Computers & Linux News

Remote Work Is Gutting Downtowns, Will Cost Cities $453 Billion

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-12-06 19:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Insider: Deserted downtowns have been haunting US cities since the beginning of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, 95% of offices were occupied. Today that number is closer to 47%. Employees' not returning to downtown offices has had a domino effect: Less foot traffic, less public-transit use, and more shuttered businesses have caused many downtowns to feel more like ghost towns. Even 2 1/2 years later, most city downtowns aren't back to where they were prepandemic. [...] The increased cancellations of office leases have cratered the office real-estate market. A study led by Arpit Gupta, a professor of finance at New York University's Stern School of Business, characterized the value wipeout as an "apocalypse." It estimated that $453 billion in real-estate value would be lost across US cities, with a 17-percentage-point decline in lease revenue from January 2020 to May 2022. The shock to real-estate valuations has been sharp: One building in San Francisco's Mission District that sold for $397 million in 2019 is on the market for about $155 million, a 60% decline. Other key indicators that economists use to measure the economic vitality of downtowns include office vacancy rates, public-transportation ridership, and local business spending. Across the country, public-transportation ridership remains stuck at about 70% of prepandemic levels. If only 56% of employees of financial firms in New York are in the office on a given day, the health of a city's urban core is negatively affected. The second-order effects of remote work and a real-estate apocalypse are still playing out, but it isn't looking good. Declines in real-estate valuations lead to lower property taxes, which affects the revenue collected to foot the bill of city budgets. Declines in foot traffic have deteriorated business corridors; a recent survey by the National League of Cities suggested cities expect at least a 2.5% decline in sales-tax receipts and a 4% decline in revenue for fiscal 2022. "The solution to the office-housing conundrum seems obvious: Turn commercial spaces like offices into housing. Empty offices can become apartments to ease housing pressure while also bringing more people back to downtown areas," reports Insider. "But after two years, few buildings have been converted." According to the report, it's being hampered by hard-to-justify construction costs and local housing rules. "Overall, combating the death of downtowns requires a reworking of how we think about cities and the value they provide," the report says. "The urban author Jane Jacobs proclaimed in her famous 1958 article for Fortune magazine, 'Downtown Is for People,' that "'there is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.'" "The economic health of cities is intrinsically linked to how space is used or unused, and right now downtowns are undergoing a massive shift. Despite the sluggish movement, it's in cities' best interest to figure out how to quickly convert office-centric downtowns into something more suitable for everyone."

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SpaceX to Launch Starshield, Support National Security Efforts - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 18:44
It's like Starlink, but for the government.

Wednesday Addams' Wild Viral Dance From 'Wednesday' Is All Over TikTok - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 18:38
If you're serious about mastering the dance from the Netflix show, you can even get an online lesson from a professional dancer.

NASA's Mars Helicopter Flies High, Sets Altitude Record - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 18:30
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a freakin' helicopter on Mars making history.

FTC Probes 'Possible Misconduct' In Cryptocurrency Advertising

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-12-06 18:20
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating several unnamed crypto firms over deceptive or misleading crypto advertising, according to a Bloomberg report. Decrypt reports: "We are investigating several firms for possible misconduct concerning digital assets," the FTC spokeswoman Juliana Gruenwald Henderson said in a statement. Henderson declined to share further information about which firms are the subject of the probe or what had prompted the Commission to launch investigations. According to the FTC's website, "when consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it's on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence." Additionally, the agency enforces laws that require truth in advertising, including rules that individuals disclose when they have been paid for endorsements or reviews. "While we can't comment on current events in the crypto markets or the details of any ongoing investigations, we are investigating several firms for possible misconduct concerning digital assets" an FTC spokesperson told Decrypt.

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The Most Badass Off-Road EV Comes From Scotland - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 18:17
The Munro Mk 1 is an EV built for a tough life off the beaten path.

This EV Is Built for a Tough Life Off Road - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 18:17
Meet Scotland's Munro Mk 1 electric off-roader.

Supersonic Travel Without the Sonic Boom: Inside NASA's X-59 Plane - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 18:15
Imagine being able to fly across the world, faster than the speed of sound. With its X-59 aircraft, NASA could open the door to the return of supersonic travel, this time without the explosive boom.

How to Access Your Duolingo Year in Review - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 17:45
It's sort of like Spotify Wrapped for nerds, with more of a report card vibe.

Amazon Luna Can Now Play Games You Own On PC, No Channel Subscriptions Required

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-12-06 17:40
Amazon Luna is one of the better cloud gaming options if you play a lot of Ubisoft titles, and it's getting a big upgrade this week. You can now sync purchases on Luna to PC and play without a subscription. 9to5Google reports: Since its launch, Amazon Luna has worked solely on a subscription model. Players can access games through "channels," each of which includes a rotating selection of games. One of those channels is Ubisoft+, which has a selection of Ubisoft games for $17.99/month that can share that subscription cost with other platforms such as PC. But the one downside of Luna is that you always need one of those subscriptions -- that is, until now. Available starting today, Amazon Luna will allow players to stream Ubisoft games they've purchased on PC without any channel subscriptions needed. You just need accounts from Amazon and from Ubisoft and to purchase compatible games. The only subscription required is Amazon Prime. By syncing Ubisoft Connect with Luna, players can stream their purchases instantly with no downloads and on more devices, such as Chromebooks and smartphones. But unlike other cloud platforms that have allowed purchases, such as Stadia, these games can also be downloaded and played on PC. Amazon notes that once your accounts are linked, future purchases from the Ubisoft Store will automatically appear in Luna.

