The U.S. economy needs all the help it can get in this recovery, but the Federal Reserve has expressed frustration at the inability of Capitol Hill and the White House to do more.
When Fed Chairman Jay Powell fields questions at the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on Wednesday, will he show signs of fatigue in asking for more fiscal support? Or will he push harder for more help?
Powell’s tone could offer clues into the Fed’s next steps.
“The Fed can’t generate demand,” ING’s James Knightley wrote September 12. “For that we will need to see additional fiscal stimulus, but that is looking only a remote possibility ahead of the November 3rd elections.”
getting a deal done “doesn’t look that good right now.” ” data-reactid=”24″ type=”text”>Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the possibility of getting a deal done “doesn’t look that good right now.”
bonus unemployment insurance appear to have helped Americans stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis, but critical portions of the support have since expired.” data-reactid=”25″ type=”text”>Almost six months have lapsed with no follow-up to the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. CARES Act provisions like bonus unemployment insurance appear to have helped Americans stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis, but critical portions of the support have since expired.
elevated 8.4%.” data-reactid=”37″ type=”text”>The labor market began its recovery in May, but rising case counts in the late summer have slowed the rebound. As of August, the number of U.S. nonfarm payrolls remained 11.5 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels and the unemployment rate still at an elevated 8.4%.
backed up to near-zero interest rates and has no intention to dip into negative territory. The central bank has relied heavily on its armory of liquidity facilities to keep liquidity flowing in markets ranging from corporate debt to municipal bonds.” data-reactid=”38″ type=”text”>The Fed is already backed up to near-zero interest rates and has no intention to dip into negative territory. The central bank has relied heavily on its armory of liquidity facilities to keep liquidity flowing in markets ranging from corporate debt to municipal bonds.
Of course, the Fed has hinted it still has some tricks up its sleeve, such as more actively strategizing its asset purchases under quantitative easing. But Morgan Stanley wrote Sept. 15 that the Fed is playing a “waiting game” with a potential relief package.
“On the immediate horizon is the risk of no further support from Congress, something we expect Chair Powell to spend time on in the press conference,” said Morgan Stanley’s economics and global macro team.
last policy-setting meeting on July 29. Underscoring their concern over the lack of fiscal relief, the 16 officials emphasized the importance of more support. ” data-reactid=”42″ type=”text”>Nearly all members of the Federal Open Market Committee have made public remarks since the Fed’s last policy-setting meeting on July 29. Underscoring their concern over the lack of fiscal relief, the 16 officials emphasized the importance of more support.
Here’s what they said:
they’re the ones who are most vulnerable. And those are the ones who we really need to look out for both through Fed policy, which will be there to support the economy — but also through fiscal policy.” (NPR interview, September 4)” data-reactid=”44″ type=”text”>Fed Chairman Jerome Powell: “The people who worked in those service jobs, particularly the entry-level, lower paid workers, they’re the ones who are most vulnerable. And those are the ones who we really need to look out for both through Fed policy, which will be there to support the economy — but also through fiscal policy.” (NPR interview, September 4)
Peterson Institute, August 31)” data-reactid=”45″ type=”text”>Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida: “Fiscal policy is really an input to the way that we think about policy.” (Remarks at Peterson Institute, August 31)
Fed Governor Lael Brainard: “It is very important to many households and businesses to have continued fiscal support — just as it was important to them in the early phase of this crisis.” (Remarks at Brookings Institution, September 1)” data-reactid=”47″ type=”text”>Fed Governor Lael Brainard: “It is very important to many households and businesses to have continued fiscal support — just as it was important to them in the early phase of this crisis.” (Remarks at Brookings Institution, September 1)
Kansas Bankers Association, August 26)” data-reactid=”48″ type=”text”>Fed Governor Michelle Bowman: “Timely and supportive fiscal and monetary policy measures also have helped, but with the progress of the recovery still tentative, I expect that many businesses will continue to fight for survival in the months ahead, with the support of their lenders and communities. (Remarks at Kansas Bankers Association, August 26)
Marketplace interview, August 18)” data-reactid=”49″ type=”text”>Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren: “We’re still in a position where we could use significant fiscal policy until the pandemic’s under control.” (Marketplace interview, August 18)
Bretton Woods Committee, September 2)” data-reactid=”54″ type=”text”>New York Fed President John Williams: “Getting money into households’ pockets, allowing families to keep putting food on their tables, pay the rent, the [Paycheck Protection Program], and other efforts have been hugely helpful through the last several months to minimize some of the economic consequences of the pandemic.” (Remarks at Bretton Woods Committee, September 2)
Fox Business interview, August 28)” data-reactid=”55″ type=”text”>Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker: “It’s all hands on deck. I think it’s not just
I generally find these changes pleasing enough, though obviously that’s a matter of personal taste. What’s been most jarring to me is probably that toolbar buttons are now just floating symbols, like you might find in iOS. There’s no “border” showing where to click, though when you hover your mouse over there’s a gray shadow showing what is selected. Most importantly, these visual changes don’t change the fundamental Mac experience.
