Posts with «small businesses» label

An 'Unpacking' clone topped the App Store charts before it was pulled

Unpacking is a lovely, relaxing puzzle game made by a small team. It's beautifully designed and manages to tell a compelling story with very little text. Unfortunately, its core mechanic — unpacking boxes and placing items in a new home — isn't exactly difficult to copy. One clone quickly found an audience on iOS and Android before it was removed.

If you've happened to catch an ad for a suspiciously similar-looking game to Unpacking📦 on mobile recently, please know that this is not our game.

They sure seem to want to give the impression that it is, though! 🧵 pic.twitter.com/d3ULxxbmSA

— Unpacking 📦 Out NOW! (@UnpackingALife) January 25, 2022

Unpacking Master, which was published by a company called SayGames, was said to be a near-identical copy of Witch Beam Games' title. It adopted a freemium model (users could pay a one-time fee to remove ads) and it briefly topped App Store charts less than a week after it was released. As Game Developer notes, Unpacking Master is no longer available on Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store.

Earlier this month, a spate of Wordle clones barged onto the App Store with copycat developers looking to cash in on the success of the viral hit word game. Those apps were removed as well. These incidents highlight a long-running problem that studios behind popular games (particularly indies) have grappled with.

Knockoff games have plagued mobile app stores for years. For instance, the developers of 2048 made some minor changes to the formula of puzzle game Threes and became a hit. In 2018, publisher Voodoo adopted the central idea of the quirky Donut County (players move around a hole in the ground and swallow up objects) with Hole.io, which soared to the top of App Store and Google Play charts.

In the case of Unpacking, Witch Beam suggested SayGames' clone used almost identical items and very similar level layouts. It said that while other clones failed to find much success, Unpacking Master took off in the wake of an ad campaign on TikTok and Instagram.

"It's demoralizing for a small team like ours to see content we spent literally years planning, refining and handcrafting be hastily reproduced in an opportunistic ad-riddled app a mere 3 months after our launch," the team wrote on Twitter. "We're a tiny indie team and even with the success we have achieved, we still don't have the resources to pursue companies trying to use our game's distinct look and feel to make a quick buck. We have to rely on storefronts like the App Store to better curate their content."

At least for now, the original Unpacking isn't available via mobile app stores, though you can pick it up on PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch and Xbox. It's on Game Pass as well, so you can play over the cloud if you're eager to check it out on a phone or tablet.

Samsung's 1TB T7 Touch SSD is $50 off at Amazon

Samsung's handy T7 Touch portable SSD is cheaper right now than it was during the holiday shopping season just a couple of months ago. The 1TB black model is down to a new low of $140, which is $50 off and the best price we've seen it. Most other versions are also discounted, including the 500GB model for $105, but you'll get the best deal if you go for the black 1TB drive.

Buy T7 Touch (1TB) at Amazon - $140

Storage gadgets are some that are useful to keep around, but often expensive to get your hands on. That's why we recommend waiting for a sale like this one to pick up an extra drive, SD card and the like while you can get them for less. Samsung's T7 Touch is a palm-sized portable SSD with read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s and write speeds up to 1,000 MB/s, plus features like Dynamic Thermal Guard to control heat levels. While the drive supports optional password protection, the kicker here is its built-in fingerprint reader that you can use as an extra layer of security.

The T7 Touch's compact design helps it fit into nearly any bag you may be carrying, plus its shock- and drop-resistant aluminum unibody should protect it from too much damage if it accidentally takes a tumble. We also appreciate that it comes with both USB-C to C and USB-C to A cables, allowing you to use the drive with most laptops, smartphones, tablets and even some game consoles.

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COVIDTests.gov is accepting orders for free rapid tests a day early

Folks in the US can now order free, at-home COVID-19 tests from a United States Postal Service website, one day earlier than expected. Last week, the Biden administration said people would be able to place orders starting on Wednesday. At the time of the announcement, COVIDtests.gov was a placeholder site, but it now directs users to the USPS to place an order.

Households can each request one set of four rapid antigen tests. USPS will start shipping the kits later this month and usually within seven to 12 days of ordering. 

