Big Tech &
Apple’s new Mac update is out, and iTunes is finally dead (4 minute read)
macOS Catalina has been released and can now be downloaded from the Mac App Store or via the software update option in System Preferences. iPads that support the Apple Pencil can now be used as a second display on Mac using Sidecar. iTunes has been replaced by three separate apps, Apple TV, Apple Music, and Podcasts. Apple Arcade is now available on Mac. Catalyst is a feature that lets developers port their iPad apps to Mac. Other new features include new accessibility options to control your Mac by voice, Screen Time controls that can limit how long certain apps can be used, and improved security.
Amazon announces its first-ever Kindle for kids (1 minute read)
Amazon has unveiled the Kindle Kids Edition, its first-ever e-reader aimed at children. It costs $20 more than a normal Kindle and comes with one of four colorful cases, a two-year guarantee, and one year's access to FreeTime Unlimited. Amazon will replace the device for free if anything happens to it under the two-year guarantee. FreeTime Unlimited offers 20,000 kid-friendly books, videos, and apps. It is $4.99 per month or $2.99 per month for existing Prime subscribers. The Kindle Kids Edition includes a feature called Word Wise that will automatically define difficult words, as well as turn any word that a child looks up into a flashcard for later review. Kids can earn achievement badges, as well as decorate their Kindle with fun wallpapers. It is available for pre-order now and will ship on October 30th.
Envisioning and Designing the Floating Future (8 minute read)
Researchers are building floating buildings to test the viability of floating cities in the future. Floating structures could help make marine ecosystems healthier. They could protect coastlines from further erosion, especially in areas where densely-populated land may start sinking into the sea in the coming decades. Climate change is already affecting the world's oceans, causing habitat loss for marine species, ocean acidification, widespread coral bleaching, and even changes in ocean currents. Floating structures may be able to use their underwater surfaces to create new habitats for marine species to settle. A structure out in the sea before a coastline may be able to break up waves before they reach the shore, lessening the effects of erosion. While the work is still largely theoretical, the vision is to eventually build large modular structures that could link together to create communal, self-sustaining systems.
Alibaba’s keyless and cashless hotel is straight out of the future (6:36 video)
Alibaba, known for its e-commerce platforms, has branched out into retail, restaurants, and even hotels. It has opened a hotel near its headquarters in Hangzhuo where almost everything is automated. The hotel lobby has no counters or couches. A staff member will assist foreigners for check-in, but Chinese nationals can check-in via an app or using kiosks. Elevator and doors are accessed with face scans. Each room has a personal assistant speaker, similar to Amazon's Alexa, where guests can order room service, or control the lights and curtains in their room. A robot butler can deliver most items and is able to ride elevators solo. Guests can order food at the restaurant, to be delivered by a robot server, and a robot bartender can mix drinks for the guest at the bar. The hotel opened for guests at the end of 2018. Fly Zoo's aim isn't just to build a futuristic hotel, but to test technologies that can be sold to other existing hotels.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Muon (GitHub Repo)
vue-next (GitHub Repo)
U.S. widens blacklist to include China's top AI startups ahead of trade talks (4 minute read)
The US government has expanded its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups. 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies have been targeted. The firms targeted will not be able to buy components from US companies without US governmental approval. A filing by the Commerce Department states that the firms were targeted as they were implicated in China's violations of human rights against various ethnic and Muslim minority groups.