Big Tech &
Twitter’s first fact-check on President Trump calls out “false claims” (3 minute read)
A fact-checking notice appeared next to a tweet by President Donald Trump after he claimed that mail-in voting was inherently fraudulent. Twitter's notice linked to other sources but it also contained original text directly stating that the President's claims were false. A representative from Twitter confirmed that the text was generated by its global curation team. Trump responded to the notice by comparing it to electoral interference and stating that Twitter was stifling free speech.
Facebook launches CatchUp, an audio-only calling app that shows who’s ready to chat now (3 minute read)
CatchUp is a new app from Facebook that makes it easy for friends and family in the US to coordinate phone calls or set up group calls with up to eight people. The app is audio-only and it flags when users are available. Users won't need a Facebook account for the app to work as it works with the device's contacts list. One of the main reasons people no longer make phone calls is that they don't know when someone is free and they don't want to interrupt them. CatchUp solves this issue by allowing users to broadcast their availability to their contacts list.
Facebook’s AI convincingly inserts people into photos (3 minute read)
Facebook AI Research and Tel Aviv University published a paper last week proposing a novel technique for inserting people into photos. The technique could have useful applications in the creative industries. It uses AI to figure out a coherent way to insert a picture of a new person into an image. When human volunteers were asked to tell whether an image had been manipulated by the AI, they were able to identify the modified images just 28% of the time when the images contained five people.
HTC’s former CEO is making a risky bet on a new VR headset and virtual world (3 minute read)
XRSpace will be launching its Mova virtual reality headset later this year. The device will sell for $599. It features 5G support, a hand tracking interface, and a virtual world called Manova. Manova will contain a variety of public and private locations where people can meet and participate in activities. It will only be available through the Mova headset. Many companies have failed to launch virtual worlds, but XRSpace believes that Manova will succeed as it was built with the VR experience in mind, rather than for the PC first.
Programming, Design & Data Science
JSON Web Token is an internet standard for securing data. It is a useful tool for authorization and information exchange. JWT.IO allows developers to decode, verify, and generate JWT. A list of libraries for token signing and verification, sorted by programming languages, is available.
Keyframes is a visual tool that can generate CSS. It has a visual timeline editor similar to video-editing software that can be used to create animations. Developers can create shadow effects and select colors using the Keyframes interface. The generated CSS code can be copied to the clipboard with a click.
Creative Japanese office installs awesome full-size vending machine made out of cardboard (2 minute read)
Hacomo, a cardboard craft kit manufacturing company based in Japan, has created a vending machine completely made out of cardboard. The full-size machine can be stocked with dozens of kinds of drinks. Inside the machine is a network of heavy-duty rubber bands and intricate interlocking tabs. It uses no electricity so it can't keep the drinks chilled or heated. The machine will still function when no coins are inserted so it relies on an honor system. Video of the vending machine, along with clips showing Hacomo's other products, are available in the article.
Amazon in advanced talks to buy self-driving startup Zoox (1 minute read)
Amazon is in advanced talks to buy self-driving startup Zoox, which was valued at $3.2 billion in 2018. The deal is still being finalized and discussions could still fall apart. Amazon has stepped up investments in the automotive sector, participating in Aurora Innovation's $530 million funding round early last year.