The administration says the site went live one day early as part of its beta phase, according toCNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Officials are hoping to troubleshoot the site and ensure the official launch goes smoothly on Wednesday. Sure enough, at the time of writing, some people were having trouble loading the site, so you might not be able to place an order right away.

The COVIDtests.gov site provides some more information about the tests. You should see results within 30 minutes and can be taken anywhere. It provides guidance on when to take a test, as well as directions on what to do based on the results. The site also has resources about testing sites and insurance reimbursement for at-home tests.

The Biden administration said it was buying a billion rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests to distribute to Americans. Half of those are expected to be available for order this week. The White House said its goal was to make sure everyone has a test available when they need one, especially given that tests are in high demand and are often difficult to find in stores.

Tech that can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions

Regardless of how 2021 went for you, 2022 is another chance for all of us to make the new year better than those that came before it. We set New Year’s resolutions with the best of intentions, but it’s no wonder that so many people fail after just a few weeks – old habits die hard. Just as it’s important to have a supportive group of people cheering you on during those particularly hard days, it’s also important to have tools that make it easier to achieve your goals. Whether you’re trying to get healthy, be more organized, or read more, there are tech tools that can make your journey a bit easier (and maybe even more enjoyable).

Fitness tracker

Fitbit

A fitness tracker can help kickstart your exercise journey by passively monitoring your wins and showing you daily data about your steps, sleep patterns and more. Fitbit’s Inspire 2 is an all-around good option, not only because it’s fairly affordable at $100, but because it does pretty much everything a beginner would need a fitness tracker to do. It tracks daily steps, calories, heart rate, sleep and more, and it comes with 20 goal-based exercises that you can manually track or let the device’s automatic SmartTrack feature monitor for you. It also has 10-day battery life, so you rarely have to take it off to charge it. And with built-in Tile functionality, you’ll be able to more easily find the device if you do misplace it.

Smartwatch

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

If you’d rather invest in an all-purpose wearable that also has serious fitness chops, the Apple Watch SE is a good choice. While it doesn’t include some of the bells and whistles that the Series 7 does, it still fferes the same core experience as any Apple Watch. It tracks all-day activity and heart rate, and watchOS finally does basic sleep tracking, too. In addition to built-in GPS for outdoor workouts, it supports dozens of trackable exercises along with fall detection and high and low heart rate notifications. The Apple Watch also excels over basic fitness trackers when it comes to table-stakes smartwatch features: You’ll be able to send and receive text messages from the device, as well as control music playback, smart home devices and more.

Workout classes

millann via Getty Images

If running isn’t your thing, or it’s just inconvenient to do it where you live, finding exercise classes that you enjoy can make working out a habit you’re more likely to stick with for the long haul. You may prefer to do this through your local gym — that push to get out of the house and into a dedicated exercise space can be really effective for some — but there are plenty of online fitness classes as well that you can participate in from the comfort of your living room. I’ve tried my fair share of these services and my favorite has been Peloton. No, you don’t need one of the company’s expensive bikes or treadmills to take advantage of their classes. Access to the app-only version of the subscription costs $13 per month and it lets you take HIIT, strength, yoga and even outdoor running classes, many of which require little to no equipment at all.

If you can’t afford another monthly subscription fee, the internet has tons of free exercise resources — you just have to work a little harder to find the ones you jive with most. I highly recommend Fitness Blender, a free website where you can watch hundreds of workout videos and even set a schedule for yourself, assigning videos to specific days of the week. I like the quality and consistency of their videos, but you may connect more to YouTube workout videos if they’re taught by instructors you like; Heather Robertson and Move with Nicole are two personal favorites.

Habit tracker

Forest

At least in the beginning, keeping track of new habits you’re trying to build can help you stick to them. While you can get deep into this subject if you wander down the bullet-journal rabbit hole, a habit-tracking app is probably the easier option. Done and Strides are two iOS options that let you log when you’ve completed a new habit you’re trying to build or when you avoided a bad habit that you’re trying to break. You can get pretty granular, customizing how often you want to do a task, setting reminders to log, reviewing stats and more. However, both apps have paid tiers to which you’ll be asked to subscribe after you create a few trackable habits.

