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Search Engine Giant Google To Resume Releases For Chrome, Chrome OS

Google Chrome release team said that its stable channel will resume release next week with security and critical fixes in M80

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Google Chrome release team said that it continues to closely monitor that Chrome and Chrome OS are stable, secure, and work reliably. Pixabay

Google has announced to resume key releases for Chrome and Chrome operating system (OS) after pausing those owing to the “adjusted work schedules” during the new coronavirus pandemic.

Google Chrome release team said that it continues to closely monitor that Chrome and Chrome OS are stable, secure, and work reliably.

“M83 will be released three weeks earlier than previously planned and will include all M82 work as we cancelled the M82 release (all channels),” the Google team said in a statement on Thursday.

“Our Canary, Dev and Beta channels have or will resume this week, with M83 moving to Dev, and M81 continuing in Beta”.

Google Chrome release team said that its stable channel will resume release next week with security and critical fixes in M80, followed by the “release of M81 the week of April 7, and M83 in mid-May”.

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Google has announced to resume key releases for Chrome and Chrome operating system (OS) after pausing those owing to the “adjusted work schedules” during the new coronavirus pandemic. Pixabay

“We’ll keep everyone informed of any changes on our schedule on our release blog and will share additional details on the schedule in the Chromium Developers group, as needed,” said the company.

With most employees now working from home, Microsoft had also announced to pause the releases of new major versions of the Edge browser including version 81, citing the ongoing “global circumstances” surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

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Microsoft said it does not want to put an extra strain on system administrators and other IT staff personnel by releasing a new Edge version at this particular time. (IANS)

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McLaren Removes OnePlus as Partner For The 2020 F1 Season: Report

OnePlus removed from McLaren's partners' page

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MClaren has not listed OnePlus as partner for the 2020 F1 season. Wikimedia Commons

OnePlus has released “McLaren Edition” smartphones for couple of years but now, a Reddit user reports that the British carmaker has not listed OnePlus as partner for the 2020 F1 season.

The removal of the Chinese brand from the list of partners has resulted in the speculation that the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition will most likely not get a successor this year, reports XDA Developers.

OnePlus has been doing special editions of its phones for a few years now.

The OnePlus 5T was available in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Edition, and the OnePlus 6 was available in a Marvel Avengers Edition.

Both of these smartphones were available in limited quantities and in select regions only.

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The removal of the Chinese brand from the list of partners has resulted in the speculation. Wikimedia Commons

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The smartphone maker launched the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, with a new and distinct CMF (colour-material-finish), 10GB RAM and Warp Charge 30 charging technology, to expand the scope of these special editions.

The most recent McLaren Edition device from the OnePlus was OnePlus 7T Pro.

The company recently launched its 8 series smartphones, the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. Both are powerful as well as expensive and the smartphone maker will have to find a new partner to give that a special twist worth paying more for. (IANS)

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Indian Workers Miss Office as Work From Home Becomes the New normal

Lockdown initially thrilled the people to work from home, but now they have started to miss the office environment

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Two months after working from home, Shweta Andrews, a digital editor at a publishing house, says she wants to head back to office because personal interactions with colleagues are important. (Photo Courtesy: Shweta Andrews). VOA

As she settled down to work from home when India announced a lockdown in March due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Shweta Andrews thought exultantly “this is the way to go.” After all she no longer had to do the grinding commute between office and home in the Indian capital that took up two hours daily.

Two months on, the digital editor of a publishing house is nostalgic about that ride. “I miss my colleagues and believe it or not, I miss travelling in the Metro. I miss the rush. I miss the crowd.”

The unprecedented experiment of work from home that began in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted some Indian companies to explore the possibility of scaling up remote work as they eye long term benefits such as smaller office spaces and lower rentals.

But at a time when a long, stringent lockdown has intensified social isolation, many are finding that an interactive office environment is hard to replace at home.

A New Delhi-based senior professional in a global company, Apoorva Bapna, dismisses the notion that remote work could be the “new normal” and points out that while flexi-hours are welcome, online connections cannot replace the energy generated by professional spaces.

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Apoorva Bapna says office spaces generate energy that cannot completely be replaced by online connections. (Photo Courtesy: Apoorva Bapna). VOA

“There is just that much of bouncing of ideas I can do on a video call or a phone call. Sometimes you just need to sit across the table and have that heated conversation or a debate or just exchange ideas,” says Bapna.

India’s Information Technology sector appears to be blazing the trail for adopting the work-at-home model as the industry gears up to have nearly half the country’s four million I-T workers operate remotely – up from an average of 20 percent before March. The country’s biggest technology company Tata Consultancy Services says that it will have 75 percent of its workforce operating from home by 2025.

Some companies that rely heavily on online work could make the shift much sooner because they found it to be an efficient model in the last two months.

“From a purely productivity standpoint, we have seen a fairly smooth transition in work from home,” says Raghav Gupta, managing director, India and Asia Pacific with Coursera, a U.S. based online learning platform. He gives an example. “If I would go to Bangalore and meet two sets of people in a day, I can do five meetings today by sitting at home.”

