TLDR 2019-03-27

iPhone import ban, floating solar farms

Big Tech & Startups

McDonald’s is acquiring Dynamic Yield to create a more customized drive-thru (2 minute read)

In the fast-food chain’s largest acquisition in 20 years, McDonald’s has acquired personalization company Dynamic Yield for a rumored amount of more than $300 million. McDonald’s plans to use the technology developed by Dynamic Yield to build drive-thru menus that are tailored to things such as weather, current restaurant traffic, and trending menu items. The new menus will also offer additional items based on what has been selected. These new menus have already been tested in several locations in the US in 2018 and will be rolled out to other areas in the US in 2019 before moving into international markets. Dynamic Yield will continue to operate as a standalone company and will serve existing and future clients while continuing the development of its personalization technology.

Judge recommends import ban on iPhones after latest Apple vs. Qualcomm verdict (2 minute read)

Apple may be forced to stop importing phones containing Intel modems back to the US from China, where they are manufactured, due to an investigation by the International Trade Commission which found that Apple was infringing on two Qualcomm patents related to power management and data download speeds. The ruling is yet to be final and will be reviewed by the full commission. Apple and Qualcomm have been arguing for years, with Apple claiming that Qualcomm’s licensing strategies are anti-competitive and Qualcomm suing Apple for patent infringements. Due to the breakdown between their relationship, Apple has turned to Intel for its modem parts, and may even be looking into building its own modems.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Sri Lanka to Construct 100 MW of Floating Solar Projects in Maduru Oya Reservoir (1 minute read)

The government of Sri Lanka has approved a proposal to build a photovoltaic farm in the Maduru Oya Reservoir. A call has been made by the government for international contractors to provide competitive proposals to build the solar farm, which will cover 4% of the reservoir’s surface area. The Sri Lankan government has approved several solar initiatives recently and they aim to install 200 MW of solar projects by 2020, and 1,000 MW of solar projects by 2025.

Inside Google’s Rebooted Robotics Program (5 minute read)

After Andy Rubin left Google in 2014, Google’s robotic’s program, nicknamed ‘Replicant’ at the time, had been stagnant. In the last few years, Google has rebooted its program, and the new effort is called ‘Robotics at Google’. Robotics at Google is made up of many of the same members of Rubin’s team, and it focuses on applying machine learning to robotics. They have developed robots in the lab that can learn to move and sort objects on their own, which may interest companies such as Amazon, as while these tasks seem simple they are actually quite hard to program manually. While Google has not yet announced its strategy on how it plans to commercialize their research, it is clear that the aim of the development of these robots is to automate more jobs.
Programming, Design & Data Science

automl-gs (GitHub Repo)

automl-gs allows citizen data scientists and engineers without a deep statistical background to automatically generate deep learning models and native Python code pipelines that can be integrated into any prediction workflow. Users only need to input a CSV data file and automl-gs will output a folder with the generated models and files. It can currently use both Tensorflow and XGBoost frameworks, with more frameworks planned to be implemented in the future.

Virgilio (GitHub Repo)

Virgilio aims to help others navigate through the wide amount of information available on the internet and provide a clear and complete organic learning path for several tools, fields, skills, and more. Information is concise and hierarchically ordered by level of complexity, and there are hands-on projects to help consolidate the information and theories that are learned. No previous knowledge is required, but confidence in programming and high school level maths will help comprehension and understanding. All resources are free or open source.

EU’s Parliament Signs Off on Disastrous Internet Law: What Happens Next? (5 minute read)

The European Parliament has approved their new copyright law in its entirety, in a controversial move that seems to go directly against common sense. Under the directive, any copyright owner can demand that an internet service remove their material from its servers, which means service providers will have to either stop serving the EU or increase their content filtering capabilities. There is still time for the decision to be reversed, as EU directives need to be written into law by each country individually, and other avenues are still available for the directive to be vetoed.

Google makes emails more dynamic with AMP for Email (2 minute read)

Today marks Google’s official launch for AMP support for email, more than a year after they first announced their intentions of supporting the format. AMP will allow emails to become more interactive, so instead of having to complete work in a separate window, users can complete forms and questionnaires, RSVP to events, browse through a store’s inventory, or respond to comments right from a web-based email client itself. Many companies already support AMP emails, so users can expect to start seeing these kinds of emails in the coming weeks.
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