White House website makeover boosts accessibility, adds secret message – CNET

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

The official White House website is getting a makeover -- including a sleek dark mode -- following the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. But unless you're a coder, you may've missed an Easter egg nestled in the site's HTML code. 

"If you're reading this, we need your help building back better," reads the line of code, which is marked as a comment. Following the line is a link to the US Digital Services' website, an organization meant to help the administration advance technologically. Protocol reported the news earlier.

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The Biden administration has an easter egg for coders in the White House website's HTML.

Screenshot/Carrie Mihalcik

Last year, the Biden administration hid an Easter egg in its campaign website's source code. Just above the code for purchasing an anti-COVID mask adorned with "BIDEN" was a message: "Wear a mask," written in large block outline letters.

The relaunched White House website also includes a statement that "commitment to accessibility for all begins with this site and our efforts to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans."

The site says it's working to conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1, level AA criteria.

"These guidelines not only help make web content accessible to users with sensory, cognitive and mobility disabilities, but ultimately to all users, regardless of ability," the page says.

The site is already fairly clean and minimalist, but tools embedded on the left side near the bottom let users customize the look of the page to make it more accessible to those who might have trouble viewing its standard presentation.

The first tool is labeled "Toggle high contrast" and lets you flip the background to dark and the type to white. In addition to appealing to people who enjoy a darker background, dark mode is often credited with helping save battery life and reducing eye strain when people use devices in a dim environment. 

The next tool is labeled "Toggle large font size" and does pretty much what you'd expect: it lets you bump up the size of the text. Larger print often helps visually impaired users decipher the text on web pages.

The revamped page also includes a Spanish language option that was lacking from the previous administration's site.

CNET's Steven Musil contributed to this report.

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Amazon says it wants to help Biden administration reach 100 million vaccination goal – CNET

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Amazon reached out to the Biden administration offering aid with COVID-19 vaccines. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Amazon says it's ready to help President Joe Biden achieve his goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans against COVID-19 in the first 100 days of his presidency. In a Wednesday letter to the new administration, the tech giant's retail chief, Dave Clark, said the company and its Whole Foods subsidiary have an agreement in place with a licensed third-party occupational health care provider to administer vaccines onsite at Amazon facilities. 

"We're prepared to move quickly once vaccines are available," Clark said in the letter. "Additionally, we are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration's vaccination efforts." 

Last year Amazon's health and safety response to the virus came under fire from employees after the company's decision to roll back hazard pay as well as unlimited unpaid time off during the pandemic. That October, Amazon publicly reported that its total number of coronavirus cases in its front-line US workforce was close to 20,000. The report was released after urging from employees and 13 state attorneys general. 

Prior to his inauguration, Biden criticized the previous administration's efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine and said he plans to ask Congress for $400 billion -- part of a $1.9 trillion economic American Rescue Plan -- to stimulate the vaccination process. 

Biden also plans to activate the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to help get COVID-19 vaccines to millions of Americans. 

Correction, Jan. 20: The original version of this story misstated Dave Clark's position. He's Amazon's retail chief.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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CES 2021’s coolest gadgets: Rollable phones, giant TVs, $16,000 bathtub and more – CNET

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i is another updated dual-display work laptop. It features an E Ink touchscreen display embedded in the lid, so you can check on your work without actually opening the laptop.

The 12-inch E Ink display lets you quickly check your calendar and notifications, run productivity apps and take notes with the included active pen. It weighs less than 3 pounds, runs Intel's 11th-gen Core processors, and features Thunderbolt 4 ports and Wi-Fi 6. It also works with Lenovo's ThinkBook Charging Mat, so you can keep it charged on your desk without plugging it in. 

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i is expected to be available sometime in the first quarter of 2021, starting at $1,549.

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Trump calls for ‘no violence’ as more armed protests reportedly planned for US, state capitals – CNET

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More protests are being planned, according to the FBI.

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Wednesday released a video statement via The White House Twitter account saying he condemns the violence caused by a mob of his supporters who stormed the US Capitol last week. The message comes as reports say the US could see more armed protests across the country in the lead-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week

"Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country," Trump said. "Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence."

An internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News warns that another armed protest could take place at the US Capitol. 

"Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January," ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky tweeted about the FBI bulletin on Monday.

Officials from the FBI and DOJ provided an update on the Capitol Hill attack investigations on Tuesday. So far, 100,00 pieces of evidence have been collected in regards to the riots.

The FBI said that while it's standard practice not to comment on current investigations, it can say that it's "supporting our state, local and federal law enforcement partners with maintaining public safety in the communities we serve."

"Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity," the FBI told CNET in an emailed statement. "We are gathering information to identify any potential threats ... our focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property."

Capitol Police on Monday briefed lawmakers about potential upcoming demonstrations, according to Huffpost's report on a private call between the officers and House Democrats. Trump also said in his video message that he's been briefed by the US Secret Service about the potential threats. Federal agencies have been directed to "use all necessary resources to maintain order," he added, and thousands of National Guard members will work to secure Washington, DC. 

