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Libra cryptocurrency renamed Diem to add distance from Facebook

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The Facebook-backed Libra cryptocurrency hasn’t even launched yet, but it’s already rebranding, with its stablecoin product now set to debut as Diem. The move – which comes as the organization hires a number of high-profile execs – is being seen as an attempt to draw further distinction between the crypto project and the ever-controversial Facebook.

Indeed, the new Diem Association will make its independence a key pillar. The new name “signals the project’s growing maturity and independence,” Stuart Levey, CEO, said today.

It’s not been an easy path to launch for Libra, now Diem. Announced in mid-2019, it was pitched as another bitcoin alternative that would be “a global, digitally native, reserve-backed cryptocurrency built on the foundation of blockchain technology.” Although the currency itself would be independent, it could be stored in a Facebook-subsidiary digital wallet, called Calibra.

Since then, though, things haven’t been smooth sailing. Libra faced early criticism for its plan to base value on the US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Singapore dollar, and British pound. Original partners like Visa and Stripe have exited the project.

Facebook’s wallet, meanwhile, will no longer launch as Calibra, and has been rebranded to Novi. Arguably most important, the cryptocurrency’s value won’t be for one, single global stablecoin any more. Instead, there will be multiple versions, with each based on an individual currency such as the US dollar.

The goal now, it appears, is making financial transactions more straightforward and traceable. “The Diem project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive and enable consumers and businesses to conduct instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions,” Levey said. “We are committed to doing so in a way that promotes financial inclusion – expanding access to those who need it most, and simultaneously protecting the integrity of the financial system by deterring and detecting illicit conduct.”

Dahlia Malkhi is joining as the Diem Association’s Chief Technology Officer, Christy Clark as Chief of Staff, Steve Bunnell as Chief Legal Officer, and Kiran Raj as Executive Vice President for Growth and Innovation and Deputy General Counsel. Diem Networks – which will be the regulated payment system operator for Diem – has also named its key exec team.

Still to come, however, is any sort of confirmation on timing for the actual launch of Diem. That’s conspicuous by its absence, though earlier rumors suggested that it could be scheduled for early in the new year, and potentially as soon as January.

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Samsung Display will mass-produce the first 90Hz OLED laptop screens

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Samsung Display has announced that it will mass-produce the world’s first 90Hz OLED laptops starting in Q1 of 2021. Initially, the company will produce “very large quantities” of 14-inch 90Hz OLED displays aimed at laptops and notebooks. According to Samsung Displaying CEO Joo Sun Choi, the screens will start production in March.

A 90Hz refresh rate is a significant improvement compared to most laptops and notebooks that currently offer a 60Hz refresh rate. Samsung Display says it’s collaborating closely with global computer manufacturers to usher in a new level of excellence for refresh rates. Samsung believes the adoption of the new OLED panels will happen quickly despite the fact that the panel requires the use of a “high-spec graphics card.”

The faster refresh rate updates static images 90 times per second, making the movement on-screen look more lifelike. Faster updates for changes in motion on screen provide smoother visuals appearing more seamless to the viewer. OLED screens can transition between scenes more quickly than LCD screens with the same refresh rate.

Samsung Display says its 90Hz OLED refresh rate is ten times that of the fastest screen response time on the market today. The company notes its 90Hz OLED offers speed on par with 120Hz LCD screens. The high refresh rate of OLED screens makes them particularly well-suited to gaming and watching movies.

In testing, Samsung Display tested blur length using the same motion picture of a car driving fast and found image drag for a 90Hz OLED and a 120Hz LCD measured 0.9mm and 1mm, respectively. Samsung says that its OLED screens smear very little and offer practically the same rate as faster LCDs. It’s unclear what sort of pricing the new OLED will enter the market at.

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iPad Mini 6 leak sounds almost too good to be true

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While Apple continues to push the iPads as the next generation of computers, that rhetoric really only applies to its iPad Pro line. The lines between its various iPads, however, have started to blur, especially with the addition of Apple Pencil support all the way down to the bottom. The iPad Mini, however, still remains Apple’s simplest and most affordable entry point, making these details about the alleged iPad Mini 6 sound more like a wishlist.

Right off the bat, the thought that Apple would even dare mar any of its screens with a punch-hole cutout sounds almost insane, given the company’s attention to design and details. Then again, it did introduce a rather large “bucket” notch and never backed out from that design on the iPhones. It’s exactly because of that stubbornness that it feels almost unlikely that the iPad Mini 6 would sport such a hole.

Pigtou, collaborating with @xleaks, still has more to share, though. The iPad Mini 6, the site claims, will have Apple’s first-ever in-display fingerprint sensor, something the company has been rumored to be working on for years. Given the criticism of the technology and praise for Apple’s Face ID, that again sounds like a step backward.

The rest of the iPad Mini 6 will remain the same, though. The camera will still be small and probably negligible affair while the edges still bear the soft curves of previous iPad Minis. In other words, it won’t be adopting the new iPad and iPad Pro appearances anytime soon.

If these do come to pass, the iPad Mini 6 will have a very competitive screen that will be larger than its predecessors without actually increasing the size of the device. This, however, doesn’t sound like the Apple we know but, to be fair, the company has managed to shock everyone from time to time, for better or, sometimes, for worse.

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Google Calendar now works offline on desktop Chrome

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Google has dozens of apps and services, some of them a bit esoteric while many are popular and useful for both end users and businesses. One thing that is common among most of these is the need for an Internet connection. Google, after all, is primarily an Internet company. That Internet connection, however, might not always be available or stable and, fortunately, Google is making one of its key apps available offline, at least for some set of users.

A centuries-old tool, the humble calendar has gotten upgrades over the years, especially recently in the age of the Internet and apps. Many modern calendars today offer functionality our ancestors could only dream of but some, like Google Calendar, require an Internet connection to even use. No problem if you’re always at home or at the office or have a stable Internet connection with you all the time.

That will not always be the case, though, and you might start having a panic attack when you suddenly get disconnected and have to check whether you’re clear for the next few weeks. Fortunately, that will no longer be the case with this new offline functionality for Google Calendar, provided you meet some of its requirements.

For one, this only works if you’re using Google Calendar on Google Chrome for the desktop, and Google is unsurprisingly silent if it will work on any other desktop web browser. And while you can actually peer into any time into the future, you can only look four weeks into the past, practically just the previous month.

The biggest requirement is that this feature is only available for Google Workspace customers and subscribers, so those with personal accounts will still have to hope for that stable Internet connection when they need to view their events and appointments. Admins can enable or disable this feature as needed while end users can also disable it even if their admin switched it to on.

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