Big Tech &
Netflix speeds up plan for ad-supported tier, says it may debut this year (3 minute read)
Netflix plans to roll out an ad-supported tier in the final three months of this year. It will also roll out its plan to charge an extra fee for those who want to share accounts around the same time. Netflix's decision to introduce the ad-supported tier was made due to Hulu and Disney's success with the model. The company's stock plummeted 37% after it announced its advertising plan and it has still not recovered.
Apple discontinues the iPod after 20 years (3 minute read)
Apple is discontinuing the iPod Touch. It will still sell the current Touch while supplies last. The first iPod Touch was introduced over 20 years ago. The current seventh-gen model was introduced in 2019. It was popular with those who wanted an iPhone-like experience but didn't actually need a phone.
Gallium: The liquid metal that could transform soft electronics (5 minute read)
This article discusses the many potential uses for gallium in the field of soft electronics. Gallium is a liquid metal that can conduct heat and electricity. It has low toxicity and doesn't evaporate easily. The metal flows almost like water, but it forms a stiff outer oxide layer when exposed to air, allowing it to be formed into semi solid shapes. There are many potential uses for gallium in electronics, for example, it can be used to create self-healing, stretchable wires, or motion-sensing gloves for virtual reality.
Newly-developed lensless camera uses neural network and transformer to produce sharper images faster (4 minute read)
Lensless cameras encode light and use algorithms to process blurry, out-of-focus images into something useful. A group of researchers at Tokyo Tech have created a new reconstruction technique that improves image quality with significantly faster processing. The technique uses a novel machine-learning algorithm based on a method called Vision Transformer. It can be used for real-time capture of high-quality images, something previously not possible with lensless cameras. Examples of images produced with the technique are available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
BZip3 (GitHub Repo)
BZip3 is a better, faster, and stronger spiritual successor to BZip2. It features higher compression ratios and better performance. BZip3 excels in compressing text or code. Benchmark results that compare BZip3 with BZip2, gzip, and lzma are available.
Deno.js in production. Key takeaways (6 minute read)
PostHog is the open source analytics suite you can self-host. Product analytics, session recording, feature flags, heatmaps, and more - all available for free. Learn more.
Spider uses film of air to hide underwater for over half an hour (2 minute read)
Scientists at Binghamton University have observed a land-living spider fleeing from humans by going underwater and remaining there for over 30 minutes. The spider was enveloped in a layer of air held in place by its hydrophobic hairs. It is unclear if the spider was using the air to breathe. The air kept the spider's respiratory openings away from water and may have helped to minimize thermal loss to the water that it was submerged in.
Google says Matter is still set to fix the biggest smart home frustrations (11 minute read)
Matter is a smart home interoperability protocol supported by Apple, Google, Amazon, and other companies in the Connectivity Standards Alliance. It allows smart home devices from different manufacturers to work together. This article features an interview with Michele Turner, the senior director of Google Smart Home Ecosystem. In the interview, Turner discusses how Google plans to implement Matter and what it will mean for Google's Nest products and the Google Home app when Matter is released later this year.