Big Tech &
Spotify now allows advertisers to specifically target podcast listeners (1 minute read)
Advertisers can now target Spotify users based on the podcasts that they listen to. This feature will be rolling out to 10 markets today, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Australia. Ads will be played between songs, as usual, and ads within podcasts will not be affected. Targeting users based on podcast preference rather than music taste may be more beneficial for advertisers as podcast preferences reveal more information about the user.
The 5G iPhone is coming in 2020, says analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (1 minute read)
Ming-Chi Kuo, the most trusted source when it comes to Apple rumors, has revealed that Apple plans to release 5G smartphones in 2020. After Apple cut its ties with Intel, it was unsure whether the company would be able to produce a 5G smartphone. However, sources claim that the development of the new phones is right on schedule. Both a new, smaller 5.4-inch iPhone and a larger 6.7-inch device will be released in 2020. A 6.1-inch iPhone XR successor will also be released but will stay on LTE for now. All of the new iPhones will have OLED display panels.
Ripple Takes $50 Million Stake in MoneyGram in Push to Deploy XRP (2 minute read)
Cryptocurrency company Ripple has announced a major partnership with MoneyGram. MoneyGram will start using Ripple’s cryptocurrency, XRP, as part of its day-to-day operations. Ripple has long argued that banks should use XRP for transferring money across borders, rather than having cash reserves tied up as collateral in foreign accounts. Last year, Western Union trialed the use of XRP but claimed that it did not produce significant savings. The cryptocurrency is currently the third most valuable in the world, after Bitcoin and Ethereum. Ripple will not immediately receive a seat on MoneyGram’s board, but will instead have observer status.
Upgrade your memory with a surgically implanted chip! (2 minute read)
Over the last five years, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been experimenting with devices intended to restore the memory-generation capacity of people with traumatic brain injuries. This resulted in a device that monitors the brain’s electrical activity and provides a boost whenever signals are too weak to form memories. Studies showed that memory retention improved as much as 37 percent in the patients who used the device. The device was only tested on epileptic patients who already had electrodes implanted in their brains to monitor seizures. As the device requires brain surgery in order to be used, it is unlikely that it will be on the consumer market any time soon.
Programming, Design & Data Science
rga (GitHub Repo)
rga is a tool that allows for regex searching across a multitude of file types. It wraps ripgrep and enables search in pdf, docx, sqlite, jpg, movie subtitles, and more. Different adapters are available to extend the functionality of rga, for example, it can search extra metadata/chapters and subtitles from movies using the ffmpeg adapter.
The State of Developer Ecosystem 2019 (4 minute read)
The New Wilderness (7 minute read)
The need to regulate online privacy is so universally acknowledged that even Facebook and Google have petitioned regulators to make changes to the law. Recently, both Google and Facebook’s CEOs have written opinion pieces on privacy, ironically on websites which tracked every aspect of its visitors' movements while viewing the articles. Regulators have always seen privacy regulation as a way to keep private information safe. However, technological advancements require a new form of privacy to be defined. Ambient privacy is where people’s daily movements, conversations, interactions, and so forth should be left unrecorded. Until recently, ambient privacy was a fact of life, but now it is becoming more of an issue as technology develops and a lack of regulation means that data is being collected without users’ consent.
First Amendment constraints don’t apply to private platforms, Supreme Court affirms (1 minute read)
The Supreme Court has ruled that a non-profit organization running public access channels was not bound by governmental constraints on speech. Two producers who worked for the organization were disciplined after releasing a film on the organization’s platform, which the producers claimed was an infringement on their First Amendment rights. The judges concluded that First Amendment constraints did not apply to the non-profit organization as it was deemed to be a private entity. While other internet or social media platforms were not mentioned in the ruling, the Electronic Frontier Foundation raised the idea that the ruling could be used to penalize these companies.