Big Tech &
The Galaxy Fold goes on sale again in the US on September 27th (2 minute read)
Samsung will be re-releasing its Galaxy Fold device in the US on September 27th. Both an AT&T version and a standard unlocked version will be available at select AT&T, Best Buy, and Samsung Experience stores. It should be available to order online. The Galaxy Fold has been redesigned to be more durable than the first version, but tests have shown that it is still easy to make permanent marks on the screen and get grit inside the hinge mechanism. Customers who buy a Galaxy Fold can opt for an in-person setup session with a Samsung expert. They will also have direct access to Fold-specific support via an app, online, or through phone support.
Google Play Pass bundles 350 Android games and apps for $4.99 per month (5 minute read)
Google Play Pass will launch at $4.99 and give customers access to over 350 games and apps served ad-free and without any in-app purchases. There will be a 10 day free trial, and the first year will be priced at $1.99 a month. Apple launched its Apple Arcade last week at $4.99, but it is different from Play Pass as it doesn't include apps and Apple is directly funding development for games on its service. Play Pass subscriptions can be shared with up to five family members. Developers will be paid depending on user engagement with the apps. While the program is currently invite-only, developers can apply to show interest in participating in the program via a web form.
The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is now in the Bitcoin business (2 minute read)
The Intercontinental Exchange has opened its digital asset marketplace, Bakkt, which offers Bitcoin futures contracts. Futures contracts are legal agreements to buy or sell a given commodity at a specific price at a specific time in the future. More than $200 million worth of Bitcoin futures on average are already traded daily on other exchanges. Unlike its competitor, CME, Bakkt will settle contracts with Bitcoin, rather than cash. Bakkt aims to make mainstream institutions less skeptical of digital assets by creating a trusted warehouse to store cryptocurrencies.
A drone with a nail gun for autonomous roofing (1:29 Video)
Engineers at the University of Michigan mounted a nail-gun onto a DJI S1000 Octocopter and installed a modified version of open-source autopilot software so that the drone could navigate to waypoints and operate a nail-gun. The video shows the drone in action nailing tiles to a roof. Future improvements include adding an onboard sensing system to recognize shingles, upgrading to a pneumatic nail gun, and adding a power tether for extended operation.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Serverless: 15% slower and 8x more expensive (6 minute read)
Serverless is a simple way for developers to deploy servers and maintain them. Deploying Serverless is quick and simple, but when tested, the servers were slower and significantly more expensive. The use-case in testing may not be the optimal application for Serverless. Developers should look into what their exact needs are before deploying the hottest new frameworks.
Getting started with Python (GitHub Repo)
The Dark Side of Techno-Utopianism (24 minute read)
Prior to the printing press, books were handwritten by scribes and people who could not afford them probably would not have been able to read them, leaving a lot of space for powerful gatekeepers to exploit the common people. Many texts would have been altered while they were copied by scribes. After printed text started being distributed, the gatekeeping powers shifted toward those who printed texts, as they had the power to change the words and meanings of the text printed. The internet introduced the ability to view a wide range of information and platforms to distribute information. Now, anybody could write anything they wanted, whether it was true or not. Companies can moderate their platforms and control the narrative. Some platforms are moderated heavily, while others are almost completely free, allowing users to say whatever they want. Tech companies are starting to recognize the power they possess and some are beginning to push for regulations on what should be allowed on the internet.