How Big Tech Surged in the Coronavirus Era

Elva Mankin

The U.S. economy’s free fall may be nauseating for some sectors, but for the four tech giants that posted earnings results on Thursday, the past three months have been more like a thrill ride.

The day after taking tough questions from the House Judiciary Committee on whether they’ve become too powerful, chief executive officers from Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook revealed that their influence is only growing.

These captains of tech industry posted a collective $28 billion in profits and added $214 billion in market value, a gobsmacking set of figures even in the best of times. But it stands out against a doom-filled backdrop of a U.S. economy that shrank 33 percent, while fears stretch worldwide across other businesses — from Main Street mom-and-pops to the arbiters of global luxury — that are dancing on the knife’s edge of real or potential extinction.

That may be stunning, but

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Stocks rise, Nasdaq outperforms as strong earnings offset economic fears

Elva Mankin

Stocks extended gains Friday morning, with the Nasdaq jumping about 1%, after a slew of better than expected corporate earnings results from major tech firms. Each of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Netflix hit record highs shortly after market open.

Tech titans Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), each reported quarterly results that blew past estimates Thursday evening, affirming these companies’ pandemic-era dominance following a steep run-up in tech stocks over the past couple months.

Facebook grew its revenue 11% over last year as its advertising business remained resilient despite the pandemic-related slowdown across the broader ad industry. Alphabet’s ad business was hit more prominently by that trend, with Google ad revenue falling 8% over last year, though Alphabet’s overall top- and bottom-line results still topped estimates. Facebook’s daily active users jumped 13% to 1.79 billion and monthly active users rose 12% to 2.7% billion as the

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Online education was a mess in the spring. As COVID-19 prompts schools to stay virtual, will it get better this fall?

Elva Mankin

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Chicago Public Schools to make a hurried switch to remote instruction earlier this year, Lidia Muro said it didn’t work out so well for her 5-year-old stepson Elijah, then a kindergartner at Marvin Camras Elementary.

Some of the schoolwork he was given required logins and passwords his parents didn’t receive, she said. Communication with his teacher was lacking. And while it took Elijah a single day to finish math lessons that were supposed to stretch over months, he fell behind in reading.

“The program was mostly games, I think,” Muro said. “Educational games are good, but (children) can only do games for so long.”

Contrast that with the experience of Wauconda High School junior-to-be Tori Mraz. She found her school’s online classes to be rigorous but flexible, and while a lack of face-to-face instruction created challenges, she gave virtual education high marks.

“I did really

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Australia to Put Tech Giants on Tighter Leash, Make Them Pay for News

Elva Mankin

Australia is getting closer to moving ahead with controversial legislation that will make the U.S. tech giants pay local companies for news. Other measures to contain their influence are also on the cards.

The “Draft Mandatory Code of Conduct Governing Digital Platforms and Media Businesses” was announced on Friday by Treasury Minister Josh Frydenberg. The code was prepared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and now is open to a month of consultation before it becomes legislation.

More from Variety

The draft code will require technology giants such as Google and Facebook to “negotiate in good faith” payments to digital media companies, Frydenberg said. The Australian companies can negotiate collectively or separately. “If they cannot reach an agreement on three months of negotiation, they can go to a binding arbitration. Arbitration is limited to the issue of payment or remuneration.”

Payments will not be available to taxpayer-funded news organizations

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How to Earn Money Online

Elva Mankin

The jobs available for people looking to make money online run the gamut. On the internet, you can seek everything from full-time employment as a remote staff member to a work-whenever-you-want side hustle as a blogger or jewelry-maker.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has rattled the job market, online hiring is strong in a range of industries. According to Glassdoor’s Job Market Report, there were 11,430 remote job openings in July on Glassdoor, up 28.3% from the year before.

“The fields with the most remote-work listings right now include areas like customer service, sales, computer and (information technology), medical and health, and education and training,” wrote Brie Weiler Reynolds, career development manager and coach at FlexJobs, a resource for finding remote jobs, part-time jobs, freelance jobs and other flexible jobs, in an email.

These are industries where work has moved away from in-person to online interactions, she notes.

Other fields with

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Why Solid Peripherals Make the Stock a Buy

Elva Mankin

Logitech International SA (NASDAQ:LOGI) (SWX:LOGN) has had an excellent run even before the Covid-19 pandemic took place. Being a leading player in the global computer peripherals space, the company witnessed strong tailwinds in many of its segments with the increasing popularity of the work-from-home and learn-from-home trends.

