Big Tech &
Apps Installed On Millions Of Android Phones Tracked User Behavior To Execute A Multimillion-Dollar Ad Fraud Scheme (15 minute read)
A group has created a bunch of shell companies, bought up popular Android apps, then used their access to those apps to create bots that emulate real users in order to generate fake ad impressions. It's estimated that this scheme has defrauded advertisers of hundreds of millions of dollars. The scheme was uncovered when one of the apps, MegaCast, was found to be using a different app's ID to solicit advertisers (it was claiming to be a more popular app called EverythingMe, advertisers would bid to have their ad shown in EverythingMe, but instead their ad would be shown in Megacast). When journalists dug deeper into the issue, they discovered a network of over 60 apps. These apps were owned by different shell companies, but the companies were tied together because many of them listed the same addresses, phone numbers, support emails, and employees on LinkedIn. Google has pulled the apps from the Play Store.
What does Stack Overflow want to be when it grows up? (8 minute read)
This is an article written by Jeff Atwood, former CEO of Stack Overflow. He says that Stack Overflow isn't a discussion forum, it's meant to be more like a wiki. The goal of SO is not "answer my question" but rather "let's collaboratively build an artifact that will benefit future coders". It is meant to have a slightly-anxiety inducing competitive system of peer review by design. The fact that your answer can be poked, prodded, edited, flagged, closed, opened, upvoted, downvoted, and more makes you show your best work when posting. A less competitive system would lead to low effort answers. Stack Overflow is meant for professional and enthusiast programmers and not beginners and students. It is not meant to be good at one on one mentoring, collaboration, and tutorials. If you're like me and sometimes you go on Stack Overflow and think "damn these people are mean" this article explains a lot of the rationale behind that.
Up (Github Repo)
Up is an open source commandline tool that lets you write Linux pipes and preview the results in real time. This makes it a lot easier to write scripts using grep, awk, wc, etc. by providing instant scrollable feedback.
Drunk Shrub (Drink)
A good friend of mine recently started an ecommerce business called Drunk Shrub, it sells shrub, a tangy syrup that you can mix with alcoholic beverages or carbonated water to make soda. If you're an adventurous foodie and live in the United States, you might want to check this out. I highly recommend the raspberry mint jalapeno!
Thousands Of Swedes Are Inserting Microchips Under Their Skin (4 minute read)
Over 4,000 Swedish people have opted in to being microchipped, and the biggest microchip company Biohax International says that it can't keep up with demand. Microchips the size of a grain of rice are inserted into users' hands for just $180, and allow users to enter homes, offices, and gyms by swiping their hands against chip readers.They can also store contact details, social media profiles, and etickets for events and trips. One user says "The chip basically solves my problems. I see no problem for it becoming mainstream. I think it's something that can seriously make people's lives better."
Designer babies aren't futuristic. They're already here (2 minute read)
The article starts off with a story of a couple where the husband has Dystonia, a non-fatal disease that may cause joint or spinal deformities. They opted to use in vitro fertilization so they could pick an embryo that didn't have Dystonia. IVF cost $20,000, and testing the embryos cost $10,000. The number of IVFs with genetic testing to select healthy embryosin the US rose from 1,941 in 2014 to 3,271 in 2016. Because insurance doesn't cover IVF, only well off couples can afford these procedures. If this trend continues, we risk creating a society where genetic disease is something that only happens to the poor and less-educated.
Friday Frontend (Newsletter)
I really love this newsletter, it's essentially TLDR for front end design (as you might have guessed, it comes out on Fridays). Curated by Kevin Ball, founder of Zendev.
Programming, Design & Data Science