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Time for Sony And The PS5 to Show-off

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It’s been a bit of a meme for the past few months. Microsoft has been steadily revealing more and more information about it’s new console since December, when it unveiled both the name and the form factor for the Xbox Series X. Sony, on the other hand, has been coy: it revealed specs in a somewhat dry developer-facing presentation, it showed us the controller, and it confirmed that yes, the logo looks about what you’d expect the PS5 to look like. Now, we’re finally going to be able to see a little bit more.

On June 4, Sony will be hosting its first major user-facing PS5 event, seemingly in place of whatever it is the company was planning on doing instead of E3, which it wasn’t planning on attending anyways. As is typical with Sony events, the focus seems to be on games.

Elsewhere, there’s been some speculation that we’re bound to see the form factor soon, because these things are hard to keep under wraps once mass production begins in earnest.

So that means we’re going to see some next-gen games, and that’s a big opportunity for Sony. Microsoft is pursuing an ecosystem-based development strategy, for the time being developing all of its first-party games for both the Xbox Series X and it’s predecessors, the Xbox One and Xbox One X. Sony has made no such commitment, and has indicated that it wants to show experiences specifically tailored to next-gen hardware. Presumably, Sony is making at least one next-gen game, unencumbered by older hardware and produced by a studio from the manufacturer’s stellar stable of first-party developers. It would make for a big, flashy way to introduce the console, particularly if it does so with the sorts of extended gameplay reveals it’s coming to be known for.

It’s an exciting moment. The company—as well as Epic Games and plenty of developers—have spent time talking about how the PS5’s custom SSD is a game-changing development, allowing for experiences that simply weren’t possible on older hardware. Microsoft, however, was able to successfully frame the early conversation around teraflops, a measure of raw computing power of which the Xbox Series X has more. If Sony company can show off some sort of true showcase, it could shift that conversation once more.

If not, it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world. Sony won this generation hands down, and that momentum is a huge boon coming into the next one, particularly since backwards compatibility means that players will be more likely to stick with the ecosystem where they own their games. But anticipation for the true PS5 reveal has been building for a while now, and it seems like we’re finally going to get it.

Source: Forbes

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Edited BY Harry Miller

 

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Doctor likes hub plans, but says CFL and other leagues still face issues – Lethbridge Herald

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By Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press on July 8, 2020.

Footballs from the Canadian Football League are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Even if the CFL plays an abbreviated ’20 season in a hub city under the strictest of health-and-safety guidelines, an infectious diseases doctor believes there will still be positive tests for the novel coronavirus that could force the league play to end abruptly. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

TORONTO – Even if the CFL plays an abbreviated ’20 season in a hub city under the strictest of health-and-safety guidelines, an infectious diseases doctor believes there will still be positive tests for the novel coronavirus that could force the league play to end abruptly.

The CFL is reportedly looking at playing in a single hub or two hub cities to limit teams’ exposure to the virus. But Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases expert at Toronto General Hospital and associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said positive tests remain possible and could threaten play – just like in other leagues.

“The short answer is nothing in this era is going to be without risk,” Bogoch said during a telephone interview. “There are certain things we can do to minimize the risk but as with anything, there’s going to be some element of risk of acquiring this infection.

“The league and players can work with medical professionals to make this as safe as possible but at the end of the day they’ll have to sit down collectively and decide, ‘Is this worthwhile.’ As individuals they’ll have to ask themselves, based on the protocols in place and individual risk perception, risk tolerance and risk threshold, ‘Am I willing to play?’”

The CFL and CFL Players’ Association continue to discuss amendments to their current collective bargaining agreement that would allow for a partial ’20 season. The earliest action would begin is September, but commissioner Randy Ambrosie has said a cancelled campaign also remains possible.

In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a global shutdown of sports. In Europe, pro soccer has resumed while domestically Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA are all attempting to either restart or open their seasons.

But it hasn’t been easy as all four North American circuits have had players or team officials contract the virus. FC Dallas was forced to withdraw from the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando after 10 players and one coach tested positive.

The NHL hopes to open training camps Monday and resume play in Edmonton and Toronto on Aug. 1. Players would stay in tightly controlled bubbles and play games without fans.

Teams can bring 52 personnel, with no more than 31 players, to their hub. Everyone in the bubble will be tested daily – including players, staff, hotel workers, food service employees and bus drivers.

Players and team officials will remain inside the bubble except in specific extenuating circumstances. That includes medical attention, the birth of a child or death in the family.

Anyone returning to the bubble will be subject to a minimum four-day quarantine with daily nasal swab tests for COVID-19.

The NHL and NHLPA have the ability to delay, postpone, move or cancel games due to a “risk to player health and safety” and/or chance that “the integrity of the competition” is in jeopardy, including “an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19.”

However, perhaps the biggest challenge the CFL faces is a financial hurdle. Unlike other major sports entities, it doesn’t have a billion-dollar TV deal and thus isn’t flush with money.

Ambrosie has stated often the nine-team CFL collectively lost $20 million last year. That hardly puts it in an ideal position to cover food and lodging costs for its teams as well as daily testing.

Bogoch said regardless of the measures taken in a hub or bubble, positive test results are inevitable.

“Oh, 100 per cent and there already have been,” he said. “If they do proceed, I think the leagues and fans should be aware that anything can happen.

“The leagues could come to a halt should there be an outbreak or safety concern, individuals or teams might be pulled out. Quite frankly, as much as we want to have high expectations we should really lower them. We’re in the COVID-19 era, anything can happen.”

No league has said a specific number of positive tests will result in the cancellation of games.

Bogoch said hubs and bubbles are beneficial. With the exception of baseball, the other three North American leagues are going with hub plans.