Control Center is great, but Notification Center needs work
That said, Control Center represents a fairly significant change in how you manage your Mac. Like its iOS counterpart, Control Center on macOS groups a bunch of commonly used settings (e.g., WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb) in one place. To see everything, just click the small “sliders” icon in the menu bar, up near the clock.
Previously, settings like Bluetooth and WiFi sat directly in the menu bar for easy access, but too many of these buttons made the menu bar feel cluttered very quickly. Now, you can pick items you want one-click access to and place them in the menu bar; the rest you can find in Control Center. This means that I only see what I want to see (like battery life and the clock), while settings I don’t adjust often (like WiFi and Bluetooth) remain hidden but still easily accessible.
Notification Center still sits in a pane that slides out from the right side of the screen, but now it’s one space for widgets and notifications. At first, it seemed like both things would get shortchanged. But if you have a lot of notifications to dig through, you can just hit the “show more” button and go through everything. The rest of the time, widgets are more accessible than they were before. As in iOS 14, Apple’s first-party widgets now come in multiple sizes too. No third-party widgets are enabled in the Big Sur beta (at least as of this writing), but I’m looking forward to seeing how other apps take advantage of the much-improved widget system.
Unfortunately, notifications themselves need some polish. That’s mostly because it’s not always obvious how to clear them. On some notifications, you can hover over them and get an X to remove them, but it’s buggy. Sometimes the X appears and disappears at random as you mouse over it, and sometimes it doesn’t show up at all. These are the kinds of bugs that’ll probably be ironed out before launch, but right now they’re a bit frustrating.
Safari’s details on tracking protection are interesting, but not actionable
As usual, Apple is promising a variety of performance improvements and new features for Safari. I can’t quite judge yet if it’s as fast as they say, or if the battery life improvements are real. But one thing that I do very much appreciate is Privacy Report. Next to the URL bar is a small shield symbol that you can click to find out what web-browsing trackers Safari detected on the page. Safari has had built-in tracking protection for a few years now, but that info is a lot more visible now.
The privacy-tracking drop-down can be expanded into a full view of everything tracker-related that Safari is blocking. It shows how many trackers it blocked in the last 30 days, the percentage of sites you visit using trackers, what the most contacted tracker is, and then the trackers on every site you’ve visited. It’s more information than most people probably need, but the transparency is pretty great, especially when this information is otherwise so hard to find. On the other hand, it isn’t terribly actionable information, it just pulls provides more granular information on what Safari does to protect your privacy online.
Messages should finally be on par with the iOS app, but it’s hard to tell just yet
Messages has become one of Apple’s killer apps and one of the best reasons for having multiple devices in Apple’s ecosystem. As such, Messages is probably one of the most important apps on the Mac for a lot of people, but it’s been lagging a bit behind its iOS counterpart for years. Between Big Sur and iOS 14, Messages is getting a handful of nice upgrades that should put the Mac and iOS versions at feature parity again.
That means that you’ll be able to send messages with effects like confetti and balloons, and you’ll have access to Memoji stickers and one-click GIF searches too. More useful are things like the ability to pin conversations to the top of the app, improved search, inline replies, and mentions. Unfortunately, a few of the most useful things like replies and mentions I haven’t been able to really test, because there aren’t many people I know out there running beta software to exchange messages with. But there’s little doubt that the messaging situation on the Mac is getting better this year — pinned conversations, message reactions and easy GIF searches have already made using Messages on Big Sur better.
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On Monday, Apple launched iOS 14 at an online keynote for its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. The latest iPhone operating system includes new customizations for the home screen, picture-in-picture video, better widgets, a new Siri interface and App Library, a new way to organize your apps.
The final version of iOS 14 will be released in the fall alongside the heavily rumored iPhone 12. But I got my hands on the developer beta of iOS 14 and was able to try out many of the features including the Translation app, Back Tap, new group Messaging options and new Memoji customizations, which include the option to add a face mask.
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This isn’t a review of the developer beta software. Rather it’s a hands-on preview of some of the significant features in iOS 14 and how they work.
The iOS 14 home screen is the same, but also different
At first glance, an iPhone 11 running iOS 14 doesn’t appear to be any different. All of my apps are right where they were in iOS 13. But a simple swipe to the right reveals a page called the App Library, which organizes all my apps in one place.
