TLDR 2019-09-18

Facebook's AR glasses, Google app beta

Big Tech & Startups

Google app 10.61 preps ‘Smart Screenshots’ with Lens (5 minute read)

The latest beta of the Google app has a new 'Smart Screenshots' feature, bookmarking for Google Podcasts, a tutorial on how to launch Assistant with gesture navigation, the ability to switch between keyboard and voice for assistant preferred input, and face unlock for verifying assistant payments. Smart Screenshots allows users to search screenshots with Google Lens. Lens integration has been implemented in many Google apps, like Chrome. Users will have to sign up for Google app's beta program to install the app.

Facebook is reportedly teaming up with Ray-Ban on its smart AR glasses (1 minute read)

Facebook has been working on its own augmented reality glasses that are designed to replace a phone. Users will be able to answer calls on it and there will be a small display, similar to Google Glass. A camera embedded in the glasses will allow users to live stream videos. Facebook has partnered with Luxottica to bring the glasses to market, possibly between 2023 and 2025. Ray-Ban, a brand owned by Luxottica, will be directly involved in the partnership but will be developing a completely different set of smart glasses.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Waymo’s robotaxi pilot surpassed 6,200 riders in its first month in California (6 minute read)

Waymo's self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans completed 4,678 passenger trips in July, transporting 6,299 passengers in total in its robotaxi pilot program in California. The vehicles were only allowed to transport Waymo or Alphabet employees and their guests within a restricted area for free, so it is difficult to determine the actual demand for a self-driving passenger service from the results of the trial. In order to participate in autonomous vehicle testing trials, companies must have testing permits with the DMV and CPUC. The data collected from these trials will help regulators determine the value and challenges of commercial autonomous vehicle services.

Audi created an autonomous off-roader that uses flying drones to illuminate the road instead of headlights (2 minute read)

Audi recently revealed its concept AI:TRAIL Quattro which uses five LED drones instead of headlights. Its cabin is mostly glass and it uses a smartphone as the display and control center screen for the car's functions and navigation. The designers aimed to give those inside the car the best view of nature and their surroundings. It can hit a top speed of 81 mph and has a range between 248 and 310 miles on easy terrain, 155 miles on rougher paths. The vehicle is optimized for trail-traveling, with removable seats that can be used as portable outdoor seating. A gallery of photos showing the concept car is available.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Writing a Blockchain in Node.js (13 minute read)

Blockchain has become a popular topic due to Bitcoin. A Blockchain is where blocks, or pieces of information, are stored on a public database, the chain. In a Blockchain, every piece of data must contain data presenting the previous block. This means that data is more difficult to change and can be verified easily. Random values are inserted into the data in order to make the Blockchain more secure, as it makes it more difficult for computers to recalculate the entire chain. Mining creates new blocks of data. A Blockchain can be written in Node.js.

Modern Node (GitHub Repo)

Modern Node is a pre-configured toolkit for modern node modules. Developers can test projects, format all files in a project with prettier-standard, lint files, and format and lint staged changes.

Justice Department Sues Edward Snowden, Seeking Profits From His Book (4 minute read)

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden as his new book violates nondisclosure agreements he signed with the federal government. If successful, all the book profits will belong to the US. The lawsuit also claims that the government is entitled to money Snowden has earned from speeches. Snowden failed to receive pre-publication approval from the NSA and CIA. According to Snowden's lawyer, the book doesn't contain any government secrets that weren't already publicly known, and the government wouldn't have reviewed the book in good faith if Snowden had submitted it for review. Snowden has lived in Russia for the past six years as he faces criminal charges in the US over allegations of espionage and theft of government property.

The Internet Relies on People Working for Free (6 minute read)

Virtually every tech company relies on open-source projects where developers often work for free. Developers contribute to code to sharpen their skills, gain perspectives from the community, or just to help the industry. When open-source software is maintained on a voluntary basis, sometimes projects are abandoned or mistakes aren't corrected in a timely manner. Some open-source developers end up being hired by companies to maintain support for the code. However, as the code is free for anyone to use, companies may be reluctant to pay for the work, which will often benefit competitors. The open-source community is divided on whether they should be paid for work, with some believing that monetization defeats the purpose of software being free. However, developers who spend time creating software used by millions of people around the world still need to provide for themselves, so monetization eventually becomes a necessity.
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