"There must be no violence, no law breaking and no vandalism of any kind," the president said.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted her concerns on Tuesday, saying the state capitol "is not safe." 

Twitter, which permanently banned Trump's account last week, noted that plans for future protests were circulating on and off Twitter. The social media site specifically noted proposed secondary attacks on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on Jan. 17.

Social media companies have cracked down on Trump after a mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, leaving five people dead and forcing legislators to flee as they were in the middle of certifying the results of the 2020 election. In addition to the Twitter ban, Facebook blocked Trump indefinitely. Since the deadly attack, lawmakers have been calling for Trump's removal from office by way of the 25th Amendment, impeachment or voluntary resignation. 

CNET's Abrar Al-Heeti contributed to this report. 

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Tech companies freeze PAC contributions in the wake of Capitol siege – CNET

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Facebook is one of a number of companies reassessing their political spending practices after the attack.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Silicon Valley and the tech world at large are suspending contributions to their political action committees in the wake of last week's deadly riot on Capitol Hill, where supporters of President Donald Trump tried to prevent congressional certification of the 2020 election results.

"Following last week's awful violence in DC, we are pausing all of our PAC contributions for at least the current quarter, while we review our policies," Facebook spokesperson Daniel Roberts told CNET. Roberts noted that suspension doesn't apply to political spending at large.

Google also froze political contributions following the attack. A spokesperson for the tech giant said it's paused all contributions by its employee-funded NetPAC, its political action committee, and is reviewing its policies. 

Verizon spokesman Rich Young told CNET on Tuesday that the telecom giant will be "suspending contributions to any member of Congress who voted in favor of objecting to the election results."  A total of 147 Republicans in the House and Senate objected to the results. 

Facebook, Google and Verizon weren't alone in freezing political contributions. Other Big Tech companies also paused contributions in the wake of the chaotic insurrection attempt, which left five people dead. Historically, tech PACs have donated to both Democrats and Republicans. 

Political action committees pool campaign contributions and use the funds to support or oppose candidates or issues. PACs often represent businesses or groups with particular interests. 

Software giant Microsoft said it would also pause political donations as it reviewed the implications of the melee. "The PAC regularly pauses its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees," a company spokesperson said.

AT&T said its PAC wouldn't contribute to the Republican legislators who objected to certifying the election results. "Employees on our Federal PAC Board convened a call today and decided to suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes last week," a spokesperson said in a statement Monday.

Telecommunications giant Comcast reportedly said Monday it too would suspend political contributions "to those elected officials who voted against certification of the Electoral College votes."

AT&T and Comcast together made political contributions of $5.2 million over the past two years, according to Open Secrets, a database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Wireless carrier T-Mobile said it would review its PAC giving but didn't commit to a course of action.

Amazon's PAC is reportedly halting contributions to the Republican legislators who voted against the certification.

Intel's political action committee will continue making bipartisan contributions, but "we will not contribute to members of Congress who voted against certification of the Electoral College results as we feel that action was counter to our company's values," the chipmaker said in a statement.

Short-term home rental site Airbnb is also withholding financial support from Republicans who tried to prevent the certification. "Airbnb strongly condemns last week's attack on the US Capitol and the efforts to undermine our democratic process," the company said in a statement. Airbnb added that it "will continue to uphold our community policies by banning violent hate group members when we learn of such memberships."

Ride-hailing company Lyft said that in the past it hasn't supported any of the members of Congress who voted against certification and it's "committed to not supporting them in the future." Lyft added that it had joined nearly 200 other business leaders earlier this month to urge Congress to certify the electoral results for Biden.

In a statement, satellite TV service Dish called the elections "free and fair" and expressed disappointment that some Republican members of Congress wouldn't drop their objections to the vote. It stopped short, however, of pausing contributions, saying instead the company's PAC "will certainly take into account the past statements and conduct of each candidate seeking support."

Social media companies have cracked down on Trump after a mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Among the actions taken: Facebook blocked Trump indefinitely, and Twitter banned his account permanently. Last year, Twitter closed its PAC because of its belief that "political influence should be earned, not bought." The company's PAC hasn't made any donations to candidates since 2018 and it donated its remaining funds to support nonpartisan voter registration activities.

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Galaxy S21 pre-preorders are open, but what about a release date? Here’s what we know – CNET

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The new Samsung Galaxy S21 debuts this month and should go on sale shortly after.

@OnLeaks
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

Samsung's new Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphones are set to debut at the Samsung Unpacked event today, the last day of CES. It will be livestreamed from 7 a.m. PT (10 a.m. ET) -- here's how to watch the S21 event live. The South Korean company's event theme is "Welcome to Everyday Epic." But when can you actually get your hands on the new phones?

It's likely the phones will go on sale toward the end of the month. If Android Authority's predictions are true, the new devices will be out on Jan. 22. Earlier reports have suggested that they could go on sale in India on Jan. 29. For now, you can't technically preorder the new phones yet, but you can get in the virtual line and register to preorder on Samsung's website. 

Read more: Why now is the worst time to buy the Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment. 

