Amazon’s Affordable Pharmacy program rxPass opens up to Medicare users with Prime

Amazon launched its RxPass in 2023, giving Prime customers access to generic medications that treat more than 80 common health conditions for $5 a month on top of a Prime subscription. Now, Amazon is expanding the program to Prime members on Medicare insurance, opening eligibility up to an additional 50 million customers, the company wrote in a press release.

As before, members get unlimited access to 60 generic medications and shipping — along with 24/7 access to a pharmacist — for a flat monthly $5 fee. Same-day delivery is offered in nine major cities.

If you're a Medicare user who takes at least one medication, you could save up to $70 per year, and even more for two or more medications, according to Amazon Pharmacy VP John Love. The company estimates that if every eligible Prime user signed up for the service, it could save Medicare $2 billion per year and reduce customer out-of-pocket spending. 

"For some of the Medicare population, the mobility feature can be very compelling. If you don't have easy access to a car or easy access to a retail pharmacy, the ability to get meds delivered is compelling," said Love. 

Amazon competes against other pharmacies including CVS, Walgreens and rival retailers like Costco. Medications included in RxPass are shown here and when searching, you'll see the RxPass logo next to eligible medications. Amazon also offers discounts up to 80 percent on generic drugs, and 40 percent on brand names. 

However, the program may not cost-effective if you need medications not included in the 60 offered by Amazon, according to RxPass also requires Amazon Prime, which costs $139 a year or $15 per month, on top of the $5 fee. 

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Nikon’s Z6 III is the first mirrorless camera with a ‘partially-stacked’ CMOS sensor

Nikon has introduced the $2,500 Z6 III with the world's first "partially-stacked" 24.5-megapixel (MP) sensor. That allows for high speed shooting in both photo and video modes, while unlocking features like RAW video and faster autofocus — making it far more capable than its predecessor, the Z6 II.

Stacked sensors are rare so far, having only appeared on expensive models like the Sony A1 and Nikon's own Z8 and Z9. Those chips have circuits covering the entire sensor designed to read pixel data far more quickly than regular CMOS sensors. 

By contrast, Nikon's new partially-stacked sensor has circuits covering only the top and bottom parts of the sensor. Those still accelerate readout speeds to much higher levels than ordinary CMOS chips, but fall a bit short of full stacked sensors — at a lesser cost.

Nikon Z6 III with partially-stacked sensor

That, combined with the Expeed 7 image processor used on the Z8 and Z9, provides the gift of speed. The Z6 III can shoot RAW at up to 20 fps with the electronic shutter or 14 fps with the mechanical shutter (yes, unlike the Z8 and Z9, the Z6 III does have a mechanical shutter). It also comes with a pre-release capture feature shooting at up to 120fps that operates before pressing the shutter, letting you grab fast moving subjects you might otherwise miss.

It offers autofocus (AF) that's 20 percent faster than the Z6 III, Nikon said. At the same time it works in low light down to -10 EV2, "superior even to flagship-level cameras," the company claims. Nikon also borrowed the advanced subject detection from the Z8 and Z9, allowing nine types of subject detection including people, animals and vehicles. 

The video capabilities look formidable as well. It supports up to 12-bit 6K/60fps N-RAW and 10-bit 5.4K/30fps ProRes RAW capture, along with 4K/60fps (uncropped) and 4K/120fps (1.5x crop) video, plus 1080p/240fps recording. 

Nikon's Z6 III is the first mirrorless camera with a 'partially-stacked' CMOS sensor

Nikon is now matching Canon's EOS R5 with eight stops of shake reduction with the 5-axis in-body stabilization system. Rolling shutter should be minimal with the partially-stacked sensor, though Nikon has yet to specify the exact readout speed. 

Other features are what you'd hope for in a hybrid camera. It has a fully articulating 3.2-inch rear display, along with "the brightest EVF on any mirrorless camera" at an eye-scorching 4,000 nits (and 5.67M dots of resolution), according to Nikon. Finally, it has one CFexpress card slot for N-RAW video and fast photo burst speeds, along with an SD UHS-II slot.

It looks like a formidable alternative to the like-priced 33-megapixel Sony A7 IV, offering faster speeds but slightly less resolution. It also competes with Canon's R6 II, which is missing features like N-RAW video recording. It remains to be seen whether it can keep up with those models in the real world, but Nikon has certainly supercharged the lineup, spec-wise. It arrives in late June for $2,500 (body only), or $3,100 in a kit with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/4 /S lens. 

