Big Tech &
Adorable redesigned emoji—including Clippy—included in latest Windows 11 update (2 minute read)
Microsoft will add redesigned emoji in the next Windows 11 update. The new emoji match up better with Apple's, Google's, and Samsung's designs. There are a few Microsoft-specific touches, such as a Clippy design for the paperclip emoji. The update is optional for now. It will be installed automatically for users next month. Windows 10 users will not be getting the new emoji designs. A small selection of the new designs are available in the article.
Netflix scoops up Canadian visual effects company Scanline (2 minute read)
Netflix has bought Scanline, a major player in the special effects industry. Scanline has worked on several large productions, such as Game of Thrones, Godzilla vs. King Kong, and Justice League, as well as its own original productions. Netflix is set to spend $17 billion this year making and licensing films and TV shows. It will continue to use other VFX studios for its shows. The company announced last week that it plans to double the size of its base at Shepperton Studios.
Scientists use seismic noise to image first hundred meters of Mars (3 minute read)
While NASA's InSight lander has a seismograph installed, it can only provide the big picture of Mars' internals, but not the small details, such as what is immediately below the lander. Scientists used seismic noise to reconstruct features and determine the makeup of the first hundred meters of Mars’ surface. Most of it is made up of what is likely sedimentary rock, with volcanic deposits layered through. The surface regolith appears to be only 1.5 meters thick. The data on the uppermost 20 meters is very uncertain. Using this data, the researchers were able to make conclusions about the planet's history.
The ‘Dronut’ is a Cylindrical Drone Straight Out of Science Fiction (2 minute read)
The Dronut is a by-rotor ducted drone that has a design that allows it to access spaces that ordinary drones can't navigate. It is compact enough to fit on the palm of the hand and weighs 15 ounces. The Dronut has live-streaming capabilities, a high-resolution camera, a global shutter sensor, and 3D LIDAR for navigation. It can be controlled using an Android phone up to one kilometer away with little to no training required. A video of the drone flying in indoor environments is available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Filament (GitHub Repo)
Filament is a real-time physically based rendering engine for Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, and WebGL. It offers a set of tools and APIs for Android developers to enable them to create high-quality 2D and 3D rendering with ease. Examples of rendered scenes are available.
Pglet (GitHub Repo)
Crypto design challenges (20 minute read)
This article discusses how several areas in the crypto space could be improved with better design. Crypto has been around for long enough to prove that there's something there, but the tech is still young enough that there's plenty of things left to figure out, define, and invent. While the technology behind crypto is based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, the way people interact with crypto still needs a lot of work before people will trust the technology. Getting the experience right for new users will enable more people to use the technology with confidence.
How the pandemic pulled Nigerian university students into cybercrime (15 minute read)
This article follows the story of Kayode, an A-grade student that was studying at one of the country's most elite educational institutions who turned to cybercrime during the pandemic. The pandemic has pushed young Nigerians into online crime as many lose their jobs and are forced to go hungry. What little money people had is strained due to inflation. Cybercrime is a popular choice to turn to when legitimate avenues are exhausted, especially when it seems low risk.