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    • Uncrowned Bot
      Cinco de Mayo, or translated as the Fifth of May, is the Mexican holiday that celebrates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla during Franco-Mexican war.  The day is sometimes referred to as Battle of Puebla Day and always falls on the 5th day of May.  Cinco de Mayo is often referred to in the United States as Mexican Independence Day, but this is an incorrect reference as it is a minor holiday in Mexico and is the celebration of a single battle. Mexican Independence Day, or Día de la Independencia, is celebrated on September 16th as the commemoration of Mexico’s declaration of war against the Spanish government in 1810.
      The Franco-Mexican war was a joint military response by France, Britain, and Spain who sent military forces to Veracruz, Mexico demanding repayment of loans and other finances due to Mexico’s ongoing financial troubles and defaulting on recent payments. Britain and Spain never engaged in military combat due to negotiations with the Mexican government, however, France decided to use the opportunity to expand their empire into the Mexican owned territory. The Battle of Puebla was a final stand made by a ragtag Mexican military force that was vastly outnumbered and underequipped to face the French army but managed to hold the line against the French invasion. After this battle The United States, who was finally recovering from the Civil War, began to apply political pressure to the French and support for the Mexican military causing the French forces to withdraw.
      While in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where the victory had occurred, the United States began celebrating the holiday around the 1960s as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage within the United States. Since the 1960s Cinco de Mayo has rapidly grown in popularity within the United States with numerous festivals and events celebrating Mexican traditions and culture within the nation. While the holiday is still officially the commemoration of a victory in a military battle, it is widely regarded has a cultural celebration in modern times here in the United States. Many people connect this holiday with the association of Mexican traditions due to the high number of indigenous Mexicans that fought in the Battle of Puebla.

    • Guardian
      Logitech has announced that they will be discontinuing all their Harmony products effective immediately.  Harmony products are loved by many home theater users as the nearly undebatable best solution to creating a universal remote and integrating smart features into those remotes. While the future of the Harmony line has been questioned for many years due to the rise of smart TVs and smart speakers having their own solutions to Harmony’s answer, the surprise discontinuation of the lineup is still a shock. 
      Thankfully, Logitech has stated that they will continue to offer support for these products and will allow retailers to sell though their inventory.  Logitech has even gone as far as stating that they will continue to update and add new home theater products into the Harmony database, but only time will tell how dedicated they are in this task.  So, all current Harmony users should be unaffected by this move and new users can still get into the system by simply visiting a store until they sell out.  Although we would cation anyone from starting a smart home system based on a discontinued product line.
      Logitech has stated that no refunds will be issued as the products will continue to work and if users want to return a Harmony product, they will need to check with the place of purchase.  Nearly all of the release and following information is based around the remotes offered by Harmony and little information was given about other items, such as the Harmony smart hub, but they did state ALL products will continue to receive support.

    • Guardian
      The contract worth nearly $22 billion and spanning 10 years will supply the US Army with HoloLens-based headsets to incorporate augmented reality into the military. 120,000 headsets will be delivered to the US Army over the next 10 years that will enable training via augmented reality and other machine learning enabled software.
      Back in 2018 Microsoft won a nearly $500 million contract to supply the US army with augmented reality headsets and now images are surfacing of a much more rugged and customized version of their HoloLens appearing for the new contract. Since then, Microsoft has worked with the US Army to develop many prototypes of their devices and tools required for the military to achieve their training goals.
      Overall, the augmented reality market has been stagnant in the consumer space lately, but the development side has been massively increasing between major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook who are devoting exceptionally large portions of their staff toward research and development of augmented reality. Many experts believe that augmented reality will be a massive technology achievement once it is more practical and now that Microsoft has achieved a military contract utilizing this technology the development space and competition is likely to massively increase.
      The Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) appears to be the system that Microsoft has developed based around their HoloLens and it utilizes multiple sensors along with military integrated technology like night vision and target acquisition but overall, the system is mostly unknown and even press releases from Microsoft have contradicted each other over the software and capabilities of the device. Although being a military device it is unlikely that we will get a full breakdown of the technology and software being utilized for quite some time.

