Big Tech &
TikTok Has a Cult Leader; Meet the Mother Hen (2 minute read)
Melissa Ong started the 'Step Chickens Cult' in early May after announcing on TikTok that she wanted to start a cult and asking for suggestions for names. Ong now has almost two million followers, with celebrities and organizations joining the 'cult'. 'Step Chickens' members have been changing their profile pictures to the same picture of Ong, also known as 'Mother Hen'. Ong has monetized her newfound following by selling merchandise, releasing a song, and also releasing an app.
Raspberry Pi 4 (8GB)
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has just released a Raspberry Pi 4 B with 8GB of RAM for $75. It is identical to the Raspberry Pi 4 B in every way except for the RAM capacity. A 64-bit version of Debian Linux for Raspberry Pi is in the works that will be able to take advantage of the extra RAM to improve performance. The new 8GB Pi has a switch-mode power supply that provides more power for the RAM. Benchmark tests show little difference in performance between the 4GB and 8GB models
Scientists develop the most heat-resistant material ever created (3 minute read)
A group of scientists has developed a ceramic material that breaks the record for the compound with the highest known melting point. Its combination of physical, mechanical, and thermal properties make the material suitable for use in most heat-loaded components of aircraft. The material, hafnium carbonitride, has a melting point that exceeds 4,000 degrees celsius. The team has planned further experiments to find out the exact melting point of the material.
Nuro’s driverless delivery robots will transport medicine to CVS customers in Texas (2 minute read)
Nuro is an autonomous vehicle startup founded by two ex-Google engineers that developed a fleet of road-legal delivery robots. The robots will soon be used to transport pharmaceuticals to CVS customers in Houston, Texas. CVS has seen an increased demand for deliveries since the pandemic started. Customers will be able to select an autonomous delivery option when placing prescription orders on the CVS website starting in June. They will need to confirm their identity to unlock their delivery when it arrives.
Programming, Design & Data Science
PyBridge-iOS (GitHub Repo)
PyBridge-iOS allows Python code to run in native iOS applications. It can send String or JSON messages to the Python interpreter without the need for any web frameworks. Developers just need to open the PyBridge-iOS project in Xcode to run.
2020 Developer Survey (Website)
In February, StackOverflow surveyed nearly 65,000 developers to find out how they learn and level up, which tools they're using, and what they want. The survey focused on increasing the diversity of respondents and it is important to note that it was conducted before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO. This year, Python fell from second to third most-loved technology, with Rust and TypeScript filling up the first two spots respectively. Site reliability engineer and DevOps specialist are the highest-paid roles. Over 75% of developers work overtime at least occasionally, with 25% working overtime 1-2 days per week or more. More responses and detailed breakdowns of the data are available in the article.
The Day AppGet Died (5 minute read)
In August last year, Microsoft made an offer to hire the developer of AppGet and acquire the software. Microsoft had wanted to make changes to how software was distributed on Windows. After a series of meetings, Microsoft went silent, until they announced the launch of WinGet. The core mechanics, terminology, the manifest format and structure, and the folder structure of the repository were very similar to what AppGet had. AppGet is an open-source project, so code-copying or using the idea wasn't an issue, but the developer was upset that they never got credit for their work.
Donald Trump signs executive order targeting social media companies (2 minute read)
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that targets tech companies. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives internet companies broad immunity from liability for the content their users post on their platforms. The draft order asks that the FCC reinterpret the law and decide what it means for a platform not to be acting in 'good faith' under the provision. Trump signed the order in reaction to Twitter fact-checking two of his tweets earlier in the week where he made false and misleading claims about mail-in voting and voter fraud. Repealing or limiting Section 230 of the Community Decency Act may result in more restricted speech online as companies will not want to be exposed to the potential liability for everything their users want to say.