The new phones are the follow-up to the S20 phones, which Samsung released last year to accommodate multiple budgets. Rumors were circulating as early as last November that the tech giant was already mass-producing the Galaxy S21.

More Samsung Galaxy S21 rumors

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Galaxy S21 price: Samsung’s next phone could cost $100 less than the S20 – CNET

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The Galaxy S21 could be cheaper than its predecessor. 

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The new Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone lineup might be cheaper than the current Galaxy S20 family, if rumors are to be believed. South Korean leaker Landsk speculates that the Galaxy S21 will start at $850, the S21 Plus at $1,050 and the S21 Ultra at $1,250. That would be a $100 drop from the launch price of the base S20 last March.

Read more: Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20 and why now is the worst time to buy a Samsung Galaxy S20

Meanwhile, Samsung is touting its new foldable phones as "more accessible," which could point to lower prices more broadly. The tech giant could be feeling pressure to make its devices more affordable after seeing a more than 20% sales drop in the second quarter of 2020. Analysts point to the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the smartphone sales plunge. 

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment. 

The Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Ultra are set to debut at the Samsung Unpacked event on Jan. 14 -- the last day of CES -- which will livestream at 7 a.m. PT (10 a.m. ET). The South Korean company's event theme is "Welcome to Everyday Epic." Here's how to watch Samsung Unpacked live.

Read more: Galaxy S20 FE vs. other S20 phones: Here's why the Fan Edition is so much cheaper

The new phones are the follow-up to the S20 phones, which Samsung released last year to accommodate multiple budgets. Rumors were circulating as early as November that Samsung was already mass-producing the Galaxy S21.

More Samsung Galaxy S21 rumors:

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Samsung Galaxy S21 colors: Get ready for pastel pink, if rumors are true – CNET

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Of course, there are other colors besides pink.

@OnLeaks

The new Samsung Galaxy S21 looks like it'll be available in violet, pink and white, as well as the more traditional gray and black finish, according to product leaks ahead of the Unpacked event. Tipsters at German tech publication Winfuture leaked multiple images of the new devices and its possible new colors. 

In addition to the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 Plus could be available in silver, black and violet, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra could come in black and silver. CNET reached out to Samsung for comment, and we'll update when we hear back. 

The Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Ultra are set to debut at the Samsung Unpacked event on Jan. 14 -- the last day of CES 2021 -- which will livestream at 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. PT that day. The South Korean company's event theme is "Welcome to Everyday Epic." 

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The new phones are scheduled as follow-ons to the S20 phones, which Samsung released last year to accommodate multiple budgets. Rumors were circulating as early as November that the tech giant was already mass-producing the Galaxy S21. 

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Samsung Galaxy S21 colors include some pretty pastels – CNET

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A look at Samsung's new phone colors. 

Sarah Tew/CNET
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

The new Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup will be available in pastels like phantom violet and phantom pink. Phantom shades of blue, gray and brown are also among the new colors available.

Of course, we were fairly sure this was going to be the case after product photos leaked ahead of the company's Unpacked event on Thursday. Tipster Evan Blass and German tech publication WinFuture had leaked multiple images of the new devices and their possible new colors, with Samsung's "phantom" naming convention. A last-minute leak of Samsung promotional slides also listed the colors by name and model.

Galaxy S21

  • Phantom violet
  • Phantom gray
  • Phantom pink
  • Phantom white

Galaxy S21 Plus

  • Phantom violet
  • Phantom silver
  • Phantom black
  • Phantom gold (available exclusively on Samsung's website)
  • Phantom red (available exclusively on Samsung's website)

Galaxy S21 Ultra

  • Phantom black
  • Phantom silver
  • Phantom brown (available exclusively on Samsung's website)
  • Phantom navy (available exclusively on Samsung's website)
  • Phantom titanium (available exclusively on Samsung's website)

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus debuted at the Samsung Unpacked event on Jan. 14 -- the last day of CES 2021. The event's theme: "Welcome to Everyday Epic."

The new phones are follow-ons to the S20 phones, which Samsung released last year to accommodate multiple budgets. Rumors were circulating as early as November that the tech giant was already mass-producing the Galaxy S21. 

Now playing: Watch this: End of the line for the Galaxy Note?

4:57

More Samsung Galaxy S21 rumors

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Venmo adds new feature that lets you cash checks from home – CNET

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Venmo launched a new tool to let you cash checks from home. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Venmo on Monday announced a new feature in the app called Cash a Check with Venmo. The new feature, available for select customers, is meant to make using the money transfer app even easier. Customers can now cash a check and have it sent to a Venmo account. 

To see if you can use the new feature, make sure you've downloaded the latest version of the Venmo app. Take a photo of your check in the app to send it for review. Venmo says its approval wait time varies from a few seconds to about five minutes. If the check is approved, the check amount will be transferred to a Venmo account. If the check isn't approved, it won't be processed and the funds won't go to an account. 

In a release, Venmo said the new feature could help people avoid waiting in lines during the pandemic. In addition, Venmo said it's temporarily waiving fees associated with Cash a Check for those who have recently received a government stimulus check.

See also: Best credit cards for January 2021

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