Big Tech &
Disney+ was the most downloaded app in the US in Q4 2019 (2 minute read)
Disney+ was released in mid-November and was downloaded more than 30 million times. This was more than double its nearest competitor, TikTok. It was the most downloaded app in both the Apple store and Google Play. Disney+ grossed more than $50 million in its first 30 days. It generated 16 percent of all subscription video-on-demand revenue in the US in Q4. The statistics indicate that Disney+ might be expanding the market, rather than beating out its competitors.
Spotify Is Now the Single Biggest Podcasting Platform (3 minute read)
Spotify has more podcast listeners than Apple. Apple is still the market leader in streaming audio when combining both music and podcast listener numbers. Spotify's growth indicates that the company's investments in the podcast space are paying off. Podcast listening has grown considerably, and Spotify's focus on growing its podcast platform has resulted in improved user retention. Spotify plans to continue the growth of its podcast user base and aims for podcasts to account for around 20 percent of total streaming on its platform. It will start looking for ideas for monetizing its podcast platform in 2020.
Rapper Akon kicks off construction for world's first "crypto city" (2 minute read)
Musician and entrepreneur Akon has received official approval to build a city in Senegal. Akon City will be the world’s first crypto city. The city will have its own digital currency, Akoin. Akon is of Senegalese descent and has been planning the city for at least 18 months. He was gifted 2,000 acres of land by the President of Senegal. Akon City will be built with sustainability and the environment in mind. Akoin is expected to launch in July, but the city won't be completed for a while. Akon believes that cryptocurrency can enable Africans to become less dependent on their governments.
Scientists Build Machine That Keeps Human Livers Functioning outside of the Body for 1 Week (2 minute read)
A machine built by researchers in Zurich can keep human livers alive outside of the body for an entire week. Until now, livers could only be kept alive outside of the body for 12 hours. Livers kept alive inside the machine can regenerate. In trials, six out of ten livers deemed unsuitable for transplant were able to recover to full functionality within one week of being hooked up to the machine. The ability to regenerate livers so they are suitable for transplant is a huge moment in medical history. Liver4Life was developed over four years, and it mimics body processes such as circulation, blood filtering, and movement.
Programming, Design & Data Science
AutoGluon: AutoML Toolkit for Deep Learning (GitHub Repo)
AutoGluon can train and deploy high-accuracy deep learning models for image, text, and tabular data with just a few lines of code. It automates machine learning tasks so data scientists can easily create strong predictive models. An example of a basic implementation of AutoGluon is available, and more specific instructions and advanced topics are linked.
How is computer programming different today than 20 years ago? (4 minute read)
Computer programming has changed significantly in the last 20 years, and this blog post contains a long list of things that have changed. Some programming concepts like immutability, pattern matching, and tail recursion are now commonly used. A lot of desktop software is now just a webpage bundled with a browser. Package management ecosystems are now prevalent, and people no longer have to search through random websites and follow complicated instructions to install libraries. Security has become more of a focus. There are many other changes listed in the article.
Google plans to kill off third-party cookies in Chrome ‘within 2 years’ (4 minute read)
Google will end support for third-party tracking cookies in Chrome within two years in an effort to make web browsing more secure for users. Many ad providers rely on cookies to target and track advertising, so the change is likely to have a large impact on the industry. The move is designed to encourage publishers, advertising companies, and other browser providers to help Google create a new set of privacy-focused, open web standards. Google is looking for ideas on how the web without third-party cookies could work, and will not implement the change until a solution is found that addresses the needs of users, publishers, and advertisers. Anti-tracking features are becoming more common in browsers. This has affected publishers and advertisers, so an alternative to the cookie system is required to preserve the industry.