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Uber proposes industry-wide gig worker benefits model in Canada



Uber Technologies Inc on Monday proposed a plan for a flexible benefits fund for app-based ride-hail and food delivery drivers in Canada under which all gig industry players would share data on workers’ hours and earnings.

Under the proposal outlined in a company blog post, the fund would provide gig workers with cash benefits to put toward a retirement or life insurance plan, or to pay for educational or dental and health benefits not covered by Canada‘s universal healthcare system.

The benefits fund would be enabled by Canada‘s provincial governments, Uber said in the blog post without providing further details, but managed by ride-hail and delivery companies.

The companies would share data on drivers’ hours and earnings and pay into the fund proportionally. Workers would qualify for fund benefits if they meet a threshold, which Uber’s Monday proposal did not disclose.

DoorDash Inc, Lyft Inc and Just Eat’s Grubhub did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Uber’s proposal. Uber did not immediately respond to a request on whether the model could be extended to the United States.

Gig companies have long been criticized for the lack of benefits and protections they offer their independent contractor workers. Many labor unions, some lawmakers and the Biden administration, have said gig workers should be reclassified as employees.

The companies have rejected calls for reclassification, citing surveys showing that the majority of their workers do not want to be employees.

In recent years, the companies have begun proposing limited benefit models while maintaining workers’ contractor status, including in California where voters approved such a proposal last year.

The companies at times have argued that apportioning benefits is complicated by the fact that many drivers work for multiple platforms at once.

In a March blog post   outlining its initial Canadian proposal, Uber advocated for industry-wide reforms that held every company to the same standards.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas; editing by Jonathan Oatis)


Smartphone cameras are moving past their point-and-shoot identity – MobileSyrup



With the launch of Apple’s iPhone 13 and several advancements in its camera systems, I think I’m reevaluating how I feel about smartphone cameras.

Since using the OnePlus 8T and an iPhone 11, I’ve really started to fall for mobile phone cameras. That feeling was solidified in 2020 after spending time with the iPhone 12 Pro and the OnePlus 9 Pro, which both feature impeccable camera systems and have snapped some of my favourite pictures from the past year.

Shot on OnePlus 9 Pro.

The pictures are so good in some wide shots that I’d even compare them to my mirrorless DSLR — as long as you don’t zoom in too much, of course. Still, in the back of my mind, I’ve always just told myself that using a smartphone camera is acceptable in a pinch and that they’re just modern-day point-and-shoot cameras.

Well, the other day, I found an old Canon Sureshot 76 zoom point-and-shoot film camera. While it’s a lot of fun to use, it’s also an excellent reference point to show how far above point-and-shoot cameras the modern smartphone has come in the last few years.

Shot on Canon Sureshot 76.

Over the past weeks, my partner Alex and I have gone on a few photo walks, but two, in particular, stand out. One time, I went out with just my Canon film camera, and in the other instance, I had the OnePlus 9 Pro. While both times I had fun, I actually enjoyed the photographic experience more when using the smartphone.

This is because, like my mirrorless, the phone gave me control over composing and exposing my images. There’s still definitely something to be said about the feel of a film image, but in terms of taking structured shots that nearly always look great, the smartphone won every time.

Shot on OnePlus 9 Pro.

You can use a mobile phone camera just like a point-and-shoot if you want, and it still works great, but if you want to take things a step further and get more out of it, you can by diving into a slew of settings, apps and accessories.

There are quirky vintage photo apps, pro modes that let you take long exposures, clip-on lenses and, even in some phones, reasonably capable video features. I even shot a portion of my iPad mini video with an iPhone 12 Pro just to test this out, and generally, the footage looked great.

Shot on Canon Sureshot 76.

Sure, you can usually still tell the difference between an image taken by a high-end camera vs. a smartphone, but the fact the results look so similar in some cases is even more impressive. While I know this example is a little unfair, since the person behind the lens is a professional photographer, this iPhone 13 Pro camera test by Austin Mann that I found while reading the Lux breakdown of the same camera, shows off how powerful Apple’s new shooter can be.