    • Uncrowned Bot
      Easter, the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is one of the oldest Christian holidays and is often considered a convergence of Christian, Hebrew, and Pagan cultures. The New Testament of the Bible states that Jesus was crucified by the Romans in roughly 30 A.D. and was resurrected on a Sunday that has become Easter Sunday. Easter day is also the conclusion of a series of events called the “Passion of the Christ”, that is a 40-day long period of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice that begins with Lent.
      Officially Easter is one of the most religious and celebrated holidays within the Christian culture however it is also mixed with many traditions that pre-date Christian beliefs from earlier Pagan times and the Jewish holiday of Passover. The origin of the word Easter is still a debated topic and was not the original name for the holiday. The most widely accepted origin of Easter was from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Eastre (or Eeostre). However, one of easter's earlier names was “hebdomada alba” which meant “white week” and it is believed that due to translation issues particularly with people speaking Old High German mistakenly translated the word as “Osteun” (which is a plural for the word “dawn”) which became Easter in English.
      For those curious, the reasoning Easter is centered around a bunny, or hare, is due to the holiday's heavy Pagan based history. When Easter was first celebrated by Christians its celebrations were based off Pagan festivals and Easter was a festival within itself. In Pagan tradition bunnies are a symbol of many beliefs, but most prominently fertility, and it is logical to utilize them as a symbol for celebrating new life. Bunnies are also an ancient symbol of the moon and the date of Easter is based around the moon. This association with the moon and an association with the bunny’s burrow being connected as a symbol of Jesus emerging from his tomb has kept the bunny well within Easter's traditions.
      Easter eggs on the other hand have a less solid of a connection to Easter, although there are many associations to the eggs that could connect them to the ancient holiday. Many ancient cultures believed the world began as an enormous egg, and with many of these cultures having contact with early Christians it is highly plausible the eggs became a symbol of new life just like the bunny. There are also sources that state many ancient cultures, again many that were directly associated with ancient Christians, utilized eggs as gifts during festival's along with some sources stating eating dyed eggs was a common practice during spring festivals and likely just transitioned into an Easter tradition.
      While bunnies and eggs are possibly the most common association with Easter, the most Christian association with Easter would be the Easter lamb. The lamb is connected to the Jewish holiday of Passover where families killed a lamb as a sacrifice. According to beliefs, when Jesus Christ became the “Passover Lamb” for everybody the lamb itself became a symbol of his sacrifice.

    • Guardian
      Discord has been in talks to sell itself lately and Microsoft has entered the talks as a possible buyer.  Sources have stated a possible cost of $10 billion for Discord but nothing is official yet and it is still possible that Discord will go public instead of selling itself.
      Discord is a San Francisco based communication platform focused around gaming.  The service offers text, voice, and video chat on a platform that also offers numerous gaming services on both PC and Mobile.  The service has been trying to expand from gaming as of late and seems to be doing well in this market during the current pandemic.
      Microsoft purchasing Discord makes a lot of sense as Xbox is rapidly growing on PC, but Discord is often the chat service used with these games.  Xbox also has a poor cross platform chat service and really offers nothing for many of Discords features so bringing Discord to Xbox consoles would make many gamers happy. 
      Discord has been in sales talks with other tech giants before but details for those talks are also limited.  There is also no reason to suspect these talks have any momentum to them or that this sell has any higher chance than others, but it seems to have really perked up the interest of gamers this time.

    • Guardian
      Mozilla has announced that the new version of Firefox will introduce Total Cookie, which is a feature that will lock cookies to the site that created them and prevent other sites from seeing what you are doing elsewhere.  Yes, that means Social Media will not be able to see what you have been searching for around the web or the items you have recently looked at.
      This is a huge step forward in user privacy as cookie tracking is currently one of the most popular ways that commercial companies track your online activity and log what you are doing on sites they do not own.  Since 2019, Firefox has had features to reduce cookie tracking but this is the first time the browser will allow a user to truly protect their privacy online.
      Total Cookie should still allow third-party logins and special cookie usage that is not focused on tracking user data and the company states that this feature should not affect a user’s regular browsing experience in today’s highly integrated web.  Preventing companies from “tagging” your cookies to track your online activity is the sole concept of this feature and that should still allow most other cookie-based features that users may not even know are enhancing their experience.
      We absolutely love to see this feature being added to the browser and will certainly be turning it on and giving it a try!  Hopefully, this will encourage other browsers who have pursued isolating cookies per site to continue down that route and make the web a little bit more private each time.  Although we will have to see how this feature effects other functions as cookies from other sites are often used for tasks beyond tracking and advertising.

    • Guardian
      An Asus ROG Phone 5 model with 16 GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 888 processor briefly appeared on Geekbench’s Android Benchmarks and overtook the current champion after surpassing the ROG Phone 3 in both single and mutli-core.  The ROG Phone 5 is expected to launch sometime in the spring of 2021 and is rumored have multiple configurations being available for the phone’s hardware.
      NotebookCheck stated they have discovered an 8 GB model and the 16 GB model to have both listed well above 1000 points on Geekbench but those listings have been pulled as the product is not released.  These scores are not unexpected as the ROG Phone line has a history of launching as the most powerful phone at that time and the 5 will have a more processor and overall a better hardware then the current ROG 3 phone.
      Granted these scores are a single phone and the scoreboard on Geekbench is supposed to be an average of many user’s devices.  So, it is not a true placement but with the listed specs, but it is safe to assume that the ROG Phone 5 will be the leader come launch day.  For those curious, we did not get an official reason why Asus is skipping the ROG Phone 4, but it is commonly known that 4 is an unlucky number in several Asian cultures and that may have been the reason.

