Older Generations Are Experiencing a Digital Divide During COVID-19

In this time where we have moved most of our lives to digital platforms, older generations are struggling to learn how to adapt to technology. Many people of the generation feel intimidated by the technology we feel so comfortable using such as food delivery apps and group video calls. 

I was reading a New York Times article about this new sort of digital divide and according to the Times a 2017 Pew Research Study found three-quarters of those older than 65 said that they need someone else to set up electronic devices. Also a third of them said they were “only a little or not at all confident” in their ability to use the web and electronics. 

Those who are 65 and older are the most at risk according to the CDC, and therefore find themselves the most excluded from the outside world as they self quarantine. Many nursing homes have restricted visitors or have completely closed off from them. This group of people are seeking human interaction and communication with loved ones during this time through technology to remain positive, but of course this technology is many times new to them and hard to grasp. 

To help bridge this digital gap, families are helping older relatives find easy-to-use apps and devices, companies and community members are helping set up calls, and officials are calling for people to help older neighbors in the community with their technology if they need it. 

One of the companies that helps older people navigate technology is Candoo. The New York company has recently helped their customers navigate platforms like Zoom with downloadable guides, phone calls, or even sometimes by sharing the costumers screen and showing them where to click. 

I think these companies, as well as people just helping those that need it, is crucial. During this time we are counting on the ability to talk to loved ones through technology, and bridging the gap of a digital divide with older populations helps families be able to stay in touch. 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/technology/virus-older-generation-digital-divide.html

The game that has taken over the internet: ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ launched last friday, the newest release of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing franchise. The game essentially places you on a deserted island where your priorities include building a home, meeting new people, and exploring. 

An article by Business Insider gave readers a closer look into the game and explained how it works and the objectives throughout the game, while also including pictures. They also stated that “it’s the perfect way to escape COVID-19 lockdown life”.

I agree that it seems like a great pastime during this time since the game is one that takes you away from reality and into a different world that is much simpler. Seeing the game all over my Twitter feed has definitely made me consider purchasing a Nintendo Switch to participate.

According to an article posted on The Verge, the popularity of ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ is shown through the 1.88 million physical copies sold in just the first three days, the game on the track to becoming one of the best selling video games in Japan. The release of the game has also boosted sales of the Nintendo Switch itself in Japan, with more than 392,000 consoles sold last week. 

I’m curious to see if any of any of you play ‘Animal Crossing’, and as someone who hasn’t played, do you think the game is worth the hype? 




Anthony Levandowski, Former Uber Executive, Faces Up to 10 Years in Prison

Anthony Levandowski pleaded guilty to trade theft on thursday. He was charged with stealing plans of a driverless-car, which originated when he worked at Google,  when he then left to form his own company, which was acquired by Uber.  

In 2016 Levandowski left Google to start his own autonomous vehicle company, which was then acquired by Uber.  In 2017 Waymo, the self-driving car business owned by Google, sued Uber as they claimed that they bought the company to acquire the information he took from Google. Following that, Uber fired Levandowski and the companies settled the suit in 2018. 

Since then, Waymo filed a separate case accusing Levandowski of illegally poaching it’s employees to work for him, as well as claiming that he stole more than 14,000 files related to Google and Waymo relating to their autonomous vehicle program shortly before his departure. This resulted in him being charged with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google. 

Levandowski ended up pleading guilty to one count of trade secret theft in an agreement to drop the remaining charges.Levandowski is now facing a maximum of 10 years of prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

I’m curious to see your opinion on this case and Levandowski’s wrong doings that have involved Google and Uber, two huge companies. 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/technology/levandowski-uber-google-plea.html

How the Coronavirus is Affecting Aspects of Business- And What They Are Doing In Response

As the Coronavirs continues to spread, it is not only getting people sick, but is affecting how companies normally run their business. In response to the virus, companies have taken precautions such as cancelling meetings, restricting work travel, and even closing the office all together. 

According to a New York Times article, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Microsoft have told their employees to work from home, if possible- which all together is more 75,000 employees in the United States.

Meanwhile, companies that offer services to allow people to hold meetings online, such as Zoom and BlueJeans have seen an uptick in business as more and more employees are having to hold meetings online.