It would be easy to compare the App Library to the Android app drawer. But Apple has put its own twist on things by grouping apps into categories. Twitter, Instagram and similar apps are grouped together under the Social category, for example.
The groups look like large app folders but there’s no need to open one up to get to an app. You simply tap the app and go. Groups with more than four apps, have mini app clusters. You can tap them to expand the cluster and then tap the app you want.
When you open the App Library search bar, an alphabetical list of all your apps appears. So between Siri, search, your home page and the options on the App Library page there’s now a bunch of ways to find and open your apps in iOS 14.
Widgets can be pinned to your home screen
With the announcement of iOS 14, Apple now has three forms of apps: There are apps, widgets based on those apps and App Clips. That last one I’ll talk about momentarily. In iOS 13, widgets showed up in the Today View page to the left of the home screen. But now you can pin widgets directly on your home screen. You simply long press on the screen, tap the plus button and the Widget Gallery pops up.
The Widget Gallery is a mix of suggested widgets as well as a list of apps that have a widget you can install. Obviously, since this is the developer version the only widgets are currently for Apple apps.
Each widget comes in three sizes: small, medium and large. Widgets have a fixed width that lines up with app columns on the home screen. So you can’t put one in the middle of your screen. Having widgets that are different sizes integrated among my apps makes the iPhone home screen look contemporary and compelling. And let’s acknowledge there is definitely a Windows Phone tile vibe going on, which isn’t a bad thing.
Widget stacks and the Smart Stack
Perhaps one of the coolest customizations on the home screen is a widget stack. You create one simply by dragging one widget on top of another that’s the same size. To view the widgets in a stack, you swipe up or down, which brings a different one to the top.
Who would have thought widgets could be so exciting in 2020? And before you comment, I know Android did widgets a long time ago. But it’s lazy to dismiss iOS 14 widgets simply as a copied feature, especially since Apple’s put its own spin on widgets with what’s called a Smart Stack.
iOS 14 creates a Smart Stack of widgets based on the apps you use the most and the time of day you use them. So if you use the Maps app regularly after work, that’s when that widget will be at the top of your Smart Stack. If you always check the weather in the morning, then that’s one the top when you wake up. Your iPhone curates your Smart Stack for you. I’m excited to see how this will work after I’ve spent more time with iOS 14.
I’m sure many people will never touch a widget or Smart Stack in their lives and will never be the wiser, which is why Apple’s implementation is savvy. In one sense, nothing’s changed on your home screen. But in another, so much is different.
App Clips are basically mini apps for your iPhone
iOS 14 brings an entirely new way for you to interact with an app. It’s called App Clips and is aimed at apps that aren’t on your iPhone. Essentially, an App Clip is a mini app with limited functionality as determined by the app’s developer. The idea is you don’t have to take time or phone space to download an entire app and instead you can have a fast experience.
During the WWDC keynote, Apple showed off a customer signing up for a rewards club at a coffee shop via an App Clip. QR codes and NFC can trigger an App Clip. But you can also send them via a friend for ordering food, or find one for a business in Maps.
If developers widely adopt App Clips, it could help keep your iPhone decluttered and change your relationship with apps.
First take: iOS 14 and all its new features
iOS 14 lets you hide app pages
If you have apps that you use infrequently but don’t want to delete, you can put them all onto a page and hide it. You still have access to the apps via search, Siri or the App Library, but they’re out of view.
In theory you could hide all your apps, fill your home screen with widget stacks and still be able to use your iPhone. I think I’m going to have to try that at some point.
Picture-in-picture comes to your iPhone
After being on the iPad for a number of years, the picture-in-picture video feature has arrived on the iPhone via iOS 14. To be honest, it’s more like picture-in-home-screen video, or picture-in-different-apps video. This works not only for videos but also FaceTime calls.
I love being able to turn my FaceTime chat into a tiny window so I can access something else on my iPhone. It allows me to keep the conversation going without that blank screen showing up to people on the other end of the call. And you can pretty much move the mini FaceTime window anywhere you want.
Videos work similarly: If I’m watching a video in fullscreen via an app like Safari, I can swipe up to enter the app switcher view and then tap the home screen to minimize it. You can resize the video window and move it around accordingly. If you push it off to the side, the audio will keep playing without the picture.
