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How to get to the polls for free at the 2018 midterm elections – TechCrunch

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In case you haven’t heard, polls will open Tuesday morning across the U.S. for the 2018 midterm elections. It’s a big deal, so go vote.

And this year, there are more free ways to get to the polls than ever before thanks to a variety of non-partisan “get the vote out” campaigns from ride-hailing, bike-sharing and scooter companies.

Here’s a handy list.

By bike

Motivate, one of the largest bike-share operators in North America, has launched an Election Day campaign to give people in nine urban areas access to free bikes for the day.

Motivate operates Citi Bike in New York & Jersey City; Divvy in Chicago; Bluebikes in the Boston metro area; Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C.; Nice Ride Minnesota in Minneapolis; Ford GoBike in the San Francisco Bay Area); BIKETOWN in Portland, Oregon; and CoGo in Columbus, Ohio.

Riders across almost every Motivate system can use the code BIKETOVOTE in their local bike-share app to access a free day pass. In Chicago, Divvy riders must use the code VOTE18 to access the free day pass.

Portland has a vote-by-mail system. But BIKETOWN riders can use the code BIKE2VOTE to access 30 minutes of free ride time on November 6.

Lime is also offering free access to its fleet of electric bikes on Election Day. Users just need to enter the code LIME2VOTE18 to unlock any of its shared bikes or electric bikes.

Los Angeles’ bike-share program, Metro Bike Share, will also offer free rides on November 6. Use the promo code 1162018 at any kiosk to get your free 30-minute ride. The promo code is good for one Single Ride. Rides are $1.75 per 30 minutes thereafter.

By car

Depending how far you are from the polls, these ride-hailing offers could be free. At least one way.

Uber is giving $10 off a single ride to the polls on Election Day on the most affordable Uber option available in your city (Express POOL, POOL or UberX, in that order). To access, open the app and then tap menu > payment > add promo code. Enter the promo code VOTE2018. Users should then request their ride using Uber’s polling place locator, right in the Uber app.

Uber’s promotional offer is not available for rides from polling locations and is not available at all in Michigan, Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories.

Lyft is working with Vote.org, Nonprofit Vote, TurboVote and other organizations to distribute codes to those who need them. The ride-hailing company is offering 50 percent off rides and free rides in underserved communities.

To claim your 50 percent off promo code, click on this link and then enter your ZIP code. You’ll see the promo code in your app on Election Day. Promo codes are valid for 50 percent off any standard ride to a polling location on Election Day, up to $5.

By public transit

A number of transit agencies in some of the country’s largest cities are offering free rides, including Houston, Dallas, Tampa and San Antonio. This year, the Los Angeles Metro system, which serves more than 1.3 million passengers daily, is joining in.

LA metro transit is offering free bus and train rides on Election Day. LADOT, Long Beach Transit, Baldwin Park Transit, Pasadena Transit and Santa Clarita Transit in the Los Angeles area are among those offering free rides. Paratransit customers will also receive free rides to and from their polling place.

By scooter

Lime is offering free access to its fleet of electric scooters on November 6. Users enter the same code, LIME2VOTE18, to unlock any of its scooters, or its shared and electric bikes. The free rides to and from your polling location last up to 30 minutes and are available in more than 100 cities across the U.S.

Skip Scooters, which operates in San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D.C., is offering $5 rides to the polls.

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Google responds to Apple App Tracking Transparency with new rules for Android

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Google released a notice today about the future of Android and user data transparency. While not a direct response to Apple’s update with iOS 14.5 – at least not explicitly – Google’s “pre-announcement” of an upcoming safety section in Google Play should effectively keep the two operating systems in-step on several privacy-centric fronts. The new section in Google Play for Android apps will “help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security.”

Suzanne Frey, VP, Product, Android Security and Privacy posted a note this week about how developers and users will be affected by the update to Google Play and Android. Android already has a system in place where apps alert users about what permissions they seek – location data, contacts, personal info, audio, storage files, and camera access. With this update, it’ll all be a bit more clear up front, listed in Google Play.

What will apps show?

Developers will be asked to share the following items with users in their app listing in Google Play: What type of data is collected and stored, and how the data is used. That should be simple.

• What type of data is collected and stored: Location, Photos & Videos, Audio files, Storage files, Contacts, and Personal Information.
• How the data is used by the app or the developer/group that makes the app. This could also include disclosure of data sharing with 3rd-party sources.

