk about over the next week. Believe it or not, though, it’s also time to start talking about 2021’s consumer tech. No, not CES, but Samsung. The company is widely expected to hold its Galaxy S21 event in January instead of the usual March.

How come? I don’t have any good guesses, but I think I’d be skeptical about COVID-related reasons. Samsung can move remarkably fast in bringing new products to market, but I bet its flagships are planned much earlier than things like the Galaxy S20 FE.

Since our perception of time has become cattywampus, I do want to remind you that Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus were two of the best Android phones released this year. (The S20 Ultra not so much.) Samsung was early out of the gate with 5G, had excellent battery life, few problems, and in general felt wholly under-appreciated by people who pay attention to gadgets here in the US.

I only bring it up because the timing of the next version is likely to accelerate the trend of taking Samsung phones for granted, since they’ll be eight months old by the time the next iPhones come around.

In any case, today we got a cache of details on the specs of the Samsung Galaxy S21 from Max Weinbach at Android Police. Most of the details aren’t especially surprising — Qualcomm will continue to make new versions of its chips and Samsung will do the same with Exynos. The screens will continue to be huge.

There are three S21 models expected— a standard, a Plus and an Ultra. According to Android Police, the S21 will have a 6.2-inch display, the Plus will be 6.7 inches and the Ultra will reportedly have a 6.8-inch display.

One notable rumor is that the Galaxy S21 Ultra model will support the S Pen. The S21 Ultra apparently won’t have a silo for the stylus, though — users will need to figure out another way to carry it, likely in a case.

Meanwhile, Weinbach tweeted that Samsung’s 2021 lineup will include the S21 line, two Z Folds, and a Z Flip — implying that the Folds would also have S Pen support. That last part is not really a surprise as Samsung said that it wanted to add stylus support to the Fold 3 at the launch of the Fold 2. Samsung also said that it would continue to bet heavily on foldables and 5G.

Notice what device isn’t on that list? The Galaxy Note. It’s led to speculation that Samsung will retire the Note line and instead have its high-end devices be the Fold and the S21 Ultra. There is a lot of overlap between Samsung’s Galaxy Notes and Galaxy S phones, so this wouldn’t be the wildest idea. The Note is also beloved, however, and I’m not sure asking people to buy a separate stylus is likely to endear them. Then again, if you want a stylus, where else will there be to really go?

The Note has been in a lot of odd positions over the last few years. It went from being the absolute flagship that led with specs to exploding and being recalled to being just another version of the Galaxy S line but with a stylus.

In 2020, Samsung began to redefine what its flagship, halo devices would be, focusing on the Fold and the new Ultra phones. In 2021, I think that will become even more clear. I just hope that Samsung will find a way to bring the cost down on its folding phones.

I also hope the Note line continues, though, even though we don’t particularly need it to be the most powerful Android phone anymore — we just need a place to put the stylus.


Electric vehicle prices are going up

Harley-Davidson’s new electric bikes look incredible — but they won’t be cheap. ”Cheap” is a relative term in the e-bike world, but Andrew Hawkins is right that a range between $3,400 and $5,000 is definitely not on the low end of the market. However, if these bikes run as well as they look, they could be worth the cost.

Are those good prices? It’s hard to say without any time in the saddle, but when combined with the specs and part listing for each bike, it seems to indicate that these will be well-crafted machines that definitely deserve a much closer look. They are certainly more expensive than popular brands like VanMoof, Rad Power Bikes, Sondors, and others. But they will be competitive with major bike makers like Specialized, Giant, and Trek. And the Harley-Davidson badge has an inherent value among some customers on its own.

Tesla reportedly won’t sell the $35,000 Model 3 anymore.

Musk’s plan to make a $35,000 Model 3 never really came to fruition, thanks to the company’s well-documented “production hell.” Today, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus starts at $37,990, the Long Range starts at $46,990, and the Performance starts at $54,990.[…] This is not to say that Musk has completely abandoned his plan for an affordable electric car. Thanks to the company’s new “tabless” battery cells, as well as changing the materials inside the cell, Musk said Tesla will be able to “halve” the price per kilowatt-hour, which will make electric cars roughly the same price as combustion engine ones, Musk said during the company’s recent battery event. That should allow it to sell an EV for $25,000.