If you’d rather avoid yet another subscription, consider an app like Streaks, which can be all yours for a one-time fee of $5. As for Android, Grow is a free app that takes a similar approach to habit tracking that Forest takes with time management. Plant a virtual tree for each new habit tracked and watch it grow every time you log a completion. There’s also Habitica, which turns habit tracking to an 8-bit RPG game in which your custom avatar levels up every time you log a task.

To-do and note-taking apps

Things 3

The new year provides an opportunity to get back on track, and one way to do that is by finding organizational tools that work for you — and making sure those tools are as uncomplicated as possible. The worst thing that could happen is that your to-do list or note-taking system ends up being so cumbersome that you avoid using it. Keeping all of your necessary tasks in your head may work on easy days, but it can quickly get overwhelming when you have a million things to handle in both your personal and professional life. I’m a fan of Things for iOS and macOS because it’s detailed enough for big work projects, but simple enough for casual personal tasks. I also love the Today view, which shows me everything across all of my projects that requires immediate attention.

However, you’ll spend $80 to get Things for iOS, iPadOS and macOS — and it’s only available for Apple devices. Microsoft’s To Do is an alternative that, while less involved than Things 3, is free and works on almost every platform including iOS, Android and Windows, among others. You can keep it simple and just have a task list and a grocery list, or you can go deeper and add due dates, sub-tasks and even share lists with family members. And if you don’t want to bother with an extraneous app, you can always opt for the reminders app that (most likely) came preinstalled on your phone. That would be Reminders for iOS users and Google Keep for Android users.

Google Keep also doubles as a note-taking app, which will be a better solution if you’ve been constantly jotting down ideas for new projects on Post-It notes or scraps of paper that you eventually lose. Apple Notes is the default option for this on iOS devices, and there are plenty of other note-taking apps out there as well. I’m partial to Evernote simply because it’s become my digital file box of sorts. I take notes in it almost every day, but tons of things like online order receipts, messages from my doctor’s office and e-signed contracts all come to me through my email and eventually get saved and tagged in Evernote so I can easily find them in the future.

Password manager

1Password

If you’re looking to up your organization game in the new year, a password manager is a great place to start. I’m partial to 1Password, but there are plenty of other options including LastPass (which has a free version), Bitwarden and Dashlane. After saving all of your passwords for various accounts, you only need to remember one (hence the name) to log in to your 1Password account and access all of the others. The service has browser extensions Chrome, Edge and others that will let you seamlessly log in with the proper credentials with just a few clicks, and 1Password has apps for most platforms including iOS and Android, so you can use it on all of your devices.

I also appreciate the Password Generator feature, which helps you create a new, secure password whenever one of yours has expired. LassPass has this too, and Dashlane even has a free tool that anyone can use to make more secure passwords. Not only does this take the onus of coming up with a strong key off your shoulders, but it also makes it easy to override old credentials with new ones.

Travel tech organizer

Bellroy

One of the consequences of the past two is the dual-office life. Many of us now work both from home and from an office, and the last thing you want to do when you arrive in either place is rummage around your backpack only to realize that you’ve left your mouse, charging cable or dongle at your other desk.

An organizer bag can prevent this before it happens – we’re partial to BagSmart tech organizers thanks to their utilitarian, water-repellent designs and their multiple pockets and dividers. They also come in different sizes, so you can pick the best one for your commuter bag. If you want something a bit more elevated, Bellroy’s Desk Pouch is a good option. It’s pricier but for the money you get a more elegant design, with a higher-quality material (recycled nylon, weave or ripstop, depending on the color you choose) and a structured base that keeps the bag upright on your desk.

Computer docking station

CalDigit

It’s all too easy for your work-from-home setup to get really messy really quickly. When you’re going through your busiest times at work, the last thing you’re thinking about is cable management, but dedicating a bit more effort into tidying up your workspace can make your day to day more efficient and more enjoyable.

