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Bill Hinshaw's phone has been ringing off the hook lately.

From his home in Gainesville, Texas, which Hinshaw describes as "horse country," he runs a group called the COBOL Cowboys. It's an association of programmers who specialize in the Eisenhower-era computer language. Now their skills are in demand, thanks to the record number of people applying for unemployment benefits.

Standing in front of a small tropical tree, a man in flip-flops, trousers and a polo shirt bends over what he calls, in a video made for NPR, a "handwashing facility".

It's a plastic jug, hanging from what looks like a knee-high swing set made of sticks. There's another stick tied to the handle of the jug; you can step on that stick, spill water out of the jug, and wash your hands without ever touching the jug. A bar of soap hangs from the swingset by a string.

Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET Wednesday

On Monday, California State University, Fullerton announced it was planning to begin the fall 2020 semester online, making it one of the first colleges to disclose contingency plans for prolonged coronavirus disruptions.

Monikers have followed Martin Pichinson for his whole career, given his line of work. He winds down technology companies, selling off their assets in their final days. And so, in some corners, Pichinson has become known as the "Undertaker of Silicon Valley."

It's a grim practice he has honed since the dot-com bust of the late 1990s, when he shuttered nearly 200 tech companies.

"If there's no revenue incoming and there's no money investing, the company is basically insolvent and out of business," he said. "We basically come in and clean up the messes."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In 2018, shortly after hitting 1 billion users, photo-sharing app Instagram celebrated a flashy product launch in San Francisco with a lineup of its greatest hits: There were cruffins and avocado toast, areas for selfie-taking and a barista serving matcha lattes.

Being able to test for coronavirus infections is a critical component to reopening society — even a little bit — after the initial wave of COVID-19. So there is an urgent need for faster, cheaper tests than the ones available at present.

Facebook is canceling gatherings of more than 50 people through June 2021 and taking a slow approach to letting employees return to the office, as the social network looks toward the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Guidance from health experts is that it won't be advisable to have large groups of people get together for a while," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. He said some of the events that Facebook had planned will be moved online.

When schools closed in Fall Creek, Wis., because of the coronavirus, the district staff got an unusual message. Don't worry for now about assignments or quizzes, Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo told them. Instead, "I want you to call people. And I want you to ask them two questions: How are you doing? And do you need anything?"

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says "vastly more" COVID-19 testing is needed for the U.S. economy to reopen, while his company is building its own lab to potentially begin its own testing of all workers.

"We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our frontline employees soon," Bezos wrote in a letter Thursday to the shareholders.

In a new move to stop the spread of dangerous and false information about the coronavirus, Facebook will start telling people when they've interacted with posts about bogus cures, hoaxes and other false claims.

The middle of an economic downturn may seem like an odd time to debut a new iPhone, but Apple on Wednesday announced its latest model — a cheaper, smaller version that may just fit with the times.

The new iPhone SE features a new and improved processor and camera. But for the most part, it looks and feels like models of yore. With a smaller size and screen, it is nearly as compact as the iPhone 6, which launched in 2014. It also features the home button that disappeared in the most recent models.

Updated on June 1 at 12:01 a.m. ET

I'm a primary care doctor, and in normal times, my favorite part of the job is getting to see my patients regularly. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I've had to substantially cut down on in-person visits to help put the brakes on the spread of the coronavirus.

In this time of high medical anxiety, the phones at my clinic have, understandably, been ringing off the hook.

The popular photo app VSCO has terminated about a third of its staff, NPR has learned.

After being contacted by NPR, VSCO co-founder Joel Flory took to LinkedIn to go public with news of the layoffs, saying he had to "say goodbye" to 45 of his 150 employees.

For something like normal life to return after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is over, it will be critical to identify — and isolate — people who have been exposed to the virus, whether or not they have symptoms.

Two Silicon Valley giants and some public health experts say our smartphones could help get us there.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.

For the latest COVID-19 statistics, updated in near real time, millions of people around the world have been turning to an interactive, Web-based dashboard created by a small team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

It's a new mobile app called Quarantine Watch. The government of the southern Indian state of Karnataka is using it to track people it has placed under home quarantine. To see whether people stay put, the app follows users' movements through GPS — and asks them to submit hourly selfies to prove they haven't left the house.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Tech giants Apple and Google are teaming up to create a system that would let smartphone users know when they've come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.

The technology would rely on the Bluetooth signals that smartphones can both send out and receive. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they could notify public health authorities through an app. Those public health apps would then alert anyone whose smartphones had come near the infected person's phone in the prior 14 days.

A civil rights group is demanding that Zoom do more to stop harassment on its video-conferencing platform.

Color Of Change, a nonprofit that advocates for racial equality, is meeting on Friday with Zoom's global risk and compliance officer, Lynn Haaland, NPR has learned. The group plans to raise concerns over a rise in "Zoombombing" attacks involving racist slurs and hate speech.

When Half-Life released in 1997, it was unlike any other first person shooter — a genre of video games predicated on the central mechanic of blasting things with a firearm. Popular pioneers of the genre, like Doom and Quake, were known for being over-the-top and full of bombast.

Half-Life is not like those games. It begins not with a bang, but with a slow, methodical tram ride.

Almost everyone knows each other in Camp Hill, Pa., a cozy little community of about 7,500 people near Harrisburg.

But like many places across the country, Camp Hill is on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. So last week, Leigh Twiford, president of the local borough council, held an online town hall using a Zoom video conference.

Psychiatrist Philip Muskin is quarantined at home in New York City because he's been feeling a little under the weather and doesn't want to expose anyone to whatever he has. But he continues to see his patients the only way he can: over the phone.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, young people have been heavily criticized for not taking social distancing seriously.

Updated at 3:44 p.m. ET

The CEO and founder of the newly popular video conferencing service Zoom says he'll make his product harder to use, if it improves safety and security.

Zoom has taken off during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to how easy it is to join a virtual meeting on the platform by clicking on a single link.

But now Eric Yuan says, "When it comes to a conflict between usability and privacy and security, privacy and security [are] more important – even at the cost of multiple clicks."

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

The poll of 849 teenagers, by Common Sense Media, conducted with SurveyMonkey, found that as schools across the country transition to some form of online learning, 41% of teenagers overall, including 47% of public school students, say they haven't attended a single online or virtual class.

A springtime stroll, baking bread or binging shows can be a tonic for a life lived in lockdown. But some workers doing their jobs remotely are carrying on by partying on, virtually.

Normally at this time of year, DJ Haddad and his co-workers run raucous rounds of college basketball competitions. "We're really missing March Madness — it's kind of a big thing on our team," says Haddad, CEO of Haddad & Partners, an advertising company in Fairfield, Conn., with nearly 70 employees around the world.

"This story begins with the Adderall," opens Casey Schwartz's Attention: A Love Story. In 2000, Schwartz was in college, struggling to write an essay, when a friend offered her a pill "the deep bright blue of a cartoon sky" and her hand "shot out to receive it."

Here already are the seeds of what is coming: It is not "Adderall" but "the Adderall," not the serviceable "take" or "grab" but the sacramental "receive."

Facebook on Tuesday announced the 400 news organizations that are receiving a first round of grants to help support coronavirus news coverage.

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