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GM wants you to know that it’s also unhappy with the slow pace of its EV business

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GM wants you to know that it’s also unhappy with the slow pace of its EV business

General Motors is dealing with a lot right now: a slowing EV business, delays in battery manufacturing, a safety crisis with its robotaxi unit, Cruise, and financial headwinds from the monthslong autoworker strike. On top of it all, its stock price is still struggling to get back to where it was this summer before the strike started.

With all that in mind, GM CEO Mary Barra hopped on a call with investors early Wednesday to address these compounding challenges and assure them that they have a number of fixes in mind. Costs will be reined in, factories will be delayed, and stock buybacks will recirculate cash to shareholders. It’s a crucial moment for GM, which is locked in a tight race with Ford, Tesla, and others to develop EVs and roll out autonomous driving safely and profitably.

Costs will be reined in, factories will be delayed, and stock buybacks will recirculate cash to shareholders

Barra said she is “disappointed” with the slow pace of its Ultium battery development, which is supposed to underpin the company’s forthcoming lineup of EVs. She is “not satisfied” with GM’s low stock price. And the Cruise “incident,” in which a driverless vehicle drug a pedestrian 20 feet after she was struck in a hit-and-run, is now under independent review, but the robotaxi company will be smaller and slower going forward.

“We will be very transparent with what our go-forward plan is,” Barra said. “But I think there’s been some concern about when that comes.”

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Cruise, in particular, was under the microscope. The company has paused all robotaxi operations in the aftermath of the incident in San Francisco in October. Two top executives, CEO Kyle Vogt and chief product officer Dan Kan, have resigned, and the company has said that layoffs will be coming.

In the call, GM offered more details on Cruise’s uncertain future. The company hired two outside law firms to review Cruise’s safety protocols as well as determine whether Cruise purposefully withheld video footage from the California DMV of its driverless vehicle dragging the hit-and-run victim to the side of the road. The company issued a voluntary recall of all 950 Cruise vehicles earlier this month to update the software to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Photo by Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu via Getty Images

GM has lost $8.2 billion on Cruise since 2017 but expects to lose much less going forward. The automaker didn’t share specific cash reductions, but chief financial officer Paul Jacobson said it would likely amount to “hundreds of millions” of dollars.

“We are projecting to have a little bit of a narrower scope as we focus in on safety and scaling up in a much narrower view,” Jacobson said.

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But unlike some of its competitors, GM is not pulling out completely from the autonomous vehicle business. “We’re going to be very deliberate about how we go forward,” Barra said, adding that when Cruise restarts its operations, it will be in only one city. The company also will need to “build trust” with local leaders and first responders, Barra said, in a nod to complaints from San Francisco officials that Cruise’s vehicles obstructed city operations.

“There’s been a lot of uncertainty in our industry and frankly, we didn’t execute well this year”

On the Ultium battery delays, Barra was blunt in her assessment. “There’s been a lot of uncertainty in our industry and frankly, we didn’t execute well this year, as it relates to demonstrating our EV capability and the capability of Ultium because of the module manufacturing automation equipment issues that we had,” she said. “So I’m disappointed in that. I think that has created some concern.”

Recently, GM said it would delay production of its upcoming slate of electric pickup trucks at its plant in Michigan’s Orion Township by “a few months.” Barra assured investors that the issues with Ultium manufacturing were being resolved.

“Our module production issue is not really related to Ultium,” she added. “As I’ve said before, it is really an automation manufacturing issue.”

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Barra said that while EV growth has slowed, demand is still heading in the right direction, noting that US car buyers were on track to purchase 1 million EVs this year for the first time.

“There’s really no reason that EV demand won’t be higher in the years ahead,” she said. “Consideration is rising, the policy environment is favorable. The public charging infrastructure is growing and customer choice is expanding.”