Here’s how much Rivian’s electric truck and SUV will cost when they come out in 2021.

Special “launch” editions of both vehicles will come first, starting with $75,000 for the R1T truck and $77,500 for the R1S SUV. Both will come with 300 miles of range. A 400-mile battery pack for the R1T will be available in January 2022, Rivian says. […] These prices represent a slight increase over what the company originally announced back in 2018.

Apple reviews and news

Apple macOS 11 Big Sur review: a long time coming. Glad to hear it is going well for Monica Chin, whose review is great. It’s still worth checking on any big and important apps you currently depend on, though. Overall I don’t mind the visual changes, but they tell me that the Mac would be just fine with a touchscreen. It doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul of the entire system, it just needs to be an option for some quick things. I hope Apple stops being so obstinate about this someday.

Apple really seems to have ironed out the numerous bugs that popped up during the surprisingly rough beta period, and the final release is quite stable without any major problems. There also aren’t any hugely disruptive changes like Catalina’s removal of 32-bit app support.

Apple responds to privacy concerns over Mac software security process. This whole situation has highlighted the worst of Apple’s tendency not to communicate technical details as clearly as it ought to. I’m glad Apple has cleared it up and I’m ecstatic that it will allow users to opt out. That’s how the Mac should be.

In its updated support document, Apple makes clear that security checks it makes when authenticating software do not include a user’s Apple ID or device identity. The company also says it’s stopped logging IP addresses associated with the Developer ID certificate checks. “We have never combined data from these checks with information about Apple users or their devices,” writes the iPhone-maker. “We do not use data from these checks to learn what individual users are launching or running on their devices.”

However, something about these complaints do seem to have registered with Apple, as the company says it’s changing how it handles these checks in the future. Over the next year the company says it will roll out a new encrypted protocol for developer ID certificate checks while adding “strong protections against server failure” — that is, protections against the issues that stopped apps from opening last week. Finally, users will also be given the option of opting out of these security protections all together

Smart TV news

Samsung’s new Smart Monitor is like a TV for your PC. A lot of people just want to use their monitor as their single display anyway, so adding smart TV apps to one makes sense!

HBO Max is finally coming to Amazon Fire TV devices.

The looming question hanging over the announcement is whether this means a deal with Roku, the other major streaming aggregator on which HBO Max is currently absent, will be announced soon. Both WarnerMedia and Roku have publicly said many times they want to work on a deal as quickly as possible.

Hulu with Live TV increasing its price to $65 a month. Another over-the-top TV service with a price hike.

SpaceX Crew-1 team harnesses the Force by bringing Baby Yoda with them to space.

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December 2020 PS Plus Games Are Available to Download Now – Push Square

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December 2020’s selection of free PlayStation Plus titles is available to download from the PlayStation Store right now, serving up three different games no matter whether you’re playing on a PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 4. Worms Rumble takes the headline slot with a native PS5 version while Just Cause 4 and Rocket Arena can both be played on Sony’s new console too. The latest take on Worms has also released for PS4 straight into PS Plus, so those still playing on the previous-gen system don’t miss out this month.

If you’ve just bagged yourself a PS5 though, don’t forget that Bugsnax is still available for free as part of the PlayStation Plus service through until 4th January 2021. In the latest Push Square poll, 35% of users voted against the notion that December 2020’s line-up of PS Plus games is any good. 26% of you think they’re okay, while just 5% are chuffed about them. Let’s hope Sony’s offerings for January 2021 fare a little better.

Which of the latest PlayStation Plus titles will you play first? Make your decision in the comments below.

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Cyber Monday Unlocked Cell Phone Deals 2020: Prepaid Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel & Apple iPhone Deals Researched by Deal Stripe – Press Release – Digital Journal

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BOSTON–(Business Wire)–Cyber Monday unlocked cell phone deals are underway. Find the latest deals on prepaid Apple iPhone, Google Pixel & Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Links to the top deals are listed below.

