Big Tech &
Tesla appears to defy Bay Area shutdown, plans to operate Fremont factory (2 minute read)
A 'shelter in place' order has been issued in the Bay area to force people to stay at home and work from home unless they provide an essential service. Tesla seems to be defying the order at its Fremont factory, with the company issuing a statement to employees telling them that it plans to remain in operation. Employees are being told they can take paid time off if they are ill, but are otherwise expected to work. Tesla had to temporarily shut down its Gigafactory in Shanghai last month in order to slow the growth of the virus, but it managed to start operations again quickly after taking measures to limit the chance of transmission.
Tesla begins Model Y deliveries, meeting expectations for the crossover SUV (2 minute read)
Tesla has started deliveries for its Model Y crossover SUV. Users have posted images and comments to the Tesla Motors Club showing their Model Y vehicles. Elon Musk told shareholders that Tesla was ahead of schedule on Model Y preparations and that the launch timeline had moved forward. The seven-seat version of the Model Y and the standard Model Y are expected to start production in 2021. Tesla stock has slid 16% in the coronavirus-related sell-off.
Rocket Lab gets NASA certification for official smallsat launches (2 minute read)
Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has received Category 1 certification from NASA, largely due to the successful launch of a batch of NASA CubeSats into orbit in late 2018. Certification categories go from 1-3, from 'high risk' to 'low risk'. The certification is based on the number of successful launches. Rocket Lab needs six consecutive successful missions with the same rocket configuration in order to receive a Category 2 certification. It currently has 10 in a row, but it is likely stuck behind some paperwork.
US government reportedly in talks with tech companies on how to use location data in COVID-19 fight (3 minute read)
The US government is in talks with tech companies to discuss how the data from smartphones can be used to combat the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. Location data can be used to help track the general spread of the infection. Data would be anonymized before being sent to any organization. One of the measures suggested by experts is to use location data to track contact with other people for someone who has a confirmed case of the virus. Naturally, many people are wary of a widespread effort to collect personal data, especially in a time of extreme duress.
Programming, Design & Data Science
GitHub’s new mobile app is now available on iOS and Android (2 minute read)
GitHub has just released its new mobile app for Android and iOS. The app is designed to help developers manage projects while away from their PC. Developers can organize tasks, give feedback on issues, respond to comments, and review and merge pull requests. Notifications can be saved or marked as complete. Users can react to comments and view code from within the app. Screenshots from the app are available in the article.
European Union will close external borders for 30 days to slow coronavirus pandemic (2 minute read)
European Union member nations have agreed to close external borders to most people from other countries for 30 days in an effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic. Movement within the EU nations will still be allowed. The United Kingdom has not applied restrictions to its borders. Medical staff or people transporting medicines and goods will not be restricted from travel. Canada has closed its borders except for US citizens, and France has mandated that the nation stay home for up to 15 days, except for essential needs.
Facebook is giving $1,000 to every employee to help them amid the coronavirus pandemic (1 minute read)
Every Facebook employee will receive a $1,000 bonus and an 'exceeds' rating for their first six-month review of 2020 in order to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. The bonuses will be distributed throughout April. Facebook is continuing to pay some contractors while they remain home. It has committed to paying its hourly workers even if they can't work and have to be at home due to COVID-19. Seattle and Bay Area employees have been asked to work from home, and social visitors are banned from offices. Mark Zuckerberg is funding an increase in coronavirus testing in the Bay Area through his philanthropic groups.