This week, going online to support businesses owned by Black people, data visualization shows how deadly covid-19 is, Samsung’s got a TV made to be outside, and Clubhouse Games digitizes 51 board games. But first, big tech wants to make working from home permanent.
Tech companies talk about moving to remote workforce
In responding to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies were able to keep employees working from home.
Now, some of them plan to make the shift permanent.
In early May, Jack Dorsey told employees of Twitter and Square that they could work from home “forever”.
Then, on May 21, Tobi Lutke, the CEO of Shopify announced on Twitter that the Canadian business would be “a digital by default company”.
As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.— Tobi Lutke (@tobi) May 21, 2020
On that same day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees that he thinks within 10 years, half of its staff could be “working remotely permanently”.
One of the key benefits to having staff work from home is that there’s no need for the massive cost of office space and supplies. The bigger the company, the more it pays in rent, computer terminals, and water coolers.
It could also open up the job market, because there may be really good hires that just don’t want to move to where the company is based.
A key stumbling block, though, will be how to compensate employees. How will two software engineers with the same skills and position be paid if one lives in rural Manitoba and the other in Silicon Valley?
Going online to support businesses that are owned by Black people
On the subject of Shopify, one of the company’s staffers who interviews Shopify users, Dayna Winter, started a Twitter thread listing businesses with Black founders.
I’ve seen tweets asking if
Shopify</a> has a list of Black-owned businesses. I don’t know if a formal list exists but I’ll do my best, as someone who interviews store owners every day, to highlight the stories of the incredible Black founders I’ve met through my work. (Thread) 1/</p>— Dayna Winter (nicecobra) June 1, 2020
Supporting these businesses is one way to help close wealth gaps and improve representation in our communities and the economy.
Another Twitter thread curated by Jade also lists businesses that are owned by Black people.
Here’s a list of Black owned businesses that you can shop at online so rona can’t stop you! And If you have your own business or know if any more definitely add it to the thread!— JADE (@jadealycebod) May 30, 2020
Shopify pledged a million dollars to be divided between three different organizations: the Black Health Alliance, Campaign Zero, and the Legal Defense Fund.
Critics, however, note that the Shopify software and systems are used by racist and white nationalist organizations, like Brietbart.
Graphic demonstrates just how deadly covid-19 is
Want proof that the novel coronavirus is worse than the seasonal flu? It’s right here.
What this shows is what people worldwide have died from between January 1 of this year and May 24.
More people have died from covid-19 than anything else so far this year. the number is close to 350,000 people.
Samsung’s outdoor television
When I lived in Arizona, I’d frequently drag my old cathode ray tube television out onto the deck to watch TV at night. It was nice being outside in the desert evening, and out of the air conditioning.
Samsung’s just released a TV that’s designed to be outside.
The Terrace is a 4K OLED television that is resistant to water and dust, and has an anti-reflective coating on the screen which the company says will ensure you can still see what’s on even in daylight.
It’s also been configured to deliver sound in an outdoor environment. And if you want even better sound, there’s the accompanying Terrace Soundbar ($1200), which will be available later this summer.
The Terrace QLED comes in three sizes:
- 55-inch for $5,000
- 65-inch for $7,000
- 75-inch for $9,000
At those prices, we’re unlikely to see a Terrace in a bunch of back yards. But it is a solid option for all those restaurants and bars that are looking to build out their patio and al fresco options as they start opening up again.
Playing classic games with friends on your Nintendo Switch with Clubhouse Games
If you’re running out of things to play with the family, Clubhouse Games is a collection of digital versions of 51 different board games that you and the gang can play.
Yes, you could play the actual board games, but who’s got space to store 51 boxes?
Clubhouse Games has something for everyone, too. There are the expected things like chess, checkers, backgammon, and go. And there are lots of things you can do with card, including some basic poker games (blackjack and Texas hold ‘em) as well as speed and president. And there are puzzle and strategy games, like dots and boxes and shogi.
There are dozens of games in this package that were new to me, too, coming from different cultures and regions of the world.
You can play with up to four people, you can connect multiple Switches to play, too. With some games, Mosaic Mode turns four units into one larger play space. With the slot car game, for example, you can rearrange how the four Switches are arranged to get bigger and more varied tracks.
Clubhouse Games is the perfect companion to Animal Crossing for these days of isolating at home. To play them, you’ve gotta get a Switch.