Boston Herald


Boston area stakes Amazon HQ pitch on technology talent

Boston Herald

In the high-stakes contest to land Amazon's new headquarters, many consider Boston to be a serious contender competing against other big technology hubs around the United States and Canada. But it's also competing against its neighbors: Several smaller Massachusetts cities -- along with Rhode Island and southern New Hampshire -- are each submitting their own pitches to Amazon, using proximity to Boston's tech talent as a major draw. "Talent really is the unquestionable, huge priority," said Brian Dacey, president of the Cambridge Innovation Center and a former Boston economic development director who says the region could make a strong case for luring the Seattle e-commerce company. Local research strengths -- such as in artificial intelligence and robotics -- are important to Amazon's business model, he said. The Seattle company is promising $5 billion of investment and 50,000 jobs in whichever North American region it chooses to build a second headquarters.


Big question for US cities: Is Amazon's HQ2 worth the price?

Boston Herald

Dozens of cities are working frantically to land Amazon's second headquarters, raising a weighty question with no easy answer: Amazon is promising $5 billion of investment and 50,000 jobs over the next decade and a half. Yet the winning city would have to provide Amazon with generous tax breaks and other incentives that can erode a city's tax base. Most economists say the answer is a qualified yes -- that an Amazon headquarters is a rare case in which a package of at least modest enticements could repay a city over time. That's particularly true compared with other projects that often receive public financial aid, from sports stadiums to the Olympics to manufacturing plants, which generally return lesser, if any, benefits over the long run. For the right city, winning Amazon's second headquarters could help it attain the rarefied status of "tech hub," with the prospect of highly skilled, well-paid workers by the thousands spending freely, upgrading a city's urban core and fueling job growth beyond Amazon itself.


Spacewalking astronauts grease robot arm's new hand

Boston Herald

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei made fast work of greasing the big robot arm's new hand. Vande Hei and station commander Randy Bresnik replaced the latching mechanism on one end of the 58-foot robot arm last Thursday. "I finish six months on the space station," Vande Hei replied. As the space station approached Italy early in the spacewalk, Mission Control urged Bresnik and Vande Hei to take some photos for their crewmate, Paolo Nespoli.


Astronauts go spacewalking to grease robot arm's new hand

Boston Herald

NASA astronauts took another spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Tuesday, this time to grease the robot arm's new hand. The pair replaced the latching mechanism on one end of the 58-foot robot arm last Thursday. Tuesday's work involved using a grease gun, which resembles a caulking gun, to keep the latching mechanism working smoothly. NASA plans to replace the latching mechanism on the opposite end of the arm early next year.


Everything Google might announce at its big event next week

Boston Herald

This will likely be the biggest announcement Google makes on October 4. Google may release a smaller, cheaper version of its Google Home smart speaker to compete with Amazon's Echo Dot. The company is reportedly developing a larger version of the Home with stereo speakers called the Google Home Max, according to 9to5Google. A revamped version of Google's Pixel laptop could also make an appearance on Oct. 4, reports Android Police.


Uber exec to steer new course

Boston Herald

The woman charged with making Uber an appealing brand for customers again said the embattled ride-hail giant has to do a better job explaining its virtues instead of simply trying to be cheaper or more reliable. "The brand relied on the left side of the brain, the side that makes calculated decisions, (the side that) does the math," said Bozoma Saint John, chief brand officer at Uber, speaking at the INBOUND conference in Boston yesterday. Uber is also facing a lawsuit from Google's parent company, alleging Uber stole trade secrets to be used for development of its self-driving cars. Saint John, speaking to a crowd of marketing executives, said Uber can be turned around.


Google pulls YouTube from Amazon's Echo Show in a tech face-off

Boston Herald

In a statement, Amazon said, "As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. The Echo Show had displayed YouTube videos without integral features, from video recommendations to channel subscriptions. Amazon only started selling the Echo Show in June, which comes with a touchscreen and responds by voice command. "YouTube is one of the big video services that they had in addition to their own.


Bose's new headphones come with Google Assistant

Boston Herald

Google goog, like other big tech companies including Apple aapl and Microsoft msft, has been pushing its digital assistant as a new way for people to interact with their smartphones and other devices like the company's web-connected Google Home speaker. Now, people can use their voices to tell Google Assistant to play music--including a specific song--through the new Bose headphones. People will need to connect their headphones to their iPhones or Android-based smartphones via Bluetooth in order to link to Google's Assistant, Google said in a blog post. In this market, Google faces tough competition from Amazon, which is making similar moves with its Alexa digital assistant.


5 hidden Apple iOS 11 features you need to try

Boston Herald

In that time, I've discovered a bunch of hidden functions and neat tools that aren't so apparent when you're using some of the apps built into Apple's AAPL iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch operating system. Arguably the coolest addition to iOS 11 is the ability to actually make the operating system's Control Center app really, really useful. From the Settings pane, you can choose "Control Center" and decide whether you want to add or remove controls. To do so, you'll need to go into the Settings pane and choose Accessibility.


Apple HomePod faces tough odds against Amazon Echo in connected home market

Boston Herald

Connected speakers are part of a broader white-hot market for connected home devices, which Amazon, and Google hope to control against rival devices planned by number of others like Apple and Microsoft. CIRP estimates that Amazon has sold 15 million Echos, accounting for 75% of the U.S. market, while Google has sold an estimated 5 million Homes, or 24%. While sales of 15 million Amazon Echo units is a big number, as of last year there were about 125 million U.S. households. The HomePod speaker will be heavier than Echo or Google Home, and Kevin Tofel, a gadget enthusiast and blogger, said that means it will offer much better sound.