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Google Chrome on Android can now read webpages aloud

Chrome on Android has a new feature called "Listen to this page" that lets you read a webpage aloud from within the app, Google said in a help document spotted by 9to5Google. That long-awaited feature should boost accessibility for the app and make it easier to listen to web pages when you're busy with something else.

The feature isn't supported by all web sites, but if so, you'll find "Listen to this page" in the three-dot menu at the top right on the Chrome app. The new function offers podcast-like controls, letting you play, pause, scrub, change playback speed and skip ahead or behind by 10 seconds. So far, it works in English, French, German, Arabic, Hindu and Spanish.

Also available are options for different voices in each language, including four in the US and two in the UK, along with text highlighting. The control bar stays docked when you open other tabs and playback will continue if you lock your screen with Chrome in the foreground.

The new feature is rolling out gradually as part of Chrome 125, so it may take awhile to arrive to your corner of the world. Google Assistant has been able read web pages aloud for quite some time now, but the new feature adds another way of doing this. 

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If Clearview AI scanned your face, you may get equity in the company

Controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI has agreed to an unusual settlement to a class action lawsuit, The New York Times reports. Rather than paying cash, the company would provide a 23 percent stake in its company to any Americans in its database. Without the settlement, Clearview could go bankrupt, according to court documents. 

If you live in the US and have ever posted a photo of yourself publicly online, you may be part of the class action. The settlement could amount to at least $50 million according to court documents, It still must be approved by a federal judge. 

Clearview AI, which counts billionaire Peter Thiel as a backer, says it has over 30 billion images in its database. Those can be accessed and cross-referenced by thousands of law enforcement departments including the US FBI and Department of Homeland Security. 

Shortly after its identity was outed, Clearview was hit with lawsuits in Illinois, California, Virginia, New York and elsewhere, which were all brought together as a class action suit in a federal Chicago court. The cost of the litigation was said to be draining the company's reserves, forcing it to seek a creative way to settle the suit.

The relatively small sum divided by the large number of users likely to be in the database means you won't be receiving a windfall. In any case, it would only happen if the company goes public or is acquired, according to the report. Once that occurs, lawyers would take up to 39 percent of the settlement, meaning the final amount could be reduced to about 30 million. If a third of Americans were in the database (about 110 million), each would get about 27 cents. 

That does beg the question of whether it would be worth just over a quarter to see one of the creepiest companies of all time to go bankrupt. To cite a small litany of the actions taken against it (on top of the US class action):

  • It was sued by the ACLU in 2020 (Clearview agreed to permanently halt sales of its biometric database to private companies in the US as part of the settlement.

  • Italy slapped a €20 million fine on the company in 2022 and banned it from using images of Italians in its database

  • Privacy groups in Europe filed complaints against it for allegedly breaking privacy laws (2021)

  • UK's privacy watchdog slapped it with a £7.55 million fine and ordered it to delete data from any UK resident

  • The LAPD banned the use of its software in 2020

  • Earlier this year the EU barred untargeted scraping of faces from the web, effectively blocking Clearview's business model in Europe

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Netflix has Sherlocked Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Netflix is taking advantage of some high drama in the hot dog-eating world with its next live-streaming event. A couple of days ago, Joey Chestnut was banned from Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Content over his apparent partnership with a plant-based brand, as pretty much every major news site in the world inexplicably reported. 

Cue Netflix, which leaped in with its own frank-eating event called Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef, set to be live-streamed on Monday, September 2. It features two of the best-known (only-known, for most people) hot dot-eating personalities in the form of Chestnut (40) and Takeru Kobayashi (46), with the latter coming out of semi-retirement for the occasion.

"Through all of my years in competitive eating, Kobayashi stands out as my fiercest rival," Chestnut said in a Netflix press release. "Retiring for me will only happen after I take him down one last time," added Kobayashi.

Chestnut (40) won 16 of the last 17 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contests (held by the Major League Eating organization) and holds the all-time record with 76 hot dogs and buns eaten set in 2021. Kobayashi (46), meanwhile, is known as "the father of competitive eating" and won the Nathan's event six consecutive times. At one point, he was also banned from that event (for non vegan-hot-dog reasons).

The New York Post reported that Chestnut partnered with Impossible Foods, which manufactures the plant-based "Beef" hot dog. That was apparently anathema to Nathan's, which makes what it calls "100 percent beef hot dogs" (that the nonprofit Environmental Working Group considers not very healthy).  