She also acknowledged that the recent contracts with the United Auto Workers union are spooking investors because of their associated costs. GM estimates that the new contracts will result in added labor costs of around $500 per vehicle in 2024 and $575 on average over the life of the contract. The company also expects to raise battery costs by about $3 per kilowatt-hour, but it still expects to achieve “mid-single digit profitability” on its EV business by 2025.

GM expects to reduce net costs by $2 billion through 2024, which includes lower salaries, lowering marketing expenses, and additional overhead reductions. And tellingly, Barra also managed to slip in some praise for the company’s internal combustion engine vehicles, which continue to generate profits for the company at a time when costs are rising across the board.

“Our strong ICE business that frankly has gotten stronger, and we still believe there’s growth there,” Barra said.

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GM has said it expects to go completely carbon neutral by 2040.  

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Microsoft is working with Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to improve upscaling support in PC games

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Microsoft is working with Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to improve upscaling support in PC games

Microsoft has outlined a new Windows API designed to offer a seamless way for game developers to integrate super resolution AI-upscaling features from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel. In a new blog post, program manager Joshua Tucker describes Microsoft’s new DirectSR API as the “missing link” between games and super resolution technologies, and says it should provide “a smoother, more efficient experience that scales across hardware.”

“This API enables multi-vendor SR [super resolution] through a common set of inputs and outputs, allowing a single code path to activate a variety of solutions including Nvidia DLSS Super Resolution, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and Intel XeSS,” the post reads. The pitch seems to be that developers will be able to support this DirectSR API, rather than having to write code for each and every upscaling technology.

The blog post comes a couple of weeks after an “Automatic Super Resolution” feature was spotted in a test version of Windows 11, which promised to “use AI to make supported games play more smoothly with enhanced details.” Now, it seems the feature will plug into existing super resolution technologies like DLSS, FSR, and XeSS rather than offering a Windows-level alternative. 

Microsoft says that the new API will be available soon via a preview version of its Agility SDK. It plans to offer a “sneak peek” of how DirectSR can be used during a developer session at the forthcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC). The session will take place on March 21st, and will include representatives from both Microsoft as well as Nvidia and AMD.

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Apple warns against using rice to dry out your wet iPhone; here’s what to do instead

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Apple warns against using rice to dry out your wet iPhone; here’s what to do instead

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Cellphones getting water damage is nothing new. Before the iPhone, I had a flip phone that fell into a swimming pool. The first thing everyone told me to do was to dry the phone out with rice.

The idea is that the rice will draw out any excess water, saving your phone from being destroyed by water damage.

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This method remains many people’s tried-and-true method for saving a waterlogged phone, and I’ve seen it work firsthand. 

However, a new support document by Apple has just come out, and the company is asking people to please not place their iPhones in a bowl or bag of rice.

CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK VIDEO TIPS, TECH REVIEWS AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER

An iPhone in a bowl of rice (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Why shouldn’t you put your wet iPhone in rice?

Apple is now warning customers that placing their iPhones into a bowl or bag of rice might actually slow down the drying process and damage their phone’s internal components. In particular, the company warns that small particles of wet rice may end up in your iPhone, damaging the phone’s logic board.

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REVOLUTIONARY DEVICE LETS YOU POINT, CLICK WITH YOUR TONGUE

iPhone rice trick 2

Wet iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

What Apple recommends you do instead

Next time your iPhone takes a dip in the swimming pool or the toilet, instead of running for the rice in the cabinet, Apple suggests doing this instead.

Step 1 – Tap the water out

Apple suggests that your first immediate step should be lightly tapping the iPhone against your hand with the charging connector pointed down. This should pull some of the water inside your iPhone out. Don’t be alarmed if only a few drops of water come from the connector port. Leave your iPhone somewhere dry, with some airflow.

iPhone rice trick 3

Image of an iPhone and power cord (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: BEST ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR PHONE

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Step 2 – Wait 30 minutes, then try to charge your iPhone

You should leave your iPhone alone for a period of 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes have gone by, you can attempt to charge your iPhone again. If your iPhone charges, congratulations. There’s no water damage to your iPhone and you can resume using it. If you receive an alert saying “liquid detected in USB-C (or lightning) port,” you unfortunately still have water in your iPhone. However, luckily, hope isn’t lost.

