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Slack is down: no, it's not just you unable to connect to Slack

Slack is down as communication for businesses grinds to a halt on the first Monday of 2021.
Source: TechRadar

This PS2-themed black PS5 goes on sale January 8, but you probably won't get one

If you’ve been waiting for a black PS5 with a retro aesthetic, this PS2-themed PlayStation 5 might be for you.
Source: TechRadar

Best AirPlay speakers: the best Apple-friendly wireless speakers in 2021

Here are the best wireless speakers to stream audio from your iPhone or iPad.
Source: TechRadar

Brexit deal recommends using long-dead software

The new Brexit trade agreement makes reference to long-defunct computer programs, including Mozilla Mail and Netscape Communicator.
Source: TechRadar

The best Bluetooth speakers 2021: the top portable speakers for any budget

Looking for the best Bluetooth speaker money can buy? Here are the top portable speakers on the market right now.
Source: TechRadar

It’s not just you, Slack is struggling this morning

Slack did its best to ease the working world back into their jobs this morning by breaking, ensuring that everyone’s return to the grind would be as chaotic and unproductive as possible.

Precisely when the downtime began is not clear, though problems amongst the TechCrunch staff began a little after ten o’clock in the morning. Slack itself posted at 10:14 am Eastern Time that there was a problem:

Downtime issues are not new for the workplace chat application that went public in mid-2019, before announcing a deal to sell itself to Salesforce towards the end of 2020. TechCrunch covered the service’s uptime issues in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and so forth.

The downtime is embarrassing as Slack is in the midst of selling itself for a hefty check. For a service designed to help folks work, falling apart precisely when the users — customers! — you serve are trying to gear back up for a working year is simply awful.

I suppose we can call one another until Slack is back up.

To close, here’s the view from Redmond, with its competing Teams product:


Source: TechCrunch

Teledyne to acquire FLIR in $8 billion cash and stock deal

Industrial sensor giant Teledyne is set to acquire sensing company FLIR in a deal valued at around $8 billion in a mix of stock and cash, pending approvals with an expected closing date sometime in the middle of this year. While both companies make sensors, aimed primarily at industrial and commercial customers, they actually focus on different specialties that Teledyne said in a press release makes FLIR’s business complimentary to, rather than competitive with, its existing offerings.

FLIR’s technology has appeared in the consumer market via add-on thermal cameras designed for mobile devices, including the iPhone. These are useful for things like identifying the source of drafts and potential plumbing leaks, but the company’s main business, which includes not only thermal imaging, but also visible light imaging, video analysts and threat detection technology, serves deep-pocketed customers including the aerospace and defense industries.

Teledyne also serves aerospace and defense customers, including NASA, as well as healthcare, marine and climate monitoring agencies. The company’s suite of offerings include seismic sensors, oscilloscopes and other instrumentation, as well as digital imaging, but FLIR’s products cover some areas not currently addressed by Teledyne, and in more depth.

The UK Denies Assange's Extradition, Citing Suicide Risk

The ruling is based not on whether the Wikileaks founder violated the Espionage Act, but on the implications of subjecting him to the US carceral state.
Source: Wired

Venmo adds a check cashing feature, waives fees for stimulus checks

Venmo this morning announced it will begin to offer a new check cashing service, “Cash a Check,” in the Venmo mobile app. The feature, which is being rolled out to select users starting today, can be used to cash printed, payroll and U.S. government checks, including the new stimulus checks, the company says. Though typically there will be fees associated with the Cash a Check feature, Venmo says these are being waived on stimulus funds for a limited time.

To be eligible to use Cash a Check, Venmo customers will need to have either Direct Deposit or a Venmo Debit Card enabled on their account, location services turned on, and a verified email address.

Customers who gain access to the feature will then be able take a picture of their endorsed check and send it to the Venmo app to review, much like they would if cashing a check in a mobile banking app. The check will be reviewed in a few seconds, though in special circumstances, the review may take several minutes or even up to an hour before the approval decision is made.

If approved, the money will be immediately transferred to the customer’s Venmo account.

Venmo will temporarily waive fees on stimulus checks rolling out now and over the next couple of weeks, but eventually 1% fees will apply to any government or payroll check cashed in the app with a pre-printed signature, with a minimum fee of $5.00. Other checks, including hand-signed payroll and government checks, will have a 5% check cashing fee, or $5.00 minimum, according to PayPal’s terms.

At launch, the Cash a Check service is provided by partners First Century Bank, N.A. and Ingo Money, Inc. Ingo Money already offers a similar feature to Venmo parent company, PayPal, to allow users to cash checks in the PayPal app. 

“We’re always looking for new ways to make it easier for our community to access and manage their money, especially as people continue to experience financial hardships amidst the global pandemic,” said Darrell Esch, Venmo SVP and GM, in a statement about the new service.

“We know that with health and safety top of mind for many, having a safe way to access stimulus payments is essential for many of our customers, especially those who are receiving paper checks and traditionally would have to visit a physical check-cashing location,” he said. “By introducing the Venmo Cash a Check feature, we are not only enabling our customers to access their money quickly and safely from the comfort of their own homes but are also waiving all fees for cashing government issued checks to ensure customers can use their stimulus funds to pay for the things they need most,” he added.

The company’s move into check cashing doesn’t make the peer-to-peer payment app an alternative to online banking, however. Instead, it serves largely as a way for Venmo to benefit from the influx of stimulus payments that are rolling out now to its U.S. users.

Fintech companies have been scrambling to prove their worth to customers by offering faster and easier access to stimulus payments. Banking startups like Current and Chime, for example, began sending out payments to customers ahead of other traditional banking institutions.

In addition, the stimulus funds can help boost Venmo’s bottom line beyond just the fees it charges. As Venmo users gain access to their stimulus payments or payroll in the app, they may then use that money to make transactions with online merchants or with their Venmo debit card. This transactions allow Venmo to make money through transaction fees, as well.

Venmo said the feature is rolling out now to mobile app users on iOS and Android. The company recommends users download the latest version of the app and updated to the latest operating system on their mobile device for the best performance.


Source: TechCrunch

Samsung's Galaxy S21 will debut at Jan. 14 Unpacked event – CNET

Samsung chose to launch the phone at the tail end of next week’s CES conference.
Source: CNET

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