TLDR 2018-12-21

China hacks IBM 💻, Apple pulls German iPhones 📱, Facebook's cryptocurrency 💰

Big Tech & Startups

Apple will stop selling some iPhone models in its stores in Germany following ruling in Qualcomm patent case (2 minute read)

Germany has granted Qualcomm an injunction against Apple in a patent case, forcing Apple to stop selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in its stores in Germany. Qualcomm was already successful in getting several iPhone models banned in China earlier this month. The iPhones will still be available through third party stores. Apple says "Qualcomm's campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies...Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal."

China hacked HPE, IBM and then attacked clients (2 minute)

Hackers from China's Ministry of State Security breached the networks of Hewlett Packard and IBM, then used that access to hack clients of both firms. This was part of a widespread Chinese cyber attack that spanned 12 countries and began in 2014. Two Chinese nationals have been detained and indicted.
Science & Futuristic Technology

China built a tower that acts like 'the world's biggest air purifier,' and it actually works (3 minute read)

China has built the world's largest air purifier, a 100 meter tall tower to fight their smog problem. It works by sucking in polluted air, heating it up with solar energy, then circulating it through multiple layers of cleaning filters. The purifier improves air quality over an area of 10 square kilometers, and produces more than 10 million cubic meters of clean air per day. A student who lives a few hundred meters from the tower says "I can't help looking at the tower each time I pass. It's very tall, very eye-catching, but it's also very quiet. I can't hear any wind going in or out. The air quality did improve. I have no doubt about that."

Facebook reportedly developing its own cryptocurrency for use in WhatsApp (1 minute read)

Facebook is launching its own cryptocurrency to allow WhatsApp users to transfer money. It will be a stablecoin (a cryptocurrency pegged to a real world asset, in this case the US dollar), and the primary focus to begin with will be sending remittances to India.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Magazine Layout (GitHub Repo)

This is a nifty open source library from AirBNB that makes it really easy to display images in a grid on iOS. If you're making anything that needs a nice directory layout like AirBNB this library looks pretty cool.

Spotify Design (Website)

This is a new site launched by Spotify's design team that has a bunch of articles going into depth about how they approach certain areas of design. If you're a fan of Spotify's UX, definitely check this out.

Annual Smart Speaker IQ Test (2 minute read)

These guys tested four smart speakers, Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana, with 800 questions each. Google Asssistant won with 88% of questions correctly answered vs. Siri at 75%, Alexa at 73%, and Cortana at 63%. The questions were in 5 categories: local, commerce, navigation, information, and command. Google Assistant was the best at every one except for commands (where Siri was the best). Siri and Google were head and shoulders above the rest in Local and Navigation in particular, due to their proprietary maps data. Siri has greatly improved over the past year, where it answered only 52% of questions correctly.
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