MORE: 5 BEST PORTABLE PHONE CHARGERS OF 2024

iPhone rice trick 4

Liquid Detected alert on iPhone (Apple)

CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK VIDEO TIPS, TECH REVIEWS AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER

Step 3 – Leave your iPhone in a dry area for 24 hours

If you receive an alert saying “liquid detected in USB-C (or lightning) port,” you unfortunately still have water in your iPhone. Apple warns against using a blow-dryer or any other heat gun device to dry your iPhone after it takes a splash. You should instead leave your phone in a dry area with some airflow and allow for 24 hours to pass. A room with a ceiling fan is a great place to leave your iPhone while it dries.

iPhone rice trick 5

Charging Not Available alert on iPhone (Apple)

Step 4 – Retest the connector

After 24 hours have passed, you should try to charge your iPhone again. If your iPhone charges, you are all good. If it doesn’t charge, Apple recommends removing the charging cable from the wall outlet and changing electrical sources for a moment. Apple recommends against trying to insert a cotton swab or any other foreign object into your charging port.

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If your iPhone’s charging port is damaged or not working properly, you may want to consider alternative charging methods that do not rely on the port. For example, some iPhones support wireless charging, which uses a magnetic pad or stand to charge your phone without plugging in a cable. This way, you can avoid inserting anything into the port and prevent further damage. 

Now, if all that doesn’t work and your iPhone still does not charge or shows signs of water damage, such as a wet screen, distorted audio or malfunctioning buttons, you may need to contact Apple for repair or replacement. You can check your warranty status and common issues not covered under warranty by clicking here.

Remember to back up your data before sending your iPhone for repair, as you may lose some or all of your information.

MORE: HOW TO PROTECT AN IPHONE & IPAD FROM MALWARE 2024

Kurt’s key takeaways

It’s important to remember that all iPhones since the iPhone 12 are able to safely withstand submersion in water of up to 20 feet for 30 minutes. If you do end up dropping your iPhone in the water, just don’t run for the rice.

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Do you think Apple should make their iPhones more water-resistant or waterproof? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

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X adds live video to Spaces instead of bringing back Periscope

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X adds live video to Spaces instead of bringing back Periscope

Spaces, the live audio feature for X, is now letting hosts turn on their video during chat sessions. The platform formerly known as Twitter announced the news on Wednesday as owner / CTO Elon Musk reposted a walkthrough from a user named “Dogedesigner.”

Spaces users will notice a new option to “enable video” when they first create a new Spaces session. Hosts can opt for either their phone’s front or back-facing cameras as well as either a landscape or vertical view of their video feed. 

The Video Spaces are available on the iOS version of the X app, but we haven’t seen them available on Android or the web yet. Multiple users reported significant lag while trying out the feature so far.

Right now, only hosts have the ability to turn on video. The end result is a prominent display of the host’s video feed, which is then surrounded by icons of co-hosts, speakers, and any listeners. At first glance, it’s an environment that resembles Twitch — expect for the fact that any selected audience members can chime in at any minute. A host’s video feed also only lives inside a Spaces session, so users will have to join the session in order to tune in.

When Elon Musk announced that Spaces would get video late last year, his description of it sounded closer to a videoconferencing app or video call app like FaceTime, where the video feed switches to whoever is currently speaking. 

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But for now, a typical Spaces with video session prominently features the host’s video feed, which is surrounded by the smaller icons of any other speakers, co-hosts, or listeners in the room. It’s not exactly like Twitch since anyone you give permission to can speak back to you, but it does turn the host into the main event in a similar fashion. 

The new video integration of X Spaces is separate from the platform’s existing live broadcast feature, which lets users directly livestream video. Spaces functions as a live chatroom, where multiple users can tune in and speak. In contrast, the audience in a typical live broadcast can only comment or send hearts

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