Big Tech &
Amazon is making two-hour grocery delivery free for all Prime members (2 minute read)
Amazon has added free two-hour grocery delivery to its Prime membership program. Amazon Prime is $119 per year in the US and includes free shipping and other benefits, such as Prime Video and Music. Grocery delivery was previously an additional $14.99 per month subscription service. There are now 100 million Prime members worldwide. The rollout of the grocery delivery benefit will begin in phases, starting with an invite-only program for customers who have previously ordered groceries using Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods. Prime members can request an invitation. There is no timeline for when free grocery delivery will be rolled out to all Prime members without an invite.
Elon Musk to go to trial in December over 'pedo guy' tweet (1 minute read)
In 2018, Elon Musk made a statement about a British diver who helped rescue a team of young football players from an underwater cave in Thailand and was sued for defamation. Vernon Unsworth mocked Musk's plans to rescue the players using a mini-submarine, after which Musk responded by calling Unsworth a 'pedo guy' and a 'child rapist'. Musk's lawyers argue that these statements were insults rather than allegations. The case will go to trial in December.
Helping autonomous vehicles see around corners (4 minute read)
A team of engineers at MIT have developed a system called ShadowCam that can sense changes in shadows to determine if there is a moving object coming around the corner. The system can be used in autonomous cars to quickly avoid potential collisions. ShadowCam was able to detect approaching vehicles and stop faster than traditional LiDAR systems by more than half a second. It has only been tested in indoor settings where speeds are limited and lighting conditions are consistent. ShadowCam works by detecting changes in light intensity over time, which may indicate object movement. Early versions of ShadowCam required the use of simplified QR codes for the camera to determine its location, but later versions used Direct Sparse Odometry, a technique that is able to plot features of an environment on a 3D point cloud.
Shareable quotes from experts about the next 50 years of digital life (1 minute read)
In 1969, the first host-to-host packet-switching network was connected, a precursor to today's internet. The technology has significantly affected how the world works in the 50 years since, and it will likely continue to evolve in the next 50 years. Factors that may affect how the technology evolves may include what values we embed into the design of technologies and who controls these technologies. It will likely affect everyone in the world and become a normal part of life for everyone, integrating seamlessly into our lives. Our lives will be augmented through implants or wearables, improving our mobility, memory, intelligence, and other physical and neurological functions. Socially, it may begin to divide the population as technology may increase existing inequalities, as those who are disadvantaged may not have access to some developments.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Starship (GitHub Repo)
Starship is a minimal, fast, customizable prompt for any shell. It displays important information in a sleek and unintrusive manner. A quick GIF demo is available showing the prompt in action.
Text Editing Hates You Too (8 minute read)
Text input is difficult. Windows' text input APIs contain 128 interfaces, with several different types of locks to fix concurrency issues. Building your own text field implementations can be daunting and many unexpected issues may come up. For example, simply moving a caret vertically can become a challenge, as the positioning of the caret may change due to the system not correctly storing or identifying the correct position. Multiple lines, emojis, bidirectional text, and input methods also present their own headaches. Text editing is an example of where something that seems simple actually requires a lot of complex problem-solving. It is a miracle that we can use simple tags to create input text areas for applications nowadays.
Nearly two-thirds of Uber customers don’t tip their drivers, study says (3 minute read)
According to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, only one percent of Uber customers always tip, while almost 60 percent of customers never do. The average tip drivers receive is around $3 for customers who tip. Female drivers are more likely to receive tips, but men are usually the ones who tip. Tipping may occur less on ride-sharing platforms as the tipping happens after the ride, not face to face. Users pay for their rides through an app, rather than in cash. Uber had resisted adding tipping functionality to its app in the past as certain types of people tend to get tipped more regardless of the quality of service, which it considers unfair. Since Uber has enabled in-app tipping, Uber drivers and Uber Eats couriers have collected nearly $2 billion in tips.