It's time for another round of good tech news. With the world in dire straits right now, everything can be a little overwhelming. But there's also a lot of good being done, so here's a look.
Today, we have Razer and Maingear stepping up to the plate to help with the pandemic, Microsoft giving a boost to its employees, and an adorable golden retriever.
Razer lends its partners a $50 million hand
A lot of businesses are having a tough time through the COVID-19 pandemic, and Razer announced today that it's lending a hand to some. The company committed $50 million to assist its partners, both old and new, in weathering the current downturn brought on by the pandemic.
"There are many growing implications with COVID-19 on the global economy and it is affecting everyone from all walks of life," Razer co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan said in a press release today. "We see the best way for us to do our part is to support our business partners starting with our ecosystem."
As part of the plan, Razer says it will divvy up the $50 million throughout 2020 with its Razer Gold, Razer Fintech, and zVentures arms. The money will largely go to supporting cashflow, marketing, and investments for Razer's partners.
Maingear steps up with much-needed ventilators
This week, custom PC builder Maingear announced the Maingear LIV, a ventilator that it quickly prototyped and is gearing up to build and ship to communities in need. Maingear says it consulted with doctors to get the prototype built in around two weeks, and it's using 3D-printed parts to scale up production.
The LIV can be controlled by a tablet, but it's operational without the tablet as well. Inside, Maingear has included redundant power supplies and multiple alarms if something goes wrong with its operation. Maingear is hoping to get quick approval from the FDA to get its LIV units to where they're needed.
"The MAINGEAR LIV combines redundant power circuits, multiple safety features, and a unique coupling device that contains and drains exhaled aerosolized virus from the patient while allowing routine maintenance under severe conditions," Maingear said in a press release. "Each unit has preset standard values for use by untrained personnel, as well as dedicated software that is controlled via touch screen interface, giving access to fine adjustments in addition to the manual regulation controls on the device."
Microsoft gives families a break with generous family leave
Microsoft this week set up a "Paid Pandemic Chool and Childcare Closure Leave" (PSCCL) program for its employees. The goal? To help families juggle working full-time and teaching their children while schools are closed.
The program lets parents take a total of 12 weeks of paid leave, either continuously or intermittently. The policy follows on from the updated Family and Medical Leave Act rules, but it is mare generous. It also builds on larger efforts Microsoft has taken on in recent weeks, described by CEO Satya Nadella, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pet of the day
As always, here's another fluffer to brighten your day a bit. This girl is named Maggie May, and she's happy as a clam.
Update 6: Microsoft wants all of TikTok, but Trump's order may interfere
The Financial Times reports that as part of negotiations, Microsoft is now inquiring whether it can buy all of TikTok, instead of just the business in the US., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This new plan would include India and Europe (and excluding China).
Apple responds to Project xCloud iOS block, Microsoft kicks back
With Microsoft's Project xCloud streaming platform locked out from iOS devices, Apple doubles down on App Store restrictions.
We lay out whether the XPS 13 2-in-1 or standard XPS 13 is a better buy
Dell's lineup includes both convertible and non-convertible versions of the XPS 13, and while they're both premium options, there are some similarities and differences to note before deciding on which will be your next PC.
Accessorize your Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop
The Razer Blade 15 is an excellent gaming laptop, but there are plenty of accessories for it you should consider getting, too. Here's what we recommend.