As India eases its stringent lockdown and offices begin to reopen with a much leaner staff onsite, the debate has begun heating up.

Some assert that the personal touch provided by an office environment cannot be overlooked, even in the IT sector. “You get ready for the day, it is a mental shift you make,” according to Abhimanyu Mukherji, a service delivery manager in New Delhi with a partner company of software organization, SAP. “Just walking up to someone and talking to my team has a different impact. Now there is a loss of human touch and social interaction which we all are so used to.”

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While it is possible to be productive even doing work from home, Abhimanyu Mukherji says walking up and talking directly to his team has a different impact. (Photo Courtesy: Abhimanyu Mukherji). VOA

While he and his team delivered to their clients’ satisfaction during the lockdown, he points out that working at home from living rooms and dining tables can pose challenges of the kind that some of his team members with young children faced.

“When the kids are at home, they expect a lot of attention from the parents and therefore they are having a lot of difficulty in actually concentrating on the job,” says Mukherji. “The children assume that you must be on leave so you should be giving them all the attention.”

There are also the constraints that living in small apartments or extended families throw up, especially in cities with expensive rentals.  “It is not easy for people who live in Bombay, in smaller homes with six to eight family members crammed up in two bedroom homes,” points out Bapna.

And work from home settings can be even more burdensome for women. “We do everything on the house front and we also manage our office work, which is fairly hectic,” says Bapna who was caught in the lockdown in Jaipur city where she was visiting her parents.

Amid the lockdown there have been no comprehensive surveys to indicate which way Indians would prefer going. But a recent survey by a Bengaluru based research firm, Feedback Insights, found that two-thirds of employees were concerned about personal wellbeing, a lack of connectedness with the team and overall anxiety about the job environment. They also cited frequent distractions at home as a key challenge.

Read More: These Books Can Drive Boredom Away in Lockdown 4.0

However benefits such as savings for companies, less traffic on roads, less pollution and less spending on fuel and daycare will inevitably lead to a greater push for the work-at-home model in the post Covid world.

“By choice and also by planning we will say – you go to office two days a week, you may or may not have a dedicated desk, and the other three or four days you consistently work at home,” says Gupta at Coursera.

But shrinking office spaces, thanks to technology and the new emphasis on social distancing, is something many view with trepidation. Andrews draws an analogy with reading a book on Kindle – it does not replicate the original. “The feeling of holding a book in your hand, that touch, that smell, that personal feeling you get – it’s the same as personal contact in an office,” says Andrews. “So yes technology and computers and zoom and Kindle don’t work as well as interacting with a real human being does.” (VOA)

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Oscars 2021 Might Get Postponed Due to the Pandemic

The Ceremony which was scheduled to be held on February 28 2021 might get delayed

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Oscars 2021 might get delayed in the wake of Coronavirus. Pixabay

With lack of releases amid the coronavirus pandemic, there are plans to postpone the Academy Awards ceremony next year by four months, for the first time in 93 years.

According to a report by The Sun, the organisers are in talks to push back the ceremony, which was scheduled to be held on February 28 next year. It might be pushed back to May or June.

Many Hollywood studios have already been informed about the “longer release window for their films to be eligible for nomination”.

The top ten competitors of visual effects category 2016 Academy Awards include Jungle book, arrival and many more
According to a report by The Sun, the organisers are in talks to push back the ceremony. Wikimedia Commons

The Oscar season usually begins after the summer, with studios releasing their awards season contenders in November and December. The Academy members vote in January.

Amid the ongoing worldwide shutdown due to the virus crisis, several movies have been pushed back as cinemas remain shut. Movies which have been pushed back include: James Bond movie “No Time To Die”, “Top Gun: Maverick”, “Mulan” and Marvel’s “Black Widow”.

“The ongoing coronavirus crisis has caused waves in the industry and has decimated plans for so many releases this year. The Oscars organisers have been in talks for weeks about whether the ceremony can go ahead given so many releases have been pushed back,” said a source.

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“What they’re proposing is pushing back the ceremony, which was going to take place on February 28, to either late May or early June.”, the source said further. Pixabay

The source continued: “There would be a mutiny if changes weren’t made and the industry could be totally ravaged if film studios held back their offerings until the 2022 ceremony to be eligible. What they’re proposing is pushing back the ceremony, which was going to take place on February 28, to either late May or early June. Doing this means films forced to postpone their release dates can put them out later this year or in early 2021 knowing they will still be eligible for the Oscars.”

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“Film studios have been informed of the plans and are now drawing up their release dates accordingly. But with everything still so up in the air, it’s all rather tentative at the moment,” added the source.

Last month, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences announced a change in rules and eligibility requirements for the 2021 Oscars, making movies of streaming services eligible to win the golden statuettes.

The Academy tweaked its Oscar eligibility rules in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The change is not permanent, and will apply to films released this year. The Academy also shared that it will eliminate an Oscar category. The sound mixing and sound editing categories will be combined into one award, reducing the total number of categories presented on the show to 23. (IANS)