Big Tech &
Uber reaches tentative settlement with drivers arbitrating over employment status and expense reimbursement (2 minute read)
Uber has tentatively agreed to pay out 11 cents per mile driven for Uber to 160,000 drivers in nine states who have been seeking to be classified as employees instead of independent contractors in order to get compensated for expenses like gas and vehicle maintenance. They also complained that Uber wouldn't allow them to take tips (Uber introduced this functionality in June of 2017, collecting $600 million in tips in just one year). The settlement is tentative based on getting enough drivers to sign the agreement.
SpaceX Launches Final Record-Breaking Rocket Of 2018, And Its First Ever National Security Mission (2 minute read)
SpaceX has launched its record 21st rocket of the year, and its first national security mission, a new GPS 3 satellite for the US Air Force. Unlike previous launches, this one didn't attempt a landing because the full performance of the rocket was needed to take the satellite to its orbit 1,200 miles above Earth. These new GPS 3 satellites are more accurate, secure, and harder to jam, so they will replace all 32 of the old GPS satellites operated by the US military.
Google Daydream 6DOF controller videos: The first wave hits (2 minute read)
Google announced their 6 degrees of freedom VR controller a few months ago. Now, the first videos and reviews of the controller in action are out. The field of vision is surprisingly wide, and tracking is about as good as Windows VR headsets. Battery life isn't great. There's a short 30 second video in the article of the controllers in action in the article.
Machine vision can create Harry Potter–style photos for muggles (3 minute read)
A University of Washington student has created software called Photo Wake-Up that can take a person in a photograph and use machine learning to infer a 3D body pose from a 2 image. Then they can animate this 3D image in a way that makes the picture look alive (like the pictures in Harry Potter). There's a 5 minute Youtube video in the article, it's actually pretty incredible how good it is.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Magic Grid (GitHub Repo)
DS Cheatsheets (GitHub Repo)
This is a set of open source cheatsheets for topics in data science including deep learning, machine learning, data visualization, Python, R, SQL, and more. They're all in PDF form so if you want to print them out and tape them somewhere you could probably do that too.
Congress votes to make open government data the default in the United States (1 minute read)
The US Congress has passed the OPEN Government Data Act, which codifies two principles for democracy in the 21st century: public information should be open by default to the public in a machine-readable format as long as it doesn't harm privacy or security and federal agencies should use evidence when they make public policy. Open data advocates say that it's a major victory in government transparency that will improve the way the government runs. France and Germany already have similar laws.
What technologies did you learn in 2018? (Hacker News Thread)
Pretty good mix of old and new technologies in here. A lot of new hotness like Rust and Elixir like you would expect, but also a lot of people still learning PHP and Perl! If you're looking for new technologies to check out, this thread has a lot of good inspiration.