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HBO Max Again Launches on Amazon Prime Video Channels - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 17:32
Prime customers can pay for both streaming services through Amazon.

Apple Loosens Grip On App Store Pricing With 700 New Price Points

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-12-06 17:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Apple is loosening its requirements around how developers have to price their apps as legal and regulatory pressure over its tight control of the App Store intensifies. The company announced today it's expanding its App Store pricing system to offer developers access to 700 additional price points, bringing the new total number of price points available to 900. It will also allow U.S. developers to set prices for apps, in-app purchases or subscriptions as low as $0.29 or as high as $10,000, and in rounded endings (like $1.00) instead of just $0.99. Similar new policies to reduce restrictions around price points will roll out in global markets, alongside new tools aimed at helping developers better manage pricing outside their local market. The changes will initially become available starting today, Dec. 6, 2022, for auto-renewable subscriptions. They'll become available to paid apps and in-app purchases in Spring 2023. U.S. consumers may have noticed some App Store prices already ended in other digits besides just $0.99. But that's because auto-renewing subscriptions had access to a slightly wider range of price points than other consumables -- including the ability to set their prices as low as $0.49. But these same rules did not apply to non-subscription app pricing, which added to consumer and developer confusion. The new system is looking to simplify the pricing so it's more consistent across the board. For U.S. apps in the lowest tiers, price points can increase in $0.10 increments up to $10.00 going forward. These price steps become less granular when you move into higher price points. For example, between $10 and $50, they then can increase by $0.50 increments. Between $50 and $200, the price steps would be $1.00, and so on. In addition to the updated pricing policies, Apple is also now rolling out tools to help developers better manage currency and taxes across storefronts. Starting today, developers will be able to set their subscription prices in their local currency as the basis for automatically generating pricing across the other 174 storefronts and 44 currencies, or they can choose to manually set prices in each market. When pricing is set automatically, pricing outside a developer's home market will update as foreign exchange and tax rates change. This functionality will expand to all other apps beyond subscription apps in Spring 2023. Also coming in 2023, developers with paid apps and in-app purchases will be able to choose to set local territory pricing, which isn't impacted by automatic price adjustments based on the changes in taxes and foreign exchange rates. And all developers will also be able to define the availability of in-app purchases by storefront.

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'Harry & Meghan' Netflix Series: How to Watch, Royal Racism Controversy, When Will Episodes Drop - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 16:58
Move over, The Crown: six episodes of royal dish and gossip begin Thursday.

Telegram Premium Tops 1 Million Subscribers

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-12-06 16:21
Telegram Premium has amassed over 1 million subscribers, less than six months after the popular instant messaging app launched the paid offering and began a serious effort to monetize the business. From a report: Pavel Durov shared the update on his Telegram channel Tuesday, calling the milestone "one of the most successful examples of a social media subscription plan ever launched." The subscription, however, still "represents just a fraction of Telegram's overall revenue," he shared in the same update, optimistically hoping that one day Premium will rake in just as much money as ads.

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Spotify Review: Still the Best Music Streaming Service - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 16:06
From Spotify Connect to one of the biggest music catalogs available, this is the streaming service to choose.

These Plant-Eating Dinosaurs Whacked Each Other With Sledgehammer-Like Tails - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 16:01
The danger-tails on spiky ankylosaurs likely weren't just for predators.

Amazon is Offering Customers $2 Per Month For Letting the Company Monitor the Traffic on Their Phones

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-12-06 15:41
Some Amazon users will now earn $2 dollar per month for agreeing to share their traffic data with the retail giant. From a report: Under the company's new invite-only Ad Verification program, Amazon is tracking what ads participants saw, where they saw them, and the time of day they were viewed. This includes Amazon's own ads and third-party ads on the platform. Through the program, Amazon hopes to offer more personalized-ad experiences to customers that reflect what they have previously purchased, according to Amazon. "Your participation will help brands offer better products and make ads from Amazon more relevant,"Amazon wrote in its Shopper Panel FAQ. The $2 reward only applies to Amazon users invited to participate in the program, though customers who didn't get invited can get added to a waitlist and potentially join later, an Amazon spokesperson told Insider. The spokesperson declined to tell Insider how the company decided who to invite.

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Apple Reportedly Taps the Brakes on Its Self-Driving Car - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 15:20
The vehicle is now slated to debut in 2026 with fewer capabilities but a lower price tag.

'Wednesday' Is Netflix's No. 5 Most Watched Show Ever, in Any Language - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-12-06 15:00
Netflix says that in 12 days, Wednesday has been watched for 752.5 million total hours. That's more than Bridgerton racked up in twice as much time.