We recommend some sort of docking station to keep your laptop, monitors, accessories and the like in check. A couple good options are CalDigit’s TS3 Plus and Plugable’s Universal Docking Station. The former has a compact, rectangular design with a total of 16 different ports on it, including a Gigabit Ethernet jack, five USB-A connections, two Thunderbolt 3 sockets and analog audio in/out ports. The latter stands up vertically on your desk and has 13 connectors, including HDMI and DVI ports, six USB-A connections and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. That DVI port may be a deciding factor for you depending on which monitor you have, and Plugable’s device comes with both DVI to HDMI and DVI to VGA adapters.

While both of those options are stationary, there are plenty of adapters out there that can give you similar organization while on the go, albeit in a less elegant package. Anker’s USB-C hub is an affordable solution that includes an HDMI port, microSD and SD card readers, two USB-C connections and two USB-A ports. It also supports 100W power pass-through, so you can charge your laptop through the hub while using it.

Instant Pot

Instant Pot / Best Buy

Eating healthier — or even just avoiding takeout multiple times a week — can be challenging in part because it usually means cooking more at home. Not only is that hard to do when you’re starting from zero, but it’s especially tough because it takes more time than ordering in from your phone. But tools like an Instant Pot can make the process easier because it cuts your active cooking time down drastically. You can find a plethora of recipes in which you simply throw a bunch of ingredients into the pot, set it and forget it until it’s time to eat.

We recommend the Instant Pot Duo for beginners because it’s relatively affordable and combines seven different cooking methods into one appliance, including rice cooking, steaming, pressure cooking, slow cooking and more. If you’re primarily cooking for yourself and a partner, the three-quart model will serve you just fine, but we recommend the six-quart model if you’re routinely cooking for four or more. If the thought of cooking at home actually excites you rather than fills you with anxiety, consider the Instant Pot Ultra, which includes a few extra modes like cake maker and egg cooker, or the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, which includes an air-fry lid.

Recipe organization

RichLegg via Getty Images

One of the best things about cooking at home is finding recipes that you love so much that you want to make over and over again. You’ll want to keep those recipes safe and readily available so you can refer to them when you need a quick weeknight meal or a dish to bring to your next family reunion. Recipe cards are a great way to do this, and you’ll build up your rolodex of delicious meals over time. If you’d rather have a cookbook of sorts that you fill in yourself over time, opt for a recipe book instead.

If you’d rather keep your arsenal of recipes accessible at any time, anywhere from your phone, Paprika’s recipe management app is the best solution I’ve tried. The $5 app basically acts as your digital recipe box, allowing you to enter recipes of your own as well as download them from the internet. You know those hundreds of words that precede online recipes, in which the author divulges their entire life story before telling you their secret to making deliciously moist cornbread? Paprika strips all of those unnecessary bits out and only saves the ingredient list and the instructions. You can also make grocery lists and keep track of pantry staples in the app, so don’t be surprised if it quickly becomes one of your most-used kitchen tools.

Reading app

Scribd

Don’t take your habit of doom-scrolling on Twitter for hours every day into the new year. You could instead use the internet to find other things to read and the free Libby app is a good place to start. Powered by Overdrive, it connects you with your local library’s digital collection, allowing you to borrow and download all kinds of e-books, audiobooks, magazines, graphic novels and more. Libby also has a tag system that you can use to “save” titles for later without actually putting a hold on them (although you can do that in the app, too). If you find a bunch of audiobooks you eventually want to get to, you can give them all a “TBR” tag so you can quickly find them and borrow one when you need new reading/listening material.

As someone who uses Libby on a regular basis, I love how easy it is to borrow from my local library without leaving my home. However, there have been numerous times in which my library doesn’t have a title I’m looking for. If that happens to you often, you may want to consider a subscription service like Kindle Unlimited or Scribd, both of which give you unlimited access to a wide library of e-books for $10 per month. And for audiobook lovers, your options are Amazon’s Audible or Libro.fm, the latter of which lets you choose the local bookstore you want to support with your purchases.

E-reader

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

E-readers are still around because so many people recognize how much better it can be to read e-books on a dedicated device — especially one with an e-paper display. Sure, you could read on your smartphone or a tablet, but staring at those screens all day long can be tiring for your eyes. An e-reader like Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo’s Clara HD is a better choice not only for its more comfortable display, but also because it focuses your attention on reading. (If you’ve ever picked up your smartphone intending to finish a chapter only to be distracted by email or Twitter, you know how crucial this is.)