Set a third-party browser or mail app as default
It wasn’t mentioned in the keynote, but at the bottom of the iOS 14 preview page on the Apple website is a small announcement for a feature many of us have yearned for: You can now choose system default apps from third parties.
iOS 14 will let you set a third-party app as your default internet browser or mail app. The catch here is that developers need to flag their app as a browser or mail app for it to work. In theory, this means you could use Chrome or Firefox as your default mobile browser or Gmail as your default email app. I’m excited to see this in action once developers have enabled their apps.
iOS 14 adds the Translate app to your iPhone
The new Translate app has a couple of modes. In the vertical position you can have it translate words and phrases as well as showing the definition of those words. When you rotate it into landscape, it enters conversation mode, allowing each speaker to have half the screen with their translation showing. You can even have the app show the translation in full screen or speak it for you.
Apple Maps gets cycling directions
Google Maps has had directions for bike routes for a while. But with iOS 14, Maps is adding cycling directions of its own. And there are some well-thought out options: You get elevations and warnings about streets or where you’ll need to walk your bike. You can also toggle options to avoid like stairs, hills and busy roads. Bike routes in Maps show locations such as bike repair shops and coffee shops along the way. At launch, cycling directions will only be available in a handful of cities.
Green light means your camera is on
A useful feature in iOS 14 is an indicator light that lets you know if an app is using your camera or mic in the background. When your phone’s mic is on, an orange dot appears on the top right side of the screen. The dot shows up green when an app is using your camera, leaving zero doubt about what’s going on.
Trigger a shortcut by tapping on the back of your iPhone
There are a ton of new accessibility features, but one that stands out to me is Back Tap. In the Touch section of the Accessibility settings you can enable Back Tap, which lets you trigger an action or shortcut by double-tapping or triple-tapping the back of your iPhone. For example, I can double tap to bring up the Control Panel. And if I double tap again, the Control Panel goes away.
You can select from over two dozen actions and shortcuts to be triggered with Back Tap like taking screenshots, or bringing up the magnifier.
Sound Recognition can alert you to alarms and animals
Another compelling Accessibility feature is called Sound Recognition. It can alert you if your iPhone detects specific sounds, such as a fire or smoke alarm, or an animal. You select which sound you want to be notified about and when your iPhone detects one of those sounds, it will notify you with an on-screen alert.
Messages get Memoji face masks and new group thread mentions
If you’re big on group threads, iOS 14 makes them even more manageable. You can mention a specific person in a thread and only alert that person. You can also pin conversations to the top of the app.
There are a bunch of customizations, including new hair and headwear styles for Memoji, as well as the ability to add a face mask.
Phone calls and Siri get small
Instead of an incoming call taking up your entire screen before you answer it, it will now show up as a banner notification across the top. You tap to answer or swipe it away.
Siri, which had a similar bad habit of taking over your entire screen, now appears as an animated orb at the bottom.
Another iOS 14 beta is on the way
A public beta version of iOS 14 will launch in July. iOS 14 will run on the same iPhones that are supported in iOS 13 — specifically, the iPhone 6S and newer.
Microsoft’s latest Windows Insider preview of Windows 10 cuts out the Linux kernel for the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2).
The change comes in the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19645 that’s available to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.
Dropping the Linux kernel from the Windows 10 preview brings it in line with the currently rolling out Windows 10 version 2004.
SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)
Microsoft in March decided to remove its custom Linux kernel from the Windows OS image to improve serviceability. The idea was to let Windows handle kernel updates like other driver updates via Windows Update to ensure the kernel is kept current.
Windows 10 users can run the Linux distribution of their choice on the kernel.
This preview build also brings support for nested virtualization on PCs with AMD processors. The support allows IT pros to use Hyper-V containers inside a virtual machine. Until now Windows 10 only supported nested virtualization on Intel processors.
Microsoft says nested virtualization has been tested on AMD’s first-generation Ryzen/Epyc processor. Linux kernel virtual-machine guest support will be added in the future.
Microsoft’s previous preview, which was released last week, changed the behavior of Storage Sense disk cleanup tool to stop it automatically deleting the Downloads folder if it was synced to a cloud provider.
That release didn’t contain any bug fixes, but the new preview brings several of them, including a fix for an issue where PCs booting from eMMC storage bugchecked when waking from hibernate.
Build 19645 also fixes a bug that caused taskbar preview thumbnails not to render properly and another that failed to open the handwriting input panel in certain text fields when tapped with a pen.
It also fixes a glitch causing Windows Hello Setup to crash if facial recognition was already set up and then Improve Recognition was selected.
Microsoft notes that the Your Phone feature for controlling music and audio apps is now rolling out to all users.
“Now you can access and control the audio apps playing from your phone directly within the app, without needing to split your attention between devices or breaking your workflow,” Microsoft notes.
“Your audio tracks will stay in sync between your phone and PC, and you can switch between multiple sources using the dropdown in the player.”