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The Morning After: Amazon's 'Just Walk Out' tech comes to Whole Foods

·Bureau Chief, UK
·4-min read

Amazon, the owner of Whole Foods, is finally bringing the sort of high-tech features we were expecting to the nationwide grocery chain. Its cashierless Just Walk Out tech will soon arrive in two Whole Foods locations, after starting off in Amazon’s own Go grocery stores.

Just Walk Out uses computer vision, sensors and AI to let you walk into a store, sign in with an app, fill up your bags and leave without joining a checkout line or scanning your items.

I’ve tested out the systems at my local Amazon Fresh, and I’ll begrudgingly admit, it’s magical. It’s not my go-to grocery store, so I usually only pick up an item or two. I’m mostly shopping there to see how everything works and what Amazon’s brick-and-mortar stores were selling.

The Morning After
The Morning After

Multiple cameras in the ceiling monitor shoppers, who check in with their Amazon account as they pass through turnstiles. Shelves have sensors to detect when shoppers take items — and it’s all pretty amazing. Except when it gets things wrong. At one point, I went in to grab a newspaper (what? I like the supplements?) and some milk. Unfortunately, it added a couple more items to my purchase, and you’re only informed of this when you’re billed after leaving the store. To Amazon’s credit, it was quick to refund me once I flagged the issue through the app. It’s early days for the tech, which is predictably being refined as each shopper passes through its stores. There’s also something convenient about packing away your shopping as you browse.

I only saw staff monitoring check-ins, as most people were confused by the conceit of the place, and filling shelves, but unions have said Amazon's cashierless tech will cost workers jobs at some point. The company says new Whole Foods locations will "employ a comparable number of team members as existing Whole Foods stores of similar sizes."

This could be just the start. Amazon signed a deal last year to license its technology to third-party retailers, so even if there’s not a Whole Foods (or Amazon Fresh or Go) near you, you might not need a check-out.

— Mat Smith

Microsoft issues warning on Windows attack that uses malicious Office files

Don't open Office files unless it's from a source you fully trust.

Microsoft is warning that some attackers are actively exploiting a remote code execution vulnerability using malicious Office files. It affects Windows Servers from version 2008 and Windows 7 through 10. What attackers are doing is sending potential victims an Office file and tricking them into opening it. That file automatically opens Internet Explorer to load the bad actor's web page, which has an ActiveX control that downloads malware to the victim's computer.

Microsoft says its Defender Antivirus and Defender for Endpoint can both detect the vulnerability and prevent infection, so users need to keep them updated and running.

Continue reading.

LG claims its new display material is as hard as glass

The Real Folding Window was designed to prevent fold impressions too.

The Morning After
The Morning After

LG Chem has designed a new type of cover window — that is, the outermost pre-installed part of displays protecting them from impact — which it says is as hard as glass and has the capability to prevent fold impressions on the connecting part of a device. That’s the curse of any foldable devices once it’s been folded and unfurled a few times.

The company calls the material Real Folding Window. It’s made of PET film with a new coating technology on both sides, and it can be folded both outwards and inwards, unlike existing foldable screen materials.

Continue reading.

The final Android 12 beta is here

Next stop: the official release.

Google has released the fifth and final beta for Pixel phones (including the Pixel 5a) and several third-party devices, giving you one more look before the finished version arrives.

The Material You design scheme remains the most conspicuous change in Android 12, including an overall interface refresh, more fluid animations as well as color themes that adapt to your wallpaper. The completed software is due sometime in the "weeks ahead," Google said. If history is any indication, only Pixel owners will get Android 12 first.

Continue reading.

DJI’s new phone gimbal is also a selfie stick

It’s also smaller than its predecessors.

DJI Osmo Mobile 5
DJI Osmo Mobile 5

DJI’s Osmo Mobile 5 has an extending arm, so you can use it as a selfie stick. The new gimbal is palm-sized when folded and is a third smaller than the last version. The OM 5 is available in two finishes, Sunset White and Athens Gray, starting today. It costs $159 and includes the magnetic clamp, tripod, wrist strap, power cable and storage pouch.

Continue reading.

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