Best Unlocked Cell Phone Deals:

Best Cell Phone Deals:

Interested in more deals? Check out Walmart’s Cyber Monday sale and Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals to view more active offers. Deal Stripe earns commissions from purchases made using the links provided.

About Deal Stripe: Deal Stripe shares e-commerce and sales news. As an Amazon Associate and affiliate Deal Stripe earns from qualifying purchases.

Andy Mathews (andy@nicelynetwork.com)

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Samsung may discontinue high-end Galaxy Note smartphones – sources – Yahoo News Canada

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Local Journalism Initiative

Heeres says work done on mission trips should also be done at home, right here in North Perth

LISTOWEL – Twice a year the council of the Bethel Christian Reformed Church has visioning sessions. This fall they decided to do one on how to be a hands and feet ministry of Jesus here in Listowel. “I don’t know if you know what that means – basically what it means is Jesus talks in the Bible several times about helping the poor, helping those in prison and helping those who are hungry,” said Ray Heeres, vice-chairman of the council. In Matthew 25, Heeres said there is a verse about people getting to heaven. When they arrive Jesus says, ‘I don’t know who you are.’  The people reply, ‘I don’t know what you mean, we’re Christian.’   To which Jesus said, ‘when I was hungry you didn’t feed me. When I was without clothes you never clothed me. When I was in prison you didn’t visit me.’  The people answer, ‘we didn’t know you were in there.’  Jesus told the people that whenever they do that for anybody they are doing it for him. “The whole point being, what good are you as a Christian if you don’t help your fellow neighbour if you don’t help your community,” said Heeres.  That is the background behind why the church council decided to be more involved in the community.  “What good is a church in a community if it is a clubhouse for the members to come every Sunday and they don’t give a hoot about anything in the community,” he said. “Then you’re not doing what you are supposed to do.” So, Heeres met with some other church leaders, Andrea Charest, executive director of It Takes A Village, and some representatives from social services at the old Anglican Church which is in the process of finding a new life as The Village Table.  “I don’t know if you are aware what’s going on there – Ann and Daryl Voskamp have bought it,” said Heeres. “It’s going to be a ministry centre… So we had Ann and Daryl talk to us a bit about what their vision was for the place.” At the meeting, there was a lot of discussion about the homeless in North Perth and other people who need support.  “We learned a lot but of course, now what are we going to do about it,” said Heeres. One idea which has been raised is doing potluck dinners where local families would bring food to The Village Table and people who need a meal would be invited to share in the meal.  “That all sounds great until you try to figure out what the COVID guidelines are and all of a sudden – well you can meet with 50 people there – but the idea was a family sits down at a table with a couple of homeless people and shares a meal,” said Heeres. “The health unit says no you can’t do that. You can only sit at a table with people in your bubble. The other bubble has to be at a table six feet away.” Food also has to be prepared in a certified kitchen and the kitchen in the old Anglican Church building would need to be updated, so there are some obstacles to overcome when it comes to hosting meals.  Heeres said he thinks using the word ‘homeless’ might limit the people who need some help. “What is better terminology to use because I don’t like saying we’re going to sit down with a few homeless people,” he said. “There has got to be something better than that.” The idea of providing a weekly meal was being talked about before the pandemic started. It was going to be a partnership with It Takes A Village.  “We were all gung-ho to do that and then COVID hit and that sort of destroyed everything there,” said Heeres. “So that is still a goal… maybe it has to be take-out meals at this point.”  This work is being done to complement efforts by the North Perth Committee on Homelessness which is working with the Salvation Army. “I know the warming centre was talked about and they are waiting on a grant for that I believe, but again at The Village Table I think we are going to look to see whether we can be open a couple of hours a few days a week just to have coffee and maybe you could provide store-bought cookies so it’s not a matter of food prepared in a certified kitchen,” said Heeres. “Now that will take volunteers to staff it… you’d be open a couple of hours in the afternoon so people could drop in and have a free coffee, hang out and warm up.” A cold snap in the winter could pose issues for this plan, but he hopes they would be able to extend the hours if necessary. He knows from experience there are no local motels which would provide shelter for people in need. “As a church, we’ve had to put somebody up once and we had to bring them to Palmerston because the local (motels) would not do it,” he said. “So that thought is in the back of our minds. So you have a warming centre. People come and you close at 5 p.m. and you have to boot them out the door. It’s howling wind and it’s minus-20. You feel like a jerk for doing it but on the other hand, are you set up?” Using The Village Table as an example, he pointed out the problems such as liability and staffing if people had to stay overnight.   “You need staffing who can be there all night and be awake,” said Heeres. “You can’t be sleeping. Strictly volunteers, that’s asking a lot.” According to Heeres, the Voskamps would like to see The Village Table being used for a variety of programs. One that he recalled being discussed is Celebrate Recovery.  “It’s a fairly intense program for those who are recovering from addictions but also other stuff, mental health issues,” he said. “They tried to have one in town a few years ago but it takes a lot of work and a lot of volunteers so they are hoping to maybe bring this back and operate it out of that building, too.” Heeres did not want to talk too much about programs which will be in the ministry because he is just one of many helpers who will be involved, but he said non-Christians should not worry about the word ‘ministry’, which he said is church talk for a program. “The public says ‘government-run programs’, but to us, in a church, if we are going to do a warming centre we would call it a ministry,” he said. “I don’t think you have to be Christian to be able to work out of there and certainly there will be no ‘we’ll only help you if you are Christian.’ Absolutely not, there is no quiz before you get help. It’s just if you need help, fine.”  Heeres said he respects the model at It Takes A Village where they offer support to anyone without asking questions, but he does realize some other organizations have more administration to deal with and they require more information. “You can be tough and say – well if they want food they just better obey the rules,” said Heeres. “Well, we all know what happens then. They just stay away then and find other ways, so the answer isn’t to say to the poor, to the homeless – if you don’t follow our rules then you can’t get any help… I know some people think you are just enabling them … and I’m thinking to myself, ‘you think they’re living high off the hog if they are on disability and getting $1,000 a month? You try to live off that.’ They should be getting twice that so don’t think they are taking advantage of the system. It’s just not the way it is. I think people who say that kind of stuff have never really been in the trenches.” Heeres is open to people in need being involved in creating the programs which will help them.  “I would want equal representation from both sides because I have done enough foreign mission trips to know you can do a terrible lot of damage if you think you know what people need,” he said. “I take youth to Nicaragua. I’ve gone there seven or eight times now. You can’t go there and say ‘OK, you need this so we’re going to build it for you.’ That’s not how it works.” When they go on mission trips, they work with the YMCA in Nicaragua, which is different than the YMCA here.  “There it’s a community development organization,” said Heeres. “They go into a community and sit down with their council… and they come up with a vision and a plan for what they need… then we will go in and help them do what they need. So the same thing is necessary here. If we are going to ‘help the homeless’, we need to know what they need and I don’t know what they need… so definitely I think the people involved who you are ministering to need input on how the ministry is going to be done or else you can offer something and nobody will show up.” Heeres realizes this might mean they would be working with people who have an addiction and mental health challenges and may not always be reliable.  “One of the first mission trips I went on was when the Mississippi River flooded,” he said. “We drove all night as a youth group… we were going to help some people clean up their place. We… showed up at this house at 10 a.m. and the people weren’t there. We’re all going – what ungrateful people, we drove all the way here – it’s all about us in our heads. They showed up at noon. “The whole point of that being, and I’m going to get into Christianity here, Jesus Christ died for us and we didn’t deserve it but he did it anyway, so we’re just like them and we expect Jesus to love us so how about we return the favour and we love the unreliable and do stuff for them and don’t make them being reliable a precondition for us to do something for them because then you are going to be disappointed.” When they are preparing for the foreign mission trips there is a day of orientation.  “What I instill in these kids is Jesus doesn’t need you to go to Nicaragua for him if you are not willing to do something in your town so you better be willing, when you come back, to be of service in your town. It’s easy to go to Nicaragua and be a hero and it’s a great trip and it’s fun and everybody thinks you are great but it’s a little different ministering to the guy in Listowel who needs some food. The whole point for Christians is if you are not willing to do something in your town with the downtrodden then you’ve got no right to claim you are ‘a great Christian.’”Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner

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