The new Kindle Paperwhite has a 6.8-inch display with adjustable warm lights, 20 percent faster page turns and weeks of battery life. The Clara HD is similar, with a 6-inch E-Ink display, adjustable brightness and color temperature, along with weeks of battery life. If you already get most of your e-books through Amazon, the Paperwhite is the best option. You can listen to Audible audiobooks, too, if you connect a pair of wireless earbuds to the e-reader. Kobo’s device primarily gets books via the Kobo Store, but it also supports various file types like EPUB, PDF and MOBI. Plus, it has on-device integration with Overdrive, allowing you to borrow library books directly from the e-reader.

Telegram adds iMessage-style reactions and hidden text for spoilers

Telegram is squeezing in one last major update before 2021 wraps up. Among the new features is hidden text to mask spoilers. So, if you can't wait to blab about what happens in Spider-Man: No Way Home before everyone in the chat has seen it, you can select any section of your text and use the Spoiler formatting. This will hide the text in the chat, notifications and chat list. When your friends are ready to read what you think about [redacted] showing up, they can tap the spoiler text to read it.

Also new are iMessage-style reactions. You can double tap any message to send a thumbs-up reaction. Tapping once (or tapping and holding on iOS) will let you select other emoji, such as a grin, fire, a shocked face or a thumbs down. You can change the default double-tap emoji in the Chat Settings on Android, and under the Stickers and Emoji section in iOS settings.

In private chats, reactions are always enabled. Channel and group admins can decide whether to switch them on and what reactions the other members can choose from.

Elsewhere, Telegram now has a useful translation option. Through the Language section in Settings, you can enable translation, which adds a Translate button to the context menu. You can nix languages you're able to understand and the Translate button won't be available on messages you receive in those languages. Translation is available on all Android devices, but iPhone and iPad users will need to be running iOS 15 or later. The number of languages Telegram supports depends on your operating system.

In addition, users can generate QR codes for anyone with a public username, as well as bots, groups and channels. You can tap the QR code icon next to their username and select the colors and pattern before sharing it elsewhere. You can find your own QR code in Settings.

The Telegram team redesigned the context menus on macOS with new shortcut hints and animated icons. The app will display a full-screen effect in one-on-one chats when you send certain emoji too.

Earlier this year, Telegram added group video calls and other features, including a way to block others in group chats from taking screenshots and saving shared media, as well as live streams with unlimited viewers. There's been some blowback against Telegram this year, however, with reports suggesting there has been a significant uptick in the level of cybercriminal activity taking place on the encrypted messaging app.

Xiaomi’s 12 Series phones are among the first with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chips

Xiaomi has unveiled its latest lineup of flagship smartphones and wearables. The Xiaomi 12 Series, which is only available in China for now, includes two sizes of phones: Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro.

Both are among the first devices to run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and they boast LPDDR5 RAM. The Xiaomi 12 has a 4,500mAh battery, while the 12 Pro has what the company claims is the first single-cell 120W, 4,600mAh battery. Xiaomi says it offers an increased capacity of 400mAh over dual-cell batteries without having to increase the size.

The base model's camera array includes Sony's 50MP IMX766 as the main camera, a 13MP ultra-wide angle lens and a 5MP telemacro sensor. The 12 Pro, meanwhile, has the new Sony IMX707 sensor, an ultra-wide camera with a 115-degree field of view and a 2x telephoto camera for portraits. All three sensors are 50MP, while the main camera improves light capture by up to 49 percent over the previous model, according to Xiaomi. 

On the front, each device has a 32MP sensor. The front-facing holepunch camera was positioned on the left on the Mi 11 series, but, as with the 11T devices, it's in the center this time.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi noted that Night Mode is available on both devices, each of which is said to have a camera that works well in low-light scenarios. The company says it's introducing a new imaging computing algorithm, which it claims improves capture speed and shutter lag.

The Xiaomi 12 has a 6.28-inch flexible OLED display with a 2,400 × 1,080 resolution, 1,100 nits of brightness and a refresh rate of 120Hz. The 12 Pro offers a 6.73-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 3,200 x 1,440 and 1,500 nits of brightness. Xiaomi says the display uses micro-lens tech, which it claims improves the "viewing experience while increasing smart energy-saving capability." Both devices have HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support.