The strong boost of gaming activity was another big plus point that helped the company show phenomenal growth in its top-line and margins in its most recent result. The management’s renewed guidance is stronger than before, and in my opinion, the company continues to be a lucrative investment to hold at current levels.

Company overview

Logitech is a Switzerland-based company engaged in the design, manufacture and marketing of personal computer accessories and mobile accessories for navigation, video communication and collaboration, smart home and other applications. It has a broad portfolio of products such as mice, keyboards, charging stands, tablet cases, car mounts for

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Trump suggests delaying election; Miami schools defy Gov. DeSantis, go online-only; FDA sets at-home test rules

Elva Mankin

President Trump suggested delaying the November election Thursday, saying reliance on mail-in voting due to the pandemic would be “inaccurate and fraudulent.”

The Commerce Department issued a record-breaking report of the U.S. economy, announcing that the gross domestic product contracted at a staggering seasonally adjusted annual rate of 32.9% in the April-June period. A surge in virus infections and deaths that has slowed business reopenings in many states could signal more bad news ahead.

In Florida, reeling from rising daily death reports, the state’s largest school district announced that it will begin the school year virtually on Aug. 31. This despite a push by Gov. Ron DeSantis to have school districts provide an in-classroom options.

And in Washington, D.C., Democratic leaders and Trump administration officials said they were far apart on a $1 trillion stimulus package. Without it, there won’t be another round of $1,200 stimulus checks or another cash

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Viewers make fun of Jeff Bezos’ snacks and Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘hostage’ room

Elva Mankin

Getty
Getty

Viewers of the antitrust hearings between the US congess and the chief executives of the world’s biggest technology companies have been left confused and surprised by some strange moments.

Social media users jumped on the fact that Amazon‘s Bezos received no questions for more than an hour in his first appearance before Congress. At one point, the world’s richest man appeared to reach off-screen for a snack, to the internet’s delight.

“Someone calculate how much money he made during this nom,” tweeted @Bryson_M. Others did back-of-the-napkin calculations to figure out an answer.

It was not immediately clear if there were technical problems with Amazon’s feed.

U.S. Representative James Sensenbrenner’s use of the phrase “the net” was mocked online for being outdated, with watchers posting about the 1995 film of the same name starring Sandra Bullock and sharing GIFs of retro computer icons and dial-up internet.

The Wisconsin Republican also

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How to make friends as an adult

Elva Mankin

Rex Features
Rex Features

In today’s social media-saturated culture, the prospect of forming friendships offline can feel more daunting than ever before.

While most of us happily make new digital connections every day, one right-swipe at a time, approaching people in real life is more of a nuanced art, particularly when your intentions are purely platonic.

Evidently, it’s something many people struggle with, as a study conducted by the Campaign to End Loneliness revealed that more than half of UK adults feel they haven’t made a new friend in “a long time”.

While making friends can seem like the easiest thing in the world when you’re constantly surrounded by people at school and university, it’s far trickier as a fully-fledged adult, when you meet less people and commuters avoid eye contact like it’s going to turn them to stone.

So, how can you do it? We spoke to Barbara Bloomfield, a counsellor

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If our reality is a video game, does that solve the problem of evil?

Elva Mankin

  <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/artificial-intelligence-concept-virtual-human-avatar-1068287444" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shutterstock/kmls">Shutterstock/kmls</a></span>
Shutterstock/kmls

Pandemics and natural disasters cause pain and suffering to millions worldwide and can challenge the very foundations of human belief systems. They can be particularly challenging for those who believe in an all-knowing and righteous God. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755, for example, shook the previously unquestioned faith of many and led Voltaire to question whether this really could be the best of all possible worlds.

When the Spanish flu struck in 1918, some chose to see it as divine punishment for the sins of mankind and looked to prayer, rather than science, for salvation. Notoriously, the Bishop of Zamora resisted calls from the Spanish authorities to close his churches and instead insisted on holding additional masses and processions.

From a theological standpoint, natural disasters and pandemics inevitably raise the profile of the long-standing and much-debated “problem of evil”. Here is philosopher Galen Strawson’s take on the problem:

We

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