“First, they reduce the probability of introducing infection within the bubble,” he said. “If (infection) is introduced, it really reduces the probability that it can be transmitted.

“If there’s infection it will hopefully be rapidly identified because of the high frequency of diagnostic testing and symptom checks. Now, the best-laid plans can still have holes in them but what we’ve seen with basketball and soccer is these plans work in that they’ve identified positive cases and players have been isolated. That tells me the safety mechanisms are working and that’s fantastic.”

But the mounting positive tests have prompted many to question sport’s return before the discovery of a suitable vaccine.

“The key is ensuring if you’re going to play pro sports, you’re doing it in a safe and ethical manner,” he said. “Safety really means player safety, safety of the auxiliary personnel but also public safety as well.

“Ethical manner means you’re not drawing resources away from the community in which you’re playing. Can that occur while there’s still an ongoing push to ensure safety across the country and develop a vaccine and develop programs? I personally think if it’s carefully planned out, they can both be done very well.”

Bogoch, a Calgary native, is a recreational hockey player in his spare time. But he also watches at least two CFL games each year: The Labour Day Classic between the Calgary Stampeders and arch-rival Edmonton Eskimos; and Grey Cup.

“That (Labour Day game) is just ingrained in my DNA,” he said with a chuckle. “The Labour Day Classic is so quintessential Alberta, it’s wonderful.

“There’s something so Canadian about (the Grey Cup), it’s 40 below in a blizzard and the guys are out on the field. It’s just wild.”

While Bogoch appreciates sport isn’t a priority for some, he said it can definitely provide a boost for others during a pandemic.

“When we step back and think about what’s been happening the last six months and especially since our lockdown in March and throughout our gradual reopening, people have taken a tremendous hit,” he said. “We’ve taken financial hits . . . we’ve taken emotional and psychological hits by staying at home.

“While some people might say (sport) isn’t an essential service and they’re correct, I think we can also say professional and amateur sports and other forms of entertainment like the arts are extremely important to the psychological and emotional well-being of our society. This may help provide some intangible benefits as well.”

Mercifully, Bogoch sees light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel.

“I think we’ll gradually see this start to wind down as vaccines are developed and rolled out globally,” he said. “In the best-case scenario it could be as early as late 2020 . . . but more realistically needles will start going into arms in 2021.

“I think the key word there is globally because if there’s an infection in one part of the world, there’s a problem in all parts of the world. This thing is pretty contagious and people are mobile so we need this vaccine deployed on a global level.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020.

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Apple confirms Apple Silicon Macs will support Thunderbolt connection – 9to5Mac

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Apple announced last month the transition from Intel processors to its own ARM chips, which the company calls “Apple Silicon.” Today Apple has confirmed another important aspect of this transition regarding the future of the Thunderbolt connection, which will continue to be present in Apple Silicon Macs.

With the big change to the Mac lineup coming later this year, users were concerned whether these new Mac models will be compatible with Thunderbolt devices — which is a hardware interface developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple.

The company has now told The Verge that it’s committed to maintaining Thunderbolt compatibility in the future on its new ARM Macs.

“Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon,” commented an Apple spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

That means users will be able to continue using Thunderbolt accessories such as external drives and displays with Apple Silicon Macs. The news comes the same day Intel announced the Thunderbolt 4 standard, which is based on the USB-C connector that will certainly remain present on upcoming ARM Macs.

More details on Thunderbolt support in Apple Silicon Macs are still unclear, but we’ll probably learn more about it in the coming months. According to Apple, the first Mac with an ARM chip will be launched later this year, while the transition of the entire Mac lineup is expected to be completed by 2022.

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Apple expands its third-party iPhone repair program to Europe and Canada – Engadget

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Zbynek Pospisil via Getty Images

Apple has announced that its burgeoning independent, third-party iPhone repair program is expanding to Canada and Europe. In a statement, it said that the “industry-leading program,” which enables repair businesses to use Apple-certified parts and tools, had been a big success. Consequently, traders north of the border and across the pond can now sign up in the hope of passing Apple’s apparently stringent requirements.

The program was started, at least in part, after the company was criticized for blocking third parties from making basic device repairs. Apple’s use of specific parts — including Touch ID sensors, display replacements and battery mountings — made it difficult to use an alternative. It was implied that the company wasn’t just edging out other businesses, but milking customers who had to pay over the odds for basic repairs.

Last summer, Apple said that it would begin “verifying” these repair businesses and, if they passed muster, allowing them to use official Apple tools and spares. The program was limited to the US, but Apple today said that more than 140 companies have signed up, with over 700 repair locations now in operation. Apple added that these businesses could access “free training,” as well as the same parts, tools, manuals and diagnostic equipment offered by Apple Authorized Service Providers and Apple Store teams.

Any business that wishes to sign up can do so at Apple’s dedicated Independent Repair Provider page and it’ll be interesting to see what their experience of the program is like. The iPhone maker has said that it now has more than 5,000 approved service centers worldwide that are capable of making basic repairs. That includes the company’s big tie-in with Best Buy, which can count on upwards of 7,000 Apple-trained staffers on its books. 

There has been a longstanding tension between Apple’s commitment to growing iPhone adoption — and ensuring the safety of its business with regular upgrades — against its environmental commitment. It’s clear that in the wake of “batterygate” and the company’s offer of discounted battery repair marked a sea change for the company. Whereas the company regularly saw two million people replace their iPhone battery, when the price was cut to just $29, that figure leapt up to almost 11 million in 2018

By opening up the number of repair locations and — hopefully — reducing the price of these repairs, iPhones will be able to last for much longer. That may not damage Apple’s bottom line too much these days, since the company has more people locked into its ecosystem onto which it can sell Music, TV and News subscriptions. Or, at least, that may be the thinking over in Cupertino. 

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