    • Guardian
      NVIDIA announced the RTX 3060 GPU quite awhile ago but we now have a MSRP and a release date.  The card is going to drop on February 25th (one week from today) and will be suggested to be listed at $329.  This card is designed to be a “budget” card in the 3000 series along side the more expensive, and more powerful, 3070, 3080, and 3090 cards.  If you did not know, NVIDIA GPUs currently uses the first two numbers (30) for the series and the last two numbers (60) as essentially a performance mark with the higher number being more powerful.  Also the Ti versions are more capable than the non-Ti versions although are also more expense and the RTX 3060 Ti is already released for $399+ if you can find one.
      While this is great news for gamers who are looking for an exceptionally good budget card, it is not all good news as the GPU shortage has already shown its head for these new cards.  Many stores offering preorders have already raised the prices over 50% of the MSRP and multiple sites have already reported that miners and scalpers are eyeing up the new cards.
      Overall, we are excited to hear about the new cards and truly hope they find themselves in the hands of gamers.  However, it seems like these cards are already destined to fall into the GPU nonsense pit and be a hard to find in the overpriced GPU nightmare like the rest of the 3000 series.  We would recommend preordering a card if you can in order to avoid the nightmare restocking process that is likely to follow.

    • Uncrowned Bot
      President’s Day, or more appropriately called George Washington’s Birthday, is a federal holiday in the United States in honor of first president of the United States.  George Washington was born on February 11th, 1731 using the calendar of his time or on February 22nd, 1732 according to the modern calendar, with the later considered his official birthday in most references.
      The United States Congress implemented February 22 as a day to honor the former president in 1879 and in 1971 the date of the holiday was changed to the third Monday of February via the Uniform Monday Holiday Act by Congress.  Oddly, the new date will always fall between February 15th and February 21st, which will never include Washington’s original or updated birthdays.  

    • Guardian
      The latest Bloomberg Innovation Index report lists South Korea as the world’s leader in innovation after suppressing Germany, which was the last leader and has now fallen to 4th place.  South Korea leading in innovation is not uncommon as they have led seven out of the nine years that Bloomberg has published the index.
      Much of the data used in the index was obtained before the COVID-19 pandemic, although the chart does seem to indicate that the top innovators have done the best at handling the pandemic.  The Index does note that China received a large boost due to Wuhan’s impressive ability to test 10 million residents of a city for coronavirus, which was a massive public health innovation.
      South Korea is a notable leader of the group as they are often not considered as developed as many over nations and are battling a losing technology battle against China’s low-cost labor.  However, the nation, and more importantly the people, have a mindset focused on research and development and much of the country’s policies are focused on that concept. 
      The United States and China are the world’s two largest economies and neither has made the top ten on the list.  One of the largest declines in the U.S. is due to an extremely poor ranking higher education system that has underperformed in numerous areas.  President Biden has made a push to focus on manufacturing R&D, but so far has not stated any plans to deal with the education problems.
      The ranking process begins with over 200 nations which are scored on a zero to ten scale in seven categories.  Many nations do not properly report their data in these categories and are automatically eliminated and Bloomberg only publishes the top 60.  You can view a summary of the report here, although is does require a special subscription.

    • Uncrowned Bot
      Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is a Western Christian holiday honoring the early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine.  Numerous martyrdom stories connect multiple Saint Valentines to the holiday with the early adaptations referring the saint to the miracle of sight in a blind daughter of his own jailer and later adaptations focused on romance and the addition of “Your Valentine” letters.
      Officially the holiday stated as the Feast of Saint Valentine by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor the passing of Saint Valentine who died February 14th 269 AD.  It is estimated that the event became associated with romance and love in the 14th and 15th centuries when the notions of “courtly love” became a basic concept within the event.   The event started to become fully associated with love in 18th century England as couples started presenting gifts and flowers to each other and started a tradition of giving cards to their loves known as “valentines”.
      Since the 19th century, mass produced valentine’s day cards have become the standard and many now consider the event a “hallmark holiday” as couples spend small fortunes on exchanging gifts.  The holiday is celebrated every February 14th but is not a public holiday in any nation.

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