Big Tech &
Tinder is now bypassing the Play Store on Android to avoid Google’s 30 percent cut (4 minute read)
Match Group, the company that owns Tinder, has become the latest high-profile software maker to ditch the Play Store and instead use its own payment systems. Last year, Epic Games made a similar move by releasing Fortnite via its own downloadable launcher. Companies who choose to operate through Google's Play store are required to pay a 15 to 30 percent cut. Apple's App Store charges the same amount. Spotify has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple as it claims that it is unfairly disadvantaged by the fee. If Google decides not to take action against Tinder, many other apps could follow its lead and bypass the Play Store.
Pixel 4 screen leak shows off large forehead bezel (1 minute read)
New photos of Google's Pixel 4 have been leaked, showing that the device will have a large bezel on the top of the phone. The images show that the bezel will cover a variety of sensors and front-facing cameras. It is rumored that the Pixel 4 will come with a radar-based motion sensing technology called Project Soli, which requires more space, explaining the bezel. The Pixel 4 was announced in June after images were leaked onto the internet.
A US Navy ship used a new drone-defense system to take down an Iranian drone (2 minute read)
A US Navy ship, the USS Boxer, used a new anti-drone system to take down an Iranian drone that came too close to it. The new system is called an MRZR LMADIS, a Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, which is mounted on two Polaris MRZR vehicles. It consists of a command node and a sensor node, and the vehicles are outfitted with radar sensors, cameras, and radio-frequency detectors and jammers. The MRZR LMADIS uses the jammer to disrupt signals from the drone, a method which is more accurate and less expensive than using missiles. A US spy drone was recently shot down by the Iranian military. Other directed-energy weapons, aimed at combating drones, are currently in development.
'BioSolar Leaves' are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers (3 minute read)
A British start-up, Arborea, creates panels of photosynthetic organisms such as microalgae, diatoms, and phytoplankton, which use energy from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make food and grow. These panels can be installed on buildings and land, much like solar panels. The start-up claims that the panels are 100 times more efficient than real trees at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and that the biomass generated from the panels can be converted into ingredients for sustainable, plant-based food products. Arborea aims to create food to help sustain the planet, as the human population is set to rise to nearly 10 billion people by 2050. The expanded population will demand 70 percent more food than is consumed today.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Color Thief (GitHub Repo)
Writing sustainable Python scripts (7 minute read)
Python is a great language for writing standalone scripts that can accomplish many tasks in just a dozen to a few hundred lines of code. While it is easy to write useful code, it can also be easy to forget to make the code readable for yourself and future developers. It is helpful to encode documentation, add command-line arguments, enable logging, and include tests in the code so that it is fully annotated and easily understood.
How is it like to be a dev in Iran (8 minute read)
In Iran, citizens have to deal with censorship and sanctions when accessing information on the internet. Many websites are blocked in order to protect the culture and its morals, but this includes websites such as YouTube, GitHub, and Twitter. Sanctions against Iran means that developers don't have access to Free Open Source Software, Visa/MasterCard services, and other important tools. Some services, such as Slack, manually deleted all Iranian users, some of which haven't worked in Iran for years. Developers are running into many blocks in their work, and they are losing jobs because of it. Many developers are now using HTTP proxies, DNS proxies, VPNs, and TOR to bypass blocks, with some success. However, this takes extra time and costs more, and some services such as Cloudflare block TOR traffic.
My Frantic Life as a Cab-Dodging, Tip-Chasing Food App Deliveryman (11 minute read)
Restaurants are being forced into the e-commerce business by food-delivery app services, an industry which is creating many jobs for delivery riders. While ride-hail drivers successfully lobbied for a $17 minimum wage, most delivery-app couriers aren't guaranteed any payment. Many couriers use multiple apps, trying to earn bonuses and tips. If they miss certain deadlines, they lose these bonuses, and many customers do not tip. While apps claim certain minimum incomes, drivers say they do not earn these rates regularly. Pay rates have been declining as more people start working for the platform. Restaurant drivers are entitled to a minimum wage plus tips but claim that they are only paid a fraction of that amount. The job can also be dangerous, and workers have been injured during deliveries.
No TLDR Originals for 2019-07-22