"We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest," Nathan's told CBS in a statement. "It seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different hot dog brand over our long-time relationship." 

By hosting its own hot-dog eating event, though, Netflix is taking the meat out of Nathan's annual July 4th contest — Sherlocking it Apple style, if you will. Previous Netflix live streams include The Roast of Tom Brady, and following the Chestnut vs. Kobayashi affair, Netflix will stream the Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson fight on November 15, 2024. 

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Waymo issues recall after one its self-driving taxis crashed into a pole

Waymo is voluntarily recalling its robotaxis after one of them collided with a telephone pole in an alley enroute to pick up a passenger, The Verge reported. The vehicle was unoccupied and no bystanders were injured.

At the time of the May 21st accident, the Waymo vehicle went through an alley lined with telephone poles mounted at street level rather than on a curb, with a yellow line showing where to drive. While pulling over, it struck one of the poles at 8 MPH and sustained some damage, Waymo said. 

"It never made it to pick us up," the passenger waiting for the car, Jericka Mitchell, told 12News. Mitchell reportedly heard, but didn't see the accident. 

The company filed a recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after updating the software in its entire self-driving fleet of 672 vehicles. The update is designed to fix an error that assigned a low damage score to the pole and failed to account for the alleyway's hard edge. 

It's only Waymo's second recall. The first happened earlier this year when two of its autonomous vehicles crashed into the same pickup truck that was being towed. In that one, Waymo found that its software failed to predict the movements of the vehicle due to "persistent orientation mismatch" between the towed vehicle and the one towing it.

Waymo is also under investigation for more than 24 incidents including crashes and traffic violations. Rival Cruise, owned by GM, was involved in a more serious incident last year, wherein one of its robotaxis accidentally dragged someone hit by another vehicle a few dozen feet down a San Francisco street. California then suspended its license to operate in the state and Cruise eventually paused all robotaxi operations

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WSJ details Elon Musk’s pattern of sexual involvement with SpaceX employees

Elon Musk had sexual relations with a SpaceX intern who was later hired onto his executive staff as a troubleshooter, The Wall Street Journal reported. He also had an intimate relationship with a second employee and allegedly asked a third woman to have his babies, according to the report. When the latter refused, Musk denied her a raise and complained about her performance, according to the WSJ's sources.

In one case, Musk pursued a relationship with an intern. Later, he contacted her about a fulltime job at SpaceX to "find problems at the company and fix them," according to the report. She became a full-time member of Musk's executive group, something former employees found unusual for someone so junior — despite her talent as an engineer. (The woman told the WSJ that she didn't want to be part of the article and said in an affidavit that her and Musk remained friends.)

Another woman said she was accused by SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell of having an affair with Shotwell's husband. The woman reported the event to HR, something that allegedly got back to Shotwell. Shotwell then demanded the woman be removed from the chief executive's office. Musk later had a sexual relationship with the same woman, who has since left the company.

The WSJ said its reporting is based on text message, emails, documents and interviews with more than 48 people, "including former employees, people familiar with Musk’s interactions with female subordinates and friends and family of the women."

Musk didn't reply to the WSJ. In a comment, Shotwell said: 

"The untruths, mischaracterizations, and revisionist history in your email paint a completely misleading narrative. I continue to be amazed by what this extraordinary group of people are achieving every day even amidst all the forces acting against us. And Elon is one of the best humans I know."

This is far from the first report about inappropriate behavior at SpaceX, though. Late in 2021, former employees described a "culture of sexual harassment" at the company, including unwanted advances, lewd comments and physical contact. Last year, Musk was accused of sexual misconduct by a SpaceX flight attendant and earlier in 2024, a SpaceX lawsuit claimed repeated instances of gender discrimination and basic safeguarding failures.

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Adobe is updating its terms of service following a backlash over recent changes

Following customer outrage over its latest terms of service (ToS), Adobe is making updates to add more detail around areas like of AI and content ownership, the company said in a blog post. "Your content is yours and will never be used to train any generative AI tool," wrote head of product Scott Belsky and VP of legal and policy Dana Rao. 

Subscribers using products like Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Lightroom were incensed by new, vague language they interpreted to mean that Adobe could freely use their work to train the company's generative AI models. In other words, creators thought that Adobe could use AI to effectively rip off their work and then resell it. 