On the audio side, both handsets have symmetrical dual speakers and Dolby Atmos support. The 12 Pro features a customized mid-woofer and tweeter.

The devices will go on sale on December 31st, starting at RMB 3,699 (around $580) for the Xiaomi 12 and RMB 4,699 (approximately $738) for Xiaomi 12 Pro. The company also said it will release a lower-cost version of the Xiaomi 12 on the same day. The Xiaomi 12X has a Snapdragon 870 chipset and starts at RMB 3,199 ($500).

The phones will use MIUI 13, an OS based on Android 12 that's also coming to Mi 11 series handsets, Xiaomi 11T and other phones and tablets. Xiaomi's smart watches, speakers and TVs will also harness the OS to help unify the ecosystem. A feature called Mi Smart Hub will allow users to share things like their screen, music and apps with multiple nearby devices using a simple gesture.

Xiaomi

In addition, Xiaomi revealed its latest smartwatch. The Xiaomi Watch S1 has a 1.43-inch AMOLED screen with a sapphire glass display and stainless steel frame. It will offer detailed health stats and has support for 117 fitness modes. The device has a 5ATM water resistance rating too. Xiaomi says the device has a 12-day battery life and up to 24 days of standby time.

Like the new phones, the Xiaomi Watch S1 will only be available in China for the time being. It starts at RMB 1,099 ($172).

Xiaomi

Also new are the Xiaomi Buds 3, which have dual-magnetic dynamic drivers. The earbuds offer up to 40dB noise cancellation and three active noise cancellation modes. Xiaomi says owners will get up to seven hours of playback on a single charge and up to 32 hours of total use with the charging case. The Xiaomi Buds 3 will cost RMB 449 ($70).

While these devices are geared toward the Chinese market, they could make their way elsewhere at a later date. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun hinted as much on Twitter.

DJI's Mavic Mini drone combo pack is $200 off today only

DJI's Mavic Mini drone is arguably the best model for most people in the company's lineup purely because it's small, easy to take with you and fairly simple to fly. At $500, the Mavic Mini is expensive for a high-tech toy, but much more affordable that full-sized drones. But for today only, you can get the Mini in a combo pack for $200 off, bringing it down to $300. The pack includes the drone, the remote control, three batteries, three pairs of spare propellers, a number of cables and extra control sticks and a carrying bag.

Buy Mavic Mini combo pack at Amazon - $300

DJI is known for making impressive drones, and the Mavic Mini is no exception. One of the biggest hurdles of flying a drone is deciding to take it with you, and that can be a difficult decision when you have a massive flying machine to consider. But the Mavic Mini is small enough that it can really come with you anywhere without inducing much anxiety. When folded up, it's roughly the size of a soda can and weighs about the same as a large smartphone, making it light and fairly discrete.

It's also pretty easy to fly, and you can do so with either your smartphone or the included remote. It holds up to wind decently, and although it doesn't have obstacle avoidance like DJI's larger drones, it does have GPS and a downward-facing sensor that helps it hold position even when you don't have satellite reception. The Mini shoots video in 2.7K/30fps or 1080p/60fps and it supports Dronie, Rocket, Circule and Helix QuickShots, which are automatic moves that the drone can perform to get some cool footage in a short amount of time. There's no ActiveTrack on the Mini, which is a bummer, but it's to be expected that DJI would save some advanced features for its higher-end models.

Our biggest gripes with the Mavic Mini are the fewer smart modes at its disposal, along with the core camera features it's missing and a slightly flakey video stream over WiFi connectivity. Otherwise, it's a solid, compact drone that's a great options for those eager to get their hands on one of these gadgets without dropping too much money.

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Pinterest will no longer force former employees to keep quiet about discrimination cases

Pinterest will no longer enforce former employees' nondisclosure agreements when it comes to cases of racial and gender-based discrimination, according to NBC News. That's part of the terms the company has agreed to in order to settle the lawsuit filed by its shareholder, the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island, for allegedly enabling a culture of discrimination. In addition, it has committed $50 million towards increasing diversity and inclusion within the company.

