Science & Technology



WeChat is a lifeline for the Chinese diaspora. What happens now that Trump banned it?

Cindy Wang's whole life is on WeChat.

Through the Chinese everything app, the 24-year-old shops for clothing and sends photos and audio messages to her grandma and uncle in Guangzhou. It's how she schedules appointments with her hairstylist and where she found her bao supplier -- a local woman who sells the steamed buns out of her car.

For ...Read more

Amazon wins loyal Walmart shoppers as Americans stampede online

Walmart Inc. shoppers are a pretty loyal bunch. But when virus-spooked Americans began avoiding stores earlier this year and shifting spending online, far more Walmart customers went to Inc. than So even though Walmart, too, has thrived as an essential service amid the pandemic, Amazon is benefiting more. In the first ...Read more

Tech Q&A: File problems may not stem from Windows 10

Q: When I bought a Windows 10 PC last year, I had all my Word files from Windows 7 transferred to the new computer. But I couldn't open those files using Word on Windows 10, and Word was unable to convert the files to a format that it could read. As a result, I had to use a program called Cool File Viewer that allowed me to open all my old ...Read more

GPS, watch out. Here comes China's system

Covid-19 may have left roads around the globe barren of cars, but it hasn't stopped China from claiming leadership over the world of navigation and digital mapping. Watch out, GPS.

Big plans are in the making. China has launched the final leg of its BeiDou Navigation Satellite system, or BDS, completing the build-out of a network that competes ...Read more

A coral sex milestone: Lab-grown and replanted corals to spawn in the Florida Keys

MIAMI -- Not long after the August full moon, Florida's reefs are the scene of an annual show of sexual reproduction called the coral spawn, with coral colonies releasing masses of tiny white, pink and orange spheres into the ocean.

This year, for the first time, corals raised by scientists in a lab and transplanted to the natural reefs are ...Read more

National University of Singapore/TNS/TNS

Researchers draw from 'Star Wars' in developing artificial skin able to replicate sense of touch

The Force is strong with these scientists.

Researchers in Singapore are working on a type of artificial skin that can replicate the sense of touch for people who use prosthetic limbs, Reuters reported.

The National University of Singapore scientists drew inspiration from Luke Skywalker's highly advanced artificial right hand in "Star Wars," ...Read more


Oculus VR devices give viewers a new perspective inside the NBA bubble

This is the closest fans will get inside the NBA bubble.

To punch that ticket, they'll have to strap on an Oculus virtual reality headset, find a comfortable seat and just watch. Viewers may be at home, but through VR technology, they'll be transported courtside to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World.

Rather than a static ...Read more

Anda Chu/San Jose Mercury News/TNS

Coronavirus shutdowns expose low-income Bay Area students' struggle to get online

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Oakland student Jessica Ramos spent a lot of time on her phone after COVID-19 shuttered Skyline High School in March. But she wasn't just tweeting or texting friends.

She was reading her AP Language thesis over the phone, one line at a time, to her English teacher. Without an internet connection at home, it was the only way...Read more


Jim Rossman: Word for iPad is free — for some users

This week's reader question is a follow-up to my recent review of the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro.

"In today's review, you talked about replacing your laptop with iPad. I got my first iPad in February and downloaded Microsoft Word. I guess I can use it to open Word documents but have to buy Word to type anything. From what I read, I...Read more


Gadgets: Not your typical pocket-sized Bluetooth speaker

Ankers new Soundcore Rave Neo isn't your typical pocket-sized Bluetooth 5.0 speaker after you see the numerous features along with strong sound.

The sound is delivered by a 4-inch woofer and 2-inch tweeter behind a black grill and didn't disappoint in its debut right out of the box. The sound is what I'd call big time with a perfect bass with...Read more


CNET: The best phones you can get for $300 or less

If you're on a tight budget but in need of a phone upgrade, there are many solid smartphone options that cost $300 or less. Several of our favorite mobile phone devices are from Motorola, which is unsurprising given that the company has made feature-rich budget phones for years now. In addition to its newest phones, the Moto G Stylus and G ...Read more


How to maximize 3 additional hours of Pokemon Go Fest 2020 during makeup day

Just when you thought you were done with Pokemon Go Fest 2020, Niantic springs one last surprise. Because of technical issues with some habitat blocks, the company is holding a three-hour makeup event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 16, Pacific time.

The makeup event will cover Pokemon that appeared in the fire, water and friendship habitat hours...Read more

Can solar energy be stored as a liquid fuel? UNC group lands $40M to accelerate research

Solar energy production has made huge strides in recent years, as advances in photovoltaic technologies -- the underpinnings of solar panels -- have made it easier and cheaper to harness energy from the sun.

In North Carolina, this can be seen from the growing number of solar panel farms that dot the countryside, giving the state the second-...Read more

Trump's bid to force TikTok sale follows well-trod legal path

President Donald Trump's push for the sale of TikTok to a U.S. company marks a major escalation in his battle to keep data on American citizens out of Chinese hands and a move that, if successful, would be nearly impossible to overturn under U.S. law.

Trump's demand has set off a geopolitical tug-of-war, but it has ample precedent. The ...Read more

Theranos: Feds throw Molotov cocktail case at Elizabeth Holmes over grand jury request

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Federal prosecutors fighting Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes's request for access to grand jury records invoked the case of a woman accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a New York City police van who made a similar but mostly unsuccessful bid.

The woman, Samantha Shader, who has pleaded not guilty to hurling a fire ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to prevent, and fix, a balky external drive

Q: Last year, the Western Digital external hard drive for my Windows 8.1 PC stopped working. I bought another Western Digital external drive, but it wouldn't work, either. I then bought a Seagate external drive and began using it last November. But by late July, I got an error message saying the external drive couldn't be detected, even though I...Read more

Ex-Google engineer Levandowski's jump to Uber ends in prison

Autonomous driving engineer Anthony Levandowski was ordered to spend 18 months prison for stealing trade secrets from Google as he defected to Uber Technologies Inc., in one of the highest-profile criminal cases to hit Silicon Valley.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco imposed the sentence Tuesday after Levandowski pleaded for ...Read more

Trump's TikTok assault opens new front in tech war with China

By going after TikTok, the U.S. is expanding a fight against Beijing using Chinese-style restrictions on tech companies in a move that could potentially have enormous ramifications for the world's biggest economies.

The Trump administration's threat to ban ByteDance Ltd.'s viral teen phenom and other Chinese-owned apps could significantly ...Read more

Apple buys startup to turn iPhones into payment terminals

Apple Inc. has acquired Mobeewave Inc., a startup with technology that could transform iPhones into mobile payment terminals, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mobeewave's technology lets shoppers tap their credit card or smartphone on another phone to process a payment. The system works with an app and doesn't require hardware ...Read more plans to go public via merger

Seattle-based plans to merge with a publicly traded company that has no operations, gaining a listing on Nasdaq and about $200 million in new capital.

The combination with PropTech Acquisition, a blank-check company that went public with such a transaction in mind, is expected to be completed by year-end, the companies said Friday.

...Read more