TLDR 2020-01-20

DigitalOcean layoffs 👷, China's mystery virus 👾, SpaceX's success 🚀

Big Tech & Startups

Amazon reportedly wants to turn your hand into a credit card (1 minute read)

Amazon is developing a technology that will allow customers to connect their credit card information to their hands, allowing them to purchase items with their palms. The company has been working with Visa to test out its terminals and is in talks with Mastercard, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Synchrony Financial. It has major plans to expand its Amazon Go stores, where shoppers will be able to purchase items without cashiers or a checkout. Amazon will also continue to expand its Amazon Pay voice payment service. The data collected from payment terminals will be used to study consumers' spending habits.

DigitalOcean is laying off staff, sources say 30-50 affected (3 minute read)

DigitalOcean appointed a new CEO and CFO last summer. It is looking to further reorganize, with a round of layoffs potentially affecting 30 to 50 people. The cloud infrastructure provider had around 500 total employees. DigitalOcean has $275 million in annual recurring revenue and more than 500,000 customers globally. Customers have been generally happy with the company since its change in leadership. DigitalOcean competes with some of the biggest companies in tech, including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. The layoffs may be in preparation for funding or to reserve funds in order to continue competing with other cloud providers.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Bricks Alive! Scientists Create Living Concrete (4 minute read)

A team of researchers at the University of Colorado has developed a kind of concrete that is alive and can reproduce. The minerals in the new concrete are deposited by cyanobacteria, a type of bacteria that can capture energy through photosynthesis. Regular concrete releases a lot of carbon dioxide, but the new concrete is able to absorb the greenhouse gas. The presence of the bacteria gives the concrete a green color, which fades as the material dries. Early attempts at getting the bacteria to create concrete were slow. The scientists discovered that the bacteria could be grown on gelatin, resulting in concrete blocks quickly forming in the shape of whatever mold was used. They remain alive even after a few weeks. A block can be used to spawn more generations of blocks. The bacteria is not picky about the type of sand used, and it can digest waste materials like ground glass or recycled concrete.

New Chinese virus 'will have infected hundreds' (4 minute read)

A new respiratory illness has emerged from China. The coronavirus is estimated to have infected around 1,700 people, and two people have died so far. Airports around the world have started screening for passengers originating from Wuhan. While the outbreak is centered in Wuhan, there have been two cases reported in Thailand and one in Japan. 3,400 people a day travel internationally through Wuhan International Airport. Chinese authorities claim that the virus was spread through infected animals at a seafood and wildlife market in Wuhan and that there have been no cases of the virus spreading from one person to another. Understanding how the virus spreads is crucial to assessing its threat. It is unlikely that the virus is only spread through animal exposure. Analysis of the new virus shows that the coronavirus is more related to SARS than any other human coronavirus.
Programming, Design & Data Science

OneDev (GitHub Repo)

OneDev is an all-in-one DevOps platform that features issue tracking, git management, pull requests, and build farms. It contains tools to make building and deploying projects a breeze. Short GIF demonstrations and explanations of its features are available.

Become a Better Software Architect (GitHub Repo)

A software architect is a software expert who makes high-level design choices and dictates technical standards. Software architecture is the fundamental organization of a system and the principles that determine the design and evolution of the system. There are three levels of architecture: application level, solution level, and enterprise level. A software architect needs to be able to design software, make decisions regarding projects, simplify problems and solutions, code, write clear documentation, communicate with others, estimate and evaluate time and skills required for projects, balance the needs of a project, consult with others, and market their own ideas. A roadmap for professional development in software architecture is provided.

The only time you'll hear ppl cheer for a rocket to explode (Twitter Video)

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, and about 84 seconds after liftoff, it ejected itself from the rocket to simulate emergency procedures. Bad weather had delayed the test, which was planned for Saturday. With the test's success, the first astronaut mission could happen as soon as April. A 17-second video is available that shows the Falcon 9 rocket exploding during the test.

2020 Startup Themes (9 minute read)

It is easier than ever for entrepreneurs to develop and pitch new products. As giants like Facebook and Google become more profit-driven, lowering the quality of user experience as a result, the field is ripe for competitors to join the market. Software development is becoming simpler and more easily accessible, and new types of software will need to be developed as the industry evolves. Some software has already been banned in countries due to political reasons, and this is likely to become a larger issue in the future. Privacy is an increasingly growing sector, but adoption is still slow. AI is on the rise, and it is beginning to be able to complete more and more complicated tasks. Radio technology is becoming cheaper and more accessible, with new types of detection technology currently being developed. The office is changing, with remote teams becoming common. More startups are focusing on the environment and redesigning industries to become sustainable.
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