Google Play will also begin listing information as follows in a new Safety Section for each app. New elements will highlight whether:

1. Security practices are in play (data encryption, for example) for user data
2. Google’s Families policy is followed with user data
3. The app “needs this data to function or if users have choice in sharing it”
4. The app’s safety section “is verified by an independent third-party”
5. Data deletion is an option for the user upon uninstall of said app

When Safety Section will appear on Google Play

Here on May 6, 2021, Google first made their “pre-announcement” of this new policy. In Q3 of 2021, the policy will be “available” for the public and developers to read. In the fourth quarter of 2021, developers will be able to start declaring information in the Google Play Console as outlined above.

In the first quarter of 2022, users in the public will begin to see the new safety section in Google Play. At some point in the second quarter of the year 2022, Google will set a deadline for all new and existing apps to declare the information outlined above.

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This HP EliteOne 800 G8 AiO has video call talents every PC should steal

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HP has revealed its latest all-in-one PC, and we can’t help thinking it’s wasted in businesses. The HP EliteOne 800 G8 All-in-One comes with a choice of 23.8- or 27-inch displays, with a pop-up camera on top that includes video call-friendly face tracking.

In fact, the array that slides out of the top of the AiO PC has dual 5-megapixel cameras inside, plus an IR camera and a time-of-flight sensor that can track distance. With all that, and an extra-wide field of view compared to the average webcam, it means the EliteOne 800 G8 can use digital tracking to center you in the middle of the frame, cropping accordingly.

There’s also auto scene detection, to adjust the lighting automatically depending on ambient conditions in the room. HP has fitted its AI-powered noise reduction system as well, for the first time on a PC, with the ability to spot and filter out over 350 million types of voices and noises. The filters work on both outbound and inbound noise, so even if you’re talking with someone with a lesser microphone system you’ll still hear the benefit.

There’s HP Dynamic Audio for speech, music, and movie audio tuning to cut through background noise, along with Dynamic Voice Leveling to automatically adjust the volume of your voice so that it stays consistent even as you move closer to, or further away from, the microphone. Even the cooling system has been designed to lower the fan noise while you’re on calls.

It’s all wrapped up in a design that could be mistaken for just being a standalone monitor. Inside there’s a choice of Intel 11th Gen Core processors, up to a Core i9; they can be paired with up to 64GB of DDR4 memory and up to 6TB of M.2 PCIe storage. On the graphics side, there’s a choice of Intel UHD Graphics 730 or 750, with the display resolution offering up to 2560 x 1440 depending on panel.

As for connectivity, on the wireless side you can have WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. For ports, you get a lot more than a new iMac 24-inch offers: three USB-A, two USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and ethernet are all included.

Clearly these aren’t the machines if you’re looking for serious graphical grunt (or gaming, for that matter). Still, the video calling systems HP has fitted could make a big difference if your schedule is still filled with back-to-back Zoom appointments. Meanwhile the EliteOne 800 G8’s design manages to step away from the norm in enterprise hardware, and wouldn’t look out of place in a home office instead.

No word on pricing at this stage, but HP says that the new all-in-one will go on sale later this month.

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The Google Assistant is adding new ways to corral your family

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Google is adding new Assistant features and tweaking some existing ones to make them more user-friendly, including expanding its Broadcast system. The new Family Broadcast takes the existing functionality – where you can pipe your voice through multiple Google smart speakers and smart displays in the house, useful for announcing meals are ready or reminding people it’s time to leave – and enhances it for smartphones and replies.

So, you can now create a Google Family Group, consisting not only of smart displays like the Nest Hub and speakers like the Nest Audio, but also iPhone and Android smartphones. Saying “Hey Google, tell my family, it’s time for us to hit the road” will broadcast your message across all of those devices in one fell swoop.

Those who hear the broadcast, meanwhile, will be able to respond by voice too. You’ll be able to say “Hey Google, reply ‘I’ll need a little extra time to catch the cat,’” for example, or tap the reply button to bypass the Assistant wake-word.

Meanwhile, Family Bell reminders are also getting a new convenience feature. Added to the Assistant’s array of talents in November last year, Family Bell is basically a group alarm for reminders. Google pitches it as useful for notifying everyone when it’s time for home-schooling to start, or for group chores.

Soon, though, you’ll be able to say “stop” to end the Family Bell alert by voice. It’s a shortcut that the Assistant already works with for individual alarms and timers, that’s being extended to Family Bell in English to begin with. Google will also add the ability to have Family Bells sound across multiple home devices simultaneously, not just one.

For other languages, Family Bell will be extended to support French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Hindi, and Korean. That’s arriving in the coming weeks, Google says.

The updates come on the heels of new, behind-the-scenes changes Google has been making to its core Assistant technology. There are new pronunciation options, which allow users to correct names that the AI gets wrong, for example, along with better contextual understanding which the company says should improve how the Assistant handles things like timers and conversational queries that include multiple questions and responses.

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