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Awaken offers meditations focused on healing from systems of oppression – TechCrunch

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A mindful, contemplative approach to internalized racism and sexism is a necessary piece of the puzzle of dismantling systems of oppression, Awaken founder and CEO Ravi Mishra says. That’s the entire point of Awaken, a mindfulness and meditation app specifically geared toward helping people cope with the harsh realities of today’s society.

Awaken got its roots in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Mishra told TechCrunch. The election surfaced these “larger questions that have to do with race, gender, sexuality and power, and how they live inside of us.”

Through Awaken, Mishra hopes to offer mindfulness and meditation practices that help cultivate stability within marginalized communities. These contemplative practices center around sitting with certain questions and identity construction. Awaken’s founding teachers are Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens and Sensei Greg Snyder — three leaders focused on the intersection of mindfulness and social change.

Similar to meditation app Headspace, which is valued at $320 million, Awaken has a freemium plan in place. For full access to content, Awaken charges $8.99 a month. While Awaken does seek to make money, Mishra says he’s not doing it for profit. Instead, the plan is to use all the money Awaken makes for activist work.

“We’re currently running at a loss and figuring out how to break even,” he told me. “The hope and idea is once we are fully profitable, we’ll move that into activist work.”

Awaken has plans to close a round of funding from mission-aligned angel investors early next year.

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Facebook Libra currency still a thing, could launch next year

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Although it hasn’t disappeared, cryptocurrency and digital currencies seemed to have taken a backseat in recent months as far as news coverage is concerned. Given the global economy and health situation, however, interest in this new form of currency has apparently surged in the background. That may have given the group behind Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency the motivation to finally push it to the market as early as January, even if it isn’t the grand vision that Facebook and its remaining allies had for it last year.

It’s not that hard to imagine why Libra would be bogged down by controversy even before it had the chance to prove itself, despite the big names that were once behind it. Cryptocurrency itself is already a difficult concept to grasp by those outside Fintech circles, but the mere association with Facebook, who is credited with Libra’s creation, has instantly raised red flags among regulators. Those regulators still haven’t budged but now it seems that sentiments have changed according to sources.

The Financial Times reports that the Libra Association is looking towards January for the much-delayed launch of the cryptocurrency. It won’t be the same Libra that Facebook et al. flaunted last year and is pretty much a watered-down version of an already watered-down compromise the group had to make to satisfy regulators’ concerns. Getting approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, however, is just the tip of the iceberg of what the currency has to accomplish.

Having lost founding members such as PayPal. Mastercard, and eBay dealt a big blow to the fledgling association. Although it still has big names like Spotify or Uber, losing members from the financial or commerce sector tarnishes the Association’s image and puts its capability to handle a cryptocurrency into question. Some of those remaining members are even taking a wait and see approach, which could reduce the impact of Libra’s launch in January.

Libra’s biggest problem, however, will be Facebook. Although the group has done everything it could to distance itself from the social networking giant, Libra will remain forever associated with it, even through subsidiaries like Novi, formerly Calibra. Given Facebook’s reputation before lawmakers, regulators, and privacy advocates, the idea of putting the world’s money into its hands will always be an unsettling one.

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Galaxy Note 21 might still happen next year with a catch

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Reports of the Galaxy Note line’s demise might be exaggerated or premature. Those reports were mostly based on rumors that the Galaxy S21, particularly the Galaxy S21 Ultra, would gain the one feature that sets the two products apart. A report from South Korean media does seem to confirm that Samsung has gotten the ball rolling to give the Galaxy S21 Ultra its own S Pen. At the same time, however, it also gives Galaxy Note fans one last hope, at least until next year.

For years, the Galaxy Note’s doom has been spelled out by prophets and analysts but it never came to pass, at least not yet. The S Pen is pretty much the last thing that the Galaxy Note has over the Galaxy S series and rumors suggest that might no longer the case. But rather than scrap the stylus-toting phablet next year, Samsung is now reportedly winding it down first.

ETnews’ sources claim that Samsung has already placed orders for the digitizer that’s needed to give the top of the line Galaxy S21 this S Pen support. It would have been way too early for the Galaxy Note 21 or even the Galaxy Z Fold 3. This unofficially confirms the feature for Samsung’s early 2021 flagship coming in mid-January, or so leaks claim.

Those sources also say that there will still be a Galaxy Note next year but Samsung has reduced it to just one model. For two years, Samsung has put out two variants of this flagship and the reduction could suggest that Samsung is giving the line one last hoorah.

That would at least give the company enough time to prepare its true successor, the Galaxy Z Fold. Samsung has yet to figure out, much less prove, how it would allow using a stylus on the somewhat fragile flexible screen it uses for its foldable phones. Rumors that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 would have this feature might likewise be premature, especially if there will still be a Galaxy Note 21 after all.

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Apple M1 Mac running Windows 10 ARM is embarrassing for Surface Pro X

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It seems that Apple’s M1 Silicon isn’t yet done amazing people, even those from outside of Apple’s circles. The processor’s benchmarks have already been covered to death but nothing is probably more impressive than the M1’s performance outside of the common and officially supported use cases. Running Windows games via CrossOver, for example, is already quite a feat but running Windows itself on top of macOS Big Sur, just like what one developer accomplished, is even more dumbfounding. Especially when it clocks better than Windows 10 ARM’s “reference” Microsoft device.

Apple has removed the Boot Camp from macOS Big Sur on M1 Macs but not because Windows doesn’t run on ARM-based hardware. Apple is putting the ball in Microsoft’s court, explaining that it’s up to the Windows creator to make that happen by changing Windows 10 ARM’s licensing and making installers available. That said, it is technically possible to still run Windows on M1 Macs as developer Alexander Graf proved.

To be clear, he didn’t use the x86 version of Windows 10 as that would have added a layer of complexity to be emulated on an ARM-based Mac. Instead, he took an Insider Preview of Windows 10 ARM and ran it through a modified version of QEMU, a popular open source virtualization and machine emulation software, and utilizing Apple’s own Hypervisor.framework designed exactly for virtualization purposes.

According to Graf, the performance of this layer cake was quite snappy, though other testers who tried to replicate the setup did point out some issues. More interesting, however, The 8-bit reports the Geekbench scores for this Window ARM on ARM Mac outdid Windows ARM running on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro X.

That said, the current setup is hardly ideal and M1 Mac owners who need to run Windows software might want to wait for something like CodeWeavers’ CrossOver instead. It might also be a while before a full version of Windows will be able to run officially on these new Macs, via dual boot or virtualization, but this latest experiment still showcases the first Apple Silicon’s prowess.

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