Big Tech &
Apple CEO Tim Cook engineered a secret $275 billion deal with China (3 minute read)
A recently published report details Apple CEO Tim Cook's efforts to establish strong relationships between Apple and the Chinese government. Cook repeatedly visited China in the mid-2010s, signing a five-year $275 billion deal in 2016 to mitigate regulatory action by the Chinese government. The deal involved Apple helping develop technology in the country and also investing billions of dollars into building new retail stores, research and development centers, and renewable energy projects. Cook's work is likely the reason the company has been so successful in China.
Discord’s new Premium Memberships let creators monetize servers (3 minute read)
Discord is testing a new Premium Memberships feature that allows creators to monetize their servers. The feature is currently only available for around 10 creators. Creators will be able to use the feature to offer more content or access to community members. Discord communities will be able to create tiered perks and lock channels or servers to paying subscribers. Discord will give 90 percent of subscription revenue to creators.
Paper-thin piano demonstrates the power of printed electronics and NFC (1 minute read)
Prelonic Interactive Paper (PIP) is a technology that combines printed circuitry and NFC to create a new way to interact with mobile devices. Developed by Prelonic, an Austrian tech company, PIP can be used to make paper-thin interfaces. Prelonic created a piano keyboard using PIP technology, pairing it with a smartphone app to demonstrate how its technology can be used. A picture of the paper piano is available in the article.
Mysterious galaxy without dark matter puzzles astronomers (3 minute read)
Dark matter is an invisible force that is theorized to be causing the universe to expand faster than normal calculations can account for. Experts have theorized that if it is real, it must be ubiquitous, but a team of astronomers say that they have found six galaxies that appear to have either very little or no dark matter. The researchers found the movements of gas in these galaxies were perfectly explainable by normal matter alone. If the team is correct, it is strong evidence proving that not every galaxy holds the elusive force.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Meet Kryptology: Coinbase’s Open Source Cryptography Library (2 minute read)
Kryptology is a cryptographic library from Coinbase that enables developers to create novel crypto innovations with state-of-the-art cryptography. Crypto was founded on cryptographic innovation and cryptography is a driver for innovation in crypto. Kryptology contains a toolbox of secure, audited, and easy-to-use APIs that are designed to be misuse-resistant. It is now open source.
Floating UI (GitHub Repo)
SolarWinds hackers have a whole bag of new tricks for mass compromise attacks (12 minute read)
Almost exactly a year ago, researchers discovered a Kremlin-backed hacking campaign that compromised SolarWinds' servers in what was one of the worst data breaches in modern history. The group that performed the attack, dubbed 'Nobelium' by Microsoft, has since become more brazen and adept at hacking large numbers of targets in a single stroke. A recent report from security firm Mandiant details Nobelium's numerous feats and a few mistakes made by the group. This article covers the highlights of the report, including details on the group's tactics and innovations. A link to the full report is available.
Snap’s first AR Spectacles are an ambitious, impractical start (7 minute read)
Snap has been treating its first generation of AR glasses like a private beta, giving the Spectacles out to AR creators instead of releasing them publicly, probably for good reason. While the glasses have a high-quality design, the battery life is very short, the device is prone to overheating, and the displays are too small to use comfortably for long periods. This article talks about the experience of what it is like wearing the glasses. It includes photos and recordings of AR experiences from inside the glasses.