The shareholder sued Pinterest after allegations made by former employees Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks became public. In a series of tweets, Ozoma detailed how she fought for a year to be paid and treated fairly. She said Pinterest responded inadequately when one of her white male colleagues shared her name and phone number to racist/misogynistic parts of the internet. Her colleague reportedly doxxed her after she suggested adding a warning on content from Ben Shapiro, whom she'd described as a "white supremacist."

Meanwhile, Banks said her manager made disparaging comments about her ethnicity (she's Black and Japanese) in front of colleagues. Both Ozoma and Banks said they were paid less than their manager, a white man, despite having similar workloads. 

The Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island argued that by allowing those events to take place, executives perpetrated or knowingly ignored "the long-standing and systemic culture of discrimination and retaliation at Pinterest." Thus, they breached their fiduciary duty. Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said:

"We pushed for these sweeping reforms to support Pinterest's employees with a fair and safe workplace, and to strengthen the company's brand and performance by ensuring that the values of inclusiveness are made central to Pinterest's identity." 

As NBC News notes, the fact that Pinterest agreed to release employees from their NDAs reflects the work Ozoma has accomplished since she left the company. She co-sponsored the Silenced No More Act that will make it easier for workers to speak out about racism and harassment in the workplace even if they had previously signed NDAs. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it into law in October, and it will be enforced starting on January 1st. 

Ozoma and Banks aren't the only former employees who spoke out against Pinterest. Former COO Françoise Brougher also said that she was fired after she told CEO Ben Silbermann that she was being given gendered feedback and was being paid less than her male counterparts. She sued the company last year and settled for $22.5 million.

Amazon launches a dedicated Prime Video app for Mac

Amazon has released a Prime Video app for Mac, and you can now get it for free from the App Store. You can use the app to download videos for offline viewing on your computer, which sounds especially useful for long business trips and vacations. The Verge reports that the app will let you choose the quality of the video you're streaming or downloading, and it supports native macOS features such as Picture-in-Picture and AirPlay. Within the app, you'll find a dedicated tab where you can rent and purchase content, as well. You'll just have sure you're running macOS Big Sur or later to be able to access the application.

The company has also released a redesigned version of its Photos app for iOS and the web, which now let you search for people, places and years. It shows the faces of people that usually appear in your photos as clickable options, so you can see all the photos they've appeared in. If you want to narrow down the results, you can choose the year and the places where the pictures were taken, as well. The refreshed apps also come with a new interface, which you can get a glimpse of in this video:

Amazon's Photos app gives you unlimited storage for full-resolution images and for up to 5GB of videos if you're a Prime member. If you don't have Prime, you'll still get 5GB of free storage for your media overall. 

Qualcomm is trying to simplify app creation for AR glasses

Qualcomm is betting it can become a cornerstone in the augmented reality world. The chipmaker has unveiled a Snapdragon Spaces platform that helps developers create apps for "next generation" AR glasses. The toolset includes tech to help understand environments and users (including gesture and hand tracking from the newly acquired HINS), software kits for 3D engines like Unreal, OpenXR support and hooks for platforms like Niantic's Lightship and Unity's AR Foundation.

The ultimate aim is to make AR more accessible. Ideally, developers will make apps directly available to you through mobile app stores, using glasses tethered to smartphones. You might not see Snapdragon Spaces used for stand-alone glasses, at least not at first.

The manufacturer support will be there. Spaces won't be widely available until spring 2022, but Qualcomm has lined up partners like Lenovo (including Motorola), Oppo and Xiaomi. Carriers like T-Mobile and NTT DoCoMo will help build "5G experiences" using Spaces. Lenovo will be the first to make use of the technology, pairing its ThinkReality A3 glasses with an unnamed Motorola phone.

It's too soon to know if Snapdragon Spaces will have a meaningful effect on AR. While this should streamline app work, that will only matter if there are both compelling projects and AR glasses people want to buy. This also won't be much help for iPhone owners waiting on possible Apple AR devices. Efforts like this might lower some of the barriers, though, and it's easy to see a flurry of AR software in the near future.