Other language was thought to mean that the company could actually take ownership of users' copyrighted material (understandably so, when you see it). 

None of that was accurate, Adobe said, noting that the new terms of use were put in place for its product improvement program and content moderation for legal reasons, mostly around CSAM. However, many users didn't see it that way and Belsky admitted that the company "could have been clearer" with the updated ToS.

"In a world where customers are anxious about how their data is used, and how generative AI models are trained, it is the responsibility of companies that host customer data and content to declare their policies not just publicly, but in their legally binding Terms of Use," Belsky said. 

To that end, the company promised to overhaul the ToS using "more plain language and examples to help customers understand what [ToS clauses] mean and why we have them," it wrote.

Adobe didn't help its own cause by releasing an update on June 6th with some minor changes to the same vague language as the original ToS and no sign of an apology. That only seemed to fuel the fire more, with subscribers to its Creative Cloud service threatening to quit en masse. 

In addition, Adobe claims that it only trains its Firefly system on Adobe Stock images. However, multiple artists have noted that their names are used as search terms in Adobe's stock footage site, as Creative Bloq reported. The results yield AI-generated art that occasionally mimics the artists' styles. 

Its latest post is more of a true mea culpa with a detailed explanation of what it plans to change. Along with the AI and copyright areas, the company emphasized that users can opt out of its product improvement programs and that it will more "narrowly tailor" licenses to the activities required. It added that it only scans data on the cloud and never looks at locally stored content. Finally, Adobe said it will be listening to customer feedback around the new changes.

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Apple’s MacBook Air M3 drops to an all-time low of $899

There's a bit of an Apple price war happening between Amazon and B&H Photo, which is good news for buyers. The 13-inch MacBook Air M3 with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM just hit its lowest price yet at both Amazon and B&H, falling to just $899 or $200 (18 percent) off the retail price. In addition, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M3 Pro chip (18GB of RAM, 512GB storage) is on sale for $1,699, or 15 percent ($300) off at Amazon and B&H — another all-time low.

We think the 13-inch MacBook Air with the M3 chip is the best laptop for most people and, unsurprisingly, it's also our top pick for the best MacBook you can buy. Engadget's Devindra Hardawar gave it a score of 90 in his review when the computer came out last month. It's slim and light yet sturdy, and the keyboard and trackpad are comfortable to use.

The bright display is accurate and the battery will far outlast a typical workday. The new chip gives the notebook a performance boost according to our benchmark testing, which should help power users but may not be noticed as much for productivity chores. The only potential drawback is USB-C ports located only on one side, but otherwise this is a fantastic laptop, especially at that price. Again, you can purchase it either at Amazon or B&H Photo Video in multiple colorways. Note that other configurations (more RAM and storage) are also on sale, though with lesser discounts.

If extra performance is required, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with 18GB or RAM and 512GB storage is on sale for $1,699 — again, at both B&H and Amazon. Apple released the new 2023 MacBook Pro last November with three different M3 chips: the standard, M3 Pro and M3 Max. The mid-range model is what's currently on sale and offers a 14.2-inch screen, a Liquid Retina XDR display and a magic keyboard with touch ID. It has 18GB of RAM, a 14-core GPU and 512GB of SSD storage. Plus, it has 18 hours of battery life.

This is a solid model for creators as the M3 Pro has power to burn and it's very connection-friendly with three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, a MagSafe charging port and even an SDXC card slot. If you've been looking to buy, it's best to act soon before the deal ends or stock runs out.

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Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer: ‘I think we should have a handheld’

After announcing several new Xbox Series X consoles including a $600 special edition model, Microsoft may be working on another one. In response to a question from IGN about portable gaming, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said "I think we should have a handheld."

That's a vague comment, but it certainly shows that the company is taking notice of all the portable PC gaming devices out there like the new Rog Ally X from ASUS and no doubt Sony's PlayStation Portal remote handheld. Such a device would also make a lot of sense for the Xbox platform. 

"The future for us in hardware is pretty awesome, and the work that the team is doing around different form factors, different ways to play," he said. He then deferred any future questions about consoles to Xbox president Sarah Bond.

Spencer hypothetically kiboshed the idea of a Sony-like internet- or cloud-only device when asked about it, though. "I think being able to play games locally is really important," he said.  

This by no means confirms the development of such a device and it wasn't the right event for such an announcement in any case. "Today was about the games... but we will have a time to come out and talk more about platform, and we can't wait to bring it to you." 

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