Big Tech &
Leaked pics reveal Google smart debit card to rival Apple’s (6 minute read)
Google is developing its own physical and virtual debit cards. The cards will be co-branded with different bank partners, including CITI and Stanford Federal Credit Union. Combined with Google Pay, it will be Google's answer to Apple Pay and the Apple Card. This might mean that Google will become a financial services company and start offering other services that banks usually offer. Google's vast access to data means it could more accurately manage risk than traditional financial institutions.
Facebook is launching a dedicated gaming app to take on Twitch, YouTube (3 minute read)
Facebook Gaming is launching on Android today. It is Facebook's attempt to take on the streaming community. The app will be available on iOS once it is approved on the App Store. Facebook has been investing in gaming for years, but despite its large user base, it still lags behind Twitch and YouTube when it comes to hours of gameplay watched. The app will allow users to become a streamer with only a few clicks.
Here’s What It’s like to Get a COVID Antibody Test (6 minute read)
Newly-developed COVID antibody blood tests can measure a person's immune response to the disease. This means that people can test to see if they have already had the coronavirus. The presence of antibodies might indicate resistance to the virus, but this has not been proven yet. The antibody test involves a small blood sample from a finger prick and the procedure takes about a minute. There are three outcomes to the test - negative, positive (and the antibodies are still fighting the disease), and positive (recovered). The validity of the tests is still under some debate, and there is no scientific evidence yet that immunity actually exists.
Watch Zoox’s autonomous car drive around San Francisco for an hour (4 minute read)
Zoox recently published a video showing its autonomous system driving for an hour in downtown San Francisco. The video is available in the article. A safety driver was behind the wheel of the retrofitted Toyota Highlander. The video shows the car performing a range of complex maneuvers in heavy, multi-lane vehicle traffic and dense pedestrian crowds. Zoox's perception system can distinguish traffic lights, trams, construction vehicles, lane dividers, and more. It also tracks pedestrian attributes such as whether they are looking at a phone. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoox appeared to be making progress towards a commercial launch, but live tests of its level 3 vehicles have been canceled. Zoox has plans to deploy autonomous Highlanders in Las Vegas to transport passengers autonomously.
Programming, Design & Data Science
safer (GitHub Repo)
safer is a Python safe file writer that writes either a whole file or nothing. It prevents partial writes or file corruption. safer has been tested on Python 2.7 and 3.4 through to 3.8.
Facebook and Google to face mandatory code of conduct to 'level playing field' with traditional news media (3 minute read)
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is developing a mandatory code of conduct to govern commercial dealings between tech giants and news media companies. These rules will require digital platforms to pay news media businesses for the content they produce. The Australian government believes it is unlikely that companies like Google or Facebook will reach a voluntary agreement over the issue. Media companies are facing significant financial pressure due to a sharp downturn in advertising revenue. The blame has been put onto digital platforms for not sharing traffic or revenue while still using the content that the media companies generate.
Academics steal data from air-gapped systems using PC fan vibrations (5 minute read)
Air-gapped systems are systems that aren't connected to any network. These systems generally run critical operations or have sensitive data, so limiting exposure to outside networks is a necessary security measure. Mordechai Guri and his team have been researching methods of extracting data from air-gapped systems and have developed a plethora of techniques over the years. A new technique involves installing malware onto the air-gapped machine which makes the fans inside the computer vibrate at certain frequencies. These frequencies can be recorded using a phone's accelerometer and then decoded later on. While the technique is innovative, it is extremely slow, extracting data at half a bit per second. Real-life attackers are likely to use faster methods.