Big Tech &
Uber announces deeper push into financial services with Uber Money (3 minute read)
Uber has announced a new division called Uber Money which will offer a digital wallet and debit and credit cards. The service will allow its drivers to have access to a mobile bank account to get paid after each ride. By building a financial ecosystem, it could keep drivers and riders loyal to its platform. Many of Uber's customers use credit cards to pay for rides and food orders, and these services could eventually remove costs related to financial middlemen and generate new revenue streams. Uber's debit card is essentially a no-fee bank account and allows drivers to have access to funds immediately. A no-cost $100 overdraft feature allows drivers to pay for gas to kick off a working day. More and more tech companies are beginning to offer financial services. Apple has recently launched a credit card with Goldman Sachs and Facebook has revealed plans to launch its cryptocurrency, Libra. Uber's credit card will be a joint product with Barclays.
Apple announces AirPods Pro with noise cancellation, coming October 30th (2 minute read)
Apple has launched the AirPods Pro, a premium version of its wireless earbuds featuring noise-canceling. The earbuds only come in white. Noise-canceling is adjusted up to 200 times per second using a system that is very similar to the noise cancellation system in the new Beats Solo Pro headphones. A transparency mode is available that will allow users to hear their surroundings. The AirPods Pro has a force sensor that is used to control music playback and toggle between noise-canceling and transparency mode. It comes with flexible ear tips. A software audio test is available that can tell the user if they have chosen the right-sized tips by measuring the sound level in the ear and comparing it to what is coming from the speaker driver. The AirPods Pro has around 4.5 hours of continuous listening battery life and is sweat and water-resistant. It is available for pre-order now and will be released on October 30th for $249.
Researchers create blueprint for 'quantum battery' that doesn't lose charge (1 minute read)
Scientists from the universities of Alberta and Toronto have developed a blueprint for a new quantum battery that won’t lose charge to the environment when not in use. Traditional lithium-ion batteries rely on classical electrochemical properties while quantum batteries rely solely on quantum mechanics. They could eventually become an important component in many quantum devices. To create the design, the research team used an open quantum network model with high structural symmetry as a way to store energy harnessed when an electron absorbs a sufficiently energetic photon of light. When the battery is in a dark state, the network cannot exchange energy with its environment, making it immune to all environmental influences. To discharge the battery, the structural symmetry of the network will have to be broken in a controlled way. Future research will explore ways of charging and discharging the battery, as well as scaling it up so it becomes practical.
'Care robots' for the elderly could be developed in the UK after government funding (2 minute read)
The UK government has backed a scheme that will research how to make autonomous systems safe and trustworthy for public use. The research program will last five years and cost $43.54 million. It is hoped that care robots can be developed to be used in places such as hospitals and care homes alongside human professionals, performing tasks such as helping people up after a fall, making sure medication is taken, and delivering meals. Research will be carried out to make sure the robots are protected against cyber-attacks and able to demonstrate traits such as respect, equality, and fairness. Other sectors where a lack of public trust is a key challenge may also benefit from the deployment of robots. Assistive robots can enable people to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Mobile First Animation in React (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains the source code for Alexandra Holachek's presentation on mobile animation at React Conf 2019. It contains interactive slides for the talk as well as live demos. The code was only developed as a demonstration and is not production-ready UI code.
Is Vim Really Not For You? A Beginner Guide (17 minute read)
Many people avoid using Vim because there is a learning curve and it looks daunting. However, learning Vim can have many benefits, such as being able to edit files on remote systems where only Vi or Vim are available, being able to navigate many CLI applications that use Vim key bindings, and just because it can be a fun way to create content. Vim is completely keyboard-based, so having good keyboard technique is important. Everything in Vim is configurable, and there is even a programming language called Vimscript that can help shape the editor. Different modes will allow you to edit content in specific, efficient ways. There are some shortcuts to learn in order to get used to using the editor, but in the end, you will find that you will be able to edit and create content much more efficiently.
Ask HN: What do you automate in your life and work? (Hacker News Thread)
As developers, it is quite easy to write your own programs to make your life easier. It is possible to automate many areas of your life, for example, a tool such as Home Assistant can be used to send custom notifications about the state of your home, turn on/off appliances/lights at certain times of day, monitor and control temperatures, send emails, and much more. Users have automated parts of their life such as dating (automatically swiping on Tinder), entire businesses (fulfillment processes, emails, inquiries), workflows (repetitive blocks of typing, processes, etc), and even shopping for groceries. This thread is full of anecdotes on ways developers have automated parts of their lives to increase efficiency and decrease effort.