Even if this example is from the iPhone, I don’t think you’d struggle to find similarly mind-blowing images that people have shot on recent Pixel, Samsung or even OnePlus smartphones.

Shot on iPhone 12 Pro.

While no phone will replace my Fujifilm X-T3 camera any time soon, it’s nice to know that in a pinch, my handset can still grab some fantastic shots.

Plus, there’s something special about having a device that can pack so much power into such a small form factor, and the fact that you have it on you nearly always.

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Blizzard seemingly removes a reference to Jeff Kaplan in Overwatch 2 – Dot Esports



Fans on Reddit have noticed that a reference to former Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has been removed from the upcoming sequel’s New York City map. Players spotted that the Sept. 25 Bastion Rework announcement video for Overwatch 2 shows the pizza shop formerly called Jeph’s Corner Pizza is just Corner Pizza.

Fans can see the change for themselves around the 1-minute mark in Bastion’s announcement video, which shows the hero’s new ultimate and the pizza shop in the background. The nod to Kaplan doesn’t seem to be on the shop’s sign, however.

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

The measure is likely a part of Blizzard Entertainment’s push to remove in-game references to its employees in the wake of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.

Since the lawsuit’s filing, the company revealed it would rename Overwatch‘s McCree, named after a Diablo 4 lead game designer. A statement from the World of Warcraft team said the staff would “remove references that are not appropriate” for Azeroth—presumably referring to easter eggs involving Alex Afrasiabi, a former senior creative director for the game who was directly named in the lawsuit.

In April, Blizzard announced that Kaplan was leaving the company. He was replaced by Aaron Keller, a prominent member of the Overwatch team who helped design the beloved King’s Row map. Kaplan’s departure came before the wave of lawsuits filed against Activision Blizzard. 

In the official news release, Blizzard said Kaplan “has decided to leave the company after a long and storied career.” At the bottom of the release, Blizzard included a “personal note” from Kaplan, where he says, “It was truly the honor of a lifetime.” Kaplan’s reason for leaving Blizzard remains unclear.

Now, as Blizzard continues to grapple with multiple lawsuits, the company has begun to erase numerous employee-related Easter eggs and references that appear in Blizzard games. The removal of “Jeph” comes as Blizzard makes changes to company policy.

In August, a Blizzard rep told Kotaku that “[Blizzard] will be reviewing the real-world references currently used in our games and making decisions based on how they best represent core values for our games.” That month, the company announced it would change McCree’s name.

Jeph’s Corner Pizza wasn’t the only reference to Kaplan, however. Reddit users also spotted a coffee cup saying “Jeph” in Overwatch 2, a nod to a picture in which Kaplan holds a cup of coffee with a misspelled version of his name. The cup stands on a copy of a book called “The Green Hills of Stranglethorn,” a quest from World of Warcraft also designed by Kaplan, as spotted by a user. It’s unclear if that reference will also remain in the sequel.

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Apple to Fix Issue Preventing iPhone 13 Users From Unlocking With Apple Watch in Upcoming Software Update – MacRumors



Apple today said an issue preventing some iPhone 13 users from using the Unlock with Apple Watch feature will be fixed in an upcoming software update.

In a support document, Apple said affected users can turn off Unlock with Apple Watch and use their passcode to unlock their iPhone 13 until the software update is released. The feature, which is designed to let you unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask or ski goggles, can be toggled off in the Settings app under Face ID & Passcode.

Apple did not specify which software update will include a fix, nor did it provide a timeframe. The first beta of iOS 15.1 was released five days ago, but Apple could also choose to release a minor iOS 15.0.1 update with bug fixes.

As we reported, affected users might see an “Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch” error message if they try to unlock their iPhone 13 while wearing a face mask, or they might not be able to set up Unlock with Apple Watch.

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