Big Tech &
Supreme Court deals Apple major setback in App Store antitrust case (2 minute read)
The Supreme Court has ruled that iPhone users can pursue their antitrust lawsuit against Apple and its App Store. Apple charges a 30 percent commission on sales through the App Store. This charge is usually passed onto consumers. iPhone developers and users are claiming this system is an unfair abuse of Apple’s monopoly on the marketplace. Apple claims that it is up to developers to set prices for their apps and that their business in the App Store is fair. The results of this case may affect how all online marketplaces structure their business, and there may be millions of dollars of fines for Apple if they are found guilty of unfair practices.
Exclusive: Amazon rolls out machines that pack orders and replace jobs (5 minute read)
Amazon has begun to roll out machines that are able to pack customer orders. The machines scan products coming down from a conveyor belt and then packs each item into custom sized boxes. Installing these machines may mean more than 1,300 jobs would be cut across 55 Amazon fulfillment centers. At $1 million per machine, Amazon expects to recover the costs in under two years. The machines are able to work four to five times faster than human workers. While the goal is to eventually have a completely automated warehouse, Amazon plans to replace workers through attrition, opting to stop hiring new workers and letting current employees either train into different roles or leave the company on their own terms.
Bitcoin Comes to Whole Foods, Major Retailers in Coup for Digital Currency (4 minute read)
A new retail initiative will see many major retailers start to accept cryptocurrency as payment. The initiative comes from a partnership with Flexa, a payments startup, and Gemini, a Winklevoss-owned digital currency company. Existing scanners will be able to scan a QR code from a cryptocurrency wallet app for payments. The app, Spedn, supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash, Ethereum, and Gemini Dollar. While there is a large list of retailers who will be able to support these payments, none have given any official statements, probably as the payment system is still experimental.
South Korea developing military robots that mimic animals (2 minute read)
South Korea will soon see a drop in their military personnel due to a decline in birth rate and recent laws that make it easier to avoid mandatory national service. In order to make up for this, the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration is developing biomimetrics equipment to assist the nation’s armed forces. These robots will mimic the movement of animals such as birds, snakes, and insects. Many men are beginning to resist mandatory military service, and are using various tactics to avoid conscription. These efforts include overeating to become unfit for service, covering their bodies with tattoos, or claiming that military service is against their religious beliefs.
Programming, Design & Data Science
openpilot (GitHub Repo)
openpilot is an open-source driving agent. It is able to perform Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist System for many selected models of vehicles. openpilot is about on par with Tesla Autopilot and GM Super Cruise. The codebase is designed so developers can quickly build prototypes to test.
Gameboy.Live (GitHub Repo)
Gameboy.Live is a Gameboy emulator written in Go that can be run on desktop or telnet. Users can configure Gameboy.Live as a cloud gaming server so that games can be run from anywhere through telnet. There is a GIF demonstrating the telnet version, as well as screenshots for the desktop version.
The Great Firewall of China blocks off Wikipedia (1 minute read)
China blocked Wikipedia in April, using DNS injections to prevent its citizens from accessing the encyclopedia. There has been no official statement as to why the website was blocked. In May 2017, China put forth plans for making its own encyclopedia with over 300,000 articles from 20,000 scholars. Other countries such as Turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela have also blocked access to Wikipedia in the past.