Other companies are being more accommodating than usual because of the circumstances. For example, Airbnb and TaskRabbit have told hosts and guests affected by the outbreak that they could cancel reservations without being charged a fee.

When it comes to social media, companies are working hard to fight off misinformation about the virus on their platforms. Facebook is working closely with the W.H.O, directing any searches for “coronavirus” on the network to the W.H.O or local health authorities, as well as pledging to give the W.H.O unlimited free ads to share important information.

While this virus may be creating a lot of concern around the country and the world, I think it’s great that companies are making choices that will serve to be helpful to their employees and the public during this time.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/technology/coronavirus-tech-businesses.html



The Cost of Convenience- Delivery Apps Can Be Up To 91% More Expensive

I think everyone, myself included, has opted to order food in from a delivery app because of the convenience factor. While I’ve always been aware that it may be more expensive to get dinner this way, a New York Times article I read opened my eyes on how expensive it truly is.

When you order food from a service, such as Grubhub, you have to pay multiple parties: the driver, the Grubhub, and in some cases added extra fees from the restaurant for delivered food. 

Brian X. Chen, the journalist behind the article, tested the four most popular delivery apps in the United States, DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub, and Uber Eats. To compare the prices of each, Chen ordered some identical meals from different places on each app. 

Chen found that the markups on the food deliveries ranged from 7 percent to 91 percent more than the price you would pay if you bought the meal directly from the restaurant.

Chen found that Uber Eats was one of the most expensive. For instance, to order a sandwich from Subway, Uber Eats charged a $3 “small order” fee, as well as added a 15 percent service charge, as well as a separate $3.99 delivery fee, which was determined by his proximity to Subway. 

Chen also found that Uber Eats was the most unpredictable when it came to pricing because the delivery fees fluctuate depending on the availability of couriers when the order was placed, like how Uber’s pricing for rides fluctuate in price depending on demand. 

Though these delivery apps don’t just charge fees through delivery,  the actual price of the food items themselves change depending on what app you order it from. 

Chen found that a food item from a local chinese restaurant that was normally $13.98 at the restaurant cost $16.98 at Uber Eats, Postmates, and DoorDash. This difference in price can happen for various reasons. DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber claimed that the restaurants controlled their food prices. Grubhub said it works with restaurants on their pricing and allows merchants to offer different prices for delivery. 

So next time you think about ordering food from Grubhub after a long day, think if the price of convenience is truly worth it. For me, this has definitely made me realize I need to cook for myself more often and not opt for ordering food.


Up to 91% More Expensive: How Delivery Apps Eat Up Your Budget

Bendable Smartphones: The Next Big Thing?

Technology companies are constantly striving to create the next ‘big thing’ in the tech market- especially when it comes to our everyday devices like our smartphones. In the New York Times article by Brian X. Chen entitled “Foldable Phones Are Here. Do We Really Want Them?”, Chen discusses how some of these technology companies are experimenting with foldable smartphones. 

Some of these companies include Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei. While the idea of a foldable smartphone is innovative and interesting, Chen points out that the reality of it is not as appealing.  

For instance, Samsung’s first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, broke within days of use by tech reviewers when it was released last year. Though, just earlier this month, two new foldable phones have been announced: The Samsung Galaxy Z flip and Lenovo’s Motorola Razr.Both of these devices work by opening up to reveal a standard-size touch screen and then folding to a miniature screen that shows notifications.

When looking at the advantages and disadvantages of these foldable devices, Chen points out that the only advantage is that “you can enjoy a big screen that takes up less space in your pocket”. On the other hand, there’s a lot of disadvantages with these new products.

For starters, to achieve the bendableness of the screen, thinner plastic is used to layer on the screen which is much less durable than the usual glass on phone screens. According to the article, “There’s no protecting the foldable display in a real-world environment the way that consumers treat their smartphones,” said Raymond Soneira, the founder of DisplayMate

Also, when you unfold the phone there is generally a design flaw- there is a visible crease, which is pretty unappealing to the eye compared to our current sleek smartphone screens. On top of everything, these foldable gadgets are pricey. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is $1,380 and Lenovo’s Motorola Razr is $1,500.

After reading my post, what is your opinion on these foldable phones. Do you think it is a good and useful idea, and more importantly, would you think about purchasing one?