The QR code is booming in the time of COVID

QR Code

The QR code is back with a vengeance in this time of the coronavirus pandemic. The two-dimensional barcode was designed by Masahiro Hara from the Japanese automotive components company Denso Wave for the motor industry in 1994. Its purpose was to allow high-speed component scanning. However, the codes soon became used in a much broader context, including in both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile-phone users (termed mobile tagging). A QR code uses four standardised encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji) to store data efficiently. When…

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Google kills its free, unlimited photo storage

Google, Google Photos

Google, the US multinational technology company, is scrapping its unlimited free photo storage policy. The changes announced by Google also affect storage for other products including Gmail. The business, owned by US$161.9 billion parent company Alphabet, launched unlimited photo storage in 2015 to allow users to easily upload, back up and sort through the thousands of images. “When we say a lifetime of memories, we really mean it,” Google said when it launched the Photos service in 2015. “With Google Photos, you can now back up and store unlimited high-quality…

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Pfizer CEO sold US$5.6 million stock on day of vaccine announcement

Albert Bourla

Pfizer CEO Dr Albert Bourla sold shares worth US$5.6 million on Monday, the same day the pharmaceutical giant announced its coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective. The announcement by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, was a shock as Bourla already had stated: “So let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November.” On Monday, Bourla released that “positive data” and Pfizer shares soared to their highest value since…

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BMW reveals a 300km/h electrified wingsuit

BMW Group, electrified wingsuit, peter salzmann

BMW Group has showcased an electrified wingsuit that can reach speeds of more than 300km/h and can take the sport to a new level. “The innovative drive module and the likewise entirely newly designed wingsuit were developed in a cooperation between BMW i, Designworks and the professional wingsuit pilot Peter Salzmann from Austria,” BMW Group said in a media statement. The electrified wingsuit has been created to allow skydivers to reach higher speeds and enjoy longer periods in freefall. Spinning up to 25,000rpm, the electric motors hang from the wingsuit…

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