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Bridge Bytes: Weekly Tech Roundup 20/03/2020

20 Mar 11:00 by Nathan Baldwin

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As the streets of Europe look ever more like a scene from 28 Days Later, we’ll attempt to shed some tech inspired light on this global time of darkness. 

From till-less supermarkets to accessible streaming for everyone, and the unsung hero in all of this… a toilet paper calculator! The tech industry has truly raised its head and offered convenience in a time of chaos. Put down the sanitiser and terabyte out of the latest tech news.


All for one and one for all

Global gaming hardware manufacturing company​, Razer, have taken a step back from their usual lines of keyboards and computer screens. Instead devoting a large portion of their factories to producing surgical masks, to help alleviate shortages in the midst of COVID-19. CEO Min-Liang Tan announced the company will donate over 1 million masks around the world, with first shipments already reaching authorities in Singapore. Min-Liang claims this is "the first step of many" that Razer will take to reduce shortages, despite facing increasing demand for their own products.


The only calculator that counts right now

As panic buying continues to decimate supplies of the most useful of papers, a couple of software developers in the US have taken it upon themselves to single handily solve the TP crisis. Their new website, aptly named howmuchtoiletpaper.com offers approximations on how long your current supply of toilet paper will last, based on how many times you visit the loo. The calculator also has an advanced section which can determine more precise estimates based on things like; average number of wipes per day or sheets per wipe used.


Amazon up the social isolation game

Despite the current crisis Amazon’s new cashier-free technology isn’t a measure to contain the virus, it’s an answer to a generations distain for social interaction.  Last month the tech giant announced that their new product, Amazon Go Grocery, will do away with the inconvenience of actual living breathing cashiers and instead allow shoppers to pay for products by simply scanning the barcode with their phones. Read more about that here…


Netflix and… quality control?

Netflix have announced plans to cut streaming quality by 25% for a 30-day period in Europe. Before you symbolically spit on the floor in disgust, there is method in the madness. Netflix have anticipated a spike in usage due to the thousands and potentially millions of people across Europe who are self-isolating. By minutely reducing the overall quality of things like load speed and display quality, the platform will be able to support the huge surge in usage.